Thursday, 17 November 2016

A few of my favourite things . . .


These are a few of my favourite things . . .


Long walks with my best friend (Todd) and Mitzie in the British countryside.  We live in such a beautiful country and it is literally covered from top to bottom with beautiful countryside walks via public footpaths, etc.  They are also signed.  You can follow them from the North to the South and the East to the West and back again if you wish.  We are a nation of Ramblers.  We don't do as much of it since we moved back to the North West from the South East, but I still love it when we do.


One of the nicer ones is the Dales Way, which is an 84-mile Long Distance Footpath in Northern England, from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, to Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria. It passes through two National Parks: the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District National Park.  Obviously this would take more than a day to hike it, but there are places to eat and to stay at overnight along the way.


Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses is just one of the places owned and maintained by the National Trust, and actually not too overly far from where we live.  Founded in 1895, the National Trust works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces for everyone.  Their historic properties, woodlands, gardens, etc.are scattered all over the country. It owns over 350 heritage properties which includes many historic houses and gardens, industrial monuments, and social history sites. Most of these are open to the public, usually for a charge. Others are leased, on terms that manage to preserve their character. The Trust is one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom, owning over 247,000 hectares (950 sq mi) of land, including many characteristic sites of natural beauty, most of which are open to the public free of charge. The Trust, one of the largest UK charities financially, is funded by membership subscriptions, entrance fees, legacies, and revenue from gift shops and restaurants within its properties. As an example,  when Beatrix Potter died, she left all of her holdings to the National Trust, and they have preserved and kept them in good nick to this very day.  I love visiting properties, gardens and spaces protected and held by the National Trust.  They are always fascinating and are a wonderful glimpse into our past.

British Tea Rooms.   A tearoom or tea shop is a small restaurant where beverages and light meals are served, having a sedate or subdued atmosphere. A customer may eat a cream tea (also known as Devonshire tea), consisting of a scone with jam and clotted cream, or a full afternoon tea of sandwiches, scones, and cake. Alternatively a high tea may be served, of hot savoury food as the final meal of the day. In Scotland teas are usually served with a variety of scones, pancakes, crumpets and other cakes.  I love LOVE British Tea Rooms.  Most are cosy and quaint and splendid places to take refreshment.  You will find one or two in literally every village, town or city in the UK.

 Which brings me to another one of my favourite things  . . .


The Cream Tea. A cream tea (also known as a Devonshire tea, Devon cream tea or Cornish cream tea) is a form of afternoon tea light meal, consisting of tea taken with a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam.

There are regional variations as to how a cream tea should preferably be eaten. The Devonshire (or Devon) method is to split the scone in two, cover each half with clotted cream, and then add strawberry jam on top. Traditionally it is important that the scones be warm (ideally, freshly baked), and that clotted (rather than whipped) cream and strawberry jam, rather than any other variety, are used.
In Cornwall, the cream tea was traditionally served with a "Cornish split", a type of slightly sweet white bread roll, rather than a scone. It is now rare to find this available commercially, even in Cornwall.  The warm roll (or scone) is first buttered, then spread with strawberry jam, and finally topped with a spoonful of clotted cream.

Jam first or cream first . . .  it doesn't really matter to me.  I love a cream tea no matter which of the two things go on first.  And you can get herbal blends if black tea is not on your list of things you love/want to drink.


Hedgerows and Stonewalls.  Our rural countryside here in the UK is marked with a beautiful patchwork of hedgerows and stonewalls, depending on which part of the country you are in.  Hedges are used as field boundaries in the lowland regions of England. In the highlands, such as the Yorkshire Dales, dry stone walls are commonly used. Down south you will see more hedgerows and up north more stone walls.  Its all according to what was traditionally more available for use when it came to the job of separating grazing fields, meadows, personal property, etc. 

Hedgerows have often been overlooked as one of Britain's most valuable habitats. Their importance as wildlife havens and highways, barriers and wind-breaks is now being fully recognised however. Hedgerows were originally planted to divide the land into fields and pens, marking the boundaries of farms and parishes. They suffered a dramatic decline as field sizes increased. Trees, brambles and woody shrubs such as hawthorn, blackthorn and field maple make up a mature hedgerow. These are much needed refuges for songbirds, while voles, mice and shrews are typical hedgerow mammals that take advantage of all the autumnal fruit.

They are charming and so beautiful.  From the air the UK looks like a beautiful patchwork quilt of greens.


Castles.   There are probably more castles per capita here in the UK than there are anywhere else in the World.  I love them all.  Some are fairly intact and others are ruins.  I have visited quite a few since I arrived here sixteen years ago.  One of my favourites it Pendragon Castle (see above photo).   Largely a ruin it is located in the Mallerstang Dale in Cumbria, standing in an atmospheric spot above a bend in the river Eden, overlooked by Wild Boar Fell to the south-west and Mallerstang Edge to the east. According to legend, the castle was built by Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, who is said to have unsuccessfully tried to divert the river to provide its moat.   Todd and I have come to know it quite well. Each time we have visited and stayed in the area we have rented a small cottage on a hill overlooking the castle and have spent many hours exploring all of its nooks and crannies and dreaming about the people who once lived there.  Legends or not.

Another favourite of mine is Scotney Castle, and or course Hever Castle.  Scotney is very picturesque and Hever is of course the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

 I guess when it comes right down to it I just love the British Isles and its people, culture, landscapes, architecture, history, etc.  I've not been to see everywhere and still have a great deal to explore, but what I have seen I have fallen in love with.  Even the cities.  This feels like home to me.

And that is my very British version of some of my favourite things for this week!

