Archive for June, 2015

Like the Pilgrims

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

We’re in Southhampton awaiting transport to America like the Mayflower pilgrims who took off from here. Had a pint and meal at the Duke of Wellington pub, and now will sort through mass quantities of luggage to get organized for transport to the Queen Mary II on Thursday at about noon. Watching BBC coverage of financial crisis (Greece), vacationing sun bather deaths (still trying to identify the dead), the heat wave (have one small window in hotel room. Air conditioning and king sized beds are not normal here like in America,) and Wimbledon has begun. So just relaxing and winding down. God bless you.

blue ball inn

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Sometimes a beach resort is just not the answer. Britain has 30 known dead and about 10 more missing. My heart isn’t into vacay any more but into getting to Southhampton and “home”. For today it looks like there is a nice walk, a village church and this pub just to the north of Sidmouth on the river Sid. Finish with an evening meal here at the Blue Ball Pub… Chuck bought me a box of acrylic paints so there might be a painting in here too. Sun is shining, and weather people promise 100 degrees by Wednesday. Get out!!!! God bless you.

half five

Monday, June 29th, 2015

I heard a tourist say “I woke up at half five and couldn’t get back to sleep; too much light.” first of all that’s 5:30, and my tourist litany of “couldn’t get back to sleep” started in the north sea a month ago… The sun is up here by 4:30… Today is sunny. So today we will drive to the beach at Sidmouth. The next day Tuesday to Southhampton. We have lost our umbrellas probably on the boat from Dartmouth to Totnes so we hope today’s sunniness will hold through the stops on the cruise ship and in Boston and New York. News papers headlines are asking where are the missing from the latest horrible shooting. I certainly hope they are found. Very tight security as Wimbledon begins. God bless us all with peace.

Hallowed ground

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

We drove from Totnis through Dartmouth down to Stoke Fleming, checked into a very beautiful hotel room, and then started driving south down the coast to the small towns and beaches where the American army and navy trained for D Day. Apparently Monty Montgomery had the idea that the beaches at Slapton Sands were most like Normandy. As we drove on narrow cliff roads I tried to imagine our tanks and trucks converging here. And the generals plotting out the invasion. A lady told me Montgomery and Eisenhower met here in Stoke Fleming. We drove south from Stoke Fleming and walked to the beach from a car park. As we stood on the sand and looked up at the cliffs and rough terrain it does look like Normandy. There are memorials along the 5 to 6 mile stretch both to the village people who were evacuated with 2 weeks notice and to the Americans who died here. Landing craft loaded with men and Sherman tanks that had been fitted with floation devices left Plymouth and headed around the shore past Salcombe and made the run toward the beaches training for Normandy. German U boats and what are called torpedo boats lurking off the English coast hit 3 of our boats and bodies washed up on shore as tanks sank in about 85 feet of water. One tank was found and raised in the 1980s and it stands at Torbay along with plaques that tell the story from Montgomery’s idea to train the Americans there to Eisenhower’s decision to use live ammunition during the training exercises. Torbay also built a little friendship garden just like one in France. After lunch taken at a picnic table near the beach where I ate profiteroles (cream puffs) filled with cream, chocolate, and orange, (As I ate I thought of Debbie who reads the dessert side of the menu first. Well Debbie I certainly could use you here. Today I ate toast with lemon curd, nutella, and cream. Good grief. I need a beach walk.) anyway after lunch, we left Torbay and began the tortuous drive down the coast to south of Salcombe to an English National Trust gardens and house called Overbeck’s poised on the cliffs. We looked at flowers, palm trees and wonderful birds and inside the house an amazing collection of a scientist and inventor Otto Overbeck like the polyphone music box (we had a smaller Regina music box my father had that I played tin records on when I was about 5 years old. You can hear the tunes on U Tube. When I hear the music in old movies, I can see the box). Upstairs we found many unusual antiques and stuffed animals (ugh). We took a similar tortuous road back to Stoke Fleming, walked along a scary tiny overgrown coastal path to a wonderful “proper” pub, drank Guinness and a shandy, ate a small dinner and tumbled into bed. God bless you.

