Monday, 23 November 2015

Last day in Winchester and home

St Batholomew's Church
What's the first thing you do when you return home from a holiday? For me it's getting the kettle on for a cup of tea and opening the post. So that's what I did today.

I've just transferred all my photos on to the computer. Before that I went through all my emails. I did have one quick look through them while I was away just in case there as something burning away there, but no.

Yesterday 'the hubs' and I were out walking for a few hours. I'd picked up a leaflet in Winchester Museum about Hyde Abbey, founded in AD 903 by Alfred the Great and his son Edward the elder. Originally located in the city centre but moved in 1110 due to the northern suburb of the city due to the site being overcrowded with the Norman Cathedral expansion.

The site is quite close to where we were staying so after breakfast we bundled ourselves up in winter wear and set off to see what remained of it. Not a lot actually. There is Hyde Gate which now sits between a road and a housing development, and the church of St Bartholomew is still there (a service was taking place so no chance to see inside). We set off down another road towards Abbey Gardens where only the line of the church remains. This is the area where the relics and burials were. This now forms part of the gardens and had been planted up. A glass plaque shows how it would have looked but getting a photo of that was hard.. Parts of walls remain and run along a stream but a lot has been built over. It is said that the remains of King Alfred, his wife and son were here but like all stories there are other stories of removal, empty coffins etc!

Hyde Gate

Glass plaque 
Where the relics and burials were, now planted up

From there we went back into the city for a hot drink at cafe Eighteen 71 (of course). They were really busy due to the Christmas market. In fact it was easier to avoid the market at the weekend as it was stop/start/stuck! The cafe forms part of the Guildhall and that day there was a Vintage Fair in the Guildhall. Somehow I managed to persuade 'the hubs' to go in, despite having to fork out £2 each! It was wonderful - like going back into childhood. I spotted several things - a folding ruler like my Dad had, brooches my Mum would have worn, toys, old magazines and dressmaking patterns, china, clothes and a whole suitcase full of Ladybird books. I went through every one of those trying to find Places of Work because it has a picture of Bentalls where generations of my family worked, including me for the first nine months of my working life, aged fifteen! Anyway, I could not find the book but I loved looking at the other books.

There was a live band playing 'vintage music' and a few people dancing. It was wonderful. I managed to find a couple of Christmas stocking presents without spending a fortune. So I was pleased.

From there we decided to walk along the water meadows towards St John's Cross. We walked there last year and I had a look around the church and buildings. It was closed for the season this time but the walk was nice. We came back into the city for a very late lunch, bundling into McDonalds only to be asked to leave while three quarters through our burgers due to a 'water problem' downstairs. Everyone had to leave. I managed to stuff the rest of my food down, then we walked back to the B&B (just up the road) to drink my hot chocolate in peace. While relaxing on the bed with the TV on I promptly fell asleep!

Along the water meadows

And so the holiday ends. I know I shall be back in Winchester again. I love it there. Next time, maybe a different time of year, we will use it as a base and get the bus out to nearby places. I already have a list of three places, including the home of Jane Austen at Chawton.

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