Monday, July 31, 2006

Hampton Court

The exact location of Hampton Court is (apparently) debatable. According to some of my friends, the fact that it has a KT postal code means it is a part of the same county as Kingston (which would place it in Surrey) but others tell us that the fact it is north of the Thames means it is in Middlesex. I guess this is really an academic argument and I don't want any part of it. Suffice it to say that wherever t is, the Bergquists invaded Hampton Court palace today.

After a spot of tea and a scone with jam and clotted cream in the queen's privy kitchen, we took a walking tour of the palace. We got to see the queen's apartments, the king's apartments, the great hall and the chapel. There would be more pictures of the visit within the palace, but photography is not allowed inside the palace.

It was a good day, but I could tell that for both Dad and Flo, the gardens seemed to hold the most sway. I could see the wheels turning as Flo and Dad plotted to recreate the water gardens in their gardens at home.
After walking a wile through the halls, and a long while around the gardens, seeing the massive grapevine, the various gardens and the formal hedgerows, we decided it was time to go. It had been a lot of walking and for much of the afternoon, the weather had been threatening rain in some serious way. Not the pathetic sprinkles that the weather had been spraying ineffectually for the past couple hours, but a serious downpour. The clouds hung in a dark and swollen sky.

But that didn't stop Dad from suggesting a run through the maze on our way to get a quick bite on our way out. So we entered the world famous Hampton Court Maze. The maze fills the northern reaches of The Wilderness and is something I have never before felt compelled to do.

Dad and I entered (leaving Flo to sit down and cheer us on from a shady bench near the exit - by which I mean "take a nap") Aside from one wrong turning that took us down a circular path and a couple wrong turnings that took us into blind alleys, we didn’t do too badly.

Strangely, there were an awful lot of kids in the maze considering that we were visiting on a school day. (Or what would be a school day if school were currently in session…) many of the kids were, completely wonderful and polite children. But then there were those whose sole purpose in life seemed to be running into old guys and making a general nuisance of themselves. (Geez! Some people's kids!)

Eventually, however, we did locate the center of the maze. It took us just over fifteen minutes and was affected with a minimum of errors. (It is a bit trickier than it seems from looking at the diagram of the maze on the board by the entry. Perhaps next time I will spend a bit more time looking at that map!

We left the maze and rejoined Flo, heading over to the pub for a quick pint and a snack before we headed home for naps and a game of Scrabble. In the evening, we ordered a curry dinner and shared it with my coworker, over for a training session. Tomorrow, we will be visiting the Salisbury plain.

I hope wherever you are today, you have a lovely day!

Don Bergquist - 31 July 2006 - Hampton Court, Middlesex (?), UK

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