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Third Age Adventures

Lovely Old Buildings

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 23 June 2009 | Views [359] | Comments [1]

Just a quick update before I head for the wilds of Devon and Cornwall. In recent days I've done some day trips from London - one to Winchester and one to Cambridge.

I went to Winchester specifically to see The Old Mill. In 1969, my friend Marg and I were hitch-hiking around Great Britain (yes, hitch-hiking) and towards the end of the trip we stayed in The Old Mill which was a Youth Hostel at the time. Then Marg got sick and had to spend some time in hospital so I stayed in the Hostel for a week or so. The Mill was built over the river and the water rushed underneath - right through the ladies' washroom. I wanted to see it again. It's not a hostel any more (probably occupational health and safety issues!) but it has been restored as a demonstration Mill and it's open to the public. And it was just as gorgeous as I'd remembered. Funnily my memories of the Mill were quite vivid and accurate - but I had no visual memory of any of the rest of Winchester - not the Cathedral which is one block away (and is the only Cathedral in the world to have had a pop song written about it. It starts: "Winchester Cathedral, you're breaking me do-own.." They don't write songs like that any more - Generations XYZ eat your hearts out!). Not even the gorgeous Pub across the road where we MUST have eaten or had an ale or two. Not even that the river is called the river ITCHEN, which must surely have amused me then, as now. But I know all that now, and paid my respects to Jane Austen who is buried in the Cathedral.

On the weekend Luke, Kerstin and I went to Cambridge and checked out the University which is beautiful. Lots of famous people including Prince Charles, Prince Edward and John Cleese were ex students, as was Lord Byron, who, having discovered that students weren't allowed to keep domestic pets got himself a bear. (And, if I recall, most of the other Monty Python people, as well as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore). We took the Hop-on Hop-off bus and the commentary must have listed them all. We walked around and took heaps of photos and then had a Sunday Roast at the pub looking out on the glorious architecture.

I promised to check out how they motivated and engaged their students and this is what I found:

Students are not allowed to bring their cars into town and so most of them ride bicycles.

They are not allowed to sit for exams unless they have attended certain sessions with their academic advisers and done the required work. So they could spend their time there and leave with nothing.

I'm sure there's more but these two things seem to work as 90 or so of their ex-students have won Nobel Prizes. Food for thought.



Ah! Your stories take me back "to England, where my heart lies", as Simon and Garfunkel put it. I think I visited that mill myself about 30 years ago, and if I realised it was a hostel, I would have stayed in it. I'm there with you, Copperowl. You have reconnected me with my travels so many years ago (except I hitchhiked around Ireland and stayed in a youth hostel that was a castle. Got the migrating itch myself. And I am glad you paid homage to that great lady, Jane Austen.Can't wait for your thoughts on Devon.

  The Snow Goose Jun 26, 2009 12:18 PM

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