• A Journey to King Arthur’s Court

    A Journey to King Arthur’s Court

    Once again, without much foreplanning the quest was quickly booked. I was of on another grand adventure. This was the first time I travelled to Europe in the end of October. As usual I departed from the Saint John Airport, and connected in Montreal to London Heathrow. The flight itself was rather uneventful and me and my luggage arrived as expected to London.

    Using Google maps for hotels in the area of Southampton I was looking for the most affordable option that was commutable by train and had settled with the Travelodge in Winchester, Hampshire. I knew absolutely nothing of this place and had procrastinated due to my dislike of making plans and the rail option had jumped to be far greater than taking the bus to Winchester, and the weather was horrid as the tropical storm that devastated my home region was no having the same fun to the folks of the UK especially Scotland and Northern England. Due to this I had decided to go directly to Winchester.

    From Heathrow Terminal 2 I had never taken the bus before and following the signage was pretty easy to the Bus terminal. Once there it was like any other bus terminal completely packed with people just waiting around for the bus and a complete mess of what platform any bus was going to arrive on. I had decided on the National Express 203 bus. Which as it turns out is actually 2 separate buses and I was to take the more expedited version.

    After leaving the bus station the first stop was to Terminal 4, then Terminal 5. The bus driver was really friendly and announced when we were passing the parked Concorde jet so everyone could look out the window to see it. Once I arrived in Winchester, there was a public restroom I took advantage of and through stress of finding the connecting bus to down town I decided to just walk, the sun had just made its presence so it was a very nice slightly uphill stroll to the hotel.

    My first impression of Winchester is that it was more of a small town vibes but was very British and much more what you picture from television of the UK then what you ever see in London. I did not rush at all but in the warm sun my coat was sweaty and I had booked for early check-in just so I could place me bags somewhere for the day. Given that it was no about noon, 8am in my home time. I was rather exhausted and slept a bit for the afternoon.

    I then found out that my friend I was hoping to see had caught COVID so I would not be seeing her the next day that was disappointing but understandable, and I was very fearful of catching it prior to embarking on a 13-night Trans-Atlantic cruise. I woke about 5pm by which time it was raining again, go figure it is England of course. So I went to get a meal combo at the Tesco and then returned to the hotel for a fun night chatting with my sick friend, and took a nice shower and watched British TV.

    The next morning it was sunny and I walked to the Winchester cathedral and took lots of amazing pictures until it was not sunny and in fact started to rain again. And rain incredible hard, so I paid admission and waited out the rain exploring the Great Hall, the little remaining portion of Winchester Castle. It was pretty impressive to see the history of the community and the role the town played in the Civil War.

    This was where a lot of the conflicts happened. There is also an incredible large table hanging on the wall that according to legend was King Arthur’s knights roundtable. Where in reality the table is not that old like 1300’s old, and was later painted probably around time of Henry VIII, but for several generations it was believed to be true and many of the stories in the legend a pictured to be around Winchester, but that was just because the authors at the time it was written believed the story of the table.

    Then the sun came out again and it was time to find some lunch, which was coffee and a selection of items from the Winchester Bakery, and set on the wet bench in the sun and listened to a musician perform with an animatronic skeleton on the drums. In the afternoon I spent the day in the Brooks shopping mall as it went back and forth from rain to sun, and rain with sun all day.

    In all Winchester turned out to be an amazing choice to stay at over Southampton or London. I really want to return here to see more of the city.

    I found the bus stop that I needed for the next morning, returned to the hotel and changed, rested, and chatted with my friend for a bit until it was time for dinner. Come dinner time I went to the pub and ordered a beer, only to learn the kitchen closed at 5pm. After having my beer, I went to the Mark and Spenser’s and picked up a meal combo there and a breakfast assortment of fruit and pastries for in the morning.

  • 2023 Mosaic Parade

  • September 11th 2001

    September 11th 2001

    It was sunny, and warm 23C late summer morning. My first year being away from home in Fredericton NB at St. Thomas University at 9:46am I would have been waiting by the door for the class before mine to end. By 10:03am, I was sitting by the door listening to my second morning Introduction to Microeconomics with Dr. Andrew Secord in the first floor class room in Edmund Casey Hall. We really were completely oblivious to the outside world, almost no one had cell phones and the computer labs were in the opposites side of campus. Let’s face it the opposites side of campus is a 1 minute walk across the quad.

    My location by the wall during the class.

    At 10:37am and 11:03am I would have still been in this class unaware of the world being changed forever. The class let out at 11:20am and prior to going to the cafeteria for lunch I returned to my dorm room on the 2nd floor of Harrington Hall. The room next to mine had two aspiring musicians and movie fanatics, one from Newfoundland the other a foreign student from Maine USA. On their television in the dimly lit room laid the Pentagon in exploded smoke as the plane had struck the building some time prior. I asked them what movie it was and they then told me what had happened, and that this was not a movie it was live TV. As we were taking it was 11:28am and the 2nd tower had fallen.

    One does not go to university for a degree in Journalism without a keen interest in the news, so I powered on my computer, since I had a TV tuner card to view cable. I tuned in to ABC and just watched, I remember skipping dinner that day and just watching for survivors to be found, one after the other. When Peter Mansbridge took over the desk at CBC I switched to CBC Newsworld. One of the early questions was the Premier of NB safe since he was in Manhattan on that morning.