Sunday, 15 July 2018

Make time for travel ...

Hi everyone,

I apologise for my rather long absence but a rather impulsive travel plan got in the way of things.

Youngest daughter is home between finishing university & beginning her graduate scheme up north & I have enjoyed the rare opportunity of having her back in the nest. She accompanied us to visit my Dad in February & March this year in South Africa.

In May, while out for supper, we were talking about DNA & heritage - my largest DNA is Scandinavian which is a nod to all those fabulous explorers from Germany, Holland, Poland, France, Norway & Denmark who keep appearing in my tree prior to them setting off for Southern Africa in the mid 1600’s.

We found 2 remaining places on a Scandinavian & Baltics tour & I decided to seize the moment & take time away from a difficult term (I am self employed so can be flexible)

With barely 2 weeks to get ready, we set off on our 16 day tour which was almost like tracing my ancestry & it made me thankful that we live close to so many of these countries (in that they are not on the other side of the world.)

Belgium is lovely - perhaps because I speak Afrikaans so Flemish is understandable & it just feels comfortable.

From Brussels, we headed to the lovely German capital, Berlin. I want to return to Berlin for a few days, our time was too short but it is such a stunning city with such an interesting (and dark) history that deserves more time to just take it all in.

It was a real highlight to stand at the Brandenburg Gate - the site of so many monumental changes & it is such an iconic & imposing structure.

The remains of the Berlin Wall is a sad reminder of recent history - I remember the fall of it & the jubilant scenes. To stand at the remaining part by Checkpoint Charlie and to see the sign indicating where Hitler had his bunker is very sobering - history is brutal & we need to learn it to stop us repeating past mistakes.

However, Berlin has so many exciting new buildings that herald in daring architecture & the future that I know I will return to explore more again.

The Mohne Dam is yet another powerful reminder of the war between our countries - it is better known as the Dambusters dam 

The MΓΆhne dam

Situated at Gunne and 25 miles east of Dortmund, construction of the dam was started in 1909 and finished in 1913. The wall was made of limestone rubble masonry and was protected against seepage by a clay bank to about one third of the water side face and with overflow outlets near the top. This construction stood 112 feet high and had a base thickness of 130 feet tapering to 25 feet at the top and is 2100 feet long. The dam holds back 135 million cubic metres of water, covering an area of 3229 acres. It was protected before the raid by 2 anti torpedo nets in the water and anti aircraft guns of 20 and 37mm calibre mounted on the shore and on each of the two towers.
After the raid over 2,000 workers took just 4 months to rebuild the wall ready for refilling. The power station at the base of the dam was washed away along with most of its foundations and was never re-built.
Then we crossed from Germany to Poland as my great grandfathers family had done. I looked at the passing villages & thought of the route I was taking was a route they had known  - very strange feeling that somehow connected the generations. 

Because we had booked at short notice, taking the last 2 places on the tour, neither of us had researched any of the places we would be visiting & we arrived in Warsaw without any expectations of the city - how wrong we were. What a fascinating & fabulous place it was - a definite favourite with both of us. 

I loved how they celebrated Chopin with a very large statue in the park where open air concerts are held in Summer. Dotted about Warsaw were also 14 benches, placed in places of importance to his life. These benches each played a different piece of music & told the story of that connection. 

 The Royal Palace gardens were quite a treat - influenced by the British layout of Royal gardens with fabulous Palaces & spaces.

You cannot escape the dark past & recent history of Germany & Poland & in Warsaw, the Warsaw Ghetto site is a powerful reminder of the transportation & annihilation of the Jewish population. Anyone who stands on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto will feel the weight of history & know that they have a responsibility to keep that history sacred.

However, the City of Warsaw is much older than just that period of history, it is a proud city which had to rebuild itself after it was almost destroyed in WW11. The rebuild was a made to reflect the original & it is hard to know what was original & what was rebuilt.  It is just a fabulous place to explore. We loved the many cobbled streets with the churches, castle walls, little squares, fantastic architecture & just felt so at home there.

Stunning architecture & history, a truly beautiful city. 

Lots of contrasting building & a lot of cranes on the skyline as the city expands. They had a very impressive tram system that crisscrossed the city & took workers up & down to cut down on traffic.

We always try to find somewhere authentic to eat when we travel - what better than to take advantage of a lovely street cafe opposite a lovely church. While eating a tourist horse & carriage came past - it was a relaxing time to people watch & to enjoy the atmosphere of this lovely city.

How beautiful is this Palace with its stunning architecture, I love the towers & their copper / green domes which dot the skyline.

This square is simply stunning & the heart of the city; the gorgeous buildings just frame this space perfectly & the side streets were just as stunning, a truly beautiful city.

Our view while we ate our lunch ...

You could not visit Warsaw without paying homage to a truly inspirational lady - Maria Curie - Polonium was her discovery & named after her native Poland. My daughter is a Physicist & she was so thrilled to see this statue .... 

Just near our hotel, I came across a familiar logo - that of our British Annie Sloan. I use her chalk paints so often for projects & have done her courses so I had to pop in & say ‘hi’ & find out about her shop. 

I hope you have enjoyed these images, more to follow. If you ever get an opportunity to visit Poland, seize it because it is simply stunning. Thank you for stopping by, please leave a comment or even just a ‘hi’ so I know you have visited. 

Dee ~πŸ’•~

Saturday, 14 July 2018

In a little church yard - Mildred Gale, grandma of George Washington

Hi everyone

Please forgive my prolonged absence but I have been travelling again - more on that  in a bit, but first I thought I would share this trip north to the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven with you today ...

