Because I’ve now missed two three beautiful things Thursdays, I thought I’d give you them all at once plus a bonus:
1. A caring caretaker: John, our Georgetown senior catsitter, took lovely care of the cats while we were gone, leaving them fully fed and watered, watering the basil, fixing the computer, and sweeping up around the (cleaned) catboxes. Who could ask for more?
2. Conversation: Wednesday night, after arriving in north London for a two-day stay, we went to dinner at a recommended Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant. The gentleman who took our order came over after the other customers had gone home and we talked about wide-ranging topics for the next two hours. This is the sort of experience we all hope to get when we travel, but so rarely do.
3. Hospitality: Janice and James of Bay Tree House in London run a lovely B&B at a very affordable rate a mere 30 minutes from Covent Garden. They were warm, welcoming, and offered us the run of their home (even going so far as to buy Tube tickets for us the first morning). I cannot recommend them highly enough.
4. Family: We got the chance to meet some relatives for the first time while on our trip. Di and Ginny are my mother’s twin cousins. Di, Mychele, and Kevin came to the wedding and helped make it a fun evening for us. And Ginny, Sam, and Élissa welcomed us into their home, acted as tour guides around my grandmother’s hometown and the nearby area, and were as lovely as if we’d always known (and liked) each other.
5. Hanging with the Queen: Okay, not quite. But our visit did coincide with the two months a year she opens Buckingham Palace to the public, so we took advantage of the opportunity and went to visit. The palace is impressive (as was the Queen Mum’s White Wardrobe from her first official visit to Paris weeks after her mother’s death), but I especially liked the gardens. They seemed more relaxed than the rest of the estate (you can only control nature so much, as our recent Gulf Coast disasters point out) and very scenic, with benches along the periphery for optimal viewing.
6. Dipping my toes: While the weather was generally lovely for touring (upper 60s and lower 70s), it was not usually the sort of temperature that inspired bare feet or legs. But the afternoon we arrived in the southern coastal resort town of Bournemouth, the sun came out from behind the clouds and warmed the air. We took elevator-like contraptions down to the seaside and sat on the sand soaking in the rays. And we waded through the surf looking for fun shells and flat stones to skip. I love the ocean and always feel so at home with myself when I’m near it. So it provided probably the most relaxed afternoon of our whole trip.
7. A knock-out dress: I was still a little worried about the low-cut dress I bought for this fall’s fancy-dress events, but received a number of compliments on it and on how grown-up I looked. It’s amazing what a killer dress does for one’s self-confidence (particularly when combined with the miracle of double-sided body tape!)!