Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An England Adventure, Part 4

Because we had so enjoyed Avebury, the next morning after our Avebury countryside adventure, we reluctantly boarded a bus and rode to Dorchester.  We were looking forward to two nights in this town which is famous for various neolithic and Roman ruins and for being the home of British author Thomas Hardy.  Also, we had a personal contact there--The World's Best Neighbors' brother and sister-in-law reside there.  So we had a great recommendation for a Bed and Breakfast location from them.

As soon as we arrived in Dorchester, we walked to the BnB.  On the way, we passed Maumbury Ring and knew we would have to return and explore this Neolithic henge turned Roman amphitheatre.  Then we walked by an old cemetery.  Same reaction.  We checked in to our BnB and met the delightful owners.  If you are ever traveling to Dorchester and need a place to stay there, I can happily and absolutely recommend Aquila Heights BnB!  Derek and Wendy were the best!

Anyway, we quickly settled our backpacks in our room and then took off to explore.  First stop:  Maumbury Ring!  For all you other history geeks, here is the link to more information about Maumbury Ring.

Can you imagine living in a place where ancient ruins are simply where you walk your dogs??

We walked on into the center of town past houses

and chimney pots

and broken doors

and churches

with fascinating doors.

Even the library and city government center is surrounded by history!  

A remembrance circle

and The Roman Walk which is a tree lined path that follows the perimeter of what is believed to be the Roman town of Durnovaria (Dorchester).  Here is a link to information about The Roman Walk.

I just had to snap this artsy shot of a teenage boy reading by the window in the library!

It was getting late and dark, so we grabbed some dinner and headed back to the BnB.  My daughter elected to rest and sleep, and I spent a couple of hours enjoying a visit with World's Best Neighbors' relatives.  The next day there would be So. Much. More. History. to discover!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Snow, Sun, and Rain

Happy Friday Fave Fives from a very rainy and stormy Willow's Cottage.  (Follow the link to join us in celebrating the blessings of our week.)  I sit in my cosy cottage and gaze out at the falling rain and give thanks for so many things including but not limited to a safe and dry home with indoor plumbing.  Here are five samples of how my week went.

1.  My weather week went from this:
snow at night

to this:

sunshine and green grass on the mountains above my neighborhood

blue ocean and blue skies

2.  I knew that more rain was predicted for our area, so I took a day to work in the garden.  The hyacinth is in bloom now, as are the daffodils.

I planted tomatoes and snap peas and marigolds.  I cleaned up buckets of fallen camellia blooms.  I repotted my chocolate mint.

3.  And today it is RAINING.  Again.  No, I won't stop being thankful for the rain!  With this storm and the next one headed our Southern California way, we might actually move out of drought status.  Fortunately, I finished all my errands yesterday, so I can stay home today.  (Hint:  if you live in Southern California, don't assume people actually know how to drive in rain!)

4.  Our son Dr. Mike happened to be traveling through Los Angeles, so he arranged to spend a couple of days with us.  I flew in to LAX. The Professor picked me up.  Then we drove directly to our favorite Indonesian restaurant and met him there.  Of course we savored our meal.  Since he was here for a few days, The Professor arranged for him to speak at the university on the most recent research he has been doing which was of interest to more than one department--Comp Sci, Anthropology, and Environmental Science.

Mama might have been a bit proud of her boy.

5.  I drove him to LAX the next morning to fly back to snow and ice.  Since it took two hours to navigate the freeways to deliver him there,

I decided to treat myself to a leisurely drive home via Pacific Coast Highway.  The beach photos above were taken near Mugu Beach campground.  Also, on the mountain side of the highway, I noticed that the coreopsis are blooming!  I just had to pull over, jump out and walk up the trail a bit.

Do you see the specks of yellow on the crest of the hill? Those are giant coreopsis.  The large stumps look like dead cactus most of the year.  But in the spring, they bloom with clumps of yellow daisy like flowers.

This  zoomed in photo shows more details. 