In a  little  corner of a country churchyard of St. Nicolas in Whitehaven in  northwestern  England, I came across this church with its interesting plaque:

This is the explanation 

Somewhere in this small churchyard in England’s Lake District rest the remains of a grandmother. She died before the birth of her most famous grandchild, but had she lived to see him grow up she would have been very proud. What more could a grandmother want? He became the Father of a brand new country. 
In the historic harbor town of Whitehaven there are many links to England’s colonial past. With hundreds of ships sailing across the Atlantic in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, 
Whitehaven was a haven for people interested in trade, exploration or maybe a whole new life. In 1700 a ship made the return journey from the colonies, and on board was the newly married Mildred Gale, wife of George Gale, a prominent Whitehaven businessman. Mildred was born in Virginia in 1671 to a well-to-do family who were active in local and colonial governance. Gale wasn’t her first husband – that was a man named Lawrence Washington, who Mildred married in 1685, their union producing three children: John, Augustine (who would later father George), and little Mildred.
Lawrence Washington died in 1698, bequeathing a substantial sum from his estates to Mildred. She then married Gale, and in 1700, with her brood in tow, followed him to Whitehaven. Sadly, Mildred’s new life in the Old Country was over almost as soon as it began. After becoming pregnant she contracted a fever, and died in early 1701. Her will left custody of her Washington children and almost all of her wealth to her new husband. Soon legal challenges came from relatives over in Virginia, and the kids were all sent back.
Mildred Gale was only 31 when she died, many many years before her famous grandson George was born. She’s buried somewhere in the churchyard at St Nicholas’ Church, but no one knows exactly where. There is a plaque though, emblazoned with the Union Jack and the Stars & Stripes, to mark unity of the two countries, and Grandma Mildred’s resting place.

I hope you have enjoyed this unusual history in an unassuming church yard in a Whitehaven; you never know when history is going to find you. 

Please pop back soon as I am going to share my Scandinavian & Baltic trip with you. 
Thank you for stopping by,
Dee ~πŸ’•~

Monday, 28 May 2018

TIME to complete my set ....

I know you have seen my Ralph Lauren Pocketwatch TIME plates many times here because they are some of my favourite plates on the sideboard / dresser.

The plates were used in 2013 in this New Year place setting

TIME 2015 

Here they are in the transitioning to New Year decor 

and another appearance of the plates. For a long time I only had one of the black plates until we found a second one. 

I love how they looked so at home with the metallic in this setting 

The plates were made in the Potteries in Stoke on Trent for the American market of Ralph Lauren so they are not seen widely here. 

However, I had started with just 1 pocket watch plate some years back & slowly added to it as I found another. I admit to having several of some of them, it took me ages to find the second black plate but all the while I was aware that the 4th plate in the series eluded me. 

I have seen the odd one & unsuccessfully bid on it. I had almost resigned myself to not having it until a week ago when a last minute bid secured the last plate .... 

I changed the sideboard & left a space for the new plate 

This is what filled the space .... 

It is elegant

A few of my favourite things with it - the oval beaded African Platter - a gift from my sister - along with the lovely gold ceramic animals from Africa - they always look right with the plates & their little bits of gold details on the numbers or borders ...

The remaining plate in the pocket watch series joins the others at last.

For me, this collection of TIME plates is a reminder that TIME is different for everyone & that it passes way too quickly. Use your TIME wisely ....

I hope you have enjoyed seeing this last plate as much as I have in finding it - the small things in life are important, they give us direction & pleasure.

Thank you for visiting & taking TIME to comment,

Dee at the Carlton  ~πŸ’•~

Friday, 25 May 2018

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With thanks
Dee at the Carlton  ~πŸ’•~

Friday, 18 May 2018

Royal wedding watch party time ...

I can hardly believe that the much awaited Royal Wedding is almost upon us.  We British do love a good party

We had a wedding watch party for Kate & William . We had several friends for the day to watch the wedding then we had a bbq in the garden afterwards.

This time it is much quieter after a rather hectic time work wise for myself & friends so it is just a few of us but I got the bunting out for the fireplace again.  I love the vintage feel to this bunting - the balloons are from a family birthday this week but they look good there too.

I bought this lovely Cath Kidson tea towel this week on a whim - it is patriotic & stylish.  I bought these IKEA candles on my last visit there recently because it is a fresh berry scent & a lovely red colour too so perfect.

Some eagle eyed followers will think these look familiar - I bought them at vintage fair in Ludlow some time back & shared them with you; they are perfectly royal

 A cathedral, a carriage & a castle - perfect scenes on the spoons ...

I found my box of things from the last wedding - a flag 

Some perfect spoons ...

Red, white & blue ready for cakes ...

These crowns make a regular appearance at home - they are good fun ...

These vintage candle holders are good fun & show the traditional side to life here ...

My great great grandfather served as a guard at the palaces for 22 years during the 1830's

Some little charms we use on glasses - ready & such fun

A fun cake stand ... 

The sideboard taking shape & having things swapped around ...

Red, white & blue candles in the candelabra in the conservatory ...

Our sideboard / dresser has its red, white & blue with the flags flying proudly ahead of the Royal Wedding - we will be watching,  taking in the details & just enjoying friendship & a fun event. 

If you are joining in out of curiosity or interest, enjoy the occasion as it lifts the spirits here.

Thank you for stopping by,
Dee ~πŸ’•~