Where to my start, my darlings, when it has been so long? When every ten minutes something else worthy of attention occurs? So much has happened. THE PEACOCK JUST RAN BY! I guess it’s just one day at a time. How about some Musica?
I guess I’ll start with where I am right this minute. I’m in that chair! In front of our new little rental, which is a stone cottage in the Peak District, only lacking one thing, that’s internet service on the inside of the cottage where the electricity is! It’s a warm gorgeous day under that umbrella, very sunny, sort of washing out the color, but believe me, it’s just beautiful.
So, because of no connection, I was “forced” to bring my tea outside, here with the cows (see them up on the hill?) and the swallows, and the wildflower meadows, the view of the lake, and the wood pigeons (cooing “my-toe-hurts-Betty”) to say HELLO! I’ve missed you! As you know we’ve been traveling; I thought I might not have service up here in the Peak District at all, so I’m very happy! We’ll see how long my battery lets me go! We got here last night and we’ll be here until Saturday. It’s been wonderful so far; very quiet after being in London; I painted on my diary all morning long.
What I really want is to catch you up on my visit with my dear “English Pen Pal” Rachel . . . here we are, happy together again on British soil where we belong!! (At least that’s what I think!) I played this music in honor of Rachel, better known to the computer world, on her blog and on Twitter, as Mozarts Girl.
Seemed fitting to put this picture here, Ray and I are kindred spirits. How we found each other half a world away is a kind of miracle. Rachel wrote me a letter over twenty years ago, to tell me she liked my books; at the same time she told me the beautiful story of someone very dear to her; it was such a wonderful letter, because she’s a wonderful writer — I wrote her back, and that was the beginning; we’ve been friends ever since. ♥
To get to her house, we drove from Kent around the outskirts of London . . . with our little mascot (the doll that Jack the cat named Pete, remember? That Joe got when he was twelve years old on a trip back from England on an ocean liner with his mother? I hope you’re keeping up! 🙂 We brought him along, he was dying to go sailing again, had not changed out of that outfit in all these years!!! Would not shut up about going. Hounded us. So we said OK. Now, he watches Joe’s every move.
Before we left the house, I warned everyone in England via Twitter; told them for their own sakes, if they lived between Tenterden in Kent, and Aylesbury in Bucks, anywhere near Heathrow airport, to stay off the road for a couple of hours. Obviously, they didn’t listen, but we all got lucky and arrived in one piece.
I love where Rachel and Paul live; there we are, just pulled up in front of their house so we can unload and I immediately stepped into their beautiful churchyard to take a photo.
XOXOXO This would be a video of the churchyard with the bells ringing, but you have to use your imagination for now as the computer is not going to allow it!
Those lovely bells you heard (or would have heard!) ring every quarter hour all day and all night. They don’t wake you up, but if they do, you’re happy they did. So beautiful!
Here’s the neighborhood, leading into the churchyard . . . so you can see, it’s a wonderful old part of the city they live in. They have a gorgeous pub near by called the Kings Head; Ray’s husband Paul is a lawyer whose office is just a block from home. They can walk to almost everything they need. Life is good. Ray is a fourth generation baker; she has a wholesale bakery now, and is writing her own cookbook. Among other things, she’s famous for her caramel brownies, that are like no other, trust me. I wish I could send you a taste, but, number one, I ate them all, so right now, because of natural computer limitations, it’s got to be just a virtual thought! A Chocolaty, chewy, tender, and delicious thought. Rachel, if you’re reading this, and not too busy, these girls need a brownie! (That’s right, throw the ball into her court!)
This is as far as I got on this post last night before the battery ran out! And guess what, I just added a lot more to it this morning, and it all disappeared just now!!!! I think I may go insane. But what else is new. I will not let this man-made article beat me. Onward and upward. Doing it again. Despite lack of internet connection we LOVE where we live right now . . . what am I saying, we do have connection, just not inside the house! But what we do have is our own . . .
