Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Knight's Tale! (and a Severed Head or Two...)

Saturday, June 20, Flimwell to Hever Castle in Kent

This was a day we had really been looking forward to; not only because we were going to visit the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (where the oldest part of the castle dates back to 1270!), but we were going to watch a real joust! Huzzah!

We're traveling to Hever in Kent, about 30 miles southeast of London, and Jeannie came along for the day!
The castle is famous for award-winning gardens as well as its rich history; this was just the beginning of acres of lushly landscaped grounds!
This beauty caught my eye as we made our way towards to castle.

How impressive, even from a distance!

It was a bit misty and chilly, so we snapped some pictures and headed toward the warmth of the tour! No pictures allowed inside, though :(

Now we're inside the courtyard, after crossing the moat. Once inside the castle, we marveled over Tudor furnishings and tapestries, a 16th century collection of portraits, a handwritten vellum Book of Hours from 1450, and the costumed figures of Henry VIII and his six wives in the Long Gallery! (We all know him as terribly large and unattractive, but he wasn't always that way; best guesses are that his decline began when he suffered a fall from a horse. But let's not forget the syphilis! Ugh!)
A view by the gate near the moat.

I just really like this one ☺

Back outside, we walked around the side...
The Astor's own Tudor Village! Imagine having your wedding here! Sigh.

There was a company party the day were visited. Very tempting to crash...(hey, we've crashed a wedding before, we're rebels!)

Our beauty in the one of the many flower mazes. There's really so much to see here!
We had a spot of lunch in the restaurant, the set off for the Queen's box to watch the joust!

 We got in as soon as the gates opened, and took our seats. It's quite empty in this pic, but the stands and the outer grass areas filled up quickly.
The kids were called to participate in a parade to usher in the Knights; look at the little guy near the center, staring at the "severed head" in his hands! And the other little fellow in red who dropped his! Ooops! (I hope it's not a likeness of Anne...)

Here come the Knights! We were assigned to root for the Blue Team, Sir Sam of Hever and Sir Ashley of Hampshire! Go Blue!
Our heroes!

Time to do battle! The events consisted of jousting, ring jousting and some swordplay; on a "comedic" note, a girl page was dragged behind a horse for "punishment"! I was so worried about her getting hurt, but all the folks around us just laughed and laughed...I told ya, those Brits have a wicked sense of humor! 
Some hand-to-hand combat; come on Sir Sam!
The show was exciting and well done. We really were enjoying this!

And Sir Sam takes the prize for the today!
Lindsay snagged a prize herself: the tournament winner and his page! Lucky girl ;)

I saw a great photo op on the way to the car - look at those beautiful creatures! And the horses weren't bad, either! ;) Bev & I fancied Sir Steven of Porlock on the left, now that's our knight in shining armor!
 Another brilliant day comes to an end! What to do at the end of every good day on vacation in England?! Silly you, we hit the pub! 

The Hand and Septre near Bev's Dad's house on the way home. Aspall cider was one of Jack's favorites, but then again, all the ciders there ended up being on Jack's "favorites" list! There was a cricket game going on at the field across the street.

Pub fun! Why not?! We're on vacation in England, just attended a jousting match and are now enjoying a drink at a local pub! (this particular pub would host my only night of drinking excess later in the trip, oi!)
What a great life!
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