with my son

NOTE: The details below are a true record but the names of people have been changed to protect their identity. The numbered points are only there to force the map generating program to reflect the actual route taken and need not necessarily have anything to do with the text.

I was given “My Daily Journal” by a friend from church and the first page for each day gave the following guidelines:
         I started my day by:
         Major events going on in the world today:
         My goals for today:
         Today I feel:
         The funniest thing that happened today:
         The most memorable thing that occurred today:
         The best part of my day:
         Something I am looking forward to tomorrow:
         More thoughts and feelings:
        In writing my journal I found that I couldn’t fill in all the suggested topics every day, but did insert them if there was something appropriate.

Day 1 - Saturday, June 25 - Tucson, AZ to Vancouver, BC

I started my day by waking up a little too early, but feeling excited as I completed my packing for an 8:30 am departure by Shuttle from Tucson.
Major events going on in the world today: The one item of news I heard whilst waiting for my flight from Phoenix was the flooding of the Souris River through Minot, North Dakota, the worst in over a century.
My goal for today was to enjoy my flights (I don’t like flying and this was only the beginning!!) and arrive safely in Vancouver.
Today I feel: I was feeling very excited about the adventure ahead of me, and so appreciative of having such a thoughtful, kind and generous son. I was so excited because this was the first leg of achieving a life-long dream
The most memorable thing that occurred today was looking out the window of the plane and being able to see and recognize both Mount Adams and Mount Rainier.
The best part of my day was being asked by a fellow traveler if I was wearing my cross for Jesus. She was a Christian from Sheridan, Wyoming, and had been attending a course in Phoenix to become a Christian yoga instructor.
Tomorrow I am looking forward to spending time with the family. I wish that I did not live so far away and that these opportunities could be far more frequent.
More thoughts and feelings: I have started writing this journal whilst in the Denver Airport between having flown in from Phoenix and awaiting my flight to Vancouver. I still can’t believe that I am actually on the first leg of a trip to England, having given up all thought years ago of ever visiting the country of my ancestors!
         I am now at my son’s place after an uneventful trip. Stu met me at the Vancouver Airport about 9:30 PM and we arrived home around 10:15 - a long day!
         I had a window seat for both flights, and I enjoyed looking at the landscape as we flew overhead. One thing I found most interesting on the Phoenix to Denver leg was the vastness of the desert (I was on the wrong side to see the Grand Canyon), then suddenly adjoining it were dozens of round, irrigated green fields. From some research, Stu thought these could have been in the Farmington, New Mexico area. After the circular fields, there was a very large hilly area which appeared to have roads going all over the place with lots of byways which dead ended at what looked to be a gravel or sandy patch. I am wondering if this could be picked up on Google earth!
         Towards the end of the Denver to Vancouver leg I spotted Mount Adams and Mount Rainier on the horizon above the clouds. The sun was still shining as we started the descent into Vancouver.

Day 2 - Sunday, June 26 - Vancouver, BC

I started my day: This morning Stu’s young daughters Heidi and June excitedly rushed into my bedroom to see me (I had just woken up) and there was much chatting and laughter. I also read to them a book which I had brought for them from Arizona, “Who Pooped In The Sonoran Desert?” We all enjoyed it.
         Soon after our breakfast of waffles, old friends, arrived and we went for a hike along Varley Trail north of the Seymour watershed - a great hike through the woods.
         In the afternoon I went to a softball match, a game in which my eldest granddaughter, Rose, was playing. After the game I spent the rest of the day with my daughter, Anna and family. I was able to help Anna with preparations for George’s birthday party which was being held the next afternoon. I washed the vegetables ready to have with dip and helped ice the clown cupcakes. We had Chinese food for supper.

Day 3 - Monday, June 27 - Vancouver, BC

         This morning I went with Stu’s wife Holly for June’s last day of Montessori for the year. There was a magician for entertainment and the children, even adults, were enthralled with all his magic tricks.
         In the afternoon June walked with me to Blue Ridge School to meet Heidi when school was finished. I was deeply touched by June’s response at a more difficult part of the trail. She said, “Nana, I will help you,” and took my arm. So special! At home the girls made birthday cards to go with their gifts for George.
         George’s party was a pool party followed by supper in the park. Their were many of his friends from school and the parents stayed so they could supervise the children in the pool. I was amazed at how well both Heidi and June are swimming, and have no fear of being in the deep end.

Day 4 - Tuesday, June 28 - Vancouver, BC

I started my day by having breakfast with the family. Then I showered and washed my hair, then laid out all my clothes ready for packing.
Major events going on in the world today: Usual local news and sports!
My goals for today: Be ready for my trip and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren.
Today I feel: I still can’t believe that I’m actually going to England.
         We met Heidi at school, her last morning of kindergarten, drove to Deep Cove where we had lunch at Honey’s, then to the park for the children to play.
         From Deep Cove Holly took me to an appointment she had made for me to have a mani/pedi (a manicure and a pedicure). What a daughter-in-law! She is so special and I feel blessed that she is a part of our family.
The best part of my day is the time spent with the family.
Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: That the day runs smoothly and Stu and I have a safe trip.

Day 5 - Wednesday, June 29 - Vancouver, BC to London, England

I started my day by: being with Heidi and June whilst Stu and Holly took the opportunity of going out for a run. After that we had breakfast - the cantaloupe was wonderful.
Major events going on in the world today: Riots in Greece over austerity measures. Wild fires near Los Alamos, New Mexico.
My goals for today: To get a good sleep on the plane so I arrive in London refreshed and ready to start exploring.
Today I feel: Very emotional. Driving to the airport I had tears in my eyes as I was actually on my way to a place I never expected to see!
The funniest thing that happened today: Was listening to Stu as he read to the girls whilst Holly was driving to the airport. He was reading the sentences and story backwards starting at the back of the book!! It was hilarious listening to Stu and the girls’ protestations. Everyone finished up laughing.
The most memorable thing that occurred today: We at least got a bit of sunshine. It had been cloudy and raining, and there is still a lot of snow on the mountains.
The best part of my day: I’m on my way, well, sort of, as we still have to wait until 6:15 PM for departure. We are flying with Air Canada and will be taking the northern route over Hudson Bay and Greenland.
Something I’m looking forward to tomorrow: Arriving in London and wondering what we will do on our first day.
More thoughts and feelings: 5:50 PM We boarded the plane about 5 minutes ago and I have a great window seat. I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment realizing just how much my son loves me. I just hope that my time at the gym stands me in good stead for all the walking that Stu hopes to do.
         Later: Although the departure time was 6:15 PM it was about 6:40 by the time we were on the runway and closer to 7 o’clock before we were airborne.
         Soaring to 33,000 feet and above thw clouds we were flying in bright sunshine. I closed my window shade as I was determined to sleep, hopefully to be refreshed for my first day in London.
         It was a fitful sleep and each time I raised the blind slightly for a peek outside the sun was shining brightly. In fact it shone all night!

