Monday, July 09, 2012

ENGLAND 2012: The Farm

Last but not least, here's the finishing touch to our wonderful time in England 2 months ago!

In the 4 previous England 2012 posts, I've taken you to Glastonbury and Cheddar Gorge, to Clent Hill, Blists Hill and Ironbridge, to Ledbury and Wales, and on a nature walk in Bath.

Today we're close to the farm where we stayed, all within walking distance...except for the crowning surprise-dinner touch of our first day.

We arrived early enough our first day to take a walk in the neighborhood with host Chris (Astrid's "big brother," remember?).  As a reminder, we first met him on our Shutterchance photoblog, the same place where I met Astrid 5 years ago next month.  So YES, the internet is a wealth of Joy if you're liucky enough to find it.

Over hill, over dale, hither and thither and yon...we walked.

It so happens we must have brought the sun with us,
because it was the first day in weeks without rain there.
And the sun continued throughout our stay!
Chris BASKED in it.

This is so British English!
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...would you be my neighbor!
(click to enlarge)

 What is it about those iconic red phone booths!

The neighborhood church is St. Christopher's Church in the Ditteridge hamlet.
It's an early Norman (1097) two-cell building constructed of local stone.
Notice in the bottom-left image how close the living live near the dead!

I LOVE that these churches are open throughout the week!
It was Saturday afternoon.

Look at what we saw within the first hours of our arrival.  We were short of eyes!

But the BIG SURPRISE of that first day was a dinner engagement with a mystery host and hostess that evening.  Chris loves surprising us, over and over again.  He doesn't ask; he just DOES.  So when we opened the door and saw the hostess....

...we both stood dazed, trying to guess who was standing before us.
Lucky for me, I remembered that Lisl had recently joined us on Shutterchance.
I just didn't know she lived in the Bath area near Chris!

Think about this for a minute:  Lisl had never met us but was hosting us at her house for dinner.
Did I mention she and her husband cooked enough for an army?
They were basing their generous hospitality all on Chris' word!  It blows my mind.

And that's how we started our stay in England this 2012 year!

Speaking of food, enough for an army, Chris served this twice for breakfast.
Can you imagine eating that every day?  NO.  But it's typically English.

One of the reasons I love the farm where we have stayed two years in a row, is watching how Jackie works with her horses.  One early morning she gave this fella a workout.

Jackie's horses are used by her students in horse shows.  And they win!  
Jackie knows what she's doing...but she's been doing it since strapped to her parents' backs from birth!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

From England 2012, the weathervanes.
Now you know why we say it's a sin not to go back, year after year!
Just an hour's flight away....


  1. Wow ... it looks like you didn't stand still for a moment!

  2. Geoff: You couldn't be more right. We had to come back home for a vacation! :)

  3. Charming places and people to continue with for years to come! A beautiful and thorough photo story as always. I love Astrid's red coat and the red phone booths. I'm interested in those beans (for breakfast?). Are they savory, I assume? Not sweet like some of our baked beans here?

  4. Ruth: Thank you, dear sister. And yes, I do love Astrid's red coat. It's never easy to lose her. HA!

    The beans for breakfast have surprised me now 2 years in a row. They're not the baked beans with molasses that I just love but more the kind you get from a can in the States. And I thought it was just an American thing!

  5. I can't help but see your reference to baked beans with Molasses up above... Oh, so my favorite! I also adore bean soup (year 'round).

    The "Footpath" sign is lovely and oh, to walk it. Such beauty. I see you brought the sun, but there were still plenty of clouds to help with photographing. The conversation at the window is priceless as are the boots and stone cottage. What is the wrought iron bars dangling under the window for?

    Love the red booths. Whenever we see one, we always have to pose too. The cemetery photos are mesmerizing... I find them so peaceful - but the laundry line in one is something I have never seen before though! ha ha

  6. Your snapshots of your fist day ... the house and hedge (is it real?) the shed door, the stone everywhere and the coat, hat and shoes at the wooden doors... Well, I just am gushing, I know, but it is all so beautiful.

    The Food... the smiles... and that pony! A feast for the eyes.

  7. The next best thing to being there! You really know how to put it together! Love it all!

  8. Margaret: Short of eyes comes to mind once again, as I hear you taking it all in. Every little thing is a wonder to me...including that laundry line right outside the cemetery wall! That wrought-iron bar below the windows...I wonder if it's to hold the gate open?? Just an idea. Who knows.

    And yes, all of it is as real as can be. I have fallen in love with England!

