Day 7: 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

In reading The Lord of the Rings, I never understood why Frodo, Sam, Pippen, and Merry get quite so enthused about Farmer Maggot's mushrooms. Now I understand. English Breakfast this morning included eggs fresh from the hen, bacon and sausage from the farm up the road, and mushrooms picked fresh that morning. It was possibly the best breakfast I've ever had. I want to go back, if only to have the breakfast. (Actually, the B&B itself was very nice and the owner was very friendly. And, while running an old style B&B, she is on e-mail. If you ever want to travel to see a small English town, I'd heartily recommend the Granary House.)

We then went to see St. Michael's Church. The church is mostly noted as the resting place of T.S. Eliot. While not as old as Salisbury, it does have a Norman baptismal font and a very old front door. We looked around the church and the churchyard, but found no Trasks. There was supposed to be another churchyard somewhere nearby, but we didn't see it.

We then headed off toward Bristol, which we decided we'd stop at on our way to Thornbury Castle, our stop for the night. Bristol is on the Bristol Channel, the outlet from the ocean on the west of Britain, and is very near Wales. We walked around a bit and had lunch. We didn't see that much of interest here. It was a typical port town, with none of the real interesting features (or at least, none that we saw in our couple of hours there) of Portsmouth.

From there it was on to Thornbury. This is the castle where Mary Tudor spent time as a child and where Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn spent their honeymoon. It has been converted into a top-of-the-line hotel (one of the best I've ever stayed in), with a four-star restaurant (one of the best I've ever eaten in). It manages to have all of the modern conveniences, but still maintain much of the feel of the castle, with it's great old windows, it's marvelous grounds, and so on.

Our room featured a four poster bed with canopy. Among the amenities was a bottle of sherry. We settled in, wandered the grounds, walked into town (pretty much of a tourist town), and came back for dinner. We had a superb dinner. I had duck and a leek mousse. Desert was butterscotch pudding (again, pudding in the English sense, not the American sense) with caramel sauce. Laurie had lamb and some sort of chocolate desert. (Since chocolate is way down my list of what I like best for desert, I never pay close attention to the details of chocolate deserts.) As I noted above, it was one of the best meals I've ever had. During the meal, the owner came over and talked to us for a while. He was very friendly (and kept saying, "Just keep eating. Don't let me stop you.").

Yesterday's Trip - Salisbury
Tomorrow's Trip - Bath