Monday, March 13, 2006


Yes, I'm back and I'm in one piece. And considering the way I ski, that's pretty amazing.

Right. I never really got around to uploading any pictures from when Amelia came to visit me, so I'll start with those.

This is Windsor Castle. Well, a little bit of it. We like our castles big, y'know. I think this is the State Apartments, but it's hard to tell since when I was inside them I really wasn't interested in looking out!

Now we have a highly artistic shot of Stonehenge. It wasn't really that dark... well, maybe it was. Bit overcast. So long as it's not actually raining, that's considered a good day, weatherwise.

Here's a view of the Roman baths in Bath. Bath is a beautiful city, a wonderful example of Georgian town planning. In the background you can see the Abbey, which is hugely gothic and ornate. As abbeys tend to be. The actual structure of the baths that we have today is Georgian: the bathhouse used by the Romans fell into disrepair and was actually forgotten about for several hundred years until it was discovered again in the eighteenth century, when Bath once again became very fashionable (Jane Austen mentions it a lot). But the remains of the complex system of hot and cold pools, saunas and cold rooms, can still be seen.

The pool in this picture is cold, but there is a hot spring that provides very mineral-rich water. For 50p you can get a glass of it straight from the pump (in the beautiful Georgian Pump Room). It's about 45'c, salty and sulphurous, and apparently people used to drink pints and pints of it every day for well-being. It's certainly an acquired taste.

The Tower of London -- or again, part of it. The Tower is pretty huge, and is really an example of medieval fortress living. It still has a population of a couple of hundred: the Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters to you and me) and their families who live there. For hundreds of years it was the home of the monarchy, and an important defence on the Thames. It's most famous as a jail, but in reality, even while people were being held there in captivity, it was still a working castle. Not many people were tortured there, and only seven people were actually executed within the castle's walls (the rest were executed publicly on the scaffold at Tower Hill). It was considered a privilege to be executed there, in private. Six of the seven were actually women (two of whom had been married to Henry VIII: you'd think they'd have learned...)

Westminster and Big Ben. Actually, Big Ben is the bell inside the tower (I can't remember what the tower/clock is called. St Something's Tower... answers on a postcard please).

Rightiho. In the interests of letting this post actually load sometime before 2007, I'm going to stop there. Plus I don't have any more decent pictures. Stupid camera kept crapping out on me. Amelia has some wicked ones, though, and she's put them up here, so go and have a gander.

I'll be back later with some skiing pictures. The scenery out there is really just gorgeous.

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