Hello dear friends and family,
I know many of you are eagerly waiting to hear and see how our meal at Hix went, especially after those photos of the Full English Breakfast. I don't know, I think "nauseating" was a bit strong (I think more than one person may have used that word). I rather enjoy them, but I did break it up with a breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, which is available at many B&Bs.
Many of our readers are pretty hilarious people, so I felt I must share. From Rex Amos: Since I have hugged you, this means I am one degree of separation from President Obama. If I hug you in future perhaps this will mean I have hugged Obama, too. And if I lick Don’s face, I will be one degree of separation from Bo. Wow, I can hardly wait to see you two again!
And from the natural-born comedienne Mavis: Up early this morning, bubbling and squeaking after eating a big bacon cheeseburger with sliced onions at Pete's Henny Penny in Petaluma. What an adventure you are having! As usual, I've gained 5 pounds just looking at the food. Not sure about the sunny-side-up eggs, though...
Don displaying a starter of sprats; small white fish which have been splayed and deep fried. Delicious.
Don displaying his mussels (he insisted I cut off his head). I had a fish "pie"; assorted fish (all super fresh, don't worry) baked with a mashed potato crust; even less lovely in appearance than these dishes, but very tasty. I dunno folks, this isn't France or Japan. Presentation is not high on the list, but the food was quite excellent here.
It's lovely, but it's too friggin cold. Era striding across the beach. The Cobb is in the background
We stayed a bit out of Salisbury, the result of not having reserved ahead of time. It turned out to be great as the hosts, Steve and Kay, were great people. Steve, who trains marines how to jump freefall out of airplanes, had an aerial map of the area. We were staying towards the left side of the map and almost directly across from that double circle, which is Old Sarum. The inner circle was the medieval castle and the outer circle encircled the old town. You can see the outline of the old cathedral, which is, naturally, in the shape of a cross. The whole town was built upon the much older site of probably Druids and stone age people before them. The whole vast outer circle rises considerably up above the plain. Steve told us about a path, starting from their house, which went thru fields, over the river, and then brought you to the back entrance of Sarum.
Passed this thatched house on the way.
Model of Old Sarum.
It was a wonderful path, some of it passing along the river, but then we couldn't find the back entrance.
And ended up having to scramble up this very steep hill of very slippery mud, just like would-be invaders of Old Sarum, except we didn't have boulders being thrown at our heads. There is a great deal of limestone around Old Sarum, which means a lot of diatoms make up the soil (an interest of ours) and also means very slippery while also sometimes sticky mud. I was so afraid that one of my shoes would fall off and roll all the way down the hill.
Part of the "inner circle." Cold and blustery at the top. This is why, we are told, some top decision-makers, church and king, decided to move the entire community to the flat plains and the confluence of several rivers of present-day Salisbury. I guess things must have calmed down politically and there was less fear of attack.
Walked into town in time to see the beautiful cathedral at dusk.
Salisbury cloisters, the largest cloisters in somewhere - Great Britain? Anyway, pretty roomy.
Several local legends. Inside the impressive Salisbury cathedral is the tomb of an Earl of Salisbury, John Longspée, who our guide said was actually a good man, loyal, knightly, protector of the weak, that sort of thing. He died unexpectedly after a meal and poison was suspected at the time. Later when his tomb was dug up, a well-preserved rat was found inside his skull. This state of preservation was thought to have been the result of the rat having eaten Sir John's arsenic riddled brain.
This rat is now in the Salisbury Museum. In the 21st century, a patron of the museum decided to adopt this rat, as she was born in the year of the rat. It's a fund-raising program the museum has. Thought Hung Liu might get a chuckle from this (also born in the year of the rat). A new idea for fund raising; museum officials everywhere, take note.
Another local legend has to do with the Haunch of Venison, the oldest pub in Salisbury, and where we did venture to have a meal, although it is so old that it reeks of all sorts of odd and ancient smells. An unfortunate card player there once had his hand removed and the mummified hand was preserved and is supposedly displayed in the pub.
Era having a look at the supposed severed hand, which looked suspiciously like a rubber casting.
When we queried the bartender about it, he admitted that that was not the real hand. The real mummified hand has been stolen and recovered a number of times (once dropped thru the mail slot) and it is currently stolen. He did say that he thought the story about Churchill and Eisenhower is true. The 2 statesmen met in a cubby at the Haunch of Venison, and plotted at least some of their plans for D-Day. Looking at the photo (above) the nook or cubby would be the windows on the ground floor, right-hand side.
And one last Salisbury gristly bit, found at the Farmer's Market, next to the dog biscuits.
Whereupon, we climbed into our shiny red telephone box and were transported into 21st century London.
Era and Don