Thursday, December 4, 2008


Jeanie in Paradise challenged me again so here goes

the rules are:
1. Find your 6th photo folder (hard drive or online)
2. Find the 6th photo in that folder.
3. Share the photo on your blog and give the details of the photo.
4. Tag 5 folks to do the same. ... I open this to anyone who visits here who would like to play

Paul in the parking lot of the Beach House Bed and Breakfast, West Wittering, West Sussex UK.
Beach House. May 25, 2005

The open door was our room, the car with the trunk open, our rental for two weeks of touring Hampshire, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

My first trip to England and a quest of sorts. We had documents from Paul's side of the family that all pointed to Winchester and area and while doing a little bit of research I discovered that the city had an archive where old parchment and sheepskin is stabilized and preserved and made available to anyone tracing family or local history.

I photographed the pages, transcribed them as best as possible for my own records and decided that we really didn't need to keep the originals in an old briefcase in a closet. Delivering them in person meant we could take the holiday we had often discussed. A chance to see where both sides of the family came from.

After much computer research we flew into London on the 24th of May picked up our rental car, an automatic because P. figured just getting around on the wrong side of the road was enough of a challenge without having to change gears, and headed toward Winchester.

It looked doable on the map but we forgot to take into consideration how tired we would be. We drove through Bath and into Chichester before calling it quits. Pure chance/luck lead us to the Beach House B&B on the coast. We checked in, found an open fish and chip shop ate and fell into bed.

We go our first taste of a full English breakfast the next morning and it was fabulous.

We continued into Winchester. Found the museum and left our documents on permanent loan. We toured the town and found the tourist office in the Guild Hall. We discovered how easy it was to request an area and price range and have a B&B reserved ahead for us. We followed that pattern throughout the time we were on the road.

We finished with a week in London.

The ultimate extras:

We discovered Paul's family traced back to Somerset. My grandfather was born in Banwell Somerset. P's side had a lovely manor and property that is now a school, mine had a corner store and my great grandfather was a member of the local fire brigade. ( I have his service medal )

We managed to connect with a relative on P's side thanks to the history teacher at the school and we were invited to his home for tea. We now have a complete family history thanks to his research.

We met the unofficial village historian in Banwell and thanks to him I now email with a 2nd-3rd-4th cousin who lives north of London and who is the keeper of the family history and she has filled in many blanks for me.

The families lived a stone's throw apart as a crow flies. ( paternal side for us both )

I got to meet Libby who lives in Melbourne, Australia who I'd known via the computer for 6 years. She was in London finishing her holiday just as we arrived to start our time there, so we got together at the Victoria and Albert Museum and spent the day talking as we toured the exhibits..

Thanks Jeanie, you have given me an afternoon of fun going through the holiday photos and memories.


Kathleen said...

Thank you for sharing your photo and memories! What a wonderful story....and time you must have had on that trip.
Hmmm....I wonder what I will find in my file folders....

jeanie said...

I just love the way this meme opens up the doors to talk about far more than the picture - great story, Elizabeth!

Banwell - now, there is a name not bandied about as much as it once was.


Go for it Kathleen.

Jeanie you must explain the Banwell comment.

Jayne said...

That was a fantastic journey/holiday you took us on, Elizabeth, sounds like you had a wonderful time :)