Archive for July, 2010

It feels very late! Isn’t it strange how less than two weeks can feel like months later!  Life flows on. And mine has been flowing on dealing with minor disaster after minor disaster. Giant tree down in front yard, no phone service, freezer and refrigerator freezer not working, kitchen sink not draining so that I just finished washing all the dishes out on the deck (not that unpleasant after I carried them out) and plumber not arriving until Monday.

So it’s good, I think, to remember the enjoyable weekend with Emily, Ingmar, Sofia and Clara at Lake Chautauqua the weekend of the Glorious Fourth!

First, though, a funny story about Sofia. She is somewhat tri-lingual, though not yet three years old. Excellent English, pretty good German she is learning from her “Papa” and some Hungarian coming from Em.  So Emily came to tell Sofia, who was next to her father, that they were going to Chautauqua that weekend and Sofia turned to him and said, “Sprechen”.

At first I didn’t understand why Em thought this was funny, but then realized that when Em says “Chautauqua”, two year-old  Sofia mostly hears the word “talk”. She often calls it “talk-kwa”. So she was translating for Ingmar by explaining, “Sprechen”. This is as amusing as Andy’s non sequitor “dump truck” which I’ve written about earlier, and I wonder if we’ll begin calling the cottage “Sprechen”.

At any rate, it was a lovely weekend. Em took the girls to the parade in Mayville and Sofia came back with an American flag, an elephant handpuppet (She was carrying her Elmer stuffed animal with her and the young man on the float deliberately threw it to her)and  lots of candy and smiles.

She and Clara loved playing at the beach and Sunday we took a picnic to Midway, a sort of kiddie park now a New York State Park and she had “too much fun” there too. And Em and Ingmar went to watch the fireworks across the lake, though I was too sleepy and went to bed!

Em and Sofia at the beach

Ingmar and Clara

Em and 'Fia

Clara lives dangerously

All Together Now

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a wall hanging for Anne

These may be the last photos I post from my trip to Scotland and England this summer. There are more, but I am very unhandy at uploading them! There are great memories. At the end, we were running out of time and only did a drive by viewing of Bath and of Wells Cathedral. I would love to come back and see more! Knightshayes Manor and the American Museum in Bath we looked at more at our leisure and they were thoroughly delightful. Anne is a wonderful quilter and needle worker – one day we even stopped in to visit her quilt group which meets every Friday at her church. Knowing that she loved quilts, Karen Perry and I made a mini-quilt for her as a memento of the time in Edinburgh.

The Royal Crescent in Bath, photographed from the car

the entrance at Knightshayes

Anne's great-grandmother carved this amazing chest

Sculpture at Wells Cathedral - a drive-by only...........

A pioneer braid quilt Anne is making - great colors

Stained Glass Window from this church
in a lovely Norman church nearby

Anne holding a church kneeler she made showing her home

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Today we are going to see pictures of Anne’s home, Enmore Castle, and it’s surrounding. She and her husband live in half of this lovely 18th century building. The kitchen was fascinating as it is a round room, in the tower.  The views from every window seemed to show the green hills all around. Anne’s kitchen garden is lush and supplied us with fresh delicious salads every meal. It was a very peaceful place and full of interest. I can easily understand why she loves it so much.

we often ate outside in the courtyard

roses in the garden


exterior view of Enmore Castle

part of the kitchen garden

view from a window of Anne's home, Enmore Castle

part of Anne's interesting kitchen in the tower

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We left Edinburgh on Monday morning, June 21st, 2010 and drove south to the north of England, heading for the beautiful Lake District. I was hoping to see Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm and Perry wanted to see that and also the setting for Arthur Ransome’s Amazons and Swallows books. We were both lucky enough to be very satisfied with the results. Anne did so much driving to  make this part of our trip extra special and  this was after driving us around a lot in the DES/Edinburgh part of the gathering. Tomorrow I will post some pictures after our arrival at Anne’s home in Somerset.

Karen and Anne after our picnic at (perhaps) Coniston in the Lake District

Karen knitting outside of the Sawrey Hotel

the front door of Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm cottage

Karen, Anne and Perry pondering a paper at Hill Top farm


Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water in the Lake District

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laying memorial stones at her grave in Moffat

I thought I would be posting pictures from the second week today, but wanted to share a few more pictures from the first week. There are so many pictures only in my mind. I’m afraid I have a lot to learn about taking good photographs. But here are some which are all about my favorite writer.

