Archive for July, 2012

The WI

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Women’s Institute: gatherings of British women in regional groups for the purpose of camaraderie, and  fund raising for local charities.

Maybe it will resonate with you, like it does with me, if you remember the wonderful movie “Calendar Girls.” This true-life movie came from a group located in Skipton, a stones throw from here. In real life, a group of friends decided to spice up the yearly calendar with tasteful nudes of themselves to raise money for a leather couch to go in the local hospital waiting room. One of the ladies had spent many hours in that waiting room while her husband was receiving cancer treatments. He died, but the calendar raised enough money to build an entire wing for the hospital, and it became a movie to boot! This is the 10 year anniversary of the calendar.

I got to attend one of their WI competitions; a dozen groups entering their jams, jellies, wines, cakes, clothespin dolls, book marks etc. Name a craft, and they were going head to head for the coveted silver trophies. It was a hoot! And I got to spend time with a half dozen of them over tea to learn of their stories, recipes, gossip, and affections for each other. One of the ladies, (Susan) gave us many of her entries — elderberry gin, red current wine, chutney, marmalade, cookies, bread and more. She had earned many points for her chapter’s group score. (Karl’s sister Pamela, and cousin Ann-Marie are members)

If I lived here, I would be a WI   🙂

Memorial Bench

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

With Gail’s untimely death, the brilliant idea of a bench for the town square came about. With donations from town folk, friends, and all who she touched, a design for a unique and touching bench was submitted and is currently being created. It will reside in the niche of the square where Gail could be found several times a day when she needed a quick break.

It’s the left corner of the square where she could look back at her shop. This is a view from the shop window and the current bench will be moved.

An unveiling and dedication will take place on Barnoldswick Day on Sept. 8, 2012.

In Search Of Mr. Darcy

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Pemberly is the palatial home of Mr. Darcy featured in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Mr Darcy is the ultimate in romantic characters and was played by Colin Firth in the movie…sigh. He also played the king in The King’s Speech.

I digress.

We spent the day at Chatsworth, which is the real-life home and gardens of the fictional Mr. Darcy. It is palatial, awe-inspiring, enormous and ever so beautiful! Besides kitchen gardens, sensory gardens, and fountains, there was a real live victorian maze. We split up with the challenge of first one to the middle wins, but after 20 minutes we weren’t making any progress.  The fellas gave up and I told them to give me 15 more minutes. Ta Da!  I did it and led them to the center, feeling quite victorious.

The home of the Duke and Duchess was like Versaille in magnitude. We even saw a famous trompe’loi violin from the 1700’s (that’s a painting of a violin on a door,only the knob is real), a da Vinci, and a couple Rembrandts.

Can’t you just see the dances and teas and garden parties? This place pulled out all the stops on my England meter.

Lady Dye

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Off the beaten track, I have a question to ask any readers.

Should I color my hair?

The post-chemo emerging hair is black and white and looks like a dirty ashtray, and it is curly at the moment. I planned on coloring it as soon as possible to resume looking like me! Do I delude myself in thinking that I look younger when in fact I can’t escape that 62 years is my reality?

BUT I came across a couple Bible verses.

Proverbs 16:31: “Gray hair is the mark of distinction, the award of a God-loyal life.”

Proverbs 20:29 ” Gray hair gives prestige to old age.”

Was it a God-thing that I came across these verses?

What to do, what to do?

“Vanity, thy name is woman.” Shakespeare

Where’s The Beef?

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Like a movie set arising from the verdant countryside, Hoghton Tower embodies everything English to me. What a great tour we had with Marion Macdonald, docent extraordinaire whose life’s passion is serving that “castle’s” history.  The 14th Baronett (one degree above a knight) lives in a wing of the tower while the rest is on display for tours and events.  It was originally built in 1109 and rebuilt in 1565 and land-granted to the de Hoghton (pronounced Horton) family for service to king and country.

OK, TMI, here’s the cool part.

When King James I of Bible translation fame, wanted to visit the area (with his entourage of 400), most neighboring nobles burned down their barns to escape from entertaining the not-so-popular king. But the Baronett opened his doors and regaled the king royally for 3 days (nearly going bankrupt in the process).

They had a huge banquet in the Great Hall and as a lark, the king knighted the fatted-calf that was to be the evening meal.  Hence forth and ever more, “Sir-Loin” was fit for a king! Really!

I did snopes this and they are unclear, but there is an etching of the knighting in the hall AND it is also noted in “The Story of Britain”, a 500+ page book I am currently reading.

Enjoying New Beers

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

This is a contribution from Steve (via Andy).

Moorhouses White Witch and Timothy Taylor Landlord

Moorhouses White Witch and Timothy Taylor Landlord

Bowland Hen Harrier

Bowland Hen Harrier

Look Right!

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

I nearly did it, or rather did myself “in”.  I looked left when I should have looked right first as they are all driving on the wrong side of the road! Thank you guardian angel, I don’t know how I didn’t end up as a hood ornament!

Look Left

pic courtesy of andy

The Open

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

We may know of it as The British Open, but over here it is THE Open. It is the first and ultimate in golf and a course carved out of the rolling bluffs along the north western coast of England.  The tournament rotates on which course it is held on, and this year it is at Royal Lythum/St. Anne’s (two villages that border the same course).

This has been the wettest summer for England since records were kept, but the sun is shining on the tourney. We went to the practice round, which is more casual for the players as they hit several balls and stop to give autographs. Steve, my Aunt Marilyn (over from Florida for a visit), and cousin Carol’s husband Chris are enjoying saturday’s round. We have visited holy ground in the world of golf!

Tribute Trip

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

When making plans for this vacation, we couldn’t stop in Europe with out dropping in on Gail and Karl; they were even thinking of joining us on the continent for some travel.

So we locked in two weeks with them. Gail has the flower shop over here and has frequently helped me in my shop over the last 7 or 8 years when she has come for extended stays in the states.

But Gail died in her sleep the day before Easter and we are here and she isn’t. I can’t begin to tell you how such a vibrant, dynamic friend has left a hole in the lives of those who knew and loved her, as well as the entire town of Barnoldswick.

To be with her family and friends as well as staying in her home and sharing memories is special but difficult, healing but bittersweet. And the only response I know of when someone dear is gone to soon, is to live a bigger life and try to embody some of their passions.  We miss you, sweet friend.

Voyage’s End

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

River cruising is wonderful; you unpack once, wonderful food, impecible service, interesting people, fabulous scenery, educational, lots of exercise exploring our stops, many choices on what to do or not to do, and we had good weather on top of it!

We ended in Vienna, where if you chose, you could add on to your trip by a 3 day stay in Vienna with guide, or a 4 day side trip to Prague. We had thought about Prague but then realized the British Open was happening near our England stopover. Decision made…golf here we come.

The last night of our cruise we did get dolled-up and attended a concert of Strauss and Mozart music; home-town boys. A great way to end a GREAT cruise.