Tuesday, September 01, 2015

A highlight of our travels...

Tuesday evening we drove to a delightful country pub called Carnarvon Arms near Highclere. The pub had recently been refurbished and as it is very near Newbury it has been decorated with a horse racing theme. All the rooms had top race horse's names on them. We were tickled to see a top NZ horse mentioned. 

On Wednesday morning after a yummy breakfast we headed for Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey was filmed.

The castle certainly didn't disappoint, it is a splendid place to visit.Just as grand as it looks so on TV.  Sadly no photos allowed inside. Rain started as we approached and by the time we came out it was belting down. A place as grand as this looks good even in the rain! The old trees are superb. 

Magic moments continue. 


Friday, August 28, 2015

Tuesday's Travels

We left Wye with a plan. We would visit Cantebury, check out the Cathedral and then head down to walk the White Cliffs of Dover. 

Canterbury Cathderal is well worth a visit. It one if those buildings that looks good from every angle. The stone work is being restored and stained glass widows too. 
The old stone steps inside have been worn down over the years. 
More stained glass windows than you could imagine. All of them beautiful. They have a team of nine people working on window restoration all the time. 

Walking through the grounds I spotted this young tree with paper garlands being buffeted by the wind. 
Closer examination explained what the garlands were about.
Then a bigger gust of wind blew some of the garlands right off. 
I dashed over to have a closer look, the garlands were made of paper cranes. All carefully folded. I liberated one as a momento. 
After the cathedral visit we headed for Dover. Sadly the weather decided to turn wet. We have been lucky with the weather. We have only had three seriously rainy days since we have been in England. It seems the White Cliffs were not for our eyes. We drove up to the point where you can start walking along the Cliff tops hoping to catch a glimpse but it was not to be. 

More of our adventures soon...


On the road again..

Monday afternoon we left our house sit in Dartford and headed for Wye to spend the night at this charming old pub.

Our accomodation was actually in these converted stables. 
Very comfortable, with a large walk in shower - somewhat of a novelty in England. 
The gardens contain a replica of "The Beefeaters Cottage" which was a gold medal winner at the Chelsea Garden show a few years ago. The cottage is very cute bad sadly the garden has been neglected. 

As we were leaving Wye and Gertie ( our Sat Nav) took us up the wrong lane we spotted this fabulous example of tapestry brick work. 
In this area lots of the houses have such tiny doors, had to capture a picture of that too. 
As we ask Gertie take us on secondary roads we have been able to soak up the charms of the English Countryside. We have been through so many picturesque villages. 

Talk more soon


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One man's meat......

Is another man's poison. 
So many times as we travel around England we are amazed at the blackberry plants. In New Zealand we see them as the enemy - to be destroyed! At our first house sit they were growing smack against the kitchen window. At Tonbridge we were surprised to see them grown as a a drop to a border. 
Look carefully, can you see the berries? A Blackberry and Apple pie would be nice right now. 

More from England soon


Monday, August 24, 2015

A little bit of gardening.......

My nephew Aaron and his family have recently moved into a 100 year old plus house in Epsom, London. The garden was left in a total mess by the previous owners. Before we arrived he had lots of excess growth removed. He asked me if I would help to spruce it up and get some gardening going. 
When we arrived it looked like this:
In a moment of madness I said I could paint the fence. Me, who hasn't painted anything for about twelve years. The green cuttings are from a huge fig tree. A funny tree to grow in a small suburban garden. Needless to say it got a good pruning. So painting started:
A bit of a mission to cover all the colours and different surfaces. In spite of all that it looked pretty good when finished 

No, I didn't paint the shed! That would have been a few days work. As well as painting I helped remove about 6 inches of pebbles from the garden bed. Then Aaron forked it all over and we added a thick layer of compost. 
Saturday we got to the exciting bit - planting out. We purchased plants at the local market. Over a hundred plants. Hydrangeas, Japanese anemones, Lavenders, Verbenas, Zinnias, Gazanias, Marigolds,and finally Lobellia to cascade down the brick border. 

A real English cottage garden.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it all grows. 

Now on with the holiday.....


Shabby chic in Seven Oaks....

For my patch working friends a bit of shabby chic furniture. Julie, I thought of you when I spotted these.
I noted that the price is not too shabby.
I enjoy looking at old combined with new in England. Upstairs stone work that tells us how old the building is, below a modern hairdressers shop.

.....and for my coffee loving friends...

Bye for now


Friday, August 21, 2015

Prices in England

The question I get asked most often is how do prices in England compare with New Zealand.  It's hard to judge. Most of the time I just think in Pounds, I'd probably have a heart attack if I didn't. Some stand out differences are:

Petrol is about twice the price. To fill the car up here is about £55 at home I could fill my car (similar capacity) for NZ $60.

Fruit and vegetables are abundant and very nice. The tomatoes we get are soooo sweet. Flatto peaches just divine. Today we saw two cabbages for £1.50 - NZ $3.55. 

Coffee is about £2.40 - NZ £5.60. Gosh wish I hadn't checked that one! See what I mean about talking in pounds instead of dollars.

Today we bought these delightful patio roses four for £5 - a NZ$11.80. Now that's a bargain isn't it?

We are in our second house sit now. Our new fur person is Louie.
As you can see he's very stressed about having us here. 

Talk soon

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