Government health warning – picture heavy post! But the desk is first!
Hello there – goodness, I have been MIA for simply AGES! I would have been here last week – but I’m afraid the internet let me down – all was prepared, thoughts, pictures…then NOTHING! A completely blank screen. However… like that proverbial bad penny… here I am.
Straight to the photo of my desk, I think.
Taken Tuesday afternoon, it isn’t going to change before tomorrow as I have friends for dinner this evening. From right to left… You can see the usual clutter associated with a mammoth card fest (thought I should start in on the Christmas cards, and have so far achieved 50); diary; mobile phone (rapidly dying – must go search for another); pile of cards awaiting colouring (I shall take them away next month); peel offs in boxes; scissors, glue, etc.; box of coloured and glitzy card. Up on the shelf is a pot of pencils and pens; that lovely African pot (still empty); some A5 handmade paper pieces; more boxes of peel offs; pot of rulers; paintbrushes; glues; my mug trees with DST, low tack tape.
So that’s me at the moment – don’t worry about the rest of the post – only look at the pictures from my gadding about Britain if you really want to. I’m now back from trips 2&3, and preparing for trip 4 – my final big trip this year. The poor caravan has stood up well to being hauled around the country, slept in for ten weeks so far this year, and still has five weeks to go – my daughter and family in her for a week, then myself for four weeks! I’m catching up with everything and preparing for the big burst – Cornwall, Devon and Gloucestershire! Not at all bad for a 37year old, well seasoned, and very well travelled, caravan!
So, trip 2 & 3. I went “up North” for trip 2. Cumbria, Northumberland and North Yorkshire. A few snippets…
This was one of the highlights of my whole year. I really don’t “do” water! But, I so longed to go out to the Farnes. It took MUCH prayer, and a packet of mints in my coat pocket!, but I got there. Went out on a catamaran, spent three hours off the mainland! A trip right around all the Farnes, seeing the seals, gannets, guillemots, terns, puffins, shags, cormorants…. an amazing experience, one I would love to repeat. The boat captain managed to get us so close to the birds and mammals – then we landed on Inner Farne and went in among the terns and puffins. Mobbed by the adults, we all had to ensure we wore hats!!
A trip to Alnwick Gardens on a gloriously hot sunny day meant water featured a lot!!! It’s a fabulous place with all sorts of water features – all different – and all exhibiting different scientific principles of water flow. Great fun.
I was standing within an almost complete circle of water flowing straight down from a large basin, into a low trough. We could walk down under the basin and appear to stand behind and within water.
Helmsley walled garden was beautiful. A charity garden supporting vulnerable adults through horticultural therapy.
Then followed a fantastic trip 3! Firstly to south Warwickshire for a couple of days to meet up with friends, then on to Buckinghamshire to attend my eldest grandie’s 18th birthday party. No idea where the years have gone! How can she possibly be 18 and awaiting her A level results this week??? Then on to Shropshire, a place I regularly travel through but had never stopped! Shrewsbury was a beautiful town, but even more exciting… was the fact of meeting up with our very own Wipso and Twiglet, then, when I visited Acton Scott Victorian working farm (recently featured on tv apparently) I spent a couple of hours with Twiglet’s daughter, Tilly tea dance, doing some needle felting!
I had two great campsites in Shropshire – out in the middle of nowhere, lived to tell the tale of THAT thunderstorm, and enjoyed the most amazing sunsets!
Whilst in Shropshire I was determined to visit some of the Brother Cadfael villages, mentioned in the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. I had fun! Cadfael was a middle ages monk, and the whole series is set around Shrewsbury Abbey. So, I went to Shrewsbury Abbey – not that different 1000 years later; I went to Pontesbury, Bayston, Pulley, Frankwell, and lastly to Maesbury – and see what I found there…
The church is what is called a tin tabernacle – and in 1903 arrived flat packed from Harrods in London! Amazing. It was really lovely inside and obviously well used and well loved by the villagers.
I also had the opportunity to do a little family history research. Over 100 years ago my great uncle was, I think, stirred by the Welsh revival – and decided to become a minister in the church in Wales. From a first language Welsh family he travelled up to Durham to study theology, gaining his degree and returning to the Bangor diocese to minister. Over the years I have managed to visit three of the four churches he was in. This year I went to the fourth – in Llandinam, a small village just over the Welsh border from Shropshire. Whilst out for the day I went to the village of Mallwyd which was his final church. It had always been closed, but that one day was open. Such a treat to go in, see the place he had ministered, and be able to take photos for his grandson who now lives in America and has no pictures of where his granddad lived.
What a privilege to minister in a place with such a heritage
So, that really is it, folks. What a couple of months I have had. I feel incredibly privileged to have done so much – had so much fun – and seen so many of my family and friends. Apart from the 50 Christmas cards since I arrived home, I have also managed to finish that jumper I was doing earlier – photo must await a future blog post, I think – make family birthday cards, and half crochet a blanket for Uganda. Life still isn’t boring!
Take care my friends. If you have got this far, then many, many congratulations. You have earned yourself several gold stars!