Part 2...Chepstow Castle...A look inside medieval times...


During various stages of the restoration of Chepstow Castles, bars were placed across low windows for the safety of tourists.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Chepstow:
From this site:
"In the 19th century, a shipbuilding industry developed, and the town was also known for the production of clocks, bells, and grindstones. In 1840 leaders of the Chartist insurrection in Newport were transported from Chepstow to Van Diemen's Land. The port's trade declined after the early 19th century, as Cardiff, Newport, and Swansea became more suitable for handling the bulk export of coal and steel from the Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire valleys. However, shipbuilding was briefly revived when the National Shipyard No.1 was established during the First World War and for a short period afterward, when the first prefabricated ships, including the War Glory, were constructed there. The influx of labour for the shipyards, from 1917, led to the start of "garden suburb" housing development at Hardwick (now known locally as "Garden City") and Bulwark. The shipyard itself became a works for fabricating major engineering structures. From 1938, Chepstow housed the head office of the Red & White bus company, on Bulwark Road."
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This will be the last day of presenting photos from Chepstow Castle. Tomorrow, we'll move on to Raglan Castle for two days. For the remaining two posts from Chepstow, Monday and Tuesday, we'll include some favorite photos from the 11 nights we spent here.
Each door in Chepstow Castle has unique characteristics.
After we spend two nights in Southampton before boarding the cruise, we'll tally the total expenses for our two months in the UK from August 23rd to October 24th. This post will appear on the day we board the ship.
These large areas leave a lot to the imagination.
From that point, all posts for 15 nights will be cruise and ports-of-call related. I realize that while we're cruising posts may be redundant but as always, on yet another cruise of our total of 25, we'll do our best to keep it interesting and informative.
In this case, the presence of vines created such a pleasing effect, it remained in place.
Chepstow Castle will remain in our minds for a long time to come. Lately, we'd been saying one can tire of touring old buildings which could most likely occur after seven years.  
Another fascinating doorway.
Undoubtedly, we'll continue to peruse historic churches, restored castles, as well as significant old structures throughout the world. It's impossible not to do so.

Many castles we've explored in the past have been totally restored with furnishings and accouterments typical for the era. The rich decor is often appealing and interesting but the medieval period has definitely piqued our interest while in the UK.  
Ken was intent on taking many photos.
The varied aspects of a castle's ruins leave much to the imagination inspiring us to research data we can share here with our photos.

For more on Chepstow Castle, please see below:
"Foundation, 1067–1188
The Great Tower
The speed with which William the Conqueror committed to the creation of a castle at Chepstow is testament to its strategic importance. There is no evidence for a settlement there of any size before the Norman invasion of Wales, although it is possible that the castle site itself may have previously been a prehistoric or early medieval stronghold. The site overlooked an important crossing point on the River Wye, a major artery of communications inland to Monmouth and Hereford. At the time, the Welsh kingdoms in the area were independent of the English Crown and the castle in Chepstow would also have helped suppress the Welsh from attacking Gloucestershire along the Severn shore towards Gloucester. However, recent analysis suggests that the rulers of Gwent, who had recently fought against King Harold, may initially have been on good terms with the Normans.

The precipitous limestone cliffs beside the river afforded an excellent defensive location. Building work started under William FitzOsbern in 1067 or shortly afterwards. The Great Tower was probably completed by about 1090, possibly intended as a show of strength by King William in dealing with the Welsh king Rhys ap Tewdwr. It was constructed in stone from the first (as opposed to wood, like most others built at this time), marking its importance as a stronghold on the border between England and Wales. Although much of the stone seems to have been quarried locally, there is also evidence that some of the blocks were re-used from the Roman ruins at Caerwent.

The castle originally had the Norman name of Striguil, derived from the Welsh word ystraigl meaning "river bend". FitzOsbern also founded a priory nearby, and the associated market town and port of Chepstow developed over the next few centuries. The castle and the associated Marcher lordship were generally known as Striguil until the late 14th century, and as Chepstow thereafter.

