October, 1990 – Trip to England and Scotland


October 18, 1990

LAX Airport.  Los Angeles


Well here I am waiting.  We had to arrive at the airport early to make seat reservations.  It’s about 2:05 here and about 10:05 in London.  Our flight was delayed from 5:30 to 6:40.  As I said, I’m waiting.  It’s pretty busy down here.  There isn’t much to do, either, but it’s definitely worth it. 


October 19, 1990

Aboard a British Airways 747


We’ve been having a lot of turbulence.  At one point I thought the plane was going to drop out of the sky.  It’s about 2:20 a.m USA and about 11:20 UK time.  Our plane was not only delayed, it was also, on top of being delayed, late.  We took off at about 8:00 USA time.  I just looked out the window.  I can see the wing and we are way above the clouds.  Even though it’s about 2:40 USA time now, it’s light out.  It was weird flying into daylight. 


October 19, 1990

A1 Airbus


We’re here.  I can’t wait to see our hotel.  We’re on our way to the hotel now. After we check in, we’re going out for dinner and sightseeing.  I love it here already. 


October 20, 1990

Edenbridge Town Train Station


I was so exhausted last night I fell asleep before I had the time to make an entry in my journal.  Our hotel is great.  We are real close to a tube station and our street has lots of great shops.  We went to Hever Castle today.  I got a really neat book of letters between Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.   I bought a porcelain doll.  She is dressed in black and white and has a gorgeous face.  At Hever we went through the maze.  People went though the mazes to entertain themselves.  I only got through to one corner.  We also went to a 15th Century church, where Thomas Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s father, prayed.  In the castle, we saw Anne Boleyn’s bedroom and her book of hours that she took to her execution.  We also saw a set of baby clothes that Elizabeth I made for her half-sister, Mary. 


October 21, 1990

Aboard an Intercity Train to York


We are on our way to York on an intercity train now.  The trains can go up to 120 miles per hour.  There is a café on board but the line is five miles long so it doesn’t do me any good.  We had to be up by 5:30 to catch a taxi at 6:30, arrive at the station at 7:00, board by 7:30 and leave by 8:15.  Right now it is 9:06.


October 21, 1990

The Lounge of the Viking Hotel


We did so much today I don’t know where to start.  We left on the train at 8:15.  The ride was great and we finally got through the lines to the snack bar.  It was very foggy.  We arrived at York about 11:20 and walked to our hotel since it was only a 2 minute walk.  When we were checking in, we found out our room wasn’t ready for us yet so we had to go start our sightseeing.  We went to York Minster, a huge medieval cathedral.  York Minster has half the medieval stained glass in all of England.  I was pretty surprised to see that even though most of the medieval glass is in York Minster, lots of it was put out by bombs in the war.  We also went to Clifford’s Tower, the remains of the keep of a Norman castle.  Clifford’s Tower was on a high hill and on top of that the tower was about two stories tall.  I climbed to the top.   The view was amazing.  After that we went to the York Story Attraction.  It was like a museum.  We ate dinner in a small restaurant that had been standing in one section from the 14th Century.  We also went to the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey.  It’s hard to explain the atmosphere there.  It was really quiet, one or two walls were still standing.  We walked along the York city wall as well.  It was a long walk, but seeing the view made it worthwhile.  We saw something that I thought was very interesting – there were about two or three street painters.  The pictures weren’t quick sketches either.  They were really realistic.  One guy we saw even drew a picture of one of the medieval stained glass windows showing a religious scene.  When we got back to the hotel, I found out that I had got to have my own room. 


October 22, 1990

Lounge of the Mount Royal Hotel


Today we went to Edinburgh Castle.  The castle is on a very steep hill and we can see it from our hotel room.  Our new hotel in Scotland is nice.  Edinburgh Castle was very old.  The oldest part of the castle is over 900 years old.  That means it was built in about 1050.  The castle was paved in cobblestones and the guards had on dress-type shoes so whenever they walked down a hill or even up a hill they kept slipping. 


