Jaunts with Jessica!

A friend of mine from my church at home, Jessica, recently had 3 weeks in the UK. It worked out that we could meet up on 3 occasions….a day when I was in Kent; an afternoon in Oxford and 3 days in North Yorkshire. As she and I have similar literary tastes, it worked out that we had some literary excursions together, which also happened to include lots of tea and cake!
The day after she arrived in London, J caught a train to a town in Hampshire, where I picked her up at the station, then we motored a little way to the village of Chawton.
After a restorative lunch in a very quaint tea-cup cafe, we walked across the road to ……excitement…..Jane Austen’s home for many years!

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What a wondrous time we had…..it was so special to see needlework which Jane had done, her writing desk, her garden and all the various bits and bobs that belong to a family home.

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Absolutely awesome! Then we jumped into my little red car and had a lovely 2 hour drive through the countryside of Hampshire, Surrey and into Sussex, to the Ashdown forest. This forest is famous (to us, at least) for being where AA Milne and his son Christopher lived. We went to the part of Ashdown forest that was home to One Hundred Acre Woods, Heffalumps and Pooh sticks! The sun was threatening to set, so we didn’t get to explore all of our Pooh and Friends land marks, but we saw some!

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What fun! After a hearty pub dinner, I then deposited J at a different station for her return trip to London and bed! We both only had about an hour’s journey home. Nice!

Our next jaunt was serendipitous! She was in Oxford for the day, having caught the train there, and I was staying in Oxford overnight, en route to North Yorkshire. I left Simon & Adrian’s early enough on that Sunday morning to actually drive through Central London without much traffic or any hold ups and arrived in Oxford in time for lunch and a wee explore. Through the wonders of modern technology, Jessica and I worked out that we could meet for afternoon tea at 3:30 pm, in the tearoom at the Ashmolean Museum. Which we did!

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We then did an accidental (!) driving tour of Oxford until we found a car park close to Christ Church (cathedral) , where we went to the 6 pm evensong, complete with harmonious choir! A lovely end to a day in Oxford!
Here’s a few random photos of places in Oxford that caught my eye! I did also visit the Bodlean library, but no photos to show for it!

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Our final meeting was when I was house sitting at Rose Cottage. J had been on a journey North to Scotland and she arrived at York Station, where I picked her up, and then drove us back (about an hour) to my beautiful dwelling place. She had to put up with extremely average accommodation!

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And then the fun began!
We spent a wonderful day first driving for 2 hours across the Yorkshire Moors we have read so much about, seen on TV and imagined for years! Then we arrived at the village of Haworth. What excitement! After a restorative coffee, we wandered our way up the little street (slowly, as there were some wonderful little shops!) to the church and parsonage at the end!
Once again, how awesome to be stepping the same steps that the talented Brontës stepped years ago! After some wonderful time immersing ourselves in Brontë history, and after another restorative cuppa, we set off in the mist ( yes, mist! How fitting!) and rain for the comforts of Rose Cottage.

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The next day we headed towards Thirsk, a much shorter trip (30 mins) and across different looking Moors. Today’s were much more lush, green and friendly looking! On arrival we, of course, started with a coffee and then headed towards James Herriot world. We spent some happy hours here in this wonderful centre, which is in the building that Alf Wight (James Herriot’s actual name) actually lived and worked. Both having read all of his books, and having seen the TV series many times, we had such fun. We even the enjoyed the top floor that was set up as a child orientated learning centre!

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We thought nothing much could top that, but we travelled back to Ampleforth Abbey ( near to Rose Cottage) and finished off the afternoon with a wonderful High Tea for Two, in the tea shop there. Wow!

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