Expansion by William Marshal and Roger Bigod, 1189–1300

It's easy to imagine weddings held in this area.
Plan of Chepstow Castle from 1825
Further fortifications were added by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, starting in the 1190s. The wood in the doors of the gatehouse has been dated by dendrochronology to the period 1159–89. Marshal extended and modernised the castle, drawing on his knowledge of warfare gained in France and the Crusades. He built the present main gatehouse, strengthened the defences of the Middle Bailey with round towers, and, before his death in 1219, may also have rebuilt the Upper Bailey defences. Further work to expand the Great Tower was undertaken for William Marshal's sons William, Richard, Gilbert, and Walter, in the period to 1245.

In 1270, the castle was inherited by Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk, who was a grandson of William Marshal's eldest daughter, Maud. He constructed a new range of buildings in the Lower Bailey, as accommodation for himself and his family. Bigod was also responsible for building Chepstow's town wall, the "Port Wall", around 1274–78. The castle was visited by King Edward I in 1284, at the end of his triumphal tour through Wales. Soon afterwards, Bigod had built a new tower (later known as "Marten's Tower"), which now dominates the landward approach to the castle, and also remodelled the Great Tower.

A grassy courtyard.  Although there is grass in many areas of the castle it's unlikely grass was planted in any areas.  For tourist purposes, the beautiful lawns highlight the less colorful castle.
Decline in defensive importance, 1300–1403
From the 14th century, and in particular the end of the wars between England and Wales in the early 15th century, its defensive importance declined. In 1312 it passed into the control of Thomas de Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, and later his daughter Margaret. It was garrisoned in response to the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr in 1403 with twenty men-at-arms and sixty archers but its great size, limited strategic importance, geographical location and the size of its garrison all probably contributed to Glyndŵr's forces avoiding attacking it, although they did successfully attack Newport Castle.
The 15th to 17th centuries.

In 1468, the castle was part of the estates granted by the Earl of Norfolk to William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke in exchange for lands in the east of England. In 1508, it passed to Sir Charles Somerset, later the Earl of Worcester, who remodelled the buildings extensively as private accommodation. From the 16th century, after the abolition of the Marcher lords' autonomous powers by King Henry VIII through the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542, and Chepstow's incorporation as part of the new county of Monmouthshire, the castle became more designed for occupation as a great house."

For the continuation of this information, please click here
The stones used in building and restoring the castle vary in color creating an appealing aesthetic.
We'd planned to drive to Chepstow for lunch today but have decided to stay in due to the heavy rain.  We'd hoped to have lunch on our remaining days at the local pub/restaurant but after yesterday's inferior lunch, we changed our minds. Tomorrow evening we're meeting up with readers/friends Liz and Dave for dinner in Chepstow. 

The food was not the quality and freshness we've experienced elsewhere in Chepstow or other areas in the UK.  Thus, tomorrow Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we'll dine in Chepstow at one of its many wonderful restaurants. 
Glass windows were used in Wales as follows: "1066 to 1215 AD was the Norman period, which used glass in churches and some fortified buildings, castles, etc. 1216-1398 AD, the High Middle Ages, saw the introduction of Gothic and early English church architecture with much larger windows openings comprising smaller leaded panes."
Today, we'll put a dent in our remaining food by having a late lunch (instead of breakfast) and a lite bite in the evening.  
Moss and vines typically grow on stone structures in humid climates. although it can be destructive to the longevity of the structure.  For restored castle and other publicly displayed ruins, often the vines and moss are regularly removed.
The time is flying so quickly! We're only six days from boarding the cruise in Southampton and only three weeks from today to arriving in the US. We're looking forward to it all.

Have a healthful and peaceful day.
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Photo from one year ago today, October 18, 2018:
"Formerly widely distributed throughout the bushveld regions of South Africa. In the 19th century, it was exterminated by hunters, except in KwaZulu-Natal's Umfolozi region. Although now thriving where it has been re-introduced into parts of its former region, it still suffers from poaching."  For more photos please click here.

Part 1...Chepstow Castle...A look inside medieval times...


