Monday, May 30, 2011

Miss Potter's Hill Top home...................

This is the breathtaking countryside around Beatrix Potter's Lake District home, Hill Top farm. Above is the view from Hill Top's garden, across the lane to the lush farmland dotted with sheep and their many lambs. Spring time - a perfect season to visit.

A very pretty cottage down the lane from Hill Top.

Over the years Beatrix purchased thousands of acres of land with money received from sales of her delightful children's books.  Yes, Peter Rabbit and friends are responsible for this land being given to The National Trust to ensure its pristine, undeveloped beauty for posterity.

Cumbria's green and lush Lake District has to be some of the most beautiful countryside on this planet.......and beyond the rolling farmland and famous lakes are the high fells in the background, hiking destinations for those who love the great outdoors.

If you are ever here, don't miss a visit to Hill Top......left just as if Beatrix Potter had stepped out to set up her easel and paint the sweet creatures in her garden.  Interior photography is not permitted but the garden is open to visit and photograph.  Wandering up through the bordered path...........

.............the slate roofed cottage with the familiar covered entrance door soon comes into view.

The flowers were beautiful, especially the white wisteria climbing the walls..............

.......and one almost expects Miss Potter herself to be seated on the bench.

Note the umbrellas at the door - fortunately not required the morning we visited - sunny and warm, perfect in fact.

Everything blooming and very lush - note the striped window shades, and behind them, peeking out were two new blogging friends whom I met a couple of days earlier. More about them later.

The famous gate into Mr. McGregor's vegetable garden..................

......where I was ready to enter with Babs and Paula in search of that naughty rabbit........

............and there he was, Peter Rabbit himself, honestly, nibbling away just as expected!

This photo above by friend Rob - mine were blurry due to excitement and a shaking camera!

Childhood friends to so many of us - thank you Miss Potter.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Little Foxes

PLEASE indulge me!!  I'm so enamored by the new members of my garden family..........I've been clicking away from the kitchen window each time they come out to play.  Hope you enjoy seeing these cuties…..........and when you reach the end there's a surprise you have to take my word for.............

Mom the vixen, and one kit.

Not ONE............

...........NOT two.........

..........NOT three.........

........and, NOT even four!!!!

I told you there were four kits in the previous post......................I was wrong!
Yesterday a fifth little guy squirmed out from under the gazebo - what a surprise!  Trying to catch five fox kits playing together is going to be a challenge, they are so active and quick, however I did catch four together last evening.  Mama was sitting close by  watching their every move.......and we are wondering how long they will stay in the garden.  I'm never going to get any chores done, inside or out, while there's so much entertainment going on!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Guess who's moved in......................

Not snowing today - just using this photo from last December for want of a current one showing the gazebo from this angle!  Away from home for the past couple of weeks, the garden continued to grow during warm and wet days. The blanket of white is now many shades of brilliant green, the shrubs and grass are in desperate need of mowing and trimming, and general cleanup is calling...................this weekend requires many hours of gardening in oppressive heat and humidity.


Look whom we've discovered living under the gazebo!

Mama grey fox apparently gave birth here, perhaps a month or so ago from the size and activity of her offspring.  Yesterday was quite a shock when four of the cutest kits crept out from their den at the base of the gazebo and starting playing on the deck.

Then Mama appeared, at first sitting off to the side watching them, then joining in, walking across the deck - unfortunately I didn't get a pic of them all together as I was so excited trying to shoot through the blinds without disturbing them - and then taking them into the garden to play.

This is some homecoming!  We had two litters a few years ago under our neighbor's shed, but never this close to our house.  We will be a little wary when outside and will follow the guidelines for dealing with wildlife living in such close proximity.  In order to have them removed a permit has to be granted by North Carolina Wildlife, something we may not bother with as this family should disperse within the next month.

Just a Nature break I had to share..........I'll be back with more stories and photos from my UK trip very soon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Scotland...........tartans and castles

A quick side trip to bonnie Scotland.  
We seven, a motley crew comprising of two Brits(Babs & Eric), two ex-pats, but always Brits (Paula & yours truly), one Canadian (Kim), and two Americans (Bob and Rob), piled into the van early morning, wished the rain away, and headed for the border.  Two hours later we stopped briefly in Gretna Green - the border town where under age Brits have always run off to get married - and then we were on the road to beautiful Edinburgh.

I really believe men get to have a ton of fun wearing amazing Scottish tartans.  The kilts are so gorgeous and I love them dressed up for formal occasions with jackets and beautiful ties.  
Hey, would you go out with a man wearing a 'skirt'?  Must say I wouldn't hesitate if he looked like this! Bob, your legs are OK still - perhaps we should have bought you one!

Interesting historic buildings - numerous statues for perching! 

