Visiting Family, Hiking, Sightseeing
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Here is a photo of the west tower with a full moon
hidden behind a cloud.
David S. came to London to pick Julia and me up and drive
us to his and Mary's house in Canterbury. Mary is Julia's Mom. Mary and
David S. live in a house that was built in the 15th century and is located
right next to the west gate tower which is the remaining tower that made up the
walls that once surrounded Canterbury; it is a very special house as are
Mary and David S. very special people.
Here is a shot of the cathedral at night.
We arrived in the late afternoon and after some dinner we
could not wait to go for a walk around Canterbury. It gets dark quite early
in England this time of year so it was dark by the time we got walking.
The good news is it was not as cold in Canterbury as we had experienced in
London. We headed down the main street and soon reached the cathedral. What
a magnificent building it is.
It was a great walk but when we returned home Julia was
not feeling well. Julia had, had a cold just before we left San Francisco
for London but was over it, we thought. But that night Julia developed a
fever and was very sick. Either the original cold or a new one had gotten
hold of her and she had a rough night.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
We got up and Julia was still very ill she spent the
morning sleeping and missed the Christmas party Mary had organized in the
afternoon. However, by about 3:00 pm Julia was able to get up and
surprisingly the symptoms were all but gone. We figure it must have been a
24 hour bug.
From Julia: My wonderful mum had organized a party and I
slept through the whole thing. I missed seeing lots of wonderful people
including Audrey (Audrey is my mum's good friend, a writer, and animal
rights activist and I love her dearly). I am now really excited to see her
on Christmas day. David met all my mum's dear friends and had a lovely time.
After I surfaced from bed, we spent the rest of the afternoon watching
Breakfast at Tiffany's then eating delicious ham and salad, more wine, more
chocolates, etc, etc.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Here is a shot of the intrepid hikers in the lovely Kent countryside.
We got up early and walked a path near Canterbury from Chilham which passed by
Godmersham House and back to Chilham. Then we came home to Mary and David's
home and ate a Christmas Eve lunch.
Lenka, Charles, and Sacha arrived later in the afternoon
then Julia, Lenka, Charles, and I headed over to Julia's Dad's house where
he and his wife Jean made Christmas Eve dinner. We ate masses of good food
and drank large quantities of wine and had a really good time. We got to
meet Jean's two son's William and James. In fact I had such a good time I
forgot to take any pictures. We all waddled home through the streets of
Canterbury and made it back to David S. and Mary's home where it was not
long before we were tucked away in bed.
Julia's cold symptoms got worse again that evening; she
just does not seem to be able to shake the bug.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Here is a shot of our two hosts before the festivities
commenced. You can see that Mary was using Kung Fu to prepare herself for
the afternoon's onslaught.
This was the day that David S. and Mary hosted their
Christmas dinner for family and friends. Mary had purchased a special turkey
which was not only free range but lived in a completely natural environment
for turkeys which turns out to be trees. Who knew? Anyway the turkey was
absolutely delicious the best I have had.
Here is a shot of all of us feasting from the excellent Christmas table.
After lunch many gifts exchanged hands and much happiness
Everyone had such a great time thank you Mary and David.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Alas my immunity to all of the colds Julia has had since
we left San Francisco finally gave way as I too fell victim to the dreaded
bug. I write to you from my sick bed were Julia has been fussing over me all
morning. She is so lovely. I spent a very miserable and boring day in bed.
It seems I might have the flu and not just a cold as I have had many bouts
of hot and cold flashes (either that or perhaps Menopause). Julia has been
looking after me but she is not over the bug yet herself.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I spent the night with full flu symptoms and am writing
to you once more from my sick bed. Julia had a rough night also so I am now
getting worried about our condition for the trip to Egypt this Saturday.
What a pain! We might make a trip to see a doctor today which should be free
because of the national health system here.
This is my new ode to England:
Oh England, England,
Land of flues and colds,
And all manner of viruses;
How you infect me.
In front of Jean's and John's home is a Roman burial
mound which was used by the Normans to build a castle on; it is literally in
their front yard.
Julia's Dad (John) came round with his car to pick us up
from Mary's and David's home. This was a good thing as I was up and out of
bed but still feeling quite ill. Julia and I said our goodbyes and headed
off with John to his home which was only a few blocks away. Normally we
would have walked this but given my condition the car was a safer option.
Jean made us a wonderful lunch of homemade bread and leek soup made
from home grown leeks. Then we decided to go for a short walk to the post
office and pharmacy.
We got side tracked into the Canterbury Cathedral to see
the cloister courtyard and Chapter room. In the Chapter room we discovered a
stained glass impression of Henry the eighth; which is interesting as much
of the destruction to the Cathedral occurred under his kingship. After a bit
more walking I suddenly got very pale and began to feel faint. Yes, I know
the word faint seems like a line from a Jane Austin novel but I guess this
is what happens to you in England. We headed home where I spent the rest of
the day until 9:00pm in bed again out like a light. I got up for a little
while, ate something and then returned to bed to continue my struggle with
Friday, December 28, 2007
Here is a photo of Julia and John heading out on some
My goodness! I woke up this morning and for the first
time in three days I felt human again. I am sure I am not over the bug yet
but I believe I am on the mend now. We
all ate a hearty breakfast and enjoyed interesting conversation.
Here is a photo of Julia and Jean with the sun shining;
which is a rare sight this time of year.
From Julia: Thank goodness David is getting over his
delirium. He was very ill for 2 days; he's barely been able to wake for long
enough to take even a few sips of water. He is still weak, so to avoid over
exertion and relapse of the flu we went on a drive to see some typical
Kentish countryside. We drove down little lanes bordered by hedges, with
views of rolling green hills, and stopped at a beautiful village called Wye.
We went into the church which was very bare as it had been stripped out by
the Puritans at the time of the civil war and Oliver Cromwell. On the way
back we saw several black and white Tudor houses and one with an amazing old
thatched roof. We drove past Kent County Cricket ground, and found out that
the very first cricket game was played in Kent. Not that this history does
much good as I understand that England still loses to Australia all the
It's 3pm and already getting dark after a grey cloudy
day, although everyone here seems to be happy that the days are apparently
now getting longer. It usually feels like about midnight by the time It's
6pm. We are looking forward to Egypt
for the healing power of the sun and for warmth, as well as for the pyramids
and other amazing sights to see.
We are going to tea with Mary and David and will see
David's daughter Heather and her husband, Alex, and their gorgeous baby
Louis. Then up at 4am tomorrow to head off to the next adventure in Egypt.
See Egypt Video