Chepstow Castle was impressive as we approached.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Chepstow:
From this site:
Chepstow was given its first charter in 1524 and became part of Monmouthshire when the county was formed. The town appears as "Strigulia", "Chepstowe" and "Castelh Gwent" on the Cambriae Typus map of 1573.[10] The castle and town changed hands several times during the English Civil War and the regicide Henry Marten was later imprisoned and died in the castle. The port continued to flourish; during the period 1790 to 1795, records show a greater tonnage of goods handled than Swansea, Cardiff, and Newport combined. Chepstow reached the peak of its importance during the Napoleonic Wars, when its exports of timber, for ships, and bark, for leather tanning, were especially vital. There were also exports of wire and paper, made in the many mills on the tributaries of the Wye. An important aspect of Chepstow's trade was entrepôt trade: bringing larger cargoes into the manageable deep water of the Wye on high tide and breaking down the load for on-shipment in the many trows up the Wye to Hereford past the coin stamping mill at Redbrook, or up the Severn to Gloucester and beyond. Chepstow also traded across the estuary to Bristol on suitable tides to work vessels up and down the Avon to that city's centre. Many buildings in the town remain from the late 18th and early 19th centuries; the elegant cast-iron bridge across the Wye was opened in 1816 to replace an earlier wooden structure."
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Our tour through Chepstow Castle on Tuesday with friends Linda and Ken, who live in South Africa was delightful. We took our time as we wandered through the historic structure reveling its magnificence and the skill with which it has been partially restored to its original beauty over the years.
The main entrance to the castle.
Wales/England/UK takes pride in the maintenance of their castles which was evidenced on both Tuesday and Wednesday when we toured yet another stunning structure with Linda and Ken, Raglan Castle which we'll share in a few days once we've completed posting photos of Chepstow Castle.
Coat of arms on shields at the entrance gate.
With both Linda and Ken as skilled photo enthusiasts, we all ran about seeking the most advantageous photos ops of which there was an endless supply.  We oohed and ahhed from area to area totally in awe of what our eyes beheld.
Unfortunately, it was another cloudy day but it never rained while we were touring the castle with Linda and Ken.
Of course, we couldn't wait for the opportunity to do research to discover more about the castle and its varied history.  The Internet was rife with comments and observations at numerous sites. 
 Linda and I bundled up on a cool day.  I had three layers under my hoodie.
However, we've found the history we've included today and in the next few days was most thorough and comprehensive at this site, one we often use for historical facts.  
Ken and Tom posing at a window.
There's some controversy if Wikipedia's information is accurate but we often find other information, perhaps written as a "personal observations" less accurate as opposed to the history itself that Wikipedia strives to present.
Inside the entrance courtyard.
Here is a portion of the information on the building of Chepstow Castle we gleaned from the above-mentioned site which we'll continue to add to in the next few day's posts:

"Chepstow Castle (Welsh: Castell Cas-gwent) at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain. Located above cliffs on the River Wye, construction began in 1067 under the instruction of the Norman Lord William FitzOsbern. Originally known as Striguil, it was the southernmost of a chain of castles built in the Welsh Marches, and with its attached lordship took the name of the adjoining market town in about the 14th century.

In the 12th century, the castle was used in the conquest of Gwent, the first independent Welsh kingdom to be conquered by the Normans. It was subsequently held by two of the most powerful Anglo-Norman magnates of medieval England, William Marshal and Richard de Clare. However, by the 16th century its military importance had waned and parts of its structure were converted into domestic ranges. Although re-garrisoned during and after the English Civil War, by the 1700s it had fallen into decay. With the later growth of tourism, the castle became a popular visitor destination."

Many floors of the castle were long gone but it was easy to determine where the
floors were located by the placement of fireplaces and windows.
The ruins were Grade I listed on 6 December 1950. (In the UK, ruins are graded by number with those in the poorest condition at the lower end of the spectrum. If they aren't graded, they may be subject to demolition.  Obviously, not all ruins are worthy of restoration).
It was easy to imagine how an area such as this would have been used in centuries past.
"Chepstow Castle is situated on a narrow ridge between the limestone river cliff and a valley, known locally as the Dell, on its landward side. Its full extent is best appreciated from the opposite bank of the River Wye. The castle has four baileys, added in turn through its history. Despite this, it is not a defensively strong castle, having neither a strong keep nor a concentric layout. The multiple baileys instead show its construction history, which is generally considered in four major phases.  The first serious architectural study of Chepstow began in 1904 and the canonical description was long considered to be by Perks in 1955. Recent studies have revised the details of these phases but still, maintain the same broad structure."


