Friday, June 7, 2013

Mansions and Motown From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

As our days wind down to the end of our trip we are crossing off the last of our "to do " list.  This Included a trip to Blenheim Castle the home of Winston Churchill.  
We grabbed a private hire taxi and got a tour of the country side as he got turned around and an eight mile trip turned into an hour's drive.  Nothing is wasted when we're in travel mode.  Wish we had this adventurous spirit in our daily lives.
Blenheim is in the village of Woodstock.  Charming and full of quaint Inns and antique shops.  PJ  I am happy to report that I did not purchase a single antique that will show up on our door step.Breathe - breathe.
This is one grand castle.  I guess I hadn't realized that Churchill had grown up so privileged.  It is impressive that he developed such high character out of very grand lifestyle.  Forget the war -- it is a miracle he survived not being lost forever in the halls of this castle when he was a little boy!
Over the imposing entry door is a painting of a brown eye and a blue eye.  They represent to eyes of the original owners.  The first duke of Marlborough and his wife.  The house was a gift worth $250,000.00 pounds after his successful war campaigns for England.  Needless to say the country was very beholdin'.
The gardens are Italian and the day was a pristine spring day.
We had lunch outside by the fountains...
Then rode the little train out to the "Pleasure Gardens".
We love the way the Brits say things on signage.  Frankly it has been years since I "Alighted".  If it said "Do not hurl"  -- I might have taken it more personally.
There is a butterfly house where we could practically touch the fellows used to company.

This lake was dug and filled to give the estate presence.  It's working for me.  It's amazing what you can do with a few (quite a few) million dollars.
We rode the bus back to Oxford and threw on our party clothes. Then we went to see -- are you ready for this?  The Drifters!  They were performing at the New Oxford Theater.  I have discovered that the young Brits love the old Motown music.  We heard it played in several hip pubs in London.  
We walked in the front door and I had a revelation -- Everyone in the audience looked like me.  
I commented about this to the darling young ticket taker and he replied "Oh, no there are some YOUNG people here too."  That was supposed to make me feel better?
Great night -- wonderful music.  All of the old original guys are either dead or eating applesauce in the home but the new guys are great.
Today is "start getting a plan for jamming all of our stuff back in our suitcases" day.  Tomorrow we train back into London for our last night before flying home.  What a gift this trip has been!

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