Category Archives: England

Touring UK with the Gnome – Pt 2

Greetings! And welcome to my little nook…..this is well overdue. I posted about my trip to the UK with my mum (affectionately known to me as “my little British gnome”) a few months ago, and promised a “part two”. Life happened, along with many distractions, and probably a move knowing my crazy life. The first post is back a few months so look it up if you want to see the first part of our UK tour, which covers Great Britain.

This one covers the areas of Wales and Scotland. It was well beyond description, and mum often refers to it as “A trip of a lifetime”. I am hoping the photos tell the story of how a daughter planned a trip for her mum, and how they ventured three countries together, laughed more than humanly possible, tried many things for the very first time, walked more miles than either of them thought was possible, and created too many memories to count. I hope you enjoy sharing our adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed going back over these many photos as I edited and chose, made me smile, laugh out loud, and certainly remember.

WALES

Leaving the UK we entered into Wales. Neither of us had ever ventured outside of the borders of England so everything was new. The countryside over in the UK as a whole is literally breathtaking. The greens are simply intoxicating, and Wales was no exception. The combination of mysterious history, coupled with the innocence of a simple view of sheep grazing in front of architecture thousands of years old, is quite a sight.

The towns we visited (can’t pronounce but just knew we were in Wales) all were full of character. Small shoppes lined the streets, selling their wares or foods. You could smell years in the air, the breezes were cold, but there was always a warm scent of something baking near by.

And more…….

And…..well……there were no shortages of bakeries……

And no shortage of flowers…….

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EDINBURGH SCOTLAND

I never realized that so many shades of gray could actually be beautiful, but it most certainly is. There is just something magical about being surrounded by so much history and walk along streets that have been there for longer than your homeland has even been in existence. It felt comparable to be walking in some kind of a story. With each corner sharing with you it’s secrets.

The accents were extreme. Yes, the language was most certainly English, and you could recognize the English words, but you still felt as if you were listening to a foreign language. The Royal Mile was probably my favorite, with each building taking on a personality of its own. Each shoppe with a personality just aching to be known, and color sprinkled about.

Personality for days….. The people were friendly and welcoming. Pubs were more present than any other establishment, times about a hundred.

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And…..of course…….The infamous William Wallace was everywhere! Couldn’t help but feel like yelling out…..”They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!!”

THE SCOTTISH COUNTRYSIDE AND HIGHLANDS

Amazing as you traveled north just how different the landscape became. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I didn’t expect it to be so rugged and so desolate. Once in a while you would find a small spattering of homes, but for the most part, the land was untouched. Raw. Clean. And went on for as far as your eye could see. (And snow. Wasn’t expecting snow!)

EXPERIENCING A WORKING SHEEP FARM IN SCOTLAND

We could have never anticipated being able to experience such a thing. Away from technology and the business of clicking and scrolling and driving and clocking in and out. We met a man who had spent his life working this farm, harvesting wool for various suppliers. This farm and lifestyle had been in his family for generations. He knew nothing else. And it was something I will not soon forget.

It was cold and windy. We sat on a wooden bench and watched these trained sheep dogs herd these sheep. It was simply amazing! He used sounds that no one else would pay any mind to and these dogs just took off in all directions, usually as one group in unison. Herding this huge group of sheep. It really was a sight to behold. What was even more mind-boggling, is when the “show was over” he shared with us that three of his dogs were 100% blind! What????

ST. ANDREWS ….. GOLF ANYONE?

Architecture for days……

SCOTLAND…….AND TRYING HAGGIS FOR THE FIRST TIME

Haggis is very strange. Made out of all kinds of things that I would never normally eat. Wrapped up and cooked in an animal stomach lining???? Seriously? But? Hell, we were there and couldn’t actually not TRY it, right?

What I wasn’t expecting is the “Celebration of the Haggis” routine before hand. There were young girls dancing in traditional costumes, bagpipes, and the pub owner literally dancing some kind of a jig with the Haggis proudly displayed on a plate as he sang loudly and danced and paraded the plate in front of all of us present. It was crazy enough that we just joined in! I’m still not sure I understood what we experienced, but it was certainly one for the books!

And guess what? The Haggis? It was simply delicious. And we all had a complimentary shot of traditional Scottish Whisky too.

The experience as a whole was definitely one of those “bucket list” things. For any of you second guessing whether or not to go on a trip with your parent? I highly recommend the experience! It will be one to be remembered and supply you with laughs and memories for the rest of your life.

I sure hope you enjoyed our adventure. I know we sure did!

Until next time…….be kind……always.

Polley93

aka Tink

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Touring UK With the Gnome – Pt 1

Greetings! And welcome to my “life in a suitcase”

I have been having serious internet problems out here in the middle of nowhere, usually I can’t get onto this site due to security issues, so I have just been working on drafts and keep trying. Lo and Behold! Today! On my Birthday! I can get through!

In April 2014, I took my little British Gnome (aka, my mum) to the UK after she had told me “Cathy, for all the times I have been back home, I have never seen my country”. Heartbreaking. I had planned on and had almost paid off my infamous “Walk Across UK” adventure, but I cancelled it and started on another plan. I found a tour, booked it, and the plan was set. I honestly thought I would be on a cranky old bus with cranky old people and would just suck it up and like it for the sake of my mother. But oh my……..how wrong I was!! It truly was a trip of a lifetime. And I have to break this blog into two parts there was so damn much going on!!

