The official day of Autumn arrived, 1st September, and the trees seemed to change overnight from lush green, summer foliage to their russet brown and golden autumn mantle. The Horse chestnuts are dropping their fruit, the very shiny, brown conkers, and hedgerows are bursting with bright red rose hips and ruby coloured berries.
As the season has changed the temperature has cooled. First thing, the air is nippy. Do I venture out of my warm cocoon of a bed into the chill of an autumn morning or do I stay snug as a bug until the weak sun takes the chill out of the air? I stay in bed!!
Paul has a new buddy. At the camp in Old Windsor one of the locals has a new spaniel puppy called Lady and Paul has been given a key to her pen so at least twice a day Paul is to be found out on the grass playing with his new found friend. Lady is a beautiful puppy, she bounces and boings with happy abandon, sniffing and chewing everything in sight, just watch out for those sharp little teeth.
We had a quick trip up to Scotland and on the way there and back we drove through the Peak District with its breathtaking scenery of rolling hills and ancient stone villages nestled in the valleys. This area is known as the backbone of England. We also passed through the Yorkshire Dales, one of the most beautiful parts of England with rivers meandering through the valleys, green pastures rising up from the valley floor with dry stone walls crisscrossing the landscape.
For two nights we camped in the delightful village of Kettlewell, built of grey sandstone and slate, it sits in the heart of the dales in Wharfedale. The River Wharfe runs along the edge of the village so you can dangle in a line and try and catch an elusive trout. Also a gurgling, bubbling steam runs through the heart of the village, with a tiny village store that stocks everything from feta cheese to a postage stamp and three pubs serving real ale, its everyone's dream.
We had three nights in our favourite little Scottish town, Moffat. The whole town is a conservation area so no multi national stores or businesses are to be found here, which means the town is made up of private, independent concerns. The sweet shop on the main road makes the best Scottish tablet (a kind of hard, sugary fudge) for only £1 a bag and the local butchers homemade haggis and square sausage served on a Scottish morning roll is my idea of heaven.
Paul came up here to fish and fish he did, for hours, and what did he catch…….nothing! Not a nibble. So the fresh cream, chives and lemons I had brought to serve with his freshly caught trout went to waste. A walk to the chippy for a fish and chip supper it had to be.
Our friends Bette and Andy joined us in Moffat with their motorhome. It was wonderful to see them both and we will miss joining them in Benidorm over the winter months.
I took a little tour around Old Windsor Parish Church. Parts of the church date back to the 11th century, the time of the Normans. For hundreds of years before the Norman Invasion of 1066, Old Windsor was the site of the Royal Palace of the Saxon Kings of England and where the Parish Church now stands stood a Saxon chapel dedicated to St Andrew. It is said that Edward the Confessor and possibly Alfred the Great, worshipped here. In the churchyard is the tomb of Mary Robinson, a mistress of King George IV! I will miss our stops in Old Windsor. I love all the history that surrounds the area. Just down the road in Windsor is the great castle that William the Conqueror built in 1070, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and it has been the official family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years. Queen Victoria's husband, Albert, erected England's first Christmas tree at Windsor Castle and along the River Thames at Runnymede is where King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, the beginning of human rights. So many real life stories.........
The end of our 3rd trip around Europe is upon us. Our plan had been to stay travelling around Europe until the middle of 2018 but like all good plans they can go awry and due to our beautiful daughter, Tina, and her lovely husband, Nikolas, our plans have been rearranged. They are expecting their first baby, our first grandchild, so its home we go to be there to welcome this new little person into our family. We are both so excited.
We start the long flight home tomorrow, Monday, lose Tuesday altogether, and arrive home in the early hours of Wednesday. Farewell to all our friends in the northern hemisphere, we hope to see you all again in a couple of years, and hello to friends and family in Australia.
All our love Liz and Paul x