Day 85 & 86: Newbury and the English Countryside

As a perfect compliment to our city experience, we visited Darren’s family – his Grandpa’s brother Martyn and wife Eimear in Newbury.  We took the train out and arrived early afternoon.  Despite never meeting the family, I felt instantly at home.

We took a walk around Newbury – the best way to explore it.  The walk into town along the boat-lined canal is so enjoyable. There is a pedestrian core – one of Martyn projects from 15 years ago.

There were dozens of swans – I’d never seen so many. Fun fact: the queen owns all the swans in the country.

Feeding time for the swans, with one odd duck

Feeding time for the swans, with one odd duck

In the afternoon we took a drive to Marlborough. We stopped at Polly’s, an adorable “proper” tea house and had afternoon tea! Another first – this English tradition was such a treat. We had little sandwiches, scones with clotted cream (I’m addicted) and little cakes.  We visited Marlborough College, where Kate Middleton attended!

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On the way back to Newbury, we stopped at the bluebell fields, where the bluebells are nearly in full bloom.  In a couple weeks the forest will be completely blue.  Eimear is a very talented photographer, and showed pictures of the field in full bloom in past years.

That evening I met more family – Tamsyn, Martyn’s daughter visited from Bristols.  We had a delicious meal with wonderful company.  We tried out a Pucket – a hilarious disk flicking game that is fun to watch and play.

The next morning we looked at a photo book that Eimear had made for Martyn. It was great to see old family photos.

We took another short drive, and took Harvey, the “poofy” dog for a walk along a beautiful loop in Greenham Commons.  We got to see sheep! I realize that would be like someone excited to see cows in Canada, but it was very cool walking through a field of sheep.  They stared us down with their square pupils. The landscape here is stunning – rolling green hills, splashes of yellow fields, dramatic skies and classic houses.  We walked by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s place and the house where Watership Down is written about.

The highlight was walking the golden fields of rapeseed. All the fields have public right of way next to them, so this is a walk anyone can enjoy.  It was the perfect day for a walk and photos and just what we needed to recharge.

We we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the local pub, where they have my favourite Fullers Honey Dew, before heading for the train.  We took the train to Gatwick, then a flight on to Seville.

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It was such a great stay in Newbury, meeting / seeing family, and taking in the amazing scenery.

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