Haverfordwest Wales; life in the country

We are here at the southwestern tip of Wales, in Druidston near Haverfordwest out on a small farm and taking care of sweet Nell, the border collie.  We do not have sheep for her to herd so she must make do with us.Nell full netShe loves walks in the fields but really loves to chase the ball.  Here she is catching the ball.Nell catches the ball netWe have been in the city for all of the sits this year, so coming out to the country is an entirely different feeling.  We can see the sea from our bedroom. Those tiny dots on the hill are cows.ViewFromOurWindowThis was a clear and sunny day, but most of the days have been overcast, windy and rainy, which is fun for us since California hardly ever gets rain.  Yesterday, we went to two small beaches near us,  Little Haven and Broad Haven. (“Haven” comes from the Norse havn meaning harbor.) The wind was almost 40 miles per hour, which made the waves very large and strong.  I was up on a promontory over the ocean and I nearly blew away taking this photo.little haven splash slow closer netIn the harbor it was a different story.  The waves were small because they were protected by the high cliffs.

little haven harbor net

Little Haven harbor

Here is a photo of me being blown away.linda little haven closerWe then drove over the hill from Little Haven to Broad Haven beach, which is a very long and sandy beach .

board haven rocks net

Broad Haven beach

We also went one evening to Druidston beach, which is by where we are staying.  After walking down a very steep dirt lane we were able to watch the sun set over the beautiful and almost empty beach.  You get a feeling of being alone with nature here.

druidston beach sunset vertical net

Druidston Beach

Here is one of my favorite  photographs of David walking on the beach.druidston beach david netOne day we drove through the tiny lanes they call streets to Pembroke castle.  This is a 13th century castle that has been restored so that you can climb the stairs in the various towers and read about what life was like in the Middle Ages.

Pembroke castle 2 net

Pembroke Castle

They have set up a tableau of what dinner in the castle would have looked like in the 13th century.Pembroke castle ddinner tableau netAnd they have free castle tours around four times a day.  We went on the tour and learned a lot about the history of who lived in this famous castle and what they did.

We mostly have been hanging out and enjoying the country and the beach.  Reading, playing with Nell, working on photographs, doing art in my journal and doing laundry. It is so beautiful and peaceful here.Wales country side net

foggy beach wales darker net

Our next stop is a return to Stratford-upon-Avon to take care of Enzo the border terrier.  We took care of him last year, and I am looking forward to seeing him and Anne and Steve again.

National Trust homes; Polesden Lacey and Ham House

We are staying in Epsom and we are taking care of two sweet french bulldogs and a rabbit. lilly and mabel

Ronnie the lop eared rabbitWe have gone to two National Trust homes.  The first one was Polesden Lacey.  It was the weekend home of the popular and powerful socialite in the 1900s, Margaret Greville.   No expense was spared to impress the royalty and political men of the time who flocked to her accommodating home to spend the country weekends away from London .

She catered to each guest to make sure they had the best time at her home.   She made sure that the cigars that were preferred by each guest was in his room.  There was a large billiard and smoking room for the gentlemen to use.  Each guest room had the latest novels on the bed stand.  The food was fresh from her farm land and of the highest quality prepared by a famous chef.   Everyone who was anyone wanted to be her guest.polesden lacey house net

Polesden lacey cafe net

The cafe at the Polesden Lacey house

D34_0163

old fashion phone net

Home phone

pink flower net

beautiful gardens

She died in 1948 and left her house to the National Trust.  This is a lovely home that is still impressive and now it is open for the public to enjoy.

The second house we visited was Ham House.  This was another stately home that was build in 1610.  It was the home of William Murray and his feisty daughter Elizabeth, the Duchess of Lauderdale.    She hosted  important government officials at her home and dining table during the English Civil War.  They did not know that she was  a spy for King Charles II while he was in exile in France.  She even wrote letters to the royalists in France in invisible ink.  She was a member of the secret organization known as the Sealed Knot.   In 1660, when Charles was restored to the British throne, he awarded a sizable reward and pension to Elizabeth for risking her life and fortune in support of him.  She died at Ham House in 1698 at the age of 72.  Her descendants lived in the house until 1948 when it was donated to the National Trust. ham house netHam house entrance net

Ham house staircase net

the staircase is carved in battle dress

ham house window net

Wooden windows looking out to the garden

Ham House 4 poster bed net

The house was built a short walk from the River Thames.  No doubt many distinguished guests arrived by way of the river for house parties.Thames river netIt was an inspiring visit to the homes of two women who were powerful political agents in a time when women were considered powerless party ornaments.

Free tutorial: how to prepare a travel journal before you go

When I am traveling, there is never enough time to make entries in my travel journal.  I want to do at least a bullet journal of what I did that day, tape in some receipts, and stash any brochures in my journal.  I find I cannot remember specifics even with the photos of the events.  Where did we eat, how much did it cost for that museum, and how did we get there?  These are some of the questions I will want to remember and to share with my family and friends when I return home.  The way I have learned to take care of this is to prepare my travel journals before I leave home.  I thought I would share how I do that with you my dear blog readers.