    Robin: Thank you, dear Lady! To rehearse it all here is like the Second Blessing! :)

  9. A joy for the eye :) again. You are so right about Chris and secrets. Meeting Lisl and Mike was great. It was so special. The food, outstanding. I totally missed the work-out with Jackie and the horse. This is a great set of pictures. A day starts with a good ontbijt/breakfast!!!
    'Internet', we keep saying it, we blame it all to the internet. Meeting new friends and great people. Thank you, MLS, for again a memory to keep.

  10. Astrid: I just love that we're seeing all of this in this day and age when we can compile the memories and keep track of them like this. We are so lucky. I am so lucky to be able to share it all with YOU. Hartstikke bedankt, MLMAMV.

  11. OK. These England spots are going on my bucket list of places to visit, although probably not the same without knowing the residents. Still worth hoping for. And I want one of those phone booths! Thanks for all the photos giving me a glimpse into this part of the world.

  12. Maery: We have grown to love and adore England! We want to go every year, if much to see! Do put it on your Bucket List, and I wish you success in getting there sooner than later! :)

  13. So happy that you had sunshine and you really had some luck with all the wonderful weathervanes! What another great trip!!

  14. incredible hospitable people you call friends, lucky you.

    all these on only the first day. oh my.

    i've been dreaming of an english or irish countryside holiday ever since i can remember. i get a little taste of it through your visits there.

  15. So much fun reminiscing with you!

    I had to giggle when I read the "won't you be my neighbor"...Kim Nalley sang a jazzified version of that song yesterday at the jazz festival.

  16. WS: I don't always have to have sunshine, Susan, but it helps when it's not raining while we're out-n-about! And yes, I love that England, too, has so many wonderful weathervanes! Thank you.

    PC: For all the traveling you and hubbie do, Maria, one day I 'spect you will make it to the UK. Just do it. In the meantime, I'm glad if I can whet your appetite. :)

    Mad: I tried Googling Kim Nalley's "Won't You Be MY Neighbor" but couldn't find it. That would be something to hear! We have fun reminiscing with each other, don't we. I like that! :)

  17. So I think I'm confused, you guys went back to Bath or to England again???

    That's so cool about Lisl.. I've had that surprise with Sandra and TBF in Basel... It's always fun to meet people who share things in common...

    And of course love the pics!

  18. ET: LOL, Jen. No, we didn't go back. I went back in my images to finish up the last post. Too many other things had to be posted in between, that's all. HA!

    It really is wonderful to meet the virtual people we get to know through blogging. And to think I had the chance to meet YOU!

  19. You are certainly getting lots of chances to meet other photographers and bloggers through the wonders of the internet! And have you really known Astrid for five years? Wow!
    Your pictures of England are lovely, and making me homesick. I think I shall have to visit again soon, maybe next year if finances allow it! It's a lot more expensive to travel from this side of the Atlantic.

  20. Sham: I know how much you love this country and will hope with you for a trip next year. And then maybe we can see you, too! Or how about coming over to Holland as a side trip?! I KNOW we'll meet you one of these years!

  21. I love the weather vanes. They're just marvelous. And what fun that some of them have the names on them. The frog's my favorite!

    As for the red phone booths - I never can see them without thinking of Dr. Who and the Tardis!

    Just out of curiosity - do you ever go strolling or poking about without your cameras? Just wondering - we certainly profit from your being so willing to put those cameras to work!

  22. SA: I'm glad you like the weathervanes, Linda, because they always thrill me to no end. Just like finding money! HA. Those iconic phone booths, too.

    Good question about if we ever go out without our cameras. Actually, yes. But not very often. When we do, almost always one of us will say "I wish I had my camera!" :)

  23. The old churches in England - the most peaceful places in the world, including their churchyards. It's always a bit "Woman in White" for me... Beautiful and mysterious, from another time.

  24. Carola: Yes, I agree. That's a new expression for me, though, "Woman in White." It IS from another time, which is why I must like Europe so much! Thank you.

  25. WOW... what a marvelous adventure you had this past visit to England... I'm glad to have traveled along with you visually and only wish I could have been there in person! Once again, a marvelous group of collages... a veritable feast for the eyes!

    I'm going to have to try, try again with PicMonkey, if indeed, you used PicMonkey for these collages. I wanted to create one similar to your first and second ones but didn't succeed. I'm sure I must have failed to drop the images in the correct order to accomplish the task!

  26. Victoria: Yes, I'm using PicMonkey exclusively now! In fact, I keep learning new things it does. You can start with a template and add or delete cells to your liking. I have a feeling I still don't know everything it can do! And one of the beauties is that you can drag/switch images around, something you CAN'T do in PhotoScape.

    Every time we go to England and are out-n-about, away from the big tourist traps, we fall in love with it. Just like the Netherlands! We are so lucky to be so nearby.