Tuesday, January 26, 2016

English Snippets...

"Where shall I begin? Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?"
~ As Jane Austen once wrote to her sister Cassandra

The last week in January and we're still in the throes of clearing out the clobber around here. This week we're pulling out all the stops, as we really do want to make an end of it before the month is done.

Before I get to it today, I wanted to offer snippets of other things in my thoughts while hands continue the task of rounding up dust bunnies and detritus.

Downton Abbey.  Watching the final season, we probably all have hopes for certain endings. So far, so good! Now, if you want a real discussion on the matters of great national importance to many viewers this side of the pond, I highly recommend reading Susan Branch's latest Abbey post. Please note she has spoiler alerts.

What I will say is that when Lady Mary said, "Tom, you're my brother", I knew it was The Clue for the direction this relationship was not going. Oh yes, she has great warmth and affection for this very dear man, but obviously no romantic inclinations. I don't think I ever believed they'd get together that way, but for me now it's clearly a no-go.
Penshurst Place, Flora Garden Tour website

Dreaming about English Gardens. As I mentioned before, Rick and I are planning a trip to England this summer. A along awaited dream about to come true. As the coming weeks unfold, I hope to share more about our trip and I do hope it will work to blog about it while we're there 'breathing English air'.

Not all details are sorted out yet, but one activity for sure is a much anticipated six-day Flora Garden Tour. During this intimate (four to ten people) guided tour, our host Dr. Barbara Sommerville will be taking us to visit small and large gardens in Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, which includes Anne Boleyn's girlhood home Hever Castle, Sissinghurst Garden, and the Hampton Court Flower Show ... for which she already warns will be an arduous event with much walking, so please wear sturdy walking shoes --  guess I'll have to leave my princess slippers at home that day.

Agatha Christie. While we're in England, one place I would love, love to visit is Greenway House, now part of the National Trust, but it once belonged to world renowned mystery writer Agatha Christie. Apparently she described the house in her autobiography (which I'm going to pick up from the library this very afternoon as) "...the ideal house, a dream house."

Mrs. Christie is one of my all-time favourite mystery authors. I don't remember when I was first introduced to her mystery writing -- probably in my early teens -- but I've never stopped enjoying her writings. Or seeing some of her works in film, especially with David Suchet as Poirot, and Joan Hickson as Miss Marple.

I recently started reading a book Agatha Christie wrote in 1934, not a mystery but a 'crime of the heart' novel under her pen name, Mary Westmacott. It's entitled Unfinished Portrait and is about a woman named Celia. Her second husband Max Mallowan said, "In Celia, we have more nearly than anywhere else a portrait of Agatha."

For inquiring minds, no, we're not sure yet if we can fit in Highclere Castle on this trip. It certainly would be lovely -- I imagine the place would be extremely busy during the summer months. I understand that booking a tour ahead of time is crucial for getting in. Amy, was that you who mentioned this tip?  Thanks.

And, now I must be off. Duties call and I see from my glimpse through the window, it's a bright and sunny morning which means going out this afternoon will be a delight. The birds certainly are enjoying the warmish temperatures. Are you folks on the Eastern coast now digging out from your big snow event?

Sending hugs and wishes to you all for a wonderful day,

Linking today with Kara @ Tuesday Afternoon


  1. Your trip sounds like it will be wonderful. I would love to see Agatha's home and all of those English gardens. I am really enjoying Downton's last season, but it is definitely bittersweet. xo Laura

  2. Our English gardens are so worth visiting from small to enormous. The Hampton Court show will certainly be an experience, a bit tiring maybe, but you will see some wonderful exhibits. Any of the National Trust gardens is a pleasure to visit.

  3. Your upcoming trip to England sounds wonderful Brenda and viewing gardens with tea afterwards will be certainly be blog worthy.
    It will be sad when this last season of DA is finished but at least they are tying up loose ends that should leave us with a happy ending.

  4. Oooh, lovely plans!!! I ALMOST went to Highclere last Summer but we went to see the White Horse of Uffington instead! I hope you have a wonderful time! I ADORE Agatha Christie too!x

  5. Lovely plans you have for your summer trip! May I hide in your suitcase?:-) Hope DA gives some good resolution to things that are not seeming to resolve the way we might like.:--) -xo

  6. Oh sweet and blessed plans for summer. I know that you'll be sharing it with us at some point or I certainly hope so. Therefore I will look forward to it myself. Have fun with your plans.

  7. Oh Brenda! We are going to England this summer, too. England and Wales and Spain. I'm so looking forward to it. I went onto the Highclere site and the tickets for spring are already sold out, from what I can gather. The summer ones open in February, I think. I've decided that I'll leave Highclere out and visit another great estate instead. Haven't decided which one, though. We are planning to do some walking in the Cotswolds and stay in the west of England so we'll be closer to Wales where a cousin of mine lives. Planning is such fun, isn't it?

  8. How exciting to plan a trip to England and visit the lovely gardens! Oh, I do hope you share it all with us! I think that I am going to buy the DVD's so I can watch Downton anytime I want. That way I can focus on all the wonderful details of the decor, scenery and costumes. I just noticed in the last episode, the wonderful colors of the walls! The music is wonderful, too, and I keep hearing it in my mind as I go about my day....I am looking forward to hearing more about your plans. xx Karen

  9. I would love to go to ENgland again and visit my ancestor's homes which still are standing...have fun!

  10. It sounds like you are going to be busy here in England; the garden tours sound marvellous. I have been to the Hampton Court Flower Show a couple of times, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We visit Greenway each year when we go to Torquay for the annual Agatha Christie Festival! I too am a big fan, and I enjoyed all the Mary Westmacott novels also. I hope you get on well with your clearing.
    Tracey (previously blogging as Breathing English Air)

    1. Tracey, I'm been thinking about you and here you are! Lovely to hear from you. What fun to go to Torquay for the annual Agatha Christie Festival. I've sen clips on television and it looks like great fun.

      Brenda xox

  11. I've not started the final season yet; have them recorded but time hasn't been on my side. I also wasn't thrilled with the storylines that seemed to be ineveitable.

  12. Yes, it quite possibly was me that mentioned about Highclere, you definitely must book if you want to go. You will also most certainly need very good comfy shoes for Hampton Court and don't take too much "stuff" as it will be busy and you don't want to have to carry lots. It will also be wonderful!!!! I am so excited to hear about your trip more, it sounds fabulous. You will be very excited about where Downton goes, no spoilers, but trust me, it is well worth watching! xx

  13. This reminds me of when I visited England/Scotland for my brother's wedding years ago. I would ride the train into work reading the tour guide books all the way in and all the way home. We packed so much into the short time we would be there, but it was a memorable trip!
    I've not watched the final season of Downton, but will buy the DVD when it comes out. I have the complete set so far and it's fun to settle in to an evening at Downton every so often (my family refuses to watch it with me!!).

  14. I think that the final season of Downton Abbey was released on dvd this week but I'll continue to watch it on PBS every Sunday. If Lady Mary won't have Matthew Goode, I will!

    I used to watch Miss Marple on TV, but I don't think I've ever read any of Agatha Christine's books...

    I look forward to living vicariously through your English trip!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo