the doors in England

I love doors. I took some pictures while we were in India few years ago, but I wasn’t as diligent in taking specifically the doors.  Last year when we visited England and France, I did a little better job, and look what I found.

church in Oxford copyChurch in Oxford.

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DSC_0519 copyIn Shrewsbury.

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DSC_0554 copyIn Shrewsbury.

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DSC_0555 copyIn Shrewsbury.

Whittington Castle copyWhittington Castle, Shropshire.

DSC_0831 copyIn London.

Oxford 1 copyIn Oxford.

Stokesay castle door copyStokesay Castle, Shropshire.

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Oxford 2 copyIn Oxford.

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in the Tower of London copy

Elsemere copyIn Ellesmere, Shropshire.

I wish I remember where I took the pictures of each door, but at least I have some of them.  I do love doors and how different they can be in different countries and even in the same city.

I was looking through my old posts and have realized that I am not finished posting about our trip last year (nor from when we lived in India, 4 years ago) and so much has happened this year… I’ll see what I can do that would be fun to remember later on.

a walk in Oxford, England

After visiting England for two weeks, being in the Central West region at our friends home in Shropshire, we headed south.



We stopped in Oxford, a place I always wanted to visit.

DSC_0175 copy DSC_0178 copyOh, the buildings.  I love it so much.

DSC_0181 copy DSC_0180 copy DSC_0182 copy DSC_0184 copy DSC_0185 copy DSC_0186 copy DSC_0187 copy“Please do not park bicycles against these railings as they may be removed.”

DSC_0193 copy DSC_0190 copy DSC_0195 copy DSC_0198 copy DSC_0189 copy“No bicycles Please.”

DSC_0200 copy DSC_0202 copy DSC_0199 copy DSC_0365 copy DSC_0205 copy DSC_0363 copy DSC_0371 copy DSC_0368 copy DSC_0366 copy DSC_0373 copy DSC_0376 copyWe stopped for lunch.

DSC_0378 copy DSC_0393 copy DSC_0382 copy DSC_0394 copyAnd then continued our trip on south.  But first one more thing in Oxford, a visit to the Museum that I’ll share here soon.


meals overseas

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I didn’t get to take pictures of everything we ate, and I wish I would have done a little more.  Our friends cooked delicious meals, every single time.  And I’ve written a bit about that, but still… we remember with such a special heart our days spent with them, and meals were so delicious and we were thankful for everything they cooked for us, and for sharing all their early produce from their beautiful garden… it was such a treat to spend time with them.

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Handmade pasta.

We met for lunch with their friends.  We had dinner at their house with many of their friends and their sons.  What a treat it was.

DSC_0609 copySuch a beautiful, wonderful family.

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We are lucky to have them in our lives.  Thank you for your friendship and for everything.

where we stayed last summer

DSC_0351 copyAt our friends house in England, this summer we got to spend over 5 weeks traveling and seeing amazing things and people.  Our friends have this barn were they made it a home for us.

DSC_482 copy DSC_0363 copy DSC_0362 copyWhat a treat it was. Such a cozy, beautiful place.

DSC_0365 copy DSC_0366 copyWe got visited by the feathery friends on their way back and forth.

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And sometimes they visited us inside too.

DSC_0130 copy DSC_0125 copyThis is the view of the road from the window.  It is so quiet and peaceful. DSC_0122 copy DSC_0120 copy DSC_0003 copyIt was having a whole house to ourselves.

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At the end of the day we got to spend some time catching up on football games (it was the World Cup weeks after all) or maybe watch an episode of an old Survivor show we took borrowed from our library.

But for the most part, we spent our time outside.  There was so much beauty and fun things to do besides hanging out with and hopefully help out our friends in some of their chores around the house and garden.

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A beautiful place indeed.


Ironbridge, Shropshire in England

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Ironbridge, the town, takes its name from the famous first arch Iron Bridge ever built.  It says “Birth Place of Industry.”

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We took a little walk and that town, as most places we visited in England last summer, stole my heart.  Such a beautiful place, with nature and beauty all around.

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DSC_0597 copyPork skins.  You gotta eat them warm.

DSC_0598 copyPasties.

DSC_0602 copy DSC_0603 copy DSC_0604 copy DSC_0605 copy DSC_0606 copy DSC_0600 copy DSC_0601 copyYup!  We had to go back to try something else.  So, so good!


The Iron Bridge in England :: A World Heritage Site


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One of the last days we spent in England, our friend Mac took us to see The Iron Bridge.

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The Iron Bridge is the first arch bridge made out of a new material back then, cast iron.  It was built in 1781.

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Look at these poppies…. I love the sparkle of colors. DSC_0502 copyI love poppies.

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The Iron Bridge, was built in the year 1779.

DSC_0513 copy DSC_0517 copySevern River, the longest river in the United Kingdom.

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Intended to be an advertisement for the skills of the Coalbrookdale iron masters, and it proved a spectacular success.  Architects and engineers came from all over the world to marvel at it, and Abraham Darby (who built it) was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of Arts.  Thomas Pritchard, the architect, died before it was completed.

DSC_0541 copy DSC_0544 copyAnd people still go today to marvel at this amazing work of engineering.

DSC_0545 copy DSC_0546 copy DSC_0547 copy DSC_0552 copyA World Heritage Site.  Of course.  DSC_0553 copy DSC_0555 copy DSC_0550 copy DSC_0563 copy DSC_0558 copy DSC_0561 copy

So amazing to be standing right there, witnessing such an amazing work done almost 240 years ago.

making :: an Ancient Roman Soldier helmet

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As part of our Ancient Rome unit, we made a soldier’s helmet.  We followed the instructions from this book.

