London/Day 8 10-12-2015

Today we had a full day coach ride to Henley-on-Thames, a lovely area about an hour out of London. Seeing the English countryside was definitely a highlight. It is simply as lovely as you see in movies.

Sights today:

Fullery Brewery (drove past) – this is a huge family-owned brewery that uses water from the Thames for their beer. Since I don’t like beer, I’m not sure I care if it’s river water or not.  Smile

Chiswick House and Gardens – a remarkable stop where the Beatles made a pair of promo videos for the singles “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” in May 1966. The gardens are breathtaking, with statues, hundreds of camellia bushes in greenhouses with literally thousands of buds waiting to open, and some terrific photo ops along the way. The elite of the area bring their dogs to the parks and the dog lovers in the group ooh’d and aah’d at the many breeds we saw. Per usual, we had Tony Bramwell along to share stories. Though I have not seen the videos discussed above, Tony shared that nothing with the Beatles was ever planned.

A walk down to the Thames showed a very low ‘river’ but it was explained that the levels can rise and fall drastically within a 6 hour period. Very interesting. The area is beautiful and like so many areas, baskets of flowers are common place by homes and businesses alike. We in California have become so used to the drought and have removed much of our extraneous landscape that this was a treat, for sure!

Another pub lunch (included in tour) today at The Turk’s Head pub in Twickenham. On the ceiling of the pub people have stapled tickets to sporting events. It was interesting to see an Army vs. Navy ticket! Lunch was, as all pub meals seem to be, delicious!

IMG_3707We drove a bit more to the town Henley-on-Thames for another stop. At one end of the quaint town is Friar Park, the home George Harrison purchased in 1970. Once again, we were NOT invited to enter, but we could see the gatehouse from the gate. The mansion was open to the public until John Lennon’s murder in 1980. George Harrison’s wife, Olivia, continues to live here since George’s death in 2001. At the other end of town is the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. It’s a beautiful building and the public is invited in to view the sanctuary and its stained glass windows and other religious emblems. Just beyond the church building is an old cemetery. Me, being me, could have spent more time walking through and viewing the old graves, but our time was short.

Dinner tonight at Mabel’s Pub, within walking distance of the hotel, was delicious. Long-awaited bangers and mash for me and others chose steak (but not kidney!) pie with mashed potatoes. These simple meals are comfort food at its best. Also “stick to the ribs” food and I only hope my clothes still fit in another day or two.

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