We’ve been driving, darlings, but I’m here to catch up! First thing you should know? Seventh Heaven. That’s the truth. MUSICA 🍀☘🍀
We’ve driven hill and dale through small villages . . .
and little country places all clean and windswept . . .
in WEATHER, because it’s wild over here right now, just like it is at home!
Lots and lots of rain . . . and wind . . .
And sometimes some pretty scary fog . . .But Map Man has become such a good driver, despite the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car, there is no fear, much anyway, and onward we go! Cling to each other as rocks of gibraltar.
And no matter where . . .
. . . we go . . .
. . . the view is charming and sends your mind to the moon … think of that tree in the summer, what it must look like . . . see the bird at the top, and the lamb at the bottom . . . and those hedgerows? They’re growing on rock walls . . .
We drove across the Severn from England into Wales . . . where SO MUCH HAPPENED, but we will skip directly to our Girlfriend Carrie and her husband Stuart because we stopped to say hello . . .
Her darling new-to-her house by the side of the road . . . we had just pulled up, and they were outside waiting! Thank goodness for cell phones and GPS!
We went for a luv-lee walk to the top of a hill overlooking the village …
And those of you familiar with @CarrieHerself (on Twitter) will recognize her famous wonder-dog, Jack!
We could have walked and talked for days!
But I know what you want! You want to see Carrie’s house, right? I can do that, she told me so! Thank you Carrie! We both agreed, Petey fit right in!
Carrie’s adorable Beatrix Potter shelf. 💞
And the shelf in the bedroom she’d fixed up for us . . . I took this photo with my cell phone from the bed! You could stare at it for hours! So pretty, with sweet old books, pictures, and china.
We had tea in our jammies in the morning in very recognizable cups! This is one side of Carrie’s comfy kitchen . . .
And this is the other. Just love her colors, greens and blues, and daffodils! Notice fluffy white chick-magnet in basket on floor next to chair . . .
Here we are, up-close and personal with the chick magnet. 💞
A couple more photos . . . Here’s Carrie’s desk.
Every Welsh, English, and Irish family that lives in the country has mud in their everyday lives and needs one of these areas in their home. We brought our Wellies with us and even though they take up space, we are so happy we did! We keep them in the car so we have them when we need them. May not always be mud, but tall grass is WET! And walking is such a wonderful pastime. If your boots are rubber you can walk right into river water!
And this crooked little house is just down the street from Carrie. I think she could start a magazine of her adorable village (but mostly of her house) called An Eye for Details. She’s trying to retire from the B & B in Oxford that she runs with Stuart, but I keep thinking of new things for her to do. 😘
They were so good to us . . . but all too soon, as with every good thing, it had to end, and we had to go!
I needed to stop on our way to pay my respects to someone who helped to make life fun when I was young. It was very touching to be there. Miss her! When she died so suddenly it was like a light was turned off. She went home to the wind and the sky of Wales that made her.💞
Laura Ashley’s grave is next to a field ~ I walked over to take a photos of these cavorting lambs kicking up their heels, saying, Spring! Life begins again! Then again, back into the car we went . . . and on the road again . . . to
. . . the top west side corner of Wales (loving every bit of Wales, what a wonderful interesting place it is ~ More! More! More! I’ll show you in the book), to Holyhead to catch . . .
. . . the ferry to Ireland . . . 🍀
Across the famously fearsome Irish Sea we went . . . intrepid brave travelers that we are . . .
It became clear very soon that we were going to get lucky (I’m the canary in the coal mine), that the Irish Sea was going to treat us like the big babies we are . . .(I am) …
It was gentle sailing the entire three hour trip . . .
But just in cases, we were ready. You can have your own room on the ferry, for not a lot of money, if you aren’t sure and taking no chances, would rather be seasick in private. You give them your car keys, and they give you the key to a room . . .
Perfectly wonderfully comfortable, you can lie down. It even has TV and a shower should you feel so inclined! This ferry goes night and day, does even longer trips, some people commute on it, so this room could come in very handy.
Two lounges, a breakfast room, video games . . .
The good ship Epsilon goes places! Sails to France! Very tempting!
But we have a plan, and suddenly, thar she blows, our first glimpse of Ireland . . .☘ A place I’ve felt connected to from far away, a place we’ve always wanted to see. The first time for both of us.
The ferry lands about ten minutes from downtown Dublin . . . Joe set the GPS and boom, here we were.
