One Night as a Princess: England 7

I am feeling the need to finish up writing about our experiences in England. It looks like we may be heading back for more adventures in Italy soon! So, before my memory gets cloudy, I must finish up our last trip.

As we were planning for our time in England, I dreamed of seeing castles. I wondered which ones we could fit in seeing and looked them up online. Soon, I learned that you could actually stay overnight in some castles! Of course, I thought this would be an amazing experience and set about talking Matt into one night in a castle. He could see my mind was set on being a princess for one night, so we made our reservations. Up to this point, we had stayed at some amazing B&Bs in England, but now we were off to be royalty!

First, on our way we would be passing a historic site that Matt wanted to see: Hadrian’s Wall. I hate to admit that I didn’t remember what exactly this was. But we stopped and enjoyed walking on this ancient wall that was built to separate the Roman empire from the barbarians on the other side. This 120 mile long wall was built in AD 122 and yet in some areas you can still walk on it. The wall snaked its way across the landscape as far as I could see.Hadrian's Wall

We enjoyed the museum at Housesteads Roman Fort. They speculate that the flooring was built upon the posts in the photo and steam was pumped under the floor for heat.Houseteads Roman Fort

This part of the wall is set high on a ridge and you can look down into the barbarian land below. We found some geocaches near the wall and then headed to our royal lodging.Gate on Hadrian's Wall

As a prince and princess, I had determined that we needed to stay in the castle proper, not an out building so we had a room reserved in Langley Castle.Langley Castle

And for some reason, while making reservations, I had decided that staying in the tower would be just the thing. I mean, who wouldn’t want to do that?! We told some people as we traveled around England that we would be staying in a castle and they thought that was awesome. But when I mentioned the tower, every one of them said, “Well, I hope you get back out!” I guess the tower is not known as a good place! We arrived at the castle as weary travelers. We had been away from home for weeks and needed rest. I pictured the lush bed in our castle and was eager for a romantic, relaxing evening. I was not prepared for 101 steps to get to that bed! Sure, it makes sense that a castle might not have an elevator. But I hadn’t thought of that. I just had to laugh at myself as I lugged my bags up those steps.Castle steps

Of course, dinner was back down all those steps in the dining room.The castle dining room

I enjoyed wandering around the beautiful castle.DSC_6136 DSC_6165

Then back up the 101 steps to finally rest in that bed. But this princess was not able to enjoy her night in the castle. Due to my diet restrictions, I was sick that night. I might as well have been in a tent on the ground for as much as I enjoyed my night. This was no fault of the castle or their chef. My diet is hard to figure out and they tried their best. But this night was not what I had pictured. As I’ve said in the past, the problem with traveling is that you have to take yourself with you. No matter where I go, I still bring all my problems with me. Of course, all the princesses in towers in the past had problems too and I’ll bet they didn’t sleep well either. I was just glad to have my prince with me to comfort me and help me back down the steps in the morning. It was our last night in England and we still had some miles to travel…. with my problems in tow. I decided I’m not really princess material anyway!The tower room

Check out the previous posts about England. England 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Or you may want to start at the beginning of our adventure – in Italy! Italy 1

My Favorite Place in England: England 6

Are you ready for some gorgeous green scenery?! I still haven’t written about the place I loved the most in England, the Lake District. This is a tough one to write because I have too many beautiful photos of the area and want to include them all. Ever since I saw the movie, Miss Potter, I ached to go to the Lake District. The movie was great, but the extra content showed that Beatrix Potter bought lots of land and then turned it over to the National Trust so that it would stay untouched and available to all. The video showed lovely rolling hills, lakes and quaint villages. I thought I’d never get there. But, you know, we just don’t have a clue what God has in store for us! I’m still amazed that I was able to go to this wonderful piece of God’s creation! Since Beatrix Potter was my inspiration for going to the area, I wanted to view her home in Near Sawrey. Would I find the area as lovely as I anticipated? Would Beatrix’s home town be as inspiring to me as it was to her? I just had to go and find out!

