Cumbria, The lake district England—

I have been to some of the most beautiful places in the world.  The great lakes of the US, the coast of my favorite vacation spot in the states, North Carolina.  The great Smokey mountains, the fields and mountains of rural West Virginia and Kentucky, and the open farms of Ohio.  I love natural vista.  Seeing the home that God gave us in all it’s spendor.  And, i enjoy seeing and discovering the differences of each special place.  I have to say I’ve found another favorite.

The drive from London was beautiful and I LOVE, the English countryside with the old buildings , castles, sheep, cattle, horses, etc.  People are always telling me, “You have to go up to the city of London, you haven’t been to England until you do.”  I still want to go visit the inner city and Buckingham and all of that, BUT my heart is not in any city it is in the country.  I am a country girl through and through. I have lived in big cities and i can navigate and enjoy their cultural diversity, but i do not enjoy the shops and crowds and totally dislike the rush.

So this area we are in right now is perfect for me, and Jim.  He lived in the city of London for quite awhile and has lived in Surbiton, Surrey for the past 20 years which is a little quieter city, but a city.  But, at heart my hubby is a hillbilly.  He is more at home in the Ky hills than in the city he lives in here.  Since we can’t be there, I am glad we have found a refuge and comfort here.  Cumbria is different than our hills and spaces at home and I am amazed at how unpopulated most areas are since the UK is very crowded in cities, but i am glad it isn’t here.  I am posting many pics on facebook, see for yourselves just how awesome it is.

The second day we were here we took a slow leisurely walk up the road behind the cottage.  This cottage is set on a working farm.  Mellfell House farm is the name and is owned and operated by Diane and her husband Ben.  When we arrived she was out mucking up in typical farmers attire including the wellies you see often here.  Ben is on crutches right now, not sure why but even at that you see him out helping.  The place is immaculate.  The animals are content and well cared for.  The wildlife are as protected as they can get it , right down to the sign at the end of the road.  Dead slow on this road, ducks are ont.  I am learning that they have their own special language here.  We are right on the old Scots border and very close to Northumbria so I hear many different patterns of speech and beautiful lilting voices everywhere I go.

Our walk was not a long one due to our disabilities but even a few feet in a different direction here gives you a different aspect of this phenomenal view.  As we walk upward we start to see the lake below us.  It has sail boats, houses on the shore, pontoons, and just looks so peaceful.  Everything here is peaceful.  The huge bull out in the pasture, ( I have a pic of him on fb.)  The sheep are lazily munching the grass or laying down watching us go by.   But the mountains,  I have never seen such mountains as these.  The variations of each color from one site to the other.  We see greens of every tone, browns, the wonderful blue and white skies.  God truly showed his majesty when he created this view.  Words can not adequately discribe any of natures beauty and pictures are a poor substitute for the real thing but i have tried to capture some of it.  I take pics every few steps.  We thoroughly enjoyed this short walk but the first couple days here we just relax, let God start to mend our hearts and calm our spirts.  We have also spent hours doing what we love best,  talking.  We share our thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams.  I am so very blessed to have found Jim, he is my love-yes very much so.  But, first and foremost he is and has always from the very first time we talked been my friend.  We enjoy being together even if we are doing nothing.  I think the stress of all the immigration problems and moving his things has been a bit of a damper on both of us, so we need this time and we spend it well.

Today though, Tuesday we visited some very special places.  I was not aware that this part of England has over 50 stone patterns, similar to Stonehenge.  We decided to go into Penrith the closest town to get supplies and some warm clothing since everything we own is on it’s way to Ky.  Sainsbury’s here has everything i needed from new toothbrushes, groceries, shoes, computer memory card reader, to baby oil for Jim”s very dry skin.  After spending at least an hour trying to find everything I come out and just looked around the area.  I love the mix of really old pubs, buildings, shops, and how many of the newer businesses have tried to build in such a way that they fit.

