Roaming the English countryside
We were picked up the next morning outside the Burns Hotel in Kennsington by our hired drivers, Malcolm and John, and proceeded to tour the English countryside. Malcolm and John are based in Salisbury and both did an excellent job shuttling us from place to place…I highly recommend Classic Cabs.
Our first stop was Tidworth where Dad and Dee were stationed for a few weeks way back when. There we met Frank Rixon, a WWII British war vet, who showed us around the Tidworth area. Most of the old buildings had been torn down just eight months before, but one remained which had a 1st Division plaque mounted near the door. It was the only evidence left that showed they had once been there many years before. After taking a few pictures there, Frank invited us back to his home where we saw his war medals and other memorabilia. We really enjoyed meeting Frank; he’s a great person.
Lunch at the Horseshoe
After a brief stop at Stonehenge we headed to James Holland’s home in Broad Chalke near Salisbury. Dad and Dee had met James Holland back in November of 2002 when came to Alabama to interview them for his upcoming book about the North African campaign. James and Rachel, his wife, live in a cozy home called Maud’s Cottage with an old-style thatched roof. After a quick look around their cottage we headed to the Horseshoe pub for lunch. There we ate Faggots (LOL…some sort of meatball) and other traditional English dishes. It was pretty good food and we had a nice time chatting with James and Rachel.
The New Inn
After lunch we made a stop at the Salisbury Cathedral. It’s a very impressive cathedral topped with the tallest spire in England. Dad remembered seeing this cathedral 60 years before when he was stationed nearby.
We then made our way about 50 miles southwest of Salisbury to a small town called West Knighton near Dorchester. There stood The New Inn, an old English pub that Dad and Dee frequented many times during their Army days, where they would go for a beer and a game of darts. The outside looked very much like it did 60 years ago. It was really cool to see this place that had previous only existed in Dad’s old Army photos.
After taking many photos, we said goodbye to James & Rachel and headed to the coastal city of Portsmouth. There we checked into the Holiday Inn Express at Gunwharf Quays, walked along the waterfront, and ate supper at Burger King (yes, Americans look for that which is familiar). It was the end of a long day.