Monday, July 20, 2009
Bath and back to Southampton
It's now Monday, and I have been spending the last day and a half - when I'm not being spoiled rotten by Ange - looking around old graveyards. Ange and I have common ancestors who were baptised, married or buried in various towns and villages on the outskirts of Southampton. It was quite a business finding some of the old churches - they were not where we expected. Often they were down a country lane - usually called Church Lane - in the middle of a paddock. We didn't have much success with graves of ancestors though - they were usually too weatherworn and covered in algae.
Before travelling back to Southampton, I spent much of Saturday exploring Bath. John and I had been there last year, but we explored not much more than the Roman Baths, the Abbey and the Pump Room. This time, I walked up to the Circus, and I was absolutely enchanted. See the photo above. I simply couldn't believe the symmetry of the Georgian architecture. I wandered around the streets, went to a museum at No 1 Royal Crescent, and then found the Jane Austen Centre, where we were allowed to take photos inside.
At the Centre we were treated to a presentation by a youngish woman who'd obviously learned her talk off by heart. At the beginning, she drew her shoulders back dramatically, took a deep breath and launched headlong into her talk! At the end, I said - to no one in particular - Phew! And the guy next to me chuckled and said you are not wrong! No chance for questions... But all in all, it was well worth the five pounds.
I found the Assembly Rooms as well, but it was being used for a show so I couldn't see inside.
I peeped inside St Michael's church where they were advertising lunch and found a quiet little restaurant operating in the area usually reserved for the baptismal font. Different anyway. After that it was time to collect my rucksack from the YMCA and head for the station. The trip from Bath to Southampton took an hour and a half of pleasant rail travel.
Ange picked me up at Southampton Central and we headed for the St Mary's football stadium, where we watched the relegated Saints (Southampton) play a Dutch team at soccer. As Paul's "enabler" she managed to get back in to see the game and bring me in for free. Despite Paul's best advice to the players, the Saints lost to the visitors.
Tomorrow we are taking Ange's mother (my dad's third cousin) out for lunch and then it's back to Horsham to Linda and Peter's place.