Day 6 - Thursday, June 30 - London, England

I started my day: Still on the plane - arrived in London around 10:30 am local time (2:30 am Vancouver time).
Major events going on in the world today: 24 hour strike (hopefully only 24 hours) of many service people, plus strike parades which closed roads and affected traffic.
Today I feel: Overwhelmed. I can’t believe that I’m in London!
The funniest thing that happened today: The surge through non-existent Customs after a long wait.
         Upon arrival we found ourselves in a very long, back and forth line to go through Immigration and hand in our embarkation card. Then we went to baggage claim, collected our luggage and lined up for Customs. Crowds from other flights, as well as ours, were jostling in numerous lines which melded into a mass, but not moving forward for the longest time. Then suddenly there was a great - the doors opened and the crowd dispersed - no sign of Customs. It was as if someone decided that with the strike keeping everyone waiting to go through Customs was out of the question!
         As the crowd dispersed we found the counter where we had to inquire about our booked transportation from Heathrow to St. Georges Hotel, and had another long wait. All transportation was taking longer because of the strike!
The most memorable thing that occurred today: How narrow the roads and streets are, and the way buses, small and large, taxis and other vehicles dodged in and out so quickly.
         It was about 2 o’clock by the time we arrived at the hotel. We were able to check in (Room 1417) right away and unpacked. Then we set out, first for Stu to buy a cell phone (only £2.00) and call Holly so she would have a number if she needed to contact him. Next we went in search for a converter plug so I would be able to charge my camera battery (£5.00). We did some walking, but I was still very tired!
The best part of my day: Deciding to get our 24 hour Bus Tours of London (The Original Tour - the Hop-on/Hop-off) tour tickets and being able to get a feel of where things are.
         Our tour ticket was marked 5:08 PM, so we had until the same time the following day (Friday). It was good to sit and just listen to the commentary. The tour was slowed by traffic and rerouted in parts because of closed roads!
         We left the tour time after 7 o’clock, walked back to the hotel, wending our way through some of the narrower streets to the west off Regent Street, and passing restaurants with tables on the sidewalks, also bars with bars with crowds of people drinking beer in the street. We went to the 15th floor at St. Georges Hotel for a drink (I had a Pimm’s - something I hadn’t had in years) and a light meal to end the day.

     Pimm's No. 1

      ... it has a dark tea color with a reddish tint, and tastes subtly of spice and citrus fruit. It is often taken with "English-style" (clear and carbonated) lemonade, as well as various chopped fresh ingredients, particularly apples, cucumber, oranges, lemons, strawberry, and mint.


Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: Continuing the Hop-on/Hop-off tour plus the Thames River Cruise to Greenwich.

Day 7 - Friday, July 1 (Canada Day)- London, England

I started my day by: Showered, dressed and went to the 15th floor for continental breakfast with some good and healthy choices. We were seated at a table and had coffee and toast brought to us, but went to the buffet for the rest, cereals, yogurt, fruit and spreads (in small glass jars). We could also have chosen croissants, cold cuts and sweet rolls.
Major events going on in the world today: London strike over; Canada Day being celebrated in Trafalgar Square.
         The traffic was moving much better today. There were a lot of Canadian flags to be seen for the big celebration, but we did not attend as we were in London to see London.
Today I feel: I am feeling much better, having had a good night’s sleep and am ready to pack in as much as possible with our Hop-on/Hop-off pass, including the Thames River Cruise.
The funniest thing that happened today: I can’t think of anything funny, but this doesn’t mean that I didn’t have fun.
The most memorable thing that occurred today: I stood over Prime Meridian * such that I had one foot in the west and the other in the east.
The best part of my day: All day was the best except when my feet got tired and my back started to ache. Still I was determined not to let Stu down!
Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: Continuing our London sightseeing.
More thoughts and feelings: This morning we sat at a window-side table for a leisurely breakfast, enjoying the western view over the city.
         We were ready to leave the hotel shortly after 8 o’clock and start our day. We headed out along Regent Street, and some of the side streets, to the east, to the London Visitor Center at # 1 Regent Street.
         Being too early for the Visitor Center to open, we looked for one of the Tour Bus stops along the Yellow Route. One could choose between three different routes, Yellow, Red or Blue depending on what one wanted to do. We stayed on the bus, repeating yesterday’s route, but today I had my camera with me and captured pictures of many buildings as well as some interesting sculptures, such as Sculpture of Horse's Head, Marble Arch, a 33 foot high bronze horse's head which was designed by sculptor Nic Fiddian-Green. Another interesting sculpture is a vertical forearm with the hand holding a car, the artwork of Lorenzo-Quinn, born May 7, 1966, an Italian artist and sculptor and the fifth son of the actor Anthony Quinn.      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenzo_Quinn
         We disembarked from the bus at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is just a magnificent structure. We walked all around the grounds and are looking forward to going inside when we return with our London Pass.
         Rejoining the bus we continued to the Tower of London, and along the way passed The Monument, designed by Christopher Wren and constructed between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the 1666 Great Fire of London. I would like to view this structure at closer range.
         Walking down the west side of The Tower Of London we stopped and enjoyed a fish and chip lunch and an ice cream made with Cornish clotted cream. Both the fish and the ice cream were wonderful.
         After eating we walked down to the Thames where joined a boat for the cruise down the river to Greenwich. The commentary going down river past the old wharves and warehouses was most interesting.
         In Greenwich we walked through the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, past the National Maritime Museum and up the hill through Greenwich Park to the Royal Observatory Greenwich. It was here that I straddled Longitude 0°. Wow!!

     The Prime Meridian

      The Prime Meridian is the meridian (line of longitude) at which the longitude is defined to be 0̊. An international conference in 1884 decided the modern Prime Meridian passes through the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in southeast London, United Kingdom, known as the International Meridian or Greenwich Meridian.


         From the Observatory we walked down the hill along The Avenue, through St. Mary’s Gate into Greenwich village. On the way back to the pier we spent some time in a very interesting museum where we could have spent a lot longer. I really enjoyed Greenwich and could easily have spent a whole day here.
         On the return cruise from Greenwich we got off at the Westminster Dock and were able to board a Red Route Tour Bus just prior to our pass expiring at 5:08 PM and continue touring until we reached the designated Stop near our hotel at 6:10.
         We went out again a bit later to look for somewhere to have dinner. We walked around for a while and finally settled on an Italian restaurant. Then it was back to our room and a reasonably early night and a good sleep ready for another day’s activity.
         The one thing I found surprising at the hotel was the lack of a top sheet on the bed. Instead a sheet-type sleeve was used over a duvet or comforter but no blankets. This proved to be very uncomfortable for me as I was used to turning the blankets down and sleeping only with a sheet over me!

Day 8 - Saturday, July 2 - London, England

I started my day by: Stu and I were a little slower getting started today. We went up to the restaurant on the 15th floor for our healthy continental breakfast. After this we were ready to hit the streets.
         Our first destination was to be the London Visitor Center, # 1 Regent Street, but to get there we walked through back streets and alleys!
My goals for today: To see The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and do more sightseeing - no boat or bus trips today!
Today I feel: Although feeling good, I didn’t think I was in good enough form to accompany Stu on his long walk. I encouraged him to go off on his own and would meet him back at the hotel.
The funniest thing that happened today: Nothing in particular. We are just having a fun time seeing places and street names we have read about in literature.
The most memorable thing that occurred today: Observing that The Mall from Admiralty Arch to Buckingham Palace was named The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, and seeing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
The best part of my day: It was very tiring standing for over an hour to see the Changing of the Guard, but that was something I have always wanted to see. I always loved A. A. Milne’s poem, “Buckingham Palace.”