Of course, I looked for the best B&B in the area and was able to get a room! Buckle Yeat Guest House

Buckle Yeat Guest House was amazing! This 17th century cottage is right next to Beatrix Potter’s house and is warm and cozy with a fire blazing in the fireplace. The hosts, Robert and Helen Kirby are friendly and knowledgeable. We had such a lovely time visiting with them.Robert and Helen Kirby of Buckle Yeat Guest House

Just look at this beautiful breakfast! And it tasted as good as it looked. We were actually eating the same bacon that the Queen of England enjoys. Not many places can brag of that. Breakfast at Buckle Yeat

But as magical as Buckle Yeat is, I just had to explore some more. First on the list was the home of Beatrix Potter. As an artist myself, I have been fascinated by her art with her endearing clothed animals. Somehow, Beatrix captured realistic features of the animals and yet gave each character human qualities too. Beatrix was more than just an author of children’s books. She studied nature and wrote scholarly articles with detailed illustrations. I own a large book filled with her art. It was thrilling to see the home and countryside that inspired such creativity. Hilltop, her home, was right behind our B&B.Beatrix Potter's Hilltop

We were not allowed to take photos in her home, which was a bit disappointing since that is a way that I enjoy things. But I still have pictures in my mind of the simple perfection of the place. After growing up in London, Beatrix was ready for the simplicity of the country. Her home and village were quiet inspirations to her. In fact, as you wander through her home, Hilltop, books from her Peter Rabbit series were scattered about. Each was open to a page and upon inspection, it was evident that the drawing on the page included something from the room. One book had an animal cooking at the stove from Hilltop. Another illustration included the bannister from her stairs. It was fascinating to see! I have often heard that a good writer is one that writes from personal experience. Well, I was beginning to think that lovely art is from experience too. Miss Potter’s book, The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, includes a page that shows a path winding up a hill. A page from The Tale of Samuel Whiskers

As I looked out the window of her home, I could see that same windy path.Near Sawrey

Even though, I couldn’t take photos, I found this painting in Buckle Yeat that showed Beatrix’s kitchen. I wish I knew the artist so I could give credit where it is due!A painting of the kitchen in Hilltop

I so enjoyed my visit to Hilltop. And found a treasure in the gift shop, a book called, “Walking with Beatrix Potter”. Book of walks with Beatrix Potter

Exploring the area was just what I wanted to do and what better way than to take walks that Beatrix Potter would have taken? This little gem was full of maps and instructions for taking the public footpaths near her home. She often would walk, ponder, draw and write. It seemed right to take walk number one, a 3 mile walk named “Beatrix Potter’s Heartland”. We followed instructions from the book such as, “Go through a kissing gate” and “In a short distance go through a gate, reaching a permissive path, which soon becomes a boardwalk over muddy ground.” The permissive path

It WAS muddy. And it was good we had the written instructions as well as the drawn maps. Matt found a geocache near a lovely lake, or as they call it, tarn. This was at Moss Eccles Tarn.Geocache at Moss Eccles Tarn

Here are some of the lovely views we had on walk #1.DSC_5591 2 DSC_5613 2 DSC_5623 2 DSC_5620 2 DSC_5655 2 DSC_5661 2 DSC_5665 2 DSC_5673 2 DSC_5681 2

We had had a full day and needed dinner. What better place than the pub right next to Hilltop and Buckle Yeat?Tower Bank Arms

Tower Bank Arms is featured in Beatrix Potter’s book, The Tales Of Jemima Puddleduck. Even though it was chilly outside, this busy pub was cozy with it’s blazing fire. Fireplace at the Tower Bank Arms

We enjoyed the scrumptious food and made friends too! Paul, Sarah and baby Emily sat at the table next to us by the fire and excitedly told us of their holiday plans. They were knowledgeable of the area and suggested many places to hike.Our English friends

What an amazing day! I was glad to have such a wonderful place to sleep that night. Buckle Yeat was all I dreamed of for a B&B in England, quaint and yet comfortable. We sat by the fire in the lounge and planned and dreamed our next day in the Lake District. Sleep was sweet in the Lake District!

Check out the previous posts about England. England 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Or you may want to start at the beginning of our adventure – in Italy! Italy 1

Never Bored

Recently, while chatting with a fellow artist, she said, “With all the fun things out there to create, how do people get bored?” I totally agree! There is never enough time in the day to create all the things I want to make. I’ve been enjoying several different creative avenues lately.