new places

Friday, June 26th, 2015

We always try to do new unplanned things, and I always do a lot of research and make a list of places I want to go, how to get there, what to do there. I think I can safely say most of what we do is not on those lists! For example I told everyone we were going to Wales and we did Ledbury and Upton on Severn instead and we loved both. So I just do my best try to get us to places once we change and make a decision. This trip I was adamant I wanted to see “the girls” Charlotte, Emily and Harriet, husbands and babies. Since we missed Harriet’s wedding 5 years ago and since Sally, Mervyn, and Bill have been ill with pneumonia and worse it was very important to see all and we did! We usually leave Bude and spend a week getting to the airport or ship. This time we spent two days in Totnes which is in South Devon on the river Dart, and we took a boat down to Dartmouth (town at the mouth of the river Dart). I learned of a place called Slapton where many American soldiers training for Operation Overlord (D Day) were killed during training on Slapton Sands beach the site of Operation Tiger. Soldiers were ambushed by a German torpedo boat. We will visit Slapton and the Memorial to our soldiers tomorrow. All I have to do is navigate! We made a booking while we were in the tourist information center in Dartmouth as it will be a Saturday evening during the summer on an English beach. So after breakfast tomorrow morning, for those of you watching us on Google earth, we will travel from Totnes to the Stoke Lodge Hotel in Stoke Fleming to check in and then down to Slapton. Today was foggy and rainy we could use less rain. God bless you.

pegging the sheets

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

When we stay with Sally and Bill in Harefield cottage, in Bude, we do as much as we can to help, but no one is as efficient as Bill and Sally. I rushed to do my laundry, but I was late getting back from the West Bay Inn pub after visiting Mervyn and Brenda. (Mervyn is recovering nicely, thank God) yesterday and our laundry was already pegged. Then Sally cooked a roast beef dinner with all the trimmings including Yorkshire pudding. Yum. Harefield will be sold in September and Sally and Bill might relocate closer to the children. This morning I will try to help Bill hang sheets but he plies me with croissants and coffee… Gotta go, there’s marmalade with those croissants. Off to Totnes as soon as Chuck finishes packing the car. God bless you.

Tuesday already?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Oh my dear, Bude vacation almost over. We leave Bude on Thursday morning. Made our exit plan this morning just before we headed off for the Bay Inn to paint Widemouth Bay and cliffs and have lunch and drink shandies and Guinness. After Henry’s nap he played in 3 pools. A tiny one, a bigger one, and finally the hot tub. Stephen put tiny Oliver in the tiny pool and floated him like Moses while Emily and Henry splashed in the hot tub. Our friend Mervyn got a good doctor’s report and we celebrated with champagne here at Harefield. Had a great warm sunny afternoon. Sally made all kinds of fahita stuff for dinner! We then packed up children, grannies, aunties, Chuck, Susie and Bill into 2 cars and headed to the Bude breakwater for a walk. Ready for bed. God bless you.

“Who pent up the sea?”

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

In Sunday Mass in Bude one of the readings was from Job 38. God asked Job to consider the Creator who made all and rules all. People continue to ask about Jesus “Who can this be?…even the sea obeys him.” how often we forget God. The priest called our forgetfulness of God “practical atheism.” We say “I am OK on my own. I can think what I want and do what I want. Say what I want.” God doesn’t wield a big stick. His feet do not break reeds when he stands next to us. He speaks in a very low voice. Sometimes when I find myself saying “No” I thank God that he whispers “Yes.” We spent a windy chilly few hours walking south along the tops of the cliffs from Upton Bude down to the beach at Widemouth Bay. This is an amazing stretch of cliffs only rivaled by the western most cliffs of Ireland. The wind and waves crash in on the surprisingly sandy beach and the rocks are beautiful. Mindful of the weight and quantity of our luggage, I did not pick up any rocks to bring home in luggage. Well, I did pick up rocks, caressed the sand off them, and then dropped them back for other walkers. This was little Oliver’s first beach walk. The 6 week old was well wrapped up and snug against Mummy’s warm chest. Chuck and I went to the Bay Inn for Guinness, Shandies, and snacks. I can find amazing cheeses brie and goat and I am hoping my cholesterol isn’t off the charts when we get home. We eat a lot of local farm produced cheese, lamb, and beef. Yum. Sally, Emily, and Barbara (Sally’s Mum) cooked a wonderful lamb dinner (from local farm baaaaaa). God bless you.