After we fill the car with our goodies Jim says he would like to visit one of these stone sites called Long Meg and her daughters. this is a great site telling about it.  Seems Meg was turned to stone for dancing on Sunday.  Or that is part of the legend.  Part of the legend is that no matter how many times you count the stones you get a different number.  Could be because every time i tried to count from a different view i missed some that were turned over or almost covered by sod now.  the accepted number is 69.  Jim asked me if i felt the magic of the stones, as some people say they can.  I replied I felt the magic and magisty of God.  Another panoramic view of absolute beauty.  You can almost feel the history.  I can imagine the effort and determination to get these huge boulders to the top of this mountain.  I touch the stones and see the symbols inscribed and initials and am almost overwhelmed by the knowledge that people have been here worshiping, admiring, touching these same stones since before Christ.   1500 B.C. , think about it.  No one really knows what the purpose of the stones or the individual patterns were about, but many think it was Druids way of keeping track of seasons, foretelling astrological patterns.  They also believe they were used in the ancient religious practices, whatever they were.  Who really knows.  I feel no evil intent, no darkness, and when you think about it the belief in something greater than themselves had to be part of the need to move these massive stones up a mountain.  You wouldn’t do it just for fun.  There had to be a need, a real determination that it was the right thing to do.  I wish there was a record, someway to really know what these ancient people thought or felt, but it isn’t so.

We noticed that if you stand several feet in front of the tallest stone, Meg. , there are two stones to the side and she is right in the center of them.  This is especially noticeable because Meg is outside the circle.  but if you stand in the circle in this specific area and look at her thru these other stones you get the sense it could be a guide point.  Again, we don’t know but it is interesting.

There is a working farm adjoining the area, we see signs of cattle all over the place, what i mean here is “watch where you step.” lol.
We also see the fields and a large dozer working but it is still peaceful.  From this mountain it is easy to see another aspect of the mountains and valleys around and  it is equally as impressive.

From there we decided to see if we could find Hadrians wall,  I may have heard of this wall at some point, but I never really understood.  It is miles and miles of wall which was built by the Romans during their occupation of England.  The English people have been attacked by everyone and their brother and the land occupied by several different races.  To me it is a testimony of who they are, their backbone, the way they have incorporated the good from each one of them into who they are now.

The Romans left a vast legacy of roadways and other things, but one of these wonders is this wall.  When we first spot it it looks like very many of the stone walls or fences around but when we finally get to drive up to the wall itself and look at it, it is wider than you think from a distance.  It is said it was wide enough to drive a chariot over.  It could be but i don’t think it would be a good ride. lol.  A lot of the stones are missing now and you can tell that parts of the wall used to be taller .  The portion we saw was maybe 4 foot wide and 3 or so foot tall.  It is my understanding the wall was built by the Romans, and had manned forts about every mile along to keep the wild , untamed Scots from attacking this border country.  When you think about it it was a massive undertaking, these mountains are huge, and the wall follows the mountain tops, down the sides through the valleys and back up the mountains.  The system was put in place with these forts that if they got an attack in one area , they could call for backup from neighboring forts and have reinforcements in a short period of time.  Especially since they had built fairly good roads along here and could travel easily.  Compared to the Scots who had to travel across these mountains ranges, try to cross the walls which would have been impossible by horse, and if they managed to steal cattle or sheep or whatever they would have had to get them back over this wall.  Not an easy undertaking.  We didn’t get to visit the fort or center as it was getting late in the day when we arrived, but i would like to try to on another day.  It is said they have small wooden tablets, much like todays postcards.  They have messages on them from one person or group to another and was left in certain places to communicate.  Could be a farm family was having a celebration next Saturday and invited the surrounding families.  I don’t know what they say, but would like to find out. Again, i find it amazing how much they accomplished, and their ingenuity and determination.  This wall has been here since Emperor Hadrians time over 150 B.C.  Just imagine….. we wanted to visit this museum and site but maybe another day.  this is where they have the post cards and it would be awesome to see them. Not only do they have postcards from the past, they have furniture, pieces of clothing, roman leather, tools, and much more.  Apparently they are still conducting on site digs and finding new things.  Maybe i should have been and archaeologist ?  Nah,  I just like the traveling and learning.  Digging is really hard work.  lol

