Falmouth 1944 and 2009

April 23, 2009

We have spent 4 days in Falmouth (leaving for St. Ives tomorrow).  My dad was in the navy in WW2 and they stopped here.  He checked his notes and he landed here April 19, 1944.  We got here april 19, 2009.  Exactly 65 years to the day later!  He stayed 3 days, we are staying 4. What a coincidence.  We didn’t even plan to come here originally but decided to come here at the last minute.  So, I’ve thought a lot about my dad while we’ve been here and what it must have been like when he was here in 1944 during the war.

We went to two beautiful gardens this morning about 5 miles from Falmouth.  One was named Trebah (http://www.trebah-garden.co.uk/).  Wow, what a place.  It has a small ocean beach at the end and we learned that the US sent troops to Normandy from that beach in June 1945.

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Walking

April 23, 2009

Charlie: Walking, that is, light hiking is good in Britain. I have been on a few section of the Southwest Coast Trail. This run along the entire coasts of Deven and Cornwall, the SW part of England, something like 350 miles. The trails are well-kept and have lovely views all along. They go along cliffs and past pastures with cows and sheep.

Public access to trails seems to be important in Britain. If traditional trails go through private land the landowners must continue to all access to walkers.

I walked a few miles up the trail from Falmouth yesterday and it was beautiful. All coasts have a lot in common. The cliffs and rocks were not that different from what I have seen in Italy, California, Oregon, Washington, etc.

We still have not figured out whether we are supposed to pass on the right or left when walking. It seems like it should be on the left, like driving, but many people seem to prefer passing on the right.

And, for us, the most dangerous part of driving on the left is remembering to look right when you cross the street.

Technology Report

April 21, 2009

By Wyntte:

CELLPHONE: We found it to be easy and cheap to get cell phone access here. We unlocked our T-Mobile sim chip before leaving (have to contact T-Mobile to do this). Then we got here and at an “Orange” store they gave us a free chip to use here and we can make calls for 20 pence (30 cents) per minute. One plan lets you make calls to states for 6 p. a minute. We thought we were on that plan and made a couple of calls to the states and used our entire 10 pounds-worth of prepaid calls. We thought the guy in the store had set us up for that but he hadn’t. Now we think we have it set up correctly but are going to avoid calls to the states just in case. In general we do recommend getting a sim card here. It’s easy to make calls and really helps if you need to call ahead to a B&B or whatever. If all is set up ok, 5 pounds goes a long way.

CAMERA: Unfortunately, our digital camera is not working. Somehow the lens got stuck in the “out” position and won’t retract and the camera refuses to turn on with the lens in that position. We’ve gone to a camera store and they tried but couldn’t fix it. We’ve done web searches for “lens error, restart camera” and tried all the suggestions there (seems to be a common problem). I miss having a camera. Lots of pictures I’d like to take. Guess we’ll either have to figure out to fix this one or buy a new camera or just paint pictures with words.

GPS: Actually our Tom Tom GPS is working fine and has made it a lot easier to navigate the roads around here.

IPODS: Also working great. Good for listening to books when you are haven’t yet fallen asleep and your traveling companion is snoozing away and you don’t want to disturbe him with a light or page rustling. And, if I can’t fall asleep dharma talks (on the ipod) usually do the trick. And I really enjoy listening to music (shuffle all my favorite songs) and working puzzles on the airplane.

INTERNET: There’s a pretty good place here in Falmouth that we’ve used twice now. Very funkier (even funkier than Pinky Murphy’s in Fowey). But convenient location and work just fine. Hopefully next trip we’ll have a little laptop and can take advantage of wireless that is abundantly available. Charlie said he thinks internet cafes are on their way out since people just want to work on their own laptop and I’m sure that is true.

KINDLE: (Charlie) I read my Kindle every night. I brought something like a dozen books on it although I won’t even get through one. Lots of choice though. I like the Kindle, it is a old Version1 one but still nice. Recommended for trips.

I am reading Ken Jenning’s book about trivia and being on Jeopardy. He is really a quite entertaining author.

Elders

April 20, 2009

We keep passing these warning roads signs that say ‘Elderly people’ and have a picture of a stooped old man and woman slowly crossing a street.

They have things like thrift stores but they call them charity stores and they all have a charity, like some disease or homeless dogs. We saw one where the charity was ‘the elderly’

We passed another road sign today that said ‘Disabled People’ but they used exactly the same graphic as the signs that warned of ‘the elderly’.

