Day Eighty Six

Miscommunications abound later today, but the morning is spent pleasantly exploring Portsmouth Castle and St Mary’s church in Porchester, both which have historys that date back to Norman times. 

The castle’s stone perimeter is entirely intact and it makes an impressive structure.   Set on Portsmouth harbour, the castle commands the local neighbourhood.   It was built over a Roman fort:  the area has a long history as a defensive port.  The Roman D shaped towers remain part of the wall today.  

St Mary’s was built in the 1120s for Augustinian monks from France using Isle of Wight stone.  Its baptismal font dates back to this time and the church is full of history.  

On display are two commemorative plaques noting two grants, one in 1577 the other 1710.  I have to laugh – government grants haven’t changed much in centuries.  Plaques commemorating building/repairs are still a requirement for most grants today.

Chris speaks to one of the elderly volunteers: she was baptized here, married here, and will no doubt one day rest in the ancient cemetery that surrounds the church.   That sense of community is one rarely seen in the pace of city life.  I’m not a religious person but even I can see the appeal of that.

It’s later when the fun starts.  And by fun I mean not fun.  The first part of the day is simple enough, drive to Taunton to pick up a door contact point for the alarm system – it must have liked one of our stops so much that it decided to stay. Bonus points for the mama and baby squirrel I see busy gathering autumn walnuts whilst Chris is off doing Chris things.

This is where it gets off the rails.  I presume that we’re stopping somewhere nearby, breaking the long trip across the bottom of England, but a cursory glance at TomTom reveals an extraordinary distance left on our journey.  Awkward conversation follows: Chris claims lengthy conversation about this journey, I claim no knowledge of agreeing to an epic journey. Hmmm.  6hrs 55 minutes.  

English freeways being what they are, we encounter lengthy delays which see us on the road long past our original estimated arrival, which was late to start with.    When the Cornish countryside appears in its green and gold patchworked glory, it’s as gorgeous as every but everyone is grumpy.  I can’t even photograph it properly – left hand drive vehicle on a right hand road etc.  

To add to the joy, we miss a turn off which doubles the last part of the journey.   Arggghhhh!!!  In the end we manage to back track and catch the King Harry ferry which shaves time off and takes us through beautiful hedgerow greenery.  Lovely, but a tight squeeze.

By days end we’re both well over it and despite the gorgeous greenery that surrounds us, it’s fish and chips for a late dinner and general frostiness all round. We’re near St Mawes, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

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