Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All there was to see and do...

So even though Alton wasn't the most happening of places, we did find some things to see and do after all...
It's an old brewery town, at one point the majority of the population was employed by one of the many breweries, but there's only one functional brewery left, which has gone through many changes of occupation, and is currently a Coors. Due to the beer-focus [we assume] there seems to be a ridiculously high pub to population ratio, but we were well behaved and only went inside one [honest!]
We took one of the twice-weekly walking tours [we were the only ones, I suspect most days the guide turns up, sees that no one is waiting, and happily goes home again]. It was quite interesting to hear a bit more about the history of the place, there are many very old houses there, as, I suspect, there are everywhere, but we're still new enough that they are interesting for us. The oldest house in the town that is still lived in as a house was built in about 1450. They also have the second oldest purpose built meeting house in England [the Quaker meeting house, at which meetings are still held]. One church has its first recorded use in 1070, and a civil war battle actually ended in the churchyard. They also have "Sweet Fanny Adams" grave, and seem to be quite proud of the fact that an 8 year old girl got kidnapped, murdered, and chopped up into tiny pieces in their town [quite possibly in the schoolyard...] ... The tour also included the duck pond, which was created by a dam in the Wey river to make a water supply for the mill [when there was a mill], but is now just full of ducks and geese.
We also walked to Chawton [the next town down the road] to see Jane Austen's house, though we didn't feel like paying £7 each to go in. So we just poked around the garden and outer buildings instead. It was cool, but the houses and cottages along the way were more interesting, with their thatched roofs [how do they not leak??], perfect English flat green lawns, and tiny doors that even I could almost bang my head on.
But after we'd seen and done all Alton had to offer, and spent a bit of relaxing time not doing much at all [except watch a lot of Top Gear, which is on five times a day!], we were definitely ready to head back to the big city.

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