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September 22, 2004

Back to the Present.....

This could have been titled "What Zach and Emily did in England while they weren't working" ..... but that's a bit of a mouthful. In short, not that much, but I thought it might be nice to keep everyone (all 4 of you that still check in anyway - hi mums and dads) up to date with the present while I slowly work my way through the past.

The first chance we got we hired a car (I know we'd said we'd never do it again) and drove to Hereford to visit some friends we'd made in Thailand. We were given a whirlwind tour of the area (including the local pubs of course), the highlight of which was a trip over the border into Wales to visit the beautiful Raglan Castle. Raglan was based on French castles, employing several features (like a rendered finish and hexagonal towers) that make it unique in Britain. The design and layout is fascinating, both from a historical, artistic and an "Art of War" point of view, and it is widely described as the most romantic castle in Britain. It is built on top of an artificial mound (in the tradition Norman style) with very steep approaches on 3 of it's sides, effectively funnelling any approaching army's through the easily defensible main gate. Inside the main walls was everything needed for a rich aristocrat and his family to live very comfortably. Huge kitchens with fireplaces the size of modern bathrooms, stately dining rooms and even apartments for the staff (some with en-suites). But scattered through the day to day living aspects of castle life there was evidence that the castle was built with the possibility of battle in mind. Surrounded by it's own moat and connected to the rest of the castle only by a removable wooden drawbridge, the Main Tower (or Yellow Tower of Gwent to those in the know) was the final line of defence and could be defended against the rest of the castle should it's walls ever be broken. A Royalist stronghold, Raglan was taken after a 2 months siege by Parliamentary Forces in the Civil War of 1846. After the eventual surrender it was ordered to be destroyed (lest it fall into the wrong hands) and was bombarded by Cromwell's "Roundheads". When we were done looking around, we went in to sign the guest book and had a good laugh at what one aussie couple had written, "What a shame this beautiful castle is in such a run down state", hmmmm like what a shame Angkor was covered in trees, no pleasing some people.

Posted by Zach & Emily on September 22, 2004 10:30 PM
Category: The U.K

Good to see that you are both still well and alive, was starting to worry that we may never hear from u guys again, best wishes for the rest of ya trip.

Posted by: Matty on September 24, 2004 06:31 PM
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