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.She loves walks in the fields but really loves to chase the ball. Here she is catching the ball.We 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.This 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.In the harbor it was a different story. The waves were small because they were protected by the high cliffs.
Little Haven harbor
Here is a photo of me being blown away.We then drove over the hill from Little Haven to Broad Haven beach, which is a very long and sandy beach .
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.
Here is one of my favorite photographs of David walking on the beach.One 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.
They have set up a tableau of what dinner in the castle would have looked like in the 13th century.And 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.
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.
We are staying in Epsom and we are taking care of two sweet french bulldogs and a rabbit.
We 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.
The cafe at the Polesden Lacey house
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.
the staircase is carved in battle dress
Wooden windows looking out to the garden
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.It 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.
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.Since 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.Then I make the cover using mixed media products, stencils and paints.Now 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.
I 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.Finally, 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.]
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.
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. 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.
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. This 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. Beautiful stained glass windows to look out on to the river. Wonderful 16th century office with a long wood table and colorful ceiling carvings. There are even toilets to show you how people in the castle relieved themselves. That 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. 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. Everyone’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. They often used the stones that were part of the landscape to build their homes and barns.
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.
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.
We are taking care of 2 lovely dogs in Truro, Cornwall. Here is a picture of them having fun.
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.
Oh and go USA!