Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Tempest

For Christina's birthday, I got her (and me) tickets to the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of The Tempest, starring Patrick Stewart. So on our second Friday night in the UK, we headed to Stratford-upon-Avon to see the play. Beforehand, we walked around a little bit and had the best fish and chips I had while in England. (Other than that, was pretty bad.) Sadly, no pictures from the play, since they don't allow cameras.

It was very enjoyable. Patrick Stewart, of course, was very good, and so was the guy who played Ariel.

Friday, September 29, 2006


The day after our visit to the Big Pit, Christina and I went looking for some place to explore. I recalled from my first visit to Britain that it was fun to get Ordnance Survey maps and follow the footpaths. We looked around Tewkesbury for a place that sold them. We eventually found one, but not of the local area. We had to drive for 20 minutes or so to Ross-on-Wye, which was in the area covered by the map.

We parked near the church, where they were ringing the changes. Christina found an open door to the bell tower, and in fact on that day they were inviting the public to observe the ringing. It was pretty neat to see, and we were assured we were seeing some of the finest bell ringers in England.

After perusing the map, I realized there was a path that took us along the river. About a mile or so away was something labeled as "Wilton Castle" that looked promising.

It provided the sort of minor excitement that the day seemed to call for. We walked back towards the town center and enjoyed some ice cream before heading back to our car.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Big Pit

We had a lot of fun during our recent visit to the UK, and one of the highlights was our visit to Wales' "Big Pit" museum. The museum is part of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, a World Heritage site.

If you're ever anywhere near Southern Wales, I recommend visiting this place. The highlight is where they take you underground into a "disused" coal mine. Your guide will be a real Welsh coal miner. (When someone referred to him as "retired", he explained that since the museum only runs 10 months a year, he works in a mine the other 2 months. And then went off on a rant against the Welsh Assembly.) It was really quite an experience bumping our heads through the mine and seeing how mining used to be done in the heydey of British coal.

The excitement of our visit was when a woman in our tour group started to feel faint. She had to be taken back to the surface then, but the ground station took a while to respond. In the mean time, a 6-year-old boy started to panic -- we had just heard about all of the gases that can kill you in a mine. The guide did a great job of cheering the boy up -- he was still nervous the rest of the trip, but he made it.

Sorry, no pictures of the mine. We had to give up our cameras, watches, cell phones, or anything else with a dry cell battery.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Santa Barbara

Greetings from England. We're doing a ton of stuff here, and I have a bunch of pictures to post. But first, I should clear the queue with my last set of pictures from California.

First, here's my annual beach barbecue picture:

You can contrast 2000, 2003 and 2004...

I got to show Christina Santa Barbara, which she enjoyed, although not as much as San Diego. We went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where the highlight was one of two Siqueiros murals extant in the United States.

More later of our UK adventures. For now, I'm going back to my weekly UK adventure of listening to the Skins lose a football game in the middle of the night. Hopefully this week will turn around...