October 23, 1990

McDonalds in Inverness, Scotland


I just saw Loch Ness.  I (shucks) didn’t see Nessie.  We went to the Monster Museum and saw all the possibilities of what Nessie could be.  I think it’s a plesiosaur.  I think there are more than one of them.  We also went to Urquhart Castle.  The castle is built right at the edge of the loch.  In Scotland, Loch means lake.  Urquhart Castle is a ruins, although there are still certain rooms left.  There is also a four story staircase up to a walkway. Our train had no brakes.  It was an interconnecting train that we had to change on to.  We ended up on a bus. I think we probably got a better view on the bus, anyway. 


October 24, 1990

Holyrood House


Today we went to Holyrood House.  The Holyrood House was built 200, 300, 400, or 500 years depending on where you were in the Palace.  In one spot, Queen Mary of Scots secretary was murdered in front of Mary.  The King (who helped murder the secretary) thought that the shock might cause Mary to have a miscarriage.  The King didn’t want the baby to be born because he didn’t want to have to bow to his son as a monarch.  In one room of the palace there were paintings of all the Kings up to Charles II.  Charles II had them made and gave the artist only one week to paint each portrait.  Charles also had the painter make each relative strongly resemble himself. 


Nobody knew if Queen Mary helped murder her second husband, Lord Darnley.  Our guide said Lord Darnley was, (how can I put this) blown up.  But my guidebook said he was found strangled. 


October 25, 1990

British Museum


We went to the British Museum today.  I saw the Rosetta Stone.  The Rosetta Stone is a plaque containing the same story written in three languages.  Latin, Hieroglyphics and Hieratic.  (The cursive way of Hieroglyphics).  Using this stone, or plaque, people can now decipher ancient Hieroglyphics and Hieratic stories, documents and anything else written in the two languages.  We also saw the Portland Vase.  The vase was broken once and put together very poorly, so to be able to display this vase, it had to be rebroken and redone.  The vase is so important because it is said to be the finest example of cameo art known.  At the museum, I saw something I really thought was really neat, there were about 35 (that we saw) artists sitting on benches or near exhibits and drawing things in the museum!  Some of the drawings were extremely good.  We also saw the mummy rooms.  In the rooms, there were about 10 Egyptian mummies.  One mummy was unwrapped.  It didn’t look that bad.  It wasn’t even rotting.


October 26, 1990



I don’t remember much on the train because I was asleep, so I’ll start from when we got to the city.  It was pretty cold and raining off and on, we had some sun though.  I love walking around the city.  There were many different shops.  I thought it was strange that everything closed down at 4, even pubs only served drinks, no food, after 4.  We also went to Canterbury Cathedral.  The Cathedral is 900 years old.  There are a lot of old stained glass windows there.  Canterbury Cathedral is the site of St. Thomas Becket’s murder.  Henry II in anger said: “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest”?  Three of his knights took him seriously.  They went to Canterbury where Thomas was praying and cut off the crown of his head.  We ate lunch in Queen Elizabeth’s Guest Room, so called because one night, in 1573, Elizabeth I spent the night in this room interviewing a French prince.  Elizabeth was thinking of marrying this prince. 


My doll was stolen.  Someone came, said they were me, and collected the doll.  I got my money back and they are looking for another one. 


October 27, 1990

Tower of London

Today we went to the Tower of London.  We were going to go to Leeds Castle, but the trains to Leeds weren’t running.  We are still going to Leeds, but on a weekday.  I like the Tower just as well as I would have probably have liked Leeds.  The Tower of London’s white tower was built by William the Conqueror.  The remains of a 900 year old Roman wall are scattered around the castle.  There is also a wall around the Castle.  The wall is about 800 years old and housed guards and served as a storeroom. 


We also saw the place where thousands of people were executed.  They didn’t do it in the Tower, but outside the Tower.  Among those who were executed were Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, two of Henry VIII’s wives, and Lady Jane Grey, uncrowned queen after nine days at the age of 15.   After being executed the bodies were literally thrown under the stones in the Chapel of St. Peter Ad Vincula.  One Hundred years ago the chapel’s floors were dug up.  1,500 bodies were then revealed.  33 were identified, among them were Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey, Lord Guilford Dudley and Countess Rochford. 


