September 23, 2001
We’re going to visit two castles today. The first is Penhow Castle. It was owned by Jane Seymour’s family, Henry the VIII’s third wife.
The castle, actually a heavily fortified manor house was built to give warning of any Welsh uprising in 1070. At the time it was built, the family was not very wealthy and so it’s doesn’t have expensive details like some other castles. It does have a wonderful view of the land all around it though. It is still inhabited and in fact, it is now privately owned and not open to the public. I feel very lucky that we were able to go and tour it. There was a audio tour and we could walk around freely and listen at out own pace. Part of it was re-done in Victorian times. What a hard life it must have been when it was first built, no heating, no windows except for slanted openings so you wouldn’t accidentally be hit by a stray arrow!
Next we head for Caldicott Castle, which is actually a ruin, though still very beautiful! It’s more the traditional looking castle that Americans are used to from stories and movies. The grounds are beautifully kept and would be a perfect place for a wedding. Ivy covered walls and gorgeous rose gardens. When you climb up to the top the view is really spectacular. It too has sections that were re-done in Victorian times, but the man who bought it didn’t want to change anything major. He wanted to keep the castle’s integrity. His name was Cobb and he wrote a book about the castle. By coincidence, when we got back to Glynderi, Jo tells us that Mr. Cobb was her great, great uncle and she actually has his book and also a copy of the painting of him that hangs in the castle! It seems so many things are related here.
September 24, 2001
Today we go to the lovely sounding town of Hay on Wye, “the town of books”! I found out about this town on the internet while researching things to see while in the UK. It is a charming town with dozens of bookstores and great antique shops. I’m starting to realize that my suitcases are way too heavy and I just bought 5 or 6 books and lots of little gifts for people back home.
Again, lesson learned, you have to schlep around all that you buy. Next time I will either buy really small, light things or wait until the last place I visit and do all the shopping there. It’s just so expensive to mail anything back home and now with the airlines charging so much for luggage, I’m so glad I got to do my first trip over before all of this hit travelers.
September 25, 2001
Leaving Wales today for the Cotswolds, Jean’s favorite part of England. We stop at a village called Burford for a quick lunch and stroll around the shops and then we’re off to find our B&B for the next 3 nights called “Naunton View” in the village of Naunton. A very nice house, run by Martin and Helen, who also own the local pub called “The Black Horse”. They are very nice, though none of us can really understand anything that Martin says:)
We all found it very charming and so British to look out the window while having breakfast and see a woman riding down the street on her horse. She is wearing, like the photo above shows, the English hat and boots and bouncing up and down in the saddle, just like we’ve seen in the movies. This is exciting for us, we have never seen anything like it on the west coast of the US!
We also discovered the exquisite wonders of a shredded white cheddar on baguette with apple chutney here at The Black Horse. I for one could eat this on a daily basis! Excellent!