Monday, June 1, 2020


Thought I would introduce you to one of my favorite magazines.

Anglotopia. The Magazine for Anglophiles

English treasures await readers inside the pages of each charming issue.

There's a slang page.

Lorry=A semi or truck
Bonnet=hood of car
Plaster=Band Aid
Tipping Down=Raining heavily

You get the picture.

There's a book page which gives titles of books to read relating to England. I refer to them often.

Recipes for scones, shepherds pie and other English favorites.

Articles about historical figures such as : Henry VIII, Alfred the Great, Richard III, Queen Anne.

Sites to visit: Oxford, Canterbury Cathedral, Emma Bridgewater, Exploring Leeds, Twinings Tea to name a few.

Research on the London Blitz, The Spitfire, The National Trust, The Great Smog of 1952, History of the Mini Cooper. The list is endless.

There is a whole site of all things Anglophile here...

You will go down many rabbit holes getting lost in the wonder of it all. A great escape. The hours will pass without a thought. But you won't care, for you've found pure enchantment.
You're welcome.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Victoria Day

On this day, Canada celebrates Victoria Day.

Victoria, British Columbia, is a city named after Queen Victoria.
The year was 1901 when it was declared a Canadian Federal Holiday. The year the beloved Queen died.

She was born 24 May 1819 in Kensington Palace, ascending the throne at the very young age of eighteen. 
Soon she married Prince Albert whom she described "the purest and best of human beings."
Brides can thank the queen for the tradition of wearing white on their wedding day. I believe Victoria wanted to be sure she could easily be spotted by her new groom throughout her special day.

Their union was an extremely loving one, but unfortunately, Prince Albert died quite young from typhoid fever. It is widely thought he suffered for years before from some kind of cancer.
The Queen never recovered from the loss stating, "he was my life." She wore black and mourned Albert for the rest of her life.

Have you been to Victoria?
It's a booming city with much to see.
If you love flowers (and who doesn't) Butchart Gardens is a must. Outside of England,  these blooms are among the most spectacular I have ever seen.
The day would not complete without tea!
The smell of fresh flowers wafting through the air adds to the ambiance of afternoon tea in such a splendid atmosphere. You must take tea while visiting the gardens. Be sure to make reservations. Many walked away disappointed due to the entire day being booked in advance.

Queen Victoria will be remembered throughout history for her long reign of Great Britain and Ireland.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Quarantine conundrum

To gray or not to gray. That is the question.

You've considered for a long while and then along came quarantine. It happened for you, not to you.

Social distancing kept you from dying your hair. Helped you embrace the idea.  Could I really rock the gray?    

You haven't loved the idea of chemicals on your head. And the money for those fake highlights? Well, it would be better spent on a Coach purse. Better yet, a Kate Spade. 

You actually could seize the silver.

So, you're doing it. You're going gray. Happy for you.

Nope. No way. Notta. Not now. Not ever.

I mean, look at me.

No. Just, no.  I look like I'm eighty. Maybe even ninety. I have that brassy look.

I'm on the list at the salon. I'll be the first in line with bells on when the sign states they're open for business.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Fascination with Jane

Have you watched the movie Becoming Jane? 

It had been a long while since I'd viewed so I watched it again this weekend.
Can't say it enough. I LOVE Jane Austen.

I'm forever grateful I was able to visit her house museum in Chawton.

Because of the Corona Virus, many places of interest have had to close with no reopening date in sight.  The Jane Austen House Museum is no exception.
Like many others, there is growing concern for their survival. It's so sad to even think of the possibility such treasures could close indefinitely. We won't go there. It's too much to even comprehend.

The museum will bounce back. It will.

I've been pondering Jane's ring.
Remember the story?
American singer Kelly Clarkson bought it in good faith for $250,000. Export rules in the UK and generous donations from Jane fans kept the ring from leaving the country. Kelly Clarkson was extremely generous throughout the entire process. She was happy to have it stay at the museum where it belongs for Jane fans to admire.

Also, did you know Jane's likeness is on the 10 pound note?

She may have died in 1817 but Jane Austen will be celebrated for generations to come.

Now about that ring.

I'm considering buying one from the gift shop at the museum...

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 7, 2020


By Spring, I've had it with indoor workouts.

For years now I've anticipated the first week of May because it means the start of my weekly routine climbing the steps in Stillwater for the season.

They're grueling. Major butt-kickers. Working out to a walking video all winter long suffers in comparison to step climbing. Especially these. The first time out my muscles beg me to quit. But I can't.
The views from the top won't let me.
It's exhilarating.
All season long, these steps are used for exercising, catching the views, and a way for the locals to get from point A to point B.
They've been here for over a hundred years. I've met many fascinating people on the steps.

