I'll be heading home in a week and Robin will follow whenever the test is finished here (supposedly before Thanksgiving!). We are both ready to be home. I do always enjoy our trips here and the great opportunity to see new things and experience a different culture more intimately than as a tourist but home is home and I am missing mine. It is harder to stay current with friends and family than I had imagined it would be even with phone calls and emails - I really feel out of the loop.
Catching up on our activities here: One night I answered the door to a guy from a farm in Devon who comes around every few months selling meats and goods from the farm. I wasn't in need of anything but he was quite the talker and he ran through about a dozen different topics in the 10 minutes he was here. One thing that stuck in my head was his mention of a museum that is preserving examples of English homes from various periods. A little searching uncovered the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum just about an hour's drive from us. On Sunday 11/4 we hit the road to find it. The museum consists of 45 homes dating from the 13th to the 19th centuries that have been rescued from demolition and rebuilt on museum land. It is spread out over tens of acres in beautiful rolling countryside. The museum also conducts various demonstrations and courses on traditional crafts, trades, and everyday skills. When we showed up a man just ahead of us handed us a coupon from a local paper allowing one free entry. Great! Then even better the man at the reception desk just put both our names on the coupon and let us both in free. Gotta love it - a great day out and free to boot. We didn't even get to spend money in the shop because we wandered around until after the museum was officially closed and it was all buttoned up.
Now that's a pizza oven!
On Saturday Nov 10 Robin got the ball rolling by suggesting we drive to Brighton to see what it has to offer. Brighton is on the south coast and is a huge resort area in the summer time. There were still plenty of people on a bright sunny day in November. We walked west along the beach enjoying all the different activities and sights. Juggling, skateboarding, dogs playing, bicyling, kite flying, surfing, jogging, and above all - ice cream eating! We walked a couple of miles and my ankle/foot started aching (yes, that is on the list of things to sort out when I get home) so we turned around and got back to Brighton Pier as the sun was setting and all the lights were coming on. Our 2006 Rough Guide (published in 2004) indicated that the West Pier was to be renovated by 2006 but those plans had obviously been foiled and, in fact, damage from a couple of severe storms seemed to put that dream out of reach. The remains of the pier and what appeared to be a dome lay charred and twisted in the water - very cool looking I thought.
Taking in the fresh sea air at Brighton
Amy at West Pier