Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mac's Collections

In addition to being a great painter Mac is a collector too, and I thought I'd share a few of his collections with you.

Pewter:  Pewter measures, tankards and plates
 








Pub Stuff:  If he ever opens his own pub he's got all the "stuff"










Ceramic Jugs:  These are just the small ones












Snuff boxes:  Wooden, papier -mâché, horn








His favorite buy from this trip:  2 large ceramic cups






For our anniversary I bought him an antique barometer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday, happy birthday to me.  A beautiful copper firepit and Godzilla to light my fire, how well my family knows me.  Oh, and a pre-order of the new Amazon Fire.  I'm one happy lady!











Monday, September 26, 2011

Antiques and Collectables

Child's Tea Service
When not sightseeing, going for walks, painting or indulging in pub grub we hit the antique stores looking for things in our price range that will fit in our suitcases.  I shipped some furniture home last year and decided to be a bit more frugal this year.
There are several shops we try and visit each time we go to England, The Station Mill and Silent Woman in Chipping Norton, the Barn in Long Marsden, Hungerford Antique Arcade, Marlborough Parade Antique Center, the Shed near Mickleton, the Fox in Stow in the Wold and the Lechlade Antique and Collectable Arcade as well as Jubilee Hall in Lechlade.
This year I was looking for vintage material and embroidery, kitchenalia and as always, Victorian glass.  Mac collects other bits and I'll talk about them tomorrow, as well as the gorgeous fruit bowl set he bought me for our anniversary.
I was extremely lucky and found loads of stuff and thought I'd share some pictures of my finds.


Hand-painted Compote



Wine pitcher and Glasses


Vintage Child's Dress


Pewter and Blue Glass Pepper Pot




Vintage Egg Cups



Tiny Compote

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Walking

River Coln
One of the real enjoyments of our trip to England was the chance to walk where the temperature was in the 60's and not the 90's.  We own a number of English walk books and used one to find a walk near where we were staying and spent a morning doing a walk along the River Coln.  A gorgeous day, all cows, who I never trust, were safely behind fences, and only one slight diversion as we followed a cow path instead of  the path we should have been on.  When we ended up at a cow trough we realized we'd made a mistake,  but were close enough to where we should have been that we could spot the gate we were looking for.
We were stunned by the size of the trees along our walk, we have huge oaks and pines here, but nothing to compare with the giants we saw there.
I love the public footpaths we use in England, but have a lot of sympathy for the landowners who have to deal with people crossing their land, it would drive me crazy to have people going across our property.  We always try and stay on the path and leave no mess behind.


  We finished the day at The Mermaid in Burford for lunch, and as always the town was packed to the gills with tourists.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cogges Farm

One of our favorite places to visit when in England is Cogges Farm located in the town of Witney in Oxfordshire.  We have visited it a number of times including one time when they were having a Steam Fair with all the old steam farm equipment.
In the past it was  set up as a Victorian farmstead but traces its roots all the way back to the 13th century.  It was owned by the Oxfordshire Country Council until 2 years ago when they decided that popular as it was, drawing from 25,000 to 30,000 visitors a year, that they could no longer afford to keep it and turned it over to a charitable trust, and it has taken 2 years to get it open again.
The new trust is changing things quite a bit, the emphasis will be on food growing, both past and present, and there are plans to bring a tenant farmer in.  Talking to the staff in the Victorian kitchen, who are always cooking something, we had the feeling they were less than happy with how things are being developed.  The lady at the front had told us that we wouldn't see as many animals because their pig sties weren't approved.
Usually when we visit the farm it is full of people, but not the day we were there.  It was kind of sad.  But I love the farm, with an emphasis on the kitchen and laundry because Mac and I always figure that's where our families would have worked had they been there.


Still Room

Dining Room

Victorian Kitchen

Laundry Room

Walled Garden

St. Mary's Church

Cross Keys
Walked into Witney for lunch at the Cross Keys, Mac had Roast Beef and I had Roast Chicken, both delicious.  I was able to pick up a signal with my cell phone and call our daughter in the States.  I had checked before we came, after AT&T had assured me my phone would work in England,  and found out I could "roam" using Vodaphone, Orange and T-Mobile and as long as I was near Oxford or Gloustershire I would be in an area they covered.    They, AT&T,  quoted a reasonable roaming rate, we'll see when the bill comes in.
After lunch we walked up to the church St. Mary's where they were having a benefit, walked around the art show and then headed home.  A nice day, hope things work out for the farm it's a special place.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why We Go

