09 October 2012

Winchester Outing

Winchester seemed like a great place to visit so off we set with "Betsy" to guide us. Parking was found fairly easily but as we got out of the car, the rain came down. Typical Britain!
Huddled under our coats we spotted The Chesil Rectory, a building which boasted that it was the oldest commercial property in Winchester, dating back to 1425 - 1450. And they advertised lunch! So minding our heads, we ducked into the entrance and came into a charming old pub/restaurant in this wonderfully authentic building with low, black beam ceilings. The building was once known as "cheese" house and is situated at the foot of the road that was, at that time, the only road to London. We chose a table near to the roaring fire where we soon warmed up and could peruse the menu. The restaurant serves dishes made from local Hampshire products and everything was very tasty. A great find and highly recommended for it's 2 AA Rosettes 2012.
Winchester boasts many architectural gems such as the extremely impressive Guildhall and the Winchester cathedral which boasts 1000 years of history and worship. The Town Clock was presented to the city in 1713 following a royal visit and is attached to the old Guildhall where the city's curfew bell has hung since 1361. This is still rung every evening at 20.00 hrs.
The City Bridge was supposedly be ouilt by St Swithun, the 9th century bishop and patron saint of Winchester. The current bridge was built in 1813 and is thought to be on the same site.
The River Itchen flows through the city and there is a path which we did not take as the heavens had opened again by this time.
Winchester is a city with much history and many interesting buildings - it is well worth a full day's exploration.
We loved the sign that told people to leave their dogs behind when visiting the public toilets - they even have 2 rings, set in the wall, to tie up the dogs!
Shops galore if you need some retail therapy.
Unfortunately, rain truly stopped play for us as we did not feel inclined to get totally drenched walking any further so we called it quits and headed back to our parked car to ask "Betsy" to take us home.
Hopefully, tomorrow remains DRY!!!!!!!
We needed to get in some exercise after sitting in the car so set off for a walk around the neighbourhood where we are staying. Luckily, I had the foresight to remind James to take "Betsy" with him, otherwise we would still be wandering around trying to find our way back. The UK roads just cannot go in a straight line - was this to keep the engineers happy, people employed, tar manufacturers in business? It seems that way!
We will indeed miss "Betsy" who has not led us astray in any way:
"Go right on the roundabout, 4th exit, then bear right"
"Go left on the roundabout, 2nd exit"
"Turn around when possible, then go straight for 800 yards, then bear left on the roundabout and take the 1st exit"
Etc Etc - quite a nag she has turned out to be if one does not follow strict instructions.
After our walk, we visited a local pub called Hatchgate. We could have just landed from Mars, the way the 8 or so men standing round the bar, stared at us. It was crazy and I nearly went back to ask them what their problem was! Or is it so unlikely that some strangers would frequent "their" pub? Brits!!!
The Hatchgate is run by Indians so they have two menus - the old English pub menu plus an Indian menu. I opted for a combination of Indian starters with some nan bread - it was just enough and delicious. The others ordered scampi and baked potato - helpings were enormous but all good food. One has to hope that they make a go of their venture, given the strange local guys who guard the bar. At one stage, three younger ladies breezed in and headed straight for the loo. They then joined the guys and one was overheard saying " You can't shag your ex-girl-friends friend" Even the chap appeared embarrassed at that loud outburst. They then promply waltzed outside to go and sit in the Smokers Shed. It takes all sorts, I suppose. 

No comments: