Anniversary Hodgepodge

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

Preparing for Change

Today is our 43rd wedding anniversary and we are preparing for another major change in our lives. We were married in 1974 and in 1975 we bought our first home moving to Huntington Beach from West Los Angeles. In 1976 we moved to our second home in Huntington Beach where our two sons were born. The photo above is from our first Christmas in that home. In 1984 we moved from Huntington Beach to Ventura, California with our two young sons (our hearts and minds are with the people of Ventura during the latest Thomas Fire). In 1988 we made the huge move from California to Washington State with our two sons and 3 year old daughter so Dear could go back to school (University of Washington) to become a Pharmacist. We settled into Washington State nicely but in 1996 we experienced a major landslide behind our dream home and after many setbacks and huge costs mounting on saving our home we walked away and gave the home and all our equity to the bank. We lived in 3 rentals. A month after moving into our 3rd rental home in 1998 the owners told us they needed to sell the home even though we had a 1 year lease. We could not face another move and offered to buy the house and were surprised that the bank would give us a loan since we had defaulted on our landslide home. We have been in this old house, the only house we didn’t really choose to buy for almost 20 years. I’ll need to add that because of a job change we moved to Camarillo, California for 4 years from 2006-2010. We did not sell this old house but left two of our adult children to live in it and to care for it while we were gone. Now we are making some extra improvements on this old house to get it ready to sell in Spring of 2018 and make a major move across the mountains to a small country town in northeast Washington. I have to say that change at this stage of life is a little more scary then when we were in our twenties, thirties, forties, or fifties!

But…the consolation is that we will be close to one of our sons, daughter-in-law and little miss Addy!

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what’s the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

Frozen entrees like lasagna or corn on the cob or artichokes. Yes, I’d be able to survive without a microwave.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

Away in a Manger

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you’ve ever taken.

We’ve experienced so many beautiful drives that it’s very hard to choose one. I’ll choose drives in the Cotswolds on narrow lanes that were so scary but beautiful.

5. What’s something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

I went with actual. Gift cards to nice restaurants in Seattle. We are moving to a very small country town 6 hours from Seattle and I want to get my fill of the restaurants I’ll miss.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance,
baptism without church discipline,
Communion without confession….
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond for providing the questions and to all of you who take the time to read our answers.

This morning we see that there are multiple fires in Southern California fanned by Santa Ana Winds. A few freeways have been shut down. I’m sad to see the fires near the Getty Center, Santa Clarita, San Bernardino and of course Ventura. Prayers are up for the people in the paths of these fires and all those who have to evacuate. So frightening, thinking of all my family and friends down there. Go outside and water down your roofs! Be wise about evacuating!

November Photo-A-Day (17-23)

P1050599Day 19 ~Family

I had to resort to two photos to get a photo with all our family in it. It’s hard to get all of us together these days with work schedules and proximity to each other in the state of Washington. The first photo of family was taken in Western Washington and the next photo of family was taken in Eastern Washington.

This challenge post is out of order since I started with day 19 and moved backwards and forwards and all about the town for days 17 thru day 23.

November Photo*A*Day challenge from Kati.

2014-09-14 Open house4Days 17, 18, 20, 21, and 22. Hot Drink (17) Hands/Feet (18), Wood (20), Candlelight (21), Orange (22).

Walk About the Fox 022Day 23 ~ Path

Our house is quiet again as our First Thanksgiving Celebration has come and gone. I will post the photos of our celebration soon. We had a great full day of food and fun. This morning Dan and Jamie headed out early to face the treacherous road conditions over Snoqualmie Pass on to Eastern Washington. I woke up this morning came down the stairs to see that Dear had washed all the dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher. He also emptied the clean dishes from the dishwasher. What a sweet treat that was to me.

Hope you are finishing your weekend well.

Bourton on the Water

I must keep moving along with my England travels before Fall is upon us!

Day 8 of our English holiday was a travel day with stops in Bourton on the Water and Gloucester. I ran ahead showing the outside of Gloucester Cathedral before showing you our first stop which was “Venice of the Cotswolds”.

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Bourton-Gloucester 013It was a charming little village to stroll through. We did indulge in a treat from “Bakery on the Water”.  So many wonderful baked goods to choose from. On our way back to the car park we strolled by Birdland and I saw a bird I had never seen before in person.

Bourton-Gloucester 027A Stork!

Here we are at the start of Labor Day Weekend. Dear will be home earlier than usual today to beat the traffic. Our plans as usual are to labor on this weekend. It’s so American don’t you think? Dear has started a siding project. The weather does not sound like it wants to cooperate with this outdoor project. I’m throwing a hunk of meat in the oven for sandwiches to last us for the weekend projects. For those of you that kind of keep up with the goings on at this old house I wanted to let you know that the bathroom is not completed yet. It’s usable but needs the last cosmetic touches and boo boos fixed.  I really do hope that I have a completed bathroom to show by the end of next week!

Have a wonderful long weekend! Are you laboring, too, or are you taking it easy?

Stow ~ The Church of St. Edward

Ancient and historic Stow on-the Wold is the highest town in the Cotswolds standing 800 feet above sea level.

Stow on the Wold 001One of the historic Cotswold buildings in Stow on the Wold is the church of St Edward.The church is primarily a product of the 11th century with later additions in the 15th century. Quite apart from the lovely architecture, the church has a significant historical connection with the Battle of Stow on the Wold. The battle was the final conflict of the English Civil War.

Seeing this church door flanked by the ancient Yew trees is what first drew me to making Stow on the Wold a must see town in the Cotswolds. Here’s the inside photo of this great door.

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The 88ft high 4-stage tower, completed in 1447, is a conspicuous landmark with an embattled parapet with pinnacles and a string course with gargoyles.

In 1646 a Royalist army marched through the Cotswolds in a desperate attempt to join up with King Charles at Oxford. They were finally confronted at Stow on the Wold by a Parliamentary force. The fighting was fierce and deadly. The Royalists were defeated and over 1000 imprisoned within the church.

We made a quick stop in this town on our trip in September of 2013, this time we stopped for a longer stay and enjoyed spending some time inside the church of St. Edward.

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Stow on the Wold 007This portion of 1 Chronicles 16 was sculpted from Cotswold Stone

Stow on the Wold 006Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice:
and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof:
let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord,

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Stow on the Wold 011When we were done inside the church we walked around this small market town and enjoyed visiting some of the shops.

Stow on the Wold 025The Kings Arms on the market square hosted King Charles I before the Battle of Naseby in 1645.

It’s amazing to think these buildings have been standing for so long. I’m always blown away by the history in the places we visit in England.

Travel Tips for Stow-on-the-Wold. The market square has free two hour parking but when your two hours are up you have to move your car out of the square and find parking at other lots close by. The Fosseway long term parking near Tesco is said to have free parking. When you see “no returns” that means you can’t just change the spot your car is parked in. There is a good variety of shops and places to eat in Stow. We strolled through a few “thrift” stores in town which usually have names like Oxfam, Blue Cross, and others that benefit Hospice care or heart research, etc.

Good Fences ~ England

Day 4 Gardens 082The first two photos are from Kiftsgate Court Gardens in the Cotswolds and the last few are from Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds.

Day 4 Gardens 083These two gardens are just across the road from each other in the Chipping Camden area of the Cotswolds in England.

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Day 4 Gardens 050I have a lot of fences and gates to share from the two weeks we spent in England the beginning of July.

I’m joining in with TexWisGirl at Run*A*Round Ranch for Good Fences #18.

If you want to see more from Kiftsgate Court Gardens or Hidcote Manor Garden click on the links.

Kiftsgate Court Gardens ~ Cotswolds

We got some good exercise when we decided to just stroll over to Kiftsgate Gardens from Hidcote Garden not knowing what the parking situation would be at Kiftsgate. Well…they do have a nice parking area that is free for your information if you decide to visit but we had a goal to walk a lot in England and this day afforded a lot towards that goal.

Day 4 Gardens 081The story of Kiftsgate is the story of three generations of women gardeners: Heather Muir, Diany Binny and Anne Chambers. Each in her unique way has contributed throughout almost a century to making Kiftsgate the world renowned garden that visitors and gardeners alike have grown to know and love.Day 4 Gardens 087Heather Muir created the garden at Kiftsgate, which up until 1920 had consisted of a paved formal garden in front of the portico, with a field and wooded banks beyond. Heather was helped and inspired by her lifelong friend Lawrence Johnston of Hidcote Manor. She decided that the garden would develop organically as she was inspired, rather than planning everything on paper. This has given the garden a distinctly feminine feel, almost in direct contrast to the more masculine lines being employed by Johnston at Hidcote. By 1930 the steep banks were tackled and the steps to the lower garden were put in place, along with the delightful summerhouse taking advantage of the views to the west.

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Day 4 Gardens 088From the mid fifties Diany Binny continued to add to the garden by creating the semi-circular pool in the lower garden. She also commissioned two sculptures and began to open the garden on a regular basis.Day 4 Gardens 119The white sunk garden was also redesigned by her to incorporate a small pool and a well head fountain. Diany was an important figure in the development of Kiftsgate by opening the garden to the public and maintaining the tradition of continuity.

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Day 4 Gardens 092One of Anne Chambers finest accomplishments is the addition of the new water garden that was once the tennis court. This area is now an oasis of calm, where fine white stepping stones give the illusion of floating over the black pool below, leading to a grass island at the centre. To the far end, a double row of gilded bronze philodendron leaves sway gently under a cascade of running water surrounded by a curtain of yew hedging.

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Day 4 Gardens 125Taking up half the space on one side of the Rose Border is Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’. The vigour shown by this rose, which we claim to be the largest in England, produces huge growth each year and three trees have been smothered by its spreading habit. In early to mid July it is a remarkable sight when it is covered in panicles of white blooms and resembles a cascading waterfall amongst the trees.

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Day 4 Gardens 090The view is magnificent from the swimming pool lawn. In one direction the distant hills of Malvern can be seen beyond the Vale of Evesham whilst looking back up the Banks a fine view of the house can allow oneself to imagine being in a Mediterranean setting.

Day 4 Gardens 115After we strolled through the upper gardens we made our way down to the lower garden and semi circular pool.

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Day 4 Gardens 112I took this next photo with Vee of A Haven for Vee in mind. Not as plush as yours were, Vee.

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We had a few fast moving showers while we were at this garden but found good spots out of the rain to wait while the showers passed. There is a nice tea room available right on the grounds. You are never too far from a tea room in the Cotswolds.

All words in italics are from the Kiftsgate web page and not my own words.

Speaking of showers we have had a full day of showers here at this old house with some thunderstorms, too. Things in the bathroom renovation slowed down as we wait on the bathtub to be delivered. It was suppose to arrive today and the plumbers were all set to go but as in any project glitches happen. Tomorrow we should have a full house of worker bees…

What’s new in your neck of the woods?

Snowshill ~ Cotswolds

Sat. July 5-Chipping Campden 029The road from Chipping Campden to Snowshill took us along little lanes bordered by rock walls and hedges. We were able to find a nice parking lot between the village and the National Trust property.

Sat. July 5-Chipping Campden 035A Fete was going on in the village center and some locals recommended that we go there before going to Snowshill Manor and Gardens which is a National Trust Property. Because we took that advice we missed the last opening for viewing the Manor House but we were still able to walk about the gardens.

Sat. July 5-Chipping Campden 039The church was in the very center of the village and on a high point of the village.

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Sat. July 5-Chipping Campden 047The walk from the National Trust Manor property entrance to the Manor had some beautiful vistas to enjoy.

Sat. July 5-Chipping Campden 052The Manor grounds are beautifully landscaped.

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Sat. July 5-Chipping Campden 063This is a view of the back of the Manor.

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Sat. July 5-Chipping Campden 079On our way back to our cottage we stopped at the beautiful fields of lavender.

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Sat. July 5-Chipping Campden 085Our visit to Snowshill ended our first Saturday in England and our first full day in the Cotswolds. On Sunday we had plans to take a little trip out of the Cotswolds to “see a fine lady upon a white horse”.