     Alan Alexander Milne 1882-1956

     They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
     Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
     Alice is marrying one of the guard.
     "A soldier's life is terrible hard,"
     Says Alice.

     They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
     Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
     We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
     "One of the sergeants looks after their socks,"
     Says Alice.

     They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
     Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
     We looked for the King, but he never came.
     "Well, God take care of him, all the same,"
     Says Alice.

     They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
     Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
     They've great big parties inside the grounds.
     "I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds,"
     Says Alice.

     They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
     Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
     A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's.
     "He's much too busy a-signing things,"
     Says Alice.

     They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
     Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
     "Do you think the King knows all about me?"
     "Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
     Says Alice.

Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: We pick up our rental car tomorrow and I am looking forward to visiting the town of my mother’s birth, March 18th, in Lancashire.
More thoughts and feelings: What a day!
         As we left the hotel this morning workers were starting to erect barricades along Regent Street in preparation for a parade. Our first destination was the London Visitor Center and en route we took alleys and side streets, including walking along Savile Row, known for its tailors.
         Everywhere we walked there were wonderful old buildings with lots of decorative stuff - scrolls, lions, statues, heads. I don’t think any of the streets are straight, unless they are very short, and a large percentage of the buildings are curved to match the curving streets.
         At the Visitor Center we picked up our 3-Day London Passes and corresponding Travel Cards, which we would start using after we returned from our two days in the country. It was more convenient to pick up the passes whilst we were staying at St. Georges Hotel rather than after we checked into Dolphin House which was located in a different area of the city.
         We wended our way to Admiralty Arch and after passing through the arch we strolled down The Mall along The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk to Buckingham Palace. A lot of people had already gathered along the fence and we were in the second row back! There were a man from Sydney, Australia, in front of us and his mother had just flown in that morning! A very nice couple from New York (originally from Ohio and from St. Louis) were next to us.
         There must have been thousands and the pushing and shoving got quite intense. My son took good care of me and even berated someone for pushing his elderly mother! I was glad I had seen this piece of English pageantry, but it is not something I would do again.
         As the crowd dispersed Stu and I walked through Green Park to Wellington Arch, back through another part, then by expensive residences in Mayfair. We went past St. James Palace, along St. James Street and into St James's Place. This is where Dukes Hotel London is located, a hotel which Stu knew about and had heard that one could take a class in making martinis. Unfortunately the class is only given if there is a minimum of six people!
         Then we went into a nearby alleyway, Crown Passage, St James, where we had a sandwich lunch at the Red Lion Pub, ‘London’s Last Village Inn’. Reputedly the Red Lion holds the second oldest licence in the West End.

     “Next door the Red Lion pub which calls itself London’s last village pub, this little alleyway has a village feel about it with shops for all your daily requirements: hat, shoes, groceries, papers, dry cleaners and a sandwich shop, there is even a chimney sweep.”

         After lunch Stu left for his walk, and much as I would have loved to go with him, but, having stood so long in the sun at Buckingham Palace I knew I couldn’t. Instead I worked my way back to the hotel. Besides I had heard about Hamleys, one of the world’s largest toy shops, established in London 1780 on Regent Street, and I wanted to see all their Paddington Bears.
         When I reached Regent Street it was packed and the Gay Pride Parade was still in progress, and Hamleys was on the other side of the parade from where I was! A bobby was allowing a few people to cross over every now and then, but when I got into Hamleys it was so packed, probably more so because of the crowds attending the parade, I lost interest!
         Stu returned to the hotel having walked at least 10 miles and was ready to go for dinner. We went downstairs to a nearby Turkish restaurant and chose a combination of appetizer dishes, and it was all very good. Back in our hotel room we packed our bags ready for the next day’s departure.

Day 9 - Sunday, July 3 - London to Manchester, England

I started my day by: Being ready for the hotel’s continental breakfast before heading out to Heathrow where we were to pick up the rental car.
         We went up to the restaurant at 7 o’clock for breakfast only to find that on Sundays it isn’t served until 8:00 am! We weren’t hanging around for an hour, so we returned to the room, collected our cases and at 7:10 am checked out from St. Georges Hotel.
My goals for today: To find the Mitchell Street Methodist Church in Rochdale and maybe see someone there to tell them who I was, the daughter and granddaughter of, adherents of the church in the early 20th century.
Today I feel: Full of expectations, both about seeing the English countryside and visiting Rochdale, the city of my mother’s birth.
The funniest thing that happened today: I had told Stu that Grandfather Catterall had wanted me to have Grandmother’s name, Regenda, but she had objected. Stu started to laugh as Regenda would just have added another burden to spelling my name - the two I already have plus Regenda!! Noone would have heard of any of them! The two of us sat there laughing our heads off.
The most memorable thing that occurred today: The motorways, similar to our freeways, didn’t appear to have speed limits. I thought we were moving at a fairly good clip but cars were whipping past us as if we were standing still. When I asked Stu what our speed was he said we were only going at 80 mph.
The best part of my day: Was getting out into the English countryside and seeing a bit of the town where my mother spent her early years.
Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: Choosing a different route for returning to London.
More thoughts and feelings: Having checked out from St. Georges we walked down Regent Street to Oxford Circle station to take the Underground to Heathrow where we would pick up our rental car. The fare was £5.00 each, and we went one stop on the Bakerloo Line, changing to the Piccadilly Line at Piccadilly Circus. Going underground involved long flights of stairs and escalators, so I was glad that I had only one carry-on case. Stu managed the suitcase and his carry-on, and sometimes even helped me with mine!
         The train was packed with travelers and suitcases, and I mean packed. It reminded me a little of the cable cars in San Francisco with people hanging on wherever they could get a hold, but in this case the doors had to close! The closer we got to Heathrow the tighter things became. When we first boarded the train there were no spare seats and someone offered me a seat right away and this took me a little by surprise. I realized that I hadn’t traveled on a commuter train since my younger years when I used to give up my seat!
         We left the train at Terminal 4, then had to take a shuttle bus to Hertz. Basically all the car rental companies are located along a road away from the airport and shuttle buses have to be used for pick up and drop.
         Our rental car was a silver Vauxhall and we were finally on our way by 9:55 am, 15 minutes short of three hours since leaving St. Georges Hotel. The temperature was 21°C. From Hertz we soon got onto the M25 motorway, the equivalent of our freeways, but without a speed limit!
         The notes that I kept were geared to times (I could not see the odometer), which I am hoping at a later date to match up the times on the pictures I am taking.

