Intriguing, don’t you think? The Picnic that Wasn’t, but Was? Another post that requires a cup of tea, or maybe it’s iced tea where you are (do you KNOW they do NOT have iced tea on any menu in the land of tea?🇬🇧). They don’t! So we drink pink grapefruit squash mixed with ice water instead! Life is good! MUSICA.
Dark dark dark . . . As it drew nearer to Picnic Time, we were watching the weather and it wasn’t looking good. Everyone’s phone said something different weatherwise . . . but mostly, it didn’t look good. Carrie said she was bringing lots of waterproof tablecloths … Joe and I found a Home store and bought huge canvas dropcloths with plastic on the bottom, waterproof, just in case it poured in the morning, and then the sun came out. We could put our pretty table cloths and blankets on top of them. Was the hope.🙏
This would actually be our third picnic here . . . the first one was with Rachel in 2004 … We were staying at Stourhead, and noticed people having luv-lee little picnics all over the lawns, under the old trees, next to massive blooming rhododendrons, with birds singing . .. we wanted to do that!!! So we did, we made every little picnic treat as you can read above, and had our “best day ever” in the magical garden at Stourhead. This picnic was the inspiration for our Girlfriends Picnics ever since. It was just too good not to share!
The ducks and geese brought their babies over for bites of biscuits. That’s how good it was.💖
I was busy fretting when Joe noticed a sign in the courtyard near the parking for Stourhead . . . right across from us. There he is, taking a photo of it.
A traveling chef! How interesting . . . so he went to introduce ourselves, talk to them, and see what they might be doing after Breakfast on Sunday! A very long shot, they were supposed to lock up and go home around 10:30 am, but it was our only hope!
Meet Laura, Izzy, & Jo! They’re English girls of course, and traveling chefs! They were at Stourhead to serve the triathlon which ended after breakfast on Sunday. So we asked if they’d be interested in doing a POP-UP PICNIC after breakfast! They agreed to stay on to give us an indoors for our rainy day picnic, thereby saving the day! They’d have hot coffee and tea and soft drinks and they’d be,“making more bakes” for us!!! Serendipity! In case you live in England and need a pop-up food event, definitely contact firstname.lastname@example.org. They were wonderful to us … pretty much guardian angels, and everything they made was delicious!🇬🇧💞
And the clock struck noon . . . a year in the planning, a year of anticipation, and the moment had come …I almost don’t like things to actually come anymore. I’ve fallen in love with anticipation and I don’t want it to be over!
But everyone was coming, and coming from everywhere, and it was just as wonderful as I hoped it would be…. We walked out front to start steering everyone to the warm room . . . Here we have Carrie’s husband Stuart, their dog Buddy, Christie, April, Nellie (April’s mom), Jack, who belongs to Carrie, Dianne, and Siobhan … old car, old house, lovely photo op. Hugs hugs and more hugs.💞
Janice from Northern California brought the bunting and everyone started decorating . . .🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧What to tie it to? Where there’s a will, there’s a way . . .So festive, more girlfriends arriving … some separated on their tours, meeting again with their ship girlfriends … this is Kathleen and Sharon, and that’s Belinda hugging Rachel …
More decorating . . .
In the last post, I showed you the lovely lamb bunting made from our name tags by Sharon to celebrate our girlfriends on Twitter . . . Sharon brought it to our talk on the ship.👏
She made it in honor of Barbara Urbank, a wonderful woman we knew on Twitter and quite recently lost. She is still in our hearts . . . and it felt good to have her along with us.💖
SO fun to see Carrie and Jack again!
Tour buses picked up many of our girlfriends at the ship and for the last 8 days they had been falling in Love with the English Countryside like everyone does the moment they lay eyes on it … now the buses had brought them back for our picnic … and had stopped to pick up bagged lunches for the picnic. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Mary’s darling hat!
I went table to table with my camera, wanting to catch these smiles from Monica, Chris, and Tom.
She was saying let’s do it again! The only photo I have of the four of us in Beatrix Potter’s Garden, poor Stuart’s head got chopped off!, Jack too . . . So Henry the VIIIth of the photographer!
Did better this time … with the new inclusion of Buddy. They took pictures of us . . .
And we took pictures of them! That’s Belinda, Jane, Victoria, Nicoline, Diane, and Nancy . . .
These girls (and Jerry) were still feeling the glow of the Cotswolds where they’d been touring for the last week!
Nicoline, Patty, Belinda, me, and I think that’s Anne? Creative Nicoline made gorgeous travel diaries, and we’re all looking at them!
Anne brought her book . . . several people brought books … they ended getting lots of signatures besides mine . . . they became a sort of year book!
We were all writing in them!✍️
There was time to get into some really delightful conversations . . .This is Ellen, she is a flight attendant from Texas. She wasn’t on the ship, she had a layover in London, hoped on a train and got over here in time to join us! 💓
Here are Rachel and sweet Heather . . .💟
As she does, Rachel brought her famous BROWNIES for EVERYONE … here’s she’s handing out to-go bags for their trips back to London!💛
So, time for class photo, Girlfriend’s Picnic, that Wasn’t, definitely but WAS, 2022 … Everyone lining up . . .
I’m still taking pictures . . . wishing I had step ladders for the faces in the back . . .where are the bleachers when you need them?
Then I get in . . . I tried to bend my knees, but I see now, it really didn’t work!!!
