Thursday, October 31, 2013

If It Hadn't Been for the Weather

What might you have done, if it hadn't been for the weather? Might you have gone running down the road, instead of sprawling  upon a recliner and being oh-so-bored? Or even, might you have been playing out there with the kids, instead of inside yelling at them?

(Not to imply that you would yell.)

But if it hadn't been for the weather, we might have done any number of fabulously swell things. But we will blame this sort of not-doing-it, upon Weather.

I learned quite a lot about Weather (not just about scones), living in England. I learned that you can like It. That you cannot slip into the habit of doing this, or doing that, based upon It. It cannot be based upon; It will do its own thing, and you must do yours.

When we moved last year to a very cold, wintry place, we scratched together all our wintry gear, bought what we did not have, and strode forth. Upon arrival, these items were immediately needed, and immediately used. We (rather, should I say 'I'? my poor husband...) piled on the layers, and off we (I) went. We (I) walked many miles a day, and came back to cheery fires.

Weather cannot be allowed to rule us.

Four days ago we returned to this place after a lengthy absence. Weather had become inhospitable again; but, out came the sweaters, out came the layers, the gloves, the ear muffs, the hood, the walking sticks, the thick boots with thick tread, the heavy coats, and the scarves.

So. Watch for me! I'll be out there, trudging along, mile upon mile, maybe not enjoying, but accepting, the Weather.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Four Generations, and Martha

Just days ago, I discovered Martha. Again. I have known about her, about her magazine, about her television show, and all of that, for ages. But mostly I had associated her with crafts, or sheets, or muted colors.

Until she made Scones. Yes! She made them. And such perfection is not often realized.

My mother-in-law DVR-ed Martha Bakes, the other day. I was in the kitchen when I heard her talking about Martha Baking scones (you never have to say 'scone' twice, to the SconeLady). I followed her into the TV room and sat down to watch it. My daughter came in and sat. Her 3 year old daughter wandered in. At final count, we had four generations of women, age 3 to 81, watching Martha Bake scones.

Please realize. I haven't tasted anything, yet. But I caught a steady glimpse, and that is a first step. It is  also important to note that the SconeLady is hungry, just thinking about this. Right Now.

Better get out the rolling pin.

See you along the way!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rosie's Scones

An Affair With Scones

A scone is a unique and comforting food item I will always adore. My initial taste of scone was in New Zealand in the 1970s, and with that first bite, I was captivated.

Years later as an Air Force wife, I found myself sitting at a scrubbed pine table in England, being offered the most delectable of scones. With jam and cream. With a pot of Asaam leaf tea. And all of this delightfulness was being served to me by an English lady who soon became my best friend. Rosie. Rosie’s scones and the tea she served with them were so good that I asked if she would teach me to make them. I hesitatingly asked if she used measuring cups and spoons. She smiled and answered quite kindly that, no, measuring cups and spoons would not be needed, as the ingredients would be weighed on a scale.

What! A scale…

To this American, the scale resembled something out of Dickens, and I felt a bit anxious about trying it. So on the day of the lesson, I brought my cups and spoons while Rosie provided a book of conversions. Our first step was sorting out how much of everything we would use. I still have the scrap of paper I scribbled our measurements on, as we studied and experimented and tasted. The result was, I have to say, unbelievable. Delightful. Scrumptious! From that day 22 years ago, Rosie’s scones, and her fame, have spread far and wide.

Do try them. Do not think about calories and fat content – you are forbidden! It must be savored as is, and without the least bit of regret. May you enjoy your scones, and may you be lucky enough one day to meet a friend as dear as Rosie.

 Rosie's AGA where the scones were baked! Still looking for the photo, and eventual recipe, of said scones.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Home Fires

The end of this day has brought me home, at long last. My husband has driven me here, back from all the travels, and the sobering yet joyful memorial we have experienced. And so the miles walked in England, the scones sampled, and the people who supported me there, are all many thousands of miles distant, but not from my mind. No, never far from my mind.