I met Caroline from Eagles Nest Woolens during Oktoberfest at the Schifferstadt Museum in Frederick, MD and  I admired her beautiful rugs and watched her as she hooked a rug. I’ve always been interested in rug hooking and she had a small kit for sale. I just HAD to try it!DSC_9649 3

It did take me a bit to get the hang of pulling the stips of wool fabric through the backing cloth, but as I continued, it got easier and easier. I finished hooking the design and steamed it. Now I just need to figure out how to finish off my pumpkin rug mat.DSC_9706 2

When I wasn’t rug hooking, I was finishing a doily. I almost always have one in the making. This one is special because it reminds me of my doily making beginnings. After teaching myself how to crochet, I made afghans and pot holders. Then, while at a star party with my hubby, I saw a woman sitting outside her camper creating something beautiful. I thought she must have been tatting but she explained that it was crochet but with thread. Anne was working from a book of designs from nature.DSC_9724 3

Of course, I ran right out and bought thread, a smaller hook and the book! Well, okay, several doily books. And I ended up making LOTS of doilies but for some reason none from that book. Finally, I have completed the butterfly doily from Anne’s book. Isn’t it gorgeous?! Can you see the profiles of butterflies?DSC_9696 2

Of course, I always have my camera handy and every year I make a calendar. It takes quite some time to choose the photos and edit them for the calendar. But I got it done! And they are available for purchase here: 2015 Calendars. These high quality wall calendars feature photos from our trip to England and Bible verses. I hope you enjoy them!DSC_9657 3

This time of year I always have jewelry projects. I was kept quite busy getting ready for a show. Here is one pendant that sold just hours after I posted it. Abalone is so beautiful.DSC_9548 5

Creating with Sterling Silver wire is one of my favorite things to do. Add my favorite stone, Labradorite, and how could I not love it? This labradorite pendant is still available!DSC_9670 4

Swirls and turquoise are an unbeatable combo too! This turquoise pendant is here on my website.DSC_9684 6

So, yes, I’ve kept myself contently occupied creating! No boredom here! I’m always happy to see another sunrise and create during another day. What keeps you contentedly occupied?DSC_9667 2

Finding the Moors: England 5

Our time in the “chocolate box” Cotswolds was done, but I was eager to keep exploring the English landscape. I hadn’t yet seen the moors that I had often read about and I hoped at our next stop that I would. We headed northbound to Matt’s last work place, Pateley Bridge. After that, we would have a week of vacation time just to explore in England! First, we headed to Harefield Hall.Harefield Hall

I had found this mysteriously beautiful gem on TripAdvisor and was intrigued. This 15th century manor house had quite a history and was currently a B&B. I didn’t know until we arrived that it also had a reputation for ghostly activity. After checking in, we found out that we would be the only guests staying that night. It was such a large, fascinating building that I wondered if we would indeed hear any suspicious sounds! We had a lovely dinner served to us by our host, Elaine. Then she gave us a tour of some of the rooms. They were gorgeous! Here is the view from our room.DSC_5258 2

We settled in for the night and enjoyed a good night’s sleep. I didn’t hear any  strange sounds. Of course, I was wearing earplugs so that might be explain it. The next day, Matt left to work and I wrote a blog entry. Even though I enjoyed editing photos and writing the blog, I was tired. Travel weary. Living 5 and a half weeks out of a suitcase made me feel a bit homeless. We washed clothing in the sink. I always wondered where our next meal would come from and if it would be safe for my diet. I spent lots of time sitting on a bed while writing. And I was beginning to feel slightly useless. Believe me, I’m NOT complaining! It was an amazing adventure and I was so glad to be part of it. But I was beginning to miss home. And work. I mean just plain old housework. I never thought I would say that. After being served my meals, being driven all over creation and not having to clean, I realized that I would never have been able to be royalty. I need work to do! It was truly an eye opener. And a thought that I try to remember every time I have too much to do. Work is a blessing! Finally, Matt was back from his day at work and I could stop reflecting and do more exploring.

We went for walks down wall lined roads.DSC_5293 2

Then we explored Fountains Abbey. Once a beautiful home and worship place for Cistercian monks beginning in 1132, this architectural masterpiece had been destroyed by King Henry VIII in 1539 when he ordered the dissolution of monasteries. We arrived just a couple hours before closing and wondered if we would be able to enjoy the abbey ruins and the garden before closing time. The woman behind the desk assured us that it was plenty of time, loaned us an umbrella and sent us into a downpour. The ruins were beautiful.DSC_5337 2DSC_5351 2DSC_5338 2DSC_5381 2

