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Thorpe Park looked promising with its fair share of big thrill rides and rollercoasters:
The fantastic Stealth, Nemesis Inferno (better than its Alton Towers predecessor), and Rush, but I couldn't help feeling disappointed at the end of the day...
The Price is high (as all the Tussaud's group attractions are) at £32.00 per person. The most appalling thing at Thorpe park was the charge to get a fastrack ticket! (They are usually free) From £9 for 5 rides, £4 for Stealth, and a staggering £50.00 for unlimited an fastrack pass. The queues were so horrendous due to the amount of fastrackers they let on each ride. Those who didn't want to give in to rampant capitalism (or were too tight to fork out) had to endure the worst queue times of any of the UK theme parks I have been to. It was money grabbing at its most galling.
Money issues aside, the range of rides was very good. It was a shame there wasn't time to go on them all. Chessington is probably more suitable for those with young children as height-restriction sticks were wielded ferociously.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey
This is a really quirky little place. Only open in the afternoons, it has a collection that is quire eclectic. I still have to understand why it has a horde of Greek pottery for example. Now, it is not the British Museum by any means but it is a pleasant place to spend and hour, and that is really all it will take you to see it.
The museum is situated in a lovely old building although there is ver little information available about the building itself. The current "main attraction" (as of March 2011) is a selection of wedding attire and I must admit I never thought I would be interested in the slightest in that particular subject but it was very well done, drawing on a collection from a local lady and featuring items dating back to the 18th century. It is known as the "Olive Matthews Collection ". Some excellent black and white films accompany the display.
Onward and upward, and it really is, as the Museum is situated in an old house so the displays are on a number of floors. There are displays decribing the history of the area right back to ancient times, a small room with a limited amount of childrens toys and a few old clocks. I didn't know Chertsey was a place associated with horology but apparently so. as my late Grandmother used to say, "it's a bad day when you don't learn something."
I am trying to include, where I can, information for disabled visitors and I am glad to report that, even given the constraints of the old building, the Museum is fully accessible for wheelchairs by means of a lift and has a fully acessible toilet.
I have no doubt this is not the most interesting Museum you will ever visit but it is well worth a visit. Admission is free, and the staff are friendly.
As a slight caveat, I would say that the paperwork required to take a few snaps is frightening!
Updated Mar 30, 2011
Address: 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8AT
Phone: +00 44 (0)1932 565764
I have noted many times in other VT pages that I am not a religious man, I am what the current politically correct parlance of the UK defines as a "person of no faith" or some such convoluted phrase. This is not a religious comment per se, which is rightly outside the scope of VT, merely a statement of fact. I have also noted in various other pages my great love of exploring churches, mosques, synagogues, gurdwaras, temples of various descriptions etc. Basically, I find them to be great sources of information on the social history of a place I am visiting. Graveyards, often associated, provide a similar interest. I am not so much interested in the faith proclaimed or the deity worshipped as the way that religious buildings obviously impact on the places they serve.
My intro page to Chertsey will tell you that I sort of stumbled onto it by accident on a glorious spring day and I was delighted to find what I now know to be the Church of St. Peter, described as a "shared church" meaning it is shared between the congregations of three different Christian denominations in the area. Far be it from me to offer theological comment but I rather thought that Christ would have approved. I mean no disrespect by this comment, I assure you.
To the Church itself, which was, thankfully open. I mention this as it is a sad fact of life that whilst all churches, even in my childhood, were left unlocked, the problems of theft and vandalism have rendered this no longer a viable option. In fact, a man walked in after me and it was obvious that he was "keeping an eye on me", a stranger in there by myself. Well done to him.
The church itself is not particulary old, the majority of the current building dating from a rebuilding of 1806, although the ecclesiastical history of the town is much longer, the famous Chertsey Abbey (situated nearby) was dissolved in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537. Further amendments were made as late as 1963.
A story for you here of a nave and a knave. I am sorry, I could not resist the wordplay and I apologise to readers for whom English may not be a first language. During the 1806 restoration, a builder was paid £6,000 to replace the roof. Exit, stage left, the builder and the money to America where he obviously did very well for himself and the poor parishioners of Chertsey were left to raise another £6,000.
There are many things to see inside, including several touching memorials to fallen soldiers, several of which I have reproduced there. The "jewel in the crown", however, is the peal of bells. Whilst they were not assembled until 1861, at least one of them dates from 1380 and came from the old Abbey. Other bells in the peal long predate the current building as well. I was reading the information on the Church wall and could not help but think about an old song my late Mother used to sing in my early childhood called "Hang on the bell, Nellie." Now, the curfew bell is still rung every night here from "from Michaelmas to Lady Day" brings to mind the statue I had recently seen (see seperate tip). I wonder was the 19th century music hall song based upon the events here, and was the curfew bell perhaps one of those now installed here? It was a nice image, even if not historically acurate.
OK, so it is unlikely you will ever be in Chertsey. If you are, give yourself a few minutes to have a look round this wonderful Church.
Written Mar 30, 2011
Address: Windsor Street, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8AT
If, as I did, you approach the town of Chertsey from the river Thames, and there are worse ways to approach it on a lovely, sunny, clear Spring day, one of the first things your eye will be drawn to whilst walking away from the bridge is the statue pictured.
It stands outside a fairly unimpressive modern office building and certainly is not an historical artefact but I found it rather attractive. Always curious, I took my life in my hands and risked the extremely busy road to have a look and was rewarded with a wonderful story. The statue depicts the redoubtable Blanche Heriot. Her story is something that, frankly, Mills and Boon would probably shy away from publishing as being implausible.
Cast your mind back to the 15th century. OK so most of us except qualified historians will not be able to do so, therefore please allow me to explain. In one of those struggles for the English throne, the houses of York and Lancaster, represented by roses of differing colours, were contesting the monarchy. Virtually summary executions were commonplace and one such unfortunate sentenced to death was one Neville Audley, a Lancastrian, held prisoner and kept at Chertsey Abbey. Sentence was due to be carried out, not in the more modern way at sunrise, but at sunset upon the tolling of the curfew bell. He had sent for a pardon from the King, Edward IV, which was late in arriving. Enter stage right our heroine, Blanche, who did no more than hang onto the clapper of the curfew bell, thereby saving his life until the pardon arrived.
This is undoubtedly a very small piece of history in the grand scheme of things, in a small and generally unremarkable town in Surrey, but I rather enjoyed looking at it.
On a technical note, the sculpture is bySheila Mitchell.
Written Mar 25, 2011