10:05 We left M25 for M40 to Oxford and Birmingham
692.4 10:06 This was the first time I thought of asking Stu for an odometer reading.
10:30 The day had deteriorated in that it had become cloudy and our lovely sunny day had disappeared.
10:32 Left M40 for A40 into Oxford. We hadn’t had any coffee or breakfast and needed to take a break. We to Costa, a local coffee house for coffee and a breakfast loaf - pumpkin muffin with raisins in the shape of a small loaf. We also went into Marks and Spenser food store to buy ready-made sandwiches for later in the day. Before leaving Oxford Stu mapped out a route which would take us through Peak District National Park, whose designation in 1951 made it the first national park in the British Isles.
After leaving Oxford we bypassed east of Birmingham, enjoying country back roads and narrow roads with hedges on both sides! We also went along one narrow road where many people, including families, were riding bicycles both directions.
12:47 Waddington.
12:56 Chartwell - 26°C.
1:12 Leaving from a gas station in Daventry where Stu bought a road atlas as we needed better map if we were to leave the main roads and drive cross country.
1:39 Crossing the Avon River.
2:22 Passed Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood fame). We also spent some time on the motorways.
2:26 Leaving M1 for A38 to Matlock.
2:50 Chesterfield
3:07 Peak District National Park          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_District          ... I was amazed at all the stone fences.
3:17 Turning onto A625.
3:22 - 3:35 Stopped to eat the sandwiches we had bought at Marks and Spencer. We both remarked on how good the sandwiches were. Took several pictures here.
3:47 Turned onto A6013.
4:06 Leaving after stopping by the dam.
4:07 Traffic light at the junction for A57.
4:09 Crossing the second bridge.
4:29 Glossop
4:37 Still driving through Glossop where stone buildings came right down to the sidewalk.
4:46 Turning for M67 in Hollingworth.
4:48 Enter M67 which ends at the route we wanted to take, M60, a ring route around Manchester.
5:04 Turning onto A627 for Rochdale.
It was 100 years ago on February 9th this year that my mother, her parents and sisters, along with other members of the Catterall family sailed from England for Australia.
5:12 Entering Rochdale.
5:24 Leaving after having stopped to ask directions for Mitchell Street.
5:33 We found the Mitchell Street Church, but it was now the Jamia Heddairia Mosque, in the heart of a Muslim enclave. My feelings at this point were mixed in that I was pleased to have found the church, but somewhat disappointed that it was no longer a Methodist Church. I also discovered that a stone for the Mitchell Street Methodist Church was laid March 9, 1910. After returning to Vancouver and looking at old family papers I found that the church was officially opened 8th October the same year. My folks left for Australia a few months later.
We drove around a bit in Rochdale before leaving for Manchester and were impressed with the Town Hall with its 240 foot tower. “Rochdale today is a predominantly residential town. Rochdale Town Hall—a Grade I listed building—dates from 1871 and is one of the United Kingdom's finest examples of Victorian Gothic revival architecture.”          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochdale
6:16 Crowne Plaza Hotel, Manchester, but, other than a bay for one car which was already occupied, there was nowhere to pull in at the front of the building. Stu kept driving around and around trying to get to the back or the side of the hotel, but there were one-way streets and dead ends!
6:27 Back at the front of the hotel and this time we could stop in the front. Stu went in to ask about parking. None!! I guess that people weren’t supposed to arrive by car! We could go down the street to public parking for £15.00 or we could pay £25.00 for valet parking, that is to have someone from the hotel to take the car to the public car park! They would also bring it back the next morning. We decided to opt for this convenience and unloaded our cases and checked in.
We went downstairs and walked around in the back streets where we had been driving, but didn’t fancy any of the eating places there. I did see the facade of the old fish market and decided I wanted to return next morning to take pictures. We returned to the Crowne Plaza where we had a very nice meal in their Glasshouse Restaurant.
For starters I had potted shrimp which came with a small cucumber salad

     Potted shrimps

      Potted shrimps are a traditional Lancastrian dish made with brown shrimp flavoured with mace. The dish consists of brown shrimp in mace-flavoured butter, which has set in a small pot. Cayenne pepper and nutmeg may also be included.[1] It is traditionally eaten with bread. The butter acts as a preservative.

and Stu had soup. For the main dish we both decided on the gammon

     Gammon Hams

      Gammon Hams Historically the word Gammon was used for cured whole sides of pork where the whole hog side including the hams, middle or loins, and the shoulders. In recent times the word Gammon is used mostly for the hams. Our hams are cured using a 300 year old method of curing called the "Wiltshire Cure" method. This is a much slower method of curing hams taking up to as long as a month to 6 weeks. The hams are placed ,some call it pickling, in a brine solution containing just enough sugar to counter some of the harsh taste of the salt but not enough to mask the natural taste of the cured ham. Our Gammon Hams are not cooked leaving you that pleasure.

but the waitress returned to say there was only one left that evening so I chose the grilled salmon, which was delicious. I was delighted to see Cheese Platter which comes with crackers and a variety of cheeses as a choice for dessert. A glass of wine was also included with the meal.

Day 10 - Monday, July 4 - Manchester to London, England

I started my day by: We had an excellent continental breakfast, which included (real) sausages, bacon and eggs (sunny side up)
My goals for today: Simply to enjoy a different route back to London.
Today I feel: Exhilarated about the adventure I was experiencing.
The funniest thing that happened today: Just lots of fun!
The most memorable thing that occurred today: Seeing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Iron Bridge and walking across both.
The best part of my day: Stu’s suggestion that we try to find the Aqueduct and Iron Bridge. Stu, an engineer, had read about both these sites in a book Man-Made Wonders Bridges by Ian Penberthy. Use this Link to see a quoted portion from this book.
Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: Continuing our London adventure.
More thoughts and feelings: Following breakfast our car was brought back to the hotel for us and we left from the Crowne Plaza at 7:56. The odometer reading was 1,103.7, which meant that we had driven 411 miles yesterday since just after leaving M25 for M40 into Oxford (I had forgotten to take the reading when we set out from Hertz).
         Before leaving town we drove around to the back streets again as I wanted to photograph the red brick facade of the Historic Wholesale Fish Market, opened 14 Feb 1873.
8:10 Leaving from the Fish Market
8:35 Salford. On M602 which would become M62 into Liverpool. At one point I had thought of going to Blackpool, but that would not have been a reasonable idea. It would have been too far and in the wrong direction! I had asked Stu what would interest him and both his suggestions sounded great and I was excited about seeing things off the beaten track.
9:02 WELCOME TO LIVERPOOL - end of the motorway.
9:14 - 9:19 We stopped for gas - £1.359/lt, 29.44 lt, £40.01.
M62 went right into the heart of Liverpool and immediately led us directly into the long and winding tunnel under the River Mersey to Birkenhead. We didn’t see much of Liverpool. It was from Liverpool that my mother and other members of the Catterall family set sail on The White Star Line Colonial Service to Australia via Cape Town, South Africa in 1911.
9:26 Out of the tunnel. Rather than getting onto the motorway we decided to take A41 south to Chester. A sign at the side of the road which took my attention read: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER SLOW DOWN.
At one point where there were more than four exits off the roundabout we turned off one too soon and in an attempt to return to A41 we finished up on some narrow country roads and even a lane where passing would be difficult!
However this resulted in our passing through a number of villages, the first being Aldford. This was an absolutely delightful village, so much so Stu turned around so we could drive through more of the village. The next village was Churton, followed by Farndon.
Here we came to a very old bridge where, just before crossing, we could pull off the road into an area to the left.

