The Butcher, Ascot, and Henley-on-the-Thames


Warning:  Parts of this blog are not for the faint-hearted!

D&A invited us to their new house in Ascot, England for Thanksgiving.
  We arrived on Wednesday and A swept us of for a tour of their new little town.  Ascot's claim to fame is the very famous horse races which date back to 1711. 

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The Queen still attends the races today during Ascot week.  Our first stop was the butcher to pick up the turkey. 

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Here is a before photo of mr turkey...


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and after photo.   He was a biggie and cooked to perfection!

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But even more interesting than the turkey was the cold storage room the butcher invited us to see.

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He told us that many people in town hunt their own animals (box below) and they bring them to the butcher to clean them up.

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He is explaining to D2 about the rabbit.   He had me pet the dead rabbit!  EEEEKKK

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D was very excited about this tour and the butcher was impressed with D's knowledge of various meats and the cuts of steak.  The boys picked steaks out for us for Wednesday night.  They were delicious!


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The goose was unbelievably huge and so soft.   


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Yep - had us pet this one too.


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Four little piggys all in a row.  Poor piggys!


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Dave took this photo - what a classic!  The butcher carrying the full pig while chatting on the phone.


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Back to Thanksgiving.  D2 and A prepping the turkey.


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 I am not a list maker, journaler or planner of any type, so I was quite amused when I found A's map for the dinner - impressive!  But then again, she IS an engineer!


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I was given the job of setting the table.  Now this is more my speed.  Easy to do with A's beautiful china.


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Emma kitty loved getting her photo taken - but not her sister, she was no where to be found!


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Friday we set out to visit Henley-on-the-Thames. 

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This medieval town dates back to 1179.  We ate lunch at a sweet little pub on the edge of town,  The Little Angel.  It had modern updated pub food.  Much better than the old stuff!

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Henley is world renowned for its rowing and holds the annual Henley Royal Regatta. 
The town was lined with very old Tudor style house, now housing quaint little shops. 

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It was a chilly day so we stopped for a coffee break at an old bakery converted into a coffee shop.  Complete with old wood burning stove.


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I love this photo A took of the two of us!


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Good friends, good food, another wonderful Thanksgiving weekend at D2 & A's!  On Saturday we all hopped on the plane to Marrakesh - what an adventure - watch for this post....coming soon!






Don and Donna visit - London

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 Don and Donna, my very special mother and father-in-law, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in March, but the real celebration was in July.......  in London!

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D&D arrived in Brussels and the four of us took the train to London through the Chunnel (31.4 mile undersea rail tunnel linking France to the UK).  Tammy, Allen, Trenton, and Jason joined us and we all stayed in a beautiful penthouse apartment, you have to visit their site and check this place out!  We had the top three floors.

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 Our first night was Allen's b-day so the party group took a bus to a local pub to celebrate with a beer!  I went along as team photographer   :   ). 

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Trenton was excited when he found out the drinking age in England is 16.  Here he is enjoying a beer with his dad and his Uncle D.  Grandpap was at the bar paying the bill!

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The next day D and I ventured out to a flower market and funky neighborhood, Columbia Road, that I had read about.  D was quite amused with the candy store, Suck and Chew.  Note the little bag of candy in his hand.

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I had read about a very cool vintage altered art  store, Jessie Chorley and Buddug - the shop.  The store was fabulous as well as the neighborhood.  Independently owned artsy stores.  Most were only open on Saturdays and Sundays.

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To see more photos on this store, visit my art blog Ma Vie Trouvee.


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 That afternoon Allen's sister Sherri, her husband Nick, and sweet daughter Eleanor came by for a visit.  They live two hours outside of London.  We had a very enjoyable afternoon chatting.  Other visitors were our Euro buddies D & A.  The family finally got to meet them in person.  Not sure why....but I did not take photos of either event :  (

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Even with eight people all wanting to go in different directions we had a GREAT visit and spent most days together!  Here are the highlights of our adventures.

