England Travel Journal 1989

Book written by Nena

Transcribed by Walton

Stowell Family in England


(light blue cover, sail boat drawing in an oval, cover title ‘Travel Journal’)

first page had signatures of classmates from 1983 because Nena intended to use this book for the family trip to Italy, but saved it and used it for England years later instead. signatures from Mrs. Potrey’s 1st grade class: Marc Rutherford, Nikki Spitzer, Jodi, Tina, Travis, Terry Ott, Stacy Wilt, Jeff Hite, Chasity, Steven, Lucky, Michael, Danny, Shonda, Sarah, Jaime, Brad, Ronnie,

(addresses for mailing post cards to friends and family)


(Dalek drawing by Walton on title page)

Kip bought china dishware from two shops whose cards were displayed, glued on the first page: Chinacraft, London; Reject China Shops, London


(British Rail pass ticket, orange tabs)

March 20, 1989

Left Dulles Airport to fly to London. It was a day of packing and organizing the house. In other words Kip was finishing up projects, doing the dishes and packing. Walton was watering plants, packing, raking the driveway, clipping hedges, collecting stories or books to bring, calling friends and cleaning his room. He fed the cat. I was packing, sewing, getting Kip’s medicine, odds and ends and making school packets for kindergarteners and lists for Bonnie. Also because of the open house I had cleaned the 1st floor and was washing clothes and cleaning the 2nd floor like crazy. I wanted everything to be done because this was the dream-trip of my life. I must write that I did not get to hem my rain-coat, but bought a new one on the way to Dulles.

Monday Evening – raining

Dulles Airport & Arriving in London at 6:30. Flight was to leave at 8:30. Checked in and seats were already assigned. We had supper at the airport. Kip & Walton had chicken and mashed potatoes and I have shrimp salad. We boarded the British Airways jet and this older grandmother type lady was trying to trade hats with this guy in shorts and a ring in his ear and high tops on. Her’s was canvas and his a Redskins cap. His coat was longer than his shorts, so he looked like a flasher. It seemed like we stayed up all night watching British videos, but we slept some. Here was our menu for the flight:

(British Airways menu card and boarding pass ticket: BAO216 20 march 1 hour, class M, seat 45J)

Menu: galantine of chicken with orange and cranberries, beef, or salmon (pick one main dish); baked apple sponge with apricot sauce, coffee or tea, and other refreshments.

We were very excited and happy. Erika had called to help me Sunday night with a problem. I called June and Kay. Aunt Marian had sent a card and Kip called his brothers and Dale. Michael and Lauri Peele were around on Saturday. Walton called Jeff.

March 21 Tuesday Morning London

We took our time at Heathrow, cashed money at exchange, and took a bus to Paddington Station. Then we took an English taxi. 3.41 pounds. The cab driver took a U-turn in the middle of the street when he heard Kip say you can go through the middle of Hyde Park. I thought we would turn over and remarked that you could turn this taxi on a dime. We love the owners of our little B&B. We fall asleep easy Tuesday evening. Our room is small and clean. It has a new tub and tiles which they are just finishing. It has coffee and tea, mugs, glasses, towels, bath mat, but no wash cloth. The décor is ugly. Flowers on the wall, yellow and orange lace curtains and bed cover, tan bedspreads, and blue and green rug, white trim on wood-work, and one wall is a textured beige pattern, while our door and bathroom are dark blue. We know that they are new owners and have done lots of rooms. We love the breakfast in the English basement. The kitchen is under the sidewalk. We look for the owners to make a full breakfast each morning. $130 a night, it is quiet and a lovely location. We ate at Garfunkle’s and walked at Hyde Park.

Fairways Hotel, 186 Sussex Gardens, Hyde Park, London W2

Proprietors: Jenny and Steve Adams

“Fairways Hotel is walking distance to Oxford Street, Theatreland, and parks. Hotel is in reach of Paddington mainline and underground stations, Lancaster Gate for convenient transportation to all parts of London.”




