Sunday, September 27, 2015

England, Day Nine, Part Three

This afternoon after having lunch at Bodiam Castle we are traveling to Smallhythe Place.  This is the lovely timber framed chocolate-box home of Ellen Terry who was a famous Victorian actress.  The home is in Weald of Kent near Tenterden.  Upon finding Smallhythe Place there is parking right out front of the home.

Smallhythe Place was built in the late 15th or early 16th century.  It was once the site of medieval ship building near the River Rother.  Ellen Terry bought this home in 1899 as a getaway from London.  Ellen Terry was the leading Shakespearean actress in Britain.  She would come by train to enjoy her time off from her busy schedule.

Edith Craig, Ellen's daughter, set up a museum in her mother's honor upon Ellen's death in 1928.  Along with the National Trust's help she ran the museum until her death in 1947 when they took over its care.  The home is full of Ellen Terry's possessions.  Let's go inside and look around.

The home is so old, but full of charm--undulating floorboards, huge beams and a rickety staircase.

There are many of her costumes from her plays in Smallhythe Place!  This is truly a museum of her work and life.

I'm sorry about the glare, but you can imagine a lot of her costumes are behind glass.  The painting of Dame Ellen Terry was done by Clare Atwood.  Yes, she was given the title of  Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.

There was a lovely case of antique dolls.

The Liberty Dress

After seeing the inside of this incredible home, we wanted to look around at the gardens and the theatre that Ellen Terry's daughter built.

I love the espalier rose on the side of the building!

Another espalier rose.

I just love seeing these beautiful black faced sheep at Smallhythe Place.

To the back of Smallhythe Place Edith Craig (Ellen's Daughter) had a thatched roof theatre built.  The Barn Theatre regularly has Shakespearean plays that the public may attend.

Inside of the theatre we see another costume that has been recently restored.

Let's go back outside to view more of the gardens that surround Smallhythe.  Look at the back of the home.  As you can tell it's quite large.

There is a charming path to walk to the view the grounds.

The wild flowers along the path is typically English and quite charming.

The garden borders up to a lovely old Church.

As we left the garden we came upon this beautiful old well.  The beauty of Smallhythe Place will stay with our stored memories of the lovely chocolate box home of Ellen Terry.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall Ponderings and Other Thoughts

Today is the first day of Autumn and it feels like it here!  The temperatures dipped into the 50's overnight and for the first time in a while, I put long pants on for our walk.  I simply adore the change of seasons.  Changing from summer to autumn is always welcome after a hot humid summer.

Last night we took a drive a couple miles from our home to see the changes that are occurring all around us.

I've watched this barn change over the 47 years we have lived in this area.  As you can see it is quite overgrown and will eventually fall into the landscape.  The farmer has just cut the corn in the fields so I could see the barn is still upright.

Just above the hill to the right is another barn that appears to be in good condition.  There used to be many farms in my county.  I sure hope that open spaces will still be here for future generations.

It's time for me to add a few Autumn touches to our home.  I brought out the dough bowl and filled it with dried citrus that I bought last year in Williamsburg.

I added a few of the last zinnias to a Beatrix Potter mug in the kitchen window sill.  I'll add a few more things as the season progresses.  Autumn comes slowly, so I'll add touches as time permits.

My daughter posted this on her blog yesterday.



I was pondering on some things at the end of a long workday yesterday (as I am wont to do) and I saw some pictures of some Halloween themed gingerbread men.

It brought my mind back to a story my parents told me about when they were dating. Mom was a teenager when she was dating my father. She was experimenting with cooking (something she still does well into her sixties, I might add) and was making a gingerbread man for my father.

As she was taking it out of the pan, it broke.

Oh no. Disaster right? She’s trying to make something nice for her boyfriend and it broke.

Now my mother is totally a perfectionist. She doesn’t let that get in the way, though. Instead of trying to bake another, more perfect, gingerbread man, she iced the leg, and attached a note to it when she gave it to my father, saying that he broke his leg trying to jump out of the pan and run away.

That was an important lesson to me later on in life. Sure, sure, doing your best is important. But, an important part of being a person is to make good use of mistakes. I doubt I’d have ever heard of any gingerbread man my mother baked for my father as a teenager if it had turned out perfectly. It was the fact that she took a mistake and made it into an interesting story made it memorable fifty years later.

Do you have the creativity to turn a mistake into something awesome? If you do, what did you do?

I have to say this post of my daughter's gave her Mama and Daddy a big smile! ♥

Friday, September 18, 2015

England, Day Nine, Part Two

♫ Greensleeves ♫

After seeing the beautiful Seven Sisters we traveled to East Sussex.  The English countryside is such a joy to view.  I must tell you that we both wore permanent grins on our travels.  The pace was quite intense as we wanted to see as much as possible.  So come along with us as we continue on to see Bodiam Castle.  This is the view as traveled along the coastline.

We have small roads to travel as we come to Bodiam Castle.  It reminds us of the roads in the Lake District.