Peacock! He came with the cottage! He’s been on our porch both mornings since we got here. The cottage is stone, and like so many others in England, it has a name: Weatherick Cottage, the ancient name for the hill on the other side of the road. There’s plenty of room for all of us here, two bedrooms, a large bathroom with a big deep tub, lots of pots and pans . . .
See the far table, that’s where I am right now . . . this one is where we took our dinner last night, it’s the Peacocks porch, we sat out here reading until the moon came up.
Time out:WE HAVE A PHEASANT ABOUT TWENTY FEET FROM WHERE I’M SITTING RIGHT THIS MINUTE. I didn’t mean to virtually scream! But it’s rather exciting. In the picture above, see the bird feeder on the far right? The pheasant is at the base of that, picking up dropped nuts. I love it here!
We have good reason to believe that the Peacock is in love with the Pheasant, from what we saw from our table here last night; it’s too long to tell while the battery is going down, I wrote about these two birds in my diary this morning! The moon is very big and only half full (despite what my camera is doing), the lights you see over on the right are reflected in the lake way out there. Beyond beautiful, a balmy coolish, warmish, perfect evening last night.
But I digress, too many things to talk about. This is Alice, Ray and Paul’s darling dog. Rules the roost there, as is quite proper! My problem is battery is almost gone and I haven’t even gotten us near London. I really want to show you the tea we had at the little flea market. Not to mention Ray’s parent’s farm where I GOT TO PET A BABY LAMB. Have to scream that, I wanted to do that all my life. Not to mention how wonderfully decorated Ray and Paul’s house is. Too much to tell you, too much to show, and no time. Apparently, when you are on battery, the photos take about 15 min each to load. But I will leave you with this last one, to give you a taste of what’s to come . . .
We do brake for cake–this was at the Cabbages and Roses flea market in Marylebone in London where Ray and I had tea. We could eat it right there in the park in the center, near the church. This will have to pique your interest, there’s more to come, so sorry I can’t go on and on all day here, would love to show more! Love you girlfriends! Wonderful, wonderful trip, we should be at Beatrix Potter’s this weekend! Are you ready? My-toe-hurts-betty! ♥
I am just thoroughly loving your trip! ♥ Every photo, every vivid description, every savory morsel (cake crumb, drop of tea, sip of wine, etc.) ♥ Thank you for sharing, Susan! ♥ May God continue to bless your travels! ♥♥♥
Thank you back Charlene!
Thank you for the Mozart. He is one of my favorites, too. And it lasted throughout my whole reading of the blog. Oh, I am loving this trip. I’m so glad I got to come. All the sights and food and people….make up for the cramped quarters in the suitcases….they really do. And, I’m getting to know so many girlfriends! Kathie in Odessa, WA.
All what I love about this!
Oooooooo…I’m enjoying every single moment!!!! I can’t wait to get to Hilltop Farm, but I’m just savoring the words, the views, the sounds and the goodies right now. (Did you know that the goodies are zero calories once they fly through cyberspace?) Another slice of that pink cake, please! 🙂
Oh such beauty you are in right at this moment. Outdoors with the beautiful English countryside all around you. New wildlife of Peacocks & Pheasants, to greet you each morning and getting to pet a baby lamb…..could feel your excitement in your descriptive words. Maybe England may be minus one lamb……may end up in MV one could say, as a new pet…..some company for Jack & Girl Kitty! Better yet …….maybe pick up a nice soft souvenior lamb and give it a nickname and put in your studio to reflect upon or maybe a cermaic one to put with all your other trinkets you keep on your kitchen stove. Just so excited for you as you greet every thing you see with such “Excitement”…..its comes right back at all of us here to enjoy! The picture of you and Ray is very sweet.
Thank you as always for sharing this journey with all of us! Hugs&Smiles
Barb, Ludlow MA
I received my Yew Tree Farm in Coniston (the Beatrix Potter farm) newsletter yesterday:
There’s a link on it called “Listen for the Cuckoo” that lists all the birds in the UK where you can listen to their calls, as well as video, in order to identify them.
Thanks for sharing the bird link, Cathy! I have a big book that shows the birds and makes each of their sounds–so fun!