The London Eye

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Originally called the Millennium Wheel, built to celebrate the year 2000, it is the most visited site in London with over 3.5 million visitors a year.  There are 32 capsules and each carries 25 people.

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Tammy took some great panoramic photos from the capsule of Parliament and Big Ben......of course I could not go up due to my many idiosyncrasies :  ). 

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Don and D stayed on the ground to keep me company.  We had fun people watching. 

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Big Ben


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Did you know that the real name of this structure is the clock tower and that only the bell is called Big Ben. 

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Big Ben just celebrated it's 150th birthday.


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Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official residence.  The current structure was built in 1703.  The men are not just ceremonial guards, they are active soldiers.


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On another day, we watched the Horse Guards daily change.  I found this to be much more interesting than the change at Buckingham Palace because it was more intimate.

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Time for a break.  Our favorite Pub drink for the summer was a pitcher of Pimms!  It is a light fruity alcoholic drink mixed with lemonade.  Ahhhhh so refreshing.

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As you can see here, Allen was in need of his afternoon Pimms!

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Westminster Abbey

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An Abbey was first built on this site in 1050 AD. 




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Tammy and I had toured it on earlier visits so we relaxed on the lawn and got caught up on things.  Please note:  the ice cream cone is in Tammy's hand.  I did not have one as I was on a diet that hour  :  )


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Don, Donna, D and I did the Hop on Hop off bus tour.  Originally I just went along for the ride.....but this ended up being my favorite event.  We went one afternoon and then again the next morning.  I have been to London 5 or 6 time but this is the first time I did a tour. 

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Tower of London

The Tower of London is Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress and was built in 1066.  The tower has played a prominent role in England's history, but today is only used as a museum and houses the Crown Jewels.  Many of which date back to 1200.

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It was the home to kings and queens of England up until 1837.   Buckingham Palace is now the official residence.   

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The Tower is still guarded by Yeoman Wardens or Beef-eaters, so called because they use to have to taste the Kings food to make sure it was  not poisoned.  They also give the tours of the castle and are quite humorous.

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It has many interesting events in its history including the execution spot for two of King Henry's wives - Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.  Sir Walter Raleigh was also imprisoned there for 13 years.  


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 Tower Bridge

Tammy captured this lovely shot of the Bridge.  It is an iconic symbol of London. officially opened in 1894.  It is often mistaken as the London Bridge.

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One day we all ventured into China town for lunch. 

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And enjoyed a street performer...

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He was so good he was able to make Jason smile!   

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Allen too!

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My attempt at a "we" shot - the girls enjoying an ice cream.

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I was disappointed as we never got a group shot...This is as close as we got....the team waiting for a bus.

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The funniest story of the trip was when we were all dining on the famous British Fish and Chips.  Don was working the bottle of ketchup to get out the last drop.  D and I were both getting ready to tell him to calm down......when it exploded from too much pressure.....

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And it shot all over Donna's WHITE shirt!  Donald started to wiped it off as you can see at the top....Donna did not flinch.  She just kept eating her fish and chips.

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Maybe Donna did not think this was the funniest story of the trip  :  )

The last day we broke into two groups.  D, Donna and I opted for lunch at a Polish restaurant and some shopping.  

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The other group did the Winston Churchill War Museum and the Globe Theater.  And Tammy got to walk across the Millennium Bridge!

For a few more fun photos - check out the album in the upper right hand corner at the top of this page.

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A very Happy Anniversary indeed!



Don and Donna visit - The Cotswold

Saturday morning the West family headed back to the states and the four of us continued on to the Cotswold area in England.  I love the city, but was anxious to show D&D the quaint English countryside. 

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 Just a few hours from London, the Cotswold is an absolutely charming area with homes with thatched roofs, the epitome of "Englishness".

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 On our way there we stopped at Oxford University.  Oxford is the third oldest University and the first English speaking institution in the world.