We came home after dark, tired and hungry.  It was another awesome day spent together exploring Jim’s home land and a part of the past for both of us.  Fact is that although I know my great grandmother was part Cherokee Indian, if you look at the geneology on my dad’s side we can trace our family back to England. And if you look up my maiden name the roots are said to be welsh.  So could be one of my far far removed ancestors was either raiding that wall or protecting this part of the country.  Wish there were more records so I could know for sure.  Maybe one day when we all meet up I’ll get to find out.  Take care my loving family and friends.  I’ll let you know what we get into next.  But, i think tomorrow will be visiting the lake and maybe the seashore,  if we go out at all.  It is so peaceful here, just makes me want to curl up by the fireplace with my kindle and Jim.   Lots of love.  Jim and Lynn

A NEW ADVENTURE TOGETHER, the lake district England

After spending a few days in our almost empty flat outside London, we had almost recovered from the disappointment of not being allowed to go home to Kentucky, yet.  

My daughter Judy, who is always there for us, retrieved the forms the immigration folk  had sent back there and added the new info we needed and sent it off express mail.  So now time to wait for them to do their thing, again.  As i said before we are going to make the most of our time we spend waiting by exploring together.  Since we are both disabled our explorations have to necessarily be tailored to our abilities, but this does not mean we can’t enjoy ourselves.

Our first journey is to The Lake District of England.  We set off about 9:30 AM, I think both of us are a little daunted about all of this and being basically displaced is not fun, but we have each other and a very supportive family waiting for us.  So we will be just fine.  The drive around London is typically a nightmare, but since it is Saturday and not a rush hour, it wasn’t as bad as normal.  So we are on our way north.  I have been in and out of England for very nearly a year now and this is first time we have traveled north.  As we left the city I once again became enthralled with the English countryside and tried associating things i had read, pictures,and historical events with the places I saw.

I have a tendency to scan the landscape for whatever is different to me or unique and there is a lot of things to see.  We have hills and we have forests but they look so different here.  Most of the hillsides are clear and the forests that I am told were once dense and plentiful are now only found in certain areas.  As we drove along I spotted old towers and stately homes,  they always fascinate me.  I think of how much effort and time went into each one so many many years ago.  When you look at the materials you can almost see which ones are older or newer.  The really old ones are mostly rock\stone.  I think of how many hours spent to build these by hand, one rock at a time,  I am also amazed at how well preserved a lot of these places are.  I did see one that was a ruin but many are still very much intact.

Another thing i notice is the farms are so well laid out, and start to see the hedges used to divide each portion of land.  I have seen pics of this from the air and it is beautiful. But seeing this with the fields of green, a lot of them filled with sheep, cattle, and a few horses is a very beautiful.  I am a country girl through and through and my heart is in the country so I start to relax and enjoy the similarities to home and still love and admire the difference.  The further north we get we see larger hills, especially to the west.  Jim tells me this is where we are headed north/west.  I love the sea, i like valleys, but I also love the mountains so I am looking forward to being in them again.   England has a very large number of people in an area much smaller than America, so I am a bit surprised just how much open land i see, but then not far from that you will see another town that is just jam packed with homes and businesses.  It surprises me that there are not more homes on the hillsides.  You do see the wonderful thatched homes, brick or mortar is still the primary building material except for the ancient buildings which as i’ve said see to be primarily stone.  For the most part, even the newest ones are older than anything you see in Ky.  I love it.

We drive through places with names I have heard of all of my life.  Sherwood forest,  Nottingham, Buckinghamshire,  Leeds, Birmingham, York.  So many places I would like to see more of and maybe look up a little info on, but right now i am just trying to enjoy being here and trying to soak it all in. Jim went to university in York and sometime i would like to see more of it, but today we head north.    So much history within a few hundred miles, to say it makes me feel humble is an understatement.  The people that have walked, ridden, lived and died in these places.  I am traveling along the same routes as Kings, outlaws, soldiers, pilgrims, and many many ordinary citizens throughout centuries of recorded time and before.

England has a very bloody past in that they have been invaded from so many different people.  Vikings, Romans,  Normans, the bloody french (lol, this is how I hear them referred to quite often ) and many more.  I joke with Jim and tell him everyone wanted their little piece of the UK.   And they have all left their influences in the areas they came to.  My exact knowledge is so very inadequate but my respect for the history is not.  I can see the result of some of the influences as I pass a Viking history museum, as I see the intricate road systems, the abbeys, castles, farms. It all comes together in a very charming way.

