Friday, September 4, 2015

Five on Friday

I'm joining in with Amy (and others) at Love Made My Home for this weeks Five on Friday.  As I've been talking about our trip to England I thought I'd use that for my Five.

Number One is the beautiful early 19th century Georgian Barley Twist glass we bought.  Before we went I'd said that for our anniversary we wanted to buy one, but with prices for them being so high (£200-£300) I didn't know if we'd get one or not.  Well we found one, at a price we would be comfortable with.  Why so reasonable?  Because it has a chip on the base.  We didn't care at all.  There was an identical one sitting right next to it without a chip and it was £300.  So our chip is just fine.
Chip is on the bottom left and it doesn't both me at all

Number Two is the archeological dig we went on.  It was a bit of a drive from our cottage, but we were excited.  We'd dug with Tony last year and really enjoyed it so we were looking forward to it.  Because we had dug before we didn't have to do as much of the heavy work.  It was a warm day, there was lots of other volunteers and it was a good day to dig.  Mac found a Roman nail, the best I could do was some small terracotta shards, another lady found an iron ring.  At the end of the day we were stiff and sore, but very satisfied.

Number Three has to do with the saying "Going to Hell in a Handcart".  After we left the steamfair we went into Fairford in search of food.  We had a simple pub lunch, walked along the river and then went to see the local church, St. Mary's.  It was a beautiful church, quite large for the town and what's known as a wool church, one built from the profits from wool.  It had wonderful stained glass windows, we were surprised they hadn't been destroyed during the English Civil War.  The lady working in the church said that Fairford had been a Roundhead town and it is surprising they'd survived.  She gave us an information paddle to explain the windows and we discovered one that is said to be the basis for the Hell in a Handcart saying.  If you enlarge the picture you'll see a devil hauling someone off to hell in a handcart!
The devil and the handcart are the last window on the bottom right

Notice the blue devil on the right
St. Mary's Fairford

Number Four has to do with bell ringing.  We'd first learned about bell ringers years ago while watching the All Things Bright and Beautiful series about James Herriot.  His partner's brother Tristan was a bell ringer or at least he used it as an excuse to go to the pub.  Lately while watching Midsomer Murders we've notice several stories about bell ringers.  So last year when we learned that  L, our landlord, was a bell ringer we were fascinated.  This year  we decided we'd attend an English church and find out about bell ringers.  I tried on the 3 dresses I owned,  picked out one I'd never worn and packed it.  Mac talked to L our landlord and he'd said he'd be glad to take us to St. Stephen's in Clanfeld a 13th century church where he rang.. On our 2nd Sunday there he introduced us to his fellow bellringers and they put us in the back and explained some of what goes on in bellringing and then they rang.  It was wonderful.

Fifth was a less well known museum, The Museum of London.  Mac says we visited it years ago, but I have no memory of it at all.  After lunch at a pub on Fleet Street (The Tipperary) we walked up to it.  Located on a side street up from St. Paul's it's a little tricky to find, but well worth the search.  It tells the story of London from pre-Roman times.  My favorite part was the streets of Victorian shops, including a pub you could sit in.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Day in Steam Heaven

Following on the theme of steam, I found a Steam Fair for us to go to in Fairford, not too far from where we were staying.  We've always wanted to go to one, but they've either been too far away or on dates when we weren't in England.  So we were giddy when we found this one.
We got there early to avoid crowds and because it was going to be a hot day, yes hot, 82ยบ which is quite hot for England.
 The first thing we saw were miniature steam vehicles, I want one!

There were lovely big shire horses, though they did no ploughing

A Falconry display

A Steam Calliope

Steam-powered Sheep Shearer

Steam Plow

Steam Engine, there were two, one on each side of the field and a plow was pulled between them.  The line was on a pulley underneath the engine.  It was fascinating to watch.  Mac has read many books where this was described, but this was the first time he ever got to see it in action.

If you enlarge the picture you can see the pulley under the engine.  Love his outfit.

The BIG Steam Engines

Aren't they wonderful!