The sun peeked out just as we were done with our self-tour.  
It's easy to imagine life in a castle during the medieval era.  Of course, many of us have had an opportunity to watch TV series and movies depicted the difficult lives of the occupants of the castles (and more so for those outside the castle).
This stunning parlor or bedroom had obviously been restored to what may have been it's natural beauty.  This room is awe-inspiring.
Disease was rampant and life expectancy was alarming low: "Life expectancy at birth was a brief 25 years during the Roman Empire and it reached 33 years by the Middle Ages and raised up to 55 years in the early 1900s. In the Middle Ages, the average life span of males born in landholding families in England was 31.3 years and the biggest danger was surviving childhood."
The view through an arched doorway...
What a stunning experience we had on Tuesday with Linda and Ken followed by the over-the-top lunch we had at the Boat Inn in Chepstow along the River Wye.  If you missed yesterday's post, please click here.
The leaves are turning on the beautiful trees on the grounds of Chepstow Castle.
Today, we're back on our own planning to walk down the road for lunch at the local pub.  Much to our delight, the sun is shining although the temperature is quite cool, starting this morning at 46F, 8C.  I suppose this cool weather is good for us to adjust when we'll be in bitter cold Minnesota in a mere 22 days.

Have a bright sunny day filled with warmth and comfort.
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Photo from one year ago today, October 17, 2018:
A female resting beside her mate.  For more, please click here.

A fantastic day with friends...A castle..A memorable meal...


Us and Linda and Ken having a few drinks at the Boat Inn in Chepstow.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Shirenewton, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales:
From this site:
"After the Norman conquest of England, Chepstow was a key location. It was at the lowest bridging point of the River Wye, provided a base from which to advance Norman control into south Wales, and controlled river access to Hereford and the Marches. Chepstow Castle was founded by William Fitz Osborn, 1st Earl of Hereford, in 1067, and it's Great Tower, often cited as the oldest surviving stone fortification in Britain dates from that time or shortly afterward. Its site, with sheer cliffs on one side and a natural valley on the other, afforded an excellent defensive location. A Benedictine priory, now St Mary's Church, was also established nearby. This was the centre of a small religious community, the remains of which are buried under the adjoining car park. Monks, originally from Cormeilles Abbey in Normandy, were there until the Dissolution of the Monasteries."
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With little time this morning to spend on presenting facts and photos about our outstanding experience at the Chepstow Castle, which we'll share in a few upcoming posts starting tomorrow, today we're posting photos from our memorable lunch with Linda and Ken.

We stopped at a cafe for tea located next to Chepstow Castle.  We loved the colorful tea timer!
As it turns out, based on their schedule we'll only have one more day to spend together and we're all making the most of it.  Our friendship with Linda and Ken began in 2013 when we met them through Kathy and Don when we spent our first three months in Marloth Park and continued as we stayed in touch over the years. 

We walked along the River Wye to the Boat Inn for lunch.
While living in Marloth Park for 15 months beginning in February 2018 and ending in May 2019, we had many opportunities to socialize with them including a week they spent staying with us at The Orange House where we lived during that extended period.

They, along with Kathy and Don and many other friends became a part of our social circle with everyone being loving and supportive during and after my recent open-heart surgery.  

We stopped to check out the various relics.
With no family around these friendships meant the world to both of us.  Now, healed and ready for action, we met aChepstow Castle at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain for a rewarding experience in a castle.
Ken ordered the fresh trout which he enjoyed.
Over the years of our world travel, we'd seen many castles but none impressed us more than Chepstow Castle.  We can't wait to share the photos and stories of this stunning piece of history.

