We have had a great time here in Stratford upon Avon. We went to a couple of National Trust homes that are open near by. The first one is called Baddesley Clinton. This a moated manor house from the 13th century. It was the home of the Ferrers who were Roman Catholic when the Reformation was overtaking England. They hid priests from the authorities and had several “priest holes” built into the house. A priest hole was a hiding place for Catholic priests if the house was raided. It is a lovely home and so interesting to visit.
In the 19th century, when they could practice their religion privately, they built a small chapel to hear Mass.We also went to Packwood House. This was a Tudor home that was restored to its Tudor interior by Graham Baron Ash in the 1920s.
A sun dial at Packwood House
One of the best things about returning to Stratford was seeing some people that we got to know last year. These two ladies work at the Shakespeare Hospice bookstore. Last year they helped me find some old books that we falling apart for me to use in my mixed media art. They helped me again this year, thank you ladies.
I also got to tour Shakespeare’s school house. I did not get to do that last year so I was very happy to visit this 15th century building that was Shakespeare’s school for 7 years of his life. They do an excellent job of bring you into the experience that Shakespeare might have lived, Here is a photo of the school master at his big desk.
So we will bid Stratford adieu tomorrow and say goodbye to sweet Enzo.
We are pet sitting here in Stratford with Enzo the border terrier. We sat for Enzo last year and were happy to be asked to take care of him again this summer.
David and Enzo
This is the home town of Shakespeare (1564 -1616) and it is a quaint and walkable town. It is amazing how many of the places in Shakespeare’s birthplace are still preserved and open to the public. I did a lot of visiting of Shakespeare’s places last year, so this year I am exploring the city and the historical places that are around this city.
Shakespeare’s childhood home
The entire town resolves around Shakespeare’s life and work.
There are lots of Tudor homes that are still intact and they are very interesting to see in town.
The Stratford library
It is also the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. We will be going to a play early next week.
We walked Enzo the dog along the River Avon today. It is so beautiful here.
The River Avon
There are so many lovely swans floating in the river. As we were walking home and we passed Shakespeare’s church; he is buried inside.
Holy Trinity Church
I really find it amazing to walk the streets where Shakespeare grew up, married, had children and was buried.
One of the benefits of pet sitting in Europe is that there is time to fit in a visit to old friends who live there. We were able to fly from Gatwick to Helsinki last week to spend a few days with our friends Virpi and Jukka. Virpi and I met when she was an exchange student our senior year in high school fifty years ago. We have stayed good friends ever since.
Virpi and Linda
We got to see their home in Lohja and the next day Virpi drove us up to their summer cottage on a lovely, large lake where Jukka was waiting for us. Even the weeds in Finland are graceful .
Jukka and Virpi
Jukka does a lot of fishing on the lake and cooked a wonderful dinner for us from one of the white fish he had caught. The summer cottage has an old fashioned wood stove that they use to cook and heat the house during the winter. After dinner there was lots of laughing and catching up of family news; then Virpi and I went down to the lake for a wonderful wood sauna.
As we walked down to the water it was just beginning to be sunset over the lake. I did not have my camera but I will never forget the beautiful colors reflected on the still water. The sauna is by the lake so that you can go swimming afterwards.Virpi went right into the water to swim; but I only got half way in and splashed my body with the cold water. David and Jukka were then allowed to go down to sweat and wash.
The next day Jukka drove us down the Eastern side of Finland. We stopped at a 14th century stone castle , Olavinlinna. This is a three tower castle that is the northernmost medieval stone castle still standing. It is located in Savonlinna, Finand. It was built on an island between two lakes.
We stopped for lunch and walked around an outdoor farmer’s market . The summer fruit in Finland is marvelous. Here is a picture of Julius and his harvest.There are only five million Finns who live in the country so it is sparsely populated. Which leaves room for all the trees and lakes which dominate the environment. The country is beautiful.
We went to the city of Imatera to spend the night in a spa hotel. On the way we saw the historic hotel called the Imateran Valtionhotelli which was built in 1903.
We had a lovely walk around the lake and then a good night’s sleep. The next day we drove back to their home and had a fun light dinner of cheese, bread and wine and good conversation. The next day they dropped us off at the airport and we flew back to London.
We are now in Epsom taking care of two wonderful french bulldogs and a rabbit.
We took care of two sweet kitties last month for a week near La Jolla, California. Here is a photo of Eddie. It was a nice break from the house and the routine. The sea lions, seals and cormorants were all having babies in La Jolla this February. We drove down to see them. Here are some sea lions who are lying on the rocks in the sun. And here is a mom still nursing her pup.
Here is a photograph of a cormorant sitting on her just hatched babies. I love seeing new born animals in a natural environment. This is an interesting adjunct to pet sitting in Europe. There are people in the USA who want pet sitters too. We have another pet sit lined up for Portland next month for 6 days with 2 sweet kitties.
I am lining up our summer pet sitting schedule and it is almost finished. We have two people that we sat for last summer who we will sit for again. Plus 4 other new people to meet and some new pets to love. We will go on the Baltic cruise then pet sit until the beginning of Oct. It should be another fun summer.