A Travellerspoint blog

A Storybook Kind of Day

by Ben

sunny 21 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

English Style Feast with Cousin Janet

English Style Feast with Cousin Janet

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.

Milton Cottage: Our Home in the Cotswolds

Milton Cottage: Our Home in the Cotswolds

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.

Posted by KZFamily 11:23 Archived in England Tagged england cotswolds stoke-on-trent bledington

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Thanks for the last several blogs. It is nice to hear that the weather is improving, now I dare to write that we have had a week of nice warm summer weather here behind us.
I do remember Janet when she paid us a visit in Port Alberni. I had hoped the visit would have lasted a little longer.
I always thought that a cottage was a little cabin out in the country, the cabin you are staying in is a nice house. I always thought that my two beautiful granddaughters were exposed to an outhouse behind the cottage. What a relief!!! Opa.

by G Koning

Nice to make contact with a family member especially one you've seen before.

Stoke on Trent used to be famous for its pottery - Wedgewood, Royal Doulton, etc. I guess like Waterford in Ireland the production of these items locally has diminished.

That cottage looks pretty deluxe on the inside.

by Jane1

23:40 pst 05/17/2013
Sorry for my absence, other things that took my time away.
I was going to reply on the girl's Hogwarts trip which brings out the evil in me, whoops, I meant magic and mystery.
This update is so touching as it shows the power of friendship and family especially linking the generations. Yes, you were truly blessed and showered with gifts and food. Glad you have so far enjoyed my England. :)
After our return from Barbados my back was acting up in terms of joint movement when bending to tie shoes , as a typical male (sorry Ben) I lived with it but three weeks ago went to see my GP, than a physio including a fitness Instructor. Well those FI sessions made it worse as I have a Lumbar SI left joint that is very tight. Things getting better but if you bend the wrong way,,, yuck, then a dog bit my knuckle while petting it.
Liz and I celebrated our 45th year of marriage so we all went (sans children) to Camilles.. Imagine Ben, married to the same woman in these days.
I have converted my cruise blog over to Wordpress at http://robbarcruises.wordpress.com/
and the Alaska cruise ship season is well underway though the rain falls and it is about 13C.
Truly enjoy your write-ups , not sure if you are going to the Orkneys but that is a great remote place to see.
I was hoping you would have all received wands to work with from the Harry Potter studio, just like Kate, Harry and William :)
Cheers / Rob

by RobBar

18:07 pst 05/18/2013

Correction to my post above, our daughters also went with their husbands and us to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was the grandchildren that were left at home.. Did I ever tell you that our older daughter got married just twenty :) Things do surprise you / lol
Cheers / Rob

by RobBar

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