Hi Susan! I received my Friends of Gladys Taber newsletter Tuesday, then yesterday I was delighted to see your new post–I’m a very, very happy camper! I clicked on the link to the Weatherick cottage where you’re staying–WOW!! Perfect. Two things in the description of the amenities puzzle me–what is a “hob”, and why is the shower “electric”?? You’re doing a splendid job as our tour guide, dear lady–hugs to Joe, too :>)
I know, electric shower, I pretend I don’t know, turn the dial as instructed. Hob is a stove.
How absolutely beautiful. I imagine how you feel sitting out under the beautiful moon, eating dinner with your sweetheart. My mouth is watering over that cake, it looks heavenly. And the oil cloth on the table, they sure know how to do things right! Did we find any treasures at the flea market? I found a rose chintz bread and butter plate last weekend for a steal….thought of you!!!
Another wonderfully delightful post but, Susan, I gotta tell ya galfriend…those virtual brownies just aren’t doing it for me! Can’t taste them atall and I’m trying, I’m really, really trying.
At least, that’s what Dave would tell me. “Sandra, you’re very trying sometimes!”
Now, if you want to *feed* a lamb, come on down; I can set you up with mouths into which a bottle needs to be stuck.
Breathlessly awaiting Miss Potter’s farms…exciting!
Tell Rachel! 🙂 Love the lamb talk!
Susan, just wanted to share with you that my sweet peas are starting to bloom and I have always loved them….now Jim thinks that they are invasive (they are) and you can’t kill them I think he even mowed over a small patch (yikes) and back they came this year!!! YAY….they are just like their name so sweet…I love the peas that come on them with their seeds. Everytime I go out and look at them it makes me think of YOU!!! Oh by the way your Dad is such a very sweet man he gave a recipe for Caramel Brownies to a girlfriend with the disclaimer how much work they were to make….how very nice of him to try and help all the girls wishing for one of Rachel’s brownies!!!!
Hi Deborah in IND! If you lived closer, I’d ask for a bouquet to stick in a vase on our table! Love sweet peas but they don’t like to grow here–probably the intense heat and sun on our deck in the townhouse… 🙁 Have you tried the brownie recipe yet? I got the ingredients at the store so plan to make them for Norm later in the week… 🙂
following every day with bated breath and enjoying every single line of every post-despite the walking, if I was there I am sure I would have gained at least 10 lbs. by now.
I’m getting close! Walking is the only tiny life saver, hanging by a thread!
Tea Time My Darling Sue! I Have Read & Re Read this Blog this Morning(My Time) 🙂 Savored Every Word Looked at Each Photo….ahhhhhhhhhh….Thank You Sweet Sue…The Photo with You & Rachel…Adorable! Two Cute Girlies in England Sipping Tea & Sharing Life! Scrumptious! & Sailor Pete in The Car with Joe! 🙂 Love The Mozart…Love The Peacock…Love Alice(Woof) Love The Photo with Rachel & Paul…& Now You & Joe are Living in a Real Enchanted Stone~Cottage…I am Twirling with Delight! & this Weekend…You will Be on Your Way to Beatrix Potter’s House…Jiggity~Jig! So Far This Journey & Been Beyond The Most Magical Dream Come to Life! Sending The Most Glittery Pixie~Dust & Lots of Love….(& always Hugzzzzzzzz) xoxo Poof!✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*
P.S. Sweet Sue…Can You Believe that You Begin June 1st in England? Twirling into June along The English Countryside! Yay! xoxo Poof!✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*
Almost time! By honey, Joe is now standing outside the pub, tapping his sweet little toe.
🙂 Byeeeeeee! Joe was Tapping His Sweet Little Toe…Huge Smile on Me Face! 🙂 Have a Truly Enchanted Evening in Your Enchanted Stone~Cottage My Darlings! xoxo Poof!✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫
Oh! How WONDERFUL!!!
We’ve been on the run both in rain and in sun.
Every day’s an adventure. Our trip has been fun.