The North Park house belongs to someone else with rather different taste now, and the view is quite different with so many grown up trees and shrubs blocking it, but this is still the room in which she sat on the couch and wrote out her books in notebooks balanced on a green baize covered piece of wood.

the room in North Park, Moffat, where DES wrote many books

The House on Eglington Crescent where DES grew up

the gates to Holyrood Palace, the Queen's Residence in Edinburgh

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Actually I was home again on June 27th, a little jet-lagged but quite happy that the long return journey was over. But it’s taken a while to think over the entire wonderful trip which was nearly two weeks long.

The first week was the D.E. Stevenson gathering with lots of sightseeing and conversations in Edinburgh and side trips to North Berwick, Tantallon Castle, Dirleton, and Moffat, her home from the early 40s until her death in December, 1973.The second week was a tour of the Lake District and Beatrix Potter’s home and the Arthur Ransome Swallows and Amazons country on the way to Somerset and the home of our generous host, Anne S.

(Meanwhile in Ohio there were enormous storms. A huge tree fell in my yard, luckily not on the house, and my neighbor’s telephone pole snapped in half, flew up in the air and impaled itself vertically in his front yard, according to my son, Andy. No power, no cable, no phone. The first two have resolved themselves but I still have no telephone. And am still trying to find someone to deal with the tree, which was huge.)

I’m also having more than usual problems getting Word press to put the text where I would like it to be, so if the arrangement seems strange to you, I can’t improve it at the moment.

In Edinburgh we stayed in wonderful University of Edinburgh housing, in the newest dorms, Chancellor’s Court. Every morning we were treated to an astonishing Scottish breakfast buffet which included, along with normal eggs and oatmeal and toast and pancakes, rather Scottish offerings of black pudding (blood sausage), both real and vegetarian haggis, two kinds of kippers and sometimes other, unknown, fish, mushrooms, broiled tomatoes and other things too numerous to list here. This fortified us for days of sightseeing at the Castle, the Georgian House, the wonderful National Gallery, the Royal Mile with its great shops and museums, Holyrood Castle, St. John’s, the church in which DES was married in 1916 and a sampling of restaurants and cafes as well. We visited the assembly rooms in which Tonia danced with Robert when we attended a book fair on the ground floor where the fictional Tonia and Robert had supper (and narrowly avoided being overwhelmed by the arrival of 400 little girls for a “Princess Party” in the ballroom above, which we were lucky enough to see briefly before being ordered out as possible child molesters, or so it seemed. But in fairness I should say that if I were arranging such a party for so many seven to nine year olds, I might be a bit overwrought too.

We spent a day in North Berwick enjoying the summer holiday site of the Stevenson family and saw nearby Tantallon Castle, visited by Dinah Savage and her children in The Young Mrs. Savage.

Many of our rooms at the University had great views of spectacular Arthur’s seat which can be climbed or driven up to for fantastic views of the city below. I was charmed when my friend Sulie, skyping with her husband Jack at home in the state of Washington, held her laptop up to the window so he could see the view.

At the writer’s museum, where DES is not mentioned, I found two bound notebooks of Scottish writer biographies with a note to write if there were someone we believed should have been included and was not. I wrote a great deal about DES.

On one day we attended a tea held by Persephone books at Annabelle’s. DES’s great grandaughter, singer Fiona Bevan gave us a lovely talk with lots of personal information about DES and Nicola Beauman who owns Persephone spoke of the surprising popularity of their reprinting of Miss Buncle’s book. They did an initial printing of 3,000 books which quickly sold out to be followed by a second printing of 3,000 which is also gone now. They are waiting for the third printing to come out next month, and are planning to publish the sequel, Miss Buncle Married. What good news for all of us.

And Sunday we took a tour bus to Moffat and met DES’s granddaughter Wendy who had arranged a catered lunch for us which was delicious. She had old family photos and albums out for us to enjoy looking at.  And we were also able to visit DES’s old home in North Park. It was a very happy time for us all, one to be long remembered with joy.

Our Group at Tantallon Castle

View of University Housing

Early arrivals Susan D., Jerri C., Jessica S., me, Sulie P in Chancellor’s Court

Arthur’s Seat, the view from our dorm windows

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