On Friday we had a travel day, hauling too much luggage from London to Moreton-in Marsh by rail and then catching a bus to Chipping Campden. I loved Paddington Station in London. It was so easy to navigate. The journey was interesting. I was surprised by how quickly London gave way to countryside, and by how many people were on a late morning train to the Cotswolds, granted a vast majority were obvious visitors.

Travel_FirstGlimpseCountryside

We weren’t long out of London before the quintessential countryside appeared.

Travel_Moreton-in-Marsh1

The Signal Box, Moreton-in-Marsh.

We had a bit of a layover in Moreton-in-Marsh, so we found a quaint tea room called The Marshmallow and had some lunch. Willow can’t resist a scone so she had the cream tea. I went for a more savoury lunch and had the most amazing sandwich: cheddar and onion jam on whole wheat. The bread was very fresh and tasty, and the grated cheese blended so well with the onion jam to make every bite a delight. We hope to do a day trip back to Moreton-in-Marsh to explore when we aren’t loaded with luggage.

Travel_Moreton-in-Marsh2 copy

The Marshmallow in Moreton-in-Marsh – pretty room, beautiful back garden patio, lovely service.

Travel_Moreton-in-Marsh3

Post-rail-journey lunch at The Marshmallow, Moreton-in-Marsh.

On Wednesday I flew from Victoria BC to London England. I am still having a hard time believing I am here, and, I can now say that I understand what jet lag is.

We spent our first two nights at a lovely b ‘n b in Hammersmith (Greater London) called The Upper Studio. Our hosts Victoria and Edmund could not have been more kind or attentive. Edmund provided lots of local knowledge (for example, the homes across the street from theirs were built by Queen Anne for her ladies in waiting), was generous with advice and directions, and treated us to fresh croissants from the local patisserie each morning. We had a wonderful stay, and look forward to spending three more nights there at the end of our trip.

Yesterday we packed in a lot of roaming around. In the morning we gathered provisions for the week ahead, then had a lovely walk along the Thames (visiting the home of William Morris, Kelmscott House), and ended with fish ‘n chips from a place called Kerbisher & Malt.

Hammersmith_Sunrise

A beautiful sun rise greeted us on our first full day in England, and the ringing bell on the school in the distance was a morning treat!

Hammersmith_Bridge

We turned right at Hammersmith Bridge for a lovely walk along the Thames.

Hmmersmith_Park-Thames

We passed beautiful green spaces…

Hammersmith_BlackLion

… sweet pubs like The Black Lion…

Hammersmith_TheDove

… and The Dove.

Hammersmith_Architecture

We walked past gorgeous architecture…

Hammersmith_chimneyPots

… gazed up at countless chimney pots…

Hammersmith_Cobbles

… trod on many cobbles…

Hammersmith_PrivateGarden

… and spied many well-loved private gardens.

Hammersmith_Fish-chips1

Yum, yum, yum!

Hammersmith_Sunset

The day ended with a perfect sunset!

Today it was onto Chipping Campden…

Here I am at the airport in Victoria BC, the journey begins! Tomorrow we will be in London. I can’t believe it.

TripMap_Brockenhurst

After Chipping Campden and Mells, we will spend a week in Brockenhurst, the largest village in the New Forest National Park. We will be surrounded by ancient pasture woodlands, and we will cross paths with roaming deer, cows and the famous wild ponies. As with our other villages, we will have ample opportunities for rambling and drinking tea!

TripMap_Rye

Once we leave the New Forest, but before our last few nights in London, we have two nights in the perfectly picturesque village of Rye. At the confluence of three rivers and just a couple miles from the sea, fortified Rye has held a defensive position on the south coast for centuries (The Mermaid Inn dates to 1156!).

London is calling now! When you hear from me next, that’s where I will be.

 

My second full week in England will be spent in the perfectly lovely village of Mells, to which we will bus from the train hub of Frome.

TripMap_London

 

The internet would have me believe Mells is idyllic, and I don’t doubt it. “One of the finest villages in England” is a quote from their website. It seems to me exactly the sort of place that will steal my heart and hold it captive forever. Mells certainly checks many of my boxes for a livable place: pretty, quaint, well organized, with a rich history, and a 25-mile walk and cycle trail – Colliers Way – right on it’s doorstep. And it’s less than four miles from the market town of Frome which has a thriving arts scene and regular market days. Other villages nearby include Coleford, Nunney (with it’s castle ruins), Whatley and Chantry. We also should try to get to Glastonbury.

During this week I will also be heading back to London for two nights to meet up with my sister, who will be in the UK at the same time. On the way back to Mells, a day in Bath is also on my agenda. Seems like a lot for a week!

For our first full week, we will be in the lovely market town of Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire.

TripMap_London

Yellow will be the colour featured in this week’s work, as I attempt to capture the delicate beauty of the honey-coloured limestone buildings. A hub for the arts and crafts movement, Chipping Campden is also the start of the Cotswold Way walking trail. We will take full advantage of that, visiting small towns and historical attractions, and seeking out all the tea rooms!

Day trips may include Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Sezincote House and Gardens near Moreton-in-Marsh.

Our accommodation for this week will be the first of three cottages we will enjoy on this adventure. More on that in posts from September 28–October 4.

At the beginning and the end of my big adventure I will have a few nights in London.

TripMap_London

I will save most of the art galleries and museums for the next UK journey. These are places GJ and I should go together. However, my London to do list does include the Victoria & Albert Museum, which has a number of very interesting exhibits on while I am there including Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up.

My travel companion told me about Dennis Severs’ House. Part theatre performance, part museum, part art gallery, it sounds like a feast for all of the senses.

One of the London experiences I am most excited about is visiting Highgate Cemetery – not to find famous graves, but for the beauty, solemnity, architecture, and grace. Perhaps I will stumble upon a relative or two.

I will be popping back up to London for two nights in the middle of the trip to rendezvous with my sister who will be briefly in London en route to Dorset. She wants to take me to Camden Market, just for fun!

And for a treat, I would love to visit The Grapes pub, perhaps on quiz night!

I would be thrilled and delighted to find Charles Adrian performing while we are there. His performance, as Ms Samantha Mann, Stories of Love, Death & A Rabbit was one of my most favourite theatre experiences.

And last but not least, I would love to visit Dorothy Circus Gallery. It shows the weird and the wondrous, and I think GJ should show there!

All London suggestions are welcome! Especially art, theatre, puppetry, vegetarian cuisine…

 

 

 

For as long as I can remember – since I was a tiny child – I have been obsessed with the United Kingdom. I have planned and wished and dreamed to be there. When I was very small I would draw and paint scenes from my imagination of rolling fields, hedgerows, sheep and ponies. I have felt forlorn. I have felt hopeful. I am a citizen, yet I have not set foot on her verdant land… until now. September 26 is the day I will arrive. A dear friend has done all the planning, found all the accommodations, and she and I will spend a month traveling in the south of England.

Print

As well as being a time for self-reflection and adventure, I plan to use this month to work on my art practice, and gather material for future projects. I recently began using a simple technique with a pasta machine to do small etchings, embellishing the finished pieces with watercolour and gouache. A recent series of scenes from Victoria’s Chinatown was quite successful. I will work on a new series later in the autumn which will be based on sketches and photos from the towns we visit on the journey.

With encouragement from friends, I have set up an Indiegogo Campaign, giving people the opportunity to support this next phase of my artistic development. Thanks to lovely patrons, within a couple of weeks I had reached 29% of my goal:

06_Trip3

I am happy to report I am now at 37% and plan to the extend the campaign for a few more weeks.

I have been spending a bit of time preparing for fulfilling the perks I have included in my campaign – sketching and painting at various spots around Victoria in the warm spring sunshine. It will be so amazing to have a month dedicated to my art. The historic villages, friendly people and spectacular countryside of England will provide inspiration for years to come.

06_Trip2

06_Trip1

My travel companion asked me, “Won’t you be homesick traveling for a month?” I know I will miss my beloved, and our little cats, but I replied “How can one be homesick when one is finally home.”