Through highways and byways to quaint English towns,
We’ve all made the journey. There’s no time to slow down.
British flags are all flying to honor the Queen.
It’s Jubilee time! Oh, how much we have seen!
Flea markets and teas, Rolling hillsides with trees.
We’re buzzing with JOY a huge swarm of bees.
Petting a lamb made us scream with delight.
Paul and Ray’s darling Alice, tucked us in for the night.
And oh did I mention, we do break for cakes
With Susan and Rachael, (Sue’s Pen Pal who bakes).
The moon is now up, Shining brightly o’er head
We really should think about going to bed.
But we’re too excited. We don’t want to sleep.
Let’s stay up a while and just rest our feet.
Ahhh! Thanks for the journey!
Georgie fron NJ
Thank you Georgie!!
It’s been such a delight to follow you in merry ol’ England! How magical a time you are having!! Love the peacock. . .and that layer cake. . . mmmmm. . . we are getting ready to celebrate with the Queen here in the U.S.A., too! Lots of TV coverage on it. . .but you are better and go straight to the heart of it. Raise a glass for us and thank you for all you are writing and showing us!
Hi Susan this really is sooo much fun! I love the photo of you & Rachel and your new haircut! Thank you so much for taking the time out to share with us! I have made up a new folder in my favorites and keep adding all the places you visit so at least I know if I visit anyone of them in the future I’m gonna love it! lol.
Oh & by the way in a previous post you asked where the midlands was (well you are in it girlfriend!) Chatsworth is the other side of the midlands from me unfortunately, but its lovely to know you are not too too far away! (And Chatsworth is not too far either!) Have you been watching the BBC documentary about it? I think it finished on Sunday but you may find it on the internet somewhere. There were 3 one hour episodes on Chatsworth and it was sooo informative you would love it! Thanks for all the updates you are doing a wonderful job! xxxx
I am loving, loving following along with you and that last picture of the Cabbage and Roses cake and flea market, swoon! You are definitely peaking my desire to travel to the UK.
I have lots more photos…can’t wait to show you!
ohhhh love the peacocks, we have some wild ones out here, we hear them every now and then, also have a flock of wild turkeys who come up to visit with our turkey, tom tom, and we feed them some corn. haven’t seen the peacocks lately, wonder where they are these days. love the cottages, they are every bit what i imagine an English cottage should look like and be, so homey and comfy and so lovely with the flower gardens all about and around the place, just add a few chickens, some sheep and a few cows and i’m right at home. yummmmmm love the cakes, and can’t wait for the next stop. hugs…… 🙂
Just have to tell you what a ‘merry month of May’ this has been! Your amazing blog posts and tweet pics have been educational, inspirational, and simply fun, fun, fun! During my virtual visits, I’ve been ‘branching out’ by sipping English teas (PG Tips, Twining’s The Earl Grey, Taylor’s of Harrogate Yorkshire green tea) and tasting English biscuits (Crawford’s Custard Creams and Bourbon Creams, McVitie’s Fruit Shortcake); Rachel’s blog and tweets have been a delightful addition, helping to ‘fill in the gaps’ between updates; I’ve been tracking the QM2 and savoring the ‘captain’s view’ of the various ports of call. By clicking on your ‘highlights,’ I’ve explored the surrounding countryside and attractions long after you and Joe have called it a day! Blog comments have been informative and entertaining as well. I am so caught up in this excitement, and can only imagine what the month of June will bring. Thanks to you and Joe, and Rachel and Paul, for generously sharing your adventures. (Pete seems to be having a blast!)
Isn’t it amazing how it all connects, and there’s just so much? Great!
Sharon I could not have put it any better myself! It is sooo much more than Susans updates isn’t it! I ran out the other day and picked up the movie “Miss potter” I had never seen it before, from my local sainsburys off the bargain shelf I was so chuffed! xx
Chuffed! Good one!
