we were going to sail from Southampton on Monday, and on Saturday Kevin and I and Carol and Alan set off in their car, with the good dog Bob in the back.  Their daughter Emma lives in Southampton, and they were going to spend two nights with her and her husband james and their kids, and kevin and i would stay in a b&b.

Carol cooked us porridge for breakfast again, so nice of her.  Carol and Alan are both such lovely people, and i hope we get to see them again.  maybe they’d like to come visit us?  That would be fun.

Since we’d met carol and her friend mary on the queen mary 2, we’d never met carol’s husband alan til he picked us up at the train station.  because i excel at worrying, i thought, what if he’s not nice?  what if he’s grumpy, what if he feels like we’re a huge imposition? we’d be driving in the car with them to southampton, what if we annoy him and we have a horrible, sullen drive?

and of course i was utterly and completely wrong; alan is fun and kind, easygoing and delightful, and i still can’t believe all the driving around he did, carrying us here and there and everywhere.  we kept trying to give him gas money because gas is always waaaay more expensive in england, but he kept refusing it.  if they would come visit us we probably wouldn’t do as much driving around because the countryside here isn’t chock-full of fabulous castles and quaint old towns.

We didn’t get a very early start, and i videotaped and took photos of carol and alan’s house.

here they are in the backyard with Bob.

they must spend so much time working to make their garden so lovely.  kevin helped by raking up some apples.

they have many cute little garden gnomes.

they also have a little greenhouse, very cool.

ok, why does this say dunham?  i took a picture for my friend randy, since his last name is dunham.  maybe it’s an old family name or something, because it’s not the name of carol and alan’s street.

we drove on the busy motorway towards portsmouth, and stopped for a walk and some lunch at a little rest stop.  but it was NOTHING like an american rest stop – right against it was a wonderful little woods where you could walk, and at the end was…something, i can’t remember what because i didn’t videotape it.  i want to say it was a lighthouse, but that seems odd to me because we weren’t at the water.  maybe it was some kind of watch tower?

anyway, first we walked, and carol and alan were careful to not let bob step through all the puddles along the path.  we walked past a lovely field of heather, which i did videotape, but i guess at this point kevin didn’t feel like taking pictures, or maybe he left his camera in the car.

we walked to the tower or whatever, and headed back.  as we were almost back to the car park, bob suddenly laid right down in a HUGE puddle, big enough for him to have a bath in.  he was then very muddy, which was actually very funny.  but no videotape of that, either!

oh well.  carol had brought a delicious lunch, which i think included cheese and chutney sandwiches, which i’ve made a couple of times since being home, and i LOVE them and will serve them again because they’re easy and delicious.

we set off again, but like i said, it was later than we’d planned on.  carol and alan dropped us off at the HMS Victory in Portsmouth, but there wasn’t a huge amount of time left before it closed.  the whole port area is a tourist attraction; you pay and then you can go on a bunch of different things there, but we really just wanted to see the HMS Victory.  well, kevin wanted to see it, and i was happy to go along.

here it is.

kevin took this panorama shot; if i remember, i should use it for my june banner, but june is very far off, so it’s highly unlikely i’ll remember.

the ship is amazingly well-preserved.

it was a little bit chilly, and at the very last minute carol loaned me her jacket, which i was very happy to have because it was quite a walk to the ship.

i think this was lord nelson’s cabin, but i could be wrong.  i described a lot of these photos in all the videotaping i did, because i was listening to the audio guide while taping.  if you don’t know, the HMS Victory is famous because, well, here is a little excerpt from wikipedia, in case you don’t know about it but want to know a tiny bit:

The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition (August–December 1805) of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).

The battle was the most decisive British naval victory of the war. Twenty-seven British ships of the line led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard HMS Victory defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships of the line under French Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve off the south-west coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being lost.

so that’s it in a nutshell, but you probably knew all that, but i didn’t.

this is where the men slept.  even lord nelson slept in a hammock, i believe.  maybe this was better because of the rocking of the ship?

the ship was so immaculately clean, and it’s hard to picture what it must have been like when stuffed with lots of men.  not as clean, and probably very smelly, because besides all the men, there were also chickens other animals.  cows?  i’m not so sure about cows, but they definitely had chickens.

I’m pretty sure these were some kind of irons were put on men who were bad.

that’s the naval yard down there.

there’s a lot of video as well as all those pictures.

there wasn’t much time when we left the ship to look around, but we stumbled upon the most fabulous antique mall i’ve ever seen.  it was filled with so many different kinds of incredibly things, but we had to kind of hustle through it in a hurry.  i did take a little video, though.

we walked out of the shipyard and found our way to a train that would take us to the stop closest to alan and carol’s daughter’s house.  it was quite a walk to the train, then we had to switch trains, and it all took a while.  alan must have picked us up from the train, but i have no memory of that at all, probably because he took us back to their house where their daughter emma had made us a SPECTACULAR tea, with chocolate chip cookies, scones, homemade bread, and all kind of fabulous things.  she had worked so hard, and then we didn’t get there til much later than they thought we would, but of course everybody was OK with that.

emma and james have two children, but i can’t remember their names.  it was fun to be with a big family.

alan then drove us to our b&b, and WHY don’t we have any photos of it???  i think maybe tomorrow there will be a couple, and i know there is some video of it.  it was a wonderful, beautiful place, and alan had gone there before we came to visit and had checked it out and said it was nice.  it had a huge, wonderful garden in back and i did videotape that.

we then drove back and met everybody for dinner at a lovely restaurant.

here is a beautiful sunset; in the video i say that we’re going to have dinner at a place overlooking this bay, but that restaurant was too crowded, so we went to some other delicious place.

what a good day.

in this video, when i inevitably ask kevin how he’s doing, i think you can see that he’s really happy.  being with nice friends made the vacation so much more fun.

and that is all for now.  more soon, i promise, even though this summer is filled with much too much of everything that needs to be done.


ok then,

mrs. hughes.