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Musings from Mama

Thursday, June 08, 2006




Photos from yesterday that refused to load: trying again. Don't know the order they will decide to load but they are the Durham cathedral where we had Easter Services, The Seaside, and a road sign which described how we old folks felt. We hope to put one of those at the bottom of our driveway soon.


Have a great weekend and i will talk to you later. Love to all B.M.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Happy Easter Day 7

The Easter Bunny came to see The Dad and me!! We got a bag of chocolate eggs that were colorerd with a chocolate praline "workaholic hen" sitting on top of them. And here I didn't even think of Easter gifts. How sweet of the e bunnies here.

We had an early breakfast and then went to Easter services at Durham cathedral. Because we got there early, we got the option, which we accepted, of sitting in the "choir" where the nobility used to sit. Were we important or what!! The seats weren't all that comfy, thank you very much. The services were very impressive: High church and all. I, of course, was most impressed with the music which was outstanding. The adult choir and boys' choir sang and they were--WOW!-I'd almost forgotten that I love formal church music too. I especially enjoyed a couple of little boys of about 10 who would have much rather been almost anywhere else. The message was great and short. A pleasant thing for some of our company. The Dad didn't even sleep.

Afterward, we went 'way down the hill to walk along the river until time for Durham Castle to open. Of course, we had to walk 'way back UP that hill to get there. It was pretty neat and the gal who did the tour was outstanding. I asked her how long she had been doing it cause she knew everything and used no notes (of course) and she informed me it was her first time alone. I do wish we had been able to have seen more of the living areas. Today, students from Durham university live there. Wouldn't I have loved to have lived in a real, live castle when I was in college.

After lunch at an almshouse (which didn't look much like one) we drove about 20 miles or so to the North Sea and walked along a cold windy beach which was so pretty. I got some rocks-just a few-to put in my garden which probably was the cause of our having our luggage opened and checked when we came home. Did I mention that also was down a very steep hill and back up? Yep. Big Mama was beat!

Finally, the last of our HUGE day was a trip out to the ruin of the Priory at Finchale-pronounced "Finkle." It was too late to go in so we wandered around the outside and the other members of the family went across a scary bridge and tromped around in the wooded area and got some great pictures. The Priory had at one time been occupied by a hermit and it was fun to imagine where he might have stayed but even L.D. didn't know exactly where he had lived.

Back to the B&B for a short rest (OK so I collapsed!) and then out to a Family Style Pub for dinner.. I think I did have the fish and chips then. This old chick was one tired old bird.

Dang! I don't think those pictures published after all this time trying to upload them. Sorry. Maybe tomorrow.




Some photos I wish I had posted yesterday. The second one is The Son's favorite setting to pose for. The location is Barnard Castle. We have some nice latrine photos from other times. The other 2 are the fabulous gardens at Raby. I really hope they all post this time. I never know. Really the photos were in a different spot when I posted them so whatever, you know the latrine is the one that is the favorite.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Aging Grandmother is a genius...The Sister not far behind!

In case you may not know it, we have had an unwelcome guest at our house for the last several days: a little skunk has taken up residence in our crawl space with the ground hog who apparently has lived there for a while. He, however, made no smell so no incentive was sought to get rid of him. Not so, Skunkie.

So, whom should i call to get any old wives' tales of success for such things? That's right. Good old mother. She has always come up with harmless and successful ideas for all kinds of stuff. For example, who was it that taught me how to get rid of the gamey flavor of our free-range chickens (also squirrels, deer and buffalo-ugh, I won't care to try-and anything else nasty I guess. Also works on turnips)? Yup: Momma. And who was it that gave me the lovely recipe for small children's diarrheas-safe, yet successful? Yup again..and said children have never forgiven her even though I think it tastes like cinnamon rolls not yet cooked.

So, a call was put in to Momma. For those who may not know Mother, she is 96 and as active an old bird as I could ever hope to be at half her age. She was off gallivanting and I had to wait for her to get back but, sure enough, she had a solution. And that is where The Sister came in: they decided that we should put mothballs all inside the place and then put coyote urine deterent on the outside. They also decided, The Sister's advice, to have us borrow a dog to keep the skunks away. We haven't done that yet.

So anyway, The Dad got the mothballs and gingerly opened the door to the crawl space and tossed them everywhere. However, no varmit was there at the time so he hurried up and blocked up the hole they came in (now why didn't he do it much earlier? Cause he didn't feel the need, I guess).

Now, how do you get rid of mothball smell, Mother Dear? Sure beats skunk!



Day 6

Well, I hope to have this post this time. Yesterday I worked so hard on it and put in photos and waited..and waited...you get the picture and after about 1/2 hr. it said it couldn't connect. Bummed I was, after all else that went wrong yesterday. But, oh well, today is a new day, right?

Today we saw 2 castles. I was in the height of my glory! The first we saw was Barnard Castle. It was a ruin and I liked it best. We could wander at will and imagine what it must have looked like. It was so neat! We almost didn't have to pay to get in: we went in and wandered and on the way out, found the ticket booth so went in and paid. I wish I could post a bunch of photos of this one!

Then we went on to Raby Castle. It is a real "working" castle. People live there. The same family has owned it for generations. Actually, the same family owned Barnard too and tore it down to make Raby. How sad!! The people who live there weren't "on display" but their photos were displayed many places which kind of distracted from the authenticity of the place. Not a lot of it was open but what was open was very impressive--even down to the dog that one of the previous owners had stuffed at its demise cause she loved it so much. It has some quiet interesting gardens and they are beautiful. Wish I could see them in the Summer when all the flowers are out. Springtime was magnificent too though.