But, today, it takes less time to present our dining experience after our visit to the castle than it will when we begin sharing castle details tomorrow.  However, in no way do we want to minimize the significance of this exceptional dining experience so conveniently located a short walk from the castle.
Both Linda and Tom ordered the Guinness Beef Pie.  They both loved this dish with bread and veggies on the side.
To be able to spend time with friends after such a long period of our own, was refreshing.  The last time we had an opportunity was when we were in Ireland between May and August when friend Lisa and Barry came to Connemara to spend time with us.
Two plates of steamed vegetables were placed on the table.
The walk through the castle was outstanding but when we had an opportunity to sit down for tea in a charming coffee shop and later for lunch at The Boat Inn, the day proved to be rich and fulfilling.
This was the largest and most delicious plate of mussels I've ever had.  The sauce was made with butter, lemon and cream without flour.  I'd like to return to the Boat Inn one more time before we depart to order this again.
Here's information on the historic Boat Inn: 
From this site:
The Boat Inn, The Back, Chepstow
"An inscribed date in this building suggests that it was erected in 1789. The original character has survived in many of the interior features, such as the low ceiling and stone flags on the floor. At one time the inn was known as the Chepstow Boat. From around the Second World War to the 1980s the building was a private home. Inquests were held in the building in the 19th century, often into the deaths of people recovered from the river. See the Footnotes below for the names of previous Boat Inn licensees.

The inn was built alongside a dry dock, where ships’ hulls were repaired until the mid-19th century. This waterfront area is known as The Back, an old word for quay or wharf. Previously it was known as “Hell’s acre” because of the rowdiness and fights were common when sailors hit the bottle in the dozen or so pubs in the area.

In 1880, four men who held “respectable positions” in local society, were tried for hauling a fishmonger called Thomas Scott from the Boat Inn and throwing him into the river on the evening of the Chepstow boat races. The defendants said Scott had reneged on a bet. They were fined 30s each, plus costs, and told they were lucky not to be on trial for manslaughter.

The area was once the hub of Chepstow’s maritime activity. There were two slipways, and officers kept watch from a Custom House to ensure the correct duties were paid on incoming goods. Timber was one of the main commodities which passed through. Tourists boarded pleasure boats here for trips on the river Wye, and in 1840 Chartists who took part in the Newport uprising of 1839 departed from here after being sentenced to transportation to Australia. Light industries thrived in the vicinity, including a blacksmith’s forge, a sawmill and a bobbin factory.

One area of the Boat Inn, in the section to the right of the entrance, is said to be haunted. A notice painted on the wall advises customers: “While sitting here you [may] experience a sudden shiver or catch a fleeting glimpse of a figure from times past."
After lunch, we chatted by the fireplace in this relaxing area of the restaurant.
It's almost time for us to get on the road to drive to yet another castle where we'll meet up with Linda and Ken to tour the Raglan Castle and later, once again, find a restaurant where hopefully we'll have as good a meal as yesterday and no doubt, another great opportunity to chat with these dear friends.

We'll be back tomorrow with more.  May your day be fulfilling and meaningful!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 16, 2018:

The continuation of photos of the "Ridiculous Nine" we'd seen while on safari in Kruger National Park with friends from the US, Tom and Lois. "Black-backed jackals are closely related, both genetically and physically, to side-striped jackals. They are leanly built and quite hard to spot in the wilderness as they swiftly move through the terrain into areas of thicker vegetation, with their long, bushy tails bouncing behind them. They are a ginger color below the middle of their sides and their shoulders, and a mixture of black and grey above this line on their backs (the origin of their name). They are generally smaller than they appear in photographs and weigh only 6 to13 kg (13 to 29 lb), the same approximate size as most species of dwarf antelope."  For more details, please click here.

Friends and sightseeing today...


