Saturday, 10 August 2013

(10 Aug 2013) New Forest

An ancient forest in the South of England, that William the Conqueror made Royal Forest in about 1079 for the royal hunt mainly of deer. According to local folklore, he did so by evicting large populations of peasants and burning their houses, but modern historians consider this unlikely. True or not, William was punished by fate as two of his sons died in the Forest; Prince Richard in 1081 and King William II (William Rufus) in 1100. We have visited New Forest before for the Beaulieu National Motor Museum, but this time we went for cycling in the woods.
There are about 3000 ponies in the Forest. They are wild in the sense that they roam freely but are owned by forest's commoners and have been branded with badges that identify each owner.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

(3 Aug 2013) Isle of Sheppey

About an hour from London, the Isle of Sheppey has the dubious distinction of being the only part of the UK to have been lost to a foreign power after William the Conqueror's invasion in 1066. In 1667, a Dutch fleet sailing up the Thames Estuary towards the Medway captured the fort at Sheerness and occupied the island for a few weeks.

St Thomas the Apostle, Harty

Elmley Marshes

Elmley Marshes is supposed to be a birdwatcher's paradise, and we did come across a few (birdwatchers), but all I managed to photograph in the one hour we stayed was a juvenile blackbird taking a nap. From then on, there was a lot of reflecting, especially on the merits and shortcomings of bovine life, and accompanying photos, some with and some without film. All in all, it was a nice walk in the countryside.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

(20 July 2013) Oxford and Warwick Castle

Again medieval theme, this time in England. On our way to Warwick Castle we made a first stop in Oxford. Oxford's reputation is closely linked to its university, the oldest in the English-speaking world, and its literary tradition (Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, T.E. Lawrence, Oscar Wilde etc.). The city has a population of 150,000 and was founded around 900 AD as a river crossing for oxen (Oxen Ford). As we had only an hour, we had a walk around the university campuses and spent some time in the Pitt Rivers museum of anthropology and world archaeology.

For lunch, we went to the Turkish "Denis Restaurant" in Bicester.

Next, the majestic Warwick Castle.

Some brilliant demonstrations of knights' jousting and a trebuchet: