Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bath et al

Well, after two failed attempts, Shelley and I finally made our way out to Bath, Stone Henge and Windsor Castle yesterday. Premium Tours was the company’s name, premium tours was not its game. It was still very good though.

So Windsor Castle. Those guys are rich, and I mean really rich. If they sold some of the stuff they’ve got there in the Trading Post they’d make an absolute mint. Ethiopian crowns, jewel studded Persian swords, innate warrior costumes from northern India. I mean if I went around the world killing people and putting their most prized possessions in glass cases to charge an admission fee, they’d call me a sick murderer (albeit with a keen business sense). The audio guide told us most of what was on display were “gifts” to the Queen, but don’t you believe it. You’ve got to ask yourself, “What did she say just before they gave it to her?” You heard it here first.

Anyway, the castle as you might imagine was very impressive. The ludicrous number of rooms; the fact that everything is gold-plated (or is it a crafty use of paint?); and the sheer sheerness of it all – all this combined to make the Castle, how do you say, good to see.

Next was Stone Henge. On the long bus trip to Stone Henge I began to make a delightful rhyme in order to remember the details surrounding the Battle of Hastings. If you too want to impress your friends, here it is:

Ed the Confessor,
he had no successor,
so promised his Kingdom to Will.

Of Normandy birth,
he had some French turf,
but wanted the English land still.

Now years they went by,
and Edward soon died,
so William came forth for the crown.

But as he knelt down,
to pick up the crown,
he found that he wasn't alone.

Harold was sure,
the weight of the law (what law Julian?),
should make him the king to be.

Oh forget it, it's too long and lacks sense. The Saxon lost and the Norman won.

Next was Stone Henge. Now even though it was a gloriously (Shelley just got up) sunny day, it was cold up there. I can’t imagine what that place is like in winter. Anyway, I’ve decided the druids probably didn’t build Stone Henge. I mean, how many ripped druids have you seen walking around lately. Like Windsor Castle, those rocks are big, and would require a straight back when lifting.

The audio guide for Stone Henge was hilarious. It prefaced everything with, “Well, you might be asking yourself such-such”, and followed everything up with, “Well, the truth is, we don’t know. Perhaps…” Time and time again this guy just “didn’t know”, and instead served-up some lily-faced conjecture and hearsay. But Stone Henge was also very good.

Next we went onto a dismal pub lunch. Now the tour guide (who all day seemed to think he was winning loyal clients with rare and brutal honesty) really let himself down here. In a moment of frankness with a Swedish couple, he told us all that, “Frankly, I’d prefer to skip the pub lunch thing and give you another hour in Bath, but you know it’s all a money-spinning exercise. I think the company makes about three or four pounds for every meal bought at the pub”. Hhhm. If only I could go back and make an offer on one of those jewel-studded Persian swords. Luckily Shelley and I were not chumps. The Americans were. He-he. “We’re from LA and we like to pay!”

So Bath. Bath is really amazing. It pretty much looked like Italy, which makes a bit of sense. I think we will certainly go back there just because it’s very nice to walk around, and I’m sure there’s plenty we didn’t see while we eating our pub lunch. The Baths themselves were very impressive. I like to walk on worn paving.

On leaving Bath the tour guide told us that Peter Gabriel used to live in the city (apparently he was good friends with Jane Austin), and that the hill we were climbing (Salsbury Hill) was the inspiration for one of his songs, “Salsbury Hill”. So in one of those cheese-ball moments that you actually enjoy, he put the song on while the bus climbed up Salsbury Hill. Nice. I still want that three or four pounds back.

All in all it was an excellent day. I found out that Pete Townsend grew up in a house just two or so minutes walk from where we live now; that Jimi Hendrix died in a hospital ten minutes down the road; that the Clash came from the suburb next-door to us, and that Sting is a poo-poo head.

Anyway, have to work tomorrow. A grave and foreboding sense of incompetence has just overcome me.


p.s. - will post photos a little later

1 comment:

Helen | Pepperina Press said...

Yay Jules!!
I didn't actually believe you when you said you'd post here, so I could hardly believe my eyes.
I laughed out loud several times (this means a highly successful entry... I have this paragraphs-to-laughs ratio going on informally in my head... never mind)
Keep up the traveling, writing and trashing of tour guides.