A look at America from England

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

On June 17, without knowing what had happened in Charleston, South Carolina, I spoke of the kitten Bible and my reaction. Please stay with me as I work my way through this. Chuck and I walked through an English town me always looking for a church… And he said, “There is a church.” I saw a church with no cross on top and broken towers, and little odd flag decorations all across the entrance. “I don’t think so.” but we crossed the street and I walked up the path…I peered in the door and saw a lot of ladies as if in a meeting handing out brochures. I took a brochure thinking I would walk through the church yard as is my wont and remember the church as it was, “before Cromwell.” “No I said,” but I was drawn in and I saw what looked like a tea party with about 20 English ladies who drew me in, put a brochure in my hand and said, “Start there at book one.” It took me a second to realize my eyes had deceived me and I saw insignificant because of my prejudice. “Knitted Bible!” Scenes from the Bible all around the church. I stopped at Zechariah in the tree and a lady next to me commented! “Even the tree is proper!” It was a traveling exhibition. The scenery and people were all knitted. From Genesis to the Resurrection. Finally a lady said, “Go up there for the Last Supper.” I climbed up on the altar (communion table), and I had an engaging conversation with a lady who invited me to Catholic Mass and introduced me to the “old” Catholic priest who says Mass in two villages. Need more vocations. I had to leave and get back to the boat…I left the church wondering what made my eyes see insignificant “kitten bible”…what made me want to shun the experience, what drew me in to a truth I would have rejected if I went on my initial reaction?… I left that tiny church full of confidence that people can be wonderful and beautiful in faith. Thank God for the knitted bible! Now then, as I was standing outside a small church all concerned with our differences a wild young man was shooting people because he considered their “differences” irreconcilable. How horrible… I watched our president speak to the press saying, “…this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” I felt like he slapped me. “We, most Americans, would not do that.” I responded to the television screen from a room in England. But I am an American and I do carry a better than thou mentality. God forgive me and God bless us all. Family fills this English house full of love, and I ask God to continue to pour out his Grace. God bless you.

Beautiful Bude

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

We drove south to the Cornish coast that I think is the most beautiful coastline I have seen. We started getting all our clothes organized and get ready to wash and peg tomorrow. We will also try to get a good long walk in tomorrow. Today is bittersweet because we always come to Bude usually turning south at the end of our English holiday. Bude means we see our English friends, but Mervyn is ill. I remember meeting everyone at the farm… Mervyn was building extra rooms for Sally’s B&B and he took us “hunting”. Brenda worked with Sally getting rooms turned around. We used to go over to “Little Beck” for meals and to see Mervyn’s farm animals. I remember watching Sally standing on the cliff at Boscastle as she was showing us the amazing town and cliffs at Boscastle. I was freezing, and there Sally was so comfortable in the blowing wind! Of course Debbie and I would have to say our joint memory of Bill is his guided walks that nearly killed us. We joke about how many times we would stop, “huff puff huff puff look at this flower!” We now have lots of new memories with new babies. Emily will arrive tomorrow night with two babies. Hope the weather warms up a little so they can go to the beach. Tomorrow I’ll write about the kitten bible please come back. God bless you.

on a river

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Whenever I can find a place by water I move in that direction and the English make it easy…Upton upon Severn is on a lovely wide river that floods almost annually turning the town into an island and flooding the first floor (bar kitchen dining room reception). Last evening we sat outside with our host who showed us pictures before 2007 when the town was turned into an island and the river rose to fill the lower rooms to a level of 8 feet. Then a flood barrier was installed and he showed us a picture of a swan floating by and looking in at him through the glass top of the flood barrier! Funny and really wierd. We had 2 days in a bright room overlooking the river with a nice bath…tiny shower! …the key to the bedroom door is the old fashioned stick type. In fact I think most of the doors are original 600 years old (mind your head!) Anyhow…I tried to go out early yesterday for coffee as I am wont to do…and I couldn’t get the key to turn to unlock the door. I had to ask Chuck to let me out. So much for sneaking. We sit outside or inside the pub if it’s chilly and last evening a narrow canal boat pulled in. We talked with the folks. Keith is a 1 /12 th owner so he takes the boat out for a month a year. We went on board and I took pictures. Well today we are off with heavy hearts as our friend Mervyn is ill. We might not be able to see him, but will be nearby in Bude. I will be able to go to Mass in Bude. God bless Mervyn and all of us.