     Farndon Bridge

     Farndon Bridge
     Crosses River Dee
     Locale Farndon, Cheshire, England and Holt, Wales
     Design Arch bridge
     Opened 1339
     Toll None
     Coordinates 53̊   05'    0.14”   N 2̊   52'   47.35”   W

      Farndon Bridge crosses the River Dee and the England-Wales border between the villages of Farndon, Cheshire, England and Holt, Wales. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building, and is a scheduled monument. In the early 1990s the bridge was restored and renovated and at the same time an archaeological survey was carried out.

      The bridge was built in 1339. It originally had ten arches with a large gate tower on the fifth arch. In the 18th century the tower was demolished and at some time two of the arches on the Welsh side were lost. The bridge is a narrow structure built of red sandstone with eight arches, of which five are over the river. On the Farndon side is one flood arch and two flood arches are on the Holt side.

What a pretty spot and so peaceful! Someone fishing on the other side of the river, the River Dee. There were also some very interesting and colorful river cliffs with an interpretive sign about their importance to geological study.
10:37 Leaving. Returning to the road we crossed the bridge and entered Wales and the village of Holt.
The next part of our day was somewhat frustrating as road signs were not easy to follow and sometimes we found ourselves going in the wrong direction! We were looking for Chirk.
11:06 Overton.
11:16 Ruabon.
11:20 Rhosymede.
We pulled into what was a walking trail by a canal where there were two canal boats. We backed out, took the next turn to the right hoping to park somewhere, but the streets seemed to be mostly single lane. We did pass a school with the name of Chirk on it, so felt we were in the right area. We returned to the through road and in doing so noticed the railway viaduct, the Cefn Viaduct.

      The railway viaduct at Chirk which was erected in 1846-8 and rebuilt in 1858 was the work of the Scottish engineer Henry Robertson. The 100 feet high stone structure was built for the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway and has ten spans with round arches between pedimented abutments containing niches. Three further arches at either end of the viaduct replace former timber spans and are dated 1858-9. The viaduct stands some 30 feet above the adjoining aqueduct.

11:38 - 11:53 Parked near a gas station, we walked back to the canal. Stu went ahead and walked along the canal for a bit, but said it was not what he was looking for. He returned to the car and came to pick me up. In the meantime I enjoyed seeing several more boats come along the canal.
We then drove to the other side of the valley where we found a very nice park, Ty Mawr Country Park.

     Cefn Mawr

     Cefn Mawr is a large village in the community of Cefn within the County Borough of Wrexham, Wales. Its name translates as "great ridge".

     The community of Cefn comprises the villages of Cefn Mawr, Cefn-bychan ("little ridge"), Acrefair, Penybryn, Newbridge, Plasmadoc and Rhosymedre and is situated on the northern slopes of the Dee Valley.

     History - Cefn Mawr was part of the ancient parish of Ruabon and the area was known as Cristionydd Cynrig (or Cristionydd Kenrick in English). In 1844, most of Cristionydd Cynrig, together with the neighbouring township of Coed Cristionydd became part of the new parish of Rhosymedre.

     Cefn railway station served the village from 1848 to 1960.

     Picturesquely situated beneath the dramatic Cefn Viaduct on the banks of the River Dee, Ty Mawr provides some of the best scenery around.

     About this park/green space

     Ty Mawr Country Park has all the fun of the farm in the magnificent setting of the Dee valley. At Ty Mawr you can delight in feeding some of the animals, including free range chickens and ducks and friendly lop eared rabbits. Donkeys, pygmy goats, Kune Kune pigs and the unusual welsh badger faced sheep and black and white horned Jacob sheep, can all be seen grazing in the wild flower meadows. Picturesquely situated beneath the dramatic stone built Cefn Viaduct on the banks of the River Dee, Ty Mawr Country Park is a great place to relax and sit a while whilst looking at the view, or take a short walk down to the riverside. For a slightly longer walk, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, newly designated world heritage site.

11:58 - 12:14 We walked in the park, Stu going on ahead. I went as far as Brambly Woods where the Kune Kune pigs (Kunekunes is a small breed of domestic pig from New Zealand) are kept. I did manage to see one by the fence before returning to the car. Stu still couldn’t find what he wanted and was so frustrated he was about to give up looking when we came upon another part of the canal.
After a short walk we found the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontcysyllte_Aqueduct    which carries the canal across the valley above the Dee River, a World Heritage Site.     http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1303.     This was a fabulous place and well worth the efforts of our hunt. We were able to walk right across the aqueduct at the side of the canal, and in doing so saw a lot of canal boats, some of which I had seen earlier. Boaters even recognized me, said “Hello. I’ve seen you before!”
More details about this great piece of engineering will be given at the end of the journal.
1:03 Leaving the aqueduct ... 29°.
1:04 Entering Trevor.
1:10 Could see the canal to the right. My notes are pretty sketchy at this point and I really need a more detailed map!
1:13 Ponsonby (??) ... lots of people around (maybe Penycae ???).
1:21 Passing the gas station where we had parked originally.
1:24 End of a high bridge and a sign, “WELCOME TO ENGLAND” - probably over the Dee River.
1:26 Crossing the Llangollen Canal.
1:34 Crossed Montgomery Canal.
1:40 Start of dual carriageway - ring route south of Shrewsbury.
1:46 Crossed the Severn River.
1:56 Crossed the Severn River again.
2:03 A5 becomes M54, but at 2:05 we left M54 for A5223.
2:23 Entering Ironbridge Gorge and looking for the Iron Bridge, the other place Stu wanted to see.
2:29 - 3:23Ironbridge, also a World Heritage Site - http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/371 . The bridge here, made of cast iron, was one Stu had read about in a book of bridges of the world, which Alysone had given him for Christmas one year.
We had driven into the gorge and parked the car on the opposite side of the River Severn from the town. The Ironbridge is now (! - since 1934) only a pedestrian bridge. We walked over the bridge and decided to have lunch first. Pasties and sausage rolls were available and I couldn’t resist having one of each, both being favorites of mine in Australia many long years ago.
After lunch we walked around and viewed the bridge from all angles as well as a short walk along the river under the bridge. Another thing of interest that we noticed that the curbing along the sidewalks were also cast iron.
More details about this great piece of engineering will be given at the end of the journal.
Before leaving the area we backtracked to some ruins I had noticed along the road. The ruins were the remains of the Bedlam Furnaces, blast furnaces built in 1757 to smelt iron from local ore. These furnaces were among the first in the country which were built specifically to use coke as fuel rather than charcoal.
Driving along a narrow country road, the word S L O W painted on the road for oncoming traffic was wider than the lane so the W was on our side of the road! We also passed a wicker fence, the second one for the day (but I was unable to photograph either of them.
3:37 Welcome to Telford.
3:40 On M54 (?)
3:58 M6 south/51 west ... Sign: CONGESTION - Drive on hard shoulder Speed Limit 60 mph.
Stu made the comment, “Too many cars on the road wnd while you’re on the shoulder drive at 60 mph!”.
4:02 London 119 miles.
4:19 M42 south.
4:31 Turning off M42 onto M40.
5:37 Heathrow 13 miles ... 26°C.
5:40 Leaving M40 for M25 ... ramp with graduated entrances.
5:51 Passing Hertz as we had to get gas before returning the car.
5:58 - 6:02 £1.339/lt 32.39 lt £43.55.
6:09 Back at Hertz, odometer reading 1,603.7, for a total of 500 miles today.
Unfortunately in the last hour of driving our windshield was dinged by a stone, and this finished up costing us £60.00.
From Hertz we took their shuttle to Terminal 1 and, for £5.00 each, we took the Underground Piccadilly Line to Green Park where we changed for the Victoria Line to Pimlico. We then had about an 8 minute walk to Dolphin House where we would be staying for the next three nights.
Dolphin House was a most interesting place with over 1,000 units, which was made up of some permanent residents and some long and short term. Our 6th floor unit consisted of one bedroom, kitchen area with microwave, frig, sink, coffee maker, glasses, china and cutlery, bathroom and a living room.
As we had eaten a large lunch late in the day at Ironbridge, we did not want a big meal, especially as it was after 8 o”clock by the time we traveled from Heathrow to Dolphin House. We went to the Dolphin House Restaurant where Stu had a hamburger and I ordered a £4.99 lamb appetizer. Talk about a surprise when I was served 3 lamb chops and some salad! The lamb tasted so good and I realized how much I miss not having much lamb.
On the way back to our room I asked about getting some sheets as, once again, our beds only had comforters and no top sheets! The same thing had happened at the Crowne Plaza in Manchester and I was finding it too hot and too much weight for sleeping comfortably.
I was tired and went to be, but Stu decided to go out for a bit. When he returned he had run to Big Ben and back. Stu also opted to sleep on the couch in the living room - my snoring had disturbed him the previous night!

