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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Guildford - A Town or a City? (Day 269)

A lovely relaxing yet productive day in Guildford - A Town or a City?

“Flip a coin,” Mike said. We were sitting in his local barber’s shop in Guildford and Tim was contemplating whether to have his beard removed or trimmed. “Heads it comes off, Tail’s it’s trimmed”. Tim flipped the coin…

I was supposed to go off and have a look at some shops, but it was so entertaining being in this small barber run by Keith and Sal. Keith, one of the owners, is a right character. A Liverpudlian still with a strong twang, he had lived in Adelaide for some years, one of the £10 poms who travelled to Australia in the late 1970s. He’s a great story-teller and shared tales of driving through the Flinders Range, nearly getting beaten up, picking up a hitchhiker and then driving in the dark in the isolation of the outback, worrying that he may break down.

Just around the corner was Guildford Castle, situated on a rocky mound in beautifully kept gardens, full of colour. The castle tower has obviously seen better days, and we could see where the original crenellations had been. The building has certainly been patched up a number of times.

It is believed that the castle was built soon after the Battle of Hastings by William the Conqueror or one of his barons. Originally a royal castle, where kings and queens would stay, probably to get some peace from the demands of London. In the later 12th century the tower was turned into the county gaol, but in 1487 local people petitioned that prisoners were moved to Lewes, over 40 miles away. I wonder why. The castle changed hands a number of times and finally, in 1885 it was sold to the Guildford Corporation. A few years later, after restoration and lots of landscaping, it was opened to the public with stunning pleasure gardens to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

Guildford is a very pleasant town. Yes, it’s a town, not a city. I was surprised about that as it has a cathedral, however, this is not enough. Apparently, there are no specific criteria a town must fulfil in order to become a city. To get city status is a rare honour and has to be granted by the monarch. Guildford did apply in 1999 as part of the millennium celebrations, and despite it being the odds-on favourite, it sadly lost out to Brighton.

The three “boys” enjoyed themselves running around playing tag, whilst I took advantage of being amongst this town with its many nice shops. I spotted a Cotswold Outdoor shop, fabulous, just what I need. Sadly, my barefoot shoes I purchased in May are too uncomfortable for me to walk long distances in and my walking boots too chunky for wandering around a city. I had made the decision to find some walking shoes, sturdy versions of waterproof trainers to replace the two of them, so our next travels I will be down to two pairs of shoes, like Tim (At the start of our #grownuptravellers, I had 4 pairs of shoes and Tim had 6!)

Within a very short period of time, I chose a pair of Salomon Outline GTX “Sneaker-like comfort that's ready for the mountains, this is your go-to shoe for everyday adventures.” – Wonderful. That will reduce my carry-on weight a tad.

Our next stop was Wagamama, one of Alex’s favourite restaurants. Both Tim and I have never been to one of these food chains. I thought it sold Italian food, Tim thought it was a fast food chicken emporium. We were pleasantly surprised to see Japanese and Korean food on the menu. As Mike said, it gently transitions us back into UK food!

The rest of the day was lazy and relaxing. Conversations with Mike are always so interesting, talking about a wide range of subjects that we both enjoy: mindset, the brain, science, nutrition, as well as worldwide situations…including Trump. Much laughter, great learning and the day finalised with a few games of Exploding Kittens.

Oh… and by the way, Tim flipped tails.

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