Monday, December 16, 2013

On to Bristol and a Special Friend

   The time came to say good bye to Norfolk.  It was sad as it was such a big part of my life, I had my first teaching job there, lived with friends from college and had adventures. I met my husband of thrity years there and had my first two children while living in Norfolk.  So many memories come flooding back and staying with a treasured friend makes it hard to say good bye.  I am grateful for my time here and hope to come back for an extended visit in a few years, when I am fully retired.
Andy drove me to the station in Kings Lynn and we said good bye. What an amazing man, such a great Dad and always so positive.

We passed by the beautiful flat fenlands. These fields are so fertile and farming is huge here. I fell in love with th fens when I lived here, in Kingls Lynn and Downham Market and later  in a tiny village called Upwell. The scenery is so beautiful, with so much sky.
I set off on another complicated journey to Bristol, lol.  Travelling by train is a great way to see the country and very relaxing, most of the time.
The first stretch was to Cambridge and then the train to London Liverpool Street. 

All these London stations are so massive.
Next, I had to catch the tube to Paddinton station. The staff were so helpful in directing me to the correct platform and it was easy to find my way.

Once again another awe inspiring railway station.

At Paddington station I had time for a hot Cornish pasty and a coffee before catching my connection to Bristol Temple Meads. 
My wonderful friends San and Denny met me there and ushered me out into the evening.

Bristol Temple Meads Station is just beautiful, kind of like a fairy caste when seen in the evening light.

I had a fabulous visit with San, who I went to college with in Scarborough so many years ago.  We shared rooms for three years and then went on to move to Norfolk together for our first teaching jobs.  We sharied a house in Kings Lynn with two  college  friends who also got teaching jobs in Norfolk.  
Natuarlly we are very close. Even when I was six thousand miles away in Canada we seemed to travel down parallel paths. I had four kids and she had five, I opened Magic Puddle Playschool, a Waldorf style preschool and her kids went to a Waldorf School in Bristol.  It was uncanny. :-)

We went out one evening and shared a meal, and then danced to a busker outside the restaurant.  Then we spotted a tall ship docked on the River Avon and it was one of the ships her sons had sailed on in Cornwall.  The captain came ashore to speak with them and it was great, as they got invited to go aboard on the following Thursday. Unfortunately I had to leave on Wednesday, so I missed out on this opportunity.

After settling into San's beautiful Georgian home and feeling as if I lived there, it was very hard to say good bye. It was at this point that I really realized how much these people mean to me and how connected emotionally I am to them. It was the reality brought home as to how living so far away from loved ones is really a difficult thing. It has been my life story and usually you can somehow distance yourself and make everything alright. But when it comes right down to it, it is very hard.  Here I am experiencing these wonderful reunions and knowing my family that I hold so close to my heart are all in Canada, which is my chosen home, so far away. Canada is the country that nurtures me and whereI
 Ii belong. Separations from loved ones  will always be a part of my life story and I just feel blessed I have the freedom to travel and see people whenever I need to. I treasure the times I have had in England as it has contributed to who I am today.
Good bye for now my dear friend, but I will be back, even if it takes another ten years lol.  I know it will be sooner.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Airports and Railway Stations

Vancouver Airport is full of surprises. The departure lounge had such amazing art on display. It was all fresh to me.
After passing through the security gates I had to stop and take some pictures of the great carvings. 

Just past these amazing pieces of first nations art and the water feature beside it, I came upon a big tank containing fish, it was so unexpected. 
I got a window seat and my flight left at 9:00 at night, so I was hoping to get some sleep, and I did. 

I travelled with Canadian Affair/Air Transat and they always gave us dinner and also a free glass of wine. Very unusual nowadays.  We had a nice continental breakfast a few hours before we touched down in London Gatwick.

I was pretty lucky to travel when I did as the day after I arrived it was windy and stormy and the airports closed down.  Also the east coast suffered from flooding and the highest tide surge since 1953.  
From Gatwick I caught the train to St. Pancreas Station. There were some great London sights along the way. I actually caught sight of Canary Wharf and suddenly saw the London Bridge on the Thames. I managed to get a quick picture.

St Pancreas Station was an amazing building. 

I walked across the street to Kings Cross and once again I was surprised by the architectureal features, both modern and old. 

At Kings Cross I caught the train to Kings Lynn, where I used to live in 1971.  It is so hard to believe it was over forty years ago. :-)

At Cambridge we were told to move into the front four coaches of the train as the train was being split.  We ran up to the front four coaches and they were packed. lol  

At Ely lots of people got out and we got to sit down for the remainder of the journey.  It was quite an emotional moment when we pulled into Downham Market as I taught there for so many years. 
Kings Lynn station hadn't chaged and I was so excited when my friend Andy arrived to pick me up.

Here is the cafe that looks just the same as when I used to commute to Downham every day as a new teacher.  
I arrived to a house full, celebrating a birthday and I have had a magical time here in Terrington St Clements.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Leaving Home

I had a great send off on my journey.  I had special times with all my kids and my friends before taking off on my travels. 

Thanks to everyone for all the love. Cameron turned firve and we had a wild party with 14 five year olds, mostly boys. Then a family party.

