Monday, September 30, 2019

Autumn at Cotehele

As Autumn is approaching, I am remembering our lovely Golden Celebration to England two years ago.  Grayden and I spent four weeks in Great Britain touring Scotland, the Lake District, Devon and Cornwall.  If you wish to follow along on our journey I have been recording it on this blog for a while now.  All of the visit is under the Great Britain tab above.   It seems to take a while to write about it all, but I am determined to do so.  I am writing in the order of the places we visited.  So next up we are going to Cornwall to visit Cotehele located near Saltash. 

As I recorded in my journal, the trip to Cotehele was a little hairy having taken a single track road and met a car head on.  He graciously backed out and let us pass. Thank goodness we are all safe and sound to enjoy a most special place owned by the NationaI Trust. 

Cotehele is the ancestral home of the Edgcumbe family and dates back to 1353. This lovely slate and granite home is high above the River Tamar and remained in the family for over 600 years.  In 1947 Kenelm, the 6 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe gave the home to the National Trust.  

Come inside with us and we'll see more interesting sights that may surprise you.

Stepping inside the Great Hall we see all sorts of armor and collections decorating the walls.  It's very much like the grand entrance inside a castle and reminded me of the wealth that surrounds it.

The bones that we see are from a fin whale.  They are enormous!  The National Trust folks nicknamed them "Finella."  The Edgcumbes were collectors of all sorts of things.  It is not known where the bones were collected from.

The ceiling of the Great Hall is quite impressive with exposed ancient timber work.

Tapestries adorn many of the rooms.  We are told little has changed in the home since Tudor times.  

Cotehele has a lovely chapel that one can still attend services.  

Take note of the clock gears in the back left.

The turret clock was installed between 1493 and 1591.  The gentleman there said the only other one is in Salisbury Cathedral (more on that later) to the best of his knowledge.  This one being the oldest in the UK. 

After leaving the Chapel we explored the other rooms that are open.

The bedrooms with ornate embroidered bed coverings and tapestry lined walls made the home have more warmth during the cold winters. 

This lovely embroidered bedspread really caught my eye!

This large home has many bedrooms and many beds.

Most of the tapestries make the home have a dark feel.  They are from the 17th century and most feature Roman myths.  

There are many handsome pieces of period furnishings in the home.

As always in the National Trust properties there are fresh flowers from the garden placed all about.  There is a 12 acre garden that surrounds the home as well as acres and acres of woods to explore down to the River Tamar.  As you can see the walls are very thick here at Cotehele!

Looking through the peephole we can view the Great Hall downstairs. 

Let's visit the kitchen.  I always like seeing where meals were prepared.

The large fireplace for cooking must have been quite dangerous back when women wore their long skirts.  

As well as quite warm with all the heat this oven must have produced.

The gardens are lovely on this beautiful Autumn day.

Everything looks so lush and green.  England certainly enjoys a lovely Fall thanks to rain and sunshine.

After touring the gardens you can stop in the National Trust shop and look at all the goodies.  It all helps them keep their wonderful properties open for all of us to enjoy.

As we were leaving Cotehele, I am again struck by the beauty of the "green and pleasant land" that is England.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Blue Ridge Mountains

                           The Blue Ridge Mountains, Tim Janis

There are two places in this world that fill my heart with awe.  The first is the ocean.  Oh how I adore its wonder and majesty.  The second is the mountains.  

"We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us."

John Muir 

Saturday was a lovely day to take a drive to the mountains.  Although still quite warm, the mornings and the evenings are telling us that Autumn is coming. 

The beautiful  last quarter moon rose high in the sky and lead us to our destination, the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Sperryville, Virginia.  Sperryville is a small little town with a population of around 350.  There are small little antique stores and shops and small little roadside stands that sell apples and peaches and cider.  We've been going here since our children were small.  They tell stories of how a man at the apple stand gave them a apple to eat on the way home.  The fun part for them was he told them to throw the core out the window when they were finished.  I don't think I'd tell my children to do that, but we allowed it that trip!  I'm a stickler for not throwing out trash, but allowed it since it decomposes. 

The fields and farms we passed along the way show signs of Autumn.

The soybean fields are turning a rich golden yellow.

You can see why these mountains are called the Blue Ridge. 

Hay bales ready for the Winter ahead were spotted everywhere.

As you can see the leaves are still quite green, but look at those mountains!

We spotted so many lovely fences along our drive.

Leaving Sperryville we see the pretty last roses of Summer with the mums of Autumn on the interesting white picket fence. 

It was a lovely drive to the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.  


Friday, September 20, 2019

On the Way Home from Norway

After visiting Norway, Grayden and I had a lot to ponder on our journey home.  We took the Queen Victoria back to Southampton and thoroughly enjoyed the slow pace back on the North Sea and into the English Channel.

Walking through the Chart Room you can stop for a drink or visit with new found friends.

Maybe you would enjoy shopping in the Royal Arcade.

Or maybe you'd go for a swim, though I doubt that would suit you on this day as it was still quite chilly.  You could use the heated indoor pool if you wish.

Grayden and I really enjoy it all, but I do believe our favorite is walking along the Promenade.  Even after our walks we would venture outside again to view the lovely North Sea.

It's hard to believe the North Sea is so blue!  Isn't it magnificent?  I adore the ocean and always find joy in its majesty. 

Back inside of the lobby we view a portrait of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.  She visited the Queen Victoria on its fifth anniversary in Southampton.

Maybe you would enjoy dancing in the Queen's Room or going to Afternoon Tea is always lovely.

It's all wonderful and we certainly enjoyed our time on this lovely ship, but we must now pack our bags and get ready to exit the Queen Victoria and board the Queen Mary 2.  I'm pinching myself now, reminding myself this was not a dream, but a wonderful voyage to Norway.  It was more than beautiful to Grayden and I.  It was a dream voyage to a magical kingdom full of lovely people and beautiful scenery!  

Boarding the Queen Mary 2 certainly takes the sting out of leaving the Queen Victoria.  We both absolutely adore the Queen Mary 2!  So let's all get in the car and head over to her dock.

This is a bust of Queen Mary in the entrance to the Queen's Room.  Won't you join us for Afternoon Tea?

This is King George V bust on the opposite side of Queen Mary.  If you are a Downton Abbey fan, these are the royals that will be visiting the Crawleys in the new movie.  I haven't seen it yet, but hope to soon.  How about you?  Are you a fan?

There is another lovely portrait of Queen Mary in the Queen's Room.

How about a lovely scone and clotted cream?  Shall I pour a cup of tea for you?

As we get settled in, we have a glorious week to be on this lovely ship.  Again our favorite is walking about the Promenade.

What do you think these sculptures are that Grayden is standing in front of?

I'm happy to say that these have not been needed on any of our voyages.

Let's find a deck chair and enjoy this beautiful day at sea.

As you can see not all days at sea are lovely.  The closer we get to the Grand Banks the cold ocean waters meet with the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream.  Fog then engulfs the ship and the Queen Mary 2 sounds her whistles every 2 minutes that can be heard 10 nautical miles away. 

We even were treated to a rainbow during the fog on that afternoon.  You can see it faintly to the right of Grayden. 

And then suddenly we travel out of the fog and into the sunshine!  

After being onboard the Queen Mary 2 for a week we are back in New York City.  What wonderful memories we have stored in our hearts about this beautiful voyage to Norway!

Waiting to disembark the Queen Mary 2 the Statue of Liberty welcomes us back home.  May she always welcome the tired and poor to her shores.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door! "

Emma Lazaras