When I discovered I had 49 photos of the ruins of Corfe Castle in Devon, I realized I must have “rounded the bend” on those early trips David and I took to England together.
Although burdened with carrying the equipment as I photographed every cathedral in England except Wells and Norfolk, David kept smiling at the camera. I realize now he was also mental, or he is the best-natured person I have ever known.
David is certainly patient. As I dragged him from one famous place to another, I don’t remember him complaining very much. The only demand he made was to see Stonehenge before he died. But first I dragged him to Corfe Castle (which is why we never got to the Wells Cathedral).
Corfe is on the southern coast in Devon, in the ‘West Country’ where the British holed up when the Anglo-Saxons conquered the southeast, and where the English holed up while the Danes wrecked havoc in East Anglia during the years following. Built by the Normans, who conquered everyone else, Corfe had thick walls which withstood much until the English Civil War. The Royalists stored dynamite in the castle and someone blew it up, taking most of the Castle with it as you can see from the photos in this post.
Although David had lived in Russia as a child, in Germany for four years with his first wife, and traveled extensively in Europe, he had seen London only on stopovers at Heathrow. After we married, we both wanted to travel in England. He wanted to get to Scotland too, which we eventually reached on one of our trips.
After the first trip to the UK, David said he was never, ever, ever going to rent another car in Britain. He had driven on the Autobahn with his first wife and four children without incident, but he said, my constant screaming every time a ‘little’ something brushed our windshield put him off driving forever. After the first trip in England by car, if we couldn’t reach a place by bus and/or train, he said, “forget it.”
At some point he relented, as we were driving a rented car both times we visited Stonehenge. I know we made at least two trips together by car, as we came up from Salisbury the first time, and down from Oxford the second time. The authorities had fenced Stonehenge by the second time we arrived.
Also, I know we rented cars more than once, because the first trip we retrieved our car at Heathrow and then drove around the air port for an hour before finding the road to Winchester. The next time we rented a car, we stupidly retrieved it at our downtown London hotel. We drove south out of the city during rush hour, taking wrong turns and six hours to reach a B&B that appeared in nearby suburbs on the map.
I did the driving on the second trip we made together, but when David noticed I was doing 1o5 mph on the Motorway, he almost freaked. (I don’t know if the speed was in kilometers or miles.) He said when I passed the big trucks or lorries it was especially fearsome.
On another trip we took together, we stayed in London and took a series of day trips by tour bus, but we both hated that. The tour leader kept scolding us because we “dawdled.” I left the tripod and slide camera home on that trip. I have many photos from the journey and someday, I will scan them along with the negatives in the dozens of mysterious packages I have saved for eons.
As a result of our failure to travel overseas together happily, I visited Europe alone several times. Women in my generation mostly did not travel overseas alone, but I discovered I could go on business trips with an itinerary worked out by others. Eventually, I felt courageous enough to travel for pleasure with an itinerary I developed myself. Once, I linked up with my son and his wife while they were living in Spain.
Wherever I stayed on my travels, a huge bouquet arrived from David. He was always thinking about me but grateful to be at home.
Below, views of the Purbeck Hills (South Downs) from Corfe Castle ruins.