Day 11 - Tuesday, July 5 - London, England

I started my day by: I woke up early and decided to try to catch up with my journal writing, but at 8 o”clock decided it was time to make a move and woke Stu.
My goals for today: To visit the Tower of London, The Monument and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Today I feel: Ready for exploring famous landmarks of London.
The most memorable thing that occurred today: Walking through the underground epicenter from which Winston Churchill headed the operations for World War II.
The best part of my day: The whole day was good and it is impossible to say any single part of it was the best.
Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: Going to Windsor Castle.
More thoughts and feelings: A continental breakfast was included with our accommodations so we went down to the Dolphin Restaurant. We were shown to a table and served coffee and toast and we could help ourselves to a wide variety of items from the buffet - juice, cereals, yogurt, cheese, sliced cold meats and a selection of sweat breads. Weetbix along with raisins and dried apricots was my choice along with yogurt.
         We had already discovered that most everything is served in glass containers - yogurt, milk, conserves and honey - so much nicer than plastic.
         Today we planned to go to The Tower of London first and were able to board a bus in Pimlico to Tower Square. After going through the entrance to The Tower headed first to the Waterloo Block to view the Crown Jewels. I was both excited and dazzled by the beauty of the gems and I felt overwhelmed viewing all the magnificent jewels embedded in the various crowns which have been used by monarchs down through the centuries. The largest diamond ever found is also included in the collection.

     The Cullinan diamond

     The Cullinan diamond is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, at 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g).

     The largest polished gem from the stone is named Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, and at 530.4 carats (106.1 g) was the largest polished diamond in the world until the 1985 discovery of the Golden Jubilee Diamond, 545.67 carats (109.13 g), also from the Premier Mine. Cullinan I is now mounted in the head of the Sceptre with the Cross. The second largest gem from the Cullinan stone, Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa, at 317.4 carats (63.5 g), is the fourth largest polished diamond in the world. Both gems are in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Next we visited the Fusiliers’ Museum where we saw a lot of weaponry and many medals, including the Boar War one the same as my Grandfather’s. From here we went to the White Tower,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Tower_(Tower_of_London)    which was started to be built in 1078 by William the Conqueror and completed in 1087 by his sons and successors. Here there were displays of armor worn down through the ages.
         A lot of stairs were involved in visiting the White Tower (no elevators) and I opted not to go to the highest level, and an attendant escorted me down to the exit where I was able to find a seat and wait for Stu. We opted to forgo other attractions at The Tower because of long line-ups.
         From The Tower we took a bus to The Monument, built in 1677, marking the Great Fire of London
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_the_Great_Fire_of_London . Standing 202 feet high, The Monument, designed by Christopher Wren, is one of the tallest freestanding stone columns in the world (The London Pass Guide 2010/11). I walked around the base whilst Stu climbed the 311 steps to the viewing platform below the golden orb for panoramic views of London.
         Our London Pass included bus passes, so we took a bus to our next point of interest, another Christopher Wren structure, the 300 year old St. Paul’s Cathedral.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Paul's_Cathedral
         Just to enter this historic building created to the glory of God was very emotional. I kept thinking that God had a hand in the preservation of this monument to His gory through the German blitz on London during World War II It was unbelievable that with all the destruction which occurred, this landmark survived. All praise be to You, oh Father.
         I would have loved to have been able to climb the stairs to the dome (a few years ago you wouldn’t have been able to hold me back!), but common sense prevailed and I was happy to sit for a while and let Stu go. I saw him at the railing just below the dome and wondered what took him so long to return! Later I discovered that he was actually able to go to the top of the dome, plus go outside at the top for panoramic views. I was so proud of him taking advantage of his younger years.
         Before leaving St. Paul’s we went down to the crypt where we viewed the tomb of Lord Nelson, killed in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1804, the tomb of the Duke of Wellington and numerous other famous people.
http://www.findagrave.com/php/famous.php?page=cem&FScemeteryid=658444    One of the things that came as a surprise to me were the graves in the floor both throughout the cathedral and in the crypt and you couldn’t help walking over the graves!!
         After this we were both hungry and thirsty and found a small place in Sermon Lane where we could eat outside and watch the passersby - we both ordered steak and kidney pie (wonderful) Across the way there was a piano out on the sidewalk where various people would stop, play the piano for a bit, then continue on their way.
         From here we took a bus along Fleet Street and beyond to visit the Churchill War Rooms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churchill_War_Rooms,    a fortified basement which housed a government command center throughout World War II. Here we viewed where men worked and slept as they plotted maps and made decisions about the ongoing war. Again, having been a child in Australia during the war and having experienced what black-outs meant and practiced air-raid drills, visiting the War rooms was a very emotional experience.
         Before returning to Dolphin House we decided to walk to and have a drink at Dukes, the exclusive hotel Stu had heard about from a friend and the one where he had thought about taking a martini class. Stu had a martini and I had a Pimm’s which came in a pewter tankard. The waiter wheeled in a small serving cart with all the fixings and, with a great flourish, mixed the martini at our coffee table. Three dishes of nibbles were also brought to the table, one with mixed nuts, one with miniature cheese crackers and the third with wonderful olives. This was a very pleasant sojourn, and again we didn’t need to have dinner.
         We took the Underground back to Pimlico and I was ready for bed. Stu changed and went down to the Dolphin gym for a work-out. I felt that I didn’t need to do that as I had been working out ever since arriving in London - up and down stairs and miles of walking!!

