Monday, March 30, 2009

An Almost Perfect Day

Yesterday afternoon some friends invited us to ride with them to a little village called Hungerford which is full of wonderful antique shops. Our house is not filled with antiques but we have bought some lovely things here and I know when we’re re-settled back in the states we’ll smile and think of England every time we see them. It makes me happy to think about it even now.

Hungerford is about an hour from here and we had such fun walking thru the town and browsing around the many shops. Everything seemed to be right with our little world yesterday…the weather was lovely, skies were blue and the sun was shining…the village was quaint.

We were with good friends enjoying the day and for some reason items that we’ve had on our wish list almost since the day we moved here seemed to just appear in front of us for a reasonable price. In fact, we might have bought enough that I now have to return later this week to pick up one piece that wouldn't fit in our car.

This is called a monk’s bench and the back lifts up and folds over to form a table and it has beautiful carving on the top side too. And the seat lifts up so you can store things inside. We may also have purchased a commode. This is a first for us. I mean except for the kind you get at Home Depot when you're building a house. This one is actually a Victorian era commode and may I just say for the record that I'm thankful for indoor plumbing.

It’s a pretty cabinet now and we’re considering using it as a sort of wine cart. I can imagine asking someone if they’d like a drink from my commode. It has potential y’all.

As I’ve said before it’s pretty hard to go anywhere in England without running head first into history and the little village of Hungerford is no exception. Did you know that it was in this little village out in the Oxfordshire countryside that General Eisenhower addressed the American troops on the eve of D-Day?

After we finished shopping we headed back towards home. The day was going so well and the sky was just so beautiful and we'd only set our clocks ahead this past Saturday night so it was actually still really light outside. We decided to make a small detour since our friends had been up this way before and vaguely remembered that there was a cute little pub in a cute little village not too far out of the way. So we turned off the motorway onto a smaller side road and headed into the oh so adorable village of Dorchester on Thames. Now, this is positively one of the best things about the UK. You can go just about anywhere and happen upon something totally worth seeing. We had dinner next to a cozy fire in The George Inn.

This was across the street and has to be one of the cutest Post Offices in all of England.

And, this was also across the street...

Dorchester on Thames has an absolutely stunning cathedral. It’s not a big village by any means but their cathedral...oh my goodness...Dorchester Abbey is beautiful. There have been worship services occurring on this spot for 1300 years. Kind of boggles the mind doesn’t it? And to top it off a young girl was playing a violin inside the Abbey that was so lovely it made you want to cry. We could have listened all night.

Instead we got back in our car and headed towards home. Now, if you’re still reading you may be wondering why I entitled this post 'An Almost Perfect Day' when it is sounding so perfectly perfect. Well…as we were making our way home my mobile rang. (Your phone is always called a mobile here, never a cell). I answered to the sound of my 20 year old daughter sobbing. And, honestly, my heart stopped beating for what felt like an hour but was actually only a few seconds. I must tell you though that in those few seconds I felt every single inch of the more than 4,000 miles that geographically separates me from my children. She managed to finally spit out between tears that she’d had a minor traffic accident, that nobody was hurt in any way (hopefully there won’t be a next time but if there is please give me that piece of information first!) and that both cars had very little damage and can still be driven.

Her car is now without its driver’s side mirror. Funnily enough (and by funny I mean ironically funny, not ha ha funny) I wrote about this very topic in my post on Friday. If you read my blog you will know how challenging I find the whole driving experience in the UK. Learning to drive on the left hand side of the road while sitting on the right hand side of the car has made me feel like a 17 year old kid again. When Daughter1 phoned to say she’d had an accident the first thought I had after the relief I felt at learning no one had been injured was a feeling of total empathy. I understand at the age of 48 what it is like to be a learner driver. In the UK when you’re a learner driver you have to put a big giant ‘L’ decal on your car. (By the way, the L stands for learner, not loser, although you do feel a bit like one relearning to drive at 40something). The L decal alerts everyone on the road to new drivers in their general vicinity. Now my daughter does have her US license but my kids have not been driving as long as most American kids their age mostly because they have an awesome public transport system in this country. Driving at a young age becomes somewhat of a non-issue here.

I said a little prayer of thanksgiving last night. Actually I said a great big one. There is so much to feel grateful daughter was not injured…her sister wasn’t in the car with her, nor was anyone else…the occupants of the other vehicle were unharmed and were so kind to my daughter…the accident occured just outside the university gates...the policeman on the scene was also very kind (he also kindly issued a ticket but at least he was nice about it)…my sister and brother in law are only about a half hour away and will look at the car for us so we will truly know if my daughter’s definition of ‘small dent’ and the body shop definition of ‘small dent’ are indeed the same thing….