The road less traveled

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

We traveled with an end goal in mind, but stopped as we drove through Upton on Severn, “just to have a look.” Found the river Severn, boats playing in her waters, the Swan hotel, and table 10 outside on the river, parked the car directly outside on the river, booked room 3 for 2 days, and are planning a river cruise to Tewkesbury (a return ticket takes us by boat to and from with a few hours for wandering around the cathedral and market.) We spent yesterday wandering around Upton and hanging out where the canal boats tie up. Met a Mum with her little boy named Owen who first fed the ducks and then chased them. He asked to have his picture taken and I promised to email it in September! Sometimes the best surprises start at the bottom of the street! Saying for today: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain. God bless you.

what black and white town means

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

When we told Sally we were headed for the town of Ledbury, she called it black and white. When we enter the town center there is a building on stilts all black and white! Ledbury has preserved as many Tudor buildings as they can afford to. I imagine the upkeep on a 1000 year old building is pretty complicated. Tudor buildings are constructed from massive black beams and white washed. Imagine the pictures we have seen of Henry VIII. He seems to be 4 ft high and 4 ft wide. So do doorways seem here. And enter at your own risk! Bump… Rub your head. Bump. Stub a toe. The floors slope, and there are little steps. Whoever is first has to say, “Mind your step or head” so the one behind doesn’t bump too! We are out far from big cities today so we will follow a rather large scale map and have to depend on little signs at roundabouts to get to my final planned destination of Bretforton. We will travel from Ledbury to Little Malvern, Pershore, Evesham, to a pub that is a National Trust location and old inn with nightly music. We will see… Also plan to see several National Trust houses in next few days. Just go from town to town…seeking town centers and neat stuff. Onward we go. Might not find internet… Will write if we find work! God bless you.

Finding family

Monday, June 15th, 2015

This morning we left Charlotte ’s lovely flat at Portishead and drove north to Ledbury. Spent the afternoon eating, exploring the parish church for Peter Skipp’s ancestors, drinking in local pubs, strolling main street, then eating dinner back at our home pub. We’re ready for bed. Spring blooming has us hacking and blowing our noses. Big hot shower and nice big bed. Have to get up by 8:30 as breakfast stops at 9 am. Onward a little bit north tomorrow for more English adventure. Ta ta for now. God bless you.

End of a quiet day

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Chuck took us over across the way for a light meal at H &W pub. Today Charlotte took us to Tyntesfield a Great house and gardens that started allergy attacks in me and Charlotte. After sniffing a lot of flowers, my nose started running and is still stuffed up. Charlotte advises that pollin counts are rising. Thanks for that mother nature. We are closing the evening quietly after a light meal and will head for Ledbury tomorrow. If I can’t find a WiFi hotspot, I will save info and write on Thursday when we get to Bude. Please pray for our friend who lives in Bude. Whom we have known and loved for many years. He is ill and we pray for his health and well being. God bless you Mervyn.

It started out sunny…

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

When I wrote this we were in the H&W pub in bright sunshine… Now mother nature has taken a nose dive again. Anyway… Sunday morning at H&W with cappuccinos with well as Chuck says, “something something something on a shortbread.” We are feeling old as we continuously ask, “what? Pardon me? What did you say? I didn’t hear you.” we’re not hearing the lilting English accents. That range is gone from our old ears. So the other day the soup was something and tomato. OK. Mystery soup, mystery pastry with a layer of caramel sugar. My teeth hurt from the sugar and candy. Royal news is full of whether Tony Blair should have gone into Iraq and a 10 year old report that isn’t published yet… War cost too much…Blair didn’t have support of gov’t etc etc. My advice is”give it up dear British cousins. Forget the 10 year old report. You are going to repeat your mistakes. We all do that. Fortunately there is an excellent generation of English young people coming up. Charlotte is out running and swimming this morning, and many young people come and go outside in the sunshine with little ones. Chuck and I were walking along the pier and looking down into the water wondering if this is a good place to raise small children as there is no barrier to falling into the water. A father carrying a tiny child and bike came by and we asked him. “This is my 3 year old’s bike. He falls into the water, it’s cold, he cries, but he can swim.” Chuck and I shuddered at the thought, but we see a lot of small blond children. These Britain’s are tough in tee shirts while I’m in two jackets and a scarf. Cunard sent an email that we are to board the QMII early as we will get a fly by. The RAF Red Arrows will fly over at 3 pm and the Irish Guard will play on the upper deck before we leave Southhampton. In Liverpool, we will be bussed to the Liverpool Cathedral for a 1 1/2 hour concert “triumph of a great tradition.” On 4 July we will celebrate 175 years of transatlantic sailing by Cunard. What a great holiday this is. I have complained due to Chuck’s cough and my own sick head cold and lest we forget, mother nature’s snootiness, but watching people and being taken care of by such nice people is wonderful. God bless you.

