April 4th, 2005

little review


Today we got up early so that we could go to Portchester and its castle, with the best-preserved Roman wall in northern Europe and a huge intact keep with paintings on the walls from when the upstairs was used as a theatre. Richard II had rooms added on, Henry V used it as a base of operations and Elizabeth I made the last official royal visit there. There are numerous ghost stories associated with the place, which has perfect atmosphere for it, with the floors missing from several levels of the castle despite its high walls and the amalgamation of architecture. From the roof of the keep one can see Victory docked in Portsmouth and a lovely view of the surrounding water, even on a misty morning like this one. We were all intrigued by the 17th and 18th century graffiti carved into the upper walls of the spiral staircase. The wall completely surrounds the castle and the little church with its graveyard, and flowers bloom in the cracks between the stones.

I'm too tired to type any more -- more details tomorrow!

One of my sons found a bird's nest in a dark corner of the ground floor of the keep. The mother bird fled temporarily when she saw us so we got to see her eggs.