My feelings about England…hmmm…it’s either a smaller version of America or America is a larger version of England (the latter more likely since they rode their boats over) but it’s about as close as you are going to get to our native states and language. Other than their historic buildings, a few cultural political correctness variances, homes styles, foreign accents, fresher foods, and a list of other contrasts, I think we have the most ‘in common’ with them than anywhere else in the world. Our people are both obese and lack exercise since most have cars, we are both fairly arrogant in our capitalistic ways, we are richer than most other countries and our cars and homes are huge and expensive as compared to other lands. Most public transportation is ON TIME and functions with few hitches, there is a great variety of choices in grocery stores, shops and restaurants, and our governments seems to function better than most countries around the world. But I have to say that the English have a great sense of humor and are great at taking ‘THE PISS’ when challenging each other comically! Bloody Hell!
The rural countryside of Devon county in the Southeast of England is one big bright glowing green pasture! My world traveling buddy and motorcycle driver, Mr. Mark, lives in a lovely hamlet called Killmington, and I had a really nice time exploring his native land and spending time with his local friends. I even sat in at a local party and jammed!
I loved being able to just walk around his neighborhood and luckily I brought the California sunshine with me! Just look at the colors! I never had that overcrowded feeling in this countryside and felt that I could really commune with mother nature here.
The area where he lived had some of the most stately homes and often you’d come across the traditional thatched roofed or the drystack stone walls that reminded me of something out of an old English fairy tale…as Alice falls through the rabbit hole…
On one occasion we walked into Killmington village to hit the Farm Market (a kind of gourmet farm grocery store) and had a delightful traditional English Breakfast of which I really enjoyed having never eaten anything like it before. We also went out to dinner one night and I had another delightful meal. Traditional meals have ancient origins with international influences. Bread and cheese, sausages, roasted and stewed meats and game pies, boiled vegetables and broths, plus fresh and saltwater fish…and don’t forget the yummy chips! and TEA, lots of TEA!
The nearby quaint little village of AXMINSTER was a joy to visit with it’s wonderful old doors, it’s windy old world streets, local community cafe’s and churches. I never tired of our short trip to pick up grocery’s or hit the local jam! Axminster is a civil parish known for it’s weekly market and dates as far back as the Celtic times of around 300 BC. The history of the town is very much linked to the carpet industry, being the name Axminster was given to a type of power loom carpet! Since I had only been to London, England on a previous trip to Scotland, exploring this countryside and living like the locals gave this country a whole new meaning to the United ‘Kingdom’…it was full of riches, both natural and monetarily! Expect to spend the big bucks if you travel to Great Britain! Would I come back? oh HELL yaaaa!
I don’t even know where to start with the vast amount of travel I did in just a few weeks time. We motorcycled all the way to the South Eastern most part of the country to Land’s End…which was once believed to be the End of the Earth! But between that and Killmington we motored all the country roads and beach side towns we could squeeze in. Like the aged town of BEER...yep, you read that right, Beer England! Wonderful old world charm and a beach that stretched across miles of open sand.
From Beer, we made a short stop in SIDMOUTH and walked along the boardwalk and into the town. Sidmouth sits on the English Channel coast in Devon, and has a population of about 15,000 mostly of retirement age. Being the weather was so perfect, with a bit of wind kicked up, we just relaxed into the day and had a cup of Tea…good tea…good British TEA! There is a big difference in taste as THE BRITS will gladly explain to you in detail, AND of which goes first…the water, the milk or the tea bag? Do you know?
- Pick your tea….the most important step to making perfect British tea.
- Next…boil the water.
- Put your loose tea or tea bags into the pot or tea cups.
- Pour boiling water over the tea, and stir briefly.
- Be patient and WAIT!
- Remove the teabag or strain loose tea.
- Add sugar then milk.
- Enjoy your tea!