Mother nature 0. La Marina 100

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

We strolled through the marina, over the lock, and to the end of the pier to an excellent Italian restaurant called La Marina where we sat at a corner table on the window and I watched the moored sailboats drop into the mud. They are outside the lock at moorings and they settle into the mud when the tide goes out. We dined sumptuouslly and tomorrow Charlotte will swim and run before we go to Tyntesfield. I will sip cappuccino at what we now familiarly refer to as H&W pub. Sumptuously I bid you goodnight. God bless you.

Did someone say spring?

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

Lest I seem grumbly let me say our visit to see our English friends has been heavensent. We are in portishead near Wales in a beautiful marina that has a lock to let boats in and out. The first day was sunny! Then mother nature took a nose dive. Meanwhile Chuck and I both have colds and unfortunately he hacks and coughs during the night and he says I snore. As I said…lest I seem grumbly. We go for cappuccinos in the morning and then do pub lunch and then I take a nap. But tomorrow we will be back out again to visit Tyntesfield near here. Charlotte will join us and we will have another authentic English guide. We will have dinner with Charlotte tonight. She has been exercising, running and swimming preparing for a half marathon. So she is surprised when I suggest a nap. God bless you.

English spring

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

We are back in jackets and scarves as we wait for summer… On June 7 we had turned in our car so we rode with Bill and Sally down to Bristol to visit Harriet, Rob and Isaac age 18months. Rob is on business in Boston and Harriet has been working long hours but we had nice dinners with her. Chuck and I have been sleeping in the 3rd floor loft with is roof tops view! On this portion of our holiday we have visited old town Bristol and taken a cruise of the port and water front, looked at much new building since WWII except a few bombed out churches that are memorials. It continued cool and windy as we pegged laundry and read books on our day in while Sally and Bill took Isaac to the zoo. Today was fun with visits to two houses. One of the great houses called Dyrham Park is under a total renovation and a giant tent is over scaffolding that visitors are allowed to walk around on and look in. So it was like standing above the roof and looking down on the gargoyles! Then we walked through the deer park and took photos of the deer for Dave and Chuck. Mature deer are speckled here. I forgot to mention that these houses are built in about 1650s and are still standing and used. The second home was in disrepair so two gentlemen from Texas who fell in love with England in WWII got a repair lease and lived in the house for 30 years repairing and renovating. All in all the drive through the Cotswolds today was fun and narrow roads were interesting in Bill’s camper van. Tonight Harriet took us to Pie Minister and we ate pies such as steak and kidney or chicken with amazing vegetables. My pants are finally getting tight. I think that is because I just washed them. Tomorrow we are moving on to Portishead (the mouth of the river severn) to stay with Charlotte for two days and then on to Ledbury which is north and on the Welsh border. We are going to a look for a church that houses the bones of some of Pete Skipp’s ancestors and try to stay at the pub near the church. I might not have access so trace us on the map and I’ll write when I can! God bless you.

D-Day and Birdies as a great alarm clock!

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

I’m greeting you on a sunny, breezy afternoon. We are sunburned and full of laughter and fun. Yesterday after visiting the Workhouse (substitute the word poor house where paupers can go to get a meal and a place to sleep… taken out of use in England in the 20th century) then we ate a great pub lunch in Southwell and visited the Minster. A beautiful cathedral that goes from Norman to Gothic as you walk down the aisle. On Saturday (today) I woke up about 4am to the most amazing chorus of happy birdies and daylight. I thought I will just wait until I hear the house stirring and then get up… So I lay there and waited and finally Chuck heaved a big sigh and rolled over. Is it about 8am? I asked. Closer to 5:20 he replied. Yikes… After a little while I realized those happy birdies are not shutting up and so I got up and warmed up the shower. We went to return the rental car and I left my glasses in the car so had to walk across the airport to get it. Got a good exercise. Off finally to picnic at a great house called Wollaton which has been turned into a natural history museum. It was windy and cool when the sun wasn’t shining. We reviewed our history with the Trewin family… They first came to America when Sally was celebrating her 30th birthday. Harriet was 6, Emily was 8, and Charlotte was 10. Now Emily is 34 with 2 little ones aged 19 months and 1 month. It seems we go through a lot of nappies… We then traveled to the Tollerton Village Event and got a big surprise - the commemoration of D-Day with a living history group that wears the gear and drives the jeeps etc all of the 82nd Air Borne in an absolutely amazing reinactment. Of course Bill and Chuck found them and I joined them to talk about the Americans and the Brits and D-Day. My camera battery quit so two of the gentlemen took our photos with the group and will email them to us. Today was another great day. The baby and the 18 month old have been absolutely grand in behavior and potty habits! As i said, we go through a lot of nappies!!! God bless you.

