Here we are, Folks, at the end of the week in England, one of my 70th-birthday gifts to me, myself and I. Hello. Mission accomplished!
It was our last full day with Lisl and Michael and so happened to be on Sunday, Father's Day, 21 June. So off we went, first to the Chedworth Roman Villa 50 miles away over back, windy roads.
It's one of the largest Roman villas in England and from the early 2nd to 4th centuries.
But true to English form, we immediately went for coffee break when we arrived.
Since I don't like just plain coffe, I usually find something else...like Ginger Beer!
And because the shop was nearby, yes, we bought a Beerus Britannicus to take home.
Then we were off to see the mosaics, still under excavation.
It's painstaking work to get it all back together as it once was.
Does it blow your mind that we're talking about close to 2000 years ago???
You know those Romans, of course, and their baths.
Almost everything we know today about water we learned from them.
This villa was discovered in 1864 and is believed to have been a farm
of a very wealthy Roman, founded in 120 AD.
It's still being excavated, as funds are available.
I think of Mom and how she would be beyond herself at such a place.
Among all the other things, she was an archeological nut!
Did you know that escargot snails were brought to England by the Romans?
They run wild and free at this Villa and are protected.
Look how big they are (and surely very tasty)!
As happens at such tourist attractions, there were shows and exhibitions.
What did the Romans do, of course, but fight the rest of the world. HA!
And because it was Father's Day, the kids got to fight their dads.
How fun is that!
It worked up an appetite for a splendid picnic lunch, thanks to Lisl and Michael.
Talk about living the good life.
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On our way to the Malmesbury Abbey, we drove 8 miles from Chedworth
to the Cirencester/Corinium Ampitheatre from the early 2nd century.
It's approximately 150 x 135 feet and probably held up to 8,000 people.
Don't you wonder what history those grassy mounds could tell!
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Malmesbury Abbey, from the 7th century, was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul.
When we arrived, we saw hints of it from its back side along the weir.
We then climbed steps over these inlaid history markers to the abbey....
...passing the world-famous Abby House Gardens along the way.
We stopped only long enough to get a good look at the naked wrestlers.
Apparently the present owners tend the 5-acre garden naked!
We continued to wind our way around the ancient ruins.
And just before getting to the entrance, we walked to the nearby Market Cross for tea break.
The English (and the Dutch, I might add) really do take these breaks seriously.
What a spectacular view on all sides of the abbey but especially at the front.
Surely every detail tells a story before you even enter.
Don't you love that it's dog-friendly!
When we entered, the late-afternoon service was already in session.
But the lady at the back told us to make ourselves at home, take photos..."no one will care."
Much of the abbey still survives, with this existing third of the nave still in active service.
This video doesn't do the sound justice but...
let's just say my deepest soul welled up with tears.
I couldn't think of a better place to end the England 2015 trip.
THANK YOU, Lisl and Michael, for knowing. You know me...
sometimes better than I know myself?!
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And now, with grandson Nicholas arriving tomorrow from Atlanta for two whole weeks,
I'm ready to concentrate on yet another 70th-birthday gift to me, myself and I.
Life really doesn't get better than this.