You can see that we are having a cheery fire in the wood stove; we are covered with lap blankets; we are reclining at our respective laptops, just across the room from each other (brave new world); and we are gradually becoming warmer against the 39 degrees that greeted us moments ago.

Because apparently a corner was turned while I was away. It has become inhospitably cold, and rainy, and stormy. But I shall stay near the Home Fires, next to (or across the room from) my husband, Home, where I belong.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Significance in this World

Grieving has taken on a new meaning this last few weeks. We have lost a lovely man; but we have celebrated his life and his significance in the world.

His memorial service was yesterday. We all entered quietly, respectfully, grieving, but not with a hopeless grief. We supported my husband's mother, and laughed with those whose memories accounted for numerous hilarious episodes; all of us acknowledged that this man was significant to us in countless ways, and that we would find living without him unutterably altered.

But we were thankful, and said so. We came together later on, at the folks' farm, and watched dozens of slides of his life, and of his many experiences hunting, fishing, and camping with his family. The man was a wealth of experience! He led a rich life.

And everyone came away hoping they were also counting their riches in non-monetary terms.

Why do we take the time to gather, and to memorialize? I think one reason people do it is to remember that our own time is not unlimited; to bend the knee, and acknowledge that we don't control the timing of our own endings.

Some have said they don't think they will 'bother' to have a memorial service, or funeral. I think they would miss so much, such an opportunity to come together and honor the person they lost, and their significance in the world.

At least, this worked out very well, for us. We did not simply look back, but came away wanting to look Forward, to focus on the future, and to teach our children well.

So - here's to the rest of the road!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Life as a Scone Lady, part 2

We moved to England, on purpose. The military had first say, of course, but both of us had hoped for it, and my husband had requested it. So we began to prepare, and to look forward to wandering the paths of the England we had come to love, through books, and history, and reputation.

The arrival was in autumn, and cold weather was there waiting for us. Our first outing two days later was a quick drive to the China Tea Pot, in Godmanchester. Craig had learned of its existence from someone in the squadron, and we approached the place with great anticipation. There, we had our first English scone, with butter, jam, and whipped cream, with tea served to us in a beautifully made china teapot. Just down the street there were ducks for our daughter to feed, and other delights yet to be discovered.

We were to make many trips to the China Tea Pot during the next four years there. We also frequently visited Auntie's Tea Shop in Cambridge, which is famous for its own scones. An upcoming post will lead you to want to experience them for yourself!

Sadly the China Tea Pot is no longer in existence. But Auntie's is still there, baking itself multitudinous scones to serve to the SconeLady anytime she wants one.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, October 21, 2013

Life as a Scone Lady, part 1

For a very, very long time I have held a fascination with scones. May I tell you of my first encounter? It was 1972! I had flown the long miles to Auckland, New Zealand, to live at a Bible School, and was learning the ropes. Having arrived on an early Sunday morning, I had a few days of strange jet lags, but began waking up on the Wednesday.

That day the school cook baked the most delicious things she called 'scones'. I had not heard of a scone before this, but the Canadian girl sitting next to me had. So had the Fijian across the table, and the Australian down at the end. But my new American friends and I had not had that privilege.

Admittedly, the scones were served only with butter and jam, not whipped cream or clotted. But they were fresh from the ovens and oh, so kindly warmed. A great sensation these caused! A sensation that has never left me, and I daresay the other Americans Joyce, Donna, and Peter.

There followed one full year of Scones. On a Wednesday. Upon arriving home, I did not venture to seek or to bake any further scone-ish delights, for college and normal life beckoned, a life which did not include those dear Wednesday treats.

It was not until husband and Air Force intervened, and a move was made to England. Whereupon, I rediscovered the Scone! Eventually I tried making and baking them myself, with mixed results. But I found that cream would be the absolute dream-maker of any lovely cream tea. And I became hooked.

Have you any stories to tell of scones? Do you love to eat them? To bake them? To serve them?

I do!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Back in the Arms

There has been a lot of hugging going on around here. With more, much more to come! The kind hands and arms that have welcomed me back have reached out in a variety of shapes, sizes and strengths. The sweet, small arms of tiny children; the firm and pretty arms of my daughter; the strong and muscular sort attached to my son and son-in-law, the particularly masculine set that comes along with my husband - all of these have made this home coming such a memorable one! Hurray!