Seems like a pattern.

The Weather

April 20, 2009

Post by Wynette:  Everyone here talks about the weather — a lot.  I guess that’s what you talk about when you don’t know someone very well but you want to be friendly.  People are friendly and cheerful and helpful here in SW England. Maybe because the weather is so nice?

We’ve been amazed how good the weather has been.  We’ve been here a week now and have seen no rain. The past few days have been quite sunny.  Not too hot, not too cold.  We couldn’t ask for better weather.  How nice to be in England when springtime is here. We’ve seen many daffodils on their last days and probably literally hundreds of thousands of tulips in their prime and of a huge variety of colors.   The grass/countryside is lush lush  green and most trees have leafed out, but barely.

We are in Cornwall which does have milder weather than most of the rest of England.  The gulf stream passes right by.  Yesterday we went to a stately home (Lanhydrock) with huge gardens.  Their rhododendrons were in full bloom.  Huge trees thick with bright red blossoms.  I mean TREES, probably 40 feet tall.

Lyme Regis

April 20, 2009

Playing with the town name in Lyme Regis. Store names: Lymelight Books and Prints, Sublyme used clothing, Lyme Stones, Lyme Boy Clothing.

Jane Austen on the beach

April 20, 2009

Several of the places we go lay some claim to Jane Austen. She went to Winchester for six weeks to see a doctor about her Addison’s disease and died there. she is buried in Winchester cathedral so that is a big thing I guess. You can see the house where she died but it is a private residence. Bath has a Jane Austen house. Lyme Regis, or just Lyme in  Persuasion, claims her too. It is a bit like ‘George Washington’ slept here in the US. The grave marker, on the cathedral aisle floor, didn’t mention her books. They said it wasn’t seemly for a woman to write novels then.

We went out on the ‘the Cobb’ which is the stone wave break that curves around the harbor, It was where Lydia (is that right?) jumped into her officer’s arms but fell and hurt herself. It still has some pretty dicey stairways.

Lyme Regis was pretty nice, a seaside resort, and it looks like all the seaside resorts I have seen, they all have a similar character. It was a beautiful day and lots of families ans kids were on the beach, and people strolling along the boardwalk, lots of ice cream cones, lots of cream teas on the beach. Lots of dogs too, the Brits like dogs and they are allowed in lots of places.

John Fowles lived around here also and set the French Lieutenant’s Woman here. (did you pronounce that ‘left-ten-ant’?) There was a scene in that on the Cobb also, I hear, I didn’t see it.

Lots of babies in carriages too. In fact we have seen lots of babies in prams in all the beach towns and in Winchester

They had a row of little pastel-colored cabana-like little buildings. You can rent them but we saw someone painter her’s so maybe owned it. A few were open and 3-4 people were sitting on chairs around them.

Winchester Cathredral

April 20, 2009

Remember that song, with the Rudy Vallee megaphone singing? It kept running through my head. The cathedral is the longest in England, another is the highest and another is the biggest — good to spread around the ‘est’s. During one of the religious wars one side, presumably the anti-catholic side, broke most of the stained glass windows. Later they put them back but they could not reconstruct the pictures so they are just stained glass abstract painting. They did manage to put together a few of the so you see a saint head and torso here and there. Still pretty though.

More Driving

April 20, 2009

It’s getting a little easier but you still have to be on full alert. A road with a full lane on each side now seems like a freeway. They have the same road signs, that is, the same meanings but the words are different ‘give way’ rather than yield for example. We are beginning to like the roundabouts, they are pretty easy once you get the hang of them. Also, you can use them to  make a u-turn, handy when you go past things which we do all the time.

Metric

April 19, 2009

By Charlie: The UK is mostly metric but strangely the road signs are all in miles and the auto speedometers are in miles. Also they still give you pints in pubs. Interesting mix.

Oh, another thing, they use this strange time system based on 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7days in weeks, variable–sized months, etc. These Brits should get hip and get metric! 100 second minutes, 100 minutes in an hour, 10 hours in a day, 10 days in a week, etc.

The first B&B gave us a old-style key to the room, but the outside key was a modern key with cutouts on the side, the newer kind that are much harder to pick. I saw this video on the web about ‘bumping’ locks. Basically every lock in the US can be picked with a bump key in about 20 seconds. The gravity/pin technology is just fundamentally flawed.