Cutie Pies . . . Mary and Victoria 💝
This little thing from Victoria is coming home with me!♥️
Melissa brought me her FOSB club card from 1992! Was so fun to see it again! Kellee used to put one into every order back then, maybe I should see if she would do that again! I have to turn it upside down so you can see the “very valuable” part …💖
And so it was, the clock had ticked the hour, the church bells rang, the bus drivers lined up, and off they want, brownie baggies in hand, to London and their next adventures. Hugs goodbye, till we meet again, and we walked back to our cottage . . .
to take the last pictures commemorating this amazing day…
Carrie! Get in here!
We look like we all just jumped off the roof like the girls in Practical Magic. A little curtsying and inside we went . . . to drink tea and hash it all over ~ and now, two weeks later and I’m still feeling the glow! Thank you all… I know I saw some of you stow-aways flitting through the trees . . .
Ever since then, we’ve been doing what we love to do, exploring this green and pleasant land, stopping in antique stores, eating in pubs, wandering through history . . .
Taking the back roads through the hedgerows, loving the fields of wildflowers … 🥀
the constantly changing skies . . . sometimes, the sky is so big, you can seriously see the curvature of the earth. Probably not, Joe says, but I think, okay, but probably SO!
Of course the darling villages festooned with bunting to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee which will be going on here in England for the next week … She has given the whole country a four day weekend and the preparations are UNBELIEVABLE!!! Cutest country EVER.🇬🇧💞
Houses right on the street, you can picture it filled with horses and wagons… what a treat to see this, and it’s real, Walt Disney didn’t do it!
I squealed as we drove into the town where we’d be staying next . . . here in East Anglia, a place we’ve never been … perfect for exploring and discovering and learning ~ even discovering, once again, how MUCH there IS to learn!!! You forget when you sit waiting for a dread disease to disappear week after week, year after year, don’t you? Travel, getting out of our boxes in even the tiniest way, huge help to overcoming the “I’m so sick of this” blues!💖
I have to give you this one taste of serendipity before I go! Three days ago, we spent the day wandering around a WWII Airfield Museum for the American 95th Bomb Group at Horham. 8,000 American soldiers descended on this tiny village (350,000 came here during the war where we worked together with the Brits to kick some butt for Democracy) ~ it was so touching and the perfect place to celebrate Memorial Day and remember.🇺🇸🇬🇧 There are airfields all over this part of the country and so many memorials. History is very much alive here. Of course you talk to everyone you meet … This interesting English man (above) was there following his passions ~ as it turns out, he’s a historian. He said there was a book I must look for … written by an American soldier who, while stationed in England during the war, rode his bike everywhere, and fell in love with the English Countryside … 💞
I wrote it down of course. . . the next morning, I was tweeting with Trudy Lindsay (a friend I met at Beatrix Potter’s cottage) ~ out of the blue, she wrote, “Since you’re staying in the area, you must look for a book by John Appleby called Suffolk Summer.” Well, that sealed the deal, I needed to go on a book hunt. Not ten minutes later, Rachel texted me this photo to say this book was in her pile to bring to us when they arrive (today actually!). Wasn’t that enough off-the-wall impossible serendipity? Apparently not…
Later that VERY same day Joe and I drove to Bury St. Edmunds, a town we picked off a map, to see what we could see. We wandered through this HUGE ruined abbey, built around 1000 A.D., torn down during the reclamation … it must have been like a small city, it went on forever! I read Pillars of the Earth, so I think I have SOME vague idea of what went on there …
We got closer and closer to the Cathedral, following little paths, up crunchy stone stairs ~ And then, on a wall … was THIS!!! We had no idea it would be here … we knew Martha’s Vineyard was named for the 2-year-old little daughter of Capt. Bartholomew Gosnold who discovered the island … but had no idea of the connection to Bury St. Edmunds. Martha is buried here in the churchyard. What are the chances?
But, still more around the next corner. Here, you can discover it, the same way I did:
IMG_0333 ⬅️ Just Click Here! It might take a little time to load, but it’s worth it! Turn up volume for actual demonstration of squealing . . .💞
So beautiful . . . imagine this rose garden when that lavender blooms!!!
But we’re not done yet . . . Connections never stop coming …
Up the path I went, turned to the right to go around that hedge into the Cathedral where we could hear singing . . .but just as I turned the corner . . . THIS …
IMG_0349 . . .
Yes. John Appleby AGAIN, following us through the English Countryside! Isn’t that wonderful??? I can’t WAIT to read his book!!! John Appleby, whatever else he was, which I’m going to find out, is proof positive that, what is true for him, is true for all of us . . .
So around the side of the Cathedral we walked, to go inside, to listen to the choir sing Evensong (which was beautiful by the way, angel voices soaring to the rafters) … I looked back to see this . . .
And noticed . . . how wonderful! Look close, this house was built right INTO the old Abbey wall, into the ruin ~ You saw it in that first video ~ I noticed it from the back while in the rose garden … now look at the ruins above the house in this photo, and the wall going to the ground on both sides … HOW DO THEY DO THIS?? Don’t tell me, I know it’s magic.
It was a whole row of cottages… built into the ruins … ruins on the front, and “new” house on the back…
Then we went to a restaurant for lunch, and this was on the wall! But of course, we already knew that!! And today Ray and Paul come to stay with us for a few days to show us how English people celebrate a “JUBBLY” . . .
Still getting to know our newest little cottage. We call the bathroom “Tipperary,” because it’s so far away, a long, long way, to be exact . . . but it’s cute and we love it. It’s a cottage that wants to be a castle and I’ll tell you about it in the next post. As a bonus, we stopped by to see Carrie and Stuart at their home in the Cotswolds, and she’s just given me permission to show ADORABLE photos! Something to look forward to! Sometimes there are no words, and sometime there are a WHOLE BUNCH OF WORDS! Hope you are enjoying your armchair trip through the English Countryside! Bye for now dear ones. Be good to yourselves!