We then started the walk around the adjacent gardens. Soon, we found that the walk was going to be longer than anticipated. I worried about getting locked into the place. Would we be able to get our rental car out? Matt kept telling me not to worry. He didn’t remember there being a gate. And surely they wouldn’t lock us in. Even though it was cool and rainy, I broke a sweat as we walked fast to get back to the visitor center. And we didn’t make it in time. We were fifteen minutes late. Wouldn’t you know, there was a gate too! Matt had me stand by the unlocked gate as he returned the umbrella to the front door of the locked visitor center and retrieved our car. The only other being I saw was a pheasant who kept me company. As I stood by the gate waiting, I couldn’t help but smile at yet another silly situation we had gotten ourselves into. Maybe they didn’t lock that outer gate? But when we got back to Harefield Hall and told of our mishap, we were assured that we certainly could have been locked in. Whew!

Since first arriving in our room, we had noticed two pillars standing on the mountain across the valley. It looked like more ruins and something for us to explore. I searched on the internet and we hiked to Yorke’s Folly, one of the popular hikes in the Nidderdale area. These pillars were originally built in the 1800’s to look like ruins. Legend has it that Mr. Yorke provided this building project in a time when jobs were scarce and people needed work. Even though three pillars were built, only two remain as one was toppled by wind. DSC_5451 2

As we hiked up to the folly, I could believe that one had succumbed to the gusts. It was getting stormy. Finally, the rain came with strong winds and we were becoming soaked. We took shelter next to the folly and it helped!DSC_5413 2

Just as sudden as the storm had come, it passed. I was able to look over the valley and see Harefield Hall. That’s how I had come to take the photo at the top of this blog. Here it is in the distance.DSC_5424 2

I had finally found the moors. As I stood in the wind, looking over the landscape of spongy growth, I felt like Jane Eyre or one of the many heroines from George MacDonald novels. So many of them had roamed the lonely moors and I had always wondered what exactly that was, but now I knew. DSC_5457 3

Refreshed from the hike and the rain, we made our way back to Harefield Hall for a lovely meal by the fire. Our hosts, Mike and Elaine were thrilled to hear that we were now “On Holiday” and would be heading to the Lake District. Mike waxed eloquently about the Lake District and pointed out highlights of the area on a map.DSC_5554 2

As he brought out rice pudding that he had made special to fit my diet, he said, “As you cross the ferry in the Lake District, yell ‘Hello from Mike.'” And we were eager to do just that!

