We took advantage of some glorious late summer/early autumn weather this month to grab a few days away on the south coast of England. Sidmouth in Devon has been a favourite spot of ours ever since we moved to the south west area well over thirty years’ ago. The town is considered the gateway to Devon’s Jurassic Coast. Sidmouth has amazing beaches situated at the foot of prehistoric red cliffs and surrounded by the beautiful green hills of the Sid Valley.
During one of our mega walks along the coast we stopped off at Jacob’s Ladder Beach and managed to find enough puff to climb the Ladder itself up to a rather splendid tea shoppe. Afternoon Devon tea served with a huge slab of coffee and walnut cake helped give us the energy to walk back to our hotel.It had some lovely views, too.
The hotel we stayed in was incredibly interesting. Some parts of the hotel date back to the 13th Century and boasts connections with Sir Walter Raleigh and the Prince Regent. It has fabulous gardens where you can sit and enjoy the sunshine under the shade of ancient trees like the one in the photo. The hotel was one of the first buildings in the UK to achieve listed status in 1951. During renovations in the 1970s, archaeologists discovered some of the oldest structures in the town consisting of a spooky network of ancient tunnels and a domed subterranean chamber. Alas, we didn’t experience any spooky goings-on while we were there, just a lovely relaxing and enjoyable break.
Unfortunately, Ms. Vivvy couldn’t join us, although the hotel was incredibly dog-friendly, because she is not the best traveller. But we know how much she’ll love the beaches, so we’re going to dose her up and take her with us when we visit again over Christmas. She was pleased to see us when we got back, and as the autumn chill set in, she snuggled up with me under our furry blanket. The very best welcome home after a great trip away.
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We have been home for a month now and life is settling back into normal routine. The Big Trip has taken a back seat but also feels surreal. For a few nights afterwards I was still driving north in my … Continue reading
Karen and I picked Hoquiam for our second, “exploring our own backyard”, mission. The weather the day we went was unbelievable. Perfect for a Sunday outing.
Hoquiam is a small town, population of 8,726 in 2010. I’ve been to Hoquiam, both Karen and I remember going through it to the ocean beaches. Amazingly it hasn’t changed much, the houses along the route are the same, older but well kept up.
Our first stop was Duffy’s for lunch. We both had shrimp fettuccini. Delicious. Our main destination for the day was the Polson Museum. Again on the route to the coast, you pass it and yet neither Karen nor I had ever stopped. The picture at the top of this blog is of the 6,500 square foot mansion. The man at the entrance gave us a brief history of the house and invited us to tour at our leisure. He told us to look for 1942 photographs as most of the rooms have a picture of how the room looked when the Polson’s lived there.
The house was a wedding gift to Arnold and Priscilla Polson from his uncle. The house has twenty-six rooms with six bathrooms and four fireplaces. The Polson Museum website is very well designed and includes history and pictures. If you’re going to the ocean via Aberdeen/Hoquiam I would recommend a stop. If not, a virtual tour is the next best thing.
Another historic site is the Hoquiam Castle. We were fortunate to be able to tour the castle years ago when it was open to the public. There is so much history in Hoquiam. For a while, it was a Bed and Breakfast, but we were told it is now a private residence. The website from the B/B time is the only tour available. Karen and I drove past it and even though you can’t go in, I would recommend the slight detour to see it.
So what’s next on our mission to see out of way places in Washington? Not sure yet we are thinking of Whidbey Island and Coupeville. Any suggestions? We are open to ideas.
Oh almost forgot, check out the rose garden at the Polson Museum. It is late in the season but there were still some beautiful blooms.
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It’s October and that means Halloween. Now, I’m the first to admit, I’m not super fond of the holiday’s. It’s only because I don’t have children, and really they have just become another day for me. I’m glad others enjoy … Continue reading
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Jillian here. Hope all is fall-ish where you are. Sadly, we’re still in the 90s and have a hurricane bearing down on the gulf coast of Florida. The good news for me is we seem to be at the outer … Continue reading
***WARNING*** Badly preserved pictures ahead.
This month, for some people, is devoted to Oktoberfest. I drink beer, so I get it. Especially since I’ve had the privilege of going to the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. I was way too young to recognize that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was 21. And I only drank wine then. So if we hadn’t of taken a bus that day, I’d have been the designated driver. We didn’t find the one little tiny wine tent until about 7pm. Lol.
I went to Kitzingen, Germany to join my then husband. It was an experience that I learned so much from and I am so grateful for my time there. He was a Spec 4 in the Army, so not high enough in the chain to get base housing. So we lived “on the economy” as it was called. We had a small apartment above a very nice German family.
I was five months pregnant when I flew there. I scared the wits out of my husband because I got there and slept for twenty hours.
What am I grateful for?
- That we had no car, so I walked the two miles into base two or three times a week. There was a bus that would take us grocery shopping and to do laundry, thank goodness.
- That it’s okay to not trust a taxi driver on the autobahn. We never got in an accident, but boy, sometimes, it was close!
- That we had no running hot water. I learned to stoke a boiler under the hot water tank with paper, wood, and coal. And to plan baths because it took two hours to warm up enough water for a bath. Oh, and one night, when my husband was in the field with his platoon, the pregnant me got stuck on that floor. Stoked the fire, then couldn’t get up. Sat there for about the two hours it took to heat the water. That was the best bath ever!
- That we couldn’t just turn a switch and have heat. I learned how to pour oil into our heater, and how to keep track of how much oil we had left. Taught me to keep my house stocked.
- That I met Yolanda. In 1976. And we have been best friends ever since. I was pregnant and alone a lot of the time, with my husband out in the field. She’s my age and managed to be my friend, confidant, shoulder, and mother.
- That one of my daughters was born there. Definitely the best part of this whole trip.
- That, when I got off the plane after a year with my eight-month-old daughter, the nice Captain helping me with all my stuff, after a 9 hour flight, looked down through the customs window at all the people waiting there. There were a lot. He asked me which ones were my family. I say “see those three on the right?” “Yes,” he said. “Well, everyone but those three are my family.”
You see, I had the first grandchild born in the family and they’d only seen her in pictures for eight months. So they all showed up at the airport.
Yes, Germany will always be a special place to me. My husband and I did not stay together, and I’m happy for almost 30 years now with my soul-mate. But my first husband and I had a good life while we were together and he made sure I remembered our time in Germany with happiness. I do. I treasure the memories I have from that year, and will for the rest of my life.
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