The Yeoman Warders, more commonly known as Beefeaters, got their strange nicknames because their duties in medieval times were to taste the King’s food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.  The King was only served beef so they actually were beefeaters.  I bought another doll.  She is pink and silver and has almost the same face as the last one.


October 28, 1990



Today we visited Windsor Castle.  We spent most of our time in the city although we did go to Queen Mary’s dollhouse.  The dollhouse isn’t some cheap, plastic tiny old toy.  If it were a little bigger, you could live in it.  The water runs, the lights have switches, and go on and off.  The locks have tiny keys and there is even a wine cellar with bottles of wine.  Each bottle really has wine in it.  The dollhouse is taller than me and has well over 15 rooms.  As well as a garage with over 7 cars.  A wine cellar with thousands of miniature bottles filled with wine and a garden with a lawnmower (enough already) and rosebushes, pine trees and almost anything else imaginable.  Of course, it would be a waste to have such an extravagant dollhouse and no dolls, so Queen Mary has many dolls with changes of clothes and many accessories.  Among them, about 10 pocket knives (remember, everything works), about eleven pairs of scissors, a deck of tiny playing cards, a set of dominoes that are so small you can hardly see the dots, china and tableware and (my personal favorite), a bowlful of tiny British coins. 


I liked the city of Windsor just as well if not more.  There were a number of quaint shops lining the cobblestoned alleys and streets.  The original Woods of Windsor perfume shop is still standing and selling perfume from a recipe created in the 1700’s.  I just had to get something.  Since I had been there before I had already chosen the Forget-Me-Not scent line.  I got some handcream, soap and shampoo, all in the same fragrance.


October 29, 1990

Leeds Castle


When people say Leeds Castle is the most beautiful place on earth, they are right.  The castle is surrounded by a heavily wooded park and when you first spot the castle, you feel like you are in a picture book.  It is truly beautiful.  The castle is built on two islands so it is totally surrounded in water.  The castle was built that way because the Normans thought it would be easy to defend a fortress surrounded by water.  The fortress was built of wood but soon it was rebuilt of stone.  Henry VIII made the castle a royal residence and added many features, including an upstairs.  In the 1930’s Lady Baillie added an aviary to the grounds.  I had quite a conversation with a talkative mynah bird.  He could say “good morning”,”hello”, he could whistle and he loved saying “WOW”.  If you say “how are you?” or “good morning”, he would say “WOW”.  It got annoying.  We also went through the maze.  It was really difficult.  While my Dad was at the hill in the center, it started to rain and my Mom and I were still lost.  We didn’t have an umbrella.  My Dad had it.  My Dad was on the hill in the center so he could see the whole maze and guide us through it. Once you are in the center, you go into the cave and there are three thrones and lots of statues of ancient gods. 


October 30, 1990

Kenilworth, Warwick


The first place we went today was Warwick Castle.  The castle started as a wooden fort in 1068.  But from 1260 to 1450, stone walls and many towers were added making up the castle known today.  Most of the Earls of Warwick lived in the castle.  Warwick is practically right next to the River Avon.  Tomorrow we are going to Stratford Upon Avon. 


We also went to the ruins of Kenilworth Castle.  Strangely enough, the castle is made of pinkish brown sandstone.  Some parts of the castle are still standing, but just the walls.  In 1575 for 19 days, Queen Elizabeth visited Kenilworth Castle.  The Queen had given the castle to her favorite. 


October 31, 1990

Stratford Upon Avon


Today we went to Stratford Upon Avon.  I’ve wanted to go there ever since I was 6.  I was so glad we finally got there. 


We saw Shakespeare’s birthplace.  The two-story cottage rented for 6 pence.  The cottage seemed very spacious for its time.  There were about 8 large rooms.  Some of the treasures in the house are a school desk from Shakespeare’s school, a 17th century cradle and 17th century childminder. We also went to Westminster Abbey. We went there because every Wednesday you can take all the pictures you want in the Abbey.