The hustle and bustle of London was quite a contrast to the time we spent in Friesland where we’ed been in smaller towns. We spent another week at the Cruising Association House on the Limehouse basin, just off the Thames and very convenient to the DLR line. We wore ourselves out visiting museums. We were constantly amazed at the history and museums London offers. The British Museum, where a bounty of antiquities are on display, the National Portrait Gallery with painting of notable English figures from the past 1000 years are displayed, the London Museum with a history of London from pre-civilization, through Roman, Elizabethan, Victorian and modern times. Mike’s favorite was the Churchill war rooms, an underground complex just steps away from 10 Downing street that was the nerve center of the British war effort in World War II.
We spent a couple of days doing what we call “Lost Tourist Tours.” We just pick an area and wander around. We took in China Town and Covent Garden this way and our timing walking around London was perfect thanks to Alan’s suggestion that we download an app called Dark Sky. It would alert us that rain was coming in 15 minutes so we’d find a pub, grab a pint and watch all the tourists get caught in the rain and the pubs fill with nowhere to sit.
From London, we took a train to Oxford where we rented a car. We had a geat weekend house / dog / cat sitting before hitting the road. We toured Bath, Wales, Salsbury, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Lyme Regis before turning the car in.
After ditching the car we dropped in on some great friends we made in the Caribbean. First up was Tony and Hazel of S.V. Longbow in their lovely, historic home near Plymouth. Then off to Simon and Hilda’s, formerly of S.V. Brisa, home also near Plymouth and finally with S.V. Blue Jacket’s owner, Mich and Gil’s wonderful home near Portsmouth. Robin enjoyed gathering the eggs from their chickens.
One of the reason’s that we had come to the UK was to attend the “Tot on Tour.” This is an annual event where the Tot Club Chairman, Mike Rose heads from Antigua to England for a day of history followed up by a proper tot. This year the tot centered around Portsmouth where many of the soldiers embarked and much of the planning was done. We started at the D Day museum then headed for the Golden Lion, the pub where Eisenhower and Montgomery often had lunch while they were planning the invasion. In the afternoon we had receiver permission to tour Southwick House which is still an active military base and was the control center for naval activity on D Day. And of course, that evening was the Tot. It was great to see so many old friends there and to have all four of the members that Mike had sponsored into the club attending.
Our time in England came to an end and we headed to the airport to board our very long flights to Alaska…