Battle of Hastings re-enactment 2017

We went to the town of Battle to see the Battle of Hastings re-enacted on the original battle field that it happened on in 1066. It was an exciting piece of theatre that put you into the time and the event.  I took lots of photos of this event that happens every year around the time that William the Conqueror from French Normandy beat King Harold of Saxon England for the crown of England in 1066.  I had known about this battle that changed the course of the English nation from my history books in school.  But it was an entirely different experience to understand the story and see where and how it unfolded.  If you are ever here in South Eastern England in October you should try to go to this pageant .

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Actors that told the Battle of Hastings story before the re-enactment

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Re-enactors come from all over Europe to camp for the weekend of the battle

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Lady Liz from Wales

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Battle supplies

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English King Harold on his horse before battle taking a last drink

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The English troops line up

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Time for a last chat with a friend

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The bishop gives last minute confessions

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King Harold gives a battle talk to his troops to inspire them

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Duke William has brought horses from France and they charge the English shield wall

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Half way through the battle William falls off his horse and the men thinks he has died.  He quickly finds another horse and rides in front of his troops to show that he is still alive.

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Unfortunately, late in the battle, King Harold is hit by an arrow that goes through his eye and he dies. The English troops lose heart.  Duke William’s troops overcome and kill all the English on the battle field. William goes on to London and is crowned the new king of England on Christmas day in Westminster Abbey.  We enjoyed this event and give the English Heritage organization a good review for organization and presentation.

We are off to Paris tomorrow for 16 days of sight seeing, then Barcelona for 3 days and on to the ship for the cross Atlantic voyage home.


Hastings fishing fleet and old town

Hastings is an old fishing town.  Fishing ships still are pulled up to the shore and rest over night on the pebbled beach.Hastings fishing boats 5x7 netThere are historic net buildings where the fishermen used to hang their ropes and nets out of the weather. These black tall buildings are part of the way you identify the Hastings houses Hastings 5x7 netThis is a rough sea coast.  There are often strong winter storms and fishermen need to be rescued.  They have a good lifeboat group that saves lives every winter. Hastings lifeboats 5x7 netThe beach is a good place to let your dogs have a good run on a sunny afternoon.Hastings beach 5x7 closer netBut be sure to pick up after your puppy if he leaves a gift in the sand.  There is a 1,000 pound fine if you are caught not picking up doggy poop. no poop 5x7 netThere are many historic houses in Hastings.  The house we are pet sitting in is probably from the 16th century.  There are many 15th and 16th century homes that line the oldest streets in the town. hastings tudor house 5x7 netThe house we are in does not have door knobs in the house.  All of the doors are kept closed by latches.

Here is a sunset that I took on one of the few days when we have had a clear sky over the sea.  This is taken over the Hastings pier.Hastings pier sunset 5x7 net

Brighton Beach Pier and the Royal Pavilion

Yesterday was a sunny day.  We did not waste it and jumped on a train to Brighton.  This is a beach resort that was made famous when the Prince Regent, George, hired John Nash to expand his pleasure palace in 1815.  George loved gambling, drinking, eating and women and needed to have a place away from his father, King George III, who did not approve of his lifestyle.  Here is a photo that symbolizes one aspect of the Brighton legs Brighton 5x7 netI toured the palace. The outside was designed to look like a palace from India.Royal Pavilion Brighton 5x7 netThe inside was lavishly and extravagantly decorated in a Chinese decor, with crystal and golden dragons.  Photography is not allowed inside the building, so here is a picture of the massive dining hall from Wikipedia.800px-Brighton_Banqueting_Room_Nash_editedHis banquets would have over 100 different menu items offered to his guests, and the dinner would take hours.  Needless to say,  George was very obese and had to have his bedroom moved downstairs because he could not climb the stairs as he got older.

After that we walked down to the Brighton Pier which was opened around 1899.  Brighton pier 5x7 net

This pier has many fish and chip, donut, crepe, waffle, and ice cream shops, plus a couple of tattoo artists.  In addition, there are game machines to play.  I found the only skee-ball machine (I guess they are not that popular) and played a couple of rounds.linda skee ball 5x7 net

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Big toy grab machine

They have an amusement park at the end of the pier.  Great place to take a date.  The rides are lots of fun, if you like being upside down.Brighton pier ride upside down 5x7 net

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Or sideways

Then there was the big ride.  I could not get all of it in the photo.  There were 2 sets of seats, one on top and one on the bottom, and they rotated into the air.  A guy who was on the ride saw that I was taking photos and signaled me not to ever take this ride.