Day 12 - Wednesday, July 6 - London, England

I started my day by: Stu had asked me to wake him at 7 o’clock so we were able to make an earlier start.
Major events going on in the world today: News everywhere was about Murdoch, News of the World and the people involved in all the phone-hacking scandal.
My goals for today: To continue exploring famous London landmarks.
Today I feel: Exhilarated and ready for another day.
The funniest thing that happened today: Not funny, but interesting. One of the guides that we met at Windsor Castle was going to be visiting Vancouver in two weeks and was asking Stu numerous questions.
The most memorable thing that occurred today: Walking in Westminster Abbey where Prince William and Kate had walked following their wedding April 29th. Stu’s invitation to bring me to England probably originated from a casual comment I had made when at his place in Vancouver watching the royal wedding. I said that I thought I had been more fortunate than most people to have traveled so much and, perhaps the only regret I had was that I never made it to England!
The best part of my day: The overall experience of witnessing history
Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: Going to Windsor Castle
More thoughts and feelings: After breakfast at the Dolphin Restaurant we took a bus from Pimlico to Westminster Abbey, but had to wait until 9:30 when it opened for visitors.
         Entering this famous church was something else again - statuary, stained glass windows and the burial place of kings and queens and many famous people. Many of the tombstones are inlaid in the floor, as was also the case at St. Paul’s. One can’t help walking on these and to me it felt somewhat sacrilegious to be stepping on people’s graves!
         Westminster is absolutely magnificent, and again I was overwhelmed as I read the names of those buried here. Although my memory of English history studied in high school has almost faded into oblivion, my mind was saying, “You are here in the midst of history!”.
         From Westminster Abbey we took the Underground to Piccadilly Circus, then walked over to Piccadilly London for the train to Windsor. The town of Windsor looked to be a very neat place, and just as I would have like to spend time in Greenwich Village it would have been great to have spent time here, too. However, we were here to see the castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
         For more detailed information about the castle see     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsor_Castle
         Again lots of walking was involved as we made our way from the station to the entrance, then up the hill around a wall overlooking a lovely garden. Stu drew my attention to the pieces of flint embedded in the mortar of the great stone walls and I have since found out that this method of construction is called “galletting” and prevents mortar from being squeezed out when the next heavy layer of stones is placed
         There were two lines for going into the castle, one to tour the State Rooms, the other, which we joined, was to view Queen Mary’s doll house    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Mary's_Dolls'_House    and tour the State Rooms. It was a slow moving line, but we could look out over the countryside in the direction of Eton College.
         We eventually went in and were amazed at the size of the doll house, all its wonderful miniature furniture and decor. We were able to walk all around the doll house to view all the rooms, the exterior walls having been raised for viewing. We also saw the two dolls, along with their vast wardrobe, which had been a gift to Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret from France in 1938 to mark the State Visit to France by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.    http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/default.asp?action=article&ID=209
         From here we strolled through the State Rooms, including St. Georges Hall where state dinners are sometimes held. We were told that 200 guests can be seated for dinner, but according to
; http://www.royal.gov.uk/TheRoyalResidences/WindsorCastle/WindsorCastle.aspx    the table seats 160 people! Next we visited the beautiful St. Georges Chapel and this is where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth are buried.
         By this time we were quite hungry and went into town to have a meal at a local pub - steak and kidney pie (another favorite food for me) with potatoes (Stu fries, me mashed) and a green vegetable medley. We then retraced our steps back to the train station, train back to Piccadilly London, the Underground to Victoria, where we changed for the Victoria Line to Pimlico.
         Arriving back at Dolphin House, Stu decided to go exploring and was gone for three hours. In the meantime I went down to the store where I bought two wonderful nectarines, then strolled through the garden in the Dolphin courtyard. This was a lovely spot with a dolphin fountain in the center of the garden. There were beautiful deep pink hydrangeas floweringen found a passion vine in flower.

13 - Thursday, July 7 - London, England

I started my day by: Breakfast at the Dolphin Restaurant and checking out of the hotel.
Major events going on in the world today: Continuation of the Murdoch fiasco.
My goals for today: To make the most of my last day in London.
Today I feel: Thrilled about all I have seen and done, but wishing I could do so much more.
The funniest thing that happened today: (Not at all funny!) When paying cash for our dinner at the Hilton using a £20.00 note, which I had been given by Canada Trust in Vancouver, I was told that the note could no longer be accepted! The waitress even showed us a paper with pictures of notes which were no longer legal tender. I waited whilst Stu walked over to the terminal and got a new £20.00 at the currency exchange, then could pay the bill when he returned!
The most memorable thing that occurred today: Walking where Henry VIII walked and seeing the kitchens where his food was prepared.
The best part of my day: The ongoing experience of being where history was made.
Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: Flying back to Vancouver and seeing Holly and the girls.
More thoughts and feelings: This was to be our last day in London and since our planned destination for the day was in the direction of Heathrow, we decided to check out from Dolphin House, take advantage of using our London Pass to take our luggage to the Hilton at terminal 4 and leave it with the Concierge.
         There are free train transfers between terminals, so, after disposing of our cases, we took the train to Terminal 1 where we were able to catch Bus 111 to Hampton and Hampton Court, which encompasses a very large area.
         The day began as overcast and rainy, but improved as the day went on and did not interfere with our sightseeing. A light rain was falling when we arrived at Hampton Court, so we decided to go to the café first for something to eat and drink. I had coffee, and this being my last chance for favorite foods, I enjoyed Devonshire Tea, that is scones with jam and cream - the last thing on my list of things I wanted to eat in London. Already I’d had Cornish pasty, sausage roll, fish and chips and steak and kidney pie - perhaps not the healthiest of foods, but were food full of memories.
         Going through the rooms in the immense palace was very moving - walking where Henry VIII walked, being in rooms where he spent time, going throught the kitchens where his food was prepared, the big open fireplaces where the cooking was done, the bread ovens, the butcher’s block, the wine cellar! It was all fascinating and most interesting.
         The walls and ceilings were covered with huge murals or very large tapestries - Henry VIII was a collector of tapestries.
         Hampton Court is really two palaces combined and has two styles of architecture, the Tudor palace of Henry VIII and the baroque palace, first occupied in 1700, of William III, Mary II and the Georgian private apartments.
         We ended our tour with a stroll through the formal gardens and a visit to see the largest grape vine in the world. The vine was planted in 1768 and is still producing big bunches of grapes. More information can be found in the following web site.
http://www.destinations-uk.com/articles.php?link=articles&country=wales&id=69& articletitle=Hampton%20Court%20Palace%20Gardens%20and%20Estate,%20Greater%20London
         From the great vine we wandered past the exotic plants collected by Queen Mary and past the huge pruned yew trees which were planted over 300 years ago. Our last stop was at the tennis court where a game was in progress.
         “Not to be outdone by his French counterpart, on the other side of the English Channel, Henry VIII (1509-47) was a skilled practitioner of the sport and famously built a court at the Royal Palace of Hampton Court, which still survives today and is used for modern competition.”
; http://www.cnn.com/2010/SPORT/tennis/04/14/history.of.tennis.federer.henryIII/index.html
         We retraced our route back to the Hilton via Bus 111 and train transfer. We checked in, retrieved our luggage and went for a drink and supper. I enjoyed a chicken and leek pie with puffed pastry crust. What a treat!