I buy a large blank page notebook whenever I can find them on sale.  I found these at Walmart for only $2 each (a stunningly low price) and purchased 3 of them.travel journal 10Since the paper is kind of thin, I glue 2-3 pages together to make a strong base to paint and to eventually staple and glue the memorabilia from the trip.travel journal 11Then I make the cover using mixed media products, stencils and paints.travel journal 1Now I am ready to start painting or using watercolor pencils to prepare the blank pages to write my journaling, and to attach other items I want to save from the trip. I normally add stickers and colorful borders to the pages as I prepare them.  I sometimes draw light pencil lines since that keeps my writing easier to read later.travel journal 2

travel journal 4

travel journal 7I will add some envelopes and glue two pages together to make a large envelope to stash larger items.  Recent feedback from one of my travel journal customers, add more envelops to store items.travel journal 8Finally, I will put together a traveling art kit that includes; pens, water coloring pencils,  a ruler, tape, double sided tape, a paint brush, a stapler with staples, a big glue stick, liquid glue, and a small pair of scissors. [Use short, blunt scissors and omit anything liquid if you plan to put the kit into your carry-on.]journal supplies

Now I am ready to quickly journal by either writing out a narrative or using bullet points to summarize my day. Here is a bullet journal sample from a day that we spent in Paris last year.

  • went to the Louvre  (got there early and there was not much of a line)
  • saw the Mona Lisa, so many people around it, hard to get close
  • went to dinner at small outdoor cafe at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (romantic)
  • back to the apartment by the metro

I also will purchase postcards, cut up the photos  and add them to the pages.  I also leave some blank pages to add my photos when I get home and have them printed.

I hope this tutorial helps you prepare for your next travel adventure and makes it easier and quicker to write down some precious memories from these fleeting moments in your life.  If you use this idea and have any comments about your travel journals, please let me know.

 

We are home and getting ready to go back to Europe

I have not posted in a while because being at home is not that interesting.  We have gotten around to all of our doctor appointments and we are healthy and ready to hit the road again.

We have been doing household improvements since we have decided to keep the house for a while.

The new plan is a family Baltic cruise in June and then to stay on in Europe until October or November of 2018 and cruise home.

I am so excited.  I will keep you informed of our progress. Mac our dog is very happy that we are home. destination England 2 I have been working on some travel journals to sell in my etsy shop ( www.etsy.com/shop/LDphotography)  and I will probably post some information as I prepare my travel journal for this summer.  I make up my travel journal ahead of time so all I have to take with me is the journal,  water color pencils, glue, tape and scissors. destination Scotland 2

Bunratty Castle and folk park: a walk back in time

The most fun excursion that we got up to here in the West country of Ireland was our trip to Bunratty Castle and folk park.  We were there 17 years ago when our son was just 8 years old.  So we had some memories of seeing this big castle through his eyes.  It has changed over time and has gotten much better.  They have added more cottages and houses from the 18th  century to the folk park.  It is a great place to take children to help them understand some of the history of Ireland.

There is the 1425 castle which was restored in the 1950s and opened to the public in the 1960s. bunratty castle 2017 5x7 netThis part of the tour was the same, climbing up many small spiraling staircases that lead off  from each of the four walls of the great hall. There are bedrooms to see. bunratty royal bed 5x7 net  Beautiful stained glass windows to look out on to the river. Bunratty windows 5x7 net  Wonderful 16th century office with a long wood table and colorful ceiling carvings. Bunratty 16th c meeting room 5x7 net  There are even toilets to show you how people in the castle relieved themselves.  Bunratty castle toilet netThat stone seat must have been cold in the winter.

After we toured the castle, we wandered through the folk park which has 30 buildings of farm and fishermen’s cottages from the 18th century.blue cottage Bunratty village 5x7 net  Here is a two room thatched cottage that a County Clare farmer might have lived in.    Here is the one bedroom that the farmer and his wife would use. Bunratty farmer's bed 5x7 netEveryone’s fireplace was also their stove and oven as this photograph of a wealthy farmer’s hearth  illustrates.  Most of the cottages were heated with peat blocks.  I was surprised at how warm they keep the room.bunratty fireplace stove 5x7 net They often used the stones that were part of the landscape to build their homes and barns.

bunratty barn 5x7 net

This was a wealthy farmer’s barn made of local stones

It was a fascinating look back in the Irish history of County Clare.

Before we left we decided to eat at Durty Nelly’s, a historical pub that has been serving the local people, or maybe just the tourists, since 1620.  The food was very good.durty Nelly's pub 5x7 net

 

Today we are finishing up our first house sit, and so we are cleaning house, packing and saying good bye to Cassie, Bella, Pipsie and Midnight.

Free tutorial; How to prepare a travel journal

One thing that I do now since going to Europe the last 2 years is to prepare my travel journal before I go.2017 travel journal2017 travel journal 1 I keep tickets, train stubs, receipts and other ephemera as we travel and there is not time to make special pages to keep this loose stuff.  2017 travel journal 4So I put in pretty envelops in my journal at home.   I also paint and add decorative paper to my journal pages as it is difficult to find the time and carry all the supplies to do that on the road.2017 travel journal 3  I make pages with fold outs to put secret or just private thoughts into.  2017 travel journal 6 I also stamp and color pages like this. 2017 travel journal 2 or this2017 travel journal 7  I take along a zip lock plastic bag with scissors, double sided tape, tape, color pencils ( water color ones), colored pens,  a small spray bottle, glue sticks and a small stapler.  Now I am ready to add papers and pages as I go along.  Hope this helps you prepare for your next big trip or even a little one.

I have been captured by the Olympics

We are taking care of 2 lovely dogs in Truro, Cornwall.  Here is a picture of them having fun.

dog friends play small

We have been walking these babies 2 times a day in a lovely field nearby.

But we have not done any sight seeing because….I love the Olympics.  All my favorite sports come in the first week.  Swimming, volleyball and gymnastics are the big three for me.  The problem with being in England is that the swimming finals are live  here at 1-4 am because the the time difference with Rio.  Oh no…..my normal schedule runs until 1 am everyday but this is really making my clock crazy.  Luckily, next week we can see some of lovely Cornwall and I will put up some lovely photos for you.

Here is the view from our pet sitting home, so lovely.

_DSC0037

Oh and go USA!