Babies and bunnies

Friday, June 5th, 2015

We arrived at Bunny, near Nottingham, and found our friends Bill and Sally in their RV next door.. Emily got home and we began the baby changing and feeding and playing! Slept well after a great lamb dinner (”baaaaaa… eat mor chicken” didn’t work for that lamb) Then we went to the pub named Radcliffe Arms and then… off to bed. This morning I met little Henry age 18 months in the hallway and he and I climbed back into bed to play with bunnies and teddies! Emily’s children are very cute. We are off to a National Trust Workhouse to visit how “the other side” lived and then we made plans to change the rental car … which makes Chuck real nervous but for some reason I got a refund of $100…. so with no questions I made the change (bigger car for the luggage, change the pick up and drop off date). On this weekend to Harriet’s in Bristol and her little one named Isaac. Busy busy!!!!! Off to the National Trust house and a pub on a river. Love and God bless you!

From crags to slopes

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Yesterday Liz took us to a pub called the Barrisford Arms pub for a drink then on to Wallington for a gentle walk to the formal gardens and the big house. We saw such amazing art, oddities and collections of beautiful things and indeed I have 2 plates like ones I saw there.  We drifted away from there to come home and find Nick and head out to steak dinner at a pub where the guys were playing Quirts outside. Steak was locally produced from farm to table here in rural North of England. Liz shops at a market where she knows the farm lady who produces the lamb… they can visit the farm and see the lambs.. “baaaaa… eat mor chicken.”  and then we closed the night with the Red Lion Pub.  I think we are getting fat.  I’ve switched to lime with soda rather than pint shandys (not all the time, but it cuts back on my beer intake! Chuck has not cut back.)  Today we leave the Northumberland nest and head south for Bunny which is a little village or hamlet south of Nottingham.  Thank you Liz and Nick!  God bless you!

Pegging laundry and Cragside

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Today dawned bright, sunny and clear (well, dawned is a loose term since I get up at 9 ish).  The boys were sitting and chatting and Liz was at work.  Laundry was already in the washer…  After a cup of tea, Chuck and I pegged the laundry and I sat out side in the sunshine and painted Liz’s garden while the laundry dried.  We pegged a second load and headed out to the north to Cragside a stately home and gardens built high up on rocks and cliffs.  We climbed up and up steps and paths and saw the gardens and the house… ate soup and a cheese scone (oh and had a pint at a pub)… Arrived back home to find the laundry we left hanging still damp from rain…. oh dear. No problem we will just peg it again tomorrow morning.  We are off to dinner at a local pub/restaurant in Carts Bog Inn in the countryside outside Hexham.  I just told Liz it is like riding around with Hugh Grant as Nick is tall, thin, light haired with blue eyes and a funny way of joking like Hugh Grant does!  Sometimes when he says things I find myself smiling…  Time to go eat! God bless you!

In Northumberland (Newcastle upon Tyne)

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Actually we are west of Newcastle near Hadrian’s wall and driving well on what some call the wrong side of the road.  I rejected GPS and am using an AA map (In the US we call it triple A AAA) We haven’t gotten lost… made a few wrong turns at roundabouts but corrected easily. We had pretty good half sunny day on the day we landed in Harwich  and drove north.  I suggested we pull off the main road and do some side roads looking for a local pub for lunch and for two hours we drove on country roads…  found a restaurant that was nice, but Chuck was concerned we lost a lot of time.  We actually arrived at Nick and Liz house at 6:15 when I had planned 5pm arrival.  Nick came home from a cricket match and had planned to spend the day at local event next day (Sunday) playing cricket with village against another village… but oh the stinky weather gave us a black sky, wind and rain that cancelled the village festivities but ended up quite nice later in the day.  We walked to the hotel George and had a drink and then to the local pub for a drink and music (anyone is invited to play in a jam sort of situation and they sang American, English and Irish songs! )  Today, Monday Chuck and I drove to Hexham and Corbridge and walked through the towns and churchyards. Visited Hexham Abbey and shops. Later we returned to Hexham to a Waitrose (think Publix) and bought wine! Liz is feeding us too well and we are drinking too much beer and wine!!!!  Nick is taking us around tomorrow (Tuesday). We are really bundling on walks as it is cold… in the 50s and tonight is planning to go to 40s….  I painted today in the hotel garden and my fingers were freezing!!!  Friends are warm and hospitable so that’s all we need! God bless you.