Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dream Vacation - Day 29

Woke up on day 29 to a full English Breakfast prepared by my buddy Meds. I have to say one thing about these British/Irish/Scottish folks really know how to do breakfast.

It was a complete surprise where Meds was taking me today. He had planned the entire day out and I was just along for the ride.

We drove to the near by city of Sarehole, parked and walked to a row of houses. Meds pointed out that the third house on the right was the childhood home (ages 3 to 12) of my favorite author J.R.R. Tolkien. I was extremely excited as I wanted to see as much Tolkien stuff as I could while in England and this wasn't even on my wish list. And to further my excitement across the street from the Tolkien's house was a corn mill, and it wasn't any ordinary mill, it was the inspirations of Ted Sandmen's Mill in Hobbiton in Lord of the Rings.

The locale at that time was rural Worcestershire farmland and countryside. "It was a kind of lost paradise ... There was an old mill that really did grind corn with two millers, a great big pond with swans on it, a sandpit, a wonderful dell with flowers, a few old-fashioned village houses and, further away, a stream with another mill. I always knew it would go – and it did. – said Tolkien in an interview with Guardian journalist, John Ezard in 1966.

This mill is now a museum and Tolkien themed and talk about timing it opened today after being closed all winter. We started with a self guided tour of the mill itself. They had these Hobbit themed wooden plaques that would give you clues to the next plaque. It was a kind of riddle game and a lot of fun. They have a room set up where you can watch a video about the local area and Tolkien. And then they had a second room with pictures and information about the surround lands and how things have changed over the years.

After the mill Meds and I walked around the property, the lake is still there and there are pathways roaming through gorgeous trees and bushes. 

We spent a few hours there and it was amazing!! It's also said to be where the large Willow tree (Old Man Willow from LOTR) was located. Unfortunately it had been cut down many years ago.

Also just outside the mill was this sandwich bar called Hungry Hobbit, we didn't go in but I had to get picture.

Next on our adventure was Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, this was an open-air museum of rescued buildings which have been relocated to its site in Stoke Heath, a district of Bromsgrove.

Founded in 1963 and opened in 1967, the museum was conceived following the dismantling of a 15th-century timber-framed house in Bromsgrove in 1962 to provide a location for its reconstruction.  The museum's collection comprises more than 27 buildings and structures which have been relocated from their original sites under threat of demolition, being rebuilt and restored at the museum. This includes a fully functioning windmill and a post WW2 prefab house as used in many towns and cities after the Second World War to provide quick affordable replacements for houses destroyed by bombing.

This place also has a collection of telephones booths which of course includes a TARDIS. What makes these telephone booths even cooler is that you can call each other from different booths.

There is also a nice cafe located on the grounds and after our visit we grabbed some tasty goodies and one thing that I been wanting to try while in England.. a Crumpet. It reminded me of an English Muffin here in the US, but very tasty... I mean it's bread smothered in butter so of course I'm going to love it.

Afterwards we went back to Meds place and hung out and watched some TV.

During the evening Meds took me out to dinner to The Ewe and Lamb restaurant, we started with a few drinks and watched some locals almost come to blows while we waited for our table. I had lamb shank and sticky toffee pudding for the first time. Both were very good, especially the pudding. We also had a few more drinks and enjoyed each others company for a few hours before taking a taxi back to his place and calling it a night.

We crammed alot into a day but it was so much fun. Thanks Meds for being awesome.

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