We went for a walk on Saturday

One of the things we have learned in our time here is that if we are blessed with a sunny day, we must take advantage of it no matter what! Saturday was a beautiful, mild Spring day. After being cooped up for so long, a country walk was definitely in order. The only question was–where? We can’t drive right now, and yes, dogs are allowed on trains, but surely there is something close by, right? After consulting our map, we realized yes, there is quite a lot within walking distance of our new home.
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The wild daisies and dandelions look so pretty against the very green grass.
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This is a typical street Anywhere, England. These are called “Semis” or Semi-detached houses. It means the homes share a common side wall with another home. We live in a detached home (as it sounds). Our old place would have been called a townhouse in America. Here it is called a terraced home.
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Mr. DJ found this–a Texas star–and said the residents must be closet Texans.

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Crossing the street from our little town. That traffic is FAST.

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A much nicer sign announcing the public footpaths.

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Our nearby meadow. I bet you can’t guess who liked this…

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Yes!

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She was so excited!
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The grass!

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The ditch! The mud! After about an hour, Trudy was ready to move on. Okay, okay, we were ready to move on.

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See that stile on the right? Trudy was going to climb it (she used to climb Roxi’s fort and run down the slide back in Texas),

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… but Mr. DJ found another way for her.

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We stopped at a little food stand near the Thames. In America, this type of place would serve burgers, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. They offered those goodies here too, but there was also fish and chips and this–a ham and cheese toastie (grilled cheese). And they serve the food on real china with real utensils. No plastic or paper, except for the serviettes (they don’t call them napkins here).

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The fish and chips was ok–it’s better in the pubs and even fresher at the herring stand in Den Haag. But it wasn’t bad here and it was freshly made, which is always good.
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Trudy had some ice cream. She likes mint best.

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After lunch, we walked along the Thames. Trudy, the ducks are behind you!

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Another stile.
We found out later that this building is the Air Force Memorial.

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We saw this and needed to investigate.
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Turned out it was the American Bar Association’s Magna Carta Memorial built in 1957.

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Here’s the view back toward the river from the top of the stairs.
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And just a bit of the glorious countryside near the monument. I wish you could smell how fresh the air was out there. Think dryer sheets, but 1,000 times better, maybe sweet and slightly floral.

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Nearby, there was a plank that leads to a small tree. The plaque says: This oak tree, planted with soil from Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the new world, commemorates the bicentenary of the constitution of the United States of America. It stands in acknowledgement that the ideals of liberty and justice embodied in the constitution trace their lineage through institutions of English law to the Magna Carta, sealed at Runnymede on June 15th, 1215. Planted December 2, 1987, by John O. Marsh, Jr., Secretary of the Army of the United States of America.

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Just a little further on was the JFK Memorial. Trudy led the way up the cobbled stairs.
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This is a seven
ton block of stone.
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From the sign at the base of the memorial: To the right of the stone block is the terrace walk. This is deliberately detached from the threshold steps, giving the impression of leading into the future like Jacob’s ladder. The walkways lead to the two seats which are much larger than normal. The second seat is smaller than the first and is slightly turned inwards. The seats symbolize the King-Queen relationship. Equally, they could be seen to represent the President-Consort relationship.

The sophisticated design of the JFK Memorial has been fitted into an intentionally natural landscape which is not compromised by neatly cut grass or trip flowerbeds. The intention is to convey the same impression as that of a Greek Temple whose presence lends meaning to the primitive scene.

The whole of the memorial is geometrically and mathematically correct, with the landscape being just as important as the built memorial itself. The elements of the stone monument blend into the landscape beautifully and the inclusion of a hidden ditch, known as a “ha-ha”, at the base of the slope allows the landscape to look like one continuous stretch from above and below.

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Instead of turning back downhill, we decided to head up away from more Magna Carta sites. I am sure we will walk there again. By the way, don’t forget you can see two copies of the Magna Carta at the British Library!