There are a number of reasons why we've been to England so many times, more than 30 visits I think :
the scenery
the history
the people
 the pubs
 the archeology
And this trip allowed us to enjoy all of the above.
Though we've spent some trips dedicated solely to visiting standing stones, henges, barrows and other such sights, now we just try and visit  one or two on a trip.  Last year we went to the White Horse and Waylond's Smithy, this year we walked out to Avesbury.  I love Avesbury and I hope it never becomes as popular as Stonehenge, that they don't decide to enclose it with a fence so you can't touch the stones.  I always need to touch the stones, to feel them, and usually to leave a little something from our part of the world.  This year I left a seashell.
Wagon and Horses

Love the Hops Over the Bar
We had lunched at the Wagon and Horses, a great 400 year old  pub we'd eaten at before and enjoyed.  Mac had lamb and I had a luscious steak baguette.  The walk from there to Avesbury is about a  mile or so, passing a pair of stones out in the middle of a field, through a bit of farmland and then through the small village itself. While walking through the village Mac spotted a little garden feature covered in Ladybugs, what a great way to take care of garden pests.
Lovely walk, perfect weather, middle of the week so not many people there, perfect.  Mac drew and I did a small watercolor.  I don't buy postcards anymore, I have my paintings instead.

Ladybugs

My Watercolor of Avesbury
It was an almost perfect day, one that will stay in my memory a long time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mayfly Cottage

Mayfly Cottage
When we go to England nowadays we always rent a cottage, it's actually cheaper than a hotel and so much more comfortable.  Our cottage this year was Mayfly Cottage located at Lower Mill  near the village of Coln St. Aldwyns.  That's in the lower end of the Cotswold,  and in the middle of nowhere!  That's exactly how we like it, except for the roads leading to it.  They were classified as "C" roads and I read in an English magazine that "C" stands for c**p.  It's not that they're bad, it's just they're very narrow, people don't slow down on them and cars are parked on each side of them  making them even narrower.
Plus there were pheasants all over the road, and to say they're a bird of very little brains is an understatement!  We had to crawl along to keep from running them over, others weren't so kind or careful and the roads were littered with pheasant carcus's, the scavengers were having a field day.

That aside, the setting was beautiful, our cottage tiny, the owners very helpful and the weather, other than some wind from Hurricane Katia and one morning of rain, absolutely beautiful.  I wore a jacket one day and that was because of the rain, it wasn't cold.  And after the summer we've had here the air just felt wonderful.  The whole property, known as Lower Mill,  dates from the early 1800's and Mayfly cottage use to be the horse's stable.  The Mill itself was a sawmill.  Built of golden Cotswold stone the buildings glowed.

Lower Mill the Owner's Home

Mill Pond

Mill Run


The flash wiped my paintings out a bit, but it shows how I spent part of my time, water color painting.





Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home Again!

We're back from our trip to England and it was wonderful.  Mac had been playing around on the internet and found us a really good deal on First Class tickets and bought them for our anniversary.  Well, I'm here to say I will never, ever fly overseas again unless it's First Class.  Now I knew there was a difference between First Class and the steerage Economy we usually fly, but I had no idea how big a difference!
To begin with they check you in quicker, give you a faster line to go through Security in, have bottled water waiting for you, and then quickly begin serving orange juice, Mimosas or champagne which continue to flow until everyone is aboard.  Your seat is huge!  If you're by the window the seats are single, in the middle there are just 2 seats, that's where we were.  You have a lovely quilt to warm you, a full-sized pillow for your head, a goody bag with tooth brush, tooth paste and other little necessities, Bose headphones, a large individual screen with free everything.  Warm mixed nuts and drinks were given to keep us going till dinner.  For starter I had a crab and avocado croquette and Mac had this and French Onion soup, then came a salad followed by our entree, I had a lovely rare steak and Mac had grilled Halibut, for dessert there was a chocolate ice cream sundae and Mac had a cheese board.  All of this was served on china with real silverware.  And did I say the wine kept flowing?  Finally we slept, our seats completely reclined like a bed, it was wonderful!  Before landing in London they woke us up  to feed us our   breakfast that included a croissant, fruit, cereal, juice and individual jars of jelly or honey. Upon arriving at Heathrow we were given Fast-Passes to get us through Security quickly, and that was fast!  We were also given passes to a hotel where we could shower and freshen up before beginning out stay.
At each airport, and we went through 3,  we were allowed to use the Sky Club where food and drinks were available, free of course. and you could await your flight away from the crowds.  The one at Heathrow in London was wonderful, we used it after checking in on our return trip and they had a buffet breakfast all set up.
We were pampered the whole way, and if we didn't eat and drink enough the stewardess's became concerned.
Now First Class within the States isn't like this, yes you get better seats and free drinks and snacks but it just doesn't compare.
The only blimp along the way was that when we got back to Jacksonville, Fl (that's where we flew from, not here in Georgia) our bags didn't make it.  Boston had shipped them to Jacksonville via Washington D.C. and they wouldn't be in till later, so Delta set it up to have our bags flown up to Savannah and then delivered to our house, and the next afternoon they were there.  What a trip!  Will tell you about England next time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Time to Leave Lee