Check out the previous posts about England. England 1, 2, 3, 4

Or you may want to start at the beginning of our adventure – in Italy! Italy 1

Blenheim Palace and Saint Nicholas Church: England 4

We’ve been home for a bit, but I love looking at my photos of our Europe trip! There are still so many things to tell you all about. We were blessed to have a long weekend in the beautiful Cotswolds because we happened to be there on Bank Holiday, so Matt had the day off from work. There are endless things to do in this part of England, but we chose to visit the place where Winston Churchill was born, Blenheim Palace. This beautiful place is currently the home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough. But originally, the land and money was given to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, after his triumphant victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. It took me a bit to figure this all out! I kept thinking that Blenheim must be the family name. Or that the family’s last name was Marlborough. But the Churchill family has lived here since the construction of the palace. And what a palace it is!DSC_4939 3 I’m sure the palace would have become well known just because of how gorgeous it is, but it is famous for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill. His family did not live in the palace but was related to the ones that did. While his mother was visiting there, she gave birth to Winston. Here is the birth room.DSC_4799 2 Several rooms of the building were dedicated to information about Winston Churchill’s life. Even though all the political accomplishments were amazing, I was fascinated by the fact that Mr. Churchill was an artist. They had a case full of his paintings.DSC_4797 What beautiful work! And I loved the quote from him, “Armed with a paint-box, one cannot be bored, one cannot be left at a loose end, one cannot ‘have several days on one’s hands.'” And this one that was displayed there, “When I die and go to heaven, I want to spend the first million years painting – so I can get to the bottom of the subject.” DSC_4796  After learning about what a fascinating man Winston Churchill was, we toured the rooms that are open to the public. At first the rooms were gilded and decorated with huge paintings and tapestries. DSC_4831DSC_4848 2 This room even displayed the gilded cradle in which the Duchesses of Marlborough rocked their babies.DSC_4846 2 But then the rooms became less opulent. The dukes ran out of money before they could gild these rooms. Personally, I thought they were gorgeous as is!DSC_4868 2 DSC_4858 2Having enough money to support a palace has always been a challenge for the Dukes of Marlborough. The first duchess, Sarah, constantly watched over the building of the palace to make sure the architect was not overspending. And throughout the years, each duke had problems financing the estate. Finally in 1896, Charles, the 9th Duke of Marlborough, saved the palace by marrying a rich, American heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt. She is pictured in the large painting in the photo with her two sons, an heir and a spare. DSC_4819 2 We were able to enjoy the grounds of the palace and also the jousting that took place that day.DSC_4928 2DSC_4910 2 Touring Blenheim Palace filled the day. As we ate dinner that evening, I was surprised how good the fire felt in May! I couldn’t imagine wanting a fire at home in May. We had enjoyed the free day, but the next one Matt had to go back to work. What would I find to do? Since I didn’t have a car, I decided to venture forth by walking. It was such a beautiful place there in the Cotswolds. Our B&B was near the towns of Lower Oddington and Upper Oddington. I was told that there was an interesting church in Lower Oddington about 1.5 miles away so I put on my rain jacket and headed out to find St. Nicholas church.DSC_5105 2 As I approached the front door, it seemed a bit spooky to me. I’m not sure why. But I was all alone and had to force myself to go inside the building. It almost seemed that I could feel all the history around me. This church was originally built in the 11th century by the Normans. So old!DSC_5060 Hundreds of years of people had come to this place in search of God. Did they find Him? Since most people could not read then, stories were told with paintings. In the 1300s a large Doomsday depiction was painted to cover one entire wall of the church but was then whitewashed in the 1600s. Through the years, people forgot it was even there. In 1912, the white wash was removed and the painting rediscovered.DSC_5229 2 It shows Jesus as the king with the earth under his feet. On one side of him, people are shown in heaven. The other side shows the fate of those that reject Jesus as Lord. I must admit that this large painting was quite startling to have greet me as I entered the church. But I ventured farther in and explored some more. DSC_5033 2 DSC_5031 2 DSC_5052 2 DSC_5057 2 DSC_5041 DSC_5236 2 DSC_5246 2 DSC_5102 2 The church was so interesting! But I was glad to get out and back in the beautiful countryside again. DSC_5071DSC_5085 Later that evening, I had to take Matt back to the church to show him such an amazingly old and fascinating place. Of course there was a geocache just on the other side of the church fence.DSC_5109 2 We sure did love the Cotswolds but our time there was over. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

Here is the previous post about England! Golden Cotswolds: England 3

Golden Cotswolds: England 3

Often when asked of my favorite color, I will reply orange. Or maybe yellow or green. Well, our next place in England was full of lovely colors. It was Matt’s birthday and we headed to the Cotswolds. This area in central England has been dubbed an “Area of Outstanding Beauty” and it lives up to the title. Some people when we told them that we were going to the Cotswolds, would say, “Oh, that is very chocolate box.” I had never heard that term but one man described it as a lovely scene like one that you would see on a chocolate box.  So Matt got a box of chocolates for his birthday, well at least the beauty.

On our way to the next B&B, we stopped at The Duke of Cumberland’s Head for lunch. Our waitress explained that the pub was named after Prince Rupert. When I asked why it was only named after his head, she said (insert accent here) “Well, we can’t accommodate the rest of the body, really.”DSC_4468 2

Here is the birthday boy while waiting for his lunch.DSC_4464 2

I’m not sure how many times I asked Matt to stop so I could take photos of the yellow fields. It seemed so difficult to get a photo I liked to show their bright loveliness. This one almost does it.DSC_4471 2

We stopped at a place called Rollright Stones. They were prehistoric stones placed in different configurations. There were several that formed a circle and these stood together on what is thought to be an ancient burial place. The stones really showed off the yellow fields which we learned were crops of rape grown for their oil. We were told that they only plant it every third year. I was so glad that we came on a yellow fields year!DSC_4499 2

When we arrived at our next destination, Corsham Field Farmhouse, I was thrilled with the view.DSC_4990 2

Our hosts, Robert and Julie Anne, were such gracious people and lots of help to figure out what sights to see.  DSC_5220 2And there is so much to see in the Cotswolds, rolling hills, sheep farms, ancient churches, beautiful palaces and yellow stone villages. It seemed difficult to capture its beauty with the camera. But I certainly gave it a try on the few days we were blessed to be there. I’ll always fondly think of this area as the Golden Cotswolds.

Read the rest of the adventure: England 1, England 2

Or start from the beginning with the portion of our trip in Italy: Italy 1

Enjoy some more photos from the Cotswolds! Please share my blog with others and I’d love for you to subscribe!

This shows the beautiful yellow fields and the stone houses of the the Cotswolds.

This shows the beautiful yellow fields and the stone houses of the the Cotswolds.

This pair of wild pheasants ate seed from under the bird feeder at our B&B.

This pair of wild pheasants ate seed from under the bird feeder at our B&B.

Larry and Cindy, who were from Minnesota and in their 70's, were walking on the public footpaths across the Cotswolds. We met them in an ancient church and then had dinner together.

Larry and Cindy, who were from Minnesota and in their 70’s, were walking on the public footpaths across the Cotswolds. We met them in an ancient church and then had dinner together.

We happened upon a cricket game and watched for awhile.

We happened upon a cricket game and watched for awhile.

Our hosts told us that gypsies were coming into town and not to be concerned. Sure enough, a field was filling up with campers, caravans and horses. Once a year they come to do horse trading.

Our hosts told us that gypsies were coming into town and not to be concerned. Sure enough, a field was filling up with campers, caravans and horses. Once a year they come to do horse trading.

A lady we met on the street told us how to get to "Bluebell Wood." What a glorious sight!

A lady we met on the street told us how to get to “Bluebell Wood.” What a glorious sight!

My view as I took a walk one morning while Matt was away working.

My view as I took a walk one morning while Matt was away working.

The skies in England can be so dramatic! I loved how it looked with the sun shining on these building with the clouds building up behind them. I hurried my walk back so I wouldn't get caught in the rain.

The skies in England can be so dramatic! I loved how it looked with the sun shining on these building with the clouds building up behind them. I hurried my walk back so I wouldn’t get caught in the rain.

It seemed every home had a sign with a name on it.

It seemed every home had a sign with a name on it.

St Edward's Church in Stow on the Wold looks other-worldly with the yew trees growing right next to the door.

St Edward’s Church in Stow on the Wold looks other-worldly with the yew trees growing right next to the door.

Chipping Campden.

Chipping Campden.

Most of the houses in the areas we visited had slate roofs. But this one looked so interesting with its thatched roof.

Most of the houses in the areas we visited had slate roofs. But this one looked so interesting with its thatched roof.

There are stone walls everywhere! But some are falling apart. Mike told us that volunteers are rebuilding the walls in some areas. They are using the dry stonewall method.

There are stone walls everywhere! But some are falling apart. Mike told us that volunteers are rebuilding the walls in some areas. They are using the dry stonewall method.

Broadway Tower was built as a folly. But it has a beautiful view from atop it and has an interesting history.

Broadway Tower was built as a folly. But it has a beautiful view from atop it and has an interesting history.

Part of the view from Broadway Tower.

Part of the view from Broadway Tower.

There are still red telephone booths all over. Matt found a geocache here.

There are still red telephone booths all over. Matt found a geocache here.

I kept trying to get scenic, chocolate box, photos without cars in them. But this shows how it is. Modern people living in quaint, yellow stone villages putting up with tourists taking photos. :-)

I kept trying to get scenic, chocolate box, photos without cars in them. But this shows how it is. Modern people living in quaint, yellow stone villages putting up with tourists taking photos. 🙂

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Every little town has at least one old church. They are called “sheep churches” because they were built during a time of prosperity because of sheep farming.

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When I saw this, all I could think of was Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd….He leads me beside quiet waters.”

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I’ve loved all the tiny wildflowers of the English countryside.

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England has public footpaths all over the place.We met several hikers.

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It was difficult to tell which buildings were really old and which ones were fairly new. There are regulations for building in the area. New buildings have to use the Cotswold stone too.

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These are the Cotswold sheep. Their wool is exceedingly strong.

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It was lovely walking along the water to the mill. We ate in a restaurant just behind it. We did so many things in Cotswold. I’ll have to write more posts about them!

 

Cambridge Memories: England 2

I awoke the morning we were to leave London with a bit of dread. We had avoided moving the car since we had parked it the night we arrived. But now, it was time to drive again, to Cambridge. It was daylight, so that was definitely an improvement over the last time we drove in London and as we made our way through the city I saw a sign that said, “Take Courage.” So, I took a deep breath, prayed and decided to be courageous. We actually went over the London Bridge as we left and in spite of the song, it was not falling down. Soon we were out of the maze of city streets and onto a highway headed for our next stop, Cambridge.

