Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is only four sleeps away!  This year like all the years of past, our children and grandchildren will be with us beginning with Christmas Eve.  We are thankful!  


I want to wish all my friends here a lovely celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior. 

Peace on Earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.  

Helen Steiner Rice

I will be taking an extended blogging break soon, my friends.  I will visit you all again in Spring.

Friday, December 16, 2022


Jane Austen's Birthday

In honor of Jane Austen's birthday on December 16th I'd like to repost an article I wrote after we visited her last home in Chawton, England.  This was on our very first trip to England in 2015 and forever made my heart want to return to that green and pleasant land.

 Today is the last day of our wonderful adventure in the beautiful English countryside.  We have had a wonderful visit to England!  It has been nearly perfect for us.  We have seen and done more than one could imagine.  Today there is enough time to see Jane Austen's home in Chawton before we get back on the Queen Mary 2 in Southampton this afternoon.  Come along with us as we visit the last home of Jane Austen in the village of Chawton.

Jane Austen lived in this house with her mother, and sister Cassandra, from 1809 until 1817.  Jane revised her manuscript for Sense and SensibilityPride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey and wrote Mansfield Park and Emma and Persuasion while living in this home.

After buying our tickets we are directed to the back of the house to see the Bakehouse.


We then watched a short movie about the life of Jane Austen and then went around the side to see the kitchen.  Here are our clothes to put on while we work in the kitchen.

After working in the kitchen we need to go outside and see some of the garden before we enter the home.  It's a sunny warm day to enjoy walking around the lovely gardens that surround the home.

I'm looking forward to seeing the home of such an accomplished writer.  Of course, she received much more acclaim after her death, as is the case of so many writers.

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." Jane Austen

 I love this chaise lounge in the drawing room of the home!  The wallpaper throughout the home is Laura Ashley.  It's not original to Jane Austen's time.  Here is a framed piece of some of the original wallpaper.

Also in the front parlor is a piano.  Jane entertained her family by playing pianoforte and reading to them.  Jane continued to take piano lessons well into her twenties which speaks to her love of music.  She often rose early to practice.  Like the characters she wrote about, Jane was an accomplished pianst.

In the parlor we see Jane's desk (table) she used to write her novels!  It's so small!!  I can't begin to imagine using this to write on!

“It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
 Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Going upstairs we see the bedroom of Jane and her sister Cassandra.  The two sisters were very close.  Cassandra must have been devastated when Jane passed away at the age of forty one.

Cassandra's Sampler

Wash basin and chamber pot that is housed in closet 

Laura Ashley Wallpaper

In the Admiral's bedroom there is a red and white quilt top on the bed.  Jane's brothers were in the Royal Navy.  Francis Austen became Admiral of the Fleet and was knighted by King William IV.

This amazing quilt was stitched by Jane, Cassandra and her mother.  Although the quilt is really a coverlet as it only has a top and bottom.  The pieces were made from material of their nieces cotton clothing.  The Caen lace shawl belonged to their niece, Fanny Knight.

The coverlet is behind glass and is no longer on Jane's bed.  If you are a quilter you will really appreciate the border and its intricacies!  They are so tiny!

Here are a couple pieces of Jane's jewelry that are displayed in cases.

The bracelet is so delicate and lovely.  It was passed down through the family.

Jane received the topaz cross from her brother Charles in 1801.  Jane was inspired to write about it in Mansfield Park as the amber cross Fanny Price receives from her brother.

Jane Austen's health became so bad that she had to seek medical care in Winchester.  It is believed she suffered with Addison's disease.  Sadly she passed away soon thereafter.  She was buried in Winchester Cathedral.  There is a copy of the inscription that is at Winchester.

There is also a plaque at Westminster Abbey in memory of Jane in Poets Corner.

JANE AUSTEN 1775 1817

She was the daughter of a country clergyman, George Austen, and his wife Cassandra (Leigh) and was born at the rectory at Steventon in Hampshire on 16 December 1775. In her books she portrayed the society and manners of the life to which she belonged: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The family later moved to Bath and after her father's death she lived in the village of Chawton. Although she had several suitors Jane never married. She died in Winchester on 18 July 1817.

As we are leaving Jane's home we see this charming cottage next door!

Cassandra's Cup Tearoom and Bistro is across the street from Jane's home.  I wish we could go for a cup of tea, but we have a ship we need to board!

