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Mum’s holiday

So…December was not only a first for mince pies, and putting Christmas pressies under our own tree, it was also a first for DRIVING IN THE UK! …on the left side of the road and sitting on the right side of the car no less. About a week before my mom arrived on 25 December, we learned there was NO public transport running from Manchester to Nottingham on Christmas day! Who knew?? After searching around online for some sort of alternative we decided the best option was to hire a car. It made us a bit nervous but we did just that and at the excellent suggestion of Vicki Moore, we got a GPS to help us get around (we’re in love with that thing!!). Eric made all the arrangements, picked up the car and did an amazing job of driving. In fact, it was so convenient and helpful to have a car, my mom decided to get one for the last 5 days of her visit. We are really glad she did.

In thinking about the last 10 days with mom, I’ve listed the things that stood out to me as some of my favourites.  But first, pictures…

Highlights:

  • My mom and her continual excitement about everything. Even when we simply stayed home for a couple of the days, she was content to chat, work on a puzzle, nap from time to time …a true vacation. For her, this was a chance to have quality time with Eric and I, relax and take a break from her busy job/life back home, see the countryside, drink as much tea as possible, and visit a real thatched-roof English-style house. And that she did – and then some. It was a joy to have her visit and she is greatly missed around here.
  • Sitting down at the table together for our Christmas meal.
  • Warwick Castle. Wow. Pictures will say it all. Hayley was able to join us for this trip as well. Its pretty incredible walking into a medieval structure with so much history that is still intact. They did a really good job of bringing it alive as you walked through…scenes were set up with important figures and descriptions, fabricated smells to give you an idea of what it would have been like to walk through the lower parts of the castle where the hired hands worked …and they even had staff members dressed in full costume who would tell stories or sit and grind up the dried herbs with a mortar and pestle. I must say, it was very interesting and the views from the towers were gorgeous looking out over the green and grey landscape with fog hovering slightly over the land.
  • Afternoon Tea at The Walk.  My friend Hannah has mentioned this particular tea house a few times before and I decided it might just be the perfect place to take my mom on her last day. I made a reservation for 3. We got dressed up and ventured out on the tram. The shop was really cute – kindof modern but had an eclectic feel to it. Our waitress was super friendly and terribly excited to learn that my mom was from the San Francisco Bay Area – her favourite city after her home town, Edinburgh, Scotland. They had a great time chatting it up.
  • Me and my mom’s venture out into Nottingham City Centre to visit the Lace Centre (Notts is famous for their machine made lace), Nottingham Castle and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (the oldest Inn in England and built into the caves, which are all over Nottingham) where we met up with Eric for dinner and drinks.
  • My beautiful tea pot, cup, and saucer from Eric, which we’ve continued to make really good use out of since then.  Just what I wanted, and the really nice card he gave me was an added treat.
  • Driving in and around Stratford-upon-AvonShakespeare Country – totally enchanted. We toured Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Shakespeare’s wife) and passed by Shakespeare’s birthplace in the city centre…there seemed to be a lot of older medieval buildings in this village…like you could spend all day going from one to the next admiring their structure and learn about their history. I’d really like to return with Eric and maybe stay at a little B&B one of these days. Hard to believe its only 1.5 hours from us.

One thing we didn’t get to do was visit the Cotswold district. We planned to drive to Bourton-on-the-Water (a village built along canals) but it was just too cold and overcast to do so and enjoy it (would have been mostly outdoors)…my mom’s friend who lives in Southern England says it’s a must-see with all of the houses built out of the lighter “honey” coloured Cotswold stone.

One of the great things about the break from work and being with my mom was a renewed sense of excitement about traveling and getting a sense that there’s more out there within… and beyond Nottingham. Sure, we could hop on a commuter flight to Paris (which we MUST do one of these days) but there’s also sooooo much to see here in England.

Eric and I had a wonderful Christmas. Between the thoughtful gifts family sent with mom and skyping with the Lee clan around the table as they finished up their Christmas meal and then head off to the living room to see Phaedra open her presents…I really felt like we were able to enjoy the holiday with family – more than I had anticipated anyway ;)

Happy New Year to all!

Warwick Castle Panorama

Warwick Castle Panorama

Note: Sorry for all the hyperlinks! I wanted to include them in case you were interested in learning more about the various things I mentioned beyond just seeing some photos.

January 8th, 2009

Entry Filed under: Life Updates,Photos,Travel

2 Comments

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  • 1. Life’s Paradox &raq&hellip  |  January 9th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    […] more picture-laden post with her own set of highlights from the past two weeks. [Update: Here’s Tiana’s blog post.] addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ericaustinlee.com%2F2009%2F01%2Fnew-years-visit-and-travel%2F’; […]

  • 2. Mom Reinhardt (Linda)  |  January 12th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Tiana, I had an absolutely magnificent, brilliant time there and am so glad I visited! So many memories that I will cherish for a lifetime! You and Eric were the best of hosts and I loved being with you and experiencing life in your home! Thanks for all the sweet warm touches from brochures by the bed, to candles, to my handmade fabric covered hot water bottle… which warmed my bed every night… to tea parties… and making sure we had a nice puzzle (English country scene) to do while I was there! Loved every minute… oh and Andi … she is a very cute kitty.


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