Signs from England

We saw some great signs when we were in England. Pubs and Inns have some great unique signs.

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This one really cracked me up…how fresh can Lobster be from Canada to Windsor, England? I suppose it can be flown in the same day but the sign still had me smiling.

Some signs around this old house are that the weather is turning on us. Today we filled a yard waste bin with leaves and it’s really just the beginning of the raking season. We are looking forward to a few more soccer games with the Seattle Sounders and since we came in 1st place overall for our MLS season we are really hoping to be able to be in the final game for the MLS championships. If that’s the case that game will be here in Seattle on December 7th! It would be pretty sweet to celebrate our Seattle Sounders 40th Anniversary year and my 40th wedding anniversary with a MLS championship on the same weekend. Hope you were able to follow that.

We get to spend some quality time with our adult kids this weekend and we’re really looking forward to that. If I’m scarce on the internet you will know why. We will be busy eating fish tacos, tomato rice soup, Swedish Pancakes, my mom’s roolyet and besides eating together we will be shooting at pumpkins and other things…

What are your plans for the weekend?

I’m linking up with Lesley for her Signs, Signs; a weekly meme of interesting, funny, ridiculous and unexplainable signs. In the future I hope to post more unique signs.

 

The Rest of the Story…

…when website photos lie. I already moaned about our hotel in Henley-on-Thames here, but I’ll be moaning a little more with chuckles thrown in and tell you more about our experience which sadly we had to pay dear money for.

road to Henly day11 154As I mentioned before the location of the hotel was right across the street from The River Thames.

To Windsor 008When we checked in we took our suitcases to the room with no help offered.  The room looked nothing, absolutely nothing like any of the rooms shown on the Website.  The website showed photos of a nicely appointed hotel with nice rooms. Our room charge was 150 pounds so we were surprised when this was the condition of the chairs in our room. We left for a walk into town for lunch. When we came back to the hotel to freshen up before doing some more walking, the water in the room was not working. When we went down to the front desk there was a sign stating the water would be off until 6:00 P.M. Just a sign no one attending the desk. We didn’t understand why they didn’t inform us of that little fact when we checked in.  After dinner and an evening walk we returned to the hotel and we went into the hotel bar to order a drink. The very young bartender said he was sorry but they did not have any gin. No Gin in a British bar? I just chuckled. We headed to our room and managed to get some sleep with our window open for air and the large portable fan on.

To Windsor 005The early morning views were beautiful and still could be appreciated over the noise of the early delivery trucks on the road below our window. We got ready for breakfast and we headed down to the lobby to try to find where breakfast would be served. No one was in sight. No one at the front desk. When we checked in the person behind the desk had pointed in the general direction of where breakfast would be served. We walked that way and spotted a room with tables set for service and took a seat.

R.LOur first thought was well this is nice maybe breakfast will make up for our less than comfortable night until… we waited and waited and waited and then Dear went out to try to find someone who would serve us some breakfast. There still was no one at the front desk. He finally found someone and we had to leave this nicely appointed room and head further down the hall to another room without flowers on the table.

P1050481The breakfast staff consisted of two young guys who didn’t seem sure of what they were doing. It honestly felt like they were pulled off the street that morning and shown quickly what to do.  Notice our empty coffee cups. It took a long time to get coffee and a longer time to get our breakfast. We checked out, shook the dust off our shoes and headed to our next location for our last two nights that proved to be the balm we needed after this disappointing stay at the Red Lion Henley. We were so glad we had only booked one night here.

We do not recommend The Red Lion in Henley. We would love to re-visit Henley-on-Thames but we will do some better investigating on where to stay…

The Wind in the Willows

In Henley-on-Thames there is a River and Rowing Museum that has an exhibit devoted to The Wind in the Willows.

2014-07-14 road to Henly day113The Wind in the Willows is a charming children’s book written by Kenneth Grahame and published in 1908.

Mole and Ratty
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing –
half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

The book tells the story of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad and their adventures of the riverbank. Beneath the surface, his animal society is used as a vehicle for social comment with the story representing the passing of the old world and coming of the new.

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2014-07-14 road to Henly day111“The river, which plays a central role in the book, is thought to have been inspired largely by the Thames from Cookham to Pangbourne where Grahame lived for much of his life. A permanent exhibition at the Museum uses 3-D models, theatrical lighting and audio guides to recreate the story, while a display in the River Gallery looks at the life of Kenneth Grahame and the development of the book. This display includes a selection of the Museum’s Wind in the Willows collection including a first edition produced by Methuen in 1908.”

