24.4.06 17 °C
I haven't written in awhile beacause I haven't been doing much as of late. Lotsa boring stuff like Job hunting, National insurance number getting, and registering with the surgery. No worries there, that's what the brits call the doctors office lol. I came across a weird scenario today when I filled a perscription out. When I got back I read the information leaflet inside the meds and saw that that I couldn't actually take it because I'm lactose intolerant. I called the surgery and spoke with the nurse who said the doctor would get back to me with another perscription. I went to the chemists (the pharmacy!) and gave back my medication only to find out they can't refund my money!(or exchange it for another perscription)It's some law that prohibits them from refunding perscribed medication?!? I had never heard of that, and now i'm out £7 ($14)!! Mind you, at home I had never tried to return a perscription so it could be the same?!?
When the weekend rolls around Rich and I are feeling so cooped up here with all the housemates we try to get out for the day and sightsee somewhere even if its just the next town, so thats just what we did on Saturday. It was a gorgous sunny day here, which doesn't happen very often! It felt like the first day of summer at home and everyone is out with convertible tops off and shorts on. What is with that premature summer stuff?!? wishful thinking I suppose because the next day was rainy and blah again.
Winchester is about a 10 minute train ride away from Southampton. It was formerly the capital of England, during the 10th and early 11th centuries. It is best known for the Great Hall, which was built in the 12th century and is the only surviving portion of Winchester Castle. The Great Hall was rebuilt, sometime around 1230 and still exists today. It's also known for King Arthur's Round Table, which has hung in the hall from at least 1463. Unfortunately we arrived at the great hall about a 1/2 hour after it closed so weren't able to check it out.
Another historical building is the Winchester Cathedral, which is one of the largest in England. It was built nearly 1,000 years ago in 1079 and developed over centuries. The cathedral was pretty impressive with its different architectural styles meshed together. It has seen the likes of four royal coronations and three royal weddings. When I walked in a saw the nave and the impressive high ceilings and windows it was quite an experience. Even though I'm not religous at all, I could definately appreciate the history and spirituality of it. What fascinated me were the tombstones and plaques commemorating all the people that were buried in the walls and under the concrete. Everywhere you walked you were stepping on stones marking people all the way back to the 15th century. There were alot of war memorials, Rich said that Winchester was a large military community at one point. Another thing were the tombs where former bishops of Winchester were buried. They were eerie because they looked like mummies in a way, in gold lol. Some dated back to the 12th century. We spent a better part of two hours just looking at everything. The intricate detailing that had been restored over the years, the 13th century tiling and even trunks that were high atop a wall that had former kings and queens skeletal remains!
In true old cathedral fashion there was a creepy crypt in the basement. We were able to go down and peer in but unfortunately there weren't any tours that day. The tours go deep into the bottom of the cathedral, that by the map look like winding pathways, where tomstones lay. Another day indeed!
As we were leaving, I was again reading the gravestones on the walls and I surprisingly came across novelist Jane Austen's stone! I wasn't aware that she was buried there. There were the plaques on the wall, and floor that were put up when she was buried there in 1817. I didn't realize at first that it was the Jane Austen because there was no mention of her writing. On a second glance I noticed another small plaque that spoke of her literary fame. The story is that she wasn't known outside her own family for her novels until well after her death. Her nephew later had the plaque placed there to make note of it. Random things you come across!
I really loved Winchester it was so quaint and relaxed. Since it was a beautiful day on Saturday people were milling about on the lawns by the cathedral having lunch or just chilling out. It was very old school England in our modern society. Rich and I walked around the streets, and the banks of the River Itchen lazily. I could definatly get used to work weeks ending with the weekends of exploring! Another mention are the yummy pasties here in the shops. Pasties are like steak and potatoes with gravy wrapped up in a pastry. The jamaican patty but english and better lol. Although I still do crave a good patty on a cocobun!
Oh another mention is that the movie Da Vinci Code was shot at Winchester Cathedral! Coincidentally I've been meaning to read this book for ages and didn't realize until we got there and read about it. I picked up the book today and started to read it! lol
Take a gander to my msn space (link in oxford entry) for more pics. I will be posting most of my pictures there for now on.