I can almost feel the fear, resentment, and determination to survive and prosper against everything from invaders, plagues, evil Kings and Lords who literally had the power to run every aspect of the ordinary citizens life.  Passing Nottingham I think of Evil Prince John and remember reading how he misused the people and resources.  I think of the stories of Robin Hood and his merry men as we go through Sherwood Forest.   I envision the county fairs, tournaments, the farmers, pilgrims, peasants, lords and ladies who have all walked or rode through this same area.  I think of all the battles that have been fought over who ruled this land, not only invaders but power struggles from within.  All of this goes through my head as we drive through this part of the country.  But, nothing prepared me for the awe I felt as we came into the hills and mountains of North/Western England.

At home the mountains are huge, usually very wooded and very beautiful.  But these are so different,  very few tress or bushes they are so many different shapes.  Some are rounded, some craggy looking, so many different tints of green and brown.  I start to see the rock fences.  There are miles and miles of them.  They divide the country side into sections and are so precise.  Small rocks laid one on top of the other for many miles and the rocks that form the tops of the fences are laid on their ends , close together and make it look fringed.  We pass everything from the many sheep grazing the fields and hills to a two humped camel.  I see the camel, and then shortly onward there is a llama both very peacefully watching the traffic go by.  At one point there is a huge white/gray bull grazing peacefully just beside the road.   Old rock farmhouses, barns, and the occasional castle or stately home all within a few miles of each other.  I see the similarities to the farms of home in the large round hay bales, the cattle in the fields, the sense of the everyday people who keep us fed and who spend their lives caring for the animals and land sometimes even before themselves.  When I see a large tractor it makes me realize i haven’t seen so many large farm vehicles as i am used to seeing at home.  I don’t know if they are in barns or if there just aren’t as many in use.  Jim says the fields and hills used to be covered with forests but have been cleared for sheep grazing and there are many of them.  He says there is very little original forest left in England and I know there are areas now that are protected to keep them from disappearing.  It is a shame because sometimes when we visit parks I see very old trees, knotted and  twisted.  You can almost sense the struggle they have had to survive and wonder at all the things they could tell us if they could talk.

As we start west the hills and mountains become more a part of the landscape, also the beautiful valleys. I am now trying to take pictures and will post them on facebook for those of you who wish to see them, just as soon as i find the gadget that lets me transfer them onto the computer, lol.  As i said before , just about everything we have is in transit to Kentucky.  So literally everything we own here is inside this car.  As we get closer to our destination which is just a little southwest of a place called Penrith you can see the area around here is more what i think of as country, fewer cars, narrower road,   fewer homes , that are less ornate or showy and more working farms, more animals and woods.

As we near the farm where we have rented a cottage we see a beautiful lake, it’s setting is  very  peaceful and there are a few homes on the banks and some boats on the surface.  We pass a rippling river, I can almost feel the fishing pole in my hands.  I  hope we can spend some time just sitting beside the water.  We turn off the road to a  road that gets narrower till it is almost a track up and around a mountain and find the farm on the right. The site is awe inspiring.  We look out over the mountains, forests , and space.

People come here to rest, relax, and explore the nature in this area and we have passed several people just walking the many trails.  We won’t be walking a lot of trails because of our disabilities but we can still enjoy the beauty.  Diane the owner of  the farm met us at the barn where she has been cleaning and feeding.  She is dressed in work clothes, boots, and a big smile.  Our cottage is the last one on the left, It has a  green door which opens on the top or as a whole door with a big window to look out into the barnyard it charms me immediately.  The inside is adorable, the walls are a couple feet thick and textured mortar painted a dusky rose color.  She has a comfortable fire going in the rock fireplace , a package of crumpets waiting to be toasted on the open fire, small multi colored roses in a clear vase on the oak table, the lights on and welcoming.   Two loveseats facing each other give the feeling of closeness and comfort.  A big oak table between them waiting  to hold our tea for us as we settle in.  The floor is tiled in a rust tone the kind of tile that has been around for centuries solid and a bit cool as i kick off my shoes.  I am a country girl and i don’t like shoes lol.  We enter the bedroom area of the house by going through a door behind the loveseat. Up 2 sections of a few stairs each, the bathroom is welcoming and very very clean on the first landing and at the top of the next landing i find 2 very nice bedrooms.  Each one has a four poster bed, a closet space, welcoming towels, and i love the windows in each one  where you can clearly see how thick the walls are.  Again, i will take pics and post asap.