This was an old steam tractor

There were loads of vintage cars, but I was strictly after steam.  The day got hotter, the yellow jackets thicker and soon it was time for us to leave and go in search of lunch.  A perfect day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Train Trip

Today's photos are from our day at the trains, in particular the Teddy Bear Express.  Mac knows I love trains and teddy bears so before we went to England he'd tracked down a train to take one of our teddies on.  It was hard to choose who got to go, some were ruled out because they were too big to fit in the suitcase, some said they didn't like to fly and some just kept saying, "Me, me, me!".  But at last we chose the golfing bear and he was thrilled.
The train station was at Toddington in  Gloustershire, the Gloustershire Warwickshire Railway, a line that is manned by volunteers.  Closed down in   1976 volunteers got together, formed a railway society, got permission to reopen the line and have managed it since.  The next section to Broadway will open in 2017.
   They run 2 different trains, a dieseland a steam train; we bought an all day pass so we could ride all of the trains.  The first run was a short one going from Teddington to Laverton.  Along the way you cross over the Stanway Viaduct, you can't see it from the train, but I've included a photo of it.  This train was the Teddy Bear Express and everyone had a Teddy.
Stanway Viaduct
Then we returned to Toddington where we visited the shop and I bought a Station Master Teddy to keep our Teddy company.
With the 2 of them we then rode the steam train from Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse.  Along the way we had a stop in Winchcombe  where you could get out and wander around, we stayed on the train and had lunch, bacon butties around.
By the time we returned to Toddington the day had turned very cold and rainy so we headed home, but what a fun day.

The Teddy Bear Express

A Very Excited Teddy

Teddies in the Luggage Racks

Toddington Station

The Steam Engine That Took us to Cheltenham

All Aboard

Teddy's New Friend

Near the end of our trip I picked up one more Teddy, Paddington of course, complete with  his red wells.

My new header is a pair of paintings that hang in our dining room, painted by Mac of course.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Scenes From Downton Abbey

Our cottage was in Black Bourton and the nearest town with a grocery store was Bampton and we have gone there on numerous occasions to shop or eat (The Romany and The Tea Shop), but never to explore its connections with the tv series Downton Abbey.
This time, though we'd done a 5-6 mile walk in the rain, we decided we should look at some of the locations.  I started as a big fan of Downton Abbey, but finally gave it up last year, too much drama, same old, same old.  But I still like the look of it, so off we went to explore.
The church of St. Mary's is where Mary and  Mathew   got married and where Edith got jilted at the altar.  Lovely church dating from the 13th century though there was probably one there even earlier than that.  In the church graveyard there was actually a tombstone with the name Crowley on it.

A scene from Downton Abbey filmed at the church

St. Mary's Bampton

Interior of St. Mary's

Next to St. Mary's is Churchgate the exterior of which is used as Isobel Crowley's house, the interiors are filmed at Ealing Studio in London.

Another village near where we were staying was Shilton which had a lovely little ford and a blacksmith's shop that was turned into the Red Lion pub where Mr. Bates worked after leaving Downton Abbey.
We ate at the Rose and Crown in Shilton, a wonderful little village pub.  Mac had a homemade pie and I had a ham sandwich, we finished up with a tart and wonderful summer pudding.

       The ford at Shilton, the Red Lion would be on the right
The Rose and Crown, always makes me think of Andy Capp
I always sit in a corner, waiting for food
And it was well worth waiting for.

Another day was spent at one of our favorite places, Cogge's Manor farm.  The kitchen and dairy date from the 13th century and the kitchen was used in Downton Abbey  as Yew Tree Farm where Mr. and Mrs. Drewe lived, they're the ones who were raising Marigold, Edith's daughter.  They have photos scattered about the main living room showing where scenes were shot.
The kitchen at Cogge's
The dairy room at Cogge's

Old Spot

Kitchen garden at Cogge's

While we were wandering around the church yard at Bampton, having had the church all to ourselves, a tour bus pulled up and disgorged a load of Downton fans.