Monday, September 12, 2011

Big Deal :p

Y'know, the font I use on this blog doesn't lend itself well to emoticons :p  But whatever.  When I last left off, Lee and I had walked all over the White Cliffs of Dover, and when we left there we had just enough time to drive north a bit and get to Deal Castle before it closed.  We had only about a half hour to look around but that proved to be sufficient; Deal is pretty small.  It was also raining when we arrived, but with rain comes...

...a rainbow.  And this picture just makes me think Skittles' "Taste the Rainbow" slogan could be rehacked to "Shoot the Rainbow".  Hehehe.

Ok, I think I tweaked the color on the photo above and now it looks a bit weird.  Oh well, on to the castle.  Deal Castle is one of several artillery forts built by Henry VIII to protect the coastline from possible invasion by France or Spain.  Among the castles we've visited so far, it's unusual not just because it was built 400 years after most of the other ones, but also because it's shaped like a flower.

A flower that can shoot cannonballs 360 degrees around itself.  That reddish building to the right isn't part of the castle, it's something else (presumably newer) behind Deal.  I found a diagram of the castle inside, since somehow I couldn't manage to get an aerial shot of it : p

The Source of All Knowledge on the Interwebs, Wikipedia, says that the walls are curved to better deflect any bombardment.  Which I guess makes sense, projectiles would tend to glance off rounded walls where they would punch through flat ones.  Of course, I failed physics so don't quote me on that.

All the interior rooms in Deal Castle also had rounded walls, and Lee and I had some fun speculating about how to set up a good home theater sound system in one of the larger rooms.  Then we started imagining how we'd set things up if we moved in there and had unlimited amounts of money just because it's fun to have those "if money were no object" conversations.  Then we decided we probably wouldn't live there due to the dearth of modern bathroom and kitchen facilities, which I guess you could add if money were no object but whatever.  I think I'll hold off choosing my own personal castle for a while yet, although Dover Castle was pretty cool.

On the lower floor at Deal, we found several displays about the history of Henry VIII and Deal Castle, detailing why it was built and so forth.  But I didn't take pictures of the explanatory signs, just the pretty pictures, so I kinda can't remember what's going on in the picture above.

And here's the pretty floral castle with all its cannons.  Don't know what's up with the clouds/mist on this picture, 'cause Deal isn't up on a big hill like Dover is.  Maybe it's just artistic license.

So this is Deal Castle watching over the ships in the English Channel.  If I were feeling much more creative this morning I'd make up a story to go with these tableaux but it just occurred to me that I'm not even sure that these pictures are in chronological order.  I mean, they're in the order that I took them, but that doesn't mean I looked at them in the order they were meant to be examined.  Hmm.

This one I'm pretty sure shows the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which I talked about back when I posted pictures from Castle Acre Priory.  Anyway, since Deal Castle and the other artillery forts were built after the Dissolution had been underway for a few years, I don't think it's unreasonable to think that the Dissolution at least partially funded the construction of this place.

One more shot of the outside of Deal Castle when we left.  I did get a postcard with an aerial shot of the castle at their little gift shop.  Anyway, we went back to our hotel in Folkestone after this, and I for some reason was craving Pizza Hut and we found one about a half a mile away from our hotel but since we couldn't find parking anywhere, we *walked* there and back after all our trudging at Dover and the cliffs and Deal.  Missy would have approved (probably not of the unhealthy pizza, but she would have approved of the walking there and back part).

On Sunday, we checked out of our hotel and started back towards home, and we went by one more English Heritage site near London:  Lullingstone Roman Villa.  We were sure our GPS had lost its marbles on the way there, we followed this road for several miles that wasn't wide enough for two cars so when someone came along from the opposite direction, you both had to squeeze over to the side as much as possible until you got past each other.  We didn't see signs for the villa until we were quite close to it either, but it turned out that this time our GPS was right on the money and the villa is really out back of beyond.  All that remains of the villa is the foundation and most of a mosaic:

The mosaic depicts Bellerophon riding Pegasus and slaying the chimera, and I had forgotten that the chimera supposedly had a goat head growing out its back.  How the Greeks came up with those mish-mash monsters, I don't know.  Bellerophon is in the top part of the mosaic, pretty hard to see in the picture; the bottom part that is easier to see depicts Europa and Zeus in the form of a bull as he's carrying her off to have his way with her.  Or maybe I should say Europa and Jupiter since it's a Roman mosaic, but I prefer the Greek names.

Anywha, the foundations are all enclosed in an English Heritage building to protect them from the elements; they were excavated in the 1950s and 60s.  It was pretty dark in there so this was the only photograph I have to share from the villa (Lee took it, that low-light photography is still out of my abilities).  Anyway, as this place dates back to Roman times, it's older than any of the other sites we have visited thus far, begun in the first century an inhabited for somewhere around 300 years.  Lullingstone also has one of the oldest Christian chapels in Britain, so that's pretty cool.

So that's it for the pictures from our exploration of southeast England, but on Wednesday we are once again setting out on expedition, this time to the west.  I'll give you a hint about our theme for the weekend:  I'm now reading a book about King Arthur.  Should be fun!


Giffysk8s said...

I am so disappointed that you couldn't find a way to get an aerial shot of the castle. I think you probably could have chartered a helicopter or something. :) I do like the flower shape. I know it was built that way for defensive purposes, but it sure is purty. BTW, who needs physics anyway? (The three men in my house would surely die if they heard me say that! LOL)

I LOVE all the historical background you post. I feel like I'm in a world history class but without those pesky things called exams and grades. And it's nice to know that I'm not too old to learn new things.

I think I'll be laughing for the rest of the day about "Shout the Rainbow." The only trouble is I'm going to hear that song in my head all day, too!

Can't wait for your King Arthury posts!

Giffysk8s said...

Ha ha ha~I meant "shoot" the rainbow!

CCsMom said...

It's late -- I need to go to bed, but I wanted to see what was on your blog before I hit the sheets. And here I see you posted YET AGAIN with the baby books! Good job! You'll have those finished in no time. Loved the tour through the flower-shaped castle. I think I'd like living there, too -- with the curved walls. Nice to dream!