First stop was Ipswich, in Suffolk, our home and where I basically grew up. No rhyme or reason to the pics…..just a fun and quirky time of coastlines, trains, castles, ad of course, sailing barges……etc

 

Next stop was London. Where we would find our tour group, see the bus, get ready to take a huge trek through England, Scotland and Wales……London is one of my most favorite places. The history, the architecture, the people……and of course…..castles and King Henry VIII things in general………

Quirky London is my favorite. Locks of Love, Graveyards, tributes to my heroine, Lady Diana……and of course….the PETER PAN STATUE!!!!

Windsor is a beautiful place. The castle is magnificent, the streets are a plesure to walk, the people are friendly. During our visit, the Queen of England was there meeting with the Leader of Ireland, which is the reason for the streets being lined with both of the countries flags…..pretty cool that they were both inside of that very castle we were standing outside of!

Bath, England is extraordinary. Street performers every corner. Churches that were simply amazing to stand in front of their grand structure. Pubs, canals, and boats.

Chester, England turned out to be one of my favorite stops. The buildings and black and white went on for days! The food! The walking and finding all of these quirky and amazing buildings, peoples, street performers, etc. One place I will most definitely revisit.

Stratford Upon Avon, an authors heaven. Beatrix Potter and Shakespeare. Amazing. Simple amazing.  A hot cup of tea and a pastry – frequently if youre the gnome!!

A few more days in London, and are there ever enough! We walked literally for  miles and miles. If you have never been to London, I highly recommend that you make it a point of going. With the exchange rate the lowest it has EVER been, it is a great time to plan your trip there. The history alone is worth the trip across the pond!

Our quirky wonderful time! Just a collage of quirkiness as we continually find one adventure after another!!

Of course, this was just the England part. We did tour both Scotland and Wales as well. And that will be in an upcoming post.

I certainly apologize for the delay, but living in a hotel definitely has its challenges. Be on the lookout for ‘PART TWO”  of this amazing adventure, that I got to take with my mother. I mean……who gets to do that???

Thank you for stopping by and sharing our quirky yet amazing adventure. Please leave a comment to let me know you were here.

And as always………..be kind,

Polley93

Barges, Books & Pivotal Moments

For every one of us there are those “pivotal moments”. The moments that perhaps are unexpected that can literally change your life. The moment may be good, such as falling in love, the birth of a child, surviving a storm or something like that. Or? The moment may start out being catastrophic, such as an unexpected death. The pivotal moment for me, was the latter.

For people who write, you can usually trace your path back and discover what your pivotal moment was. The event that happened that you decided you “just had to write about”. Whether it was directly after the event or not, this was the catalyst to propel you toward that great endeavor of writing. Writing a book. My pivotal moment was all about my Grandad. It is the reason for my passion for writing, it is the reason I have been “Polley93” for years, and it’s the event that would change my life.

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I grew up in England, as my father was Military and my mum is a Brit. I had the luxury of having a sort of “bipolar” heritage but for the most part the first part of my life was in England, in a town called Ipswich. I remember fondly many things and the house pictured above was indeed one of them. 23 Halifax Rd, the home of my Nanna and beloved Grandad. I spent the majority of my childhood here as I recall, or perhaps this is where my memories lie, I’m not sure.  I won’t go into too much detail here or this blog post would go on for days. Without a doubt however, some of my fondest memories were of my Grandad and traveling on the majestic barges that he made his living on and had done for his entire life. The barge trade went on in our family line for generations. I didn’t realize it when it was happening, but those times would help create the person I am today.

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The barges were majestic vessels as you can see. Grandad would sail up and down the River Orwell, the River Thames over to Felixstowe and Harwich and London. Memories flood my mind when I think of it. Being held captive on the North Sea due to storms, (Yes I thought I would die), believing I traveled with pirates, sitting at the head of the ship for hours waving to all the sheep farmers out with their herds. As  child I had no idea that these images would be the subject matter of a literary effort.

And then. The moment. That pivotal moment that changed your life. A simple phone call and two words from my mothers shaking voice.

“Grandad drowned”.

The world stop spinning for me that day. We were in London the next day. I learned many things and can honestly say that this changed my life. I learned that we don’t always have tomorrow and started living that way. In the moment. I started writing, because my Grandad always told me that a story deserved to be told. I decided I would write his story and have researched, interviewed and photographed ever since slowly saving up what I would need to do his story justice. I have learned far more than I had expected to, and this legacy of my family goes back for generations.

It was February 19, 1993 when the phone call came.

His name was William Polley.

Hence; Polley93

So? It is time to really begin to write this book. I have plans to go home to England next year for 2-3 months to do that very thing. I know every time I go there that writing about this is easy and flows very well. But coming back here to write it is a struggle. Go figure. So I have started planning now and will be there late next summer or early fall.

My point here is this; pivotal moments. We all have one. The moments that cause us to stop and reroute our direction. They are stories worth telling and do not have an expiration date.

Until next time……..be kind, no matter what.

Cheers,

Polley93