Monday, December 12, 2005

# Carshalton the Medieval Town

During our stay at David & Elizabeth place, Elizabeth took us for a walk to Carshalton, the medieval town nearby. We were lucky for such a sunny afternoon in London, especially after a few days of drizzle and mist. (Speaking of mist, I often wonder where has the famous smog in London gone? I have been here for 2 years, and yet have only seen 2 occasion of fog, not even smog, that covered London. Will the smog city show its true colour this year? I wonder...)

Anyway, back to our stroll to Carshalton. We walked past a few small parks on our way there, and one is particularly interesting. There is a football-field-sized pit dug right in the middle of the park, and left abandoned for many years. According to Elizabeth, there was a wealthy man who once owned this piece of land, and decided to build himself a mansion. The pit was dug for the foundation of the mansion, but before he managed to complete his mansion, he went bankcrupt. His land was sold, well, so was this pit. There was a dog running playfully INSIDE this pit when we passed by, but it was too deep down and all I had was this digital-zoom-only w800i. *grumble grumble* ^_^

The first sight that welcomed us at Carshalton was this canal that ran across the town. We were surprised to find seagulls in the canal, but Elizabeth explained that the place is quite near to the sea, so the seagulls love flocking to this place to have fun. Then she told us the stories about the White Cliffs of Dover which faces the French canal. It has been the main frontier of defence which has witnessed and survived many attacks and battles. When she spoke about 'seeing the white cliffs signifies home-coming for the warriors', there was this faraway look in her English eyes, and I somehow felt her burning patriotism deep in her heart.

We took a stroll along the streets in Carshalton, and I noticed that there are quite a number of antique shops here. Elizabeth told us that some of their furniture actually come from these shops, and people love to shop in such antique shops. You never know what you would get! (Yes indeed, another friend actually picked up a 100-year-old china plate for merely 5 pounds!)
One of the antique shops in Carshalton

We walked along the canal, listening to the chirps of birds and quacks of ducks, the flapping sounds of wings, and the rustling sounds of leaves. After letting us savour the peaceful sight at the canal, Elizabeth led us to another corner of the town, and brought us to a large tree looming high before us. There was a plate on the ground that says, "This London plane tree as measured by the Forestry Commission in March 1964 is 123ft tall and has a girth of 20ft 11in at a height of 5ft above the ground level. It is the tallest London plane tree known in Britain, and is one of the very few trees of any kind to exceed both 120ft in height and 20ft in girth. The age of the tree is not known with accuracy, but is likely to exceed 200 years." We gaped at the tree which looked hauntingly old. Compared to us, it is old; but compared to the age of nature, this is nothing.

Walking and talking with Elizabeth is never a bore. She always has a lot of stories to tell, and a wealth of knowledge to share. At her age, she's still so fit and active, and is always full of ideas. She loves young people, and we love listening to old people's stories - so this trip is enjoyable for all of us. :-)

On our way back, we saw this squirrel camouflaged amidst the leaves, and Elizabeth started telling us about the red and grey squirrels, how the grey ones threatened the population of the red ones, and how the people tried to save the red ones. I haven't come across the red ones so far, and she said she herself has only managed to see some at the Lake District.

Well, that's it for the sunny afternoon, and we headed back to her house. Lovely stroll, with lovely people. I will keep this in my memory box. Thanks Elizabeth!


@ロウ 。LOW@ said...

Sounds like a good day for outing, no? :) It's good to have someone like Elizabeth around, truely a walking library!

Speaking of alien species, grey squirrels was introduced to England more than 100 years ago, pretty much feel right at home now. I remember reading some articles about how alien species would threaten global biodiversity before pushing some species to extinction.

No thanks to human's hunger for exotic pets, and curiosity? Now i wonder which scientist will eventually come out with a research on the impact of alien human species...creating biodiversity???

Opss, i'm a bit off track, sorry... :p Thanks for sharing again!

The Moody Minstrel said...

When she spoke about 'seeing the white cliffs signifies home-coming for the warriors', there was this faraway look in her English eyes, and I somehow felt her burning patriotism deep in her heart.

I feel kind of the same way whenever I see a fir-covered mountain or a basalt headland on a rainy day...or perhaps anything on a rainy day...

