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England in 90 minutes: Join Ann on her latest trip

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Oh to be in England now that March is here and the good news is that you can enjoy a visit without any air travel.

Ann Smith-Gordon, president and CEO of cancer charity PALS, will take you there with her latest audio-visual slide presentation, ‘Homes, Gardens and Villages of Beautiful England’.

The 90-minute tour costs just $15, and includes visits to stately castles, lovely villages, and diverse landscapes, cultures, literature, art and architecture.

The journey will begin in the New Forest in Hampshire, where ponies and other livestock roam freely, before moving on to Suffolk, and charming 16th century Nayland in the heart of “Constable country” where the sites of seven of renowned artist John Constable’s major landscape paintings can be found.

Then it is on to Ely, with its magnificent cathedral, and York, a city rich in history, where the Romans, Vikings and Normans all made their headquarters. Here, a visit to the Jorvik Viking Museum will take viewers back through the centuries to an actual Viking street, which was discovered in the late 1970s below a busy present-day street, and remains complete with sights, sounds and smells exactly as it was in AD 975.

Further north, the show takes in Hadrian’s Wall before it savours the natural beauty of the Lake District an area of England irrevocably associated with poets and writers, including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome and John Ruskin.

“Here we will explore Lake Windermere; the fascinating Pencil Museum in Keswick, which is home to a 25-foot pencil, the world’s longest; Grizedale Forest; and the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter,” Ms Smith-Gordon said. “Beatrix left her charming Hilltop Farm, along with 4049 acres of land, 14 farms, and 20 houses, to the National Trust in Britain to ensure that they would be protected and remain undeveloped and unspoiled forever.”

The final stop on the tour is the city of Chester, with its massive medieval walls, encompassing not only the city itself but also nearly 2000 years of history. Included are the main streets with their timbered buildings, known as the Chester Rows, and the unique covered walkways estimated to date from the 13th century.

In addition to capturing magnificent scenery, historic sights, charming architecture, and splendid flora, Ms Smith-Gordon also walked the “fantastic” walls of Chester, and climbed 300 feet to the top of York Minster cathedral.

Travelling, as always, with Margaret Tricker, the duo also teamed up along the way with an old friend, British Broadcasting Corporation employee Andrew Silk. They first met 24 years ago on a houseboat in Kashmir Mr Silk is coming to Bermuda especially for the audio-visual presentation.

This will be Ms Smith-Gordon’s 26th show capturing attractions around the world. It follows months of preparation, both before and after the 1200-mile journey, and the whittling down of over 1000 slides to a final total of 320. The intrepid adventurer also researches and writes her own commentary, and selects the accompanying music in this case “wonderful songs” sung by Dame Vera Lynn and Sir Noel Coward.

Asked if there was a particular highlight of the UK trip, Ms Smith-Gordon hinted mischievously: “It was the first time I ever had a man climb in my second-floor hotel window but details will only be revealed at the show.”

‘Homes, Gardens and Villages of Beautiful England’ will show at Mount Saint Agnes Academy auditorium on March 14 at 8pm. Tickets are available from PALS volunteers, or from the PALS office at 18 Point Finger Road, Paget (telephone 236-7257). Admission includes refreshments, and all proceeds will benefit PALS.

Roman remains: Hadrian?s Wall in northern England formed part of the most heavily fortified border in the Roman Empire. Begun in AD 122 during the rule of Emperor Hadrian, it is one of the most important Roman monuments ever built in Britain, of which a significant portion still exists.
Cotswold country: Picturesque thatched cottages are a charming feature of the ancient Cotswold village of Minster Lovell near Witney in Oxfordshire.
Potter-ed history: ?Hilltop,? the 17th-century home in Sawrey, Cumbria of much loved children?s author Beatrix Potter was bequeathed to Britain?s National Trust at her death, and is now a popular attraction in the Lake District
Chester draws: Timbered buildings lining the main streets of Chester, England reputedly date from the 13th century. Known as The Chester Rows, and together with their unique covered walkways, they are a major attraction.

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Published March 06, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated March 06, 2012 at 7:37 am)

England in 90 minutes: Join Ann on her latest trip

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