Leaving Sidmouth, we continued on until we hit the larger sea town of Weymouth, situated about halfway along the Jurassic Coast. Weymouth is a gateway town to the UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes 96 miles of the Dorset and east Devon coast. It’s positioned in a sheltered bay at the mouth of the River Wey on the English Channel. It’s home to pleasure boats and private yachts, has golden sandy beaches with Georgian houses (as shown behind the boardwalk) and dotted with colorful beach huts in the summertime. This Jurassic Coast is a fossil-rich pebbly coast line rich in wildlife and spectacular views.
Let’s see….where can I take you next? How about DORCHESTER! With a population of around 20,000, this historic market town lies on the banks of the River Frome, in the Frome Valley, with roots that stem back to prehistoric times. There were raids by Vikings and Roman walls erected that still surrounded the town and can be seen today. From the remains of these walls, new pathways were formed known as ‘The Walks’. Lots of typical pubs with famous historic peoples names and creepy stone churches with gargoyles and rust and fancy estates where the Haughty British Attitude lives.
Hello...Helloooooooooooo....is anybody out there...Ms Harmonica here, dialing from England!
Have you ever heard of the Cerne Abbas Giant…me neither until my friend took me there! On a hill near the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England, is a turf-cut outline figure filled with chalk and carved into the English countryside. It depicts a large naked man with an erect penis wielding a giant club and is known to be associated with fertility! WTF you may be asking yourself and I certainly was asking! He stands 180 ft high and 167 ft wide. Although the scholars are unclear of it’s age, the earliest mention dates as far back as the late 17th century. INTERESTING…you betcha. And the motorcycle ride to and from was a lush countryside with large English manors and old rustic churches. DANG, that thing was big, the man that is! 🙂
Have you ever seen the 1981 film THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN with Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons? Well, just a short ride away from my friends home town is the quaint coastal town of Lyme Regis, which has a harbor wall called The Cobb. This sea wall is known as a pivotal part in Jane Austen’s novel “Persuasion”, and the very romantic scene in “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”. The area itself, Lyme Bay, sits on the English Channel and nicknamed ‘The Pearl of Dorset’ for the fossils found on cliffs and beaches. This area is part of the Heritage Coast known commercially as a Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
I had my first Oh So Delicious FISH AND CHIPS in England and I devoured every morsel! And NO, the food is not that bad, lol!! A silly misconception! Strolling around the town and sitting at the local cafe sipping Tea and walking along the wharf, made for a perfect day! I always manage to find good weather even in places that are often overcast and dreary like coastal England can be according to my friend Mr Mark.
I love the way everything is in muted color tones and has a name here. NO, not just roads, but houses, zones, alleys, and not just any name but a clever or silly word…the English have such a hardy sense of humor and you find it nearly everywhere! Soon I will be adding an extra post on England called “ENGLAND, Signs and knobs that make you go hmmm?” So watch for it! The doors and all their hardware are so very artistic and unusual and worth a separate post!
The beach in Lyme Regis was clean, fairly empty for this April day and wide enough to hold lots of beach goers and sand lovers. The water was the perfect blue and I could only imagine a nice swim during the summer with a big umbrella for making shade. I smiled seeing the little cabanas along the shore line and being able to walk a fair distance along the shore. England is a very beautiful country and I would highly recommend a ride from one end to the other….but be prepared to spend that bank on accommodations, food and events…but it’s worth it if you can afford it!
My parting shots are from the town of Lyme Regis…with it’s cool sun dial and famous beach and harbor. I would not hesitate to come back! In fact, I saw so much and have so much to share that I have decided to break this post into 2 parts. Next I am going to take you along to all the famous STONES that you can find along the back roads, and of course STONEHENGE and also to the area of King Arthur’s Castle, Abbotsberry, Cornwall, Lands End (once known as the end of the world!) and places in-between! Ta Ta ol’ chap!
A BIG THANK YOU TO MR MARK for his patience, motorcycle skills, being a gracious tour guide and housing me for those few weeks. I really did have a wonderful time and all these photos are a sure way to tell. Your country is magnificent…big ass hugs and safe travels to India and anywhere else you decide to rumble down the road! Many blessings…
Stay tuned for Part 2 of England