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Pearl Harbor Day

 In honor of Pearl Harbor Day I am reposting our visit to Pearl Harbor in 2018.

The Island of Oahu

After leaving Maui, our ship made it's way during the night to the island of Oahu.  We were docked in the port at Honolulu.  What a surprise we had in store for us!  Honolulu was a fairly large city when we visited in 1971, but we both were so surprised to see how big it had grown!  The total population of Oahu is 953,207 and the population of Honolulu is 390,738!  No wonder there is so much growth of high rises and homes.

I imagine it's unfair of me to think everything will look like I remember from so many years ago.  Our little town is no longer little from that span of time either.

We booked an excursion that would give us a good look at the island.  We boarded our coach for an eight hour day that took us around the island to spots we wanted to visit.

As I noted in my journal we had a beautiful day complete with a wonderful tour guide.  Our first stop was Pearl Harbor.  We had visited this memorial before, but felt we must do so again.  As we were getting off the bus for our tour there Grayden checked his pocket and discovered he didn't have his wallet!  Oh my goodness did that give us bad start to the day.  We reported it to our driver and he said he would be on the lookout for it, but we were pretty stressed about it.  I did not bring my purse so we didn't have any money.  I often don't bring a purse since having back issues.  

We didn't want this episode to spoil our day so we joined our group on this touching tour.  

On December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service.  This surprise attack led to the United States entry into WWII.  Twenty one ships were lost or damaged during this attack.  All but three were returned to service for the United States Navy.  In Pearl Harbor, The USS Arizona was a total loss with 1,177 men perishing.  Their remains lay entombed in the harbor.  Men who survived this horrible attack and served on the Arizona have the right to have their remains entombed here. 

The memorial park is operated by the National Park Service in conjunction with the United States Navy.  This solemn and sacred park touched my heart to the core.  Having been here with young eyes, I must say I saw it with a different reverence on this day.  We began our tour by watching a movie about the events of the day and then boarded a boat skippered by Naval personnel to get a more close up view.

The USS Missouri is the first ship we pass.  This is the ship that hosted the signing of the surrender of Japan that ended WWII. 

The USS West Virginia was sunk by Japanese torpedoes and a bomb from the air.  

The USS Tennessee was hit by two bombs that incompletely detonated.

The USS Vestal, a repair ship, was hit by two bombs intended for more important vessels.

We then slowly approach the USS Arizona.  There is complete silence aboard as we make our way along Battleship Row.  The design of the Arizona memorial is attributed to Alfred Preis who was detained at the beginning of the war because of his Austrian birth.  The design is meant to represent defeat in the center and victory on the ends.  The Arizona is no longer in service but is an active U.S. Military Cemetery.  2,335 military personnel were killed. 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines, 218 Army, 68 civilians, making the total lives lost 2,803.  Wounded came to 1,143. Total Japanese loss was 55 men.

We had to stop and reflect on these horrible events.  How can such hatred exist?  I do not know and I must say I worry about it for my grandchildren.  Dear God, please teach us to love one another.

As we were leaving Pearl Harbor I couldn't help but photograph such a lovely peaceful harbor and remember it was not peaceful at all on December 7, 1941.

Riding along the Interstate H3 (yes they have three interstate highways on the island) we are treated to glorious views as we make our way to the North Shore.

Our tour guide reminds us that we are going to stop for lunch soon.  Grayden and I look at one another and say--no money, no lunch for us!

We go inside and look around at the gift shop and our guide sees we are not in line for the lunch buffet.  We remind him we have lost a wallet and he says--"Oh your meal is included with this tour."  I can tell you there was one man very happy to hear this. 

After lunch we continued on our tour of the lovely North Shore.  As you can see we had rain off and on, but still enjoyed the beauty before us.

We were told that portions of Jurassic Park was filmed in this area.  

Next on our visit was a stop at the Dole Pineapple Plantation.  Sadly the pineapple companies of Hawaii have left like the sugar cane.  There are fields of them for Hawaiian consumption.  The old fields are now being developed into subdivisions. 

We enjoyed watching a pineapple cutting demonstration.

This was the sweetest pineapple we have ever tasted!  We were happy to end our day on a sweet note. 

As we boarded the ship we both wanted to head straight to our cabin and see if Grayden's wallet was there where he thought maybe he had left it.  We went into the room and didn't see it anywhere.  Then we opened the safe and there it was!  That sure made the end of our day feel much better.  It was an emotional day in a lot of ways for us.