My recent trip to England took me to new places which is always delightful. My grandson who was traveling with me selected the destination for this day. His choice for this was because of the maze. We have corn mazes which are fun, but he wanted to see and experience the original styles they have in Europe. So underground to the train to the bus to a long walk and in a couple of hours we were there.
Starting with beautiful grounds and just amazing flowers in bloom with the castle as the backdrop for it all. This like many has self guided tours and lots of signs to keep you going in the right direction and with a bit of history to explain what you are seeing.
We found beauty inside and outside the castle. We never did find the maze but loved the visit. As we were told, this was a “proper” castle with a moat and everything and it did not disappoint. Now off to the next adventure.
Thoughts on this day before our country’s Independence Day. First, let me say that I am very lucky to have been born and live in this country. While I may have lived most of my life well below the poverty level, I rarely felt like I was a lower class of person than anyone else I may have encountered. I also never felt that I was better than anyone I ever encountered. Maybe I am the odd one out, but in my mind that is what this country should be all about.
Due to a fortunate set of circumstances, I have been lucky enough to travel to many other places and countries. None more beautiful than this country for all it’s natural and man-made beauty. I do appreciate that this country has the freedom given its citizens to make choices for themselves on almost everything we say and do.
I am grateful to all those who came before me to give this to me. May you have the safest and happiest Independence Day.
Well this title is a bit misleading, our remaining days of travel were all outside of London. This was the week of the Royal Wedding and I was pretty much prepared to change travel dates, but my grandson said Yes, so off we went. He scouted out the best route to get to Windsor and we took a bus, double-decker of course, to a train filled with other wedding watchers.
The trains were filled with people from all over the world, speaking a huge variety of languages and all seemed quite charmed by the event about to take place. Windsor is a smallish town fairly distant from London and very much like the places you see on TV shows.
With the help of the “Royal Wedding” signs around town and a local giving us directions as he watched from his front lawn this parade of people going past. We made it through security and safely on the grounds of Windsor Castle. About 100 yards in front of our location was a huge, movie screen size, TV for viewing the wedding. Now, just to wait. A camera in a tower on the grass was about 10 feet away and he was filming all around the area. When he turned the camera on the people right there a lot of flag waving and cheering happened. We were “officially” at least in our minds, a part of the royal wedding. We found a fairly open space to watch and settled in.
The people watching was fun and a few cars with guests and Megan with her Mom came right past us for us to all wave to. We then watched them disembark from those same cars at the front of the castle. Once the wedding started the grounds quieted a little but not completely. Many of us on the grass joined in with the songs and cheered the events happening. We all sang God Save The Queen and waited for the carriage to come past.
We were certainly rewarded for our efforts and were no more than 20 feet from the carriage and saw Prince Harry and Megan!!!!! This was never officially on my bucket list, but certainly is crossed off now. The locals asked what would this compare to back in the US. The only thing I could think of was seeing the President. I have luckily seen 3 and shaken hands with 2 and this felt the same.
I have a couple of adventurous grandchildren who are always up for almost anything fun. I was doing a bit of whining and saying it had been far too long since I had the opportunity to do any international travel and I would be doing some soon. I had some eager companions who said they were willing to take time off from jobs and school if necessary to go along. My grandson and I settled on a weekend where he knew he could make himself available and we decided on London. So I checked the calendar and flights and hotels and discovered it was the weekend of the royal wedding. He said let’s go anyway so we did.
We arrived Friday morning and first stop was the hotel we were staying in. It offered a great rate but was a bit out-of-the-way. My cell phone never did work while I was out of the country so we had no sense of where we were going. We stopped in a pub by the underground stop that I remembered was near the place for lunch and directions.
By the way, for any of you going there. I am not sure if it was the wedding weekend or just the summer weather starting but it was the worst time ever getting out of the airport. When we got off he airplane there was a queue that snaked through the airport at a snail pace. We spent almost three hours in line waiting to get up to the front of the line and have our passports checked and stamped. This was my 7th trip to London and I have never seen anything so bad. They were bringing water for us standing in line because they thought someone might pass out.
Found the hotel, but they had no storage facility for our bags so off we went on our adventure. First the London Eye. A truly giant Ferris Wheel with huge enclosed cars for about 20 people in each car. Moves very slowly, no shaking or wobble almost don’t even know you are up in the air. A short walk over to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben is in scaffolding for the next 5 years with some major repairs to the building.
We took a pedicab to Buckingham Palace, just because it really is impressive, between the gates and the people and the size and the park area, I’m not sure I would want to live there. Then off to Piccadilly Circus because it is like going to Times Square in New York, just an iconic place to see. I was pretty much done for the day, but when you have an 18-year-old boy along you just keep going.
Today for my early morning walk I started very early. In the midwest, many of us, missed spring. We had some nice spring days, then it got cold and rather than go back to spring the weather jumped into the middle of summer. We are having several days in the low 90’s which does not usually happen until late July or early August. Who stole spring?
I do love early morning and the nice mirror and stillness of the water. This photo surprised me with the pretty reflection of the clouds in the water. I was very lucky with this shot.
