How can three months seem like a long time and yet a short time at the same time ?
My England trip was way back in May. That really wasn't that long ago, but it seems like like ages.
Given the nature of my quirky memory I need to see pictures before I can recall events. However I don't need to see a photo to help me remember WHY I visited England just one year after going there.
How could I NOT be there for Audrey Swindells' 90th birthday !
Almost 50 of us joined her on for a five hour tour on a canal boat on the River Avon. There were speeches and songs and much love as we endeavored to show our affection and respect for this remarkable woman.
And there was a wonderful surprise. Copies of a book Audrey had written were picked up from the printer and brought aboard as an extra special birthday surprise. I'm sure her hand must have cramped from autographing copies for us.
The younger generation gather on the back of the boat with Audrey for a group shot.
Oh my it was a wonderful day, and the partying continued at her wonderful home in Bath.
Audrey and her wonderful "children".
I felt so privileged to represent the Canadian relatives at this marvellous event.
Knowing how much I love nature and the English countryside I got taken for a couple of magical rambles.
Josie took me for an wonderful walk through pastoral country fields that looked too bucolic to be real...
these are community gardens but not like any I've seen in Canada. For a small annual fee folk have access to their garden plot year-round. The gardens are much bigger than any I've seen.
And people don't just garden them. They put up structures and include little ponds.
Notice there's even a garden on the roof of this delightful quirky shed.
I had left behind a Spring in Canada that hadn't really arrived and found the full-fledged lush Spring of England over-whelming.
The most surprising event of my trip was making a connection with a certain S.M.
S.M. had contacted me a while back on my Ancestry.ca account. He'd written to me out of the blue to ask if Elizabeth Dodge was a relation ? She was my great grandmother who married my great grandfather, James Tupman. He wondered if I had a photo of her. And I was happy to oblige.
We chatted a bit on-line and S.M. revealed to me that he had an interest in memorial pieces. He said he'd found a fascinating item in an antique store in the mid 1980's and had bought it. It had been his treasured possession since then.
This memorial piece was created by her grieving husband, James whose hobby was doing fretwork.What an amazing piece of family history.
But the most amazing thing of all is that S.M. generously offered to give me this priceless family treasure ! I live in Canada and he lives in Wales. Hmmmmm. On a particular day he said he'd be travelling back from London while I was staying in Bath. We arranged to meet in a tea shop on the Pultney Bridge in Bath; and magically we met up.
You can tell from the look on my face how thrilled and amazed I was. What a generous thing for a complete stranger to do. It now hangs on the wall of my bedroom where I can look at it every day.
Getting it back to Canada proved to be not as problematic as I'd thought; as the flight attendants allowed me to tuck it into a special compartment at the front of the plane.
Lucky me !