Thursday, February 25, 2010
It happened that right after I read "84" I read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It is a fictional story set in the English Island's WWII aftermath and is also told in letters. I would recommend it too, but it seemed to pale in comparision to the truelife heartfelt friendship that unfolds in "84".
When I found that I wanted to know more about Ms. Hanff, I discovered that she had more to tell about her love of London post-"84" in her book/diary, "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street". She recounts her first visit to London to meet pen pal friends face to face, a number of fans of "84", which did well in England, and become intimate with the city that had grown dear to her in literature. She made me see London again. Her depth of knowledge of the city's life and the true characters of London that weave its rich history is fascinating. And you cheer for her when she confesses that at 54, the single woman's hard-working writer's life she had known for so long, without much acclaim, appeared to have a hurrah for her.
If you like books, romance, travel, and writing (hello bloggers!) get to know Helene and prepare to be delighted.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
With six of us the dreaminess washed away quite a bit. I did plan all our comings and goings to fine (okay, maybe too fine) details but I had over and over requested suggestions, offered resources to all involved to help me plan or even take over. David and the girls were easily trusting (they know how I roll), but Lou. Well, many times I reviewed things with her and referred her to sources to okay ideas, but in all she had to do (she was moving and finding a new job) she put her travel dreams in my hands---maybe all too completely.
Again here was another palace that we spent more time on the grounds then in the palace proper. So it is one of those...yes, I have to go back and see it again. We toured some of the main rooms showcasing the story and timeline of Henry VIII, his first Queen, Katherine of Aragon (I love her), and Cardinal Wolsey (who built and then gave (forced to give) the palace to Henry).
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
There was mess+4 hours of rising+butter (lots of it)+more time+skill with the rolling and the folding+time (ya see pattern here). It equaled a mess.... and this....Aha.... and in all honesty this burnt horror too (yet still somewhat edible). Plus I got to wake up the girls by smoke alarm at midnight because this burnt butter roll didn't happen without some smoke. But I discovered that the heavy weight pan burnt while our airbake pan worked wonderfully.
As to taste....we ate it ....hmmm....some more...hmm...well another one....hmmm. All in all they looked somewhat right, but the "ooooh, ahhh" was missing. They were most definitely flaky and tender, but the flavor wasn't spot on. Now I wasn't expecting French perfection, but the flavor to me was key over texture. Was it the butter? ...Was it the flour?....Dare I say, was it the "baker"? (well I can't do much there). So will I attempt it again....more than likely...I have to conquer it. Just have to. I will report here as soon as there is success.
Friday, February 12, 2010
sleep in a bit, have pastries for breakfast......Catch the Waterloo train to Hampton Court Palace (10ish) (-ish figured in my itineries a lot..so let's call it a suggestion list)......Arrive and tour every nook and cranny of the palace and delightful grounds, and even splurge on a Hampton Court Cafe lunch......3:30PM leave by boat on the Thames back to London to the Westminster pier. This boat ride would possibly take 3 hours and I imagined us sitting back watching the country-city scenery, coloring with Sophia, journaling, generally taking a pause WHILE traveling. AHHH......Be in London by 7pm for a dinner and possible quick stop at the British Museum that is open late on Thurs. evenings. Good plan.....Right?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I would like to say Thank You to Frenchy Chick at Le Chateau des Fleurs who happily blogs about her family and daily doings: all things Frenchy, crafty and lovely. She kindly awarded me a :
As this is my first time to do any type of awarding, I look forward to following the rules as stated. Yet I hope it is not bad manners that I tweak the rules a bit....okay? (my addition will be in red, in case you want to stick to the true rules)
1. To accept the award, you must post it with the name of the person who granted you the award, and a link to their blog. (unless linking up makes you uncomfortable, then , please just allow it to be a compliment that it was meant to be )
2. Pass the award on to approx. 10-15 other blogs that you recently discovered and think are great.
3. Contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
I love connecting from blog to blog to find others in the blogosphere who inspire, encourage, and share their loves, likes, and life online. I look forward to posting more "shout outs" on my own but I find this award opportunity a great chance to re-post some faves and advertise some wonderful blogs.
Gifts of the Journey (Cornwall, England) Elizabeth (American)
The Beautiful Meantime (Texas, US) Steph
A Tale of Two Cities (England and Texas) Debi
Girl Meets Paris (Florida, US) Teri
Dream Country Chat (Scotland) Karon
Blessed Femina (California, US) Miss Jen
Bonjour Romance (Paris, France) Mimi Bleu
My Year in Paris (Paris, France) Jennifer K
Anne in Oxfordshire (Oxfordshire, England) Anne, of course!
Parisienne Farmgirl (Wisconsin, US) Angela
Sister One of Four (Texas, US) Marcia
Sally Annie Magundy (California, US) Sally
All these amazing women I am blessed to know: some by just what they share online and others I have exchanged "comment conversations". I am thankful for good they do online and how honestly they share their time, thoughts and joys. Enjoy!
Friday, February 5, 2010
So guess who was awake first ?.......drum roll please....it's ....moi. It is typical on our trips that I am the first one up and at 'em but surprisingly, this time I was up before our most notable early riser, Lou (my mother in law). Yet this would prove to be the only time I was up before her. She just needed a lie in after our turbo traveling days before. I threw on some clothes and darted downstairs to check out the supposedly "fresh" pastries at the very convenient grocery store on our ground floor! Yes I will say it again, we had a "not bad at all, really kind of great" grocery store in our building. Hurray. I hustled down and found that the pastries were most surely fresh, a great selection, and budget friendly.
By the time we ate our crepes, had a potty break and a diaper change, a water bottle shopping stop and then stood in line for tickets (long line), we were too late for the last tour of the morning. This tour would have been extremely informative to my husband and Lou, and possibly the girls, but having missed it they depended on me, and the Rick Steves guide highlights tour. And this was tricky because as I paused to read and point out the dignitaries, artists, writers, and figures of history entombed in the Abbey (most notably Queen Elizabeth I), it was just so gosh darned crowded that standing and gawking was a rushed ordeal. And I wasn't hip to all the interesting tidbits about this centuries old cathedral and yet I made sure we all paused to take in the coronation chair (all wooden and non gilded, surprisingly) that has been used to crown the hundreds of years of monarchs, including the current Queen Elizabeth. Sophia then announced, "We need to go out of dis house!", Me: quietly, "Sophia, shhh, this is a church" Sophia: louder it seemed, "Den (then) we need get out of dis church!" So out we went through the lovely open cloisters towards the back gardens when we heard music.
Now here is where I should have put on the travel breaks and spontaneously had us picnic in the laid back and lovely atmosphere. But I had my mind set on a pub lunch en route to Trafalgar Square and so we lingered just to the end of the tune and headed out from the centuries old cathedral to Whitehall Road. Down this main thoroughfare you will find some great landmarks, 10 Downing Street (home of the prime minister) (no pic, yikes, can I say it was "CROWDED" again for emphasis),
It was dark and, thankfully, dry by the time we arrived at the Tower of London. We all remarked what a welcome difference the English summer was to our Texas hot, dry, hot, scorching, hot August. The jackets we had toted the whole day were perfect in the chilly August London night. The small crowd outside the gate slowly gathered in as the Beefeater approached from inside at the exact time of 9:30pm. In his impressive uniform and with his booming voice, the Yeoman Warder set the stage for the serious, and respectful tone of the lock down ceremony.