I know you are about ready to leave your cottage and Peacock, just curious does he just eat whatever he can find and how odd that he is there by himself? I was thinking (dangerous) that the girlfriends could start a little contest to Name Susan’s Peacock (he needs a name for your book don’t you think)?? Well, if you think we should do this just give us the word you know how creative we can be!!! I think my vote is for “Philip” a very British sounding name and Prince Philip is a regal sort of fella. I know there is a Pheasant hanging around I guess he/she will also need a name too (for the book and all). If it is a “she” I’m going with “Prudence” another English sounding name. I thought this would give us something to do while you are out travelling to Beatrix Potter’s home??? Let us know!!!
He does need a name!!! He was such a doll, came so close to us; we fed him peanuts.
Hi Susan maybe that should be his name….”Peanuts”..?? hmmm well girls it’s up to us to name the Peacock and the Pheasant….so far we have Peanuts…Philip Peacock & Prudence Pheasant……Susan, you will have to be the one to choose the name if we get this campaign started!!!!! Hope you are getting settled in and we are all ready to go with you to see Beatrix Potter’s….the girlfriends have been quiet for a few day (I think the Memorial Day Holiday must have worn them all out)?? Have a great week!!!
Okay now Deborah….I’ve never been really good at
party games but……here goes……………………………………..
PHOEBE & GEORGE…girl peacock & boy pheasant
or is it
GEORGE & PHOEBE…boy peacock & girl pheasant
I think the peacock is too Beautiful to be a boy and
I don’t know any girl pheasants…so Phoebe & George
is my choice for our darling & daring British couple!
WHOAP……Susan called Him a He….so my now
Official Choice is…….GEORGE & PHOEBE !!!!
The peacock and the pheasant…..still a darling
& daring British couple ! But now a little more
Royal…..dare I say KING GEORGE
and his pheasant… PHOEBE……………oh my!
King George wow that is really appropriate in the English setting!! I guess your King George trumps my Prince Philip (poor man always finishing behind a Queen/King)….I like your Phoebe she and Prudence are in the running I’m sure!!! It’s up to Susan so I hope the other girlfriends come aboard and leave her some names….thanks Dawn!!!!
Enjoyed all the photos SO much, but am kind of dying that you showed a picture of your outdoor dinner w/out telling us what it was! It looks fabulous, by the way.
I roasted a chicken!
I think that if I had been in the driver’s seat on the right with Joe’s doll and its peering eyes which focus to the left , I would have driven off the road. Clearly Joe has a healthy relationship with the little skipper and the little guy does not freak him out. I am so looking forward to the upcoming part of your trip. Look for Peter Rabbit for me – his numerous relatives live in my backyard and out by the barn in the clump of lilacs. I look forward to the news!
ditto ditto ditto to all these wonderful comments! Thank you for taking we girlfriends along and sharing your time with us! I am so enjoying the trip! The crookedy structures are marvelous ( is ANYthing in square? so sweet!) Lovelovelove the lovely flowers and the meadows. Oh, my! I am just loving everything through your eye!
Time is going so fast! I thought this was going to go on for such a nice long time, and it is, of course, a nice time but seems to be going too fast!
I just finished Cranford Chronicles today. I hated the ending!! Not because I hated the ending but because I hated it to end 🙁 I sooo enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing the title, otherwise I would never have found it. It seemed so appropriate to be reading while we were visiting England!
Do enjoy the rest of your trip! (I know, you don’t need encouragement for that) Can’t wait to see/hear more and really can’t wait for the diary version ♥
Hi to Joe!!
And his little sailor buddy!
♥Debbie♥ from Buckley WA
p.s. I do miss Jack and Girl Kitty 🙁
Me too. Let’s not think about it until later!
Oh my…..imagine my surprise when i saw ‘my’ dog sitting on that couch. exactly like my Hanna….and she rules the roost here as well. we have a great big stray we took in and she makes short work of him everyday…..and he just adores her despite her crabbiness. I guess she’s getting old. i would love to see a picture of the outside of your cottage.
I took some, I’ll be sure to show you asap.
