Monday, June 15, 2009

The Cotswolds-Our English Adventure

Here begins our adventure to England..........
We left for England on 10 June (Wed). We usually leave early in the morning, but we left in the afternoon, the day before our vacation started. It takes about 5 hours to get from our home up to Calais, France to catch the ferry. With stops along the way, we arrived at Calais in the late evening-10pm. We had planned to stay in the car as 2 hotel rooms for a few hours of sleep was crazy. We folded all the seats down and the kids slept in the back. Scott and I reclined the front seats and we snoozed until 6am. Tons of other families were in their cars or their campers as well, so we fit right in.
So we woke up at 6:30am on Thursday morning to find out that our car won't start. We just had the car serviced, so we figured it was the battery. All the lights turned on, but the car wasn't turning over. We had run the laptop for movies so we figured that the 12 volt charger had drained some battery power. Our original sail time was at 0920, but we decided to catch the earlier one. We prayed and found someone at the P & O Ferry office to jump us and the car started! What a praise-and we were on our way!
Getting in the passport line
Driving the car up the ramp to get on the ferry
The ferry was a mini version of a cruise ship. The kids kept asking when we were going to our rooms! They had restaurants, stores, cafes, and a game room that the kids loved!
Arriving in Dover-a beautiful port!
It took us 3 hours to get from the port of Dover to our friend's house. The Johnson's live in this lovely home in Calne, Wiltshire.
This is where we stayed. The Cotswold Centre is about 25 mins from the Johnson's house. It was great. We had 3 bedrooms, a living room, eat-in kitchen, and bathroom for 10 pounds a night!!! That is correct, 10 pounds. It was not some quaint B & B, but we didn't care, it was clean and super cheap!! Thanks to Jeremy for suggesting it!
A beautiful English home
We hung out for a bit at the Johnson home before heading into Lacock for Afternoon Tea!! Beautiful! Don't you love this door? I just have to convince Scott how neat it would look on our house!
While we were there, they were filming a tv series in the town. It was really neat to see all the actors/actresses dressed up, it is a series from the Victorian Era (I forget the name).
It was a beautiful town! And the weather was perfect.
We walked around a bit before stopping for Afternoon Tea
The place was so beautiful and we sat outside for tea.
This was the inside of the tea roon
We had lovely cream tea with scones! It was fabulous!
The kids had their own table and they even had a nice juice with tea sandwiches and a gingerbread man!
Dawn and I at the entrance to the tea garden-thanks lady for a lovely afternoon!
This was the old English church in the town
Here is the stained glass window that I adored
Some parts of the Harry Potter Movie was filmed here-inside the Abbey
We went out for a yummy meal-I had traditional fish and chips-it was great! Thanks to Dawn and Jeremy for treating our family
12 June-We started off the day by driving into Bath which is about 25 mins from where we stayed. This is a picture of the coutryside overlooking Bath.
Jeremy pointed out a head of time, the train tunnel that served as the inspirations for "THOMAS the TRAIN". It looks exactly like it does in the cartoon. We also passed the house that the Rev. lives in who created Thomas, but I wan't able to get a picture as we passed too quickly.

We made it into Bath and parked. We walked through this park to get to the center. They do lots of outdoor concert here.
This Cresent of houses is very famous.
This was a beautiful English garden infront of a row house
Love this shop
Looking down the streets of Bath
Yeah! I love Cath Kidston and I got to go into my first store! It was amazing! I wanted to but a ton of stuff, but it is quite pricey. The lady that worked there was from California and she was so nice. I did get 2 samples of fabric which I will use in a picture frame. Chloe and I got matching purses, I got some tea towels and some handwash!
Their kid's are was amazing! So beautiful
The kids playing in the famous red telephone booths. I would love to buy one at auction.

We went to this FABULOUS store called Walcot. They tear down old houses, churches, buildings, etc and sell it by the pieces. It was huge! You could but anything from old bathtubs, to crown mouldings, balasters and windows and much, much more. You will see my pics below-but I did get 1 stained glass window for 17 pounds, one large window for 25 pounds and an old antique cupboard door with original hinges for 10 pounds. I saw an old fireplace surround that I could have used in my house, but I thought 3 items were enough for now! It was a great place
Loads of English items to choose from
Beautiful windows!
After eating lunch a McD's. We walked around Bath more. These are the famous "Bridge Shops" as they are built on the bridge.
More bridge shops

The cresent water fallNoggle Family in Bath June 2009
The Bath Markets is an enclosed Market place with all sorts of stores

