So how was England? you ask. Well, without going into too much detail and posting all kinds of pictures with explanations, England was beautiful. Very green. And everything sounds so much more civilized over there, even when people are telling you to piss off. (No, no one told me to piss off. Everyone was remarkably polite and kind and helpful. Maybe because of my odd and charming Canadian accent, eh?)
We stayed in Lymington, a coastal town on the Solent in the southwest region near the Isle of Wight. It's a quaint area with cobblestone streets, good shopping (they even had a La Senza), and a wharf. Lotsa boats.
Lymington's located in an area called the New Forest, famous for its protected animals. Wild horses and cows roam around freely, grazing by the side of the road without fear of cars or people. It's been like this since 1099. I shit you not.
We visited various towns, including Beaulieu, home of the third lord of Montagu whose family estate hosted a secret agent "finishing school" during WWII. (I smell a Harlequin novel...)
Once again, I shit you not.
Oh, and they had a motor museum and a James Bond exhibit there, too. Also, the Lord Montagu has gardens, a mansion, and a monorail on his grounds, open to the public for an admission fee. I want a monorail on my property....is there a Lady Montagu?
We stayed at Elmer's Court, which had spectacular grounds with pheasants and rabbits and ducks roaming around everywhere. It was exactly like what you'd read about in a Jane Austen novel, only with resort facilities. We stayed in a time-share cottage. It was very comfy.
Yes, I did eat fish and chips.
Yes, I had a Cornish pasty.
No, I did not have bangers and mash. But I did have liver and bacon.
Yes, the beer was warm.
Yes, we went to London on a whirlwind one-day tour. It was insane.
We even had our own little Hobbity adventure, trekking through the swampland on a casual "walk"--(okay, so John carried me through the muck most of the time since I was wearing sandals)--that ended up with us crawling through thorny brambles and onto private land so we could get back to the main road. The theme from Fellowship of the Ring kept running through my head the whole time...but it was so much fun.
My favourite things about the whole trip:
It was a bakery delivery truck in London. The sign reads "DRIVERS DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE MUFFINS". Apparently, muffin theft is a big problem over there.
That's England in a few words. I hope I'm not expected to expand on that any further. In any case, you can see all the pictures, with captions, on my Facebook account.