Rachel’s hometown is soooo lovely! Quaint! I love the idea they can walk EVERYWHERE! Those church bells did stir my sleep with no complaints from me! I took a break and read through the WHERE WOMEN COOK Jun/Jul/Aug edition and ta da! On page 61 is an advertisement of the WWC Cookbook with Miss Susan’s beautiful picture is featured!! You’re fantastic!
PS: I gained 4 lbs. on Rachel’s Carmel brownies — but oh so worth it 😉
So it was the peacock I heard, shrieking in the night. Thought I’d stepped on one of the girlfriends’ toes in the dark 😉 How lucky to find a cottage that comes with built-in outdoor entertainment!
p.s. Love Alice. I could sit beside her all day.
p.s.s. Rabbit rabbit!! Happy June everyone!
Oh my gosh, Susan. You are having such a grand time. We hope that you loved those cakes………..I saw the chocolate one sneaking in the background that looked scrumptious. Did you get any recipes? I know they measure differently than we do but we can figure out the equations for sure. Also, those cake plates in the picture were beautiful. Loved that Pete the doll was along with you. Finally, the sign “Home is wear the heart is” was just the perfect touch! Now where did I read that saying before………..oh yes, your cookbooks!! Hahahahaha Watching for anything and everything you share with us! Safe journey! Hugs, Gail & Joe Buss, Bev. Hills, Fl
Oh be Still My Heart! What an adventure! I have been an anglophile forever and sadly have never been but am living vicariously through your lovely images and words! God Save the Queen!!!
Hi Susan! I am back home (Lexington, MA) from a wonderful trip to England. We started in London for a few days and enjoyed much of the same scenery you posted with all the joyous jubilation decorations and excitment! Then we had four days and nights at Bibury Court. Sigh. My husband and I had the most wonderful time ever….. There’s a new owner since we’ve been there last, and I must admit I was wary that the updating I saw on the website might have diminished the atmosphere, the facilities, the “old-fashioned” manor house charm that I’ve always loved…but I am delighted to say, that in least our opinion, the improvements have enhanced the hotel. Our room (East India Company) was lovely, overlooked the graveyard and church, and had a new bathroom which was quite modern, but it seemed to fit. The staff is lovlier than ever…we made lots of friends. The food was wonderful (they’ve added a pub menu in addition to the more formal diningroom menu) and we ate most meals on the premises. (With a side trip to the Catherine Wheel one evening!) There’s a new patio area….and the great room is just as it’s always been….comfy, warm, inviting and just perfect for an after dinner game of scrabble with some wine! And the gardens…..well, words can’t describe. We felt like we were in a dream. We walked and walked and walked…one day we followed the footpath to Coln St. Aldwyn and back….lots of sheep with their playful lambs….cows…cooing wood pigeons….we were so sad to leave but plan to return as soon as possible. It truly is a very special place. And wait till you meet Rupert!!! Have a wonderful time!!!
The new owner is our friend Siobhan and her husband John!!! What a wonderful review . . . I sent your words right to them! So happy you had a good time. It sounds just beautiful. Thank you!
I can’t believe it but I just now climbed out of the suitcase to join you in your beautiful travels. I know, I know, how could I stay trapped in there for so long? (you may be asking) Well, stress and end of the year teaching stuff-moving to a new room, etc etc kept me busy, but I am so glad I’ve finally joined up with you, Joe, and all the girlfriends! I love every bit of text, video and pictures that you can manage to give us. I love our walks on the footpaths, the tea rooms–got a chance to sip from one of those lovely china teacups! You think of everything! Thank you so much for letting me come. It’s been a real stress-buster. I should have climbed out earlier, but I am glad I’m out now. I am soaking it all in and loving every minute of it.
I’m glad you’re out too, I thought someone was missing!
did i miss a recipe for the carmel brownies???? would love to have it, eat it, and share it.
No, you didn’t miss it; it belongs to Rachel and I would guess it might be something she’s saving for her cookbook!
Great pictures, Susan…especially loved the one with the “Home Is Where The Heart Is” sign ♥
Love reading your blog and love all your products
love your blog and your products