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At the top of the hill we found the building we saw down by the river. It is the Air Force Memorial. That little rectangular thing at the bottom right of the photo is a boot scraper, in case you were wondering. There’s another one closer to the building. It gets really mudy here! .
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The Memorial’s outer walls are enclosed in stone and windows, while the interior is open to a lovely courtyard. Carved into the walls are the names of more than 20,000 men and women lost in World War II.

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There are three flights of spiral stairs.
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The views were well worth the climb. From here you can see Windsor, Heathrow, and the river Thames. This is the view back toward the garden and the top of the hill where we were walking.
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I saw one of my very favorite garden accessories–the English bunny! You can sometimes see them from the train on the way into London. .

On the way home we passed hundreds of them frolicking on the hill.

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We were out for about five hours, but that included our lunch stop, poking around at the memorials, and taking loads of photos, of course. We are ready to do more exploring!

Did I metion it got to 68-degrees? And it only sprinkled on us a tiny, tiny bit.

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About the Author: JaPRA is an expat Texan living in Boston (by way of London by way of Houston) with her husband (Mr. DJ), their 19-year old daughter (Roxi), and their dog Trudy.

RSSComments (10)

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  1. Rebecca Hickman says:

    WOW! What a great walking trip. I hadn’t realized that you don’t have a car. Is that manageable? You’re my hero!

  2. Alyson says:

    Oh, what a lovely day! You gave such marvelous descriptions that I almost felt I was there. I especially love how you described the smell.

    Did you mean to run into those American monuments, or was that just an accident? I love that RAF building, by the way.

  3. Just a Plane Ride Away says:

    Rebecca–Well, we do have a car, but we can’t drive it right now as our one year grace period (for US license holders) has expired. It is taking SO long to get through lessons and tests. So it’s not as eco-minded as you might think! I have been walking more, though, which is GOOD :-)

    Alyson–It was all an accident! I knew the Magna Carta was signed somewhere over there, but I didn’t know about the other monuments. It was fun standing there at the JFK memorial and thinking, “I’m standing in America.” Well, such that it is–haha!

  4. Susan in St. Paul says:

    What a lovely walk! That is one of the things I have always loved about England, walking and discovering these strange interesting public spaces.

    I was once walking along somewhere in the borders and found in the middle of nothing a bench along a path from the Queen’s Jublilee!

    I just decided recently that I am heading that way next year, or at least try, and this post just reinforced that decision.

  5. Laurie says:

    What a wonderful day! Beautiful pictures, “fast food” on real plates, gorgeous pictures of trees and bunnies and the magnificent Trudy’s tongue.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What history you happened upon! I want to be in an English Garden, too. It looks like the whole countryside is a garden. Mimsy

  7. Just a Plane Ride Away says:

    Susan–I love that the public can walk all over the place here. The footpath might be just a foot or two wide, but by gum, anyone can walk on it!

    Laurie–I knew you’d appreciate those Trudy pics!

    Mims–Well, all that rain certainly is good for the plants! ;-)

  8. Brave Sir Robin says:

    What a stunning day!!

    Those type of walks just aren’t possible here. I loved the pictures!! Thanks for sharing!

    What did you do with the dogs while inside the memorial?

  9. Bee says:

    I loved the pictures, too — echoing BSR — and even though I can see the same kind of stuff every day.

    You are such an observant walker!

  10. Just a Plane Ride Away says:

    Brave Sir Robin–The only time Trudy couldn’t come in with us was at the Air Force Memorial. My husband stayed out with her. We just kept her on a leash while we were at the other monuments.

    Bee–One of the things I promised myself when we moved here is that I wouldn’t take any of this stuff for granted. Basically, my job here, besides being The Mom (aka The Boss), is making sure we have a record of our life in England–hence the blog. It’s nice that other people want to read about what we’re doing too. And I love that you chime in with your experiences :-)

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