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97 Pounds I Really Didn’t Want To Spend

After one night at the Royal Crescent, we moved to Marshal Wade’s House (George Wade, Bath MP who obtained the rank of Field Marshal in the army), which is right in the heart of downtown Bath.  I didn’t take any pictures because we had stayed here before (I should have), so have resorted here to the publicity shots from the Landmark Trust website.

Landmark Trust preserves historic buildings and then rents them out for surprisingly affordable prices.  The building (built in 1720) sits right on Abbey Square.  You get a fabulous view of the ancient Abbey’s famous Jacob’s Ladder carvings from the bathroom window, and the entrance to the Roman baths is maybe twenty yards away.  The Jacob’s Ladder photo is from the interwebs.  The photos from the baths are mine.


Taking a slow boat down a River Avon with Gail and Parris (and George).  Not THE River Avon.  There are like seven or eight rivers in the UK named the Avon.  Not surprising, since the Anglo-Saxon word for river is (if I remember my Anglo-Saxon correctly) is “afon.”

George and Parris posing with one of Bath’s famous pigs.  (Supposedly, back in the pre-Roman days, Bath was founded by a swineherd who discovered the healing waters that gush from the ground even onto this day.)

After Bath we said farewell to George and Parris for a day, and went off to Oxford.  I had tried to get to Oxford twice in the past by car, but the traffic defeated me both times.  So this time we took the train.  We were met at our hotel by Carl Q., dedicated Wild card fan whom it was very nice to meet after such a long on-line acquaintance, had a tasty lunch and then went up to the newly refurbished Ashmolean Museum for a quick peek.  One day in Oxford was only enough to whet our appetites.  We will return.
Back to an airport hotel at Heathrow for Eastercon, the Brit national SF Convention.  Nice convention, a lot of nice fans, and a nice Wild Card panel, where we learned that British publisher Gollancz will be bringing out seven Wild Card volumes in the next two years.  So, hurray!  We only stayed for two days at the thoroughly enjoyable con, because we had to go on to Wales.  Our first stop there was Chepstow (photos next installment).
Chepstow is a smaller community than I’d expected, and, like many UK communities, quite hilly.  I realized that I didn’t want to lug around the books we’d bought for the rest of the trip (I got some great bargains at the con), so I boxed them up and dragged them uphill to the post office, where I was horrified to learn that the cost of shipping a medium/smallish box of books to the US was 97 pounds (about $155).  Really?  But, I didn’t want to lug them around anymore and also there was no more room in the suitcases for additional books, so I reluctantly coughed up the cash.  I suspect, in the end, that we got taken.  So much for the bargains, as it turned out that it cost approximately $11 to ship each of the 14 books in the box.

That really cut into my beer money.

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