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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 ensued.

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 the flu.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Here is a photo of Julia and John heading out on some errands.

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 time.

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


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