ENGLAND 2013

“It Will Rain Tomorrow”…England Weathers The MaiTai 4

EngDay6M #01 (1)London, Salisbury, Bath & The Cotswolds (2013)

A visit to jolly old England took Tracy and me (along with friends Kim & Mary) from London to Salisbury, Stonehenge, Bath and the Cotswolds with numerous  stops in between.  With all the talk about England’s nasty weather we came prepared for the deluge…that never came.  Instead, we walked about ten miles a day and even enjoyed some champagne at Buckingham Palace while the Queen was out of town.  Come and join us!


Chapter One: Off To England (with a few problems)

Chapter One:  Off To England (with a few problems) Days One & Two – Apartment Shut-Out, Last Minute Lodging, Damn That Traffic Jam, What Rooftop Bar, Clueless Concierge, A Rose Is A Rose, Where’s Daniel Craig, Are We In A Music Video, This Makes Time Square Look Quaint, Church Concert Venue, We Can Eat With Dead People, Which Admiral Nelson and Some Like It Hot The still-to-this-day-maddening email arrived about 48 hours before Kim, Mary, Tracy and I were to take-off from LAX to London: “London Property Rentals just sent you a full refund of £1,290.00 GBP for your purchase.”  In other words, we were suddenly two couples with no place to stay in London for the first six nights … Read more…

Chapter Two: We Beheading To The Tower

Chapter Two:  We Beheading To The Tower Day Three – Going Crazy At Starbucks, It’s Good To Be Old, Tower Of Power, Where’s The Gin, Cross That Bridge When We Come To It, The Big Cheese, My Cup Runneth Over, Going Gothic, Fly (Almost) Like An Eagle, A Monumental Climb, A Walk In The Garden, Bellying Up To Manet’s Bar, Church Of The Royal Air Force, Go Fly A Kite, Two Ships We Won’t Pass In The Day And A Taste Of France We were up and out of the hotel by 8:30 a.m. We stopped by the concierge to tell him the details of 2FOR1, but I don’t think he really believed anyone could get this deal, so we … Read more…

Chapter Three: Champagne At Buckingham Palace

Chapter Three:  Champagne At Buckingham Palace Day Four – Swans & Squirrels, Horsing Around, A Huge Cock, Glorious Gallery, Hyde But No Jekyll, The $16,000 Purse, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Go Soak Your Feet, Going Green, Our Corgi Will Be So Happy (Maybe), An Evening Appearance At The Queen’s Residence and It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Part Deux Turning the television on in our room early Sunday morning, we heard the now familiar London forecast: “It should be pleasant today, but it looks like rain tomorrow,” the weatherman promised. Somehow our feet were able to get going, and across the river we walked, heading for St. James Park.  After our Starbucks experience … Read more…

Chapter Four: St. Paul’s Cathedral & The British Museum

Chapter Four:  St. Paul’s Cathedral & The British Museum Day Five – Blood, Sweat & Whispers, Fantastic Audio Guide, Museum Overload, Walk Like An Egyptian, Soane Near Yet Soane Far, A Cute Pub Right Down Our Alley (if we can find it), We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Nap, Photo Ops, A Slight Change Of Plans and A Little Bit Of Italy In London Expecting that soon-to-be-here rain as we awoke, I looked out the window and saw cloudy, but dry skies (it had rained slightly overnight).  However, the cracked weather people were predicting rain for tomorrow.  Where have I heard that before? Our first stop of the day was what I hoped wouldn’t be my last stop…ever. The four of … Read more…

Chapter Five: Westminster, Winston and Wallace

Chapter Five:  Westminster, Winston and Wallace Day Six – Breakfast On The River, Follow The Hordes, Tombs With A View, A Slight Problem With Churchill, Just Another Magna Carta, Channeling My Inner Gerry Rafferty, The Beverly Hills Of London, The Frick: London Style, Afternoon Pub Stop, Vexed At Vauxhall, Party In The Room And Finally Some Fish & Chips To paraphrase George Gershwin, “it was a foggy morning in London town,” but there was no rain.  Westminster Abbey did not open until 9:30, so we all decided to grab breakfast at a little place we had seen previously on our walks that sat at the edge of the Thames. The Bean & Olive Riverside Cafe at the Lambeth Pier served … Read more…

