Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wanna Buy a Lighthouse?

We found ourselves in Hunstanton today, a small town on the water about 60 miles due north of Cambridge. From a quarter of a mile away, I say, "Oooh, look at the lighthouse! Wouldn't it be fun to live in a lighthouse?"

We get closer and, lo, it's for sale.

Yes, for the low, low price of 695,000 pounds, you can have a 4-bedroom lighthouse (well, the bedrooms aren't in the lighthouse) with this view:


The real estate listing is here. I think it needs some work. But! Imagine the possibilities!

*****

We had a fun day. JT's sister N is in town, so we took advantage of the weekend, hopped in the car, and drove north. Our first stop is one of our favorites, Ely Cathedral, where anyone who visits us for longer than 3 days is likely to be taken. It turns out it was the Ely Harvest Festival, so we got treated to a gorgeous array of autumn flower arrangements in the cathedral, and an extry special farmer's market added on to the usual Saturday market. We ate street food and millionaires, and I bought a pumpkin.


Next up were the ruins of Castle Rising, built around 1140 by a man who needed to feel important. (Not kidding. Brochure: "...was built around 1140 by William D'Albini to show his increased importance on his marriage to Alice of Louvian, widow of Henry I.")

Also from the brochure: "In its time Rising has served as a hunting lodge, royal residence, and for a brief time in the eighteenth century even housed a mental patient." We think that last one must be quite a story. *A* mental patient? The castle does have a mighty big moat. I suppose that could work both to keep people out and keep people (or person, as it were) in.
Anyway, we didn't tour the castle, just stopped by, because we were on our way to:


Sandringham, the Norfolk retreat of Her Majesty The Queen. The royal family spends Christmas here, arriving in mid-December and staying through mid-February.


We got to tour the ground level -- drawing rooms, sitting rooms, dining room, and ballroom. All were lovely, and you can stand there as long as you want and ask the very knowledgeable guides as many questions as you can think of, and they will answer. We talked to one man about some china cabinets, and how they have books of photos of all the cabinets so when they clean them, they can check against a photograph that everything's back in its place. Apparently HMTQ has a freakish photographic memory and will notice when knicknacks aren't where she left them. The year before.


There's a museum on the site as well that houses many of the Royal family's past cars, even the first motor car owned by the Royal family, a 1900 Daimler Phaeton.


We left there and made our way up to Hunstanton, part of which is cheesy, amusement-park-y, so we kept driving until the lighthouse.

So, that's a cathedral, a farmer's market, a castle, a royal residence, British coastline, and a pub dinner all in one day. Any of you who visit in future may get this same agenda because it sure was fun. After all our travels in September, I'm very happy to be back home--in England.

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