A housing complex in the countryside.  It appears there are many single-family homes in England and Wales with adjoining walls, comparable to privately owned townhouses, apartments or condos in the US and other countries.
 Fascinating Fact of the Day About Shirenewton, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales:
From this site:
"After the Romans left, Chepstow was within the southern part of the Welsh kingdom of Gwent, known as Gwent Is-coed (ie. Gwent this side of the woods). To the north of the modern town centre, a small church was established dedicated to St. Cynfarch (alternatively Cynmarch, Kynemark or Kingsmark), a disciple of St. Dyfrig. This later became an Augustinian priory on what is now Kingsmark Lane, but no traces of it remain. The town is close to the southern point of Offa's Dyke, which begins on the east bank of the Wye at Sedbury and runs all the way to the Irish Sea in north Wales. This was built in the late 8th century as a boundary between Mercia and the Welsh kingdoms, although some recent research has questioned whether the stretch near Chepstow formed part of the original Dyke. It is possible, though not clearly substantiated, that Chepstow may have superseded Caerwent as a trading centre, and been used by both Saxons and the Welsh. The Lancaut and Beachley peninsulas, opposite Chepstow, were in Welsh rather than Mercian control at that time, although by the time of the Domesday Book Striguil was assessed as part of Gloucestershire."
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This morning at 10:00 am we're meeting up with Linda and Ken at the Chepstow Castle, a short distance from the center of town.  When they didn't get to their holiday home until late in the day, after a very long road trip, they were exhausted and decided to stay in.

As it turns out their holiday home is quite a distance from ours (40 minutes) and thus we've all decided to get together during the days and back to our respective houses before dark.  The roads are narrow, winding and slippery in the rain and not easy to maneuver at night in the dark.


Subsequently, today we plan to stop for a "cuppa," the English equivalent of a cup of tea, which these days may imply a cup of coffee as well, see a few sites and then head to a pub in the center of town in Chepstow which is packed with pubs and restaurants.
The view of the Wye River we encountered on a drive in the area.
Afterward, Tom and I will stop at the market to pick up a few items and head back to our holiday home to spend a quiet evening in.  Having late lunches with Linda and Ken won't require a full dinner to follow when neither of us will be hungry by dinnertime. 

This is typical for us.  We're so used to eating light during the day, that a full meal from noon to mid-afternoon is sufficient to hold us with a small snack in the evening.

With nothing planned for dinner last night, we'd planned to drive the short distance down the road to the local pub as shown in the photo below for a bite to eat.  As it turned out they were closed on Mondays.
The local restaurant where we'll dine after Linda and Ken leave Monmouthshire.
With few groceries on hand, we made breakfast for dinner of sauteed onion, and cheese omelets with bacon, which proved to hit the spot.  We settled in for the evening and watched a few episodes of shows we've found on the UK channel,  Acorn TV (Amazon Prime for a small monthly fee).  

With only 24 days until we arrive in Minneapolis with new phones awaiting us, I decided not to have my current phone repaired.  We placed the SIM card on Tom's phone for the remaining nine days we'll be in the UK.  

Once we board the ship on the 24th we won't have WiFi or calling on either of our phones but can use Skype on our laptops if we need to make a call.  Of course, we'll have the ship's WiFi on the unlimited package for the 15-night cruise.
These views are certainly more appealing on a sunny day.
As a matter of fact, we signed up for the "full perks" package when a special was offered after we'd booked the cruise.  The package includes WiFi for two, gratuities, the full beverage package for both of us and a US $400 cabin credit which can only be used onboard.

On the upcoming anniversary of our world travels on October 31st, most likely we'll celebrate by dining in one of the specialty restaurants, using a portion of the cabin credit.  

Any remaining cabin credit may be used in the shops aboard ship, for laundry, for more specialty dining, or services in the spa (which we never use).  The drink package includes specialty coffees which we both love.  
Cattle grazing on a farm in the area.
On most ships, they make my macchiato sugar free which is still delicious.  Based on priority benefits as Elite members we're able to order free cocktails from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm each evening.  

With this additional drink package, we can have any beverages at no cost throughout the day and evening.  We rarely drink alcoholic beverages during the day even when socializing while cruising.  

However, today, I may have a glass of wine and, Tom a beer during lunch with Linda and Ken.  Neither of us has had any cocktails or wine since we've been in the UK except for a few occasions when we've been out to dinner.

Well, folks, it's time for us to get on the road to meet Linda and Ken at the Chepstow Castle.  Tomorrow, we'll be back with photos!

Have a fantastic day!
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Photo from one year ago today, October 15, 2018:
"The cheetah's body is built for speed. Its legs are relatively long compared to its greyhound-like body; it has a big heart and lungs and wide nasal passages. It is the fastest land animal, timed running at speeds of up to 114km/hour."  For more photos of the "Ridiculous Nine," please click here.

