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December 2012 - England and USA

December 5, 2012

Hi Everyone, Saturday we took a train into the Kent countryside to Borough Greens and hiked for about 10 miles to Sevenoaks. We had a beautiful day hiking through villages, along streams, woodland paths, some muddy bridleways and pastures. Lots of sheep, some llamas, pheasants, horses and cows. Actually we walked through several pastures of sheep and when hiking through Knole Park we encountered hundreds of deer. It started misting when we stopped for lunch at the National Trust site of Ightham Mole. Fortunately when we came out the skies had cleared. We stopped at another National Trust site called Knole House for tea before taking a train from Sevenoaks back to London. Sunday we had Christmas cocktails at the Dicken's Inn at St. Katharine's Docks with the liveaboard community here. (14 boats)We had to celebrate early as many of us will be heading else where for the holidays.

Yesterday we had a wonderful English Heritage Members only tour of the Apsley House. The Apsley House was built for Baron Apsley in the late 18th century. It was later sold to the First Duke of Wellington who lived here until he died in 1852. Wellington is best remembered for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo 1815. Very informative history lesson on Wellington:-) Really cool to walk the rooms of this English hero. The magnificent neoclassical Wellington Arch across the street exhibits were closed because Santa and marines were rappelling down from the top of the monument. We'll have to go back this weekend for a visit and the Apsley house will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas with music and dance. We also visited Churchill's War Rooms. Very educating and an excellent museum. Churchill's life from birth to death is tastefully presented as well as the Cabinet War Rooms. These rooms have been left much as they were when the lights were turned off August 15, 1945 when Japan surrendered.

UK | England | London | Eltham Palace

Today we went on another English Heritage Members only tour at Eltham Palace. I must say the tour guides have been excellent and we learn so much as well as see so much more than the normal public is allowed to see. Eltham Palace is a 1930's Art Deco house built by Courtauld (textile merchant) Family. It is attached to the remains of Eltham Palace the childhood home of Henry VIII and surrounded by a moat and beautiful gardens (8 hectares). We also walked the gardens of Well Hall Pleasaunce and the Tudor Barn property where St. Thomas More was said to visit his sister Mary Ruper when attending meetings in Eltham.

Al and I fly to Chicago next Tues. Dec. 11. We'll stay in Chicago visiting Christopher and Justin's families (3 of our grandkids)for a week before heading up to Minnesota for Christmas. Actually we'll all be together again at Pat and Nicci's for the weekend before Christmas through Christmas. Al and I'll be in the states until Feb. 20. We will travel between Chicago, Minnesota and take a weeks trip to NY to visit Grandpa Fraher sometime in Jan. Very windy and cold in London today with a low of 27F. Brr... Back to 42 tomorrow. Artemis is toasty warm with our heater and dehumidifier running non stop:-) Hope to see many of you soon. Don't forget to put your wooden shoe out tonight. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

#2012 #England #London #USA

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