2014-07-14 road to Henly day112Have you ever been on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland?

Mr_Toad's_Wild_RideThe ride is of course influenced by this Children’s Classic. “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a dark ride at Disneyland Park. It is one of the few remaining attractions that was operational on the park’s opening day in 1955.” I need to get back to Disneyland and take a ride again now that I’ve read the book and walked along the River Thames.

I read The Wind in the Willows for the first time in 2008 and that same year Dear and I went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market where I saw and purchased this teapot by Sadler from their Classic Stories series.

I don’t want to totally ignore the fact that this was a River and Rowing Museum so I will show you a couple photos from the larger part of the museum.

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2014-07-14 road to Henly day114It was interesting to read about the Rowing history and to see the old Blazers and Olympic uniforms worn.

Do you like to mess about in boats? I have enjoyed canoeing on a lake and we tried Kayaking which was fun. If I can see the shore I don’t mind being in a boat but I’m not fond of being on water without a shoreline in sight.

Midsomer Murders…

We have gotten to the letter M with ABC Wednesday with thanks to Denise Nesbitt and the ABC Team.

While we were in Henley-on-Thames in England we enjoyed a visit to The Argyle where some of the scenes from the popular BBC murder series was filmed. DCI Tom Barnaby and his young sergeants are fun to follow around the English countryside and in many English pubs.

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road to Henly day11 024I smiled when I saw the signature brew for Midsomer Murders and of course I had to try it.

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road to Henly day11 029Do you watch any of the BBC Murder Mysteries? We enjoy Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis and Midsomer Murders. I was happy to see Season 7 of Inspector Lewis start up on Masterpiece Mysteries on Sunday night here in the states.

Click on the ABC link above to see more entries for M or to join in the fun.

A Walk Along the Thames

While we were in Henley on Thames we had some wonderful walks.

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road to Henly day11 125These canal boats were so interesting and varied. We liked this one since it was named “Katie”. We saw it putt away later in the day…

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We had several fun encounters with these three ladies as we walked along the banks of the river.

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road to Henly day11 136In a large park like area off the river there were several stumps of trees like this one that were used for picnic supplies. Such a great idea.

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You could really feel the inspiration behind The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. We found the Wind in the Willows museum along this stretch of The River Thames along with a Rowing Museum and I’ll share the photos soon.

“This has been a wonderful day!” said he, as the rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. “Do you know, I’ve never been in a boat in all my life.”

“What?” cried the Rat, open mouthed: “Never been in a – you never-well, I-what have you been doing, then?”

“Is it so nice as all that?” asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leaned back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

“Nice? It’s the only thing.” said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing.”

The first time I read The Wind in the Willows was as an adult and just a few years ago. If you’ve never read it I would highly recommend it.

In the spirit of the tales in this book I will share the saga of the hotel we stayed in while in Henley-on-Thames in a future post. We only had one night in Henley and we were glad to check out of the hotel but we could have explored the lovely town for another day. Maybe in the future we’ll re-visit with a better choice of lodging.

Hope you all had a nice weekend. We did here at this old house.

InSPIREd Sunday ~ Henley-on-Thames

The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Henley-on-Thames, England.

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“The exact origin of St. Mary’s is unknown, but is likely to be around 1000, and the first recorded priest is Aumericus de Harcourt, in 1204.”

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Linking up with Beth and Sally for InSPIREd Sunday.

The Road to Henley…

On Monday July 14th we left our self-catering lodging in Ross on Wye and headed East to Henley on Thames.

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Our route was close to 100 miles and as you can see the roads were nice and wide compared to the country lanes we had been traveling on. road to Henly day11 011When we left the M roads as we got close to Henley on Thames we enjoyed driving through some picturesque towns.

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road to Henly day11 016We crossed over this bridge as we entered the main streets of Henley on Thames.

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This was our hotel for the night and if we knew then what we would soon discover we would have made other arrangement immediately. Live and learn.

This was a wonderful town to stroll through and the walkway along the River Thames was quite nice. More from Henley on Thames soon.

Today, Saturday October 4th I’m heading to the Seattle Center to attend a Tea Festival with our daughter Katie and some friends. I hope to have some fun things to share. We have had a most glorious introduction to October weather wise here in the Seattle area. I’m most thankful for the beauty that we are enjoying.

 

It Was the Best of Times…

…it was the worst of times.

I’m diverting from my regular “Cheers” posts slightly today for a little reality check when traveling.

