Journey to the bluebells

Okay, so I’ve lived in England for almost 10 years and believe it or not there are still things I’d like to see and do that I haven’t gotten around to doing.  One of these things was going to see the bluebells when they were in bloom.  This year I was determined to find some!  It worked out well when Chris’ holiday fell through that he had time to be my bluebell searching companion.

Firstly, we stopped at a place called Stonea Camp.  It is another place I’ve wanted to visit and had seen signs for so we drove down a long dirt road and got to the Camp.  There was a couple there and I think they decided they didn’t want to share the experience (?!?!?) so they got back in their car and wait for us to explore.  They didn’t have to wait too long.  Stonea Camp is an old site of a Roman settlement as far back as 500BC.  I don’t know what I was expecting but there were some rolling mounds, swampy grass, sheep (and the best part, lambs), and LOADS of sheep poo.  So after walking around for about 5 minutes we decided to head out to see the bluebells. 

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I found that the closest place to see the bluebells was a place called Brampton Wood.  I had never been there before, or even heard of it, neither apparently had the Sat Nav.  After a lot of turning around and missing roads we made it.  There was a simple map to take near the gate to enter the woods and we thought it was pretty straightforward.  We only happened upon people everyone once in a while but it felt like we were completely alone.  Luckily we had lovely sunny weather and I was happy to just take a leisurely stroll. 

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We didn’t know where the bluebells were exactly so every one we saw we wondered if this was the spot for them.  After walking quite a bit and still not finding the bluebells Chris was ready to call it a day.  I told him I’d continue on and he could either follow me or meet me at the car.  Once I started on my own I noticed it was getting to be a bit, what the English call, “squelchy”.  The dry ground was quickly turning to mud – and lots of it.  I finally made it to the fork in the path I was searching for and I called Chris to let him know he should probably just meet me at the car.  He told me he was already on his way up and before long I could see him (and a gigantic walking stick) headed up the hill.  I decided to walk up the path to the woods.  As I was walking I started to see more and more bluebells.  And finally the woods opened up and ground was carpeted by bluebells.  It was breath-taking.  I just too a minute to go to the middle of the opening and take it all in.  It was just like the pictures but 1000% better.

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Starting to see the bluebells… finally.

 

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I could have probably stayed all day, but we decided to head out.  That’s when the adventure started.  As we continued on the path to get out, we ran into some more mud.  I immediately envied Chris and his ginormous walking stick that he had pulled up the previous hill.  At first I thought I’d try to go through the puddles, but they became too deep, so I tried to walk around the edges trying not to slip into the puddle because of the mud along the edge.  This all came to an abrupt halt, and in a fit of strength that even I surprised myself with – I was trying to go around an especially deep puddle and I grabbed onto a rare fence post.  As I got over the puddle my foot slipped and with one arm, in what felt like very slow motion, I swung back to the other side, saving myself from falling into the puddle with the grip of that one hand on the fence post.  I was pretty impressed with myself but, after laughing so hard I nearly fell in anyway, decided to just walk through them from now on.  Behind me was quite the sight!  Chris with his walking stick and his jeans rolled up to his knees, cursing under his breath at the mud.  As we saw people walking up we said, “Be careful its muddy!” but they just smiled and kept walking.  I am willing to bet more than a few of them saved themselves with that same fence post.  By the time we got back to the car, my trousers and shoes were caked with mud and Chris’ once white trainers looked like mud slippers.  But, it was all such good fun!  The mud washes off but the memory of those bluebells (and Chris’ mud distress) definitely made up for it!

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We took the long way home and travelled the back roads – a thing we both really enjoy (when petrol prices cooperates with us!).  We stopped at a church in Alconbury and walked around looking for the oldest graves.  It still boggles this American’s mind to find headstones and churches older than America!

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While we were looking at the headstones I found one that especially touched me it said, “Worthy of Remembering”.  I thought that was beautiful and something that I aspire to, I don’t quite know how yet, but I’m searching.

All in all it was a really nice day and the bluebells were WELL worth it.  One more thing to tick of my England Bucket List. 

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Gainsborough Old Hall

Last week Chris and I decided to visit Gainsborough Old Hall.  Its in Lincolnshire and about 2 hrs. away from us (everything is a drive away from us).  It was a warm Autumn day.  We found the house without any issue (the front door to the house, is another story).

Gainsborough Old Hall is one of the best-preserved medieval manor houses in England and is quite crooked both inside and out.    It’s more than five centuries old.  It was frequented by royalty and other people of note.

 

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Since we had some time to get home, we decided to take the back roads home.  It was really lovely.  We stopped at a lot of the old churches we drove past.  We like doing that, looking at the age of the graves and, if the door is unlocked, looking inside.  It is really interesting. 

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One of the hazards of driving on the back roads, besides them being really twisty and skinny, is the wildlife.  We crossed several pheasants – as I was finished slowing down for one (thus speeding back up) I hit another that darted out of nowhere.  Nothing makes my stomach sink more than hitting an animal (add pheasants to my list of skunk and rabbit).  It was a bit funny because the bird bounced off the bonnet (hood) of the car quite high.  I was busy laughing/crying for about 5 minutes.  When we stopped at the next church we got out to see if there was any damage, luckily none for us – but the bird left a feather – poor thing!

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Hardwick Old Hall

Derbyshire, England

Built between 1587 and 1596 by Bess of Hardwick, one of the richest and best-connected women of the Elizabethan age. 

Chris and I really liked this house.  It was 4 stories tall and although the roof was gone, the house was pretty well preserved and it had the most gorgeous views of the English Countryside that I’ve seen.

 

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Two way road – yes, two way!

 

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Most passive aggressive sign ever…

Sherwood Forest

Every time Chris and I have driven up North we’ve passed signs for Sherwood Forest and I’ve said, “oh I want to visit there!” so we decided that we’d go visit and hope to find Robin Hood – oh and some autumnal colours (we found neither).  I was determined to take a nice picture of me and Chris to have to hang up – which lead to none that are very good, but lots that were pretty funny.

They also have the oldest Oak tree in England in Sherwood Forest.

The whole day out was a bit of a let down – but it was nice to be out and exploring new places.

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Our “cheesy Utah” engagement picture!

 

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Campaigning all the way in England??

 

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A perfectly confusing sign.

Days Out

Chris is back to University 3 days a week so we’ve decided that, if I’m not working, to go and explore England – and use our English Heritage (read: spur of the moment purchase) membership.   We are planning on moving back to America and want to see as much as possible before we leave.  I have a long list of places to visit and so we use one day a week to travel around. 

The last few weeks we’ve visited a few places – but there is a lot to catch up on (mostly pictures) so each place will have a separate post for the next few days.  Enjoy the pictures and hopefully I can keep more up-to-date in the following weeks.

Enjoy!  

P.S. If there is anywhere you – my few readers – have always wanted to see in the UK, leave a message and I’ll see if its a place we can visit and take pictures of!