Shirley Froyd Walks the Footpaths of England

June 23, 2000

After the usual great smorgasbord repast (including pickled, fresh seaweed!) Shirley treated the potluckers to wide ranging views of southern England. The trip was a “walking holiday” offered by Elderhostel and led by an English company, Footpath Holidays. The cross-section of southern England covered extended from the west coast (Cornwall) to London further east. Transportation was by bus, and daily hikes ranged from five to ten miles, mostly on footpaths through private and public lands.

An especially interesting aspect of the itinerary was viewing a broad spectrum of artifacts spanning British history from the Neolithic Stone Age to modern times. Pagan standing stones, Roman mosaic tiled floors, a Viking tomb, and of course grand castles and cathedrals were among places to be seen.

The rural countryside in particular has retained much of the picturesque character of “Old England”. Farming landscapes dominated by meadows and the ubiquitous hedgerows prompted a question from the audience: Are there any trees? Well, of course, there used to be (that has a familiar ring!). A friend, a veteran of WW II, tells me that this bucolic area was a training area for learning, among other things, to deal with hedgerows that would be encountered in the assault on Normandy.

Of one photo taken in a wax model museum, Shirley was not sure whether some of the figures were live . . . an effect of the renowned British reserve? The trip ended appropriately in London and the obligatory viewing of the Changing of the Guard.

Bep Fontana

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