In Dublin we met up with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Elaine (and Joe’s too ~ I met Elaine in California, she moved to the Island and worked with Joe at the Black Dog for a while). She flew in from California to hang around in Ireland with us (and help me celebrate my birthday in Dublin, which is what we proceeded to do) …. here we are at Trinity College. It was her first time in Ireland too, and she’s a Duffy and a Sullivan! 🍀
This is Elaine and me in the way-back machine, on a waterski weekend in California. You might remember Elaine from The Fairy Tale Girl … she hired me to work in the record department of Stereo West. (Fired me too! ⚡ But I deserved it so I forgive her!)
Here’s to old friends! All those years ago, who would have thought we’d be together in a pub in Dublin in 2018!?
And to add to the birthday joy of the moment, more darling friends, Rachel and Paul flew over from England to join us!
Paul, the proper English Gentleman . . . so cute!
Lowely and John sent birthday flowers to the hotel! Yes, verklempt! The card was all in “the Irish” (as John had requested), “Breithla Sona!” Happy Birthday!
Of course, we did the “ring thing” at the restaurant on my birthday dessert. Everyone put their rings over my candle, and when I made a wish, they made one too, and when I blew out the candle, ALL our wishes came true. 💞 Then everyone had to suck the ice cream off their rings!
So Joe’s ring slipped out of his fingers and rolled into the restaurant, causing panic, everybody UP (I grab the camera!) … but we found it and all was well! It was, as they say in Ireland, “Graaand” ~ a perfectly lovely wonderful fun and funny evening in a very delicious restaurant called Peploes … I’ll put more photos in the book-to-come, I’m writing every day, but keeping up here is impossible, there is SO MUCH to tell you . . . Joe gave me the most perfect antique thing he found in Dublin, I painted it already, I’ll put it in the book! MAS MUSICA!
And then, because time just refuses to slow down, Rachel got back to the clamouring fans of her Sugar Moon Brownies 😋, Paul went back to his law office 📚, and for us it was off again, on our trek across Ireland to our new house on Galway Bay, with Elaine tucked into the front seat . . .
This was our first glimpse of our new Bayfield House, just turning into the driveway and already madly in love with it . . . and since then . . .
Our neighbor has moved his cows into our field . . . we can see them out the living room window right this very moment, but these two photos are from the car window as we were pulling into the driveway . . .
I love them so much. Bunch of moms and their babies, a family. 💞 Ireland, I have learned in just these few days, is a place that seeps into your heart a little at a time, the more you read, the more you know the history, the closer you feel to these wonderful people and everything that’s happened here. I’m writing every night and loving it.
So right now, I have to stop, because Siobhan just arrived, and she, along with Elaine and Joe are looking at me, 👀 we have a reservation for dinner at a place just up the road. We are walking! Past the cows, and the rock walls, along Galway Bay! I have to go get ready. But what I’m going to do is come back later and add on. So read this, and then get ready for more later. Like a serial! XOXO
Here I am again! Drinking my tea in this quiet house with the huge picture windows, watching the brown cows and the magpies waking up outside, and beyond the green fields and rock walls, the tide coming in on Galway Bay. More photos? Oui! MASS MUSICA? (This was playing in our car BBC while we were driving hill and dale in the countryside, past all the lambs and daffodils and I’m still not over it and never will be!)
As I’ve been saying, the hiking and walking-pub-tearoom life is a lifestyle here. It’s easy to walk from one town to the next over narrow ancient paths, and there is always a public house along the way, so you never have to worry about food, drink, facilities, and warmth.
Very often there’s a crackling fire you can cozy up to . . .
While you flirt with nearby dogs.
The food, btw, is SO GOOD with a focus on freshness and health. I have a theory … Maybe it’s because they had that horrible event with mad cow disease in the late 90s that was killing people and was so difficult to stop that they were finally forced put down an estimated 180,000 animals in the British countryside ~ it had to be a horrible life-imprinting/changing event for everyone. Even from far away, I saw what was happening and hurt for all those farmers and their country neighbors. I’m not sure if the fine quality of pub food now has anything to do with that, this is just my own take on it, but I remember when people used to disparage British cooking, and it makes sense, because no one could every do that now! I think everyone would have automatically been made hyper-aware that you are what you eat, and now, everywhere you go, even in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, the food is fresh and organic and locally sourced. Every ingredient is listed on the menus and we’re told it comes from such and such farm … every imaginable allergy is carefully watched over. Some menus are almost entirely gluten free! Unless you eat their yummy seeded homemade bread! But in most places, you can order gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan … any way you like it. 👍
So, yes, you walk and walk, then go sit in front of the fire and eat something wonderful . . .
And if you’re lucky, you’ll be in a pub with a view, and perhaps a little critter will come visit your window . . .
That view also included the cottage belonging to Doc Martin (of the much loved TV series) because we were in charming Port Isaac in Cornwall . . . the house is the smaller of the two grey-stone ones in this photo … we walked all over the hidden narrow paths between the whitewashed or stone cottages in this wonderful magical village by the sea.
I could really go on all day . . . but my people are waking up, they will be milling about soon and wanting me to move my hiney out of this chair. But before I go, you should know there are daffodils EVERYWHERE. Whole roads are lined with them. I keep asking myself, “Who does this?”
And then there are the castle gardens . . . with massively old trees . . . and more lovely sheep to keep the grass cut and tidy looking , like a huge park.
Look at the expression on that one “hiding” next to the tree!
I got to pet my first lamb! But I don’t think it’ll be my last!
This is an amazing little village in Wales called Beddgelert . . . go there if you can, it’s in the Snowdonia National Park and as sweet as pie.
We walked over the bridge to have dinner, and came back after dark without the slightest light to guide us . . . except for our handy “torch” (flashlight) . . . and the cold river rushing by and stars overhead.
It has been wonderful so far, and this is just the tip of the great big emerald-green iceberg. More to come!!! You know we still have our picnic in Beatrix Potter’s Garden! And our house in the Cotswolds! We’ve only just begun!
But here comes Mother’s Day! And before I went away I designed a new crown! I’m giving you plenty of time to make it ~ it’s a crown project! Isn’t it adorable? Kellee put this one together for us ~ You can make it either with or without the band at the bottom, and use it for any day!
Click HERE for the How-To directions and to print out these papers . . . because
And very soon our Mother’s Day cups will ship from England! At the end of this week!
ALL of them are shipping. They have to get over the pond to America, then go through customs, then be trucked to the Studio, and then, finally, to you . . . we will be shepherding them from here, cracking that whip, fingers crossed that they make it to everyone for Mother’s Day 🌷 . . . And thank you so much for your patience! I have them all here with us, and they turned out beautifully!
And now look! Not to drive you nuts, which I don’t mean to do, but with the lateness of the Springtime cups, we are running into a log jam. (And as Siobhan says from her peanut gallery over on the sofa, “But the good news is you can have two cups at once!” She doesn’t realize that our cups runneth over!) Anyway, this may be our last collection ~ I feel like I’m taking up too much of your cupboard space! Maybe I’ll do another one for next Christmas? We don’t get home until July 1 and I wanted to make sure our Summer cups were designed and ready to go before we left home. They sent me the first samples when we were in Cornwall. They should be shipping from England around May 20 and probably from us at the Studio around the 2nd week of June, if all goes as planned 😜. This means, for those of you collecting, we will have all four seasons! So here’s a closeup of what is coming:
The collection would not have been complete unless we had a God Bless America cup! So here we go! Fireworks, bunting, flags and all!
The back, “Of Thee I sing!” I photographed them all in the backyard of the Cornwall house on the vintage tablecloth I bought for the Picnic! Perfect timing.
Here’s the side, and the Statue of Liberty . . . btw, I picked the little flowers from the lawn.
Because even though we are traveling, cuteness matters!
Zee bottom, “Sea to Shining Sea.” And now . . .
SUMMER! (Will it ever really come?)
The Summer back, you can see the dog pulling the kite on the beach . . . This is the smaller 11 oz cup (like the other three seasons have been) as opposed to the rest of them which are large 16 oz cups. But they’re both that thin strong bone china we love.
Here’s SUMMER from the side so you can see the kite tail and read the rest of the quote…
And a little reminder while you’re drinking your tea to go play . . . they are not long the days of wine and roses! And next . . .
A celebration of the little things that make life sweet with A RED LETTER DAY!
Everything needed for a homemade happy life . . . your basic “How to be Happy!”
Here’s the side . . .
And the cheerful handle with dancing and singing cats!
And a little reminder on the bottom . . .
Next, behind door number four . . . the GARDEN . . .
With lots of wonderful old-wives tales gardening tips on the back to make it interesting . . .
Picket fence and humming birds!
And scattered flowers for the handle. Oops, I forgot to take a photo of the bottom! BUT I remember, there’s a red-handled trowel and it says, “You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.” Truer words were never spoken! 🌸
And that’s the four for Summer! Kellee will put them in our web store for preorder within the next couple of days. I’m thinking of ordering a lot less of these, mainly because I fear that you are being inundated with cups! So, to be sure, if you want one, place your order, so I will know.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program! I’ll see you in a few days!
We went to Cong here in Ireland, where much of The Quiet Man was filmed (see it if you haven’t already, it’s a guaranteed love-fest!). This photo was in the bathroom of the actual Pat Cohan Bar you see in the movie, and that’s where Elaine and I are sitting above. See what I mean? It’s never ending. More later! Have a wonderful marvelous magical day of joy and happiness and good and delicious and healthy things to eat. XOXO