South to Dover

Another doss-fest begins at last…. We managed to leave home as we’d hoped on Monday, giving us three days to pootle our way to Dover; much less time than we generally spend trundling through the UK, but then again we’re leaving a month or so later than we’d initially envisaged and we’re very aware that it’s a long way to the North of Norway. Particularly when you first have to drive South….

We stayed on a great little car park in Brecon on Monday night and had a wander round the (very much closed for business) town centre.

We found the canal but the ducks promised by the tourist board signage around town were conspicuous by their absence….

Mark was happy that he got to go over the Severn Bridge for the first time (and even happier that there’s no toll charge Eastbound)…

We got to Winchester around lunchtime on Tuesday and spent the afternoon being good tourists. I’d made the mistake of reading out what our guide book had to say about the Great Hall in Winchester, built in 1235 to replace the original, part of William the Conqueror’s castle (or Billy the B***ard, as he’s been known in Kampington circles since our trip to Falaise). It was a BIG mistake to mention the Round Table (the decoration of which is thought to date back to the early years of Henry VIII’s reign, though the table itself is thirteenth century; it’s been hung on the wall in the Great Hall for centuries, no mention was made of what happened to the legs). After a couple of days of listening to Mark looking forward to the Round Table visit, I got him to repeat himself for posterity….

Repeat that knit-wittery twenty or thirty times at random intervals and you’ll be getting the idea….

Anyway, here are the Round Table and the Great Hall from outside:

Winchester itself was OK. We found the King Alfred statue and a couple of Jane Austen exhibitions (which did just confirm how little is known about her… you really got the sense that they’d struggled to fill the space); she moved to Winchester in 1817 for medical treatment but died shortly thereafter and was buried in the Cathedral. We didn’t go to look at her grave as they wanted £8 per person admission and didn’t seem to be promising much for the loot….. £16 might buy Mark a pint of lager and a bag of crisps in Norway….

After a night on the coach park, we moved on to Chichester, which was very pretty.

One thing that stood out in Chichester was the statue of Saint Richard by the cathedral. I’ve no idea who Saint Richard was, but we agreed that he’s exceedingly creepy-looking  (and that was before I saw the strange light effect that’s come out on the photo):

From Chichester we drove to East Preston, where we spent Wednesday night outside the house of Mark’s Uncle Keith and Auntie Wen (yes, we were allowed into the house and fed; they didn’t lock the doors and close the curtains as they saw us approaching). We had a fantastic feed of spare ribs (of which, despite the mountainous stack that came out of the oven, none turned out to be spare), and Mark downed two glasses of wine. I’ll come back to the Norwegian customs allowances and alcohol prices at a later date, but suffice to say that Mark seems to have decided that learning to drink wine would be preferable to possibly having to go tee-total….. He downed one glass early in the evening…

… then later on decided that he might just help himself to another…

Who would have thought it??? After all the insults he’s thrown at wine and wine drinkers over the years….

Today’s Thursday and after a hearty cooked breakfast with Keith and Wen we pootled East and did some dossing at Beachy Head, taking advantage of the magnificent weather.

From there it was East to Dover, where we now find ourselves waiting for our (delayed) ferry.

Our immediate plans on the other side are as well developed as “turn left at Calais”. We’ll keep you posted on our route towards Denmark and events along the way….