Maybe if everyone married someone from a different ethnic group, after a while we'd all be the same race!

(How boring...)

Still, I have to wonder about one thing. They say that blond hair and blue eyes are the result of recessive (i.e. weak) genes, so theoretically blond hair and blue eyes should be disappearing. In fact, in Western countries, at least, they seem to be on the increase. As for my family, I have brown hair, and my Japanese wife has black hair, but our son's hair is almost blond.

Proof of I.D.? 8-0

Happysurfer said...

yd, thanks again for yet another interesting account of a lovely place. The place seems so quiet, peaceful and unspoilt. Is it not Winter already? But somehow from the pictures, it doesn't appear to be cold. Very nice pictures too.

YD said...

Ya, interestingly alien species always have stronger survival ability than the home species. In the past, it has been common practice to bring exotic pets from countries beyond our own, for example the chinese bringing back giraffe, elephants to China to present to the emperor as gifts..
but now travelling regulations are tightened for plants and animals with checks and quarantines. Pet-lovers who wish to travel with their pets protest, but it's for the safety of all.

For alien human species, if they have better civic mindness and maturity than what we have now, it may be a welcoming sight! hehe...

when you spoke of 'standardizing' the race, it reminds me of the 1930's Australia's dark history of "cleansing" the "half-caste". Believing they can eliminate the 'bad' genes of aboriginals, the government removed half-caste children from their families, and sent them to so-called "protector" of the Aborigines, have them "educated" in school and making them live "proper" life.

That stretch of history was painful. So much for the distinction between the 'superior' and 'bad' genes...

hehe.. your son, has he got his grandparents gene? it would be cute to see a family with different hair colours, how come it never happen to mine?

yup it is winter. the sunshine is always deceiving in London. the sun can be shining brightly, and the leaves are still on the trees, but it is cold like 0 degree out there. I always got tricked by the beautiful sunshine, ran out n almost ran back in immediately in shudders!

oh ya... n london seldom snow.

Pandabonium said...

Smog of London... When I was in London in May of 1988, they were steam cleaning the exterior of Westminster Abbey. I'll have to dig up those photos and send one to you. The uncleaned parts of the building were black with centuries of coal soot. They started collecting funds for this work in 1920 and it took until 1995 to finish the work.

I have friends who used to live in the borough of Sutton where Carshalton is. They're down on the coast in Brighton now.

Your appreciation for your experiences and for other people is refreshing to see in a person of your age.

Thanks for sharing a beautiful and interesting day.

YD said...

oh, so it's actually good news that we no longer see any smog, rite? i will settle for a fog then. :-)

Thanks for visiting!

Robin said...

Nice Squirrel shot!

Surprising there is sun in your place.

YD said...

thnx robin.
ya, surprisingly, there is. normally it is cloudy n gloomy.
one normally says that london's weather is unpredictable, full of surprises.

i'm off to newcastle n sunderland today. looking forward becuz i love the atmosphere in sunderland - tranquil, quiet, peaceful. love the breeze!

but, to get there, we must first go through a 10 - 12 hours bus journey. my bum... :-|

Pandabonium said...

No pity for your bum, girl, you're going to the North-eastern part of England. Meanwhile, K and I are walking Momo twice a day around the old neighborhood. Oh, boo hoo, I feel so sorry for your bum. Not!

As they say in Hawaii - "good fun, eh?"! Everyone will be anxiously awaiting your pictures and account of things.

Have a great trip.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Hopefully it won't be a bum trip, YD! That would really be a bum-mer!

(Don't worry...I'll hit myself over the head for THAT one...)

Word verification qwsax - one I haven't learned how to play yet.

YD said...

Yeah! I'm back.

thank god Mega Bus has upgraded their bus from a converted-public-bus to a normal travel coach. with double decker still, of course. So I didn't have 10-hour bumpy ride!

Still, the seats are rather cramped (like transnational), and we have some interesting smell emanating from somewhere in the bus, smells like urine (maybe from the toilet). well, what to do? with 3 pounds ticket to newcastle we can't demand too much. :-)

Newcastle is cold, Sunderland is freezing! But i love to come back to this serene place of sunderland... hm.. i shouldn't reveal more now, yet. next post coming!