A drive through the area on a rainy day...Yikes, my phone is dying!...


A horse on a nearby farm covered with a red blanket in the rain.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Chepstow, Shirenewton, Monmouthshire, Wales:
From this site:
"The oldest site of known habitation at Chepstow is at Thornwell, overlooking the estuaries of the Wye and Severn close to the modern M48 motorway junction, where archaeological investigations in advance of recent housing development revealed continuous human occupation from the Mesolithic period of around 5000 BC until the end of the Roman period, about 400 AD. There are also Iron Age fortified camps in the area, dating from the time of the Silures, at Bulwark, 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the town centre, and at Piercefield and Lancaut, some 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the north. During the Roman occupation, there was a bridge or causeway across the Wye, about 0.6 miles (0.97 km) upstream of the later town bridge. Chepstow is located at a crossing point directly between the Roman towns at Gloucester (Glevum) and Caerwent (Venta Silurum). Although historians think it likely that there was a small Roman fort in the area, the only evidence found so far has been of Roman material and burials, rather than buildings."
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We figured out that we've experienced eight sunny days since we arrived in the UK on  August 23, 2019.  Subsequently, taking photos has been challenging to say the least.

Yesterday, mid-day, we took off to see if we could come up with some photos.  We didn't do so well when it started pouring only minutes after we left the house.  The rain was coming down so hard that the camera lens was wet, not a good situation.  

There were only a few roads where we could take photos from the car and less where we could pull over so I could get out of the car.  As mentioned earlier, most roads in the UK countryside are narrow and winding, without a shoulder making them unsuitable for pulling over.
It was raining so hard, the camera lens was wet while attempting to take a photo of this nearby church.
Also, the high hedges along the roads prevent us from appreciating the exquisite scenery while driving, getting only an occasional glimpse in an opening.  We've experienced this since we arrived in the UK seven weeks ago.

When we do get a peek of the countryside it is breathtaking reminding us of parts of New Zealand.  Now, here in Chepstow, we are fairly close to two rivers, the River Wye and the Severn River and hope to have a few sunny days before we depart to take advantage of the stunning views.
The traditional dining room at the hotel restaurant where we had lunch on Friday.
Today, Linda and Ken will arrive and most likely we venture out for some indoor activities on the rainy days.  They are British and are used to all the rain this time of year.

Over the past few days, my phone has been acting up.  It shuts down each time it freezes while I am performing a task.  Also, loud music plays upon reboot and there is absolutely no way to stop that song.  This is an issue when I am having trouble sleeping and playing games on my phone to lull me back to sleep. This sound awakens Tom.
Tom's lunch.
I've reset the phone to "factory reset," run anti-virus software and an AVG cleaner, all to no avail.  I've gone through all my apps and disabled all I can while uninstalling as much as possible.  If anyone out there has a suggestion, please email me instructions to resolve the issue.

I'm not motivated to get it fixed or replaced since when we arrive in the US in 3½ weeks, our two new Google world phones will be waiting.  The new versions of these phones are being presented online tomorrow, October 15th.  
My Caesar salad minus croutons which Tom ate as usual.
After reviewing all the information as to the models we'd prefer, we'll place our orders to be delivered to Minnesota with 24 hours after our arrival.  We'll be able to communicate with our family, friends and each other while in the US and once we leave the US again two months later, we'll have worldwide service paid in small monthly bundles with no longterm contract required.

We've conducted some research for a possible eating establishment for tonight's dinner with Linda and Ken.  But, we'll wait to definitively decide until we touch base with them soon.

Have a fantastic Monday!
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Photo from one year ago today, October 14, 2018:
The continuation of the "ridiculous Nine"..."The average litter size for the wild dog is between four and eight puppies. They suckle for the first three months of their lives before being taught to hunt.  For more photos, please click here.

Once again, adapting to a new location...Photos...