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The exact date of when it was built is unclear, but there is evidence that teaching at oxford goes back to 1086.  Interesting trivia - the University is actually made of of 38 individual, self-governing  colleges.  There are over 20,000 students.  Allen's brother-in-law teaches there.  Pretty impressive huh?

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On our way our we stopped at Ben's Cookie shop.  I had read that it had THE BEST chocolate chip cookies.  So we stopped. And yes, we all agreed - Ben's had THE BEST chocolate chip cookies we had ever eaten!

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 Next stop was Blenheim Palace, home of the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of the UK from 1940 - 1945 and again from 1951-1955).   He is most famous for his leadership during WWII.

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The Palace was built around 1705 - 1724 in the English Baroque style of architecture.  Today it is a World Heritage Site.

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The 9th Duke made the biggest impact on the Palace where he did many improvements throughout including the creation of the beautiful formal gardens.


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Our first B&B was the Mole & Chicken.  It was a restaurant with five petite country style rooms out in the countryside of Buckinghamshire.  It was build in 1831 and was a worker's cottage, then the village store, next a pub, and now a restaurant with rooms.

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Sweet rooms and a SWEET bathtub!

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We had a delicious dinner in the restaurant and as we took a little evening walk down the street, an older gentleman popped out of his house (fourth house in the row) and began talking to us.  

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His name was Jack and he was 76.  He invited us into his house to show us his collection of antique articles.  It was a priceless experience.  But I did not take my camera to dinner so no photos!

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 The next morning we had a typical British breakfast; eggs, sausage, ham, beans, mushrooms and toast.  As seen below in the postcard  :  )

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Our first stop was a very old church.  There was nothing notable about it, we just thought it was pretty so we walked through.

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An unusual but interesting thing all churches in England have is hand-embroidered cushions to kneel on.  I have not seen this in any other country.

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In England on Sundays, the entire family goes out for a traditional "roast" lunch.  So we went to the Lamb Inn Pub for our Sunday roast.  

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Check out this cute sign in their parking lot.  And D did park prettily.

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That night I had a surprise for the group - Gifford's Circus!  

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I had read about this local circus owned and created by a husband and wife team.  It tours the Cotswold every other year in the summer.  They  base the shows on the circus performances of the 1930's. 

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This year's show was called Yasmine and was a musical about the legendary female horse trainer, Yasmine Smart.  It was a very small venue in a big top tent.  Locals we spoke to were surprised that we had even heard about it.  All my research!

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The show was absolutely delightful!  Old fashioned fun with some impressive performances  There was a 12 piece band, horses, clowns, and several acts like the woman on the tight rope.  Amazing!!


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This one was equally impressive. 

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And the clowns had us all laughing!

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We are so used to everything being high tech with flash and was amusing to see how entertained everyone was with the simple act of blowing into plastic flutes.  

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It was just good old fashioned fun and we all left feeling really happy.  Who wouldn't with dancing pigs and all!

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Our B&B for the next two nights was the Mole's End.  A lovely manor home with three stately rooms you could stay in.

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We gave Don and Donna the large room as this three day trip was our anniversary present to them.  Not that our room was any less charming.

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 The next day we visited Shakespeare's home in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Born in 1564 he grew up in this house where his father made gloves in a room adjoining the family home. 

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I like Shakespeare but am not a huge fan.....yet I was in complete awe when we walked through his house.  To think....Shakespeare was born in this house and actually lived here 446 years ago! 

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As Shakespeare said, "such stuff as dreams are made on".

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Why look, Don even got to meet Shakespeare.  Isn't Don's sweater cute?  We bought it for him in Scotland for Father's Day.

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Another event I wanted D& D to experience in England was a proper afternoon tea.  Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Ann, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in the year 1840.

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A traditional tea would consist of sweets and sandwiches.  And you absolutely must have scones with jam and clotted cream.