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Here is a photo of the people at the top of the tower, sitting there for a long time while they let the people of the bottom off.

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If we had not just eaten dinner I might have tried one of these thrillers.  Right, and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell in Brooklyn.  welcome to brighton 5x7 net










Hastings and two kitty cats

We are at our last sit for this year in Hastings, England,  We are taking care of two sweet kitty cats, Clara and Fin.

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They are very sweet and sleep a lot of the day.

Hastings is a seaside resort town of the southeast part of England.  It is where the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066 and William the Conqueror invaded England.  It is a lovely place to stay.  The boats on the beach are launched by tractor from the beach into the sea.

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The beach is made up of pebble rock

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The most remarkable thing happened two nights ago when we were walking on the beach.  People were fishing from the shore.  I have seen many people fish from the shore all over the world and most people do not catch a fish or if they do it is one or two.  The fishermen and women were throwing in their lines with 6 hooks on one line and reeling in six fish each time. fisherwoman 5x7 netfisherman 5x7 net

The fish were mackerels that were running the last two days. mackerel 5x7 netOne fisherman told me that he was going home to smoke them and eat them for dinner.  It was like something out of the Bible when Jesus told Peter to put his net in the water and all the fish jumped in.

The next day we had fish and chips ( cod this time) at a famous restaurant on the beach called Maggie’s.  It was delicious.

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This was one serving which we shared

The fishermen throw away the fish they cannot use and the sea gulls are patiently waiting for their fresh fish dinner.

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David beach gulls 5x7 BW netIt was cloudy and rainy today and so we stayed home with the kitties most of the day.  But David did get to say hello to the sea gulls this evening.


Dreaming of Oxford’s colleges; Christ Church , Merton and Magdalen

We finished our pet sit with wonderful Rufus and Flora a few days ago. rufus and Flora ball fight faces 5x7 netAnd said good bye to their wonderful parents, Sarah and Frank.

William Butler Yeats said of Oxford;  “I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. ”  I doubt that the students who attend the University feel like they only have to dream right before exams.Oxford student 5x7 net

We decided to spend our four day break between pet sitting assignments here in Oxford. I love this beautiful city of colleges and libraries.  It speaks to the academic side of my life.  So we have been staying at a bed and breakfast in Headington on the bus route five minutes away from Oxford center. dial house 5x7 netThere are 38 colleges that make up the Oxford University. Many of the colleges were established from the Middle Ages to the Tudor time in England.  Most of them are composed of a dining hall, a chapel and rooms for the students to live in.  Here are some photographs of Merton College , one of the oldest ones ; established in 1264.

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The inside quad with rooms

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The outside of the chapel

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Inside of the chapel

This is a photo of the dining hall at Christ Church College.  It is famous for the films of Harry Potter which were shot here.

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Christ church Hall

Most of the colleges have a main gate, a tower and a porter’s lodge.  The most famous is Tom Tower and gate.  The bells in this tower ring every night at 9:05 one hundred and one times for each of the original students that attended Christ Church.  It was their curfew.

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Tom Tower Christ Church

Christ Church has a large cathedral which is for the Oxford diocese.  It is both a college chapel and a cathedral.  The inside is beautiful and ornate.

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Christ Church Cathedral altar

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Christ Church Cathedral ceiling

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Christ Church Cathedral stained glass window

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Christ Church College Meadow building

We also visited Magdalen College which stands near the River Cherwell.  Students crew the punts (flat boats) for visitors.  It is a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon.

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Punting in Oxford

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Magdalen College view from the cloisters

They have an excellent male choir that sings in their chapel.  I got to sit in during an Evensong performance that was beautiful.

We are staying in today as it is raining and David has come down with a cold.  We have to pack up and take the train to our next sit in Hastings tomorrow.


