Sunday, July 12, 2009

First stops in England

We got out of Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 Monday afternoon relatively well-rested, with very little hassle or customs time involved, and caught a bus to Oxford almost immediately—too fast in fact to call David, which we had to do from Gloucester Green station once we’d arrived. So after then sauntering to the train station and people-watching awhile, we rode in his aged Mercedes to Banbury, where he has a 2-bdrm 5th-floor penthouse terraced flat right downtown with a view of a couple churches etc., and distant fields.

Tuesday morning we dodged showers around the Banbury lanes; it is sort of like a nicer, older (half-timber abounds) Barnsley, with canal.  We then packed up and drove north to Warwick, where we skipped the Disneyfied castle but enjoyed St.Mary’s church (12th-century bits) and the Guild Hospital Museum, and lunched (ah, ploughmans!)  beside the large manor gardens. 

Alas ¾ of the way en route to Manchester David realized he’d left his Moon Grove keys in Banbury!  So after much headbeating and tactical todo we had to return, and spent last night there as well, treating ourselves to a Thai dinner. (David had cooked a fab tuna casserole the previous night, which I will attempt to duplicate at the first opp.)  Weather yesterday was fairly dreadful, especially on the motorway.

Wednesday we again headed north, avoiding rain and the motorway and heading into the Peaks District, first visiting Lichfield, which had an amazing cathedral that nearly rivaled Milan’s, and then continuing on winding roads (no carsickness for Pi, who mostly sat in front) through rolling green hills (no peaks!) past cows, sheep, goats, horses and limestone quarries. In Ashbourne I insisted we stop at a picturesque church I spotted (St. Oswald’s), which boasted some skullery like Sansepolcro’s, and in Buxton, a largish spa town with an opera house and college, we explored, sampled the curative waters and lunched at a quiet pub on the High Street as a funfair was being set up.

From there it was a quick “descent” into Manchester; we rested a bit (Pi hunted frogs in the lush garden), downloaded 500 photos, and picked up food at Sainsbury’s.  I cooked pork chops with fresh “mange touts” peapods and mushrooms, after which we walked up the street through the Rusholme area, bustling with Middle Eastern and Indian eateries, smoking establishments (hookahs!!), etc.

1 comment:

Premium T. said...

Nice doors.