Edinburgh Castle - sitting proudly above this lovely city.  My first time in Scotland - sun shining, wind blowing, a short but exhilarating visit.
The castle has been a stronghold for over 3000 years - Scotland's chief royal castle since the middle ages.

Scottish bank notes...........having a wad of them would be nice to spend on all those tartans!

You know my tastes...............and having lunch in this lovely space under an exquisite ceiling with a gorgeous chandelier, made dining in Scotland memorable.  Even the food was great.  Of course you also know I was aching to bubble wrap that chandelier, tuck it in my suitcase, and bring it back to SuzAnna's Antiques!!!

The Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the reigning monarch in Scotland.  Standing at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, it is the setting for state ceremonies and official entertaining.  Queen Elizabeth II spends one week in residence at the beginning of each Summer.

Holyrood Abbey was founded by David I, King of Scots in 1128 - the shell of the abbey church is visible in the palace grounds.

Wish we'd had time to view this photography exhibit at Holyrood - that banner photo is our beautiful Queen Elizabeth  as a child.

More touristy kilt offerings - they even look good mixed with sportswear.

Another view of Edinburgh Castle - live bird perched on the statue's head!

Looking back at the city - a quick but wonderful visit.  At last I can add Scotland to my list of places visited. About time too.........growing up at the other end of the British Isles was a long way to travel so I never made it there as a child.

Lots more posts to come from the Lake District - Beatrix Potter, castles, sheep, more sheep, incredibly beautiful countryside.........and my meeting(s) with two delightful bloggers!  
Stay tuned - my jet lag is bad, and the heat here in NC is making my head pound......but I'll be back soon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Heading North in England................

What a busy trip this has been..................and now, just a few days before leaving, I'm trying to find a little time to organize some photos to share.......before you think I've fallen off the edge of the globe!
When we arrived in Manchester almost two weeks ago (and, after meeting up with two lovely bloggers for a quick airport hello - more on that in another post), we then caught up with Paula and friends arriving from their week in Italy.  Heading North to the Lake District of Cumbria, we detoured to catch a glimpse of the seaside town of Blackpool where Paula lived at one time, and where our dear traveling friend Babs,(who was with us on safari last year) and her family live.  Rain was heavy so these pics were taken from the vehicle.  The Tower and pier are well known Blackpool landmarks.

Leaving the seaside, we were soon on our way to Cumbria and the Lake District.  It was showery but the sun popped out - this was the weather we were soon used to for the entire week.  Fortunately the dry spells were more prevalent than the rain and it wasn't cold.

The Lake District..............truly one of the most beautiful areas of countryside I've ever seen.
Springtime, the perfect time to visit when these little guys were visible in the thousands, gamboling in the flower-filled meadows with the mysterious fells in the background.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No place like home................

Sunday morning.  Beautiful weather, amazing view.  Leisurely breakfast.  Off to catch a boat across Tor Bay to the fishing town of Brixham just visible in the distance.

This is my home.  Torquay, South Devon.  Looking out across the bay to the English Channel.  What could be more perfect?

Internet was not available during the week in the Lake District.  I'll have lots of glorious scenery to show you later.  Think green, very green..........thousands of newborn lambs, tidy villages, castles, long clean lakes, rhododendrons as tall as oak trees, flowers in full bloom, showers and sun, Beatrix Potter's home, Peter Rabbit in her garden......and a day in bonnie Scotland.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Memories.....

Remembering my dear mother - the pretty girl on the right in the photo, with her mum and siblings, including her twin brother on the left.  She grew up to be a most talented lady and the dearest mum in all of England.  
I miss her so much.

Gladys Mary 1911-2003

I scheduled this post before leaving for England as I'll be gone for Mother's Day.  Will be visiting with my two cousins - their mums are the eldest girl on the left with the double hair bows, and the twin on the left in my grandmother's arms.  My brother will also be visiting from his home in France - hopefully we four cousins will have a reunion in remembrance of our dear mothers.

Happy Mother's Day to each of you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cheerio, I'm going home............

Nothing beats a sunny Spring day in the British Isles.
Here's hoping there will be many while I'm there!

I'm leaving for England this Friday.  
Crossing the pond, anxious to step on home turf after a two year absence.

After spending a week in the northern Lake District where we'll meet up with dear friends, see new places, and perhaps include a visit (my first ever!) over the border to bonnie Scotland............

..........DH and I will head down to the south coast of Devon to my home town to visit family, dear longtime friends, and former neighbors.

Land of thatched cottages.....................

.............scenic countryside, and beautiful seascapes. 

I'll try to post if time permits and share photos of places I visit.  My only disappointment - unable to meet up with all my British blog friends scattered across the UK.  Already thinking about an extended visit next time! However, if all goes according to plan, I will meet two blogging friends and I'm very excited about this. Stay tuned for details. 

All photos taken in the county of Devon on my last visit to England.