Nuffield House; Another approach when you have too much money

The previous post was about our visit to Waddesdon, the home of the Rothschild family. These folks made their money in banking, and from the second generation they were pretty much born rich and got richer.  They literally had great difficulty in spending their money, and put a lot into their estate.  Compare the photographs of their weekend retreat with the ones from William Morris’s home.

Here’s another approach.

William Morris was born in 1877 and about the age of 15, he dropped out of school and took on a short apprenticeship to a bicycle repairman.  In a couple of months, he had learned all he could there, and opened his own shop. But when cars began to be built in the UK, he was fascinated. He gathered a few friends and founded Morris Garage (MG — get it?) near Oxford. By 1912 he was making cars, and continued to build this empire through the early ’50s.

William had married a young lady he met in his cycling club, but they never had children. In the ’30s they bought a nice home, built in 1914, about eight miles out of town in an up-and-coming golf club development area, and named it Nuffield Park, after a nearby village. They added to it. It’s in the hands of the National Trust now, which is how we happened to visit it.  The interior is pretty much as it was when he died in 1963. It’s pretty grand compared to ordinary houses, but compared to some of the stately homes, it’s a garden shack. It’s also full of pretty ordinary stuff, including a 1956 television and radio sets from the ’30s and ’40s.

Morris had a workshop built into his bedroom. He re-soled his own shoes, fixed all the gates and fences on the property, and carpeted the hallway with leftover pieces of carpet from the factory office.

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In the ’50s, the many UK car businesses began to merge, and by 1955 he had sold or merged most of his businesses.

As he had no heir, William started working at giving everything away. He founded and endowed Nuffield College at Oxford, and it’s the fourth-highest endowed college now. During the late ’40s, he was heartbroken at the polio epidemic, so he designed and had built 5000 iron lungs to be given to hospitals throughout Britain.Nuffield iron lung 5x7 net There’s one on display in an outbuilding on the estate. Even though he didn’t like the idea of unions, he understood why they needed to exist, and established a profit-sharing trust for his employees.

There’s a pub named for him in Cowley, near where the factories used to be.

We go to Greys Court and Waddesdon Manor

It has been raining a lot here in Oxford shire during the last week so we mainly have been staying home with the dogs.  I have been cooking and working on my art travel journal.

But we did get some time to go to a couple of National Trust homes that are near the house we are sitting .  The first one is called Greys Court.  This is a Tudor house and gardens near Henley on Thames. It is quite beautiful.  They do not allow photographs inside the house but the outside had many lovely places to photograph. Greys court house 5x7 netThis is the house.  Here are some photos of the gardens.Greys court brick 5x7 net David is standing in one of the garden’s arches out of the rain.David Grey netAnd the garden flowers are exquisite. sweetpea lavendar 5x7 netsoft pink rose 5x7 netGreys court tower 5x7 netThat tower you see in the background is a fortified tower built circa 1347 and is the only remaining part of the medieval castle that stood here.  This estate has an intact donkey water wheel and well.  It is a huge wooden wheel that a donkey walked in to bring up heavy buckets of water from a well that is 200 feet deep.  Here is a photo of the bucket being drawn up.well bucket 5x7 netThis provided water for the house and the animals.

The second National Trust home was Waddesdon Manor.  It was built in the 19th century in the Neo Renaissance style for the very wealthy Baron Ferdinand Rothschild.  This was to be his weekend residence for elaborate entertaining and a place to show off his amazing collection of Dutch and English paintings.  Many of the items that the baron had collected would be seen only in a museum.   It was totally amazing inside.  If you are in this part of England you should try to see it.  Here are some photographs for you to enjoy.

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The house

Inside the house were many paintings by famous painters.  Here is a Thomas Gainsborough portrait of a lady in the guest reception room.Gainsborough painting 5x7 netThis is the formal dining room set up for a large party. Waddesdon dinner table 5x7 netThe place settings have priceless china and gold monogrammed wine glasses. Waddesdon table 5x7 netThere were desks used by French Kings scattered throughout the drawing rooms so that guests could write letters from the mansion.  Waddesdon Manor desk 5x7 netAnd a lovely robin who was in the courtyard where people were eating and continued to sing as if no one was there. Robin sings 5x7 net