Hello friends! Yes, I have been to England & back home. What an adventure it was to visit this land that I’ve read about, dreamt about, & longed to see with my own eyes. My next several posts are going to be about my journey, the ups & downs, the magical surprises & emotional experiences. After a 4 hour drive, my friend MJ & I sliced through the night sky from Chicago to Heathrow airport outside of London, England, but let me digress for just a moment & tell you about. . .
When 2 slightly confused 60-something ladies come upon the airport scene people just seem to take pity & offer advice or just do it. Such was the case of a customer service person. She typed in all the pertinent information at a kiosk & handed us our boarding passes. I took a look at the seat assignment on the pass & grimaced. These seats were not what was on the printed confirmation that clearly stated, Row 9 Seat A & Row 9 Seat B. When I questioned the seats, the woman who spoke with an accent began to explain that these seats were better, some called them “premium seats” she insisted while pointing to seats on a chart that were located behind the bathrooms which offered extra leg room. I liked the idea of extra room very much.
On to the plane we went with carry-ons in hand. Back we went, passing by row 9 & that lovely window seat, shimmying passed people tucking things away in overhead bins & getting settled in. At last we came upon the “premium” seats…directly in front of the toilets. There was no time for disappointment. MJ graciously gave me the aisle seat & we too stowed away our valuables beneath the seats in front of us. Settling into a long night flight is not an easy task in the best of circumstances, but now we dealt with a steady stream of people walking by & an audible swoosh with a clang each time the toilet was flushed! So much for premium seats.
Researched: road signs, highways, traffic laws, roundabouts. I can do this! How hard can it be? Opposite side of the road. . .opposite side of the car. I got this! Driving in England was an adventure that I really don’t want to go on again. After landing we scurried to get our car rented & head out on the open road. No worries that neither of us had slept much in the last 24 hours. Sure I was a bit nervous about the driving bit, but I knew I could do it. Yes, I did do it, but it was a nerve-wracking, steel-grip on the steering wheel, leg shaking drive to Windermere. Each time we exited the motorway, on purpose or not, we wound up trying to navigate a roundabout which ended up being a disaster. The word that goes with roundabouts is lost! Panic ensued & we pulled over as soon as possible. MJ would put on her pathetic look & received help from road angels. Thank goodness for the kindness of the English people, four times we were not just given verbal directions, but heard these words, “Follow my car, I’ll take you back & get you on the right road.”
There was the handsome man at a service area, the fellow in a Mazaratti, another man who I’m sorry to say wasn’t as memorable, & then there were the road workers who showed us the way through Kendal & back to the right road that would lead us to our airbnb in Windermere. These 2 fellows stopped & waited for us when I drove too slow & got behind. They’d flash their yellow caution lights so we could see them ahead, they went out of their way to help us. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we were to these generous, thoughtful Englishmen & I wish I knew their names so I could thank them. It still took us twice as long as it should have, but we made it to Windermere & after a frantic call to my son for the code to get in, we dragged our luggage up the winding stairs & into a lovely apartment. A few tears of relief were shed, family contacted that we made it, & long sighs of relief that after nearly 40 hours of no sleep we could finally lay our heads down, close our eyes, & feel secure.
After a solid night’s sleep we got up feeling better, but we had to make a tough decision. We would not be able to attend a special picnic at Castle Cottage near Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Home that day. I think we were both suffering from PTSD after the harrowing drive from Heathrow to Windermere. Crawling into that car with me behind the wheel was not going to happen.
On our way to explore we had a serendipitous meeting with Sharon, the lady who owns the downstairs airbnb. You can see the door through the little arch of her flat. She gave us advice, she offered her thoughts on driving in England, & suggested we take a bus tour. She pointed us in the right direction & we struck out on our own, up the hill to Mountain Goat bus tours. Here I have to stop to make a pitch…if you or anyone you know is planning a getaway to England & the Lake District in particular do check out Sharon’s airbnb. Here’s her information:
Here’s a link to one of Sharon’s rentals: Click HERE
This was a wonderful place to stay while in Windermere & the Lake District. Want to see more of this Airbnb? Here’s the link: Foxgloves in the Heart of Windermere
We’ve been home for a few days now & one thing I missed while touring the English countryside was my computer & Photoshop Elements. It’s a rare day that I am not working on a digital project or creating something. Within a day or so of being home The Fair Child tags were created.
The sheet of 9 different images on oval tags will be available in Studio on the Corner Etsy shop soon. All that needs to be done is a PDF of directions written.
Packages of English inspired items are developing. I saw a sign that said Ginger Piggery & I want to turn those 2 words into a fun package. The romance of the English countryside provides so much inspiration that is sure to turn into some lovely papers, perhaps tags & more.
This is just the beginning of my dream trip to England. I want to share it with you in 5 or 6 installments. One for each of the locations we visited: The Lake District, The Cotswolds, Bath, London, Kent, & home again. I hope you’ll join me.
Until next time!