We left Ramsgate promptly in the morning. We had one regret and that is that we had not been able to have a get-together with Eileen Richford, the wonderful person (whom I call the Mayoress of Ramsgate although that is not quite her official but nonetheless high-up title in the Town Hall); it was she who after a single phone call to the town hall when we were searching for Austin's grave, undertook the search personally and on foot and together with a friend found it for us. Sadly our short visit coincided with a time of immense business on town hall matters and we we did not get to see her.
So that was Ramsgate regret No.1
This was followed on the morning we left by Ramsgate regret No.2: once we had already driven too far away to turn back, Gary from Roberts Stonemasons called to say that he had installed the stone on the grave and we might like to go and look at it! Being used to Orkney time, we had assumed that if we delivered it on Wednesday, it might be installed sometime in the next 3-4 weeks, not the next day! So we never got to see the table in situ. But I bet it looks good.
Here is a picture of it finished in the workshop here in Orkney as a reminder. Eileen has sweetly promised to visit the grave and send me a photo one of these days.
This was a day for covering miles. However, as we drove, we found our motorway bypassing places too good to miss. Since we had left promptly in the morning, we had plenty of time to reach our hotel by evening, so we made stops.
First stop was Cambridge, or rather, the very lovely Cambridge American Cemetery just outside the town. Wife Katya and I used to visit it and I wanted the boys to see it.
The wall on the left has thousands of names of the men without graves. Others rest in neat and beautiful rows.
The dark reflective pools are very impressive
After that wistful visit, we took the bus into Cambridge (another town with impossible parking but, unlike Ramsgate, with a Park-and-Ride service). The place was a literal ants' nest of tourists and it was difficult to appreciate the town's sights. It was also appallingly hot for us northern folk. I only took a few iPhone pics.
click to enlarge
The next possible small detour along our route was Ely.
Ely, Oliver Cromwell's home town, is–quite unfairly—a far less visited place. Its wonderful cathedral rising above the surrounding Fens catches the eye from miles away and pulls one in.
The cathedral has one point of fun: it was thoroughly vandalised by the Puritans, who knocked all the saints from their pedestals in its Gothic nooks.
And of course, it was good to take the 'Anglo-Russian' boys to be photographed by the Russian bronze cannon captured during the Crimean War
. (A second one captured in the same way is traditionally said to be the source of the metal for the Victoria Cross). Here they are:
We had a little walk around the cathedral (click to enlarge)...
...and then drove on to Boston