Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Charmed I'm sure

As promised the only souvenirs I brought home from my travels were Pandora charms. I didn't get off to a good start with this plan as I left my bracelet at home! I thought about having my bracelet sent onto me, then I thought I'd buy a neck chain and pop charms on there until I got home, but a visit to a Pandora shop saw me buying a new bangle. I'm very glad I did that as my charms fit nicely on it. I now think it's nice to have my travel charms together. 

So let me share my new charms. 

First up an apple for Washington State, the Apple state.
A maple leaf for Canada
Gifted to me by family for a certain Birthday when I was in Venice...

A postcard from Paris
A Gondola
A Double Decker bus from London

Then added by me ......
A Crown to remind me of Queenie
A martini glass - long story but let's just say if your nav man says Lullingstone Castle and has wee cocktail glass symbol beside it you may not necessarily be heading towards a castle!
A tiny cottage to remind me of all the darling sweet cottages I saw in England

Last but not least a family love charm from the English branch of my family. 

I'm so pleased I did this. Very easy to bring home and I have happy memories right at hand. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

and so we said Goodbye to……


……..This Scepter'd Isle

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall,

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England

From Richard II, Act 2 (Shakespeare)

We arrived back in New Zealand on Saturday. We had the best of times, puttering around England at our own pace. Stopping where and when we wanted to. So many happy memories. Our home and cats have been looked after marvellously by our House sitters.

As much as we enjoyed our travels it is nice to be back in Taupo,Godzone.

Go the All Blacks!




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Feast your eyes on these pictures....

We feel very privileged to have spent time in the Staffordshire village Eccleshall. My sister-in-law Ruth moved out of her adorable bungalow so we could stay there. 

We fell in love with Eccleshall. The High Street had lots of tiny wee shops (and pubs) at one end and residential housing at the other. The townspeople take great pride in making the High Street look attractive with lots of hanging baskets and lots of bright bedding plants. I won't rattle on I'll let the pictures do the talking. 

You can read more about the village here:

We love this place and hope to return again to visit. 


A place I haven't mentioned is....

Hartington. When I was here 26 years ago a trip to Hartington was a regular outing. Besides the charming setting of the village there is a superb cheese shop. All those years ago the cheese was made right there, with Hartington Stilton being the big favourite. Sadly this is no longer so, the factory was bought out by a competitor and the cheeses come from elsewhere. Never mind they still have a lovely selection of cheeses. Enough to tempt us to take some home. 

One of Hartington's claims to fame is "a picturesque duck pond".
They look out for their ducks in Hartington 
We popped into the tiny Post Office Tea shop. 

Yes the Post office is still there, a small cupboard like area in the middle of the tea room.

It turns out they are a pretty royal loyal crowd in Hartington, flag and buntings on the Post Office and look:

The stone houses have a special look that I love. 

If you are ever in The Peak District go and visit.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Brits excel at the clever play on words....

Most notably in naming of hairdressing salons. 
I'm o

There were so many more, I wish I had taken more photos. 


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The season is changing....

We are back up North now in Eccelshall, Staffordshire. When we arrived here early in August this house across the road had lots of bright flowers out front. 

Now there is a feeling of Autumn in the air, leaves are changing colour. I guess the house owners saw the August Bank Holiday weekend (end of August) as the time to tidy up. 
No flowers now.
Sad, I think they could have been left a bit longer. 


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A very English...

thing to see when wandering the countryside...
Way out in the middle of no where they still have posting boxes. They are still cleared twice a day. NZ Post should  take note. 

See those trees in the background? Big old pear trees laden with fruit. 


Monday, September 07, 2015

A place I have wanted to visit...

....for a very long time.

Yes, Stonhenge. As per usual the Brits have made an amazing job of looking after this site and "staging" the experience. The road approaching Stonehenge and the new visitors centre fit well into the landscape without detracting from the Stones themselves. 

When you pass through the centre you can elect to walk to the Stones or catch a bus. We choose the latter. The buses run about every 5 minutes. The roads are beige as are the buses so they blend in with the surroundings.
It is still possible to capture images the Stones without any sign of modern life. Sadly stone hugging is not allowed. I had imagined this place would have some "vibes" that one could feel but as with lots of places - too many people. 

The visitors centre is very sharp, with lots of information available. Including this mock up of how experts think the stones were moved. 
Another place well worth a visit, I just wish I could have had it all to myself. 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

English country gardens...

There's no doubt the English love their gardens. We have seen so many pretty gardens. In some front gardens people have stones laid put in pretty patterns with perhaps a sundial or garden statue in the middle like this:

Imagine my surprise to find you can pop on down to your local garden centre and buy one of these. 

I had been imagining a happy gardener spending many hours creating these patterns. Perhaps you can buy these in New Zealand, I don't know. 
We were admiring the topiary in the garden centre. 
Nearly fainted when we saw the prices

However there was a bargain priced one
You'd snap that up wouldn't you?


Further into Cornwall

Another trip west to explore Poldark Country. First stop Charlestown where all the sailing port scenes were filmed.
You could almost imagine bumping into Ross as you walk down the street. Sadly he didn't appear, sigh. 
We took a walk along the sea wall and marvelled at the clean clear water. 
A very nice spot indeed
From there we visited Church Cove where the shipwreck scene was filmed. To get to the cove you have to walk down a narrow lane, past pretty cottages and gardens. 
I don't think I will ever get tired of looking at thatched cottages. 
The sea was sparkling and the air fresh!

From there we went via Penzance to visit Land's End. Another thing on the list. Now here's a surprise, after visiting lots of other well presented places of significance that are so well staged I was shocked to see a whole big commercial entertainment/food/retail building right there! They say it's free to go there but it it's £6 to park your car! A bit tacky. 

However if you turn your back on all that it is possible to take in the beauty of the place.

A moment to take in the significance of the location and feel at peace. 



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