Bit of a micro burst from Tropical Low/Storm/Depression Lee yesterday afternoon, snapped off some branches, bent the trees every which way, and worst of all our electricity went out.  It was out for about 2 hours, and though we opened every window we could, the ones with screens on them, it was very hot and muggy.  I was very grateful that it wasn't out any longer.  And feeling very sympathetic towards those who went without electricity after Irene.
Today is very windy and cloudy, and we're not even really in Lee's path, this is all just sort of residual.  The red areas on the map are tornado watch areas, which means conditions are right for tornado formation, but none have been reported so far.
We've talked before about buying a small generator, one large enough to run fans and the refrigerator, and when we were at the grocery store last week we noticed that even they were selling them at a fairly reasonable price.  So I'm thinking that's something we might look into because even after Lee leaves there are two more disturbances brewing out in the south Atlantic.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In Which I Become a Weakling

I've always prided myself on being active, walking every day, doing some exercise, taking care of the house and garden.  This summer wiped a lot of that out, oh I still walked every day, but the exercising, until this week, has been very sporadic, and my house is so dusty I'm surprised the cat, who has allergies, doesn't write, "Dust this place!" on the tables,  And the garden is so overgrown you could play Hide-and-go-Seek out there.
 This week though I've done some exercising, cleaned a bit more house and spent several days out in the garden pulling weeds.
The exercise and house cleaning went ok, but after a day of pulling weeds my shoulder hurt so bad that Mac had to rub "horse" liniment on it.  Stiff, sore, after just a few weeds, I'm embarrassed, I need to get my act together, leave the computer and stay more active or I'm going to rust.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weekends

 I'm afraid that since retiring I have become a bit like Violet, Dowager Duchess Grantham, who upon hearing someone saying they would come on the weekend, asked, "What's a weekend?".  I know the feeling, for retirement means every day is the weekend, though for some reason, I can't imagine why, Saturday and Sunday are noisier than other days.
We actually don't do as much on Saturday and Sunday, we generally wait for other folks to go back to work so we can have places to ourselves.
I can remember loving to sleep late on the weekend and now I have the luxury of sleeping late every day, and I've got to tell you that I haven't gotten tired of that  yet.  I love not waking up to an alarm clock.  I don't  rush around on Saturday doing laundry, cleaning house, grocery shopping and then Sunday starting to get ready for the work week again. Saturday and Sunday are just 2 more days to do exactly what I want.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September

Ah, September my favorite month, yes I'm a day late, but September is very forgiving.  I've always loved  September, when I was a child  because I was always anxious to start school again, not because I loved school, but I liked getting caught up with friends I hadn't seen over the holidays.
When I was a teacher I enjoyed the start of the new school year, getting to know my students, seeing friends again, the start of a new routine.
Now I love September because the weather starts to get a little cooler, I can work in my garden, stop running from fan to fan to keep from melting, cook interesting meals instead of keeping it so light it's not very interesting.
But best of all I love September because our wedding anniversary is in September, and this year we'll have our 46th, it's gone so quickly, I know that sounds like a cliche, but it's true.  Mac and I have grown up together, been best friends and lovers forever, and yet we're still those 2 young kids who fell in love and got married.  We get a special treat for our anniversary this year, but that's something I'll share later.
And the last reason I love September is because my birthday is in September.  This year I'll be celebrating the 35th anniversary of my --th birthday.  LOL!  I can't believe how old I am, when I was young, very young, there was no tv, no color tv till I was grown, no microwave ovens, no computers, no cds, dvds, cassette players, MTV, 24 hour tv, cell phones, bottled water, no automatic washing machines or dryers, no dishwashers, houses had 1 bathroom if they had any, families had 1 car, Moms didn't work outside the home, no jet airplanes, people traveled by bus or train, a very different world, some ways better, many ways not, but I imagine each generation has felt that way.
So welcome September.