'Gramma, I love you soooooo much. You are my best friend in the whole world!'

Can there be any improvement on this? (I ask you).

So. Arms are on my mind, be they soft, or spindly, or masculine; they help to convey a Welcome Home like nothing else can. 

And I am being thoroughly welcomed. With more, much more to come.

See you along the way!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Shall I Ever Scone Again?

Shall I? Of course! Sconing is now a Verb in my personal vocabulary, and I desire to do more of it. I might need to build the scones myself, this go around. And I have just the recipe for it: Rosie's Scones!

Anyone who has had these scones will tell you that they are an automatic 10 in the sconing world. I will soon dedicate a post to these scones, introduce you to Rosie, and give you the recipe.

As I am pondering this delicacy, I am also remembering the places and people I was privileged to see while I was in England. I began in Cambridge, staying a night at Sydney Sussex College. Nearby is Auntie's Tea Shop, home of some of the best scones ever consumed.          

Then there were the 6 days in Norfolk, with friend Rosie and family. Many miles were walked, and many terrific meals eaten! (Please see blogpost from September 26, Have I Told You Enough About The FOOD?)

The city of Oxford, Magdalen College, the Kilns, the Eagle and Child. Need I say more.

And now I can feel the jet lag coming on! No time to edit, so I'll come back tomorrow to fix it! 
See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Airport

Here I sit, in the bowels of Heathrow Airport. Somewhere west, across an ocean and a continent, waits a very dear and much missed family, who have read this blog and followed its path from afar.

And so now it is goodbye to pounds and pence, the Union Jack, paddocks filled with pretty cows/bull, and dear British friends. Not to mention the scones I have enjoyed in this land of Dickens! All have been sweet, and most, delicious.

There is a lot of chattering going on around me here. People are 'downloading' their experiences and herding their children. But me? I am alone with my thoughts and memories of these past 4 weeks.

It's obviously high time I went home.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Today, There Was A Scone

After all this searching for, and consuming of, scones, I have firmly concluded that the Brits do it right. There really were surprisingly few that missed the mark, and truth be told, I enjoyed something about almost all of them.

The final scone of the search was the best, most enticing and distinctive of the collection! I experienced it at Fortnum & Mason, reputed to be where the Queen 'does' her shopping.You can tell just by looking that this scone will be warm (just out of their ovens); not too large or small; substantial yet not heavy; just sweet enough; served with delicious tea (this was Assam); with enough additional hot water to make the tea lover happy; and reposing upon a table cloth with a jug of enough milk to be sure one does not need to request more (this is always in question when approaching a pot of tea here in the UK).

The SconeLady has given this cream tea a 10++!!

Here it is:

This sconing experience has been the perfect conclusion of a lovely and gracious Sojourn in this gentle land. I will continue sharing with you, my faithful readers, as I process photos, and thoughts, and memories of it all. But for now, I will sign off on this, the final full day of my English travels.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Notting Hill, Hyde Park, and More Gallantry

Has anyone been recently to Notting Hill? If not, and if you have an urge to go there, just stream the movie and remember it the way it was. Because it isn't in movie land anymore, and why should it be? Notting Hill was filmed almost 15 years ago, and which of us looks the way we did in 1999? (I ask you).

I was in Notting Hill yesterday. After a certain amount of seeking its former splendor, I walked in the rain down to Selfridges, an upscale and lovely department store on Oxford Street. But on the way there, I saw a restaurant that I thought just might bake me up a likely scone:

The Urban Meadow Cafe

This scone was fantastic, and contained all the required elements of a satisfying scone-ish treat. But the tea itself wasn't quite as fulfilling. Sad! You can see in the picture above that the clear glass teapot contained leaf tea. This is normally superb and unassailable. But the taste this time was just not there. On the whole, the SconeLady gives this cream tea an 8!

As I entered Hyde Park, a young German man was looking lost and asked if I knew where the Science Museum was. We hailed a workman in an orange vest who was driving a sort of extended golf cart. He tried to tell us where it was, but finally gave up and said, 'Get in and I'll take you there.' This then became a 45 minute driving tour of Kensington Gardens, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Peter Pan, and the relationship between Victoria and Albert! The young German and I were quite impressed. 

Selfridges was awesomely posh, the walking was fearsomely wet, and at the end of it all, an impressive beef brisket dinner was served to me by friend Rosie's four children. For a small country, this United Kingdom sure does have a lot of heart.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kindness in the Motherland

When my husband and I realized that my suitcase might be a little heavy for an overseas trip, his question became, 'What are you going to do about this when lifting it is unavoidable?' 

I really didn't know, except to say that I would have to ask for help. To ease his justifiable concerns, I emptied the non-essentials. It didn't help much.

But I am happy to tell you that what I have found here has been gallantry, even honor, if it isn't too dramatic to say so. Sometimes you just can't take care of something by yourself. And then you hear from behind you the words, 'May I help?' This help has come from people of all shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities. They have made the potentially rough moments of this trip a much simpler matter. I will not be able to thank them beyond the hurried appreciation as they lift or pull or manhandle the bag into place. 

Today I came upon the sign below:

Some things are just too much to ask, even of the nicest man. A fellow passing  nearby as I gazed in anguish at this alarming sign, just pointed me to the Lift. 

It was all I needed.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, October 13, 2013

From the BBC to Downton Abbey

First, let me be honest with you and tell you that I am going to watch Downton Abbey at 9:00 tonight. Yes. Even if this blog post is not finished, I shall watch Downton Abbey. How can I be watching this show when it has not yet been released, you ask? Because it has been released! Here in the UK. The land of Downton bestows it upon their faithful hordes, early.

So I will share a bit with you about this day, then will dash to the television waiting in the next room.

The weather here in London has turned bleak. My poor head! There is an umbrella over it, but as that minuscule shelter spends a fair amount of its time inside out, hair has no chance. Nevertheless, I walked the 3 miles to BBC Broadcasting House this morning, for a tour. Their new facilities are shiny and up to date and exciting. I have been listening to BBC World for the past 2 years, and wanted to see where it all happens.

Here's something fun! Part of the tour is an opportunity for tourists to do a (mock) newscast. Volunteers were requested. None came forward. I wondered when this opportunity would come my way again. So I did it!

I laugh out loud whenever I think of this (laughing now). I will show you a pic of the experience, below, and will also say that the people at the BBC are fun, and funny, and kind, and - smart.

The rest of today was spent in the home of London friends, enjoying a delicious Sunday lunch. That experience deserves an upcoming post all it's own. No one does Sunday lunch the way the English do.

Only 5 days to go, and I will be homeward bound. The countdown begins..

But first - Downton Abbey!!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, October 12, 2013

St. Paul's Cathedral - more than just a pretty building

I visited St Paul's Cathedral a couple of years ago, when my sister and I were in London. To say we were astounded by it would be a supreme understatement. Quite apart from its outward and inward beauty (can 'beauty' begin to describe? I think not), there is the no-pretence way in which the services are approached. The Vicar is straightforward in welcoming visitors, stating that this is Christ's church, not theirs, and that all are welcome to join in the worship. They halt all sightseeing during their multiple services each day, so as not to disturb the worship.

I returned to that lovely spot, today, and once again experienced the sung Evensong service. Like the Christ Church boys choir in Oxford, these boys sang their hearts out this evening. There were at least 3 times more boys here, and what with the echo of the massive dome, and the organ surrounding us, no one could have walked away untouched by it.

I spoke in an earlier post about churches being rather like a 'jewel box', ready for us to open and be touched by what is inside. Well then, St Paul's is the Gem of gems. The great thing is, that all you see there is designed to reflect Someone who is bigger than ourselves, bigger than our problems and our relationships.

So. Lay it all down.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Last Day But One

It can't have come and gone this quickly! The visit to Cornwall, with sweet and caring friends, has come to its last day. We seem to have crowded quite a lot into it, knowing this chance would not be presenting itself again for a while.

