Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Serendipity, Jane Austin and A Pool Of Penguins

The Fox Inn, Ansty, Dorset
So we are back after a wonderful little holiday which had the rare added ingredient - for holidays in this country at least - of absolutely beautiful weather. The first two days we spent at the Fox Inn in the Dorset village of Ansty which I discovered after extensive research on the web (Google Search : "Dorset", "Inn", "Dogs"). The village was one of those idyllic places that rarely exist outside "Visit Britain" travel documentaries : thatched cottages covered in honeysuckle, contented cows grazing in green pastures, and Morris Dancers prancing around outside the village pub. The Inn was originally the home of Charles Hall one of the founding partners of the Hall and Woodhouse Brewery and the original brewery was just across the road. The story of the brewery is an interesting one so I will return to it later in the week.

The Cobb Harbour, Lyme Regis
 For some reason, the middle part of the holiday turned into something of a tour of Jane Austin locations. One day we were in Lyme Regis and were able to walk along the famous Cobb harbour. I had never been to this part of the Dorset coast before and this short stay certainly flagged it up for a longer visit in the future.  After Dorset we spent a wonderful couple of days staying with our friend Sue in Ewell, just south of London. Again, the weather was fabulous and we spent another memorable day at another Jane Austin location, Box Hill (this wasn't intended to be a Jane Austin tour, the locations were down to splendid coincidence). 

The North Downs from Box Hill, Surrey
After Surrey we went north to Oxford and spent another couple of wonderful days staying with our good friends Jane and Edwin. On the Saturday we attempted to exorcise the memory of England's dire performance against Algeria with a trip to Oxford Botanical Gardens, but fate denied us a parking spot so we drove up to the Cotswold Wildlife Park instead. Serendipity smiled on us and we had a glorious time watching rhino's graze and penguins swim. 

Penguins at Cotswold Wildlife Park
Whilst in Oxford I managed to bring a couple of my outstanding blog projects to a conclusion - the updating of the old Victorian Carte de Visite and the Candy-floss machine - but to see exactly how those turned out you will have to wait for a later post. The holiday finished with a fine garden party in Oxford to mark Jane and Edwin's birthday and - when we eventually got back to Huddersfield - The Lad coming home for the night for a Fathers' Day treat. 

I took a good few photographs during the week and I will be featuring a selection of these on my Daily Photo Blog over the next week or so. It was a fine holiday, but - as always - it is good to be home again and catching up with all the news from around the world. I look forward to setting my Blog Roll rolling once again.


  1. The vista from Surrey is quite beautiful and your Austin focus sounds interesting. Thanks for the travelogue.

  2. That wonderful view of The North Downs reminds me of that lovely scene in Shadowlands, when C.S. Lewis and his wife take off on an excursion to find the valley depicted in the picture that hung on his childhood bedroom wall. I love traveling vicariously with you, Alan!

  3. some amazing pics...would love to visit the wildlife place..the penguins are so cool and the rhinos are my favs!

  4. So good to have you back, recharged, courtesy of Hall and Woodhouse!

    You have had a wonderful few days away, and weather to match. I only hope things hold up for us next week, when we're back in our spiritual home, Cornwall, for a week or so.

  5. Wonderful and just look at your weather! I love the Cotswolds and environs, and that pub is splendid to say the least. Do they still sell things like clotted cream? Great to visit it again in the sunshine, it was winter when I was last there. Do post more photos Alan, I too travel vicariously.

  6. Ah! Country life! Although given our weather here lately, I'm more tempted to dive in that pool with the Penguins.

    Great shots, Alan!

  7. good weather, penguins, and jane austin = a perfect little holiday!!

  8. The power of Jane Austin is great. I liked seeing all the sights. I would like to be the penguin right now as we are having a sever heat wave. It is still 82 degrees at ten o'clock at night. That means tornado weather.

  9. So who is this Jane Austin? Some relative of Jane Austen's perhaps? Or somebody's car?

  10. Jane : According to another bright spark who contacted me to point out my far from deliberate error - according to Google she is a watercolour artist from Calderdale.

  11. Sounds like a grand holiday--Jane Austin & penguins!


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...