Thursday, September 29, 2016

And So We Began in Bristol

Our trip began in Bristol, where our flight landed. And our first culture shock was almost immediate: getting the rental car and learning to drive on the right hand side of the car on the left hand side of the road. That was Larry's job, and after the long overnight flight he was not really ready for it. But there was nowhere to do a little practice, so with prayers and crossed fingers off we went.

And it was fine. I've had such a fear of attempting to drive in Britain but after 1200 or so miles, I am here to tell you it's doable. Not that I was ever behind the wheel! I was navigator and Larry drove because the insurance for both of us to drive was too expensive. So my job was to remind him to stay on the left, to help navigate the hundreds of roundabouts, get the GPS (or SatNav as they call it over there) set up with our next destinations, and generally  keep Larry on track.

We didn't have a GPS for the first leg of the trip but we did have a good, new road atlas which got us around fairly well except for in Bristol. We'd hoped to meet storyteller Tim Sheppard for lunch but we never were able to find the place and after many laps around the city--so many that people began to think we were casing the place, I think--we gave up and headed to Bath for a late lunch. Bath proved to be far too busy and crowded a place for travel-weary us, so after lunch we left, and drove to the small town of Saltford where we discovered a lovely old church, and our first pub of the trip.

We needed this quiet break.

I could not believe the size of this tree, a yew I believe.

This is St. Mary's Anglican Church, which is over 1000 years old. It is believed to have been built by the Normans, and the tower is believed to be Saxon, although it has been added to, as you can see in the photo. There is a Norman baptismal font inside that was once used as a cattle trough, but was found and returned to the church.

Soft country views were balm to our souls after a hectic 48 hours.

Looking through one window to another.

We followed the narrow lane past the church and found ourselves beside the River Avon. (A different river, as my cousin corrected below, than that of Shakespearean fame.) This is the view from the Jolly Sailor pub, where we stopped for tea for me, and Guinness for Larry.

The long boats barely visible in this photo are canal boats (click to see better images of them) and some of them had their laundry hanging on their roofs! There was a simple locks on the river here that the canal boats let themselves through as they traveled. Wish I had a photo of that, but I was fairly brain dead by this time.

We left Saltford and drove into Keynsham to my friend Tim's home. And from that visit came stories. More about that tomorrow.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Home from England! And Lots to Share

Home at last, and getting ourselves sorted. What a trip we had! I have about 800 photos to sort and will be sharing the best of them here in the coming month. There is so much to tell, so much to remember. It was, I think, the trip of a lifetime and I am so very glad we went.

Now it is back to life as usual. We picked up my computer which was getting files from my old one transferred while we were gone, got groceries and gas on the way home. It was awesome to be greeted by our happy dogs and cats, who all looked quite contented and well fed thanks to the good care by our neighbors while we were away. The gardens are pitiful from the lack of rain; apparently it was very dry while we were gone. Larry found a few cucumbers and some nice tomatoes though, and there are a few other things hanging on. Hoping for rain this week. Everything is so dry.

I got our suitcases unpacked and started on the mammoth pile of laundry, sorted out the mail that our kind carrier had held and delivered yesterday. Then we watched some Doc Martin, laughing when we could identify the places we'd seen in Port Isaac, where the show was filmed. Bed felt so good; I was glad we'd changed the sheets before we left. We'd also left the house in pretty good order so coming home was not stressful. Instead, it was relaxing to know there was nothing pressing waiting for us to do.

Here are a few teaser pics for this morning. I'll be writing more and posting more because this blog is the best place I have for capturing those memories.

Nice to be back with you, friends!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pumpkins! And That Fall Feeling

Larry planted pumpkins in the rich dirt of the old chicken yard, and they have been trying to take over the earth, I swear. Yesterday he harvested them and got a right wagonload. This is minus a half dozen already given away.

I posted a lot of pumpkin recipes a few years ago. Go here to find lots of ways to use up pumpkins!

I am loving the fall feeling in the air, even though the temperatures are not giving up. It's still too hot but mornings and evenings are cool, and the moon has been gorgeous. Leaves are drifting down, some of them because it's time, others because of the dry weather we've had the past two weeks. The gardens are slowly dying back although we are still getting some vegetables for the table. I hope it can hold on til frost.

This morning the air was so clear as we took our walk out to the church and back. We got home, had an enormous breakfast and then took our coffee out on the swing. We have a lot to do today, but it's nice to take a slow start. Tonight I'm storytelling in Beckley, WV at the beautiful Tamarack Arts Center.

Loving these days and these times.

Have a great day, my friends.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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