Wonderful to spend time with my lovely family in England. My dear auntie Joan cannot stop spoiling me and of course I am not raising any objections. Upon my arrival at Southampton airport I had a slight problem with immigration. I have been questioned before when entering the UK and most of the time I have not purchased return ticket. On this occasion they asked all the usual questions - why are you here, who are you visiting and how long you will stay then they proceeded to ask me how much money I had on me, how much money did I have access to, did I own or rent, what family lives in Canada, what did I do for a living when I worked etc etc. this went on for about 15 minutes and then they lectured me about not having booked a return ticket and how they could deny me access but they will let it go this time - time for me to apply for a European passport!
I must have brought the weather from Portugal as England had a heat wave during my entire visit. The temperatures were in the high twenties every day and some days reached the 30's. This gave me a great opportunity to clean up auntie Joan's garden (I do miss my garden so this was a good substitute) - she was very pleased with my work and the 2 person swing I purchased for her birthday.
We attended the Winchester Hat Festival. Thousands of people flock to Winchester to take part in its annual "hat festival".The Winchester Hat Fair started in 1974 and is England's longest running festival of street arts and outdoor performance - to think I thought it was a festival where everyone wears hats!
We celebrated auntie Joan's 83rd birthday with a family brunch - it was a lot of fun preparing some of my old standbys for the family to enjoy! What a great day!
My cousin Jackie and her husband Chris were just in Canada and visited Victoria for a few days. Aaron made them a halibut dinner and they also got to visit dad. They returned to England on the 8th and we were able to get together. They took me for a beautiful breakfast in a little village and on my last day we visited Windsor castle.
Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county ofBerkshire. The castle is notable for its long association with the British royal family and for its architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by succeeding monarchs and it is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. More than five hundred people live and work in Windsor Castle.
Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London, and to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte and bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century.Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to produce an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England". Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.
Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters for Parliamentary forces and a prison forCharles I. After a period of neglect during the 18th century,George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo,Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Victoria made minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge for the royal family during the bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992. It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the Queen's preferred weekend home.
We were able to go in an area of the castle but were not allowed to take pictures as this area is still used during state visits.
Royal ice cream truck
The castle is on the Heathrow flight path - every 40 seconds a plane flies over Windsor castle - you would think she could afford to live in a better area!
Romeo Romeo where for art thou - oh sorry wrong castle!
Cousin Jackie and I
Scenes around Windsor town- town much bigger than I expected
The royal train no longer in operation
Old train station converted to shopping mall with lots of eating establishments
We took a ride on the River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom, behind the River Severn. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford, Reading, Henley-on-Thames, Windsor, Kingston upon Thames, and Richmond.
The river gives its name to several geographical and political entities, including the Thames Valley, a region of England around the river between Oxford and west London, the Thames Gateway, the area centred on the tidal Thames, and the Thames Estuary to the east of London. The tidal section of the river is covered in more detail under Tideway.
Houseboats on the river
The only view i could capture of Eaton College (where the princes attended school)
On the way t o Windsor we passed the Royal Ascot where the annual horse race is held - at least now I know where It is in case I decide to attend.
Thank you to my family for such wonderful visit - look forward to seeing you you next year. On to New York City via Kuwait airlines - should I wear a berkha?