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.
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.
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!
This is the Nancy Merrill challenge, and this week’s theme is Halloween.
I was walking around the house with camera in hand and my great-granddaughter asked what I was looking for. I told her something that represent Halloween for us. She said we could take down all the hundreds of pumpkins and spiders and web like things, that this was the only decoration we needed. It has a cat and a pumpkin and that is enough.
Then she took it off the wall and hung it on the door for me to photograph. What can I say it is the perfect decoration.
We also went to our favorite pumpkin patch to get pumpkin and apple cider donuts, a pumpkin and some memories. Now that is pretty close to perfect.
My family has discovered and embraced lake life. From hanging out on the beach in summer to ice fishing in winter it is a very large part of their lives. Getting home from work often means driving past the lake and seeing what it looks like today, checking the radar to see can we get some time in on the boat. From early spring to late fall it is all about the boat.
The lake they live near is a nice size private lake that is over 200 acres large. At the deepest part it is about 40 feet deep. There are a couple of large beaches for residents and quite a few small beaches for private use only. The lake supports about a dozen different types of fish as well as a fair amount of migratory water fowl.
All summer long there are events on the waterfront for boaters and non boaters. Summer camp for children is at the beach and lessons are offered in sailing and boating. All sorts of water craft take advantage of the mostly calm waters from kayaks to paddle boards to canoes and jet ski’s.
I think we are quite lucky that the lake has become an important part of so many lives. It gives family a ready event to get out on the lake and watch 4th of July fireworks or a quiet concert on a weeknight. Not to mention the winter of boat repair and prep that has become the new normal.
This is the Nancy Marrill weekly chalenge for this week.
What a delightful and difficult challenge. Somehow I instantly thought of the cats as subjects for this challenge ( I have no idea why). Then I found the book I was looking for. Next step try hearding cats. Well, I got 2 out of 3 to cooperate, sort of. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did trying to have the lions behave.
On Amelia Island we found a distillery that makes a variety of alcohol, not at all like moonshine, but a small operation that has only been around for a couple of years. So on a bright sunny morning we decided to go in for a tasting. What a great way to start a day of touristy activity.
Never having been in a distillery before, I was pleasantly surprised. Marlin & Barrel make some very unique products that are not widely distributed, yet. Very much like a craft beer they use local Florida product as much as possible. Each bottle I saw had the above saying about finding your Spirit.
The grapefruit cello is made from Florida grown fruit as is the orange cello, at this time no lemon cello, but who knows. This has a wonderful mild taste and the grapefruit cello mixed with a sparkling white wine is perfectly delicious.
With various flavored vodka on shelves everywhere, this is quite interesting. First not a potato vodka but molasses flavored with smoked pepper. In a Bloody Mary this adds a certain amount of heat from the pepper. Lovely.
Other products are their rums and some souvenirs. Very much a hand operation with filling bottles and putting on labels with the batch number on the label! They have plans for more product and only a few places to purchase their product. This is not a place to miss. I consume about 4 drinks a year and I purchased what should be a 3 year supply and can’t wait to go back for more.