|After another three pound breakfast (cost 6 pounds this time) I gathered my wet gear and left Hayling Island behind. Following a 2 hr drive and a few directions from roadside Brits, I reached Blandford Forum. That is the place where my great grandfather, Thomas Quinlan, settled for awhile when he first immigrated from Ireland. He met his wife, Elizabeth Heizman, there. It is a Georgian town and has been kept up very nicely. There is a well developed system of parks and pathways which I explored. All the people appear to be either pregnant or old. There is some sort of military signal corps nearby.
Elizabeth (my great grandmother)came from Shaftesbury, about 12 miles to the north, so I drove through rolling countryside to visit that busy little city. There were old churches, and a lovely steep alley with cottages on it. I explored various roads on foot for about an hour. It was very hilly, with long views back towards Blandford. According to my family tree I have many ancestors from Shaftesbury. After my quick tour of Shaftesbury I drove a few miles east to Stonehenge, getting there in early evening as most tourists were leaving. There was a dramatic sky to complement that awe-inspiring structure. I used an audio guide to learn about the features and various theories about the origin and purpose of Stonehenge. My camera battery had died so I took a few pictures with the stupid smart phone (a Nokia C3 that I bought at a grocery store). By the way, if these entries seem more abrupt than you'd expect I'm blaming the phone. I have to pluck away letter by letter and then the phone catches up. Also the site sems to limit me to a small number of words.
I continued north on little windy roads and found my way to Avebury, site of an even larger ancient stone circle. After striking out at a few establishments I am now staying with an older couple who rent out rooms. I had supper at a local pub with Martin and Andy, brothers in law who are biking to Worcestershire. We had pork steaks with stilton cheese melted on it, and fruit crumble smothered in custard...mmmm...good!It was a really enjoyable evening of talk and laughter.