(Receipts from: Tower of London, Thomas Cook, Bath Books, and MOMI museum)

Record of purchases (list): most expensive item was – [6 china plates = $100]

total purchases = 189 pounds = $320


(Beefeaters with glaive and bill weapons)


March 22 Wednesday – Tower of London

We all got 7 day passes which took a while. We jumped on the tube and rode to the Tower of London. The Beefeater guide was a riot. He really got us smiling and talking of beheading and parading the head around; drip…. drip… while the body went back in to be buried under the scaffolding. Making coins, storing treasures, and prisoners. All kinds of visits and tortures, you name it, it went on in the Tower! We toured the White Tower full of armor, and saw the Crown Jewels. We saw torture devices and studied the history of fusiliers. We loved the rooms of Sir Walter Raleigh and stayed a long time. Afterwards we saw Lloyd’s and Sir Christopher Wren churches. Ate at Big Ben, and saw Westminster Abby, and the Parliament. Full moon at night, thrilling!!


(beefeater photo collage)

March 23 Thursday


We hiked from the hotel to the pickup point for these maroon buses. Richard Frames Tours – 88 pds. It was a lady guide who was bright, humorous, and let no one push her around. We went to Startford first, due to threatening rain. She (Lilian) talked of Cotswald Country, sheep, small communities, architect, and history all the way there and back. I loved her helping us with the family lines of the English. She said Anne Hathaway’s cottage at Shottery was really a farm and 300 years in that family. She explained how Shakespeare was rich and famous, and the society that gives coat-of-arms gave his dad one, which is unheard of. It made his glove-maker dad very happy, being one item he could not have gotten just from glove making.



Then the Tour bus took us to beautiful Warwick Castle. You may walk all over the grounds. It is green and being kept up. Madame Tussaud’s placed wax figures in the state rooms to represent a Royal house party of 1898. There are fine collections of armor and weapons, 1000 items, and works of art. A splendid collection which bears witness to the power and influence of the Earls of Warwick through the centuries, bad or good. Walton and Kip crept into the dungeon and figured out how torture devices worked. They climbed the ghost tower but came back quickly and said let’s go.


I visited the Victorian rose garden with cascading vines and the gift shop. The Red Knight patrols the grounds on horse-back. We felt rushed and ran back through town to catch the bus at 4:00. What a wonderful castle!



March 24, Friday – Bath

We purchased tickets from the Rail Station for 62 E. This train was very fast (90-125 mph). We had a table to write cards and spread out on. The crescent and circus and square architecture of the city planning, with the architecture and landscape of beautiful trees, and tree-lined streets, make Bath wonderfully unique. John Wood and his son were the architects of the city (1700s). Bath has a Roman Bath hot springs area (built about 2000 years ago). The Romans took advantage of the natural hot water by constructing an impressive complex with a great lead-lined hot bath (120 degrees F). There are smaller baths and cold plunges, and special rest rooms with underfloor heating. All this was uncovered around 1880. The super-structure over it is Victorian.


(post card and pump room dining)20180422_171514.jpg

Here is the pump room where we ate lunch and since it was tea-time, a trio played. Kip had an open-faced roast beef sandwich with horse-radish sauce. Walton had a steak sandwich. You could take the waters from the fountain in the large arched window.


Our favorite – one house on the Royal Crescent was for sale for 62,578 pounds.


We walked to the Royal Crescent buying tea cakes on the way. We caught a double-decker red bus to tour the city. It took us way up to the mansion which is now a Catholic school for boys. On the train we met a boy from the Protestant rival school. He was getting ready to write a paper on Shakespeare. Kip showed us his favorite Palladian bridge at the school which was way down below the tour bus in a ravine. It was cold and we found a police box coin-bank souvenir for Walton and a flag wash cloth for Kip. The guys decided they wanted to visit the bridge, so they got a taxi and plunge down an embankment through mud and wind. Walton reports Kip whispering the whole time. I guess they never looked back either, and kept going. They were happy when they were able to get to the small bridge even though it was vine covered. Next stop train station!