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We skipped the sandwiches and each selected a slice of specialty cake and shared the scones.  All were absolutely divine!

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Outside of the tea house an old time car caught Don's attention.  I love this photo!  Don looks like he owns the car and the house behind it!

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We spoke to the owner and she said it was a 1933 original Austin and you need to crank it to get it to run.  It was a beauty.

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Our last stop of the day was a lavender field.  I had read that it was in full bloom at this time of year.  I was surprised to find a lavender field in the Cotswold. 

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But to my delight...the color was as intense and as beautiful as any I've seen in Provence France!


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The air was fragrant, full of that luscious lavender smell.  I wish I had a scratch and sniff function on this blog.




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There were thousands of bees busy at work on the lavender and the nearby sunflower field.

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The owner was also very busy harvesting.  It was peak time for the harvest, in fact if we were a day later, we would have missed seeing the beautiful purple fields.

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 Our wonderful vacation ended on Donna's birthday.  Happy Birthday Donna!


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We savored a leisurely breakfast at the B&B.  Jane, the host, made really good eggs. 

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We had a little time before heading to the train station so we walked though a quintessential English neighborhood with thatched-roof  houses.  How sweet to live in one of these and enjoy it everyday.

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We stopped at the local post office/florist/tea house for a spot of tea.


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It is always special when you order tea in England.  Even in a tiny tea house they will bring your tea in proper china.

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 Since it was Donna's birthday and we would be traveling most of the day, we would not have time to celebrate with a cake.  But what would be even better than cake?  BEN'S COOKIES!!!  That's right, we went back through Oxford just to buy cookies.

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 Was it worth it?  Oh ABSOLUTELY 100% YES.  We splurged and each got two.  It was a birthday celebration after all !!!!


London: the Super Bowl bet and the BIG snow!

D was asked to speak at a conference in London on Tuesday, February 2.


How quintessentially British (and cute!) is this doorman?

We had to stop by and visit our favorite Londoners - Dave and Allison for the weekend.  It was the Super Bowl weekend, a perfect time to visit since the Steelers made it to the Super Bowl!  As everyone knows, the Steelers BEAT the Ravens in the playoffs. 

Purple copy Dave and Allison are HUGE Ravens fans.    Since we were going to be together for the Super Bowl we made a bet prior to that playoff game.  Who ever's team won the playoffs and advanced to the SB, the losing couple had to wear the winner's team logo gear all day on Super Bowl Sunday.  Did I mention Dave and Allison are HUGE Raven's fans and they particularly dislike the Steelers?


We arrived to find Arizona logos throughout the house NOT Steelers - where is the love?



We didn't care....they had to wear our Steelers Shirts!  A big shout out to Don SR who mailed us two Steelers jerseys from his private collection as we did not have anything here.  Thanks Don!

Well......At first Dave refused to wear the Steelers gear (note his "I'm getting sick look")

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as soon as he put it is what happened........

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Don't worry Don, we made sure nothing got on the shirt.

Allison & Emma were good sports.  Look how good (and comfortable) Allison looks in our colors!


After Dave cried in Allison's arms, she consoled him.....



and I gave him some Steelers cheers.....

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he then gave in and gave us a BIG smile (sort of).



We hit the Boar's Head pub for lunch Sunday afternoon.


And a BET IS A BET - they had to wear the Steeler's gear to the pub.  Friends of D&A - did you EVER think you would see this photo?   

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okay so that wasn't the real photo.......but we will have him converted by the end of the night!

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We enjoyed the traditional pub food, fish and chips with mushy peas. 

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and cottage pie sometimes called steak and ale pie. 

Similar to what we call Shepard's pie.  All was very yummy.

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but the beer?  D is not convinced of the British beer, too weak and warm.  He likes his Belgium beer!


As we left the pub, the snow started.  We headed back to the house to prepare for the Super Bowl.......only 10 hours away!  Remember - England is a 5 hour difference from the US, so the game did not start until 11:30 PM ending at 4 AM!

