Day 6: Our Trip to Southern England, March 2000

by Jim Mann
Photos, links and [commentary] by Laurie Mann

Site Map for the England 2000 Trip Site

Tuesday started out with a spectacular breakfast at the B&B: a full English breakfast with scrambled eggs that head clearly been made with cream. It was a great breakfast (but see tomorrow, when breakfast gets even better). I am convinced that the Germans were able to overrun the French but were not able to overrun the English because the French ate Continental breakfasts while the English ate breakfasts that were worthy of the name.

We took a taxi to the rent a car place, thus starting our next great adventure: driving in England. Actually, I must credit Laurie here. She did all of the driving, and did a fine job under some difficult circumstances (including driving down roads that really weren't made for cars).

Our first stop was Salisbury. The highlight of Salisbury is Salisbury Cathedral, built in the early 1200s. It is a remarkable building. The architecture is interesting, and it is the burial place of crusaders and others from English history. The organ pipes are the size of sewer pipes; I want to go back for an organ recital, to feel the building shake. And, although I'm not a religious person in general, I felt moved by the prayer (there is a two-minute prayer break every hour), realizing that I was saying an "Our Father" at a place where people had been saying this prayer for over 700 years.

Next we drove by Stonehenge. It was less than 10 miles out of our way to our next destination (Yeovil/East Coker), so we decided it was worth taking a look. When we got there, we decided it really wasn't worth the 7 pounds or so it would cost to get inside the fence, so we only looked at it from outside the fence. It was both interesting and disappointing. It's really not as impressive as the buildup would lead you to believe, but it's still an interesting sight nonetheless.

From here we headed toward Yeovil. Laurie's father's ancestors were from that area, so we wanted to spend one night there. It's a small town in South Central England. The drive was uneventful, though it took us a long time to find the East Coker area. Signs in England are very good at getting you to the general area of where you want to go, then leaving you to figure out the last few miles yourself. But, we finally made it to East Coker and our B&B for the night: the Granary House.

We wandered a mile down the road to the local pub. There we spent some time talking to the bartender and some of the locals (including the old gentleman who pointed out that the Eye in London wasn't even there's but built by "the bloody French,"), and drinking ale and cider. Watching the local characters at the bar was like watching an English movie. After dinner, we were going to call a cab back to the B&B, but the owner of the pub came over and offered to drive us back.

Yesterday's Trip - Portsmouth
Tomorrow's Trip - Thornbury Castle