Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mother's Day, UK Trip, Surprises, 20 - 23 March 09

I'm back. Phew, it was a hectic few days, but great fun as ever. It was lovely to see pregnant Sam looking so well in spite of the remains of a nasty cold and Jack, happy as always, also with the remains of the cold, mostly now it's a cough. I hope I haven't caught it.

I arrived late Friday evening and Jason picked me up in his super Merc. Usually Sam does the honours, but she was tired so J came. We had a good chat about his business and what he might do to give himself more time with his customers and less time doing admin. It seems like a good move to me as he's wearing himself out, is overweight and not spending enough time with Jack and with a little girl on the way, he needs to make more leisure time or he'll be in hospital soon. We watched some tv and I had some crumpets. They were delicious. It wasn't long before we were in bed and I read some more of Sue Guiney's book, 'Tangled Roots'. I'm really enjoying it.

Saturday was an early start. Jason had paid for Sam and I to go on a flower arranging course in the morning as a mothers day treat. The lady running the course is also the 'music lady' at Jack's nursery and lives in a stunning country cottage with a beautiful garden. Here is the front of the cottage:

Talk about chocolate box

The course was in 'The Granary', a little building beside the main cottage with a large room, kitchen and loos. All beautifully done out:

Sam outside The Granary

We had been given excellent instructions on how to find the cottage, the route took us down many remote country lanes. As we drove along one, we saw the most enormous bird, which had another probably in its beak, but that flew away. It looked for all the world like an eagle. The wing tips were like fingers and we saw a flash of reddish brown. When we got home, we told Jason about it and he looked on the Internet. Sure enough, there has been a programme of releasing 'Kites' along the A14 corridor. So it was a kite and huge. What excitement.

We arrived to hot tea and coffee, warm croissants with home made marmalade and chocolate biscuits. My kind of place. Francine is lovely, very friendly and very fast at demonstrating the arrangements she did. They were all spring like and fairly simple, something we felt we could all achieve afterwards. A break for more tea and coffee, scones and hot cheese straws and a wander around the glorious gardens if we liked. Oh, we liked! Sam and I explored every corner and I took many photos of course. There is a large natural pond, a long pergola, lots of grass and lovely bits of seating areas with interesting old materials used. A house I could move into tomorrow, if I won the lottery - which I don't do - so that isn't going to happen.

A twisted hazel by a bird bath. There are several ducks and an old female goose who waddles around with the ducks.

A super rusting butterfly

This bird bath is my absolute favourite

The long pergola and sundial

The back of the cottage

Beautiful daffodils, the butterfly in the centre and a tree house at the back

The shed door with a wreath of feathers

Sam blooming at the back of the cottage

I have more but think that's enough for now. Inside, we continued watching Francine's enviable skills. This arrangement was lovely and the container really set it off to perfection:

Pretty pink roses in the centre, moss, then pink hyacinths around the outside.

Francine making the first 2 arrangement, both the same

A simple spring/Easter arrangement with wooden eggs hanging from the central branches

This was an Easter ring, then the tied bunch of daffodils were placed inside. You could use a candle or any number of things instead.

We ended by each making a tied bunch of flowers, wrapped in cellophane which was then filled with water.

The class of March 21st 2009 with teacher in the centre. The little girl made the tied bunch for her mother as a surprise. Bless.

Doesn't she look angelic?

What a lovely shot of this pretty lady

All in all we had a fabulous time. There were only 6 of us, so it was a small and friendly group. We took our flowers home and Jack said we were the best flower makers of all!

This took us to lunch time! In the afternoon, Jack had a birthday party in a local village hall, so it was home to fetch Jack and soon we were off again. We were a little bit early so fed the ducks and huge fish in the village pond:

Isn't this fun?

Something made him laugh!

Some of the big fish. You felt they could have walked out of the water and picked up the bread!

We passed a bus shelter with this coronation bench inside. It was a bit shadowy.

A pheasant made by the thatcher when he'd finished this splendid thatched roof

This heron was on the very far side of the pond. He had caught something, it looked like a large gold fish or koi.

Then it was off to the party. It was a small village hall, packed with children and adults. At the far end was a bouncy castle which the children loved. There were lots of ride on toys too, Jack particularly liked this car:

Feeding time at the zoo! Jack is lit up by the sun at the far end, concentrating on his food. He was the only child who ate his grapes!

Jack shared his biscuits with Mummy

Towards the end of the party, there were 2 odd looking birds hung from the ceiling. The children had to take turns hitting theirs with a stick. It was boys v girls. The birds were supposed to break. There was some serious bashing going on but it took the larger children to eventually break into the birds. It was full of sweets and little toys. What fun. I managed to scoop up one or two for Jason.

Jack preparing himself

Action shot

The bird gave up the unequal struggle

I loved these parents' faces as they watched the carnage

The party finished at 5pm, by which time we were all exhausted. Home it was and we had a take away for dinner. We watched some tv and were in bed fairly early as tomorrow it's a car boot sale, so up early again..

I think I'll leave the rest until tomorrow. I had to be up at 5am this morning to take Jim to the airport. He's away until Saturday night. I'm falling asleep now so will go out into the garden to wake myself up.


Sam said...

we had a great time and i really enjoyed having you stay (as always). XXX

aims said...

Are you sure that wasn't a fairie cottage? It is so exquisite! I'd live there in a second too!

Beautiful pics as usual Gina! What a fantastic little holiday you've had!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Glad you had a good weekend.

BT said...

We did, didn't we? I really enjoyed it, as I always do!

aims, it's just glorious, isn't it? Glad you enjoyed the photos.

Thanks Rachel.

Son1 said...

Good stuff, glad you enjoyed it, lovely to see you as always.

Some cracking pics. Love those parents faces, and Jack by the pond. Got a 5meg picture camera now, so I should get a bit better quality. :-)


BT said...

Hi J, glad you enjoyed the pics. The 2 of Jack by the pond are great, aren't they? The parents faces are blown up from one of the other pics. Your camera sounds ace. Have fun with it.

Stampmaiden said...

I don't know where to begin. All the photos were great and I enjoy reading about your wonderful adventures and family fun. Love the floral arrangements and the picture of the little angel who made one for her mother. Sweetie pie. Loved the cottage. Looks like something out of a fairy tale. I enjoyed looking at your pinata picture too! We had those at our children's birthday parties when they were tots! My daughter loved The Little Mermaid and yes, you guessed it, we had a mermaid pinata once! Imagine taking swats at that!! LOL!
Again, thanks for the great pics.

BT said...

Stampmaiden, you went overboard with your comments!! Thanks a lot, glad you liked the post. I didn't know those things are called Pinatas! What an odd name, I wonder where it came from. Thanks again Linda.

Stampmaiden said...

OK, here I am making another comment regarding "pinatas" (pronounced pee-nya-tas). It's a custom in Mexico and I suppose it was brought over by the Spanairds. Lots of hispanic cultures do this and it's not uncommon to see them hanging in Mexican bakeries or Hispanic type markets out here in Los Angeles. The children love it and the biggest child is always left for last cause he/she's most likely to bust it up with a good swing! i don't remember if there was a bandana or scarf covering the eyes of the "swingers." That's also something we make sure to do each time a child comes up to bat!