Published: August 9th 2007April 27th 2007
And doesn't it smell like it! Another amazing part of Bluebell wood...
So...the next part of our UK journey...We set off from Epsom in our little hire car with the very picturesque village of Ebbesbourne Wake in Wiltshire as our destination. Of all the exotic and exciting places on our trip itinerary, I was most excited about our weekend spent in a tiny English country village with a population of about 200 people. We were going to stay with my uncle and aunt in Wake House...the house where my dad grew up and the house where I've spent many holidays and have countless memories of. So for me, it's not just a beautiful place with some of my beloved rellies in it, but it has much sentiment attached. And so it was important for Kev who was going there for the first time!
The surrounding countryside is some of the prettiest I've ever seen, so driving to the village already won much admiration from Kev (who, by the way, is very easily pleased when it come to nature...) We arrived in time for the first of many delicious meals that weekend, a good chat with my uncle, aunt and gorgeous cousin Claire, and finally settled into a bed that was far too
comfortable...I was one happy girl :)
In the morning light we were able to appreciate how perfect our timing was in coming to Ebbesbourne Wake...it was spring! And the 1st English spring I'd seen in 18 years! Spring is pretty special in England (we so don't get a proper spring in Sydney...), especially on a perfectly warm weekend as we had. The flowers and blossoms are showing off all over the place and everything is green and fresh and completely lovely...Am I going to run out of adjectives? I think so. But you can just see the photos...
Our days consisted of lots of cups of tea, long (very long) walks around the surrounding farmland and gorgeous (!!) bluebell wood, the occasional game of tennis and an opportunity to eat every hour or so it seemed. Kev also occupied himself usefully by mowing the many lawns on the sit-on mower...proudly achieving straight lines by the last lawn. We drove into Salisbury a few times (the closest main town); once to attend a beautiful service at Salisbury Cathedral and once to watch my cousin Claire strut her stuff in a school fashion parade.
All in all, one perfect
Bluebell fields forever
Elle and her aunt Jane (who incidentally gives her her middle name)
weekend...completely restful and enough to make me fall in love again with the English countryside.
On the Tuesday, we enjoyed more country motoring on the way to Bristol, where a few more of my cousins live. We were staying with my cousin Tom, his wife Elise and daughter Rosa (aka 'Monster'). Rosa was sufficient entertainment for Kev and I while we were there but we did manage to fit in a little sightseeing too...the lovely Clifton area in Bristol beside a very cool suspension bridge; a 'sea-side' town nearby called Clevedon, where Kev's first sight of the ocean in England was rather disappointing...the dominant colour of sand and sun and sea being very...brown. Later we discovered that it was actually the notoriously brown channel between England and Wales. (Sorry about my terrible sentence structuring mum!) We also wandered around the harbour and central areas of Bristol; the highlight being the amazing pies we ate in the markets. But we weren't there for the sightseeing...
The rest of our time was spent hanging out with my cousins Tom, Matt and Chris who live in Bristol. It was Matt's 30th birthday while we were there, so we joined them all
From Ebbesbourne Wake to the village church
for a party on one night where more family and friends were present. Lots of laughs and fun that week.... One of our days we spent in Bath, where my aunt Sarah lives...also had a lovely evening with her and Ian and cousin Thomas!
On the Saturday we drove up to Nottingham...my birthplace :) We intended to do a little sightseeing in the afternoon before meeting up with my old pastors, David and Dorothy Shearman, for dinner. Unfortunately our map was very limited and about 20 years old, so most of the sights we saw were not on the itinerary. We did, however, make it to Ye olde trip to Jerusalem, a pub from 1189 (?)...things are kind of old in England! After treating us to an amazing meal (we're so spoilt!), David and Dorothy took us on a little city tour and Kev got to see what I couldn't find before...the hospital where I was born, the house where I gave my life to Jesus and lived until we moved to Australia, the University where my parents met, the place where the church once stood where William Carey first preached his message "Expect great things from God, attempt
Learning to be a farmer
Hugh, Polly, and Kev on the tractor
great things for God"... it was also the city where William Booth lived... so much history in this city!
The next morning, we went to my old church...another nostalgic experience...especially because one of my childhood friends was having her baby dedicated. Couldn't help thinking how that was me in the same pastor's arms (probably on the same stage) 24 years ago. After the meeting, we got to catch up with lots of old friends in a dedication party nearby.
That same day, we drove down to Reading, where my uncle lives. Had another wonderful evening with him and his wife Jegsy and my cousin Ben (trying to emit most details irrelevant to non-family members, but don't think I'm doing very well....)
Our final day in England, we drove back to Epsom for a final night with my Gran. She was making toad-in-the-hole (sausages baked in a pancake-like mixture called Yorkshire pudding) when we arrived, which was the icing on the cake to our England experience. I have to say I was a little sad to be saying goodbye to England the next day...I was gonna miss my family and jaffa cakes and regular cups of tea and
Fields of rape
Yes, that's what they call canola here!
liquorice allsorts and the many luxuries of staying in people's homes. But having Paris as our next destination wasn't so bad either.... :)
There are more photos below