Back to our B&B which is a farm setting with a really old house. It was built in 1750-something, i believe. The lady who runs it was very nice and friendly (almost everyone seems to be friendly!) and tolerant of us. We were allowed to use the parlour which D&A did but we old folks went off to bed. We were exhausted but happy. OH, it was very cute: the next morning, I ordered breakfast but asked for a hard boiled egg (the menu just said "boiled egg") and when she brought it, she was very apologetic and kind of embarrassed because she didn't know what to do with a hard boiled egg. The scenery is just fantastic!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006



Day 5


Whooee They published today!!

Well, today we are in York. This strange little street is called The Shambles. It really does look like the buildings are almost touching each other at the top! It was usually very crowded with shoppers. Had some quite interesting little shops. We walked on it a few times and I found it fasicnating every time. At the end and around the corner, I think, was a big open-air Marketplace with absolutely everything to buy. I bought a couple of things for the children and some food-type goodies that were really good. We also visited a few OLD churches-14th century in one case- that are no longer used as churches. They were so exciting to me.

Then was the Good Friday Service in York Minster (2nd picture). It was 3 hrs. long and seemed like much less! Couldn't believe we had sat there that long. It was a drama of Jesus' last hours with flashbacks to people in His ministry in modern setting. The troupe consisted of only 6 people and few props but it was beautifully done. We had a short sermon between each scene and Scripture and a song. Afterwards, the D.s led us on a tour of the Minster and as usual, it was all the more interesting for having the L.D. as a guide as she knew so much interesting to tell us.

After that, the Son took us on a trip to the Moors on the most steep, winding roads I have ever been on I think. The hill were the most magnificent I have ever seen. God did a wonderful job building them! We saw free-ranging sheep that looked furry and not as wooly as our sheep do and they were HUGE!! We saw pheasants also.

Had my first fish and chips when we got safely (Thanks, David!) back to civilization. Well, OK, I just had a veggie lasagna, salad and chips, but I had a bite of Larry's fish and it was really good. Back to York and the B&B; played a game with D&A and dropped.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dern It anyway

I have tried 4 times to put pictures into the last post and still it won't work. I don't think this is doing it either but can always try again. Does anyone know why it won't work even though I am doing just the same as I did the last 2 times?

Day 4 Thursday

This day, we spent driving--well, no one spent it driving but Son D. He does pretty well driving on the wrong side of the road. The Dad would have too: I am always on him about driving down the wrong side of the road here on our little country path! But no one trusted us old folks to drive and it was great. The Son drove marvelously. We had a rented car with only 6 (I think, correct me, David if I am wrong) miles on it and we put around 900 miles on it. Pretty fur piece for a long weekend. Thanks Son!!!

The biggest highlights of the day were I saw my first castle ever today!!!! I could die happy now. It was Hardwick Castle and was somewhere just out of London I think. We saw it from a distance but I didn't care: it was exciting. I wish I could put the picture here that I found but I don't know how so I will put it at the top where I know how to put them.

I'm a bit crushed though: I was so thrilled about seeing the hedgerows all around in the country and didn't even get one picture of them. They're hedges like used like fences and are all over the countryside and MUCH nicer than fences. When I get a green thumb (Ha! Fat Chance!!), I think I will grow some around the Chikken Wrantch.

We arrived in York and stayed in our first Bed and Breakfast and it was wonderful. If you ever go to York, do stay in the Avondale B&B. I can't figure how to do the link for it but it's there and absolutely charming as is Carole, the owner--and she's a fantastic cook!!

We went to York Minster and got to see the lower part which was a museum whose name I have forgotten (anyone who knows, L.D. do let me know so I can put it in my scrapbook, please). Tomorrow, we will get to see the rest of the Minster and go to Good Friday Services there.

I fell down in the middle of the street and about killed myself (OK, so I am a bit dramatic!) but survived and went bravely on. We ate at a great Indian Restaurant and went back "home." I was going to put day 5 on this cause I thought it wouldn't be long enough but it is too long so tomorrow will be day 5.

Thursday, June 01, 2006



London Day 3

Well, I lied: I am going to do a daily thing (see comment on last one) and just ignore it if you are bored, OK?

This was one of the highlights of my week. The Dad and Son took a 23 mile bike trip and came back on a train. He really enjoyed it but I don't think any pictures came from it. He was one tired old rooster!

But I got to go to town with the London Daughter (herefter known as L.D.) and got to see everything!! We saw the Parliament buildings (outside), Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the remains of an old Roman Wall (I loved that!!), and , best of all, Westminster Abbey. The ceiling took my breath away it was so beautiful! Now, mind you, everything should have an exclamation point but I know it isn't proper so I won't but it all was very exciting. I loved all the old clothes. St. Margaret's Chapel was open for prayers and we got there for that. We saw the old cloisters for the monks and where lots of people were buried. Guess that's what the Abbey is all about, huh?

The Roman wall gave me chills as I thought of the incredible history around it and all the people who had walked there. I can't put into words how all these old things made me feel. Pretty humbled I tell you but excited too. I never thought in all my life I would be standing there seeing it for myself! Brings tears to my eyes just remembering it. The L.D. is a wonderful tour guide because she knows everything there is to know about those time periods and puts in all kinds of interesting things that the books don't say. I was thrilled to get to know her better too. She's OK!!!

We got to ride the tube many times and it was a lot more fun than the buses. I really enjoyed the tube. The thing that impressed me most about the public transportation was that never, ever did I have to stand even though often they were busy. Always, without exception, a young person would get up and give me a seat. That also inspired tears and gratitude.

Wonderful, but tired day. Another 5 miles of walking--but who's counting, right?