Chapter Six: A Visit To Henry’s House

Chapter Six:  A Visit To Henry’s House Day Seven – Coming Out Of The Closet, That’s The Ticket, I’m Henry VIII I Am, Garden Splendour, A Return To St. Christopher’s Place, A Lesser Palace, Missing The Squirrels, Party In The Room: Part Deux and “You’re Back!” We were at Vauxhall Station a little before 8 a.m. (passing by a unique spot to relieve oneself) and were told to go to the ticket window to buy our 9:10 tickets to Hampton Court. There was one minor problem…the ticket window was closed. We then headed to the Self-Service ticket machine where we were supposed to get credit for our 7-Day pass, but the Self Service machine doesn’t do that. 

Undaunted, but now … Read more…

Chapter Seven: Winchester & Salisbury Cathedrals

Chapter Seven:  Winchester & Salisbury Cathedrals Day Eight – Hey Where’s The Steering Wheel, Yes It’s DIESEL, The New Vaudeville Band Is Here Somewhere, Diver Bill Saves The Day, You’re Early, Cloisters With Food, What…Another Magna Carta, Tower Of Power, Church Of Doom, Plopping our Buttocks At The Buttock, Now That’s A Bad Hand, Without A Kir In The World, Sunset Dinner and Cathedral Under The Stars Our day of reckoning was finally upon us.  Today was the day we were to pick up our rental car.  We were picked up at the Riverbank Park Plaza Hotel at 7:30 a.m. by our affable and chatty Just Airports driver (originally from Pakistan…the guy was a hoot), and headed to the Avis … Read more…

Chapter Eight: Stonehenge To Bath

Chapter Eight:  Stonehenge To Bath Day Nine – Breakfast Is Served, Rock On, A Trip To See King Arthur, All’s Wells That Ends Wells, Cat’s Meow, The Out-Of-Towners, A Hill of a B&B, We’re Just Wild About Harry, Lawful Assembly and Dinner At Hall & Oates We had left a note with Steve (our Cathedral View b&b host) the previous evening that we would be down for breakfast about 8 a.m. Being a group that is never late for a meal, we were greeted by Steve’s wife, Wenda, at the appointed hour.  Steve was busily cooking away in the kitchen. The Cathedral View rooms were ok, but feeling a little worn. Steve and Wenda said they were going to renovate … Read more…

Chapter Nine: A Day In Bath

Chapter Nine:  A Day In Bath Day Ten – Eggscellent Breakfast, Showers In Bath, We’re Walking Here, Circus But No Tent, Ponte Vecchio: British Style, Hat Trick, Lunch In A Department Store, Kim & Mary Have A Ball, Father Of The Bride, She Doesn’t Look So Bad, Tom Pulls An Uncle Billy, Fool On The Hill, Kim & Mary’s Martini Dinner and I Don’t Think It’s Really A Heart Attack After a glorious night’s sleep, the MaiTai Four filed down to the beautiful Hill House dining room for a breakfast from heaven. Along with our tea and coffee we were given the choice of Eggs Florentine, Eggs Benedict or a typical English breakfast (hard for me to wrap my mind … Read more…

Chapter Ten: Entering The Cotswolds Zone

Chapter Ten:  Entering The Cotswolds Zone Day Eleven – I Got My Thrill With Blueberries Hill, Are You Sure That’s The Name, A Brush With Combe, Sunday Roast, Butterflies Are Free, Admitted To Berkeley, B&B Perfection, Someone Get This Dog A Drink and Dinner With A Fodorite Bearing Homemade Gin I woke up feeling good (reports of my heart attack were greatly exaggerated…thankfully), but incredibly hungry (going without dinner will do that).  Harry and Douglas had concocted the perfect cure for an empty stomach. Not modestly I will confess, in my not-so-humble opinion, I make the best blueberry pancakes on the planet. Eat your heart out Barefoot Contessa!  However, after inhaling the blueberry pancakes (along with sausage and bacon) at … Read more…