D had to have his game wings - they bring the Steelers luck you know.  Allison, being the gracious hostess that she is, made the famous Pittsburgh Primanti Brothers sandwich with french fries, coleslaw and more to help bring in the Steelers spirit.  And we had Chex mix thanks to Aunt Martha!



Yes, we all made it to 4 am to see that incredible catch!  What a game!  D's joy that his boys brought home one for the other thumb!



Tessa even woke up for a cheer.


One last photo at 4 am!  Even in the wee hours Dave remembered to cover up the Logo.   And then something happened.....


I call this Dave's Happy moment...when he converted to being a Steelers fan.  Quote from Dave, " man, that was one incredible catch - I can see why they truly are the Best.  I am even going to join their fan club!" 

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With the "big" snow, there were no trains running within the city or into the city so we had to stay another day with D&A.  Dave took off work and we had a fun day playing.  We took a long walk in the morning.  The boys had fun building their snow friend (we were not sure exactly what it was).




  There is a beautiful old cemetery near the town center.


D & D were inspired to create the RIP snowman.....our creative husbands  :  )




One thing we do not get in Brussels in grilled food.  Dave was so sweet to grill dinner in the snow!


We had to get a very early start the next day for London to get D to his conference on time.  He got there at 10:30 and he spoke at 11:00.


I had a lovey day shopping the first day and then a fun visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum the next day. 


D had fun too!


Colorful Chinatown

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With the driver on the lefthand side, traffic runs opposite for us.   Thank goodness for the constant reminders on the ground at all crosswalks.


We had some really good food as always, but this one - Polish & Mexican?  We'll have to try this combo on our next visit.


and my favorite London icon - the red telephone booths.


We love London!

Happy Holidays!

Warm thoughts and special wishes

for a bright and happy holiday.....




To celebrate the holiday season, this December we visited Dusseldorf Germany, Paris France, London England, Aachen Germany and our local Brussels Market.   We selected photos for this blog that would show you how they decorate for the holiday in these countries.




The Eiffel Tower is stunning this year - decked in Blue.  Why is it blue?  The EU (European Union) rotates the presidency every 6 months.  France has it from June through December and honored it by lighting up the Eiffel Tower in blue with yellow stars, recalling the EU flag.



The Eiffel tower is 984 feet tall.  Eighty giant projectors on the ground and 100 more on the tower are used to achieve the blue effect.    At dark, the lights twinkle for a few minutes every hour on the hour.

















The department stores are all magical in Paris at Christmas.  From the lights on the outside:


the large tree in the entrance:


And my very favorite, the store windows.  Absolutely Fabulous!  The characters are animated and most of them move.  The girls with the umbrellas floated and danced all over the window:



This one was just adorable:


These two popped up and down from behind the chair:


In Brussels and Germany they have the outdoor markets in the city centers.  It makes for a beautiful scene with the cathedrals in the background.


They are set up like little villages with wooden chalets that sell food, drinks, baked goods, and gifts. 










The smell of the sweet treats put you in the holiday spirit.





They have lots of delicious food {the reason I can get D to take me to the markets}.  Check out that tongue action while squeezing the mustard.  Serious stuff!










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We also love the Glühwein {in Germany}, in Belgium and France it is called Vin Chaud.  It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar.   













The Glühwein is nice when it is so cold outside and you are walking for hours!  Each vendor serves it in a different mug.  If you want, you can keep the mug.  If not, you turn it back in and get 2 euros back.  Enough to buy another drink at the next booth! 


We were in London for three days.  D got a new coat (shown in this photo) - how Euro is he?













Not that any of these photo are Christmas-y, but they are so quintessentially British!  We did learn that instead of wishing a Merry Christmas, in Britian they say Happy Christmas.


Oh yeah, D did find a Christmas beer in London.  He said it was good despite the name {Chistmas pudding beer}.


