Monday, 20 December 2010

Great News!

After all we have been doing lately we have even more to tell you. We are expecting our first baby in July 2011.  I am ten weeks along and doing great. We are really excited. In our excitement we went out and bought a cute stuffed animal for the baby. We have started calling the baby Baby Plothow or BP for short. Lyndon just suggested we name it Godgifu which means gift of God in Old English. If anyone wants to use that name they are more than welcome.



Baby Plothow's first stuffed animal!

Northern England/Scotland Trip

While we are here in England we decided to do some traveling. We took a week and ventured to the Peak District, Lake District, Edinburgh, Scottish Highlands, Inverness, and York. We traveled about 1400 miles in five days mostly on small highways. It was quite an adventure.

We took off monday in a little Ford Fiesta we rented. The first thing we had to get used to was driving on the wrong side of the road. We are still alive! Driving on the wrong side of the road really was not that bad. The first day was a little shaky but the rest of the trip Lyndon drove like he has always driven on the opposite side of the road.


Driving on the wrong side of the road.

Our first day we drove from Cambridge to the Peak District where we visited the Chatsworth House. Our google map directions led us far astray, luckily we had a map. We got there but the sun had already gone down. The nice man at the entrance to the garden let us into the garden for free. It was designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown. It is one of the finest examples of the English Garden. Capability broke away from the Italian tradition of making gardens square and symmetrical. He made the garden appear spontaneous and natural. We saw the rock garden, maze, geyser, as well as many statues.

From the Peak District we made our way north up to the Lake District where we stayed in a B&B by Lake Windermere. We passed the Preston Temple on our way there which we did not expect to see. The B&B we stayed at was so nice. The owners kept the house nice and toasty. It was fabulous! We woke up to a full English breakfast which includes baked beans, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It keeps you full for quite a while. The Lake District is the center of the Romantic movement and home of many of the Romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley. Beatrix Potter spent most of her life in the Lake District as well. We saw a Beatrix Potter museum with murals of all her beloved children's stories. It was like stepping back into our childhood. We drove around Lake Windermere on tiny curvy roads with the a speed limit of 50 miles. It was a roller coaster ride. The scenery is inspiring. It is no wonder many writers during the Romantic movement journey to the Lake District. We visited William Wordsworth's house, Dove Cottage, where he wrote his most famous poems. To keep his children's room warmer his sister plastered newspapers to the walls. The newspapers are still there fully intact. It was neat to see all the articles from over 100 years ago. The land played such an important part in Wordsworth poetry. Lyndon enjoyed hearing Wordsworth poetry recited and seeing how the poetry reflected the landscape it was written on.

Reliving my childhood with the tale of Jemima Puddle-duck at the Beatrix Potter Museum in Windermere. The Lake District.


Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth's home in Grasmere. Part of the Lake District.
That day from the Lake District we drove north to Edinburgh, Scotland. We stayed in an old mansion built in the 1700s. It was really cool. There was a tiny sign next to the road then you had to drive back into the woods on this snow covered path before getting to the Mansion. We had the nicest room in the place. We drove into Edinburgh that night and saw the city. The next day we decided to travel up to Inverness, Scotland which is the capital of the Highlands. We drove around Loch Lomond up around Loch Ness all the way up to Inverness. The drive was beautiful. We drove all through the Scottish highlands. We even saw some of the Highland cows which look like yaks. We enjoyed seeing Loch Ness. There was not much tribute to the Monster though. Inverness was beautiful. The city was decorated for the holidays. They have a castle over looking the city.


Kirkhill Mansion where we stayed in Edinburgh. We loved it there!


Lyndon at Loch Ness looking for Nessie.


We saw something in the water. 


Loch Ness.


 Beautiful Inverness, the capitol of the Highlands.

The Scottish Highlands.
The next day we toured Edinburgh. We saw St. Giles Cathedral where Sean Connery was knighted, old parliament, the Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, the Queen's palace in Edinburgh, Parliament, etc. It was really fun but really really cold. We had to leave early to get to York where we stayed our last night. On our way to York we stopped and saw a remaining part of Hadrian's Wall. We had to jump a fence into a sheep pastuer and walk up a hill to see the wall. We have now seen all of Hadrian's remaining monuments. In Athens we saw Hadrian's Arch and Libaray.



View of Edinburgh. 



Edinburgh Castle.


Delicious English breakfast. 

We made it to York late. Lyndon went into the city center and looked at the massive cathedral they have there that night. York is an old medieval town with and old wall that is mostly intact. The castles are still the same as they were hundred of years ago. The cathedral is the largest Gothic medieval cathedral in Northern Europe. While we were there the organ was playing Christmas music. We had to leave York early to make it back to Cambridge in time to return the car. We made one last stop in Ely to see the cathedral there. The Ely Cathedral demonstrates the three Gothic styles as well as the Romanesque style. It is magnificent. We made it back to Cambridge in time to return the car. It was a successful trip.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year was lots of work. We decided to host Thanksgiving for all our American friends in the UK this year. We also invited everyone in our house who wanted to come. We ended up having 25 guests for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful!

Lyndon and I cooked for two days straight to prepare this feast. We ordered a 30 pound turkey from the butchers. My Miniature Schnauzer, Moses, could have fit inside the turkey. We were really excited. Lyndon picked it up and had to carry it the two miles from the butchers to our house. We made the usual Thanksgiving food: rolls, turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry jello, sweet potato casserole, and of course pie. We made ten pies. We attempted to make pecan pie but failed. The grocery stores do not sell the key ingredient to pecan pie, corn syrup. We bought golden syrup which looked like the closest alternative to corn syrup. Yeah, instead of pecan pie we had pecan pie soup. It still tasted good but not quite the same. Everything else turned out great. We got many complements on our cooking, so we can check this off as a success. 


Our delicious feast. 


All of our wonderful friends who came.
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