06.05.2013 - 06.05.2013 21 °C
Today, we travelled to the Cotswolds area via Stoke-on-Trent. The sun was shining, the warm wind was at our back and even the heavy traffic kept flowing at a pleasant pace. It was foreshadowing for a special day.
We adopted our peculiar travel route so we could stop in and visit Muriel’s mom’s cousin, Janet. In their childhood, Janet and Muriel’s mom were aware of each other’s existence through family correspondence but have never met or corresponded as adults. Muriel’s grandfather had emigrated alone to Canada as a young man before World War I and only returned home to England once in the 1960s.
Twenty one years ago, Muriel and I looked Janet up while we were travelling in England. It was a visit which we fondly remember. In 2002, Janet did a world tour and visited us for a few days in Victoria. She was game for anything. She even accompanied me on a daytrip to see my parents in Port Alberni and to help me transport a piano back to Victoria.
Janet is a Paediatrician who has worked for a good number of years in Uganda and the Balkans as well as England. She has done a lot of groundbreaking work in the philosophy and approach to child care. Until about four years ago she was still speaking at conferences around the world and is currently working on her second book on Christian thought. She is in her eighties.
When Muriel had made contact with Janet regarding a visit a few months ago, Janet invited us to have lunch at her house rather than allow us to take her out for a meal. Little did we know what sort of banquet she would prepare in honour of our visit. We had homemade carrot soup and cheese scones to start, followed by salad, quiche, various cold cuts, coronation salad, coleslaw, asparagus, beets, and hard boiled eggs (I am sure I forgot some items). This feast was topped off with a desert of lemon cheese cake, blue berries and raspberries, and ice cream (yes, we had them all!). Afterwards we retired to the sitting room for coffee and chocolates.
Muriel’s mom had sent along some photographs dating back 100 years and some letters of the same vintage that her father had exchanged with relations in England. Among a number of items that Janet gave along in return was a book that Muriel’s grandfather had gifted to his mother prior to World War I. Janet also showed us the scrapbook she had made during her around the world trip. Included in it were pictures that Hannah and Abby had drawn for her eleven ago.
Our three hours with Janet, evaporated all too quickly. She is an intelligent, humorous, and generous person. She sent us on our way with a prayer and words of blessing and two grocery bags full of food. We left feeling enriched in body, soul and mind.
The warmth generated by our visit with Janet stayed with us right through to our destination. The Cotswolds are a 90 mile long range of grass, forest and limestone covered hills. The region is dotted with picture postcard villages built from yellowish limestone. We have rented Milton Cottage in Bledington. The village looks like it is right out of some sort of fairytale. The cottage itself, although built of red brick rather than stone, is a magical blend of comfort and charm. Hannah has a 6 burner two oven gas range on which to further hone her chef skills. Abby enjoys having her own room and Muriel and I have a comfortable patio where we can soak up the sun and listen to the birds sing. We have eight days here to relax, walk and generally enjoy the environs. It has been a storybook ending to a special day.