As some of you know last month I went back “home” to London to visit my family & friends and to get away from snowy Quebec LOL and on the morning I arrived it was beautiful sunshine, blue skies and daffodils – heaven :O) Now I would not necessarily call it a ‘holiday’… a holiday to me is sitting on a beach drinking cocktails, but it was a lovely break and I also signed two weddings while I was away, so a little work too of course!
The first few days I caught up with one of my BFF’s who lives in a lovely town called Berkhampstead just north of London and situated on one of the canal systems throughout the UK. We had a lovely lunch – sitting outdoors on March 11th (no snow!!) and then a gentle stroll along the canal where we bumped into swans which are protected in the UK and all owned by The Queen, passed a fertility Totem Pole given by Canada to the people of Berko (Berkhampstead) which we kept well away from LOL and of course many pubs which what else do Brits do on a Saturday afternoon, have a drink or two while watching the Rugby or Football!!
I then headed up to Suffolk/Norfolk on the east side of the UK to visit family and guess what – hung out at another pub, but this one was different, honestly it is the smallest pub in Britain called The Nutshell dating back to 1867 and only 7ft x 15ft in total size fitting about 12 people on a good day ha ha!! However according to the Guinness Book of Records, in 1984 apparently 102 people squeezed into this pub – now that must have been a nightmare getting served! I also got a wonderful “Sunday Roast” and got to meet little Bethany for the first time too…..
Very sadly the following week I was in London catching up with old friends in Waterloo just minutes away from Westminster….. after lunch as we were walking to Westminster Bridge, heading over to visit the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey we noticed helicopters hovering in the air and the London Eye was not moving, as we got closer to Westminster Bridge we were stopped by Police barricades and then noticed all the camera crews around us – it wasn’t until I got home later in the day to see the news that I realised what acts of terrorism and heartache I was witnessing – we were just moments away from the Bridge. For some reason that day my friend Emma was an hour late getting into London, so we were delayed by an hour in our plans which if she had been on time, would have put us on the bridge at the very time the terrorist attack happened. For some reason that fateful Wednesday was not our time and it certainly makes us stop and wonder……. (no pictures necessary).
The following weekend was Mother’s Day in the UK and a day to celebrate, it’s been 14 years since I have celebrated Mothers Day with my mother, so we took ourselves out on a glorious sunny day to visit “Wisley Gardens” which is a Royal Horticultural Garden just on the outskirts of London, and as my mother loves gardening a perfect choice! We walked the gardens, enjoyed lunch visited the large greenhouses and of course did a little shopping in the shop and Mum also managed to pick up a few plants for her garden….
Now as Chris and I have just finished building an old Shakespearean Pub in our basement, of course I needed to pop up to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit the hometown of our beloved Shakespeare and also spend time with my oldest friend, who I am also going to be Maid of Honor at her wedding next year! We visited Shakespeare’s birth home where we could walk on the original floors that Shakespeare walked on, his bedroom and even the loft where his father illegally kept sheep skins LOL (bit of a crook) what I must admit I did not realise was that back in the 1600’s there would not have been any windows in the houses (yes I was shocked too) just open spaces where all the weathers of the season could blow in… at night they did have shutters / boards to close the window spaces – must have been horrible. While coming out of Shakespeare’s birth home we enjoyed some local actors reenacting parts of plays which was really great!
We then walked on to Shakespeare’s home “New Place” that he purchased for his family sadly part of it is no more, but the gardens were beautiful and in the exhibition halls we also got to see Shakespeare’s signet ring which was lost just before his death and only found in 1810 near Holy Trinity Church nearly 200 years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616…. but the question still remains – is it really his ring, what do you think? Looks pretty real to me. We then took some time out at The Garrick, an old timber framed pub dating back to the 1400’s and of course where Shakespeare would have popped in for a drink or two, it is also the oldest put in Stratford! Our final points of interest were visiting Shakespeare’s School, where children are still taught today (imagine sitting in the same classroom as Shakespeare) and “Halls Croft” home to his daughter Susanna who married a doctor. Now although Shakespeare had 3 children none of his grandchildren had any children so the family line ran out there. However Shakespeare’s sister Joan’s family line still goes to this day and the last little Shakespeare was baptised at Holy Trinity Church back in 2014!! Our last stop was at Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare and members of his family are buried.
Lastly another day out in London, where we started the day where else but in the oldest wine bar in London called Gordons Wine Bar which I fell in love with – dating to 1890 (relatively young) and situated near Embankment by the Thames and and all oldy worldy in the basements with just little tables and chairs and candles for light! We then took a long walk up The Strand to Covent Garden (saying hello to the Maple Leaf Pub), across to Leicester Square, China Town, Piccadilly Circus, Carnaby Street and finishing at Oxford Circus… luckily that meant I had worked off my lovely Sausage & Mash I’d had at the pub :O)
Overall a wonderful trip catching up with lots of family and friends…. until next May, love you all xoxo
And lastly a little wedding inspiration… loving this “Tin Wedding” design…… “Cheers”!!