Today is a Bank Holiday and the castle is a popular place for families to come.  Bodiam was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dallingridge.  There is a debate as to whether he built the castle for defense or to show off his power and wealth.  It is known that it was a working estate with farmland, a wharf and a flour mill.

Bodiam Castle would have originally been elaborately landscaped with ponds and moats as we see today.  These ponds and moats would have added to the defenses, but also made a scene to impress visitors.  Okay---I'm impressed!!

The castle became unlivable during the English Civil Wars.  The most notable restoration occurred from Lord Curzon, Vicroy of India, who left the castle to the National Trust in 1926.

Let's walk around and go into the castle.

Look over the railing, there are many fish in the moat.  The dark shadows are some very large fish!

Walking inside of the ruins we see the Weald Stone interior.

We have no intention of climbing walls, but I see many children that are just itching to do so!  The children here are enjoying themselves so much--can you imagine being able to visit a real castle as a child?

Just outside of the moat there is a fair going on. --A lot of families having picnics and enjoying the various craft tables set up.  There are kiddie rides of all sorts to delight the children.  It's a beautiful afternoon and no one is wasting the gorgeous day!

Walking back to the carpark, I am reflecting on the piece I read about Bodiam Castle written by the National Trust.

A Castle of Wonder
"Where brooding walls rise
majestically from a moat; where
you can be a real knight or
princess for the day...Let the
castle capture your imagination. "

We have worked up quite an appetite since having breakfast early this morning.  There is a lovely tearoom here on the grounds we should visit.  I hope you will join us!  Grayden and I are sharing a one pot chicken meal and potato and leek soup.  We've enjoyed the best meals here in England.  They know how to make the best soups!  I know we are going to enjoy it.  The one pot chicken was a soup like meal served in a bowl with yummy root veggies and a large breast of chicken.  There is a large piece of crusty bread to enjoy alongside our meal.  Of course I'll have a pot of tea along with my meal.  Enjoy your lunch as we have two more places to visit before we end our day.  See you soon! ♥

Sunday, September 13, 2015

England, Day Nine

After leaving York we travelled to Brighton.  We had reservations to stay in this seaside town for our last three nights.  It proved to be a good base from which to visit other places we wanted to see before leaving out of Southampton.  Our place in the Lake District was an apartment, but in Brighton we had a hotel room.  It was fine and it included a daily breakfast that fortified us for our morning.

Brighton is a busy seaside town in contrast to where we had been previously.  It was a Bank Holiday weekend and we definitely saw crowds of people and traffic.  Brighton is on the English Channel and is popular with locals.

Our hotel was across the street from the famous Brighton Pier.

I think you will enjoy today as we have great plans ahead.  After getting dressed, I opened the blinds to look at the lovely sea and the beautiful day awaiting us.  We go down to breakfast and enjoy a lovely view of the English Channel and the Brighton Pier.

After getting the car out of the car park, we're heading east down the coast to Birling Gap.  We pass by a beautiful windmill!  We were told there are many in this area.

As we travel along the coast we spot the chalk cliffs!

Before we reach Birling Gap we see this thatched roof home--so lovely.

We're almost to Birling Gap--Home of the famous Seven Sisters!  Let's park the car and take a look around.  I am speechless!

Birling Gap is owned and cared for by the National Trust.  Birling Gap and the surrounding cliffs have been changing for many thousands of years.  The land here was originally joined to France until sea levels rose and the English Channel formed.  The waves and wind created cliffs by erosion.

We are standing at the top of a set of huge metal stairs.  I can't believe the beauty of these chalk cliffs!  We learn that erosion is continuing today and the cliffs are receding by 70cm each year!  Some years nothing happens and then some years several meters of cliff fall!

We were told that as sea levels rise and storms come, the rate of erosion will increase and the car park and the information building will be lost.

Let's walk down the stairs to the beach.  Be careful as it's windy and we don't want to fall!

Can you believe how enormous these cliffs are?  The beach is full of smooth pebbles and is quite different from our beaches of sand.  I understand there are fossils among the rocks.  It's quite hard to negotiate the beach walking on thousands of pebbles.

After going into the information center we learn that there really are Eight Sisters!  We would have to go into the English Channel to view them.

We need to move on as there is much more to see in this area.  So we get back into the car and travel to see more beauty.

We come to the Belle Tout lighthouse that is now a bed and breakfast.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to stay here?  This lighthouse was built in 1832 and decommissioned in 1902 and has been a tea shop and a home and partly destroyed in WWII.  It's also been moved due to erosion of the cliffs.

Belle Tout Lighthouse

Just a few yards down the cliffs is the Beachy Head Lighthouse.

Beachy Head Lighthouse

This is a view of Beachy Head Lighthouse from the Cliffs. This photo was scary to take!  The Beachy Head Lighthouse was opened in 1902.  It stands at 141 feet. Three lighthouse keepers manned the light until it was automated in 1983.

The beauty of this area is breathtaking!  I'm so happy we have come to see the Seven Sister's or is it Eight? ♥