We hopped on the tube on Saturday morning and headed out to Horsham to visit our friends Dave an Allison.   We experienced a very British Christmas event-


Pantomime  (click for more info).  A Pantomime, called Panto by the locals, is a musical comedy performed at Christmas but having nothing to do with Christmas.  They are always based on children's stories.  We saw Peter Pan.  It is a family event and everyone in the audience participates during the entire show.  Yelling out (booing the villain), standing up, singing, it was quite the experience, a lot of fun.    Unfortunately, photos were not allowed. 

Last but not least, the great city we live in.....Brussels. 


We have a very nice Christmas market with over 250 booths with local hand made items. 


It has two carousels, an ice skating rink, a light show on the Grande Place, and a very large ferris wheel. 


And we could not forgot our favorite Brussels Symbol...all decked out for the holidays!


For those of you who think the blogs are too long.  Thanks for reading this far and we'll see you next year. 


For those of you who want just a little more....Here is some info on the history of St Nicolas and how they celebrate the holidays in Belgium.





Sinterklaas or St Nicolas comes on 6 December


Sinterklaas {photo borrowed} is the basis for the North American figure of Santa Claus.  Sinterklaas has a long white beard, wears a red bishop's dress and red mitre (bishop's hat), and holds a crosier, a long gold colored staff with a fancy curled top.  Sinterklaas carries a big book with all the children's names in it, which states whether they have been naughty or nice in the past year.


Sinterklaas or St Nicolas arrives from Spain on a white horse.  He has a black assistant called Zwarte Piet who comes down your chimney.  On the 5th of December, before going to bed, children put their shoes next to the chimney of the coal fired stove or fireplace, with a carrot or some hay in it "for Sinterklaas's horse", and sing a Sinterklaas song.  The next day, they will find candy, speculoos, a delicious spicy biscuit that is often served with coffee {and we can verify that they really are delecious!} or a small present in their shoes the next day, supposedly thrown down the chimney by a Zwarte Piet or Sinterklaas himself {guessing this is where our stocking comes from}.

This is also when most Belgian children receive one big present from Sinterklaas (i.e. their parents!).  
For more details click here: Sinterklass


In Belgium, the focus is around Christmas Eve. There is a huge family get-together for a traditional evening meal of three or four courses with plenty of wine and champagne.  Rich, expensive foods are often served, such as lobster, caviar and a variety of game {we are going to have goose}.

Belgium remains a strongly catholic country, with many families attending a candlelit midnight mass on Christmas Eve. This is more than just a religious event – it is also a cultural one with midnight services well-known for their magnificent music.

Christmas morning is not traditionally a time for giving presents in Belgium; the day is usually spent quietly with family. The commercial Father Christmas was not known here until a few years ago.  However, intense marketing by shops eager to sell presents three times over in December has meant that many families also give presents from Santa Klaus now.  Although the Father Christmas and Sinterklaas figures are clearly derived from the same tradition, the two figures remain quite separate in Belgium.   Sinterklaas is always dressed in a long bishop’s robe with a mitre on his head, whereas Father Christmas or De Kerstman is the comical, round, ruddy-cheeked fellow we see in books and movies.

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Horsham England - August 08

This weekend we took the Eurostar train to England to visit our Euro-friends - Dave and Allison. 

We had a great visit.  Img_8250_2Train rides are my favorite mode of transportation in Europe.  It is so easy.  You carry your suitcase on, find your seat and enjoy the ride.  Well, first you find your seat and hope it faces the front.  I cannot ride backwards and you cannot reserve seats going forward - so it is always pot-luck if your seats face forward.  There are usually enough empty seats so you can move.  I love to watch the Belgium/French/English countryside whisk by the big picture windows in the train.  Everything is so lush and green right now.  I easily get lost daydreaming when we ride the train.

