2nd E-mail Home (5-9-2010)

Here’s our second e-mail to Minay’s sister, it’s dated 5-9-2010. I sent the first one a couple of days before. Minay wrote this one.

From: Minay Sirois
To: Lyndy Sherman

5/9/2010  8:27 PM

Subject: Our Day at Stonehenge

Hi, Lyndy–

Well, we’ve reached the end of our stay in Bath – and it has been wonderful.  We’ve seen the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, The Fashion Museum, One Crescent House (a beautiful museum of a Georgian home), Stonehenge, Avebury (another stone henge), and Lacock and Castle Combe which are two Cotswold villages just loaded with charm.  We’ve eaten at Sally Lunn’s house (the oldest house in Bath), Thai food, Cornish pasties, fusion food at a trendy eatery, Bath buns for a snack, French food at Tilley’s Bistro, and fish and chips at a real, old British pub.  Tonight we eat at Yak Yeti Yak and have Mongolian food.  Whoever said the British had lousy food hasn’t been to Bath.  I don’t think I have gained any weight, though, because we have walked almost non-stop.

The weather has been unseasonably cold.  And I do mean cold.  Each day I add another layer to keep warm.  Today, touring Stonehenge on Salisbury plain, I wore jeans,an undershirt, a long-sleeved tee, a cotton sweater, a heavy sweatshirt, my coat, scarf, gloves and a fleece hat I bought yesterday.  And I was still half frozen while looking at the stones since it was so windy.  I even had up the hood on my coat.  I think the only thing I could have added is my nightgown – and I was considering that!  It’s not just me – the locals were complaining about how unseasonably cold it has been.  It’s maybe 40 Farenheit with a very sharp wind.  And spitting rain.

Let’s see now, what to tell you about now that you have heard the overview.  Sally Lunn’s was a delightful way to end a very long and stressful first day in England.  I believe Michael told you about the harrowing drive and the exhaustion.  Well, Sally Lunn’s was cozy, candlelit and charming.  And excellent food.

The next day we saw the Roman Baths.  It’s just amazing to think we were walking where Romans walked millennia ago.  It had all been covered over with dirt and lost to civilization for a thousand years until someone stumbled on it while doing street construction in the Georgian period. So they began excavating it and started using it again.  Jane Austen writes of taking the baths.

The Fashion Museum was interesting.  They had clothes from about 1740 on through a stunning 1900 wedding dress, then clothes from the 20th century.  I saw an outfit from 1969 that looked very much like your prom dress (the white top and pants) from that period.  It had been chosen as the dress of the year – representative of that year’s fashion.  Michael was a little less than thrilled here, but they had 20 years of album covers to echo the recent fashions and he liked seeing those.

Today was our guided tour to Stonehenge.  It is one of perhaps 5 henges in the area, most of stone circles, one a wood circle that just has markers where the wood posts once made a circle.  They really don’t have any idea why they were made, but with all those circles in one area clearly they had deep meaning to the people of the time.  They are incredibly old – older than the pyramids or the coliseum.  And they feel it to be there, even with the tourists and listening on an audio guide.  You cannot get near the stones at Stonehenge, but you can go right up to the stones at the Avebury circle, which is actually twice as big but doesn’t have any stones that form arches.  Just really large stones in a circle.  In the Middle Ages the church tried to get the villagers to destroy the circle here, but they wouldn’t do it because they felt the stones were alive.  So, instead, they laid them flat and buried them. Centuries later they were dug up and set upright again.

The two villages we saw were so incredibly charming it’s almost illegal.  We saw the house where Slughorn lived and the Potters lived from the Harry Potter books.  Okay, we saw the houses they used for those places in the Potter movies.  Everywhere you turned, there was another thing to take a picture of.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the Bizarre Bath tour we took.  It started at 8pm and lasted an hour and a half.  They promise absolutely no facts – but slipped up and gave us three I think.  Instead it is jokes, magic tricks, snarky comments, ribbing the tour members, and all sorts of nonsense.  It was hilarious and so much fun I even almost forgot how cold I was.  At one point they are showing us the famous Pulteney Bridge which has shops built on either side of the bridge crossing the river.  While here the guide took a stuffed bunny, chained him up, tied him in a canvas bag and threw him (Stuart the bunny) into the river.  After the count of 10 he floated to the top!  Houdini bunny.  Later they do a trick where they “accidentally” lose a woman’s ring they have tied to a helium balloon.  Just when she is getting upset here comes Stuart on a little scooter bearing a ribbon tied box.  He’s been all nicely fluffed up with a “hare drier”.  In the box is the woman’s ring.  That sort of stuff and nonsense.  We laughed like crazy.

Well, that sort of catches you up.  I’d like to get an email from you just to know you’ve received them and have passed the news on to the folks.

Tomorrow we leave Bath and head south and west into Devon.  We will see Glastonbury where King Arthur is supposed to be buried, and Wells Cathedral and I’m not sure what else.

Better go.  Michael wants his computer back.

Love to all, Minay.

Web: http://michael.sirois.com
E-mail: michael@sirois.com

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” — Yogi Berra

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