Stonehenge--It Rocks!--and Other Lovelies Seen Along the Way to Bath (England)  

Posted by Heidi

The above photo signifies the morning of the second full day of my trip to England (July 2015).  Meanwhile, this is the 7th post I have done on about this trip!  I took more than a third of the photos of my 18 day trip in the first 60 hours! 

 This lovely building lived around the corner from our hotel and we saw it frequently the first few days as we came and went, but always whilst we were in the coach.  Finally, as we passed this floral extravaganza for the last time, I snapped a photo.  I am so pleased that it semi-turned out (one can see the glare of the window on the right side of the picture) because this is clearly spectacular.

The is occupied by The Churchill Arms, said to be the number one "watering hole" in all of London.  It is in the Notting Hill area of Kensington, very near the palace and the park.  The upper part reads: Fuller Smith and Turner, a series of names I can't really find anything about.  (I finally decided it is the name of a brewing company.) Google searches lead me to info about "Foral Bar" in Notting Hill.  There are some lovely photos of this floral display on Pinterest.  Rumor has it that the inside of the Churchill Arms is every bit as bedecked as the outside.  I wish I had known and made the time to go inside whilst I was there.
At any rate, this was the only thing I was able to get a photo of on our way to Stonehenge.  There was a lot of countryside and highway and other boring stuff (or perhaps I simply fell asleep, who remembers?) until we arrived at the Stonehenge visitor's center.

Here i'tis.  It was designed to mimic the shape of the standing stones as well as blend into the scenery a bit.  I can't remember if part of the building was painted with those scenes of the hills (see left side of building around the double doors) or if it was see-through glass or faced with a reflective metal.  I was just so eager to board that coach and be taken to where the stones are because, well, that's a story.  When I was twenty-three I took a correspondence course in children's literature.  I wrote a short story about Stonehenge as an assignment and was ever so tickled when my teacher wrote a note saying that she could tell that I had been there b/c the description was so realistic.  (I hadn't.)  I needed to know how close I had gotten to the reality with my imagination.  (Less than a year later I changed my goal from being a published children's author to a regency romance author and wrote two of them in the next two years, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind being one of them--which was published in 2008 by Avalon Books--which was purchased by Montlake Romance in 2012.)  (See how important Stonehenge was to me?)

Thank you very much, I think I shall!!!

And here she is, my daughter, looking pretty happy to be here (I had no idea. She had wanted to go to Scotland and I talked her into the England part of the trip. I felt like such a selfish mother until we got here and I saw that face).  (For those who don't know her, that's her happy face.  She has an ecstatic face, too, but we almost never see that.)  (She's reserved and not given to emotional displays, but we love her anyway.)  Now--if you aren't into viewing a lot of photos of a bunch of rocks, avert your eyes until farther down where the photos of the pretty houses dwell.  For those of you who would like an inkling of what it is like to be there, soak them all in--each tells a different part of the story when it comes to size, color, shape, environs, and so forth.  The one below has an average sized black bird or crow perched on top of the center rock.  (This thing is huge.  But not as huge as the new henge they found last week.)  (In light of which, who knows if anything we learned at the old henge is true?)

Some of the photos show green grass, some yellowish grass.  The yellow is probably more accurate, my first clue being that this is how it came out of the camera.  And yet.  We arrived in England directly after a three week heat spell of unusual proportions and I suspect that this place is generally much greener--which is why I tinkered with a lot of these to give them that green look.  As to the accurate color of the stones, who's to say?  It changes in the light or lack thereof.

I had to zoom in quite a bit for most of these photos.  What you can't see is the orange mesh "fence", about two feet high, that is along the edge of the path we were standing on.  This means one can get great photos of the henge without the orange mesh getting in your photos.  Could one step over the mesh and walk up to the stones?  I should think so--there was no one there who looked menacing enough to stop the determined, but it is technically a no-no.  I have heard that they do allow people to go up and touch the stones once at year at the summer solstice.  Since we were there about three weeks after, I'm guessing we were there at a time when it was much less crowded--which rocked.

Those people walking on the other side of the henge are on a part of the path we didn't even go on.  I can't think why we didn't walk all the way around.  The view would have been different from there.  (Or maybe we did and I just can't remember.  My lack of memory could be due to the vile virus I caught later on that diminished my capacity to sleep to the point that I was a brainless zombie for almost all of Scotland.)  (More on that later.)

If you want to read about the stones, which ones are of Welsh blue stones, which ones aren't, how tall they are, how they got here, ect. HERE is a nice article.  (Never mind--I googled Stonehenge and after wading through pages and pages and pages of articles about the new, bigger, henge, I gave up on finding a web page devoted to just the old one.)

It is difficult to make it out but there are five smaller stones roughly in the center of this photo, the two tallest kind of facing the camera, two smaller ones right next to each other facing right and one on the ground.  For some reason that I can't recall, I felt compelled to document this with as much accuracy as possible.  (What is that smooth brownish area under that gray rock on the right?  No idea but it looks suspicious.  Maybe this whole thing is one huge hoax.)

Three cute blackbirds/crows on a stone to the right.  They seemed pretty happy to be there.  So was I.  (Was it like I described it in my writing assignment?  Not really.  It felt much more serene and altogether ordinary than I thought it would.  Therefore, my imaginative talents would clearly have been wasted on children's fiction.  I made the right choice.)

The cross-like shape on the right of this photo is due simply to perspective.

