Friday, June 27, 2014

Cirencester, England, and St. John the Baptist Parish Church

So, in my last two posts I showed-n-told about our two days with Chad and Norma while in England back in May.  I decided the trip we took to nearby Cirencester was worth its own post, so here it it!

All you have to do is drive into the city and look at the architecture to see how old it is.
"The earliest known reference to the town was by Ptolemy in AD 150."  (Wiki)

Even though our main destination of the day was the parish church,
we stopped to see some sights along the way.
Chad and Norma knew exactly where to take us.

And as you know, Astrid and I love all the impressions we can get.

That includes weathervanes, of course.

And wildflowers.  I've been on a kick, haven't I!

But it was, indeed, the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist that we came to see.

The church is medieval, from 1115.

 This is a Church of England parish church.

 If you like stained glass, you'd be in heaven there.

You know me...because of preacher Dad and musician Mom,
I always pay attention to the pulpits and organs in these churches.
See the hour glass (bottom right)?  That's to help the preacher pay attention to the time!

I think I told you I'm starting to "collect" church cushions.  :)

Don't you wonder what every little thing means!

See the top-center cup?  It was made for Anne Boleyn in 1535
and was given first to her daughter Queen Elizabeth, then to the queen's physician,
who later gave it to the church.  That's history!

While Chad, Norma and Astrid climbed the tower to get city views,
I walked out into the churchyard (let's just say I have a bum knee) to see more of the outside church...

and the delightful cemetery.  What is it about cemeteries!

It's common in Europe to see war memorials in their cemeteries,
even if a bit make-shift and simple.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And that makes a good segue to my Vision and Verb post today on Rights of Passage.

Let's just call this Pacifier Tree in Münster, Germany, the first rite....
with many rites/rights to follow, including death.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This now brings us to our last days in England, back where we started with Lisl and Michael as our hosts.
Stay tuned for Bradford on Avon and Bristol.

Monday, June 23, 2014

For Chad and Norma: Neighborhood Shenanigans

We actually did venture out away from their incredible Cottage, though a bit reluctantly, I might add!  And all of it was just a hop, skip and a jump away.

First, we did something I've never done in my entire life...something that actually brought a tear to my eye because of how soulful it was:

 We could have walked to where we went but we drove past the neighbor man,
who clearly adores Norma... the Crumps Barn Studio, where Jeremy and Lorna live and work.
They bind books!  Yes, they're bookbinders and publishers.
Lorna is also an author and Jeremy is a joiner-carpenter.

They had already bound the book that Chad wrote on his own personal history,
after which Chad had the brainiac idea of them teaching us how to make our own notebooks.

The thing is, this was so totally up the alley for both Astrid and me.  Totally!
I chose the polka dots; Astrid chose the floral pattern.
At one point I thought about how much my dad would have loved doing this...
which was when I gulped down a big, soulful tear.
I'll never forget it!

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Following the bookbinding, we stopped at the neighborhood parish church of St. Mary the Virgin
in Syde, one of the oldest and smallest in England, from the 12th century.

 It just oozes with charm.

Once again I had a tear in my eye, thinking of my dad in that pulpit...

...and my mom at that organ!
(Are you noticing how much I love church cushions and stacks of hymnals?)

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Later that evening we went out to eat fish-n-chips!

This is The Highwayman Inn in Cirencester, in the heart of the Cotswolds.

More English you cannot get...especially with the peas!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The next day, our last with them, we went for a walk from The Cottage, the other direction.

In fact, right across the lane from The cottage you start with the sheep...
the brethren (as sister Ruth calls them).

I could have stopped right there and not very soulful....

...but on we walked and walked.... and out of the most heavenly of woods,

past the lumberjacks and picnickers and horse-riding obstacles,

to the lovely pond where dogs get their own training.

And don't forget the wildflowers, of course, all along the way.

This is all private property, maintained by the owner, but you are permitted to walk through it,
as long as you close the gates behind you.

And to top off all that wondrousness, Chad and Norma's first dates go back to these very woods,
back in their teen years, eons ago.  No wonder they got married, right?!

Next up:  nearby Cirencester and the Parish Church of St. John.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

For Chad and Norma: The Cottage

Returning to our May England trip (midst the craziness now of the Brazil World Cup and another Dutch win!), it's Chad and Norma's turn...with whom we stayed for 2 days.

It's hard to know where to begin but where they live is worth an entire post, all on its own.  Tell me if you're thinking of Better Homes and Gardens by the time you get through this!

This is why they call it The Cottage.

Front or back, it just oozes with charm...from 1346.
Yes, you heard me.  Can you imagine living in a house that old?

What's your favorite room inside your house?
Okay, so let's start with the kitchen, which is totally remodeled.

Tell me those knick-knacks in every corner aren't adorable.
And a dish or cup for every possible scenario!
(Remember, the English love their tea!)

This is where Norma is the QUEEN...and she loves it.
I think Food or Kitchen is probably her middle name.
You could say she eats it up.

 And so did we!  The dining room is right off the kitchen and is so cozy.
 But she is also an artist and has her own studio on the top floor.

You could say she eats that up, too.

 Everywhere you go, The Touch is there.  See what I mean?
This is in the family room....

...where lots of figuring out and explaining happened.
Did I mention that Chad is one of our Shutterchance bloggers...and he is a CRAZY artist!
And oh yes, they have 3 kids and 13 grandchildren.

Speaking of crazy...I went CRAZY over all the windows.
These are from the kitchen alone!

But all over the house, the windows totally charmed me.

See what I mean?

Now, come back outside and eat breakfast with us.

It's while sitting around food that we enjoy such good company.
Have you noticed that?
(BTW, Chad and Norma have been sweethearts since their teens!)

Lucky for us, the weather was nice enough for a lunch as well....
(Chad remembered we both like Magners Irish cider)

...and for a Happy Hour up on the hillside, where the conversations continued.

See what I mean about Better Homes and Gardens!

Even with the "obligatory" cats to entertain us!

 Everyone is welcome at this fabulous home.  Trust me.
Well...almost everyone.  We were ever so lucky for such a grand tour for two days!

Next up:  the things we did with Chad and Norma (besides eat and talk)!