Monday, December 31, 2012

Coming and going..............

......or going and coming!
Home is where you make it.

Looking across Tor Bay to Berry Head  

Leaving home in drizzle and matter, I loved it still and know I'll return........

.......perhaps on a sunny Spring or Summer day another year.

On the way back home to the US through heaving Heathrow Airport, such a busy crossroad in the world.

Taking off and flying over beautiful Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park. My mother actually grew up in this charming town, playing at the castle, as her father was a member of the Coldstream Guards, sporting a uniform with the busby hat just like the guardsman in this photo above.

Heading across the pond, over the snow covered Maritimes of Eastern Canada, New England, New York and New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and down home to the southeast...........arriving on a crisp but sunny afternoon after a comfortable 8-1/2 hour flight.  As I said - home is where you make it.

So here I am, back in North Carolina for the New Year's Eve celebration. Bob has a heavy cold (everyone in the UK had the same and kindly shared it with him!), I don't need it with my big trip looming we are celebrating here at home in front of the hearth - our first fire of the season - and at midnight, if jet lag doesn't catch up with us before then, we'll be popping the cork, pouring the sparkling bubbly and drinking to each of you.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, prosperous, and joyful 
New Year. I hope it will be your best year ever.
Thank you for being such amazing friends. Each one of you 
who stops here, reads my posts, looks at my photos from 
around the world, and leaves such kind and thoughtful 
comments, brings so much comfort and joy to me.......I 
truly am grateful.
See you in 2013........first stop ANTARCTICA (click to see itinerary).

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Goodbye Devon........................

Today we vacated our lovely apartment in Torquay, above...............took the long road trip back to Heathrow Airport in drizzly rain, and after fish 'n chips in a cozy pub with a refreshing walk in cool night air, are now settling in for the night at the hotel before flying home to North Carolina tomorrow.

In the space of ten quick days we enjoyed many beautiful home cooked meals with family and friends.........

.......plenty of pub meals.......above the Start Bay Inn 
at Slapton.

The Linny Inn, in the tiny village of Coffinswell, circa 1368.

At the Babbacombe Inn overlooking Tor Bay, a memorable Christmas dinner with seven members of my English family. My Christmas 'turkey' was actually baked Brill, a lovely local fish, stuffed with lobster as I don't eat any meat or poultry.

....and the most moist and scrumptious traditional 
Christmas pudding topped with Devon clotted cream. 
No need to tell you that sensible, lo-cal eating was 
forgotten on this trip!

Above, the garden below the apartment where we stayed.

Yes, coming home for the holidays brought many warm welcomes from lovely people.......the weather was really quite awful most of the time, however we were prepared and just accepted being damp and windblown.............enjoying each and every special moment.

Morning views across Tor Bay from the apartment.

All will be missed, and come tomorrow when I touch down 
on US soil again, all will be a beautiful memory of
another visit home of which I'm very grateful.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Heading south..................

I've been trying to load photos from here in Devon - also write more about my time in my hometown - but the Internet connection seems to be acting up the past couple of days, and tomorrow morning we leave for London on the start of our journey home. An overnight at Heathrow airport, then flying out on Sunday.
SO, instead you get this post which I've had waiting to share with you - my next adventure coming up very soon!


OK, this one should be fact so easy it's hardly worth throwing out clues because I know you will ALL be winners. All my warm Winter hats are packed ready to travel so I can't even toss your names in for a draw like before, and how would I buy you a special prize when there are no gift shops where I'm going!

Let's face it, it's not a trip many people take.  
This awesome, distant place, 5,100,021 square miles of which 98% is solid ice, the coldest and windiest spot on the planet, where the lowest temperature ever -129.3F was recorded, and winds can reach 200 mph. Some tough ocean waters to sail, of which the Drake Passage is the roughest in the world. At it's northern limit on one day a year the sun does not set or is so remote and difficult to reach it's not at the top of 
most travelers' wish list!

These are the books I've collected for the journey................yes, I know what you're thinking, why 
does she need so many. No I don't have an e-reader. Yes, I have considered purchasing one to use for travel, but I already have these recent purchases and I do still love reading 'real books'. There should be ample time during the many days at sea to curl up with a good book, and my knitting, in between zodiac rides, photography, and sharing interesting conversation with about 130 other adventurous passengers, plus the expedition leaders, and crew.

This is our itinerary for January, where it will be Summer and we may enjoy high temperatures of 40F degrees! Paula and I will be off to the seventh continent - she's been before so has told me, and shown me, her photos of the awesome things I'll see and experience............and I'm planning to share it all with you!

Paula is taking me on this fabulous adventure, literally to the end of the earth, to celebrate our fifty years of friendship! There, in a place with no official language or currency, no official population other than governmental research stations with small groups of scientists, and no shopping, we'll have time to reminisce about all we've done in those many years gone by, and share another new adventure together.

Our ship, G Adventures M/S Expedition
Photos via their website
If you're interested, more details HERE 
for the complete itinerary of our expedition titled 

A very HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone......and many thanks for following me to some amazing places in 2012. 
Hope you enjoyed the trips and are ready for more.  
We leave for Argentina on this awesome adventure January 9, 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day.....................

A glimpse of my dining room decor for Christmas 
last year. I didn't do much decorating this year 
as we're far away enjoying my family and friends 
Christmas cheer instead! 

Our view yesterday, early Christmas Day morning, across Tor Bay toward the English Channel and France. 

The sun was out - there was blue sky - it was calm 
and almost warm. With much joy, and to celebrate the 
special day, I placed the little tree on the 
terrace table. The people we rent the apartment 
from had this decorated tree waiting for us. 
It was a fabulous day spent with family.

December 26, Boxing Day - always a great day 
here in the old country. 
The pressure is off, wrapping paper no longer underfoot, 
 more time to sip a sherry, savour a warm mince pie 
right out of the oven, and dig in to a slice of my 
sister-in-law's fabulous traditional English Christmas 
(fruit) cake which came in the mail from France. 
A tasty unexpected surprise!

It's another dry morning, the light is coming up 
across the water and I'm heading out for a quick 
walk along the beachfront. 
Later we're off to a fabulous luncheon with some 
very dear friends. 

Enjoy your Boxing Day.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

British shops................

Christmas shopping in Dartmouth, Devon

Historic buildings circa 1650

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Christmas card to you...............

Christmas at home.............

We are celebrating in my hometown 
in Devon, England.
Wherever you may be, enjoy your Christmas celebrations.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Devon in the rain................

From the bus window as we neared my home in England today.

The journey went well and quickly.  
The weather is horrid.  
Doesn't matter I'm loving it already.

It is home, I am home.........that's all that matters.

Thanks to all who wished us safe passage and a good time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All the way home.....................

At SuzAnna's Antiques recent Christmas Holiday Open House - a lovely evening affair complete with music, good food and wine, and special people - I asked jolly, handsome Santa Claus if perhaps I could borrow his sleigh to fly home for the Holidays..........he was not amused! 

So, by the time you read this I should be snuggled crammed into my coach class seat, with the flimsy blanket, miniature pillow, and a mini bottle of red wine under my belt - to help me sleep of course - for the night ride across the pond. Fortunately we do have a direct flight from here to London's Heathrow Airport, the flying time is just 8 hours, arriving early tomorrow morning.

Hope to keep you posted from my home in will be a busy time, as always much too brief, with people to see, places to go, and Christmas celebrations to enjoy......and from the looks of it, in rain much of the time!

I've been wishing for a Christmas at home......come rain or shine.

On Dasher, on Dancer..............on American Airlines sleigh!  

Christmas travel.........

Sun is shining brightly. 
The breeze is gentle. 
A beautiful morning here in North Carolina.

We're getting ready to leave later today, 
somewhat sad that we won't be here with family and 
friends for Christmas merriment......but excited knowing 
we'll celebrate with other family members and dear friends 
across the pond. 

