Monthly Archives: September 2018

Season of mists and…blah, blah, blah…

So, Autumn has arrived. Here in the UK, it’s arrived with sunny days and fairly warm temps, but I’m not ready to let summer go yet. I’m a summer baby and seem to thrive best with warmer weather and brighter skies. Put me on a beach with a pina colada and I’m a happy woman 🙂

Well, if we have to have autumn (and by extension, winter) it’s currently not all bad. The trees are looking amazing in their burnished glory, and there are some interesting little late-flowering plants popping up in the garden.

20180910_100958Walks with Vivvy are always interesting, but this autumn I’m finding them even more so. A city girl born and bred, I absolutely love living in the country. Around the village where we live there are fabulous walks, and they’re always journeys of discovery.

Recently, I discovered a new walk to the next village a few miles away which took us by acres of what I’ve named the bamboo fields, although I’m sure they’re not (Kit will probably put me right on this). I spent a fun ten minutes playing hide-and-seek with Vivvy, and now, when we go that route, she runs into the bamboo and looks out to me as if to say “come on mum, time to play”.20180910_101131

I also found plump, juicy blackberries growing wild and grabbed a couple of handfuls in an unused poo-bag (sorry) so we had a lovely apple and blackberry crumble at supper that night 🙂 There are copious amounts of sloes at the moment, reminding me that one day I’m going to attempt sloe gin (side note: I spent years thinking the sloes were blueberries – don’t laugh, city girl, right?)
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So, all in all, I can’t complain about the demise of summer. At least, not quite yet 🙂

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LEJOG – Peter’s 70th Birthday Challenge

Well he did it! 12 days averaging 80 miles most days in awful weather much of the time, Land’s End to John O’Groats.  Approx 910 the route he took.  I feel in awe and so proud.  I was of course logistics back up in my little Skoda but what I had planned to be a leisurely role was anything but relaxed or stress free.  I was constantly aware of the huge effort Peter was making day after day, drawing into the depths of himself but had not considered what it would be like to wave him off each morning and wonder if I would see him again.  I am not exaggerating, he looked small and vulnerable alongside some of the huge vehicles thundering past him.

I hope you won’t mind but so much has happened I will write about the trip in instalments.  No worry then of missing any crucial bits out.  We set off on Saturday 8th September for what seemed then like a long drive to Cornwall, paled into insignificance when I set off for Scotland in 30 mile stints.  We stayed in a hotel at Lands End but it was such a rip off, I was embarrassed as so many tourists make a bee line for the place.  Despite the surroundings the views of the headland are breathtaking and the hotel staff so friendly and kind.  We had a photo taken at the temporary sign as the main sign which is up in the day is “owned” by a photographer who charges a lot of money to take photo.  Business is business I know but this is taking advantage. Enough moaning as it did not detract from our efforts.

At 9am Sunday 9th September after a hearty breakfast Peter set off on his marathon ride.  I felt very emotional waving him off, apprehensive and proud all at the same time.  I admit to a few tears so walked part of the headland before setting off myself.  We met up after 40 miles or so at Truro for a lunch break and for Peter to stretch his muscles.  I found supermarkets helpful to get supplies and hot drinks.  Another lone rider left just after Peter, I passed both of them at different stages, and we met him again lunch time.  He was cycling a much shorter distance but appreciated having someone to chat to during a break.  We coincidently met up the next day too at Okehampton. En route to Taunton. Sunday we stayed at our first Premier Inn at Liskeard, the routine was repeated 7 other times during the long journey and Premier Inns were an ideal break.  Even had bike sleeping with us!!

Monday 10th September we rode (not together!) over parts of Dartmoor to Taunton.  The scenery was stunning but once in Devon the hills were testing for Peter.  Tuesday 11th we stopped in Bristol at our eldest son’s house for a family reunion as our younger son left yesterday for a new life in Turin with his Italian wife so more emotions again.  Adam, the eldest, then cycled with Peter to Monmouth over the Seven Bridge which was great for Peter.  3 counties in 3 days and ending up in my homeland Wales.  Next day Wednesday 12th September onwards to Shrewsbury via Ludlow which was when I started to compile a list of places to revisit.  Each day my schedule was tight but a routine soon developed.  No time for sightseeing!  We stayed north of Shrewsbury in our third Premier Inn where there was an interesting welcoming committee. Yes alpacas in the middle of Shropshire!

I’ll finish here for now but more next time. Thank you for your support and encouragement in this venture.  It has been a life enhancing experience in many ways.

Anderson Island

F6900E39-AE43-4F8A-924F-480DA5FFABB1I have lived in this area all my life and never visited Anderson Island.  A few weeks ago I was reading a story set in France and the characters were traveling through small villages. This set me to bemoaning that I wasn’t traveling. Then, in a moment,  I realized that there were a lot of places, a whole lot, right here in my backyard, that I hadn’t been to.  I called Karen and we decided to make it our mission to discover our backyard in the coming months.  First stop, Anderson Island.

Anderson Island is called “The Secret Island” and is the southernmost Island in Puget Sound. It is accessible only by boat or float plane and is about a 20-minute ferry ride.  Karen commented that going there is like stepping back in time.  It has one General Store, one Gas Station, One Restaurant and no traffic lights.

The Island is just under 8 miles in size, with a population (in 2010) of 1037.  We picked a perfect day with the weather. The ferry ride was beautiful. The picture shows it a bit windy, but not cold at all. In fact, we stopped at “The Old Swimming Hole”, and watched kids swimming.

Our first stop was the General Store where we picked up a map and met a very friendly guy behind the counter. This is one of the friendliest places I have visited.  Armed with a  map we set out to explore the island.  The guy at the store told us about the restaurant that sets on one of two lakes.  So first stop Riviera Lakeshore Restaurant.  It overlooks Lake Josephine and has a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier.  And, is sooooo quiet. We both had fish and chips, good, and better with the ambiance surrounding us.

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A resident of the island stopped by our table and chatted for a bit. The pace of the day was “Island Time”.  Karen had it right when she said it was like stepping back in time.

We drove around the Island stopping at the first school on the Island and Johnson Historic Farm.  You can see more of the farm on their website.  Unfortunately, it was closed but we wandered around enjoying the grounds and wonderful weather.

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Altogether an amazing day that made me again wonder at how I could have lived here so long and never visited Anderson Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AUTUMN

Finally I think we can say Fall is here.  My FAVORITE time of the year!!.  I love the cool, crisp mornings and the much cooler days.  Even my animals seem to be enjoying it. I think I’ve told you that … Continue reading

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Meeting of the Dogs

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Well, its September and I’m not sure how it got here. The year seems to be going quickly. Summer was just that summer. In the Pacific Northwest we had lots of hot weather, we are finally cooling down, and even … Continue reading

I’m Super Late

Jillian here. I feel like the white Rabbit. I’m late, I’m late. I knew yesterday was my day to post but somehow, the day escaped me and then today did, too. I got sick from movie theater popcorn and have been kind of worthless since then. So, forgive me for my lapse.

I had a busy August. Traveled to see my son and his wife in the Orlando area and met the grand dog for the first time. Such a sweet hound. She never makes a sound and is so gentle and sweet. Precious.  We went on a lovely boat ride as well and had some nice meals. We just kind of hung out as my son had a deadline and my daughter in law had an open house for her real estate work. She and I did go boutique shopping one day and taste tested a ton of olive oils at one place. My son is very stable and settled with his wife and his architecture work. He’s found his bliss.

My younger son moved to the Chicago area and we had to get him set and all packed. His dad drove him up towing a U-haul trailer. It’s crazy expensive to have a car up there so we’re keeping it here. While it’s hard to let go, I want him to be happy and this is what he wanted to do. The good thing is he’s living with his best friend from school- they’ve been buds since the 4th grade and his friend has been living in Chicago a year with his girlfriend – they got a bigger apartment so my son could come up and see what kind of work he could find as he finishes his German studies. His goal is to be a translator and already has French and Spanish. He’s going to take some kind of proficiency exam while up there in order to qualify for the German part.

Seeing both my kids happy is something I’ve prayed for all their lives and having one already settled is great. Just have to keep praying that the other one finds his bliss as well.

Have a great September. 8C2F49D0-A7D4-4EC1-AA29-24584F012111AB713081-CFE9-4748-9E52-8FE3A230BCB4285F741F-04F4-4A18-B3F0-EE40AD8ACE0A09006E05-BA19-425B-8213-66A6A1017533

 

Bavarian fun in the middle of Washington State

If you read this blog regularly, you know that my family goes away on a winter cabin adventure each year. Well, the women in my family also do a summer weekend of wine-tasting. Okay, it started as a wine-tasting event, and we really do test wines.  But it’s kind of evolved into a “sit by the pool reading and chatting” kind of weekend. Relaxing, and a great catch up time with my sisters, daughters, and nieces.

This year was our sixth, I think. For the past three years, we’ve been going to a wonderful little Bavarian village in central Washington State called Leavenworth. It’s pretty commercialized, but it’s also, well, just plain beautiful and fun.

In the 1960’s, trying to turn a failing community around, Leavenworth remodeled an entire town into a Bavarian motif to accent the alpine hills surrounding them. All businesses have to follow the Bavarian theme, even the McDonald’s. And that idea took off. Boy, did it ever. These days, it’s busy any day of the year, but that doesn’t stop us. They make it work well.

It’s easy to walk around. In fact, we park our cars and don’t get back in them until we’re ready to leave. Our hotel is about half a mile from the center of town, and easy stroll. The area is full of shops, places to get bratwursts, beer gardens,  and there’s live polka music in the park. Oh, and you can raft the river, too.

We always have fun. Sometimes, maybe a bit too much. Lol. But this year, we actually did some wine tasting again and I found some excellent wines to purchase.

It’s a fun weekend. Bonding as a family, relaxing before the end of summer. (I did not just say that phrase, did I?) And winding down from life, just for a couple days. I love my entire family, but I cherish this time with the women who carry on our mother’s rich heritage of love and family.

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