Feeling almost unreasonably excited, or at least I was, we walked across the expanse of rough grass towards the peculiar little monument. It had the look of a tiny white church with a triangular spire sitting on a steep sided grassy mound. If I hadn’t known better I could have thought the mound beneath the monument was one of the ancient burial mounds I’d read about on the big map earlier. In fact is is a burial mound of a very different kind.
When we stepped inside the chapel it was empty except for the lady who sells tickets for the tower tour and a single guide. Entry to the chapel is free but there is a small charge to climb the one hundred and sixty six steps to the top of the forty six metre high tower. This was what we’d walked so far for and £3.50 seemed a small price to pay for a birds eye view of the park. Continue reading Climbing to the top of the chapel
A quick look at the map made up my mind. The top part of Blue Ball Hill looked to be devoid of houses and I could see the square tower of a church a little way along St John’s Street. Old churches are almost impossible to resist and I could always walk back up and explore further afterwards. With this in mind I began to walk along St John’s Street. There were so many interesting looking houses, it was slow going and, as I walked, I realised I was gradually going downhill, slowly losing all the altitude I’d gained with so much effort earlier. Continue reading The Soke and the oldest church in Winchester
The final part of our tour of God’s House took us into the tower itself. Built in 1417, at the same time as the gallery we’d just left, the tower was one of the earliest forts built specifically to carry cannon. It had eight gunports and rooftop firing points. The gallery and tower jut out from the town walls and would have spanned the town moat, meaning the town gunner had the perfect vantage point to protect the water mill and the gate. Where the gallery was far larger than I’d expected, the inside of the tower seemed smaller. In the eighteenth century, when it was used as the debtors prison, it must have been terribly cramped. Continue reading Up on the roof
Our brief stop at Porteau Cove had showed me beauty beyond my wildest dreams. Now we all agreed it was time for lunch. Jen and Kevin knew just the place, The Howe Sound Brewing Company in Squamish, a one time hop Farm turned micro brewery. The rustic atmosphere ticked all the right boxes and the food was perfect. According to Commando, so was the beer, although it took him a while to choose. Replete and happy we found our way back onto Highway 99 and headed from the sea to the sky. Pretty soon we were looking up at the Sea to Sky Gondola and, behind the low wooden building, the tumbling water of Shannon Falls, the third highest waterfall in British Columbia. I had the feeling my dreams were going to get a lot wilder before the day was out.
After a well earned and rather delicious cup of coffee in the cafe at Perlan it was time to go back outside again, this time onto the rooftop walkway. First we had to pile back on all the layers we’d stripped off when we were in the cafe. Obviously, this took quite some time. You would not believe the number of clothes you need to go outside in an Icelandic winter. No wonder everything seems to happen in slow motion here. Then it was through a fairly reluctant revolving door that took Commando’s muscle power to budge it. Perhaps it was frozen? Continue reading A panoramic pearl and a pool filled with gold
We’d purposely saved our zebra hunting in the parks for a sunny day and today had more than enough sun. In fact there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. There were six zebras to find, or there should have been. We already knew Skittles, near the bandstand in Palmerston Park, was likely to be absent. He was stolen on the same night as Ticket to Ride, ripped from his plinth. Unlike the poor First Bus zebra he was found, damaged and dumped in some bushes in Hoglands Park. Why anyone should want to damage these lovely beasts and spoil everyone’s fun is beyond me. Continue reading A disappointing walk in the parks
The final day had arrived. The longest week in the history of the world was over, along with my job. The final views from the top of the world were disappointing, no blue sky, no sunsets, just cloud and a lot of howling wind gently rocking the building until we thought it might take off. Most of the work that got done involved Rose’s car and then there was champagne… Continue reading Final view from the top of the world – first published 20 December 2013
The last week at Silver Helm had arrived. Every day felt full of silent goodbyes and last evers, even though some, like a visit to the warehouse in the docks, were really first times. Slowly, the building that had been our lovely, organised office was turning into a ghost town of boxes and empty shelves. We all bustled about, sorting, packing and shredding while trying to pretend we were fine. Inside we were crying, at least I was. The only things that kept me sane were the little things in each day to make me smile. Continue reading A week of silent goodbyes – first published 19 December 2013
Some days seem to be filled with turmoil and 6 December 2013 was certainly one of them. The day before we had high winds, the edge of an Atlantic storm. The morning news was full of gale force winds, storm damage and floods. In our little office and in the wider world there was turmoil too. Continue reading Turmoil – first published 6 December 2013