Thursday, 11 July 2013

Time well spent . . .

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Another gorgeous sunny day is dawning. Today we are taking ourselves on our little summer holiday.   We cannot afford to go away anywhere this year, and maybe not even next year, but we did decide to give ourselves a day out, and today is the day.

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This is called the Iron Bridge.  It crosses the River Severn in Shropshire, which is the next county to ours.  It was the first arch bridge in the world to be made of cast iron.   Chester City River Cruises does daily cruises to it.   They last about two hours and take you past the Duke of Westminster's Estate and lots of beautiful scenery.  They're not too expensive and so that will be our day out.   I hope I don't get boat sick!

There are all sorts of river cruises that you can go on from the banks of the River Dee in downtown Chester.  When I came over here to meet Todd in person in 2000, we went on one together, just a short one.  Todd was a very good tourist guide I have to say.  He showed me everything there was to know about this beautiful city on those three weeks I spent here, while we got to know each other better.  I fell totally in love with this city and with him, so it was win/win all round!

Coming to Chester for those three weeks was the very first "holiday" I had ever been on in my life really.  My parents could not afford to take us on holidays as such when I was growing up.  At best we got a day out at the beach, or we went to visit the grandparents.   We could not really afford holidays when I was married before either.   If we did go anywhere at all in the summer, we went to either my in-laws or my parents.  My ex did go golfing to Myrtle Beach one winter while I stayed home with the kids, and we really couldn't afford that either, but . . . that's life!  I didn't mind.  I loved being home with my kids.

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Todd and I have been on some lovely holidays through the years.   Our very first holiday we took together was when we drove down to Devon one summer to visit his elderly Aunt.  It bucketed down rain the whole time, but despite the rain I was thoroughly impressed with Devon's beauty.   We stayed in a couple of B&B's along the way.  One was on a farm and our room was really quaint and pretty and we had the nicest English Breakfast the next morning.   It was in Devon that I experienced my very first "Cream Tea."  (Scone, jam, clotted cream) and I was totally bewitched by the beauty of Clovelly.

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Clovelly is this stunningly beautiful village in Devon, right on the North shore.  There are no cars there.   The streets are extremely steep and cobbled, leading down to the water.  The walk down is not a problem . . . but let me tell you that walk back up again is a killer!  All goods etc, get ferried around the town on sleds, even the milk man has a sled.   It is a gorgeous place to visit.

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Much of Devon is pretty rural with winding hedgerow bordered roads and stunningly beautiful scenery.  I quite enjoyed our visit there, despite the rain.

Of course we have been to Europe several times on holiday . . .

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One year we went to the Dordogne with our friends Audrey and Peter.   We had rented a small stone cottage near St Grande Le Foy and had a fabulous time.  The weather was gorgeous and we spent our days traveling to all the things that we could.  We saw Chateaus, and  the Basilica at Lourdes, and these huge dunes on the coast.   We even visited a Buddhist Monastery.  One day we took a 13Km hike together and stopping to picnic as we sat on a stone bridge crossing a trickling brook.

We spent our evenings in cosy companionship back at the cottage,  with early evening suppers out on the patio as we watched the sun going down and then card games by the fire in the lounge.  I don't think I have ever slept so well or been so at peace . . .

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We've been twice to the Black Forest region of Germany.  I lived in Baden Baden when I was a little girl and Todd had lived in Bavaria for a time.   We loved our holidays in Germany.  The people were so friendly and the scenery was spectacular.

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We did all the touristy things like visiting the Worlds Largest Cuckoo Clock, and yes . . . we did buy a cuckoo clock to bring home!

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We saw the world famous Lichenstein Castle, which is the Castle that Disney based his famous castle on.   It is a fairy tale castle for sure . . .

We also got to eat some pretty tasty food.   Until you have tasted a Bratwurst and Sauerkraut in the Black Forest with a piece of real Black Forest Cake for dessert, you haven't lived!  Oh, and the hot chocolate . . . just piled high with enormous dollops of whipped cream!  I was amazed!

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Another year we went on the Sound of Music Coach tour to Austria and had a lovely time.   We made some really good friends and saw some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.   We stayed in a hotel which looked like a gingerbread house and got to tour all of the sights from the film.  Once again the food was fabulous and so was the company!

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We've been to Cumbria several times.   We always stay in the same place . . . it's gorgeous there.   Very rural and very quiet . . .

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The last time we went we brought Mitzie with us.  She enjoyed it too.  Even if it did rain most of the time we were there.  Hurricane Kate happened to be visiting at the same time.

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We've been to Canada quite a few times as well . . . and whilst that is all very familiar to me, seeing it all  with Todd makes it seem brand new.  It is nice to visit a familiar place and see it through the eyes and heart of another. 

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It's just nice to share things altogether with the one you love.   That makes every day seem like a holiday I think!  I guess you don't really have to travel very far . . . or to exotic places.  Time spent in the company of someone you cherish is time well spent no matter where it is.

I'll be bringing my camera with me today so be prepared for an onslaught of photos of our journey down the river tomorrow!

I went to the Dentist yesterday and yes, I have the dreaded dry socket.  He irrigated it as there was some food caught in it (OUCH!) and then he packed it with a dressing, which he said will be just be absorbed into my body.  It tasted like cloves.  I just have to take plenty of paracetamol and ibuprofen  and be patient.  It will get better eventually.

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark, as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day."
~Charlotte Bronte

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Crispy Chicken with Sugar Snaps & Spinach Salad.   Very scrummy and healthy!

Have a great Thursday!

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