We are settling in to enjoy the peaceful, beautiful place and each other.  I will attempt to bring you all with me through this blog and the pics that i love to take and share.

Love to all,  Jim and Nan

Bowing to God’s will.

As many of you already know my new husband and I are having a wonderful time navigating the immigration process in the USA.  We originally  traveled to the USA under his ESTA or a visitor  pass.  We had 90 days to obtain my divorce, get a marriage license and get married and get me a visa to return to England .  We needed to return to England to sell his property and to apply for his spouse immigration visa.  We did both of these things within a few weeks of being here.  Unfortunately, we sent the forms to the London Embassy which is where it said to send them if you were in London.  After about 3 months we got a message that the forms were in Ky with a message about us sending them to the wrong place.  Apparently since we were married in KY we should have sent them to Chicago???

 Now I have a visa to be in the UK for 6 months which should have been long enough to get our business taken care of, but time is running out and we are back to square one with the visa for Jim.  So I called the embassy here, told them what happened and was advised that he could go back to KY on his ESTA for 3 months.  So we packed up all the belongings here in England, booked a flight for KY, told all our family and friends we would be home soon.  Wrong…

When we got to the airport we knew something was wrong when the lady re entered the information twice and kept looking at the form.  She then informed us that the ESTA was showing invalid. We were devastated to say the very least.  They were very kind, even to the point of calling the embassy to see what the problem was.  Turns out that even though they didn’t do anything with his application but send it back, when he applied for  the visa  it automatically cancelled out the ESTA.  

You would think they would have told me this when i called, but no that would have saved us almost 2k in tickets, insurance and cab far to and from the airport.  Now keep in mind we are far from rich and what we are using is basically savings, so 2k for this and almost the same for moving everything to the states is a blow to us.  

So now here we are back at the flat, which thank God is still ours till the final papers are signed and the deal closed. But, and there is always a BIG BUT, just about everything we had is on the way to KY.  The frig, our clothes,  most all of our covers for the bed, our good electric heaters,  you get the point..  And, that isn’t counting all the food i gave away or threw out because you can’ ship food.

After I cried a bit on Jim’s shoulder and we just looked at each other in shock, we knew we had to make a plan for our future.  So we decided to sleep on it because neither of us had been asleep for more than a few hrs in 2 days.  When we got up , we bounced around a few ideas and decided that we could make this a good thing or sit and brood.  

Jim has traveled quite a bit and we both enjoy exploring new places and things.  I have dreamed for years of places I would like to see and there are a few places he wants to visit for the first time or revisit.  So, that is what we are going to do.  We have rented a cottage in the Lake District here in England starting  Saturday for a week.  After that we head up to Scotland,  my heart is so full of longing for our family in KY, but God has opened up an opportunity  to do things that I really never thought could ever happen .  

And I know that he has my family in his loving hands, he allows frequent contact through the internet, skype, and the phone.  

So while we wait for the application to go through we have decided to go places we have wanted to visit, after Scotland maybe Ireland and Wales.    Then we are thinking Greece for a few weeks.  Did you know that you can rent a furnished place with utilities supplied in Greece  for 500 or 600 a month.  Awesome

So we are bowing the the will of God who knows us better than we know ourselves and loves us beyond measure.  I am trusting that he will make a way  for my husband to join me in America, but until then I put it all in his hands and ask for his guidance.  I also thank him for the many blessings He has given me.   My sweet Jim, who puts my wants and needs above his own, my beautiful children and grandchildren, who miss me as much as I miss them but want me to be happy and always have a smile for me when we talk online. Our  family and friends have been so supportive and caring, they are truly amazing.  Thanks to all.  And please know we will be there as soon as we can, so have the coffee pot on and maybe a spot of tea.