We are now in Henley on Thames after traveling for 2 hours this morning. We are staying overnight in the city instead of the country. Our hotel seemed idyllic on-line, situated on the river Thames. What they don’t show you is the one way 2 lane street below our window which seems everyone needs to use to get out of town, including buses. So I sit on my bed and look out and see rowers and quiet boaters go by along the river while listening to buses and diesel vehicles rumble down the street below our window.

road to Henly day11 155Don’t feel sorry for us because there is so much beauty to enjoy it overshadows the noise of the city. I’m thinking I’m more of a country mouse with a city near by kind of person as opposed to living in the middle of the city kind of person. The photo above  is the view out our window while I’m sitting on the bed.

P1050473When I stick my head out the window and look down this is the view of the two lane road that the trucks and diesels rumble along with the compressed air from the brakes being released. You know that loud swishy noise.

Time will tell if we are able to sleep tonight. No air conditioning so we have the window open. They have equipped the rooms with fans and maybe that will work like “white noise” for us tonight.

P1050469That’s our room above with the window open.  Now that you’ve seen the worst of it I will leave you with some of the best. Henley on Thames really is a lovely little city to visit. The town shops and restaurants are very nice. They just got done with a regatta this past weekend. We visited the rowing museum today and they have a wonderful area illustrating 3 dimensional scenes from “The Wind in the Willows”. I’ll have a post or two about all the good things this city has to offer.

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See, I’m a happy camper walking along the river Thames thinking about The Wind in the Willows. 

An aside…stop reading if you don’t care to hear about my love for soccer and skip down to the next paragraph. I’m also wearing my Seattle Sounders Major League Soccer shirt celebrating their win over the Portland Timbers last night with Clint Dempsey scoring a goal fresh from his return from being Captain of the U.S. World Cup Soccer team. I know most of you don’t really give a rip but I need to keep things historical for my memory bank to make it easier to remember the timing of my travels. Now back to some great Grahame quotes!

“All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

road to Henly day11 127 “Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!”

And yes, we are off to our last lodging spot tomorrow for two nights and then we will fly home on Thursday.

We are hoping the heat wave in the Seattle area will be mostly over by the time we arrive home on Thursday. Dear is already making plans to sleep in the cool basement if it’s still blazing hot! How’s the weather where you are?

 

All Booked!

Fox CottageAfter very little discussion Dear and I decided that the best place to go to celebrate 40 years of marriage would have to be England. The discussion was easy, hitting the purchase button for the flights was a little more difficult but after we did it was full speed ahead to book places to stay. The first spot we chose is a self-catering cottage in a very small village in the Cotswolds. The photo above is the exterior of Fox Cottage. We will spend a leisurely 7 nights here and explore several towns and villages in the area. We’ll venture off as far as Oxford from this spot. “Self-Catering accommodation simply refers to an efficiency in which guests take care of their own meals, laundry and other needs. The accommodation provided has facilities that allows guest to cater for their own day to day needs. Self-Catering accommodation includes a suite with a fully equipped kitchen mainly for guest to prepare their own meals.”

EastviewThe second spot we are going to stay for 3 nights in in Ross on Wye in Herefordshire. We chose this spot because we really want to visit Hay on Wye which is well known for Used Book Stores. Here’s what wiki says about this town “Hay-on-Wye, is a small market town and community in Powys, Wales, situated on the English border. Often described as “the town of books”, it is the National Book Town of Wales.”

red_lion_postcardOn our way back to a closer proximity to London Heathrow we will re-visit the town of Henley on Thames. Dear and I stayed here in 1973 or 1974 with our Christian Rock Band. We will be staying for one night at the Red Lion that you see here on this old postcard. We hope to visit some of the villages around this area where Midsomer Murders was filmed. We will definitely visit the Argyle in town for a meal.

OakleyCourtExteriorNEW1700Our grand finale for two nights will be the Oakley Court in Windsor. Isn’t it grand? We will spend some time in the town of Windsor and if the Queen is not in residence at Windsor Castle we hope to have a tour. From Windsor we’ll make the short drive to London Heathrow and fly home.

Our actual anniversary isn’t until December but we are choosing to celebrate in England in July.  The first 2 times Dear and I traveled to England together was in July of 1973 and July 0f 1974. During our trip in 1974 we were already engaged to be married with our wedding planned for December of that year. If anyone has any suggestions for places to visit in the areas of the Cotswolds, Oxford, and Southern Wales please let me know.

Hope you had a nice weekend. I know our Canadian Hockey Fans across the line enjoyed their Sunday. Congrats to Canada on winning the gold.