While I was walking among the lake houses my mind wandered back to my recent trip to England and many homes have names, not just the huge manor houses or castles. So I decided to name a few.
Eagles Nest went to a home that could be a tract home elsewhere. A simple 2 story aluminum sided house. But, this home has an enormous half dead tree in front, the kind I have seen eagles stand in to survey their next meal, it also had an eagle with its wings spread nailed above the doorway.
Another smallish home with beautiful blue siding became the Bluebirds Roost. We have long ago dubbed a quaint home The Witches Cottage because of the moon shaped cutouts in the shutters. So you can see, the is a bit of whimsy in this process.
So let’s get really cheeky as you might hear across the pond. This we call Skiers Rest. That is because they have used retired water skies to surround the mail box. Very clever.
We named this next one Evita’s Cottage because of the great view from the balcony overlooking the lake.
We also found a Rabbit Hutch due to the bunnies nibbling on their lawn. Lilac Cottage due to the purple flowers blooming throughout the lawn, no lilac bush in sight. Old School House is named for the large bell hanging near the front door and it never was a school to our knowledge. Whales Tale is due to the fact we saw an airline pilot getting out of her car one day. ( Pilot Whales in case you were wondering.) Guppy Cottage is due to the collection of fish always swimming near it.
What would you call your neighbor’s houses? I think I need to get busy and quilt small banners for the neighbors to hang in their homes or yards and let’s see if the names stick.
The greater Chicagoland area, much of the midwest for that matter, is experiencing some unusually cold weather this far into spring. There is a very easy solution, we all just have to head to where the warm is.
We all have our favorites. Many are based on specific activities but we also love a crossover. Look at the pizza cutter which I’m pretty sure was the foundation for the rotary cutter used in sewing.
Some hobbies or pastimes just scream for gadgets. Fishing, bike riding, running, sewing, stamp collecting the list goes on and on. Most are single purpose items that we don’t know how we lived without them.
I am a tea drinker. I like loose leaf tea and not always tea bags and much of the time I only make one cup so not necessarily using a tea-pot. Well…I have 2 devices to hold my tea leaves so I can brew one cup in my cup.
The latest one I found is this egg timer. Nice just before Easter. I had to test it to see how it changes colors. It goes in the pot with my eggs and water and I cook away. In the past if I was looking for soft-boiled I simply timed the process. I know, there are two schools of thought on this as well. Begin timing when it’s put on the stove or begin when it begins to boil, I’m not going there.
The timer changes color to white as each progressive doneness is achieved. I used extra-large eggs which is what I had. Once the soft was fully changed to the solid white color, I turned off the pot and removed one egg only to find a very runny white. Not my favorite. The second egg which I left in the water while pealing the first also had some runny white. The yolk on both was also beautifully runny, but I can’t eat the runny whites of egg. So they both got cooked a bit more before breakfast.
I am not sure there is a moral to this story. I know that I, along with many of you, will continue to buy the next great gadget that crosses my path. Now if I could only invent that next one and retire with my millions!!!
Tuesday, March 20, is the first day of spring. Here in my little corner of the Midwest the temperature will be in the 40’s. So all in all a nice pleasant day, no rain predicted only sunshine.
I enjoy spring and have learned to look for even the tiny hint that it really is happening. Long before trees are in blossom and flowers poke their little heads up the willow trees show you they are getting ready. The branches turn the prettiest shade of a yellow or spring green. When you see that against all the bare dark branches on other trees you know it’s going to happen.
The florist shops are already carrying lovely displays of the blooms that will be here soon. This year we have very few places with snow still sitting but not always. I do remember the springs when we had snow piled up so high on some corners that it did not melt until April or May.
I can’t wait till it warms up enough to forgo the jackets and gloves and hats. Here’s hoping that any more snow storms this year will be fast and fade quickly. Hope you have a lovely spring day!
It’s the dreaded time change in many places this weekend. Is there a reason we feel the need to mess with Mother Nature on every level? She always wins. I guess we have not figured out, she will do whatever she wants.
I know the history of why we do this and those reasons don’t really exist. I can tell you it messes with lots of people on every level. Now we are eating and sleeping at a different time and expect that our bodies will adjust automatically. My system rebels every time, as if to say “What were you thinking?”
Sadly, I have a collection of watches, mostly I wear them as jewelry rather than functional to tell time, but they will all need changing.
I really had no idea that not everyone eats or likes soup. I have eaten them all my life and I really like soup all year long. Recently I purchased a cook book that had over 100 versions of soup in it as well as some breads you might make to go with your soup. So I connected with my inner Julia Child and decided to try to make a few versions. Actually, I wanted to try them all, but my life got very busy and I have finished 4 so far.
Based on a total vote from 3 people in my family this soup got 5 thumbs up. It is called a spaghetti soup and is a whole new variety for me. I have made it at least four times so far.
This is a very simple soup that you might switch a little to match your tastes or dietary restrictions, but it does come highly recommended.
Since I have not posted in a couple of months, just wanted to share what I have been doing lately.
So which camp do you fall into, soup or no soup? It’s been around for thousands of years and generally is a very healthy thing to eat. When my children were small it was a way to get vegetables into their diet without them knowing it.