I love the ceiling in the Bath Markets
Love this little tea shop in the Bath Markets
Here is Sally Lunn's the Oldest House in Bath
Here is the beautiful park in Bath-you had to pay to play! So we just took pictures
A beautiful church outside of the famous Roman Baths
This was the entrance into the Roman Baths. I would have loved to go in, but it was 11 pounds per person and it took about 2 hours. I think if Scott and I come back alone, we would do it!
This was taken in the famous fudge shop-and the samples were so good!
We stopped into the Jane Austen house. This man was dressed up greeting people. I die buy a poster
The Jane Austen greeter and me!
As we were walking back to the car, Scott spotted an Austen Martin (?). He loves these cars, so this pic was probably as close as Scott will ever get to driving one!
Back at the Johnson home for dinner. Dawn prepared a yummy chicken feast with greens, corn, string beans and potatos. For dessert we had lemon meringue pie. All of it was wonderful!
13 June-Dawn, Jasmine, Arian and I went out shopping for the day. We started off in their town of Calne, where we went to several charity/second hand shops. Dawn works at the British Red Cross. I got a NEXT shirt for 2 pounds.
This was another store and I got a beveled mirror in here for 1.50 pounds and a lamp shade for 2.99! Woo hoo!
Yet another charity shop that I got an old clock in for 1.25 pounds and a shirt for 2.75 pounds.
As we were driving into Swindon to shop, we passed through Wooton Bassett. Annually the town crier comes out and today was the day. So many of the people were dressed up, it was really neat, and such a beautiful town!
A man dressed up for the day
Love this store!! Couldn't afford anything, but nice to get ideas
A dream store!
Next we hit Matalan's! It is like a Target without the food! So nice. Their home decor sections was amazing. I did get 2 adorable dresses for Chloe!
Ahhh! The best store ever. Of course if you live in America, you can go to TJ Maxx, but since we have lived in Germany for 4 years, I miss this place!! It is justlike TJ Maxx, but with English wares!
Look at this hatbox aisle! I did get a Paris hatbox for the bathroom for 5.99 pounds!
This one had a Maxx cafe-so you could shop and eat! How great. I spent the most money here! I got 4 pieces of Le Creuset cookware since it was so cheap. I also got some linen spray, tea cozies, tea towels and apron and notecards. I could have filled a shopping cart that is for sure. I will be back. Oh and I got Au Lait (Swiss) handwash and lotion for 8 pounds! That stuff is usually very pricey. I am so glad we drove to England so I could load up my car!
We stopped in another small town before heading home. Here was another man dressed up in his costume for the day!
Of course, more charity shops!
Look at the man leaving the store!
Yet another charity store! I am loving all this
This was not a charity shop, but I love it! Called the Strawberry Patch and it was lovely
So girly and just my style
After a wonderful day of shopping, we went home to relieve the guys from childcare! We headed into Avebury for a drink at the pub and to see the stones. We did not go to StoneHenge as there is man who is actively practicing witchcraft out there. I did not know that StoneHenge has always been known for that-so we stayed clear. These stones in Avebury had a similar look.
More Avebury Stones
We had drinks and chips (fries) here at the Red Lion Pub. It has an old thatched roof! So cool.
The kids enjoying their drinks
Good friends and fellowship!
We came back to the Johnson's for pizza! It was so good and we stayed up until 11:30pm just talking. We have been richly blessed by these few days in England. It was hard to say "see ya later" but we know that we will see them at Christmas if not sooner! Thanks again Johnson Fam-you are AWESOME!
14 June-Sunday-in the que (line) ready to head home
Row 175, heading up the ramp to drive onto the ferry
The white hills of Dover-this was taken from the ferry
We went over on the Pride of Calais and returned on the Pride of Dover-both similar and beautiful ferries! We will travel by ferry to England as it is so reasonable and the kids love it!
Good bye Dover for now!
My TK Maxx purchases-my Le Creuset cookware, my Paris box, Au Lait set and Paris notecards
Chloe and my matching Cath Kidston bags, my tea towels and handsoap.
More TK Maxx stuff-Cherry blossom linen spray, tea towels, apron and cozy
My charity store clock for 1.25 pounds and we did pop into the Christian book store in Calne, were you could buy used books for 10p ( a little more than 10 cents). I got this old children's hymnal!
My charity store lamp shade for 2.99. I need a really tall pencil lamp for it now
My 1.50 pound beveled mirror and the antique cupboard door that I got at Walcot's for 10 pounds. I also got this amazing old sugar bowl with the tongs built in at a charity shop in Bath for 1.75! Thanks to Dawn who pointed it out!
And finally, my 2 windows. The smaller with stained glass was 17 pounds and the bigger one with chippy white and green paint was 25 pounds!!
We certainly had a wonderful time! It has been awhile since I posted as life has been busy. I still have a whole post to do on our trip to Provence, France, but since that was 1 week long, I have tons of pictures to sort through. I am almost done with my Paris Bath and working on the boys rooms as well-so more to come! Thanks for popping in!