Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Ride Home

All I have to post this was a long ride home.

I have to cross the river from one state to the other to get to and from work. Facebook is littered with posts this evening with tales of hours and hours sitting in traffic trying to just get home before midnight! Seriously! 

From what I can tell, there was quite an accident. Thankfully, no fatalities...just a bunch of commuters with full bladders and empty gas tanks! Oh the joy of the commute!

Monday, September 24, 2018


Lacock was one of my most favorite villages while visiting the UK. I have so much to tell you about this idyllic place.
Here's one little reason why I thought it so enchanting.

Imagine ambling through the village, enjoying every flower basket attached to its (very old) cottages and businesses.  Up ahead, you spot bunting and a colorful display. What is it? You must go check it out. You, along with many locals and tourists who have gathered before you.

How clever! The Stall on the Wall.
What's for sale along this wall?
Meringues! Many many flavors to choose from!
Is this not the cutest stand ever?!
Kind of like a lemonade stand, but better! After all, it is meringues!
All on the honor system. You place your pounds in the jar and use the tongs to pick your choice of flavor. 

I was so giddy. This is England. Full of serendipitous moments.
I picked one and inhaled it!  Chocolate chip. The best meringue I have ever had. I walked away so grateful for this tiny, wondrous wink. 

We wandered a distance but I kept looking back. I wanted to do it again! So we did! . We headed back to the Stall on the Wall and relived the moment all over again!

I would love to live in the cottage that owns the Stall! I kept gazing at the windows, wondering if the owner was peering out, enjoying the satisfaction of knowing her little stall was making memories for passers by.
Again, it's the little things in life.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Doesn't seem that long ago

Many of my writer friends are gathering this week for the annual ACFW writers conference. This year it takes place in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

I so wish I was there.

I took a trip down memory lane last night. 2014. My first conference. We traveled to St Louis. I learned so much and met lots of new friends. SIGH...
Also managed to do some sightseeing. Have you ever been to the top of the Arch? Checked that one off the bucket list while at the conference. It's a bit tight, but the ride to the top is well worth the views.
Every year at the conference you get to play dress up. You can dress like one of your characters you write about. Yep...that's a fascinator on my head. Much like the ones worn at royal weddings.
Can you guess where I like to write about? Hmmmm...That's a hard one!
I got to meet many authors. This is Deborah Raney. One of my favorites. She wrote A Vow to Cherish, which was turned into a movie. Yep...she's living my dream. And she is so very kind. A highlight of my trip was meeting her.
This is my friend, Julie Klassen. She's a historical regency fiction writer. She's an extremely talented writer and she loves England...maybe even more than me. GASP!!

I'm having fun looking at Facebook posts of everyone meeting  up with friends in Tennessee.  Maybe next year I'll be able to attend. Here's hoping.     

Monday, September 17, 2018

Signs and Wonders

While most of our first day was spent in museums, we did manage to wander around London and take in the many signs that let us know, indeed, we had made it across the pond.

We were getting pretty tired by the end of the day. These reminders came in handy a few times!
Screams London, don't you think?!
Nope. We're not in America anymore!
"Mini" became the word of the day...everyday!

They're everywhere. I felt right at home.
I was pleasantly surprised this is the favored color in the UK. Pepper White. Of course, there were other colors, but by far, this outnumbered them all.

I picked the right color without even knowing it! My Diana. I barely had a chance to miss her because I got to see her likeness around every corner. I love my Mini!

Of course, we had to stop for tea at the famous Twinings.
Not many companies can say they are 290 years old. Quite impressive. If I lived in London, I'd have a part time job working here. Will work for tea!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Had to go

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love to write handwritten notes. So, when I learned the UK opened a postal museum, I was all over it!
Like any museum, there is much to learn when you walk through the front entrance. Boy, did I ever get educated.
We went for a ride on the mail rail system. We squished ourselves into the seat(they weren't made for people. Only pieces of mail! Back then these little trains didn't know that one day they would be used for tourists to learn how mail was processed!)  and off we went to learn how a piece of mail gets from one place to the next. Fascinating, I say. Fascinating.

A bit claustrophobic I dare say! At times it was pretty dark through the tunnels!
The mail rail was the beating heart of the British postal system.

The rails would stop at platforms, which were quite lively. Team spirit abounded. Postal workers worked very hard to get your letter mailed on time. In the 1930's, 4 million letters were moved PER DAY! Isn't that amazing?!

Any guesses which King was first to deliver the post in Britain?
It wasn't because he wanted everyone to be able to get mail! Remember, he wasn't the kindest chap in the land. He did have his wife beheaded. Eeek!
He had to keep an eye on his kingdom. Of course he did. SIGH.

Interesting side note: The stables for keeping the horses were known as posts. The name is still used today. The Post.

Being a post boy was no picnic. Your life was on the line many times just by delivering mail.
Imagine the weather they had to deal with. And the pay...I read it was 'pitiful.'

Remember the Titanic? (Who could forget, right?)
Well, we know about the iceberg and what happened as many fought for their lives in cold water. There was the many artifacts that were found after it sunk. And the people on board. We know all that, but did you know there were over 3000 mail sacks aboard? Me either. All those unread letters. There's a story there to be told. Wink wink.

What they did back then to save the mail. Truly incredibly tragic.
During the war, letters brought hope. I believe they still do today.
We are caught up in a world of instant everything. Texts, social media. It all is a great way to communicate. Our world is moving at light speed.

But, letters.
They may be old fashioned, but it is such a pleasure to write to someone in my own penmanship, knowing I am spending time thinking about that one person  and their own concerns. I take great pleasure when I slip that note through the outgoing mail slot at the post office. Such a tangible gift.

A photo of the entrance to the museum. See the posts in the hedges? Cute idea! Get to the Postal Museum if you get the chance.

I'm so glad we took the time to go. Great insight.
One more tidbit:

During the war, the aim was that no area would be without posting facilities for more than 24 hours.
4385 people died in the postal system during WWII.

Pause for a moment and just think about the loyalty they had to send out mail. So many heroic efforts during the war. So many unknown heroes. It's humbling.

I will always love handwritten communication the most. Always.           

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Almost a year already

On September 9 of last year, we had a party. A big one.

Our daughter said 'I do.'

The day was lovely. We could not have asked for a better one.  A crisp, cool fall day.
Our dear friend Yvonne made the most extraordinary cake anyone has ever laid eyes on.
The staff at the event center asked if they could all have a piece! That never happens!
Of course, they all got some!

The food, the friends, all was amazing. I wish we could do it all over again.

I'm not sure if I could pick a favorite part.
The priest did a superb job officiating. The ceremony was affirming that yes, marriage is a wonderful gift.
We got to see family and friends gather to wish our daughter and son in law the very best wishes for a long and lasting marriage.
We danced and danced and ate some pretty spectacular food.
There were hugs and laughing and crying. Weddings sure are fun, aren't they?! 

Time really does fly. Don't waste a minute.

Happy one year anniversary to our wonderful kids. We love you. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

First Stop

We deplaned, and off we went! First stop...customs. UGH! That took FOREVER! At least two hours. We weren't planning on that, so really had to move along to get to the Dickens Museum on time.

Good thing for black taxis!
I love those iconic cars.
Cleanest ever!
Our driver was not too fond of Uber. Can't blame any of the cabbies. Black taxi drivers take at least three years to get their license because they do what's called The Knowledge. They know every square inch of London streets, all by memory. It's quite impressive. I'm a black taxi purist. I only took a ride from a black taxi. No exceptions. And I didn't care one bit how much it cost.   
It's all a part of the London experience. If you go, take a ride in a UK icon.

Off he drove us to our destination.
What a thrill to step through the door of such a prolific writer.
Did you know he wrote with a quill pen and ink? AND he wrote 7500 words a month.

Charles Dickens is still widely read today.
My favorite of all is A Christmas Carol. Best story ever.

I totally could live in this home. The perfect size.
He wrote at this desk every day.
That's dedication.

I would show you my desk, but wow, it's a mess right now. What can I say!! 

Dickens loved mirrors. He rehearsed his characters in front of it over and over.

It's getting to be that time of year again when I have to get tickets for the theatre to see A Christmas Carol.
I'm thrilled to have been able to spend time inside the home of such a favored author.

If you get the chance, don't miss this museum.