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We inflated a balloon. It was hard to guess the size of their heads to make sure it fit but not too big.  We made these twice, and still ended up having them too big for their heads, but they made it work. DSC_1005 copyWe covered the balloons with paper mache.  Instead of making the glue, we used white glue with a bit of water stirred in, to make it thiner.

DSC_1007 copy DSC_1008 copyMade it really smooth and let it dry for a day or two.

DSC_1091 copy Once dried, they popped the balloon.

DSC_1092 copy DSC_1090 copyAnd tried it on.  We cut with scissors around to make it look more like a helmet instead of a turban.

DSC_1103 copy DSC_1105 copyThen we added a plume in the center, on top.

DSC_1106 copy DSC_1107 copyAnd added a cut out paper plate for the neck cover.

DSC_2001 copyThey painted it gray (like metal helmets.)

DSC_2003 copy DSC_2005 copyAnd let it dry overnight.  The plume had to be red, of course.

DSC_2087 copyWe let it dry few hours, and then cut around the ears.

DSC_2086 copy DSC_2085 copyWe then cut a chin cover with different fabrics that I have in my stash.  Siena wanted to use a left over piece from jeans I had used for another project.  And Lucas used an acrylic leather-type piece.

DSC_2091 copy DSC_2094 copyLucas decided to add a tie.  And now they are all ready for their fighting.

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Even though we are done with our Ancient Rome unit, I think they are re-thinking and are wanting to make a shield too.  With these helmets now, a shield is a must.  We’ll see what they come up with.  But for now, these helmets were a fun project to do.

our friends gardens in England

DSC_0898 copy DSC_0897 copy DSC_0357 copy DSC_0353 copy DSC_0352 copy DSC_0900 copy DSC_0675 copy DSC_0361 copy DSC_0018 copy DSC_0348 copyThe doves.

DSC_0215 copy DSC_0214 copy DSC_0213 copy DSC_0217 copyOh the flowers they had.  All the colors, the shapes, the shades… so beautiful! DSC_0175 copy

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When we were in England this summer, we went to see friends we had met in India.  We’ve never been at their house before (they came to see us last year) and the whole time we were there (two weeks) we would find something new, new plants, new flowers, a new corner, something beautiful every single time.

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Lucas of course, fell in love with their chickens.  Oh what a treat it was to get up in the morning for them to go open the coop and see if there were any eggs to bring in.  This guy had a really hard time saying goodbye to them.

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It always is.  But we enjoyed the days while we were there.  Here’s a little tour now, of their vegetable garden.

DSC_0027 copyCome on in with us.

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Right inside this gate, on the left, they have a little pond.  Siena took the job to clean it up.

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They said that they hadn’t heard frogs in a long while, but after Siena’s cleaning for few days, by the time we left, we heard them!

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I hope they are hanging around for them.

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When Mac picked us up at the airport we talked about his garden, since we knew he’s a great gardener.  Siena asked him if he had a greenhouse, because we had just out ours away, before leaving.  Mac answered “No, I only have a poly-tunnel”.  And that was it on that.  I think we all wondered what that was, but we all thought (as we found out later) it was something like this.  But when we arrived at their house and we go see Mac’s garden… we found out.

DSC_0033 copyIt was a much larger “tunnel” than we thought, and also much bigger than our greenhouse.  We laughed.  And enjoyed his tour of his garden.

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DSC_0063 copyOh these purple peas they have… so good!  I’d love to find them here now.

DSC_0064 copyWhat a garden. So full and beautiful. Gorgeous really.

DSC_0066 copyTheir apples were a little more ahead than ours at the time.

DSC_0077 copy DSC_0078 copyOh my… sarsaparrilla (in Spanish). Red currants…. so, so good!  We’ve only had them a couple of times here in Portland, when some friends have shared theirs.  I think it was only two years ago that we had some from them.

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Before that, I hadn’t had them since I was a kid.  Growing up I had a friend that lived just two houses down, in a huge house, and they had a very large garden.  They had (what it seemed) like rows and rows of red currants.  We would all go to her house and graze for hours.  This is how it felt at Mac and Ros’s house this summer.  We would just go out to their garden and have a handful of these delicious fruits.  Siena and Lucas loved them too.  There’s something so delicious about picking your own food.  Isn’t it?

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I think we should plant some at home now.  I’m going to talk to the gardeners and will let you know what they think.

DSC_0082 copy DSC_0085 copyThe rest of the garden, so beautiful. Everything growing strong and big, and the food we were lucky to have, so good.  DSC_0086 copy DSC_0120 copyRadishes almost every day, with salt and also with butter.  DSC_0083 copy DSC_0087 copy DSC_0088 copyWe had asparagus too.  DSC_0090 copyAnd beets.  DSC_0093 copySo beautiful! DSC_0097 copy DSC_0100 copy DSC_0103 copy DSC_0109 copy DSC_0094 copy DSC_0112 copy DSC_0110 copy DSC_0118 copyYou are amazing Mac.

DSC_0125 copy DSC_0119 copyDSC_0143 copy DSC_0144 copy DSC_0106 copyWhat a treat it seas to spend those two weeks with them at their house and be able to live with them, and help some.  It was so very special.

DSC_0172 copyWe have new plans for our garden next year.  Mac, do you want to come back next spring and help us plant again?