Sunday, March 02, 2003

For the first time since I got here, I'm crabby about the public transport system. (You can stop laughing any time now, Flint.) I was at a friend's last night, and realized that it was late, but I still had ample time to catch the last bus. Well, we went out there . . . and waited. And waited. We waited the 20 minutes between buses on a Saturday night, then 20 more just in case. No bus. GRRRRRRRRR!! The thought of the night bus filled me with fear, so we ended up staying the night at this friend's, sleeping on his couch. Sigh. I woke up at some ungodly hour this morning, caught the second bus of the day, and went to sleep in my own bed about half an hour later. Anyway . . . that was my adventure for last night . . .

Yesterday was nice, though. My friend Katy called me up to go see Hampton Court Palace, which is (and I didn't know this) quite handy to where we are, just one bus change. The palace is nice and interesting and historical, but for me, I really loved the grounds. They're HUGE and filled with plants and flowers and growing things and statues and fountains. The kewl thing is, it's free to just wander around the gardens. You only pay to see the palace itself. Here's some pictures for y'all. Most of them are of the palace proper, because the millions that I took of the grounds are either on my film camera, which will be developed this week sometime, or on the big digital card that my computer isn't reading because it's being a brat.

Click! A random corridor, inside Hampton Court palace. I liked the look of it though. Apparently there is a corridor that's supposed to be haunted by one of Henry's wives who got beheaded. After her trial, but obviously before her beheading, she escaped from her guards and rocketed down the corridor toward the royal chapel, pounding on the doors and screaming to be let in. If she got inside, she would get asylum (being in a place of worship) and also, Henry VIII was worshipping at the time, and she believed that she could beg him to spare her life. However, he ignored her and kept praying (isn't that just sick and wrong?) and the guards caught up with her, and off with her head. So now Catherine runs up and down the corridor, screaming to be let into the chapel, on dark nights. Brrrrr. This isn't that corridor though.

Click! The fountain in the inner courtyard. Can't you imagine some ladies in huge wigs and dresses sweeping around that walkway?

Click! Ooo . . . that's a little dark. Sorry about that. It was overcast yesterday . . . well, it is England! It's the front view of the Palace as you're walking up the drive. It's one heck of a sight. Must have been even more flabbergasting to the court, knowing how rich Cardinal Wolsey and later on good old Hal 8 must have been to not only build it, but afford the upkeep. It's like a city all by itself.

Click! Here's a better one, taken just inside the front entrance of the first courtyard you pass through. There's about three.

Click! Here is a funky little inner garden that I discovered by goingthrough the wrong door. If I were a lady in waiting, I'd sneak off there to be away from all the noise and heat and hypocrisy of the court--wouldn't you?

Click! Okay, remember how I said the place was like a city all by itself? This view is part of the kitchens. That's right, the kitchens. They were so huge that they got subdivided all over the place.

Click!After the king stopped living at Hampton Court Palace regularly, and such huge kitchens weren't needed anymore, the kitchens were actually converted into tiny flats for royal servents who had done their duty well and deserved a reward for putting up with royalty all those years. Even today, some people still live on Fish Court, pictured here.

So that's Hampton Court Palace, or some of it anyway. Katy and I only did half the tours available, and you weren't allowed to take pictures in a lot of the rooms. Sigh. It's a very neat place, and the gardens really are amazing if you don't want to pay the admission charge.

No book for today. Sorry. I already told you about The Secret Garden and the other stuff I'm reading now is all boring Victorian literature that I wouldn't recommend to anybody.

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