This was going to be our last real day in England, our last day to see what we could see. We all piled in the car again and were off and away. Our first stop was Castle Rising.
The ruins are in a nice field, with open space, on a beautiful day. One brief stop in the gift shop and we were ready.
Little One is ready to defend the castle.
The castle is very run down, but then, that’s what you expect from ruins. There was still a lot to see.
We went around the ledge, Big One taking pictures and Little One switching between charging to attack and come back to defend. There were great pictures to be taken from this vantage point, but somehow it gave me motion sickness. Something about the way the narrow ledge moved differently as it went down into a wider hill bottom was more than I could handle.
Still, pretty nice photo to be had. Inside was slightly more rundown than many of the other castles I have visited, but it was a lot of fun.
Still defending things!
My in-laws listened to the audio guide, but I travel with a very active seven year old. There is no listening to audio guides for me.
After this we moved on. There was a pub stop somewhere along the road, but I was hungry and didn’t take any pictures. Priorities as usual.
After lunch we went to Sandringham House. When my in-laws mentioned this place, they seemed to assume I knew where we were going. I guess if you’ve lived in England, particularly around this area you know this is a vacation home for the Queen.
There is space all over to simply look around at the pretty grounds, and you can also take a tour of the inside if the royals are not in residence. We were told the younger royals were there before we left, but as usual we had no idea where anyone was. When we went to Rome we thought the pope was in Argentina, but he was giving a speech. This time we thought someone was there and we wouldn’t be able to go inside, but we were wrong. No one was home, so we got to tramp through.
There were no pictures allowed inside, which I completely understand. Quite honestly, this cemented why I would be a horrible royal. Beyond the visible tattoos, and American habit of saying inappropriate things occasionally, I’m not sure I would be able to hold the position with any dignity. Their house is beautiful, but the guides mentioned these rooms were actually used by the royals. It’s not their private areas, but one room Prince Charles uses as an office when he is there, another room is where they regularly have tea. I would not be cool with people coming through. I know allowing this brings in income which helps with the upkeep of the house, but still. It’s my space, get out.
Big One was happy to agree I would be a horrible royal when I whispered that while the guide was distracted we should get a teacup, but of course, I didn’t and I wouldn’t. Not really. She did however find it amusing when I mentioned I would have installed an animatronic me in a window that occasionally yelled out, “Get off my lawn!” Seriously. I would be the worst royal. At least my kids are better behaved than I am.
We also walked through the garages where I also took no pictures, and had an in-depth discussion over whether or not the Queen, or any of the royals for that matter, would be asked to pay if they stopped in the ice cream shop for a popsicle. I meant, technically she owns all the dang ice cream, but I imagine for profits and accounting purposes having her pay would make sense. We never decided how it would go.
The grounds were beautiful, and I was happy to see them, but the entire thing seemed strange to me. I know for many of the royals this is simply their life, and for those who marry in, it is not an easy decision to make. Everyone has baggage, but this is a commitment to more than a person, it is a commitment to a family and a kingdom. In essence, they become public property. I was happy to buy a Princess Charlotte cup, which goes well with my Prince George, my Will and Kate wedding, my Diamond Jubilee, and my husband’s Charles and Di wedding mugs. (Remember, his parents lived in England in the early 80’s. I kind of wish they had bought their sons William and Harry birth mugs too, but whatever.) I like the collection and it’s fun, but Charlotte is so little and yet so many people already have her face in their houses. I know she is never going to be going over to a random person’s house for tea, but how weird would it be to show up and be served a beverage in a cup with your face on it. I mean, seriously. This royalty thing is weird, which makes it, and consequently them, fascinating to me.
I felt so much like I shouldn’t be there, yet at the same time, I wanted to see more. The guides pointed out the corridor that had the private rooms and I wondered briefly how far I could make it past the rope before determining not far enough to see anything good. I desperately wanted to sit in the old wheelchairs from past queens, or take a ride in The Queen’s Official Racing Buggy, a tricked out golf cart used when the Queen visits the races. I’m not sure if it is natural human curiosity, knowing a little and wanting to know more, or if it is the secret desire to do something I’m not supposed to. Either way, it made me think, so I guess that makes it a successful outing.
We made one last stop for the day on our way back to our cottage, mostly just because it was there, to Ely Cathedral.
As with most places I visit, I had no idea about anything in this town or this Cathedral. We went to see what was there and enjoy what we found, so when we saw a sign, and the top of the church in the distance, we took a turn.
We didn’t stay long, or take many pictures for two big reasons.
First, choir practice was getting ready to start, and they had it posted very clearly that no pictures or videos should be taken during choir practice.
Secondly, I think I was enjoying my day too much. I mean really, we saw a lot during our in in England, but I didn’t take a lot of pictures in any individual spot. I like having pictures to remember my time by, but I prefer leaving with a happy feeling that comes from a good day spent in the moment much, much more.
Well, that was almost all of England. I think I am getting better about telling my travels, but I promise, this isn’t turning into a strictly travel blog. Eventually, I will catch up, and July’s Camp NaNoWriMo has already started, so I have much to do, say, and write!
Next time, I’ll tell you the trip home, before getting into our adventures in Germany and Belgium. Seriously, it was a busy two weeks.