It is amazing how quickly we got from Brussels to London - 2 hours.  Da_front_of_house_2We went through the Chunnel, a 31.4 mile undersea rail tunnel linking the United Kingdom and France, running beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. It is the second longest undersea tunnel in the world, after Japan's Seikan Tunnel.

Dave and Allison live in Horsham, a quintessentially quaint English village about an hour south of London.  Horsham is a Historic Market Town thought to have been settled in 947. The town had connections to the sale of horses and the name is believed to be derived from "Horse Ham", a settlement where horses were kept.  They have a lovely home.  Quite large by European standards. 

Allison picked us up at the train station and we headed out to their local pub for lunch.  D had the traditional "fish & chips" England is so well known for.  And of course a beer.  After lunch we headed out to Beachy Head, on the south coast.  It was an hour drive.


The name Beachy Head has nothing to do with beach, it transpired from the original French word meaning Beautiful Headland.


The cliffs were absolutely stunning.  It is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 530 ft above sea level. 


The chalk was formed in the Cretaceous period when the area was under the sea, 65 million years ago and earlier. During the Cenozoic Era the chalk was uplifted, and was later eroded to form the dramatic cliffs. 


The light house you see in the distance was built in 1828.  If you look closely, you can see a few people at the top of the cliff.  It gives you a better feel for the scale - how big of a drop it is.


What was so amazing is that there was nothing to stop people from going over the edge.  As soon as we arrived, Allison told us to be careful and not go too close to the edge.  So we both ran as close to the edge as we could....To make Allison nervous, I danced on the edge:


and then tried to get the perfect photo from the edge:


D really got her when he climbed over the edge and hung from one hand:


It was so funny to see Allison's face.

No people.......he was NOT really hanging on the edge of the cliff.  We call this one "trick" photography  :  )

The rain was moving in so we headed back to the house for a pre-dinner drink.  A new one for us, a very common British drink - Pimm's.  You mix one part Pimm's with three parts lemonade (which is what we refer to as 7 up or sprite), ice cubes, a wedge of cucumber, mint leaves and slices of lemon, orange and strawberry.  It was sooooo good we bought a bottle to bring home.


After a delicious dinner at home, we headed to the local pub, the Malt Shovel.  On the weekends they have live bands.  This week was a guy who was singing pop songs.  He was actually very good.


There were MANY interesting characters at the pub.  D&A were able to tell us stories about each of the "regulars".  Hmmmmm....with them being able to tell so many stores about the "regulars", doesn't that make them "regulars"?

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After several rounds, we were singing along.  Allison was even dancing along with the locals.


A fun night indeed.....I might have had a little too much to drink as D had to carry me back to D&A's house. 


The next day Dave drove us to Brighton Beach, a popular resort area with pebble beaches, lots of restaurants and fun shopping.


It is a very artsy community.  We did a little shopping and had lunch.  Here are the boys in front of the little seafood shack where we ate sandwiches.

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We had some unusual new items - cockles and whelks and D tasted an interesting one with many legs:


We were lucky and caught a sunny morning, but as always in England, the rain moved in.  D&A had purchased tickets to an outdoor event and we were going to have a picnic dinner, but it was raining too hard.  So we had an indoor picnic (they have a great sun room so it was almost like we were outside) and watched the Olympics.


And I have to share the photo of D&A's cat - White Cat - he is a beauty.  Regal.  He seemed to really like me taking his photo.


We did not have much time on Sunday as our train left from London at 2:30.  We did walk around Horsham and did a little shopping.  Unlike Belgium, several stores are open on Sunday.  For my shopping gals......they have what is equivalent to the dollar store but is called the everything pound store.  A bit more expensive than one dollar as a pound is equal to two dollars.  A fun store!


and last but not least....D&A's adorable car - the mini-coop.  It was very strange with the driver on the right, but both did a great job driving all around town.  I was the one who kept going to the wrong side to get in!


Want to see a few more photos?  Click on the Horsham Album on the left hand side of our main page.