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Friday, December 08, 2023

Blenheim Palace - Birthplace of Winston Churchill - Outstanding Christmas Decorations

It's Friday around noon. It's hard to believe less than 2 days ago - we were driving our rental Mercedes electric car thru the terrible fog and rain of the English country side. We arrived at Blenheim Palace around 4 pm - Wednesday - and it was already dark - dank - windy. We had stopped in Stratford on Avon to see Shakespeare's birthplace - and I desperately bought an Arctic hat to protect me from the un-Florida-like weather. It was a thrift store - and I weighed the 3 pounds price versus how cold it was outside. I returned to the store to buy it.

Blenheim Palace was the boyhood home of Winston Churchill. His claim to fame was being the Prime Minister when Great Britain was being pounded by the Nazis. Some folks over there seem to think that Churchill single-handedly won the war. He spent half his time in office begging Franklin Roosevelt to join the war and - if not - send him a lot of money. 

The palace was build in 1702 to award the First Earl of Marlborough (John Churchill) for leading the army to win the Battle of Blenheim - among other battles - thus the name. Forgive me if I mix this up. But Churchill was not rich. He could not afford the costs of keeping up such an estate. So he went to America to marry a Vanderbilt daughter - who came along with a sizable dowery. This allowed him to keep the estate. 

Winston was born many years later up the family chain. Today - the estate is still in the Duke of Marlborough family - but it is heavily subsidized. Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

It was a double whammy for us. First - we were touring this wonderful house with all the fine furniture and decorations. Then - in Christmas season - they put a layer of Christmas decorations over top all of that. Throw in a co-ordinated light and sound show - a little fake snow - fog - wind - and your mind wanders through it all. Lulu said - just think Downton Abbey. I am guessing we spent 3 hours roaming the house and grounds. I expected to be alone there with my thoughts - but there were thousands there. I was so happy that I bought the cheap hat and cheap heavy socks and gloves I was wearing. Even inside the palace it was frosty. 

60 foot tall ceilings.

At about 8 pm - we pointed the electric three star car toward Oxford train station. After that - we caught the express train back to London. The next morning - we had our last hotel breakfast - took the Elizabeth line subway to Heathrow Airport. We were delighted our plane to America was half empty. We each had 3 seats to make into a bed. 8 hours later - we were in Atlanta - then home.