We ate; we walked cobbled and ancient streets; we walked long miles; some of us paddled in the sea; we shopped for special items for special people; and, always, we talked.

And! we experienced yummy scones again, at The Digey Food Rooms, St Ives. I will picture them here for you. They don't look very different than the ones we had there earlier, but you still deserve a view! And they still deserve a 10! for taste, texture, size, warmth, and (not) the ambiance.

And so we head out tomorrow. It has been a spectacular visit, and one not to forget. Tomorrow it will be London's turn! Have you ever been to St Ives, or London? What was your experience there? And would you recommend a visit?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, October 10, 2013

There's Always A Church

At the end of a long, miles-to-go-before-I-sleep journey, I became slightly disoriented with the routing. Both GPS's were out and whirring. I had the huge fold-out map fully folded out, and the sheaf of detailed directions (make a left turn at the end of the 14th green bush) was by now muddied and crumpled. I shouldn't have needed more.

But I couldn't find the way to the town.

Squinting, I thought I saw the end of the 14th green bush up ahead but couldn't be certain. Then I became certain that it was not, and began to feel a little shaky. What was a girl to do? Well, I didn't know, so I asked. And then lifting up my head to the horizon, I saw the clear outline of an ancient church. It was the steeple I saw, and I thought, oh there it is; there is the town I need. There I will find sustenance, and comfort, food and shelter. And pleasant human faces who will be happy to see and to welcome me in.

You can't go very far in England without seeing the unmistakeable church steeple or tower. You almost always see them, looming large, off in the distance as you approach the town and are unceartain of your way. And more often than not, it helps to get you where you are going. It is a good, solid reality in this world of contingency and conjecture.

Often when I am uncertain of the terrain in my life, I look to the horizon to find a beacon; a guiding light such as the thousands upon thousands of churches that are out there, waiting to guide and to teach and to welcome.

Don't skim over these jewels; open up the jewel box.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Are They Laughing With Me? or....

You can plan and prepare all you want, but some things are just unpredictable. Last week, I was on a train leaving Oxford for the Cotswolds. I had to be ready to leave the train at a certain village, and as the train approached each station, I watched to be certain not to miss the stop. Other travelers had been getting off and on successfully, so I wasn't worried about being left behind.

The train slowed, and a voice announced our approach into Moreton-in-Marsh. He proposed that all departing travelers should be at-the-ready, bags in hand, to leap free of the proverbial 'gap'. I was ready. I did have bags in hand. The train slowed, then stopped, and I grabbed the door handle.

To my horror it was locked, and in the momentary panic I did not know what to do. There had always been someone getting off in front of me, and I had never had to open a door. I dashed into the next car and shouted, 'Can somebody please get me off this train?' A man nearby, reading his morning paper in peace, threw down his morning paper, leaped to his feet and urged, 'Quick! Quick! Once the train begins to move, the doors will lock, and there'll be nothing for it. Get back down the aisle! Quick-quick!' I tried to be quick but I think he said 'quick-quick!' a few more times.

We finally reached the door, where he opened the window, reached down and pulled up on the door handle. How was I expected to know about this? I ask you. My bags and I staggered free of the gap, and the little man gratefully returned to his paper. I don't think he thought this episode the least bit funny, but as the train began to move, I saw the conductor pointing me out to another conductor.

They were laughing.

photo credit: <a href="">vonderauvisuals</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">JohnGreyTurner</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Our mother brought us up with a sense of preparation, for whatever it was we were going to be doing. A setting of the stage, perhaps it was. If there was going to be a meal, it would look well as well as taste well. Even the smallest of meals or snacks would not just be thrown on the table willy-nilly. I don't know how she did this, but it is something I have noticed at each of my sibling's tables. It is - civilized.

I also know this about friend Rosie's table - there is a graciousness, an ambiance about her settings. And so we both noticed as we approached yesterday's scone fest that there wasn't a tablecloth... and there was no elbow room at the minuscule table. But! we forgave this lack of ambiance the moment we took our first bite. The setting became secondary, although just a bit too chummy!

But the idea of Settings lingers. The tablecloth, the porcelain, the spaciousness, the graciousness. All of this is a pursuit not to be scorned. Civilization itself will benefit.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">the sea the sea</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Perfect Cream Tea

You might remember that a pivotal focus of this blog was to be the finding and consuming of the perfect scone.  I have traveled many a mile in search for this ambrosial delight, and - drumroll please - I believe I may have found it!

It is to be found at The Digey Food Room, St Ives, where they create their scones fresh daily. The scones were just warm enough; they tasted just sweet enough; they had substance, but were not heavy; they were of respectable size; and the tea was even hot, served in porcelain! I also learned that in Cornwall, you must first spread the jam on the scone, and then the (clotted) cream. In Devon, one spreads first the clotted cream, and then the jam. You must get these things right!

To end our day, we ate at a nearby pub filled with locals, who were CLEARLY HAVING A GOOD TIME. Our table conversation, in full swing at the beginning of the meal, gradually petered out as the table next to ours became louder and more intensely populated. Soon we were crammed into the corner with no hope of getting out, but then again we didn't really want to! This was hilarious, and all part of the great experience of being a part of a Cornish pub for an unforgettable evening.

So, I shall go to sleep hearing the lilting melodies of the Irish duo who graced us with their music. And I will want to go back and experience it all over again.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Day in The Life of St Ives

The day began with croissants. Clear and simple. We had worked out where to buy these lovely and yummy breakfast treats, and I was voted most likely to walk out in the early morning; which I did with great anticipation.

These delicious bits of bread came out of the oven just as I walked into the store. It was all I could do to keep from opening my mouth right then and there, and popping one straight on in.

But I restrained myself. And had a lovely breakfast, after which I went to church and loved the C of E  sung Eucharist. I would like to share the details in a blog coming your way soon.

After church, the five of us took a picnic and strode off on an 8 mile hike, over and around the cliffs near St Ives. Easy, it was not! But fun, and stimulating, and filled with fellowship? Yes, it was!

Rosie and I are plotting to find our perfect Cornish cream tea. There has been no time, since we arrived here. I'm sorry to be so lame as to not find cream teas for you to enjoy reading about! But I haven't given up, oh no.

I hope to see you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Farm in Sommerset

Blackmore Farm, Cannington. If you can get to Sommerset, you must experience this. Please see the photos below of the farm, the great Hall, and of the room I stayed the night in, the one with all the beams. We didn't want to leave!

But leave we must, and 10a.m. found us once again on the motorway, rocketing south. All at once, watching the countryside speed past, I was kind of nostalgic for the fields, paddocks, stiles and 'kissing' gates of the walking tour. Nothing compares with strolling right next to sweet white sheep in double green fields, looking all pastoral. So now the ideas are beginning to flow for a wonderful walking holiday, perhaps this time in the Peak District... hmm..


Will let you know about a Cornish cream tea tomorrow.
See you along the way!

Friday, October 4, 2013

St Ives, Here We Come!

I was sorry to leave the Cotswolds this morning, but am enamored with our new digs in Somerset for tonight. I can't begin to tell you how lovely it is here, all in a different way from the buttery allure of Cotswold stone and thatch. And tomorrow it's St Ives, and the liberty to seek out the perfect Cornish cream tea!

We stay tonight in a B&B that looks more like a castle. In fact I think it is a manor house, but castle-ish, with full suits of armor, a table that sits 24 in the great Hall, and oak beams. Beams simply everywhere, even in the bathroom. My room is actually two rooms, one on the second floor, and another on the third floor. I can explain this. The bedroom is the first room, and it has a toilet and sink room (remember: BEAMS). Then you go up a flight of stairs to find a living/sitting room, with a bathtub (and more beams!). We need more time here to thoroughly enjoy all of this superiority! However, we shall indeed leave it, and head for a most delicious place, about which I will tell you, my dear and faithful readers.