We ate at an Indian restaurant on a London street with large windows. We were surprised at how hot the menu was, for am English culture known for bland food like fish and chips! It was good but hot!!! Kip’s was hottest, then Walton’s was medium, and Nena’s was mild. Ice cream was almond and yogurt, and looked like a dalek in a boat!

March 25, Saturday

London – Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum

On this day, after having a full breakfast of eggs (Walton got little Easter eggs), English bacon, juice, and toast with marmalade, tomato or mushrooms, pineapple, and fried bread slice; we chose to go to Madam Tussaud’s. It was a very long line outside, with clowns and venders everywhere. Once inside the atmosphere was very exciting. You could go up to every wax figure, except the Royal family. (diagram of royals) Most of the figures were modeled from an hour sitting (even Ben Franklin and George Washington and Kennedy family). Mr. T and Henry the 8th’s wives, Cher, Michael Jackson were our favorites. Also Agatha Christie. Walton liked the dark scary alley and the horror hall. King John, King Richard the Lion Hearted, and Henry VIII were Kip’s favorites. Edward VII and William the Conqueror were great too.


Next we went to MOMI (Museum of the Moving Image).

MOMI was a very modern museum under one of the bridges. I loved the computer art exhibit, and the sand cartoon method. Kip liked the sound exhibit. Walton loved the Dalek (it talked) under the stairs “Invasion, invasion; get out of this hall!”. Star Wars had models and sets. Tik-tok from Return to Oz was there. Besides watching some classic films, actors were explaining or teaching us more; like filming a western or doing a news cast. One man was teaching kids to draw cartoons in the round. Here is where we purchased the Tardis, dalek, and K-9 Dr Who toys. We decided the Doctor and other alien dolls were too expensive and we could sew our own. We ate lunch by the Thames and saw a bookstore flea-market. Walton got a book “Dr Who and the King’s Demons”.


From here we rode the tube underground, to Soane (not Sloane that is another one) Square where we saw Kip’s favorite house.


Sir John Soane’s House Museum in London was interesting. Kip loves Soane’s use of mirrors and light. Soane collected artifacts from all over the world, and mounted them on the walls. Built in 1808 Soane was ahead of the times. (Breakfast room) There was an Egyptian sarcophagus in the hall (empty).




Ate supper at McDonalds, which was Art Deco with light colors, mirrors, marble, and chrome; and was very large with 2 floors!! Food tasted about the same. hehe

Next we went to the Phoenix Theater to see Derek Jacobi in Shakespeare’s Richard the Second. It was not an action production, but one of character principles and emotional Elizabethan. Richard was strong and sympathetic boling broke taking over tis later Henry IV. Duchess of York, gaunt. Aumerle, Queen.


St. Paul’s Cathedral – Easter Day March 26, Matins and Sermon 1030

We attended 2 hours of service. The site was used for Christian worship since 604 AD. Offerings to God on our behalf through Psalms, Canticles, and Anthems (Kenneth Leighton & Bishop).

The Apsley House was mind stretching also. It is called M.1 London because the public loved the Duke of Wellington so much. When he defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo he was presented with gifts from kings and emperors and trophies and multi-story honors. In the plate and china room there is a vast Egyptian service ordered by Napoleon for Josephine when they divorced. Velazquez, Rubens, Goya, and Van Dycks.


London sight-seeing


On Easter we rode on another open-top big red double-decker bus where they put a tape on for places of interest. They played music sometimes. Kip snapped pix after pix and we thought he would fall out of the top. We began at Baker Street (221b) and Piccadilly Street where the Ritz Hotel, shops, film industry, theaters, and the financial district came along. They told us over 900 insurance companies were in London. Our favorite is Lloyd’s of London and its over London Bridge (the new one) and saw 2 robots and Traitors Gate. We looked at the Fire Monument, which if you laid it down would point towards near the baker shop where the fire started. We saw Cleopatra’s needle, law courts, HMS Belfast, National Theater, Westminster Abby, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament. There are over 1000 rooms. We went by Buckingham Palace, and Green Park where someone’s wife had the flowers ripped out because he picked some for his mistress and she saw him. We rode by Wellington Museum, the Hard Rock Cafe, Victoria and Albert Museum, Harrods, and the club where Charles had his bachelor party. Then went to the National Gallery. Finally to Trafalger Square.