The property is called The Studio but its larger than a studio apartment.  The main consist of living room, kitchen, dining area, and bathroom.  The master bedroom is upstairs on a mezzanine level, a small loft room with a futon bed.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Chepstow, Shirenewton, Monmouthshire, Wales:
From this site:"The name Chepstow derives from the old English ceap/chepe stowe, meaning market place or trading centre. The word "stow" usually denotes a place of special significance, and the root chep is the same as that in other placenames such as Chipping Sodbury and Cheapside. The name is first recorded in 1307, but may have been used by the English in earlier centuries. However, the name used by the Normans for the castle and lordship was Striguil (in various spellings, such as Estrighoiel), probably from a Welsh word ystraigyl, meaning a bend in the river. The Welsh name Cas-gwent refers to the "castle of Gwent". That placename itself derives from the Roman settlement Venta Silurum or 'Market of the Silures', now named Caerwent, 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Chepstow, which had been the Romano-British commercial centre of south-east Wales."
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Every holiday home and also hotels require a certain amount of adapting on our part.  It's not that we're comparing our "old lives" before we began traveling.  It's simply that we're adapting from the last place we stayed whether it was for a week, a month or longer.
This is the property we're currently renting.  It was a former town hall and next door where the owners live was the Rectory.  
Cruising often requires a considerable amount of adaptation but after 25 cruises in the past seven years, we no longer need to adapt to the small cabin's lack of space when we so much enjoy the daily lifestyle aboard ship, spending little time in the cabin, other than for showering, dressing, and sleeping.
The kitchen, although small is fine for our needs.
Within moments of arriving at any new location, we access the potential issues.  We don't say anything to the owner/property manager.  In most cases, the nuances were mentioned in the online listing.  

At times, an owner may minimize the less positive aspects, not necessarily to "hide them" but more so, these certain issues may be a bigger deal for us than other travelers, especially those staying two to three nights as opposed to our longer periods in most cases.
The stairway leading to the mezzanine/loft area where the bed, a dresser, and two small nightstands are located.
We knew when we rented "The Studio," a former town hall, there would be several items that would require adaptation on our part which includes:

1.  The only bedroom is up a flight of stairs and is extremely small. There's no bathroom on that level requiring we go downstairs in the middle of the night, should the need arise.  The bed is low to the floor, maybe 12 inches, as are the two nightstands.
2.  In the past several rentals in the UK, the only bathroom has been up a flight of stairs (not the case in Ireland where there was one on each level).  Recently, we've become adapted to going up and down stairs several times a day which ultimately has been a good form of exercise.
3.  The kitchen has an under-counter refrigerator with a tiny freezer. There's only room for two ice cube trays, the bag of ice and two packages of bacon or one package of meat.  As it turns out, with Linda and Ken coming tomorrow, we plan to dine out each of four evenings and again after they leave for the remaining four nights until we drive to Southampton, staying in a hotel for two more nights until we board the cruise on the 24th.
4.  Parking is on the street but once we park in our designated spot we have a walk across a rock garden to reach our place.  We were drenched when we arrived on Friday and, it was a challenge for Tom to haul the heavy bags.  The owners kindly assisted with the bags.
5.  There's no convenient spot in the house to store our opened bags since we aren't unpacking here either, just taking out toiletries and clothing as needed.  As it turned out, there an enclosed shared storage area between us and the owner, on the main floor, the size of a double garage.  We were able to find places to leave our bags opened for easy access. It's working out well.
The bathroom is all-new, as is most of the property and located on the main floor.
Once we adapted to these variances, we're settled in and comfortably situated, these nuances being of less significance today.

Soon, we plan to get out for few photos for tomorrow.  With Linda and Ken arriving tomorrow afternoon, staying in a nearby holiday home, we'll enjoy four days of sightseeing, wine drinking and the sheer pleasure of their company.  We're looking forward to seeing them once again!
For the first time in a holiday home, we won't be making the bed.  It's low to the floor and a little difficult to maneuver around.
That's it for today, folks.  We'll be back with more tomorrow.  Happy day!
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Photo from one year ago today, October 13, 2018:

More on the "Ridiculous Nine" mentioned in yesterday's post. "The spotted hyaena hunts and scavenges by night and is closely connected in African folklore with the supernatural world. Anyone who has heard the sound of hyaenas in full cry around midnight would understand the animal's association with the dark arts."  For more photos, please click here.