2019 JoC Family History Mystery* Tour


Mystery* - noun - "something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain"

Says it all, but with so many photos and places visited during this tour, hopefully the following will help in explaining just why "Mystery" is part of the "History". Along the way, links to interesting photos not yet shown on-line will be included, as well as websites of the places we visited. Feedback is welcome. Please enjoy!

Taking full advantage of Canberra's very own International Airport, we arrived in London via Singapore late in the afternoon of 20 May 2019 and headed to our digs for the next five nights, staying at the Grosvenor Hotel, which was pretty handy to just about everything. Especially when you have an Oyster Visitor Card in your wallet.

The following days were unplanned (yes... the "Mystery"), except for a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show (and that's only inside the tent) and meeting a bit of crowd crush along the way, something we kind of got used to over the next few weeks, with the next day being an all day "experience" of London, which included a visit to Greenwich and many other highlights. Before the flower show and meeting up with Judith, our host for the afternoon, we spent a pleasant time wandering about the British Army Museum, where we picked up some interesting facts and viewed Britain's military history in all of its good, of the Stiff Upper Lip variety (and not so good) glory.

Getting our taste of all things 'royal' after the changing of the guard from the previous day, we headed out to the Victoria & Albert Museum on a rather warm London day, with plenty on show along the way. That evening we headed out to the Queens' Theatre (since renamed to Sondheim Theatre) for the London production of Les Misérables. (I hope the seats have had extra padding included in the refurb.)

For our final day in London, it was time for some old time retail therapy at Liberty London, where I think I consumed the world's most expensive (1 x ) scone ($A10.60ish).

Anyways, you all know the picture story as you've already seen most of them on Flickr. To make it easier to view them again, I've split up the various parts of the Tour, with photos from our time in London (click on the arrow to scroll through the album, or click on the photo to see a larger version on Flickr (most photos will have a brief description)), here. *note: some movie files ("movie" in the description) are here as well, to open you will need to click on the image to open the file in Flickr.


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Londoners probably complain about their public transport systems as much as we do. Personally, we couldn't see much of a problem as we barrelled out of London on an express train towards Haywards Heath to meet up with Mike and Judith (who we first met on the JoC 2017 South American Odyssey) and were very kind to us over the next three or so weeks, and pick up our hire car.

After a very convivial evening with Mike and Judith, we made our way towards "Atlantic Reach" not far from Newquay, Cornwall, for the next six nights, making sure we travelled via Jane Austen's House Museum for a quick visit along the way and stopping for lunch just across the road, where they hang the cups in the strangest places. On our way towards Cornwall, we drove by probably the oldest structure we've ever seen.

Over the following days, we visited several places of interest, which could have been a lot more except for the English version of "time and distance". For example, here in Oz, a 300km trip by car (say from Canberra to Westmeade, Sydney) would take three hours, where the same distance (approx) from Southampton, UK, to Newquay, UK, would take four hours. So, as you can see, we didn't quite get to as many places as we would have liked, especially when factoring in the narrower town/city streets and winding country roads. Maybe next time we'll see more.

And what did we venture out to see? Well, the story is in the pictures below, but along this part of our Tour, we stopped by in no particular order: Newquay (where one of the UK's finest beaches is located), St Eval, Tintagel Castle, Restormel Castle, Lands End, Bedruthan Steps, Mawgan Porth, Pendennis Castle, Trebah Garden, Padstow Harbour, Rick Stein's of Padstow and Lanhydrock. Naturally we partook in many of the fine dining locations and sampled one or three of the local brews along the way.

UK Touring Pt1

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Part two of our UK Tour covers our time in and around Bath, York and Sussex, before we headed over to Amsterdam and this may help in explaining some of the "history" and "mystery". Then again, it may not.

After the relatively short drive to Bath, we soon discovered how restrictive this "really old" place was in regards to motor vehicles, especially when it came to finding a parking place - on a street. Fortunately we found one just across the road from our lunch stop. Suitably refueled, we headed off to join the crush at the Roman Baths for a bit of a gander and then checked into the first of our AirBnB's. It was recommended that we dine at the Velo Lounge that evening, which was a short walk away. Did not disappoint and I can recommend the 'Bang Bang Chicken' as a main meal. The following day we made our way to the Botanical Gardens before heading out of town for a bit of photographic history along with a look at how the one percenters once lived along with a quick look at a once famous village.

After our short stay in Bath, we headed off to York to stay in our second AirBnB and meet up with a family friend we hadn't seen for many a year and then the possibly of walking the same ground that one or more of the Viking ancestors may have once travelled. In the meantime, this was a near perfect opportunity to visit the town where 1 x James Cook learnt his seagoing trade, so we made our way out to Whitby to pay the Captain Cook Memorial Museum a visit (which book-ends our visit to Venus Point in 2018) and then have a Cornish Pasty... a long way from Cornwall by the way.

While I'm on the food thing, what is it with Fish & Chips in this part of the world? The first attempt was at the Victoria in London (the beer was very refreshing), can't remember where the second one was... but the third, I mean, you gotta give 'em three goes, right?.... was in York and well, it was an improvement, but still failed the quality test compared to the dish served up at the Coffee Club of all places. I will admit to enjoying the peas (not everybodys cup of tea, I know) and the chips which were nice and chunky as well, but the fish had way to much batter and was really over cooked. OK, rant over.

OK, that out of the way and moving right along, where else did we manage to visit during our short stay in York? Well, in no particular order: Castle Howard, Jorvik Viking Centre, York Minster, York Art Gallery, The Shambles, Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate (a quick visit), Micklegate Bar and St. Margaret Clitherow's House and Shrine, before heading down south once again for our final couple of days in England.

During our travels southwards, we were unfortunately delayed for 40 or so minutes after a multi-vehicle accident occured on the M1. We were lucky, not so two fellow travellers that day.

Our final AirBnB was near a place called Wivelsfield, but actually just down the lane from St Peter & St John the Baptist church and a perfect base of operations for discovering some more family history especially in the Hastings area (see St Clements, below... and watch the guy stumble towards the end of "Hastings 1"). While we were heading around looking for local churches to plunder, the camera managed catch some unusual things. One being a local Bentley dealer, with the vehicles on display outside of the showroom... wouldn't happen in the Colonies.

As previously mentioned, the places for this part of our tour are shown in the pictures below, which can be viewed in the usual way. *note: some movie files ("movie" in the description) are here as well, to open you will need to click on the image to open the file in Flickr.

UK Touring Pt2

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Fast rail. Australia. Should. Have. It. Making our way from London to Amsterdam on the Eurostar, we certainly enjoyed the experience and it is one that many in Australia would like to have as well. Arriving relatively relaxed and less stressed, with the only 'stressful' moments being passing through the French border control at St Pancras station in London. Another stamp for the book at least.

Arriving at our digs for the next six nights late in the day, we didn't get out to explore our immediate surroundings until the following morning when we walked the short distance to the Rijks Museum and encountered our first crowd crush, with mainly art buff schoolies getting in the way of a good photo.





Webpage to be updated with further info.

Amsterdam Departure


To view video in a larger format, click on "vimeo".

Other Observations

Plenty to follow.