Chapter Eleven: Gloucester and Gardens

Chapter Eleven:  Gloucester and Gardens Day Twelve – Brock’s Breakfast Bonanza, You Sure Do Write A Lot, Kim Gets Stuck, All In The Family, Tales From The Crypt, Queen Of The Cotswolds, I’ll Never Find Another Yew, A Royal Lunch, Out Of Season, Maybe I’m A Maze, Beacon Bemusement, We All Scream But No Ice Cream, What Are Dazzling Urbanites Like Us Doing In A Rustic Setting Like This and A Whiskey Lesson Thanks to Julia’s homemade gin, I slept like a Beefeater.  The York House only has four rooms, and for the next couple of days, we were the only guests.  Obviously Brock has read some of the trip reports I have put on my website and warned others … Read more…

Chapter Twelve: Chavenage House & Malmesbury

Chapter Twelve:  Chavenage House & Malmesbury Day Thirteen – Come On-A-My-House, We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badgers, Cromwell Slept Here, Helicopter Pad, Two Shakes Of A Cat’s Whiskers, Town Tour, A Smoking Dog, The Lady Or The Tiger, Shopping At The Prince’s Store, Step By Step, Wine Closeout and Another Good English Meal About two months before we departed for England, I checked out which days certain attractions were open so we could utilize our time wisely.   One of the places I really wanted to visit was an historic lodging located near Tetbury called Chavenage House, which was reconstructed by Edward Stephens in the 1570s. Unfortunately, it looked as though Chavenage House would be closed when we would be … Read more…

Chapter Thirteen: The Cotswold Blitz

Chapter Thirteen:  The Cotswold Blitz Day Fourteen – Colorful Church, A Gift Before Topping, I Want To Buy All These Houses And Take Them To America, Down By The Old Mill Stream, “A Perfect Place For My England Affair”, This Seems A Little Fishy, The Best Public Toilets In The World, Venice Of The Cotswolds, Finally Ice Cream, It Never Rains In Southern California, Led To The Slaughters, Stow It, A Girl Named Su, Drink Ubu Drink, Round And Round We Go, Lovely Lodging, Danger A Head, Wonderful Willows and A Sticky Situation Another great breakfast finished, we bid goodbye to Brock and Bean (his dog, not part of the English breakfast). We were on our way to explore a … Read more…

Chapter Fourteen: Blenheim Palace & Oxford

Chapter Fourteen:  Blenheim Palace & Oxford Day Fifteen – Just Another Great Breakfast, Free Range Children, Quite Capable, Winston’s Birthplace, A Jenny Hat Trick, Where The Hell Is He Buried, Parking Problem, Visiting Hogwarts Academy, Can We Buy A Used Car Here, A Chipping Campden Picnic, “You Can’t Eat Here,” Ubu Redux and Eight Is Enough The previous evening we had put in our breakfast order with Jane at the Bramley House. Breakfast was served at 8 a.m., and we started with a delicious fruit salad followed by eggs, sausage and bacon (best bacon of the trip). We chatted for a bit with Jane and her husband, and it was time to set sail to see the mega palace where … Read more…

Chapter Fifteen: Towers, Castles, Gardens & Junk

Chapter Fifteen:  Towers, Castles, Gardens & Junk Day Sixteen (Part One) – Tower Trouble, A Stanton Drive-By, Fountain Penned, An Unscheduled Cotswold Walk, Gardens Galore, Below Parr, Give My Regards To Broadway, A True English Gentleman, I’m Melting, Mind Your Manor, One Man’s Junk Is…, Gardens Galore (Part Deux), The Last Cute Town, What Time Are We Leaving Again, My Sticky Love Affair Heats Up and We Shall Return! Even though it was our last day, this would not be a relaxing one (we really don’t believe in relaxing because you never know when I’ll just keel over and we’d have to use our trip insurance for my lonely flight back in the cargo hold).   After another delicious English … Read more…

Chapter Sixteen: Going Home

Chapter Sixteen:  Going Home Day Seventeen – Memories Of Jolly Old England Afterone last great breakfast, Kim guided us back to Heathrow (exactly a two hour drive from Chipping Campden…including a stop for gas…DIESEL…and a couple of missed turns).  Our  English adventure was complete.                                                   Even though when we left, Tracy said she didn’t think we’d have to return to London, her views have since changed (me, too).  After Tracy read the last chapter (as she corrected my numerous spelling errors), she said, “I’m so sad, our trip is over.  Maybe we can attach a few … Read more…