Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ginger Lilies



My Ginger Lilies have bloomed and they smell like heaven, a little bit like a Gardenia, but sweeter and spicier.  When we stayed down at St. Marys last year the garden of the B & B was full of them and when I got home I went on the internet and ordered some.  They didn't ship until this spring, but they seem to really like the shady, damp spot I put them in.  I wish you could smell them.  Needless to say  I will order more.






















Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When I'm 64

 Happy Birthday to me!  A day I thought would never come has come, I'm 64.  But  Mac assures me that of course he still needs me and will continue to feed me even though I'm now 64.
 After all the spending in England I told him there really wasn't anything I wanted for my birthday, but he knows me better than I know myself and he got me loads of flowers for my garden, baskets of Chrysanthemums, a banana tree and a Trumpet Vine, not to mention a cute little garden wagon.  My daughter April got me a craft book I've been wanting, "Sew Darn Cute", I warned her it was going to be a crafty Christmas.
Then this afternoon, showing that he really will continue to feed me Mac took me to Shellman's Bluff, an absolutely unspoiled fishing camp/village about 40 miles down the coast from here. We've been there a couple of times before yet  I'm always surprised how how beautiful it is with its huge old oak trees draped in Spanish Moss.   I'd said that I wanted to eat some place  we'd never eaten before so we went to Hunter's Cafe a small cafe nestled under the oaks.  Mac had shrimp and scallops and I had fried chicken with sweet tea, how southern can you get!
Lovely birthday.












Monday, September 27, 2010

Antiques

We go to England for several reasons (outside of the fact we just plain love the place), to walk, to paint and draw, and maybe best of all to shop for antiques and collectables.  The first Saturday we were in England we discovered that our very favorite place to do our antiquing had had a fire the Sunday before we arrived. It is, or was, The Station Mill in Chipping Norton.  Though only 20% of it burned they figure it will be next year before it reopens.  But never fear we found plenty of other places to shop.
At The Silent Woman (strange name for any kind of a shop) Mac bought me an antique footstool, I collect them, and this little beauty appears to me  to be Arts and Crafts in style which means late 1890's to early 1900's and a small Nymphenburg pin dish, can't get the picture of it to turn out.
Small church Deddington

Main church Deddington
Then it was off to Deddington to their antique center where I bought several plates, a covered soap dish, a dessert trio  and  some vintage linen.  We ate lunch at the Unicorn where Mac had a gammon plate and I had, yes, you guessed it,  a ham baguette, followed by a short walk around town.    After that it was on to Broadway to Fenwick & Fenwick  a rather expensive store where we have bought a couple of things.  Mac fell in love with a small oak settle, but ultimately decided it was too pricey.  I did buy him an 18th century paper maiche patch box ( I'll be doing a blog on his collections another day).
On Sunday we antiqued in Lechlade after our walk, visiting Jubilee Hall (rather expensive), the Ironmongers (packed) and the Lechlade antique center---bought a pretty little jug there, I love the royal blue trim, it's from 1890-1921.
Monday we were off to Hungerford a town just full of antique stores, from very expensive to very reasonable.  I finally broke down and Mac made me buy  a Georgian tilt-top table (1810-1820), no picture yet we're having it shipped home along with some other stuff.  I've wanted a table like this for years and this one was very reasonable so it became Mac's anniversary present to me, can't wait for it to get here.
Hungerford is a pretty little town and we broke the day up with lunch at the John O'Gaunt.
Canal boat on River
Kennet in Hungerford
From Hungerford we drove to Marlborough to their antique center.  Marlborough is another lovely Wiltshire town that we have visited more than a couple of times. At the antique center I bought a balloon back chair (it's being shipped too), a Prattware lid for Mac and some pewter.
Jugs from Moreton in the Marsh
The rest of the week we visited Stowe on the Wold to visit Fox Antiques, bought a beautiful Victorian jug there,  Moreton in the Marsh where I bought a couple of jugs.  They're both Victorian and quite pretty.
Swan
Fish

