The breakfast was every bit as good as we remembered from our first visit. The breakfast room was rather full due to the wedding guests from the day before. Thankfully the kids had worn themselves out and were quiet during breakfast.
We set off to Portsmouth to visit the Mary Rose Museum. The journey went smoothly but there was a bit of a saga when we tried to purchase the admission tickets. There were clearly only three of us but we were sold four tickets!! There was then a delay whilst someone (in fact two someones) came to sort out the problem and refund the money. Eventually we got past the ticket desk and had our bags searched as we entered the dockyard. We were surprised to see HMS Victory had changed colour and we wondered if she was in the middle of being repainted and what we were seeing was the undercoat. It was only when we came out of the Mary Rose museum that I noticed a sign that explained what we saw was her new paint scheme. During conservation work in 2013-14 up to 72 layers of paint had been removed to reveal that the paint scheme that she had been wearing for years was not the one she had worn at Trafalgar; the new one is.
The Mary Rose is now completely unwrapped and there are no drying pipes or screens obscuring the view giving a full view the ship. The exhibition blew me away. The ship is alternately illuminated to reveal the ship and then darkened to show living displays to various areas that bring ship to life. On arrival at the top level of the exhibition we found that the view of the ship was completely open without even the Perspex.
We had lunch in one of the dockyard cafes before moving on to Hinton Ampner which is a National Trust property that on our last visit had been only partially open due the roof being damaged in gales. We thought we might enjoy the gardens first but we soon changed our mind when it started to rain leading us to proceed into the house. The upstairs is very much a work in progress as repairs continue but it was good to see the upstairs rooms which had been closed on our previous visit. By the time we had finished our tour of the house the sun had come out and we toured the gardens in glorious sunshine with the colours enhanced by the rain. We took time to enjoy the gardens before returning to the hotel to chill out before dining in La Place. Whilst we were ordering our meal the French waiter told Mr C he was a lucky man to be dining with two beautiful ladies.
We stopped briefly in the Old Gaolhouse (A Weatherspoons pub, what were you thinking…) before returning to the hotel for the night.
We didn’t set off to Winchester as early as we planned and after picking up my mum and a brief stop on the motorway led to us arriving in Winchester at lunch time. We parked on the hotel car park and Mr C went to reception to tell them that we had arrived and would be leaving our car on the car park. He was informed that the rooms were ready so we decided to book in before having lunch. Booking in turned out to be a bit of a saga… The French receptionist couldn’t understand why two identical room bookings had different room rates. Mr C tried to explain that it was because one was single occupancy and the difference was the breakfast rate. The receptionist didn’t understand, but thankfully a colleague sorted him out. Eventually we booked in and took our bags up to our rooms!
After the booking in saga we set out for a late lunch in the Cathedral Refectory. Mum,Mr C & I all chose cheese and watercress scones, watercress being a speciality of the area and they were delicious We then made our way to the cathedral, stopping off at its gift shop along the way. The gift shop had some delightful christmas decorations and advent candles, which we decided we would come back and buy just before we left Winchester.
Our visit to the Cathedral was not as peaceful as it had been was on our previous visit. It was a Saturday and lots of guided tours were taking place. Previously I enjoyed peace and tranquility in the North & South transepts but on this occasion both were disrupted. The North transept is housing a temporary structure to display the Winchester Bible whilst the South transept is undergoing restoration. and is currently closed. It houses the Fisherman’s Chapel which I found so peaceful last time. The disruption led to us noticing features unseen on our previous visit and we very much enjoyed seeing the historically important Winchester Bible in its temporary home. We just missed seeing it on our previous visit when it was being shipped to America for display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
As we left the we were caught by a brief shower of rain, so we retired once again to the Cathedral Rectory for a refreshing cup of tea, before returning to the hotel to unpack our bags, before we dined in the ‘Old Vine’, which was just as good as we remembered it from our previous visit. We called in at a pub on our way back to the hotel, but the music was so loud that we couldn’t hear ourselves think. We returned to the hotel where we could chat more easily and enjoy a nightcap before bed even though there was a wedding disco with kids noisily charging around the hotel.
Above all, let us never forget that an act of goodness is in itself an act of happiness. It is the flower of a long inner life of joy and contentment; it tells of peaceful hours and days on the sunniest heights of our soul.
Count Maurice Maeterlinck
I am still working my way through my holiday photos and thoughts. For now I hope you enjoy my ‘Twilight View’ of the cathedral
I have just returned from my annual autumnal travels with my mum. On this occasion we travelled to the fine Cathedral city of Winchester
In the Serpent Garden, a topiary snake entices you past a series of sculptures, in which water flows over polished stainless steel and creates a canyon through which you can try to squeeze without getting wet.
There is also a mushroom-shaped structure on which surface tension and viscosity overcome gravity. The display culminates in the Torricelli Fountain, where shrieking children become temporarily trapped in a ring of water.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Francis of Assisi