We walked through St. James Park where we saw black swans, until we came to Buckingham Palace. We stopped at the gates, and watched 3 guards through the tall black fence. They were not guarding the Queen since she was gone. We learned the flag would be up and there would be more guards on duty. The middle crest was not gilded like the other 2 gates. Kip told us about adding on the front part of the palace and the back U was somewhat more attractive. We walked on to Green Park where only daffodils were up. It was green though. We saw the horse paths for the very rich. Then we came to the Duke of Wellington’s house and statues. We passed the Hard Rock Cafe again to the delight of Walton. We walked Hyde Park and the corner where people get on their soap boxes to speak. We walked past Marble Arch and the Serpentine Lake and hurried to the hotel. Later ate pizza.


Monday 27th

Off we trotted to Kensington Palace peeling off clothes and watching a man clean fountains and a man roller skating around the Round Pond. Kip loved the Orangery because it was a superb example of cut brick work. He saw how the colonies copied Kensington and this period of architecture. We went in to see the Court Dress Collection and the State Apartments. We loved the special clothing you had to wear in court. We saw Kip’s uniform circa 1900. (diagram)


This period spanned 12 reigns and sometimes court was held at evening and sometimes in late afternoon. Money helped but was not the only criteria to be invited. It was very select. This palace was the childhood home of Queen Victoria (royal residence since 1689). Sir Christopher Wren redesigned the house. We saw Princess Victoria’s bedroom and toys. We walked up the Queen’s staircase and saw the King’s stairs. We loved the furniture and curtain treatments, and want to use the ideas for our house. The King’s Gallery, the Cupola Room, the Sunken Gardens, the reception room and bedrooms were smashing.


Diana’s wedding gown was on display. I liked the arabesque ceiling copied from Pompeii. It was the first copy ever done and fit with the grandness of the oak and furniture and height of the ceilings. Walton liked the dress swords and the lions and unicorns heads on frescoed walls of the King’s staircase. The gallery was designed for the collection of 17th and 18th century paintings.


We walked on to see Prince Albert’s Memorial. We liked it but Kip told us it was the epitome of bad taste years ago. Prince Albert was married to Queen Victoria. We walked to the St. Nicholas Training Center at Princes Gate, and it was closed for Banker’s Holiday. We went to V&A where Kip went to see the fine English furniture collection. Walton and I walked to Reject China stores to buy Ansley cereal bowls.

(Kensington Palace guide – State Apartments Court Dress Collection)

We met at Beauchamp and Walton Street. We found Walton House on Walton Street. Then we hunted for a toy store being that Harolds was closed. We found one on Regent Street. 5 floors of toys! No Doctor Who though. We bought a rolling ruler, amazin! It does parallel lines and on and on. Then we bought theater tickets to the Secret of Sherlock Holmes. It was so superb, very British. Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke were all the cast, and certainly handled the moods and historic setting. It was clever how they delved into the relationship of Holmes and Watson, and their psychologies. The stage rotated in a complete circle, and dry ice was used effectively. At the end the play brought us back to reality (at least of the books) when the door-bell rang with clients waiting. The secret was he invented a 2nd personality (Moriarty).


(Wyndhams Theatre ticket – 27-mar-1989, grand circle-C-20, 9.50 pounds)


Tuesday March 28th

We packed and mailed postcards. Took taxi to the airport. (British Airways 37D)

Plane menu: smoked mckerel fillet with herbs, turkey, or lamb; chocolate dessert

End Note: look up Netherfield Place, 30 acres, Battle East Sussex, TN 33 9pp (04246) 4455

Helen and Michael Collier