Also picked up a couple of glass jugs from a store called the Shed just south of Stratford.  The one is really lovely, having an etched fish on each side and a swan on the front.
Thursday after dropping off a load of stuff at Simon Hall, that's who we always ship with, we went to see Karen in Bretforton.  Usually she has loads of Victorian jugs and glassware, but  not this trip.  I did buy a lovely little candle table, a covered dish with a ladle, another ladle and several small plates (royal blue again) and a wooden fishing reel for Mac.
Our last day of shopping we went back to Lechlade and I finally found a child's tea set, I'd been looking every where for one.
So now I'm  waiting to hear when my shipment will be here from England and wondering how I'm going to pay for everything! LOL
It was a lot of fun.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Fleece Inn

One of our favorite places to visit in England is the tiny village of Bretforton, it's in the Warwickshire area of the Cotswolds  and most people have never heard of it.  But we found it a number of years ago because we had a book of English pubs and inns and we were trying to visit as many as we could, and in Bretforton was the Fleece Inn, an inn now owned by the National Trust (since 1974) when they acquired it from Miss Lola Taplin whose family had owned it for generations.  The medieval building was once a farm house that was converted into a beerhouse in 1848.
We love it for its collection of pewter, including 48 pieces of Stuart pewter.  Mac is an avid collector of pewter and always enjoys seeing collections of it.  But even  better it has a haunted rocking chair that sits in one of the rooms and rocks on its own.
Lovely garden wall and door along our walk
The gardens are beautiful and the food is always good.  It's usually crowded and if you want a table inside you need to be there early for lunch.  We parked there around 11, visited a tiny, wonderful antique shop run by Karen to do some shopping ( I'll talk about that tomorrow when I talk antiques), and then went for a walk through the fields to build up an appetite.
Returning to the Fleece Mac had braised lamb with veggies and I had a ham baguette and veggies.  Have I said that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE British ham and bacon?  It's so good!
We finished up the day with more antique shopping in Moreton in the Marsh.








A perfect day, nice weather, a good walk, antique shopping and a good meal in a snug Inn.










Cottage in Bretforton, notice fox and geese on roof

Saturday, September 25, 2010

English Walks

The Thames at Lechlade
We spent a good part of our time in England walking, and we were very lucky with the weather, though the air was rather brisk at times we had no rain on our walks.  Our first walk was  in the town of Lechlade, not a particularly pretty place, but it sits on the Thames River and has a series of lovely walks around it.  So we walked along the Thames, watching the swans and narrow boats, stopping to chat with the fishermen--Mac loves to fish and always checks out what the locals are fishing for-- and found out that this area of the Thames has been invaded by American crayfish that someone had released and now the fish would rather eat them than the bait fishermen were using.
Round House
The Trout
St. Lawrence Church
Our walk continued out to the Round House,  Molly Harris mentions it in her book her book The Strippling Thames.  As you walk along the water you first catch sight of it in the trees, round houses were first built to accommodate lock keepers.  There are still 4 of these round houses along the Thames but this is the only one we've seen.  Across the river was a field of what could only be called a "herd" of swans, imitating sheep.  Our walk circled back to town and we took another path down the side of the church where we could hear the parishoners singing, pass the graveyard  and through a kissing gate to the fields beyond.  We reached The Trout, one of our favorite places, and where we have eaten before, but decided to walk back to town and have our Sunday roast there, which we did, at the Swan---Yorkshire Puddings around.
Sunday Roast
In the church yard

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trip to England

We're back from our trip to England and finally awake enough to write a Blog.  We had a great time.  Our first trip to England was in 1973 and for our first few trips we stayed mainly in London, then we started renting cars, Mac,bless his heart, was willing to drive on the left-hand side of the road, so we began exploring England.  We've been as far north as Hadrian's Wall, and spent a wet day or two in  Scotland and as far south as the tip of Cornwall.  Beginning in the mid-90's we began renting cottages and staying for longer periods of time--we were living in southern California and England became our civility break.  We bought walk books and took many walks, getting lost about 1/2 the time and loving it.  So when we get back from England now and friends ask to see our pictures I always warn them, there'll be no pictures of London, it wears us out and we don't go there any more, no pictures of castles, been there,  done that, what there will be is pictures of the beautiful English country side and plates of delicious English food and gardens.
So with that in mind I'll show you the cottage we stayed in.  It was the Garden Cottage at Stillbrook Manor in Black Bourton in Oxfordshire.  It was beautiful, tiny, but beautiful, set in the gardens of the Manor.  Nikki, the owner, worked tirelessly there, and our cottage was full of her jams and scented brews.