 And the poppies are blooming, too!  (See what a little rain will produce?)

I am so thankful for the beauty in nature around me and for my family!

Friday, February 10, 2017

February Faves

I missed posting my Friday Fave Fives last week because I was here.

I left this

and flew east over the Rocky Mountains and across the Great Plains.  The New Boy is now the Big Boy because he turned nine years old this week, and for the first time in many years, I was there to celebrate with him.

So here are my Friday Fave Fives for the past two weeks.

1.  The frequent rains in Southern California (I just can't let that one go, can I?) are keeping my garden happy.

By the time I return from The Big Boy's home, my hyacinth with be blooming!

I planted parsley!

We've been enjoying these daily.

2.  A Lego themed birthday party at the roller skating rink.

3.  On Saturday we spent several hours at the EnterTRAINment museum in Cincinnati.  Eleanor Elizabeth asked to go, too.  She enjoyed it almost as much as The Big Boy.

"Which one is your office?" I asked.

4.  This has been an unusual week since Older Daughter is at work during the day and The Big Boy is at school.  Consequently, I've had a lot of 'down time' at home since a contractor is here working on a bathroom remodel.  And I don't drive in snow.

I'm catching up on some reading for the Herbalism Workshop and Materia Medica classes I'm taking.  As you can see, I'm not alone.  I have both canine and feline company.

5.  Older Daughter has arranged her schedule so she can be home part of a couple of days.  We're organizing and decluttering which I love to do.  There may be some coffee dates in there, too.

All in all, it has been a pleasant and productive time.  How was your week?

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

An England Adventure, Part 3

As I mentioned in the previous post, we followed the path up the hill along the Ridge Way.  We were on our way to find Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow.  There were few signs and we had to guess where we were headed.  At the top of the knoll, we turned right and walked up to the crest of the hill.

There was Silbury Hill in the valley to the west.  Silbury Hill is an ancient man made mound constructed of chalk.  According to Wikipedia and various travel guides, it is also the site of a Roman town.

For safety reasons, the hill is not open to the public although as you will see in photos at the bottom of this post, sheep are welcome to graze in the fields around the hill.

We walked the path along the river and to the highway.  We knew that West Kennet Long Barrow was across the road to the south.  Climbing over the fences, we came to a gully and crossed on the huge stone 'bridge'.  Later, I looked it up and decided it must be Swallow Head Spring.  There was evidence around the spring that it was a site for Summer Solstice celebrations (ribbons, etc.)

As we searched for any signs or directions for the Barrow, we trudged through plowed fields.  There were broken stones everywhere.  On the outside, they looked like bones, but on the inside, there were shiny black stones.  Maybe onyx?  Of course, I had to stop and investigate.  I kept one small stone.

We walked and walked.  We never did find the Barrow.  Evidently we were about 100 yards too far west when we crossed the highway.  Probably the Barrow is on the other side of those trees and to the right a bit.

Finally, we gave up and decided to return to Avebury as it was getting late and dark and we were getting hungry and cold.  (We figure that there is always an opportunity for another adventure and visit to Wiltshire.)  You can see in the photo that it was almost dusk by the time we passed by Silbury Hill again.

Instead of returning the way we came, we followed the river path back to Avebury.  Wonder of wonders, there was a sign pointing toward Avebury.  We passed a few walkers and their dogs, so we knew we were on a well traveled path.  We didn't want a repeat of our adventure of the night before when we wandered in the dark in unknown and unmarked fields. Even so, it was dark and still rainy by the time we got to the Red Lion.  An excellent dinner revived our spirits.
We asked our server there if he knew exactly where the Barrow was.  Yes, we were one field west of the path we should have taken.  Why, oh why, are there NO SIGNS to these famous ancient archaeological sites??

We returned by bus to our AirBnB, but we made sure that our driver knew where to stop and let us off.  Tea, a cordial hostess, and a hot shower awaited us.

Thus ended our second day of our England Adventures.