On Monday I went into Vancouver and ran some errands and went out for dinner with my kids at a great little restaurant called the Wallflower.  
Tuesday Luke went with me on the Canada Line to the airport and we had a great meal together before he waved me off at the gate to the departure lounge. 

So off I go into the wild blue yonder. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Walk on the Dykes

Went for a walk on the dykes with my friend Ruona a few weeks ago.  Thought I would post some pictures of fall in the lower mainland before I left for my trip. I never got around to writing anything and I am now in England lol. But here are the pictures.
The clouds covering the mountains and blew away while we were there.:-)

Driving home down 224th st in Maple RIdge.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What a Summer. A Family Re-union.

I can't believe I did not post anything over the summer. I kept thinking about it and then something else was happening, in real life, and I never got onto the computer. lol.
The summer of 2013 was very full and filled with family, friends and sunshine.
The plans for the cob house changed as the process unfolded.  You can see more details on the Pam Cob House blog.  However we did get the septic field in and also all the concrete footings are done, thanks to amazing workers from the islands.

The highlight of the summer had to be time spent on Mayne Island with my family who came over from England. We booked up several cottages at Blue Vista Resort and had a real family reunion. Over the course of two weeks there was my sister, her husband, sister-in-law and son, my brother and all four of my kids along with Laura's husband Jonathan and their kids. My sister and her husband also came and several dear friends also paid a visit.  It really was a special time of card games, barbecues, meals out and walks together. 
You can see that the four on the left are the Carr siblings, and it isn't often we are all together as two of us live in England.  It is always so great when we can all be together. It was unfortunate that Sara, Emma and Paul couldn't make it, but it is really quite amazing that so many of us all managed to make it over to Mayne to re-connect within the same two week period. :-)
I have to say that Carmen at the Blue Vista was an amazing host and went out of her way to make sure we had everything we needed at all times.

Before the English crew arrived, Laura and Jonathan came over with the kids to join Beth and Claire and myself on Mayne Island.  It was perfect timing for the Fall Fair Parade and all the displays at the Ag Hall as well as the amazing Farmers Market.  

Beth and Claire waiting for the parade in the beautiful sunshine. It was such a great summer this year.

Laura and Jonathan and the kids waiting for the parade to begin.
Here comes the parade. It was so much fun, music, foolery and floats.
The entrance to the Farmer's Market and all the special Fall Fair Displays.
Kayla got to pick out her own bracelet at the market.

All the veggies and fruits on display. There were so many amazing categories and crafts there.

My favourite treat at the Farmer's Market are these Thai Spring Rolls, so fresh and delicious.

First cup of coffee after we are re-united. Three sisters together at last.
The men at the reunion coffee stop, and the bakery/coffee shop on Mayne is amazing. We got four large pizzas for take away supper one night and it was so good. :-)
Cousins together again, Luke and Kevin.

It was so great to be staying at the Blue Vista Resort. It was the perfect location in so many ways. It was a ten minute walk from my property so we could walk up and see how things were progressing with the building of the footings for my cob house. Peter Wilkening from the island was so skilled at building the frames and installing the rebar before the concrete was poured. He took care of everything for me and things turned out great.
My English family visiting my property to check out on the plans for my cob house.
So happy Geri and Len came to visit us. We owe them one now lol.

Also the Blue Vista is only a ten minute walk from the Mayne Inn and this was to become our favourite place to have lunches and dinner. They also had a liquor store and this proved to be very convenient too!!
This is the view as you sit on the deck at the Mayne Inn.  They have great food and a fabulous setting.

Just past the Mayne Inn is the sandy beach at Bennett Bay. It was great to be able to saunter down there on a sunny day to spend some time sunbathing, playing in the sand and paddling.
Cameron busy in the sand.
The Blue Vista Resort is also perfect for families and this really suited us. Every day Kayla and Cameron made new friends and played outside constantly.  Even when it was drizzling they wanted to be outside.
Happily sitting under the umbrella colouring together. There were so many picnic tables and barbecues available for our use.
 Claire's birthday fell at the end of August and we decided to have an early celebration so we could all be there to share in the occasion. We went to the Springwater Lodge to have a birthday meal and they kindly put a candle on her bumbleberry pie so we could all sing to her.  It was a lovely time and the kids enjoyed sitting out on the deck too.

Happy Birthday Claire.

After the meal we all went to Geri and Steve's cabin and had an evening of cards, just one of the many.

Birthday fun.
I am so grateful for this family time together. I appreciate my family travelling all the way from England to visit and we are so lucky to all get along so well and to value and appreciate each other so much. We have had a lifetime of separation, which I am sure is not unique to families here in Canada. Our parents came here after the war and travelled back and forth between Canada and England many times. I too did the trans-Atlantic move many times with my kids and it builds some kind of resiliency into the family dynamic I think.  Anyway, we all seem to have survived it and certainly have a lot of laughs together.
Me and my baby :-)

Geri and one of her babies, lol. It was so sad that Paul couldn't be there with us. We really missed him.
 The other magical part of my summer was the time spent with special friends. That will have to wait for another post I am afraid.

Thanks for stopping by to share my summer memories. I hope to be more consistent with my blogging now that the fall has arrived.