Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Oh, joy! English gardens...Grey's Court and Cliveden Manor, Home safely!

Heading home today! Fair wells to the Yule Kuehnes and we were off to explore 2 gardens en route to Heathrow for our flight home. Greys Court garden was first on our list and happy wanderings were throughly enjoyed in spite of the rain that fell. Beauty was everywhere. Every garden room displayed blooms galore. It's June so roses are at peak as are clematis. The white garden was glorious. Every now and then there were patches of blue sky so we lived in hope that the day would clear...and it surely did! Picturesque garden walls added to the prettiness of the garden. At the end of our garden tour it was hard to say which 'room' was our favorite.

By noon we were on the road again in search of Cliveden House and Garden. Cliveden was a different kind of garden with its maze, water garden, long garden, and parterre. All were stunning. Brilliant sun shone creating a beautiful blue sky with beautiful white puffy clouds. We loved our meanderings there and were happy for the long walks between the different garden areas knowing we had a seven hour flight ahead of us. 

Returned our rental car, checked in, and departed on schedule. We're now on our flight home and expect an early arrival in Boston. Once again we've been blessed with a wonderful and safe vacation with hundreds and hundreds of photos to prove it. Thanks for following us on our journey. In the next week or so I may post some additional favorite photos. HOME SAFELY and HAPPILY NOW! Photos of Grey's Court garden first. A second post will feature Cliveden Manor garden. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Happy Reunion, Strolls along the Thames and in Basildon Park and Garden, A Father's Day Activity

Day 24, June 21

A delicious and wonderful reunion brunch today with Sam and Reija Fanous here at the Yule Kuehns! Our annual gathering with these precious friends! We stuffed ourselves with everything from smoked salmon from the Faroe Islands to yummy sausage from the local butchers to a fruit bowl with the freshest of fruits, croissants and Beestings and on and on. There was laughter and reminiscing and good conversation, a joyful reunion indeed. Our conversation continued as we went off together for a stroll through barley fields and wild flower meadows along the Thames. Mid-afternoon Sam and Reija left and Bonnie and Zachary and Lyn and I drove 5 minutes down the road to Basildon Park, house and garden. Zachary and Bonnie played the ball run game while Lyn and I talked our way through garden paths full of stunning roses as well as a variety of other beautiful flowers. The allium were bigger than any I've ever seen I think. Views of Berkshire countryside were pastoral. We watched a DVD at the house featuring productions like Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice and particular episodes filmed in the grand house. An enjoyable and relaxing day from beginning to end! Zachary and Ross are enjoying a special Father's Day new Lego set activity while Bill confirms our seats for our flight home tomorrow with plans to leave here right after breakfast. Our route to Heathrow will include stops at two National Trust gardens, Greys Court and Cliveden Manor. It's been another fabulous trip in England and Scotland. We've seen and done so many wonderful things it's hard to pick a favorite. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Relaxation in Sutton Coldfield

Happy Anniversary with much love to Colin and Jennifer from 3,000 miles away!! Today was a truly relaxing day here at Barry and Valerie's with the major part of the day spent out in the garden basking in the sun while reading, knitting, admiring and photographing the pretty flowers, sipping tea and nibbling more of Valerie's delicious squares, chatting and then late in the afternoon we moved indoors to watch, "Tea with Mussolini" starring both Maggie Smith and Judy Dench. A very good movie and one that brought back happy memories of our vacation week in San Gimignano in 2007 after a wonderful month in Orvieto! Late morning we sauntered over to St. John's Anglican Church where Barry had served as Vicar for 30+ years. This was the first time seeing the church with Barry as our guide. Tomorrow morning ( Sat.) we pack up and travel south to spend our last two nights with Bonnie and Ross and their son Zachary and Bonnie's mom Lyn. This evening we were invited to join more Harper cousins at Beth and Wes's. Wes, a super chef, prepared a delicious  meal of lamb chops, chicken tikka, or burgers. Most of us chose all three tender, tasty meats served with a variety of yummy salads. Dessert was homemade marscapone ice cream, raspberries, strawberries, and a delicious piece of homemade chocolate. Oh, so very yummy! Home now to pack and blog. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Saxon Crypt, A Norman Church, Shakespeare's Stratford-upon- Avon, Ann Hathaway's Cottage and Garden

As promised by the pink sky last night, we awakened to a 'sailor's delight' kind of day this morning, warm and sunny with a delightful temperature so off we went right after breakfast to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare sites. En route Barry stopped first in the lovely village of Berkswell to show us a Saxon crypt in the Norman parish church of St. John Baptist with its gabled and timbered porch added in the 16th century. Then it was on to Stratford. Once the car was parked we strolled across the riverside park to the Royal Shakespeare Theater and its cafe where we began our tour with morning tea and snacks. A pretty spot indeed especially on such a perfect day! One of my memories from our visit to Stratford years ago were the crowds of tourists who come to pay homage to Shakespeare...and that was true again today. The river was full of canal boats and swan and ducks with a glimpse of Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried...all visible from the RSC cafe. We strolled into town and saw his birthplace and the grammar school he attended. Our next stop was the famous architect John Nash's house and garden only to discover it was closed while an archaeological dig was going on. We then wandered back to the car to make the short drive to Ann Hathaway's near-by thatched roof cottage and pretty garden in the village of Shottery. We wiled away some time roaming in the gardens and house and were struck by the colorful collection of sweet peas and the willow tree sculptures and huts as well as a lavender maze that was just coming into bloom. The drive back to Walmley was hot and trafficky. What a welcome sight Barry's garden was when we arrived back home at Welcombe Drive! Valerie had the kettle on and sweeties out before the rest of us were in the front door. How very relaxing...and what a restful place to sip tea and chat about our day's outing while admiring a garden full of beautiful flowers! While Barry watered his many pots filled with a variety of blooms, Valerie prepared another tasty dinner and Bill read the paper, I took time not only to smell the flowers, but also to photograph them. Another great day out!