Saturday, 29 September 2012

Winchester ;-)

I love Winchester and all that goes with it! ;-)

I was once so lucky to live near this beautiful, cathedral city

and so I know many of its nooks and crannies!

Winchester is a history lover's dream!

Mind you, it wasn't the plan to go to Winchester, on Monday....

actually the plan was to visit RHS Wisley.

And I was so looking forward to that! ;-(

However, the weather on the Hampshire/Surrey border was pretty vile

 and so guess what?  An executive decision was taken !

We did what we do best ...we jumped on a train! 

A quick walk to Fleet station and hey ho, we travelled south,

to better weather.

Winchester ... what a very good substitute ;-)

The very best places in Winchester are tucked away!

We make our way through the Cathedral close to 

the beautiful, 15th Century, Cheney Court, which was once the seat of the Bishop's

secular power in Winchester.

Adjoining this is St Swithun's gate - or Kingsgate -

one of two surviving, medieval gates in Winchester.

And situated above the gate, is the tiny church of St Swithun upon Kingsgate.

Standing in Kingsgate Street, just outside the city walls,

 is the very famous Wykeham Arms. Named after William of Wykeham,

the 14th Century Bishop of Winchester who founded the nearby college,

The Wykeham Arms contains many curios associated with college life.

And then, very close by, my favourite bookshop... ever!!

P and G Wells...a book lover's paradise...but especially for children's books!

When I taught in Surrey, I never bought my books from anywhere but Wells bookshop!!

And talking of books, just along from the bookshop, you'll see this :

I always think that Jane Austen is a bit like Marmite!! ;-)

You either love her writing... or hate it!

I happen to hate reading Austen but that's not to say that

 I haven't enjoyed the various film and tv adaptations of her work.

I bet she never dreamed that one day in the future, a certain

pupil, named Firth, of nearby Winchester college would be taking on the role

of a certain Mr Darcy in 'Pride and Prejudice'!

As already mentioned, Winchester College was founded by

William Wykeham, in 1392. He had buildings erected just outside the city walls

as an independent educational foundation to prepare poor boys for a life in the church.

Nowadays, the college is a leading public school.

I wonder what William Wykeham would make of that!


We pass by the entrance to Wolvesey Castle, the scene of

Phillip ll of Spain and Mary Tudor's wedding feast in 1554.

We've now reached the River Itchen, another of Hampshire's lovely rivers 

 which flows under the City Bridge and City Mill.

The only surviving part of the city's Roman wall

can be seen close by.

If anyone has to look after this city and watch over it morning,noon and night

then it might as well be King Alfred. He did, after all, make Winchester his capital.

His bronze statue is rather imposing and he's not a figure to be argued with,

that's for sure!

Three cheers for this soldier, statesman and scholar!

We love him.

Mr S always remarks about Alfred asking if anyone has seen the rest of his dustbin!

If I had to spend the rest of my life as a statue overlooking a city, then

Winchester would be one of my top choices! 

(Or Exeter ...or York!)

We're in the High Street now and it's not changed much since we were last

here. Apart from one thing, that is!!

Today, I'm not really bothered about the shops.

Today, I do something very rare and unique!

I go in here (which isn't the rare and unique bit!)

And I come out empty handed!! I didn't buy a thing!!

All that history must have gone to my head!!

But it's a lovely shop and sits very well in Winchester High Street.

Winchester...the city with so many assets; some natural, some not so natural .

All working together and all playing their part in this

stunning city's history.

There's more to The Great Hall and that famous round table;

the Buttercross; The Hospital of St Cross; The Discovery Centre in Jewry Street;

The City Museum and Westgate Museum; God Begot House...and oh so much more!

I do so miss you, Winchester!! I hope it won't be long til I return!

Oh and ...

Thank you for stepping in at a moment's notice!

A very fine substitute indeed!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Enjoying Hampshire! ;-)

If you’re going to have a ‘long weekend break’ in Hampshire
then a visit to the town of Stockbridge is an ideal start!

Lying in the heart of the Test Valley, ( The River Test is a stunningly
beautiful chalk stream river which is said to be the ‘Queen of fly fishing‘)
  is Stockbridge,with its famous, wide street,which was once a drovers road. 
So, no fast cars in those days; just herds of sheep or cattle
 being driven along the picturesque street.

The  famous artist and writer, the late Norman Thelwell, lived in
the Test Valley at a place called Timsbury, near Romsey, during the last 25 years of his life.

Thelwell gradually restored a farmhouse and landscaped the grounds,
which then gave rise to his first factual book,
'A Plank Bridge by a Pool'.
It's a fascinating read, if you get the chance!

Of course, many people only know Thelwell as an illustrator
of these wonderful pictures:

The River Test has always been my favourite English river, 
although I have to confess that I don’t do fly fishing and have no desire to take up
such an occupation!  

The River Test flows through or near a number of Hampshire villages
and the same river also graces Mottisfont with its presence:

Well worth a visit if you are in the area!

We briefly stopped in Stockbridge on Friday as we journeyed from
Devon to Hampshire.

Our destination was Fleet, where we had booked accommodation

for 4 nights, here:

Why Fleet?

Ah well, Fleet is situated fairly close to Hartley Wintney

and we were there on Saturday to take part in the

Vintage Bazaar.

Yes, that's the same Vintage Bazaar which originates from Frome!

The Vintage Bazaar was, 'on location' and thus spreading its wings, taking

the vintage story to North Hampshire.

Way hay!!

And a very fine fair it was too, with so much stunning stock, gorgeous goods,

 fabulous finds and colourful collectables.

We very much enjoyed being part of this new event, organised by

Lizzie and Clare!

Afterwards, we wandered around Hartley Wintney.

'Hmm,' uttered Mr Snippets, as we passed this sign.

'I didn't even know that I was going out with her!' LOL;-)

And with that, I'll be back soon with part two!!