 Todd's appointment at the hospital went very well yesterday, although when we got there, there was a bit of confusion as to whether he should have been there or not.  In any case it was finally sorted and we did see the Nurse Practioner who works under his consultant from Clatterbridge who was not there.  We waited a good hour before we were taken into see her, which really annoyed Todd.  He is not very good at waiting in hospitals/medical offices, and gets quite impatient.  I told him he better get used to it because this is our life for the next six months or so.  We now have a much clearer idea of what is going to happen and when and how.  I think we both left feeling very encouraged.

 My daughter sent me a photograph of some of the ornaments she made with my sister yesterday.  They are quite cute.  Clothespin snowmen.  I am so very grateful to my sister for her helping Eileen with this project.  And I know Eileen is too.  According to Eileen they had a wonderful time together.   That makes me really happy.  Thanks sis!!

A thought to carry with you through the day . . .

"Independence and self-reliance 
are critical to our spiritual and temporal growth. 
Whenever we get into situations 
which threaten our self-reliance, 
we will find our freedoms threatened as well. 
If we increase our dependence on anything 
or anyone except the Lord, 
we will find an immediate 
decrease in our freedom to act."
L. Tom Perry

Spiritual Enlightenment 

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In The English Kitchen today . . .  Chicken Filets with a Lemon and Caper Sauce.  We love this.  I love this. It is also one of my favourite things.

Have a beautiful day . . . keep hoping, keep believing . . . don't forget . . .

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And I do too!


  1. Love to you all today and God bless.

  2. Love and God's blessings on you and yours also Suzan. ((((hugs)))) xoxo

  3. Hi Marie, I could have written this post!! I love all of it to! We are members of the National Trust, but to be honest we always forget. Every now and then when we do remember we say 'oh we must go to so and so' then we forget again and don't go hahaha! Anyway the monthly subscription is for a good cause! We love walking too, in Chester we love to cross the bridge over the river and walk along to the fields and follow the curves alongside the river. We also don't get even the slightest bit envious of the fabulous houses and apartments on the opposite side! They are so beautiful and they even have there own boathouses. As you say city walking can be just as nice as the countryside. I love my home city of Liverpool, it has beautiful architecture and cathedrals, and a fabulous sea front. I could walk round it all day. My favourite city is Edinburgh though, but for some strange reason I get homesick for it if I haven't been in a couple of years!

    Don't even get me started on cream teas! I could have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper! Jam first for me though.

    So pleased everything went well at Clatterbridge yesterday. I agree with you that once things have been explained to you in language you can understand you do feel better and more optimistic. You're right about Todd being impatient though, he will have to get used to it. That's just how the NHS works. But the time will come when he'll see a lot of really sick people in there and also a lot of really sick young people and the waiting won't seem so bad. He'll just be glad he's there and getting his treatment. I remember when John was going there for his radiotherapy and there used to be a school boy about 15 years old and in his school uniform. I always used to think he was waiting for someone as he was on his own and then one day he got called in before us and I realised it was him getting the treatment. This was everyday and he was always by himself. I never found out any of the circumstances why he was by himself or what was wrong with him but it was very humbling.

    Lots of love to you both xxx

  4. Kate, that is one of my favourite walks in Chester, and you are right there are some very beautiful homes across the river to gaze at and wonder which lucky person lives in them! haha! I love the meadows as well which you walk past. One time we did a walk from Handbridge, through to Eccleston and then back up the river to Handbridge. Took us a while, but it was gorgeous! I also love Liverpool. We have spent several days there on several occasions and still not seen everything we wanted to and it is on our list of places we need to go back to and of coure Edinburg. We definitly want to go there and if we can go when the Tattoo is on so much the better. Todd would love that. On our Bucket List! I am sure we will both be very humbled by what we witness over the next few months and be counting our blessings in every way. Love and hugs to you. Have a great day! xoxo

  5. I appreciate the pictures and your bits and pieces of information about your lovely country. There is so much history and beauty to be seen there. It's been a place I've always thought I'd love to see and thanks to you I get to see a little bit anyway. Sorry your visit to the doctors was a difficult one, hope the next goes a bit better.

  6. How cute the snowmen..England..the countryside always looks so beautiful to me..and I know London is favored by so many..more than so many:)
    I know I love Monica's area(the White Bench)..I bet you do too..The Cotswolds.
    Todd=Jacques ..waiting.
    I think he will gain a lot of Jacques has over the last few years..the more appts we have..the more patient one becomes.
    I can tell you that I have infinite patience..for that..truly..and must have rubbed off on him..
    he is still impatient for other things that involve waiting though..
    I have no idea why I am like that..but he tells me constantly how patient I am:)
    I hope things go SO well for Todd.

  7. Oh, I wish you could come over here Pam. I think you would enjoy it. It wasn't really a difficult visit, just a lot of waiting and Todd gets very impatient. He will just have to get used to it! xoxo

    Its a very beautiful country Monique, but also have some really dodgy areas. But we don't look at them. I have not been to the Cotswolds yet. It is an area for the rich. But we hope to go one day. It is very beautiful! I have lots of patience. I find him embarassing at times with all his huffing and his puffing. I expect he will get used to it. Either that or he will be doing a LOT of huffing and puffing! xoxo

  8. England is so beautiful. Thanks for the views. It's about 40 years since I was there. So nostalgic. I have read about the long distance footpaths. They sound a wonderful way to see the country. And cream teas...ahhhh great memory!!

  9. Ahh, thanks Linda! Wish I could send you a cream tea! xoxo

  10. too..and sometimes..I misinterpret his voice for when I say something and he Monique LOL NOT.


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