As much as we enjoyed our time with our new friends in London, I felt I could breathe easier in the open spaces. We didn’t have to travel very far before we came upon farms. There were bright yellow fields all over. How cheerful! I tried to grab a quick pic as we drove by.DSC_3999

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Worth House was great!! If you ever go to Cambridge, you’ll love staying here.

It didn’t take long to get to Cambridge and we found our new home. This time we would be staying for 5 nights as a base for Matt to work at three different sites. I was looking forward to settling in for a bit and hoped this place, Worth House, would be as nice as the reviews stated on TripAdvisor.

We arrived and our host, Guido, started off by saying that he was sorry, but they would not be able to serve us breakfast on our last morning. I didn’t think this would be that big of a deal, but then Guido said, “So, for no extra charge, we are upgrading you from a room to an apartment.” He then led us to a beautiful, spacious and comfortable apartment!

Guido and Maria. Such lovely people!

Guido and Maria. Such lovely people!

Guido had no idea what a blessing this was to a travel weary woman! This was just what we needed to recover from London, do laundry, and just plain old RELAX.

We settled in and then ate out at what I consider our first English pub.DSC_4007

Matt had the classic fish and chips.DSC_4010 2

We slept  well in our new home and the following day while Matt went to work,  I wrote a blog entry, and then decided to explore Cambridge. I had to walk and didn’t get far before I found a fun place to visit: Kettle’s Yard.  This had been the home of Jim Ede, a former Tate Gallery curator. He and his wife, Helen, collected works of art and displayed them throughout their home. I entered an unusual art gallery, laid out as a home, where you could sit in the chairs and enjoy the art.DSC_4108 2

I noticed many pebbles around the rooms and was told that Mr. Ede loved to collect them wherever he went and make them into spirals.DSC_4067 2

I took my time in Kettle’s Yard and before I knew it, Matt was back from his work. Now, we explored Cambridge a bit more thoroughly, together.  Of course we looked for geocaches. But I decided to wait in line at The King’s College Chapel while Matt looked for one of the caches. I met Ann and Glen in line.DSC_4179 2

These English ladies were waiting for Evensong in the chapel as well. I loved listening to their accents as we spoke. I realized how much better I fit in in this country rather than Italy. Being almost six feet tall and blue eyed, I stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the petite, dark-eyed Italian women. Here in Cambridge, not only could I understand what they said, but I noticed many tall women, lots of blue eyes and pale skin too!

Finally, Matt joined us and it was time for Evensong. We entered the beautiful chapel and were seated.DSC_4284 2

I couldn’t get over how magnificent the chapel was with its fan vaulted ceiling and medieval stained glass windows. Then the choir filed in and the service began. The acoustics were amazing! The bass singers sounded like deep, mellow instruments and the sound lingered on after the choir stopped singing. The evening sun shone through the stained glass windows and glorious color poured over the walls. I got goose bumps as the voices raised praises to God: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.” I had missed worshipping collectively on this trip and soaked in every bit of it. Afterwards, I expressed thankfulness to the choir minister and he kindly allowed me to take photos in the chapel.DSC_4181 3

DSC_4184 4It was a full day in Cambridge and I was glad to get back to an apartment with a tub. It was time for a soak with Epsom salts. So much walking! And we walked much more throughout our stay in Cambridge. We saw many bridges over the river Cam, but I still don’t know which one inspired the name of the town.DSC_4393 2

I did find out that in 1209, Cambridge University was founded by some students that had fled from Oxford, and the city is made of many colleges. We weren’t allowed in the colleges because it was finals week. But we sure did see a lot of activity. People scurrying everywhere on foot, in cars and especially on bikes. Lots of bicycles!DSC_4400 2

It took me awhile to warm up to Cambridge. I keep expecting England to be countryside with small towns. My first introduction was London and now the city of Cambridge. But I did come to enjoy it for its many styles of buildings, its bustling people, its free art museums and the glorious Evensong. Yes, I do have fond memories of Cambridge, UK.

Read the rest of our adventures here: England 1

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Me at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Me at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

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Matt happy that he found a geocache.

Matt happy that he found a geocache.

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