Today 'L' stands for lucky. And, maybe the title of this post should read 'A Perfect Day' after all.


  1. So glad that your daughter is OK. I can relate to the whole story. My youngest daughter had a small bump-up last year at college. I could easily see how it happened. I am like you, I was just thrilled that no one was hurt and the car was easily fixed. I know you feel so helpless being that far away.
    I loved your pictures. You did have an amazing day of enjoying the beauty of the UK! I just love seeing your pictures. I always feel like I have taken a trip. Have a good week. Love & blessings from NC!

  2. It's me again! I forgot to comment on your furniture. I have an old commode too that I gave to my parents to use at their mountain house. It makes a cute table! Your furniture pieces are so unique and you will love having them as a reminder of your time in the UK.
    It is ironic too that you had just posted about your side mirror and learning to drive on the wrong side of the road. I would lose my mirror too, for sure. Have a blessed week!
    Love & blessings from NC!
    PS Praying for your sweet daughters! Aren't you proud of them for getting along by themselves at college? I know it is hard not to have Mom and Dad close by.

  3. Joyce,

    I am so glad that your daughter is fine. You really had me going there for awhile until I found out what happened. Your heart must have sunk into the pit of your stomach.

    I totally understand about the whole driving thing. My husband and I are about to take our theory test on Wednesday after being here almost a year. I'm going to write a post about it, too. It must be written. I just have to find the time to do it before we leave for Bournemouth on Wednesday. I have to get groceries and things.

    Our friends are here and having a great time already. We're gearing up for our trip. I'll give you a call to let you know our whereabouts.

    So glad you had a wonderful day with your husband picking out lovely things to take back with you. I haven't done that, yet. I don't really know where to shop. In fact, my friend, Sarah, who is here, really wants to find a flea market or something along those lines. Any recommendations?

    Talk soon. Blessings.

  4. Oh I'm so glad your daughter is ok.

    I can't even imagine how beautiful the sound of the violin playing in the Abbey must have been!

  5. I am so glad that your daughter is okay.

    I absolutely love looking at your beautiful photos. It's hard to imagine buildings that are 1300 years old.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  6. I'm thankful your daughter(or anyone else) wasn't injured in the wreck.
    I can imagine how you felt when you heard her crying!

    I love all the pictures you took. I always feel like I'm traveling along with you.

    The "L" on the cars doesn't sound like a bad idea. At least everyone knows and can be a little more patient.

    The violin playing in the Abbey would have had me in tears for sure!
    I'm glad y'all had such a fun day.

  7. Hey, thanks for the tips on the pictures. I wondered about the "NONE" button. I'll use that next time and just drag the pictures around. I can't ever get them to move when I use left, right or center. Or else they disappear!! My computer is haunted, I do believe. LOL!!! I just finally get frustrated after spending so much time and post anyway. Have a great day! I'm off to pre-school and then lunch with a special friend. Love & blessings from NC!

  8. As usual, I loved your pics and descriptions of you day in the UK. I like getting to live vicariously through you. Coming up on the anniversary of our last trip there, we're all pining for it.

    I'm glad your daughter is okay. And I don't even want to think about living vicariously through you and the feelings you had when answering the phone.

    Also? I still can't get used to that thar newfangled technology. The idea of your overseas daughter just calling your mobile whenever she needs to - how awesome is that?

    Oh, and love your furniture. The only things we have from there are stuffed animals and coffee mugs. (But we love our coffee mugs!)

  9. What a blessing your daughter wasn't hurt! Even though she wasn't hurt, didn't you want to hop a plane and take care of her? We are moms. When my daughter was in college she phoned to say she was hit by a drunk driver who took off and left her stranded. It was in the middle of the night. Thank God her friend lived close by and came to get her.

    You pictures are once again great. I love old furniture and your pieces have so much history. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thankful all is well with your daughter.
    I have been really sick of late and missed lots of amazing posts by you! Not sure I would want a drink from you commode! lol
    I am mostly English and would love to spend time over there, so I have truly enjoyed all the walks and tours with you! Keep sharing.
    Have you had a chance to go to Ireland? My other "part" is Irish!

    Italy...oh my, how wonderful. My best friend is going there for her 50th in April.