Tomorrow I'll take you on some walks.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Great Hereafter

I have always believed in the great hereafter and as I grow older I believe in it even more.  For as I walk into a room intending to get something or do something I completely forget what I was "here after".  It's dismaying.  When I need something from another room I have to chant it over and over as I walk or sing to myself.  I'd worry more about Alzheimer except I've always been this way.   I make lists of things to do and lose the list or look at my writing and can't remember what the cryptic little messages mean. My short-term memory has never been worth much, I have to quickly move things over to long-term memory if I want to stand a change of remembering something.
And my long-term memory is now so stuffed full of trivial bits of this and that, that I've reached the point of when I add something new I have to throw out something old and I'm not given the option of what will be thrown out.
I've often said that getting older is pigeon poo and I'd like to repeat that thought, and then let that thought be one of those to be thrown out.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Almost Time

We'll be heading out on vacation soon, we're going to England.  Our bedroom floor is covered with bags as we decide what to take.  Our weather is still hot with temperatures in the low 90's.  I've been following the weather in Oxford, that's the nearest big town to where we'll be staying, and the weather there is mainly in the 60's which sound heavenly, but I need to dig out Fall clothes.  We live in shorts and swimming suits here all summer, I don't think I've had a long pair of pants on since April.
Two new umbrellas have been purchased, though we hope we don't get too much use out of them.  A couple of years ago we were in England in September and had no rain until the very last day.  Usually we run into some rain, but fingers crossed.
Our dresser is covered with a bunch of small stuff I need to pack.  We've rented a cottage so we'll have a kitchen, hopefully with a French press for coffee, and we're taking our own coffee.  I have a stack of walking books as we hope to take full advantage of the cooler weather and get some good walks in.  There's also our Atlas for Britain, Mac, bless his heart and nerves, doesn't mind (too much) driving on the other side of the road and so we'll have a car.  Our gas has gotten very cheap here  lately ($2.41 a gallon), I'm assuming British petrol is a lot higher, in fact I looked up the average price for gas around Burford (isn't Google amazing) and found that it is 1.17.9 a liter, and using Google again I found out there are 3.78 liters to a gallon, so a gallon will cost around £5.135 and that's about $7.90 OUCH! And that's not counting what our credit card company will charge us for a foreign currency transaction.   It will probably cost more to buy gas than to rent the car, oh well, lots of short trips.
Still, I'm very excited, it's been almost 2 years since we've been to England and we always have such a good time there.  We won't be going into London, we both love London, but it just wears us out, glad we had a number of trips there when we were younger.  Now we stay primarily in the Cotswolds, rent a cottage, do a bit of antique shopping (Shepton Mallet Antique Fair here we come),  lots of drawing and painting, take many walks (have a walk for Flora Thomson's Larkrise to Candleford)  and have as much pub grub as we can hold.  British bacon and ham is so much better than ours, I love Bacon Buttys and Ham Baguettes.  Mac loves homemade meat pies and we both love a good crumble for dessert.  No doubt I'll put on way, way too much weight.
We've been known to stay for a whole month on some of our trips, but this one will be shorter, neither one of us likes leaving our kitty for long, how sad is that.  But when the bags come out she sleeps on them as if to keep us from going.  A friend is coming in to take care of her, so we know she'll be fine, but like 2 silly souls we worry about her.  Wish we could take her with us.  We had a cat who traveled across the States twice with us, flew to Germany and Turkey, as well as car trips to Utah and Florida.  He liked the car, but was less than enthusiastic about flying.
Need to stop Blogging, I have to sort out painting supplies, find our drawing pencils, move from my current purse into a backpack purse, find cds to listen to on the flight, pick out some books to read and fix lunch.