On the Road

We woke up bright and early to take the train to get our car to drive to Cornwall. And we had some wonderful adventures on our way.

It started with the most beautiful cab ride to Waterloo Station to catch the train. Our cab driver was so sweet – piled our bags into the cab for us. Love his sign (hard to read!): Keep Calm I’ve Got the Knowledge.

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London cab drivers have to take a very difficult and extensive test over “The Knowledge” of London to get their license. More about it here: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-private-hire/licensing/learn-the-knowledge-of-london. They really are the most amazing professional drivers and can tell you anything you want to know!

Our sweet cab driver took us by some of our favorite London sites. We went past Buckingham Palace with the Victoria Monument.

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We got to see the tulips out in front in the semi-circle formed by famous ship masts.

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Then St James park . . .

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Back to our friend Churchill surveying his realm.

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And all the bikers going to work past Parliament.

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Cabs and cab drivers in London are the absolute best!

And the ease of riding the train cannot be beat. You arrive at your bustling station and then wait for your platform to be announced.

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Here is ours!

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Then just step into a car, and get ready to go. Tea on the train is always delicious.

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Just an hour later we arrive at Winchester station, and it is the tiniest walk out the station entrance to Enterprise car rental. So easy!

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We pop our things in our car (it is a Vauxhall Mokka for those who want to know!) and then we walk down the hill into the medieval streets of Winchester.

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This part of the adventure is for you, Hannah Faye Paley.

Winchester is where Jane Austen spent the last few months of her life. She came here from her home in Chawton, about 16 miles away, to be near her doctor. She was just 41 years old, suffering perhaps from Addison’s Disease or (the latest theory is) tuberculosis. She stayed with her sister Cassandra in a little house on College Street near the cathedral. Unfortunately, her illness could not be treated successfully, and she died here in Winchester.

Because she loved the cathedral so much, she asked to be buried here.

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We can see why Jane wanted to be buried here. It is such an amazing place! It has the longest nave of any Gothic church in Europe.

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It is so light-filled! The ceiling is amazing!

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And the windows . . .

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Our favorite is the big west window over the entrance. It is gorgeous just looking at it:

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But then as you look closer you see it looks like a modern collage!

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The window was destroyed during Cromwell’s reign in the 1640s – but the shards were kept and the windows were put back together using the pieces in a random pattern. So cool to spot the different faces among the colors and patterns.

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Modern before modern times!

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We listened in on a tour of the cathedral when the guide was here by Jane Austen’s grave.

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She told the folks on the tour that Jane wanted to be buried here but this was before she was well-known. Because her father was a clergyman and her brothers could afford to purchase a spot in the cathedral, she was allowed to be buried here.

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I am sorry I didn’t get a good photo of the gravestone so it’s easier to see what it says. What was interesting was what the guide asked her tour group: “Nowhere on this grave marker is there a mention that Jane Austen was an author. Do you know why?”

People gave various guesses – then the guide said, “It was because she was a woman. It was not considered particularly seemly to be a woman author.” She explained that it wasn’t until Austen achieved fame after her death that the cathedral itself erected this golden plaque on the wall – that says why Jane Austen is so famous.

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She also told the group that normally there are flowers around Jane’s grave. Like the flowers on the pamphlet we picked up:

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During Lent, no flowers are allowed in the cathedral, so all the tributes to Jane are picked up.

This year is a special year as it marks the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death. Look at some of the events to mark the anniversary!

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Such a beautiful place to pay tribute to one of our favorite authors! Hannah . . . we might need to come back in July!

There are many moving things to see in the cathedral. They have rolls of those in the parish who died in all the conflicts that Britain has been in. Here is just a page from the World War I book. I was struck by the numbers who died in Flanders.

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And the statuary is gorgeous. Here is my favorite bishop asleep on his tomb. He reminds me of Granddaddy Montgomery asleep with his Louis L’amour on his chest!

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It might be a bit sacrireligious, but I found myself humming one tune over and over in Winchester Cathedral . . . do you remember this one? Kim does not remember it! I guess it beats humming Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again . . .

One thought on “On the Road

  1. Well, I remember Winchester Cathedral. However, Uncle Butch would tell you that On The Road Again by Willie Is the only song there is.

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