But I want you to know that we did have scones today, in another castle (names will be provided tomorrow), which we feel could have been better. Perhaps, a 6! But the dearest man served us, and we ate right next to a resplendent suit of armor, and the sun came out and bathed the massive room in splendor. Sweet fellowship!

oh! it is time to go. Much love, and..
I hope to see you along the way!

the SconeLady

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Here's to Rain, Scones, and New Friends!

I didn't realize cows could be so pretty. But apperantly they can. It was just beginning to sprinkle on my head when I rounded a bend in the path, finding myself face-to-face with these gorgeous creatures:

And I couldn't go around; there was nowhere else to go but through that gate. Which I finally did, after much hesitation. A walking tour is not for the faint-hearted.

What with all the rain (became a downpour) and wind (umbrella inside out) and steep hills (words cannot describe), there was nothing for it but to find the nearest pub.

The pub was posh; it's patrons were well dressed, spoke graciously, and the ambiance was decidedly upscale; into this subdued atmosphere stumbled this - this drowned rat! Heads turned. Subdued chatter paused. I asked the nearby waiter for a pot of tea.

After a pause, a trio of patrons asked where I was walking to, and immediately said, 'We will give you a ride.' It was a statement, not a question. To shorten this story, I want you to know that these 3 people are now my friends. They want to visit us in the States; they invited us to visit them here on our next trip. The day was saved. When they dropped me off, we waved like old friends. Like my daughter says, the funnest part of traveling Europe is the wonderful people you meet!

AND for my scone-loving friends, I had one today - a really really good one, in the village of Chipping Campden. Another 10! Warmed, tea in porcelain, jam, cream, butter! They do a fabulous cream tea there at Badger's Hall. See the deliciousness, below:

Must dash - but I hope to see you along the way!

the SconeLady

Walking Tour day three - Cotswolds

I have found a wifi hotspot, and will hope to sit here long enough to favor you with a decent post.

As you know, today is Day Three of a walking tour in the Cotswolds of England. Day Two began at breakfast in a sweet B&B, before I headed out on a 13 mile trek. In the breakfast room I was surprised to meet someone who had been stationed in the UK at the same time we had, 22 years ago! It was exciting to catch up with her, and the whole conversation was immensely satisfying. She is now an author and is currently doing research for it a new book.

Later in the day, as I was walking across a lovely horse training facility, I felt a nose nudging my leg, and looked down at a young doggie, peering inquiringly up into my face.  She apparently desired to accompany me for a while, and I was happy to have her there. We walked companionably together, and every once in a while I would venture a 'Go home'. Although she lowered her head guiltily, she did not feel guilty enough to actually go home for a good long time.
You will see a picture of her, below.

I am being (very politely) shooed out, having overstayed my welcome in the deli here. No time to edit! so I must sign off. The third and final walking tour day awaits.

See you along the way!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sandwich in a Paddock (day two in the Cotswolds)

I am sorry that my wifi is going in and out, but I will keep trying and will get a blog post out as soon as I can!

The day was lovely, and invigorating, and I met 3 very special people/friends along the way. Can't wait to tell you about it!

Have you ever been to the Cotswolds? What was your experience like?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

'The Way is Clearly Signposted. You Can't Miss It...'


A small field or enclosure where horses are kept or exercised.

May I amend this just a bit? COWS. A paddock contains lots and lots of cows. I know this because I walked through paddocks today. A few dozen, at least.

It was part of a Cotswold walking tour, and it was fabulous. However, it was meant to be 15 miles, which turned into nearly 19 due to trying to follow a large paper map, compare it with a GPS (iPhone and iPad), while alternately reading a sheaf of detailed directions. In the rain.

Briefly let me just say that I did spend time lost. It wasn't lost like being lost on a motorway, or feeling stalked in a dark alleyway. There was no one there who wanted to stalk me. Except, perhaps the cows. And did I mention the bull?

The folks on the same trail with me were great. We all helped confuse ourselves and each other numerous times. It was a laugh a minute, but my feet hurt.

I need to clarify that this was a truly remarkably sweet day, all told. Beauty abundant, friendly faces smiling with an accent, pheasants dotting the landscape. And I get to do it again tomorrow!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady