A Travellerspoint blog

England

English Engagements

August 14-20 2019

..and so to Old Blighty!

First to Mary Clare's sister Karena in Turvey, Bedforshire, north of London via Luton Airort with Ryanair. For all the stick they take, the flight was actually fine, and far less stressful than JestStar at home.

We had a slight hiccup with the rental car; Phil thought he'd ordered a return to Gatwick but they were expecting it to be returned to Luton. Nothing, though, that money couldn't fix! :(

We got a great welcome from Karena in her fabulous home in the country. A stroll through nearby woods, a pint or two near the River Ouse; something historical hapened nearby but can't remember what! It was great to catch up. And on Friday night we got to spend time with two of Mary Clare's cousins, Cecilia and Tanya, along with Tanya's husband Julian and son Sebastian. Many photos taken!

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Then south to Bournemouth to brother Paul, and Carole. But a slight detour took us to visit MC's mother Mary's cousin Piers. Piers has always been a bit special to us; he was a huge support to Mary Clare when she was completing her nursing training at St Thomas's Hospital in London and hosted our whole family on one of our visits when the kids were young.

Piers is a fount of knowledge on 'Mondiana' the history and acquistitions of the Mond family. The Monds were a well-to-do and connected family in 19th and early 20th century England. Dr Ludwig Mond, a Fellow of the Royal Society pioneered commercialisation of the Solvay Process to produce soda ash, apparently a sought after product at the time, efficiently. For the chemically inclined: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvay_process

The company, Brunner Mond, made a huge amount of money, such that this was able to happen https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/about-us/history/collectors-and-benefactors/dr-ludwig-mond.

Ludwig had two sons, Alfred and Robert, both knighted, the latter Mary Clare's mother's grandfather. Robert was an early 20s philanthropist and Egyptologist and Alfred a cabinet minister in Lloyd George's government, including during the partition of Ireland!!! For Blackadder fans, Alfred was the real first Lord Melchett :) The family has now abandoned the title, Robert apparently originally declined a similar offer.

Here's a few old photos from Piers showing Sir Robert with daugher Frida (MC's grandmother) and Mary, MC's mum; and MC's Mum with her parents and two brothers.

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Piers lives next to a rather special farm; the one on which Jethro Tull (the original, not the band invented the seed drill, which enabled the British agricultural revolution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_Tull_(agriculturist)

And then onward to Bournemouth and Paul and Carole. Great to see them, especially given they are still wallowing in the news of daughter Stephanie's engagement :) Other niece Katherine has worked for many years for a record label (Heavenly) which has inspired a return to vinyl in the Cantwell household. So Phil got to listen to the new vinyl purchases, as well as get introduced to some great new stuff.

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Paul played tour guide on Sunday, taking us to a Dorset Winery - yes there is such a thing as English champagne! Tried four; two were drinkable, one actually quite good. Then Portland Bill (Bill = long thin penninsula). Windswept but great views. Odd (from our point of view) little 'beach huts' turned out to be more like small bachs in NZ terms, but cheek by jowl and perched on top of a cliff with no beach access possible!! A few people reading books in deck-chairs while half the world went by :) Then Weymouth, where the sailing for the 'London' Olympics was held. Lovely place, humming on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

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Then lunch at the Parkstone yacht club, something of a Davis/Cantwell home-from-home with Paul & Carole, Carole's folks John and Bernadette and a great surprise, with Stephanie’s fiancé Liam, who we had last seen with Stephanie at Tui Tce for Christmas. We also got to meet Liam's parents.
Gilding the lily, we then ate out at a lovely little Greek restaurant. Mousakka anyone? And a village church, now a supermarket, took Mc's fancy!

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We took the opportunity on the drive to Gatwick to visit old friends Julia (nee Malvisi) and James Guest. Phil and Julia were residents together in the Worth Abbey Lay Community at Worth Abbey, in 1977-78 - where/when Phil and MC met. Lovely Pub meal (thanks to our hosts), and a visit to a small 'chapel in a windmill" - as you do.

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Finally, a few signs that took my (Phil's) fancy; from the "only in England" Department.
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Sorry this has been so late. Having too much fun. But now settled for a few days west of Lisbon, and the Prague text is mostly written; hopefully in a day or two.

Posted by philandmc 08:02 Archived in England Comments (0)

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