Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Salisbury Cathedral

This poem sums up my thoughts and hopes for all of my friends here.

My Christmas Wish To YOU

By Catherine Pulsifer 

If I could wish a wish for you, 
it would be for peace
, faith, and happiness 
not only at Christmas, 
but for the whole year through! 

I wish that there always be food on your table. 
That you always give to those less fortunate. 
May you always take time to share, 
and thank those who have blessed

I wish for time, so you may reflect 
on the blessings that you have, 
and that you express your love

to those who are dear to you. 

May you never feel lonely, 
because there are those who care. 
That you realize: you are special, 
you are unique, you make a difference, 
not only at Christmas, but all year! 

I wish for your thoughts to be positive ones, 
that you never quit, that you never give up, 
and that you continue to learn. 

I wish for the love, and peace of God

to be yours always. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December at Home

 I've been focusing on our trip to England for the last couple of months.  The title of my blog after all is, The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen.  I haven't forgotten at all about home and what it means to me.  Home is where my heart lies.   Home is where my family is and that is my world and my love.  I'll continue to share our trip with you, but it's December and I can't let the month slip by without recording some of our activities.

We had our first little snow that turned the gray, bleak landscape a pretty white.

Our son's birthday was celebrated early on in the month!

The beautiful Long Night's moon lit up the sky early in the month as well.  The long nights ahead remind me that winter is knocking at our door.

We decorated the tree with some ornaments that have hung on our tree for 50 years!  We don't have a themed tree.  Our tree is the history of our family.  Ornaments from our parent's trees as well as many we have collected over the years.

I always make cookies with the grands at Christmas.  We had so much fun measuring, mixing and some of us eating the dough.  Then baking and enjoying the cookies of our labor.

Fun times with the grands snuggling on the couch.  These guys are taller than I now so snuggling is a little harder, but I do love that they still sit on my lap for a little while.

It's a busy time in our home as I know it is for you.  I always want to clean a little extra to get the house shining for family times over Christmas.

Cabinets needed to be emptied and glassware washed.

How does so much dust get inside of closed cabinets?  Also it's quite difficult to take photos of mirrored cabinets!

It's the most wonderful time of the year as we celebrate Christmas.  There are more cookies to bake, and presents to wrap and loved ones coming to visit.  Yes, home is where my heart is! ♥

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Allan Bank and Grasmere

After leaving Dove Cottage we drove to the beautiful village of Grasmere.  From here we will visit Allan Bank and have lunch.  Grasmere is a popular spot so we hunted around and found the car park that had available spots.  Getting out of the vehicle I am struck by the sheer beauty that surrounds us!

We began our walk into the village and see many familiar spots that we enjoyed on our last trip to England.

We decided we must go in and get some gingerbread to take with us to enjoy later.

Their gingerbread is like none other we have had.  It is quite flat, but full of delicious spicy flavor! It's a cross between a cookie and cake texture.  So yummy!

Sara Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread is quite popular and we experienced a line or queue as my British friends like to say.

I tuck our gingerbread into my bag as we head to Baldry's tearoom for lunch.  We enjoyed Baldry's on our last visit and wanted to return.

So many lovely buildings are covered in beautiful ivy that is a  rich, burgundy red color in autumn.  

Grayden ordered the quiche/salad and I had the broccoli soup.  The portions are big enough to share.  We do that a lot when we are eating out to save money and calories!

After having our lunch we climb the hill to visit Allan Bank.  

Walking along there are beautiful sites to see.  

Everywhere there are fairy tale houses.

Before leaving our home in the USA, Grayden and I joined the National Trust and English Heritage.  We also got the Explorer Pass that enabled us to visit the places we wanted to see in Scotland.  It's wonderful to support these organizations that keep these sites open for future generations.  If it weren't for them they would probably be privately owned or demolished.  

Allan Bank is just ahead.  We don't have too much further to walk and go inside.

When Allan Bank was built, William Wordsworth thought it to be a horrible idea.  He felt it would ruin the views of the area.  Well, as time passed and his family grew they needed larger accommodations to rent.  Not having much to choose from they moved to Allan Bank.  It proved to be a wonderful place for his children.  Along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge they made their home here until moving to Rydal Mount in 1813.  

In 1915 Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley bought the property for his retirement.  He was one of the co-founders of the National Trust.  He was the chaplain for King George V in 1912.  A poet and hymn writer, he loved the Lake District.  He was the first published author that Beatrix Potter met.  He encouraged her with her artwork and later to publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  Visiting today we are treated to a short reading by actors portraying the beginning of the formation of the National Trust.

The Allan Bank home is quite large and is not in the repair one would think it to be.  The National Trust considers it to be in a state of renovation, but is happy to invite visitors inside.  There have been a couple fires that have nearly destroyed the home.

Since the home is a work in progress, I think you can see why this home needs to be protected.  The views are spectacular!

We talked with a lady who had come up here with her lunch to enjoy the view.  I don't blame her!

When we entered the home we were welcome to take a cup of tea and explore the place.

So we took our tea and headed upstairs.  You can see there is great detail in the woodwork.

I can just imagine what a lovely home this once was.  Wordsworth's sister Dorothy used to complain about the faulty chimneys that would fill the home with smoke as the wind down drafted it into the home.  If you have a chimney you probably have experienced this issue.

Most of the National Trust properties have a room for children to enjoy.  

You can also have a seat and paint if you wish.

I think this home's greatest feature is the view!

As we were leaving Allan Bank we observed a bird in flight heading to the rock cliff behind the home.

This was a glorious walk up to Allan Bank and now as we descend into Grasmere we are enjoying the view.  

All over England there are rock walls that are covered in moss and ferns that are so charming.

And of course sheep.  I couldn't help but photograph them even when we were driving!

Grayden stopped the car many times for me as we just had to photograph the beauty.

Our day ended so lovely. 

Thank you for sharing our day with us in beautiful Grasmere. ♥