Day 14 - Friday, July 8 - London, England to Vancouver, Canada

I started my day by: By having the alarm ring!
Major events going on in the world today: Ongoing news about the Murdoch empire. Arizona made the news in Great Britain with the 50-mile wide dust storm which engulfed Phoenix, turned swimming pools into mud puddles, knocked out power to a lot of the area and halted air traffic. My goals for today: A safe return trip to Canada
Today I feel: Elated. My son gave me the opportunity of going to England, a trip of a lifetime and I just wish I had done it when younger as there is so much more I would like to see and do. This trip, however, has been the fulfillment of a life-long dream.
The worst thing that happened today: No matter how careful one is in trying to cover all bases, it is very easy to forget something! We were almost about to board the plane when I realized that I had left my camera battery and battery charger plugged in our hotel room
The most memorable thing that occurred today: The faces of two little girls when they spotted Stu as we exited the restricted area and the way the two of them charged him and jumped up to give and receive hugs.
The best part of my day: Stu was able to phone the hotel and they located my battery and put it aside with my name to await instructions. I would phone them after arriving back in Canada!
Something I am looking forward to tomorrow: Spending time with my grandchildren
More thoughts and feelings: By 10:15 am, London time (2:15 am Vancouver time) we were on board and settled in our seats. It was raining and overcast in London, so a good day for us to be leaving for home. The plane was late leaving the gate for the runway (10:51) and we sat out on the runway for quite a long time. It was 11:15 when we started to move and we were airborne a minute later. The flight to Vancouver was expected to take 8 hours and 41 minutes.
         The flight was uneventful other than the seat belt sign having to be lit several times because of air turbulence. We did not get into Vancouver until about 12:15 PM because the pilot had made some detours around ares of thunder.
         We had to wait in line to get through Customs and Immigration, and even though I was traveling on a US passport I stayed with Stu and went through the Canadian line. Otherwise we would have been separated and it would have taken me a lot longer to go through.
         Holly and the girls were there to meet us when we finally emerged about 1 o’clock. Heide and June were so excited to see their Daddy that as soon as they spotted him they rushed down to meet him and jumped into his arms. Such a warm welcome!

         Wrexham, Wales


         Man-Made Wonders BRIDGES by Ian Penberthy
         The Pontcysyllte (pronounced “Pontkersulty”) Aqueduct is a remarkable piece of Georgian civil engineering. It carries a canal 126 feet (38m) above the valley of the River Dee in Wrexham, northeast Wales.
         Completed in the early nineteenth century, the structure is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain and it remains in use today.
         The aqueduct was largely the work of the renowned civil engineer, Thomas Telford, being one of his earliest major projects.
         Today the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct forms a vital part of the Llangollen Canal, although when built originally it was a part of the Ellesmere Canal, a project to link the River Severn with the River Mersey, via North Wales coalfields. The scheme foundered, however, and the canal was never completed. Although parts of it saw some commercial use, in effect, it was a canal that went to nowhere.
         By 1939, there was little traffic on the waterway, and by the end of World War II it had been abandoned altogether. However, it still had a role to play as a means of carrying fresh water from the Welsh hills to the towns of northwest England. Subsequently, the growth of a movement dedicated to the restoration of Britain’s canal network led to the canal being given a new lease of life and a new name, the Llangollen Canal, after the town where it terminates.
         The aqueduct provides a connection between the nearby villages of Trevor and Froncysyllte. It comprises an 11 ft (3.5m) wide and 5 ft (1.5m) deep water trough made from cast-iron panels that are connected by dovetails and bolted together. The trough is supported by cast-iron girder arches and nineteen hollow masonry piers, each span being 53 ft (16m) wide. The mortar used to construct the piers was a mixture of lime, water and ox blood.
         To make the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct cast-iron water trough leakproof, the joints were caulked with cloth boiled in sugar and then sealed with molten lead. Once complete the trough was filled with water and left for six months to check for any leaks.
         As part of the opening ceremony, six boats crossed the aqueduct and returned, being started by a cannon that was fired by the Royal Artillery in the valley below. Three of the boats carried local dignitaries and the engineers involved in the aqueduct’s construction, a fourth was occupied by the band of the Shropshire Volunteers in full dress uniform, and the remaining two carried cargoes of coal to represent the first commercial use of the structure.
         Ironbridge, Shropshire, England


         Man-Made Wonders Bridges by Ian Penberthy
         The Iron Bridge was the first bridge of its size in the world to be constructed from cast iron.
         The bridge has a main span of 100 ft (30.5m) and a total length of 200 ft (61m) while there is a clearance to the river below of 60 ft (18m).
         Today, the Iron Bridge forms part of the UNESCO Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. It is a Grade I listed building and a Schedules Ancient Monument.
         The Iron Bridge was built over the gorge of the River Severn near Coalbrookdale in the County of Shropshire. For centuries, it carried road traffic, but in 1934 it was restricted to pedestrian use only. However, tolls continued to be charged until 1950, when the bridge became the responsibility of Shropshire County Council.
         Prior to construction of the bridge, the only way of crossing the Severn Gorge was by ferry, but this service could not meet the need of the growing industries around Coalbrookdale and Broseley. Local business men proposed that a bridge be built from cast iron, at the time seen as a “wonder” material. Thomas Farnolls Pritchard drew up plans for the bridge, and an ironmaster from Coalbrookdale, Abraham Darby, was commissioned to cast the componenets and assemble the structure.
         It was estimated that 330 tons of iron would be required (at $13.8 per ton), and that the total cost of the bridge would be $6,300. Shares were issued to raise this capital, and Darby agreed to meet any extra cost. As it turned out, 425 tons of iron were used, and there were many other expenses involved in the construction. For the most part these were paid by Darby, who remained in debt for the rest of his short life.
         Construction of the bridge began in the summer of 1779, but it was not open to traffic until New Year’s Day, 1781.
         Because no one had any experience of building such cast-iron structures Abraham Darby turned to carpentry practice for methods of joining the various components of the Iron Bridge. He employed mortice and tenon, and blind dovetail joints, reinforced with bolts.
         The bridge was built from over 800 castings of twelve basic types. The largest parts were the curved half-ribs that were bolted together to form the supporting arch. Each of these is about 70 ft (21m) long and weighs 5.88 tons.