After we had seen all we wanted to see, we walked back to the coach for the return trip to the visitor's center.  These two seemed very used to people but not in the least inclined to beg.  How very well behaved of them.

He posed so long and so well for me, I can only assume he is quite accustomed to such things.

Some lovely wildflowers in spite of the lack of rain.

We spent a good portion of the remainder of our time at Stonehenge in the gift shop.  It was very large and consisted of almost everything you can think of with the name Stonehenge on it--usually in connection with the word Rocks!  (As in Stonehenges Rocks!).  This photo is of a sign along the path.   (Obviously, I could not have taken this photo.)  (I only explain so that YOU know that *I* know how ludicrous it would be for me to claim to have taken a photo from such a distance in the air.) If you look at the upper left quadrant of the henge, you can see those five smaller rocks I felt so compelled to document.  Their arrangement appears quite different from this angle.

The visitor's center also had this reproduction village based on finds during excavations that had been done in the area.  The people who are believed to have built Stonehenge (at least whilst I was there--who knows what is believed now that this bigger henge has been found) would have lived in huts like these.  (Not sure why she is giving us her ecstatic face, here--perhaps she likes history better than I had supposed.)  (Perhaps she will write neolithic romances when she grows up.)  (But, as her grandpa says, if she does any more growing, for heavens sake, let it be out instead of up!) (The reason being that she's a beanpole.)

Other examples of various types of huts, or, rather, hut tops.  Inside were other items that were made and used by the people who lived in these types of dwellings.  They were fairly small and dark, as one would imagine.

There was a museum on the grounds with many interesting things to see.  This is the only thing I took a photo of b/c I found it so fascinating.  I don't know about you but I always wonder if the way people lived in the past (prior to photos or paintings) showed in their faces and if it made them look different from the people I know today.  Based on this model created from the skull of the skeleton on the left, I would say generally no.  However, the gene pool was certainly more pure back then and it is likely that his looks are very specific to his time and place, whereas, my face is made up of ancestors from many different countries and would be difficult to pin down to one. (IMHO)  Looking at it from that perspective, the answer could be yes.

More photos taken through the window of the coach as we buzzed by. 

After Stonehenge, it was time to get back into the coach and head for Bath.  BATH!  This was huge on my list of must-sees for many reasons.  1) The town and buildings were, for the most part, designed during the Georgian time period and was "the" place to go just prior to the Regency.  The Prince Regent, later George the IV, made Brighton a much more fashionable place to go for the youngsters, but the oldsters still flocked to Bath to "take the waters", either by bathing in them or drinking it or both.  2) Jane Austen lived in Bath for four years at #4 Sydney Place (that's a lot of four/fors) and I was going to enter that domicile.  3) I was going to enter that domicile with a very good friend whom I had never had the privilege of meeting in person, as of yet.  I was SO EXCITED!

This is a blow up of the photo above.  Look at the lovely wrought iron, curling, outdoor staircase on the left side of the house, along with the sun room with its glass ceiling.  A sun room like this is a very common sight in the U.K.

Another pretty house we passed along the way--those Gothic windows!

This clump of buildings heralded the start of a little village, the name of which I never learned.  The rock wall, the ivy, the carriage path with its strip of green down the middle, the windows and chimneys and trees!  So very beautiful and very quaint and what we tend to imagine all of England looks like.

Here's a closer shot because, why not?

It wasn't until I enlarged this photo above that I realized I had "gotten it".  By that I mean this:  I tried so hard to get a photo of roses curling over the front door of a cottage (it's a cottage based on style, not on size--we only define cottages by size in the U.S.) and thought I had failed, despite many attempts.  This photo taken through the glass as we buzzed by was an almost impossible shot to get--but somehow I did and there are my roses.  Happy day!

If you ever wanted to know what it is like to drive through a little town in the U.K., (Ireland was very similar as was Scotland) this is one very typical example.

More of the rock wall in this one.

This photo above breaks my heart.  I knew when I took it that it couldn't possibly have turned out but I included it, fuzzy with reflections clear in the glass and all, because it is just too awesome.  I suppose this could be the gatehouse of a large estate.  You can see a wall on the left side of the archway that could belong to a little house.  Or this could be a gate to a secret garden--delicious thought!  However, its proximity to the main road with its own little road tells me that this is an entrance meant for carriages, and later, cars.  Isn't it absolutely precious?  

Another fuzzy one that shows what they are talking about when they speak on British T.V. about living in a semi-detached home.  (We would all them duplexes.)

These are not semi-detached--they are fully attached.  We would call them row houses or apartments.  They look lovely, don't they, with those bow windows.

I can't quite make out that sign (even when enlarged on my computer) except the words "bed and breakfast".  I would like to stay here, please.

Another town or village, this one larger than the last.

More window boxes and Georgian architecture.  This is the railway station in Bath, a bit on the outskirts of town, built more recently than the rest of the town but with an eye to blending in. If there is ever an earthquake in the U.K., there will be a lot of people beaned on the head.  Our next stop is Bath, #4 Sydney Place and my favorite hotel in England.  (To read other posts about this trip, scroll down and hit "other posts".  To see posts about our trip to Ireland last year, just keep a-going.) (About an hour after writing this I read it over and found SO many mistakes.  I hope I got them all corrected but if you see one, please let me know.  Thank you!)

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at Thursday, September 10, 2015 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Another wonderful taste of England. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Heidi!

September 10, 2015 at 6:03 PM

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