Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The UK-Ireland Trip: England Day 2 - Highclere Castle and the Frances

Banner day today.

First, we had a very enjoyable tour of Highclere Castle, the location of the fictional Downton Abbey castle of the popular TV series produced by the BBC.  Martha and I were fans of the show and we had arranged this phase of our trip in the UK to fit with the tour reservations Martha managed to book earlier this year.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, for those of you who've not seen Downton Abbey....enjoy the architecture, then go see the series!

Oh, photography wasn't allowed indoors, but it was very cool to see the actual indoor set locations.  They'd even posted large photos from the movie set so you could easily compare what you remembered from the series to the actual rooms they were shot in and which one was now standing.

 We were the first ones to arrive, and lucked out with a brief
period of really nice and warm light shining on the castle.

 Cedar Tree from Lebanon, planted years ago by one of the Earls.

 Another lovely Cedar Tree

" Woman of the house!  Where's me tea?"
Having refreshments after the tour in the "Coach House"

 Spotted this angle of the tower from a window in the tea room.
Sorry for all the spots, they were caused by water spots on the glass.

 The back portion of the castle

 At the "Jackdaws Castle" Folly

Jackdaws Castle, one of several follies on the property.

After we left Highclere, it was a short ride to the small village of Yattendon and The Royal Oak Inn where we're staying tonight.  Really cute village with a nice pub/inn and a general store across the street.

Here's where the real high mark of the day happened.  Gary France and his lovely wife Jacquie drove down from north of London to come meet with us for dinner!  Gary is a fellow moto-blogger which a great photographic eye and story-telling ability, he toured the USA on his custom painted Harley Davidson motorcycle "The Leading Ladies" back in 2010.  http://www.garysfrance.com/

Gary also runs Tour1, an authorized Harley-Davidson motorcycle touring company.  In fact, he's pretty much living the dream, guiding people on motorcycle tours and getting paid to do it!  It's his company and business is good!

 Jacquie, Gary, Martha and yours truly

 The Guys
 Happy Couples

Hey Gary, I wondered why you were holding the iPhone at an angle when shooting the last picture above.  It does work though, I get it.  Thanks again for driving all the way to Yattendon to meet with us!


RichardM said...

I've heard of the series but have never watched any of it. Nice smirk (you not Martha. She smiles).

I think that Gary had his iPhone at an angle to point out that he still leans his bike into corners...

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Dom, I'm late to your posts and will try to get caught up. We motored through those areas but I've not been lucky enough to ride them. Fantastic trip and memorable the rest of your days I'm sure.

Gary France said...

I learnt some things about the UK from this post Dom. Having never watched Downton Abbey, I didn't know much about it or Highclere, but I am now likely to go see such a magnificent building sometime soon. Jackie and I had a great time having dinner with you and Martha last night, catching up with and hearing more about your around Britain adventures. We wish you well with the rest of your trip and we look forward to reading more about it, plus seeing more of your great pictures. Remember to keep it on the left!

redlegsrides said...

Funny RichardM, funny....I better not have forgotten how to lean a motorcycle into a turn as I am renting a HD Sportster tomorrow.
Watch the series, I didn't I would like it but its very engaging.

Coop, memories for sure....

Gary France, guess I am a bit surprised about your not having watched the series but then again, you're on the road all the time now it seems, running your tours. :) Martha and I had a great time chatting with Jacquie and you.....thanks.

Trobairitz said...

A gorgeous castle and you got to meet the France's? Now I am jealous.

I've seen the first season of Downton Abbey, but the rest aren't streaming on Netflix yet.

redlegsrides said...

Martha and I binged the series off of Amazon Video ... I will say this, the rooms look bigger in the series ....

SonjaM said...

I was hoping for such an encounter. Glad you guys could make it, and got to meet.

Ah, Downton Abbey, our last winter's binge. I watched it mostly to keep my language skills up to snuff (the vocabulary ist just more eloquent than on Walking Dead).

redlegsrides said...

Quite the storyline wasn't it SonjaM?