Hope your Christmas preparations are going well.
Have a wonderful holiday wherever you
celebrate with your loved ones.

More later.............

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Winter homes for wrens.............

My Carolina Wrens are still very active.............coming to the front porch constantly. I was about to remove the now dead Boston ferns this week, their crisp brown leaves do look very sad, however, every afternoon the pair of wrens arrive around five o'clock, have a little chirpy conversation on the porch railing, then hop into the two hanging baskets where they spend the night.  Isn't that precious.  

Anyone passing by doesn't know why the dead plants remain, probably think how untidy they look. 
Me, I love providing Winter housing for our feathered friends.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Candlelight...........A FAVORITE THING

I must confess......

 I have an candles.

A couple of years ago I broke down under pressure and decided during a pre-holiday visit to Restoration Hardware - where I love just about everything but have nowhere in this small cottage home for most of the over sized furniture, or a billfold to match - that I would invest in some permanent battery-operated candles. They are really great. Made of wax and quite realistic, they can be set to 'burn' for several hours and then turn themselves off, even flicker similar to a live flame, are odorless which is good for those with allergies, and of course are extremely safe. 

Also they were on sale, thankfully.

They look fine with my mercury glass for the holidays or special occasions, but somehow don't inspire me the way a real candle does. I enjoy lighting the real thing and later extinguishing it with my cute brass candle snuffer......perhaps because my dear mother gave it to me. It brings back memories of times she was still here to come and visit, and bought me little gifts for my home. As the candle burns down I like to trim the wick, breathing in the smell of the wax, and sometimes a subtle perfume, it seems old fashioned and friendly.............., guess what I couldn't resist when looking around 
at Pier 1 last week.......

 ..........this lovely candle.

Being a bird lover - and a candle addict - it was definitely coming home with me.

Do you enjoy using candles in your home?
The real thing, or have you purchased the permanent ones?
Which do you prefer?


Linking to Mockingbird Hill Cottage where once again we join in Claudia's Saturday fun. Stop by to see all the pretty Christmas blog posts.

Edited: Tonight, like me, perhaps YOU can light a candle in memory of the many children and adults who were taken from this world far too soon. The tragedy in Connecticut today has impacted all of us...........please remember them and think of their families and loved ones, they need our prayers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Voices of Christmas present............

Those who wish to sing always find a song 

My granddaughter Jasmin is a first soprano in her high school chorus. The concerts for the season have been numerous and we've gone to as many as possible. In churches, church halls, elementary schools (including her own where teachers who knew her from Kindergarten through Grade 5 were amazed to see her all grown up), gymnasiums, auditoriums, and other venues, these wonderful kids sing their hearts English, Spanish, Latin, German and more. The songs are often traditional carols, sometimes modern holiday songs, or just lovely stories from around the world set to music.

Practice takes up a lot of time but their music director, a wonderful teacher who has been with this school chorus for 21 years, and we hope he never retires, inspires and educates each precious voice so beautifully. It's not work for the kids, it's love of doing something they embrace, and using their God-given talent................a great voice.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Decor dilemma............

My Christmas decorations are still in the attic, stored in 
those big plastic boxes, stacked to the roof, and...........calling to me!

The I climb back there between 
raking more leaves and packing suitcases, or do I whisper 
to my sweet Santo and explain the situation and why I 
haven't had time to find her lovely wings for the holiday 
season as in previous years.

She's wearing her crown right now, and I will place more 
candles nearby today - the evenings get dark so early, 
especially yesterday I noticed - and I need more light. 

Because we're leaving next week and spending 
Christmas so far away, decorating here was not in the cards, 
but, as you can imagine, I'm now 
feeling guilty, especially after seeing all your 
beautifully decorated homes 
here in blogland.

 Next year will be different, I will stay home for Christmas...................well that's the plan right now. 
I'll be up in the attic.....pulling out the boxes.....pulling 
out all the stops.....happily doing what I usually do at 
this lovely of year.