Some carry backpacks. That usually means they're training for a hike down the Grand Canyon or some other major bucket list thrill.
One time a guy was lugging around a boxing bag. I asked how much weight he was carrying.

"60 pounds," he replied.

My response. "I'm such a loser!" was my first day back at it. I had my water. Some almonds. I was ready.

Obviously, I didn't get the memo. Shoot.

Surely not all of them are closed, right?
There are five different sets of steps. Each has its own challenging vertical climb.
I'd find a different route to get to each one, thinking it'd be open.
I was wrong.
Stillwater Steps. The latest corona virus casualty. Major bummer. I can understand the reasoning. I've shared these steps with lots and lots of people. Hard to social distance.
I'm hoping, like everything else, they'll re-open sooner than later.

Regardless, I managed to get in a good walk. Like the steps, many stops were closed.
The playground.
The bookstore.
Chilkoot Hill.
Teddy Bear Park is closed for the season. Little hearts are breaking all over town. This darling park is packed in the summertime.
Mainstreet. SIGH.

It was heartbreaking walking around. Eerie. This birthplace of Minnesota town is normally a buzz with activity.
Go away Corona Virus. Go away and never come back.

Monday, May 4, 2020

English Gardens

This morning I was out weeding and tending my garden.
It's in need of some major TLC.

I won't bother showing you. Let's just say it suffers in comparison to the English Gardens I've been privileged to see.

Here. Let me show you.
This is Kensington Gardens. I walked around the entire thing with my mouth gaped open.
Lovely brilliance of color. Remember, this is the place in which Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement.
The White Garden at Kensington Palace was planted to remember Princess Diana on the 20th Anniversary of her death. I so wish I could have been able to see that garden. I would have looked for the white Forget-Me-Nots, which were her favorite flower.

Luckily there is a You Tube available to see it through the lens of the gardeners.
Just look up The White Garden at Kensington Palace if you'd like to view.

More? Off we go.
Daisies. These are my favorite. Just in case you wanted to know.
I sat on that bench and read a book. Oh to be able to sit there again today.
This garden was amazing. I viewed it nightly and I swear I could see the blooms spring to life each morning from the window at the bed and breakfast where we stayed. Lucky, I know. I shalt not ever forget. 
If I lived in England, I'd be a gardener. What a joyful way to spend your days.

What's your favorite flower?

Monday, April 27, 2020

Flying Nightingales

A few nights ago I sat with my hubby and watched a movie called Midway.  

Its not normally my genre, but I've been doing a bit of research on World War II. If you've ever wondered what it was like during the raid on Pearl Harbor, the movie is a pretty good indicator of what those brave souls endured. It's not easy to watch. They were the definition of courage.  Period. 

There's a less known group from England I've become attached to. They were brave too. Really brave. The Flying Nightingales. And no, I'm not talking about the bird. These 200+ courageous women flew on missions weeks after Normandy to evacuate casualties. By the end of the war, it is estimated these women of valor brought back to England at least 100,000 wounded soldiers.

By late 1943, the serenity of the Cotswolds was shattered when Down Ampney, Blakehill Farm and Broadwell became transport hubs for the war.

The women volunteered, becoming nursing orderlies. Each spent six weeks learning how to treat burns, apply O2, injections, and how to cope with such horrendous injuries as severed limbs and head trauma.

One woman flew with an airmen crew of usually four. They would leave in the a.m. carrying supplies across the English Channel, returning in the p.m. with casualties. The flights were a huge risk. The camouflage Dakota planes were shot at numerous times. How afraid they all must have been.

Would this be the time we'd get shot down? A constant question I'm sure every time they flew.

One woman's flight log recorded, "under shell fire." "Shrapnel through window."

I can't even imagine the fear involved. These women risked their lives logging flight after flight, caring for wounded soldiers with such grace and comfort.
What peace each soldier must have felt as they were given tea and warm socks from the Nightingale. How relieved they must have been when they landed back in England.

Seven remaining Flying Nightingales were honored in 2008 for their courage. They were presented lifetime achievement awards at a ceremony at Royal Hospital Chelsea in London by The Duchess of Cornwall.

"It's wonderful but those who passed on needed some recognition. I do feel I'm receiving this on their behalf as well," states one such Flying Nightingale. 

I'm fascinated by these heroic women. How proud their families must be to know such gutsy women were a part of their lineage. Incredible stories of such spirit.

Every September,  a memorial service is held in All Saints Church in Down Ampney. The hymn Come Down O Love Divine to the tune Down Ampney by Vaughn Williams is traditionally sung.

What a privilege to one day be able to attend that service. It's become a lifetime goal.