planning a trip

For the past few years Wil and I have been discussing taking a trip to the UK. First  we talked about a trip to celebrate   our 25th wedding anniversary (long past) thena trip to visit to our daughter Erin who was doing a semester abroad in Ireland (she has been home a year.)Now we need a new goal.

Of course we would both like to see many of the historical sites , and you all know my affinity for castles and all things moat related,but we can’t forget all the great gardens there ,and of course great gardens take precedence in the planning.

I dream of visiting  Great Dixter and  Sissinghurst , which for years have topped my list and I was sure those two places would be where I wanted to  start. But now as time has gone on I am drifting in another direction; north.

It all started when I started following a knitting podcast of all things , where the hosts, a married couple named Andrea and Andrew visit Snowdonia in northwest Wales annually. They actually filmed their first episode there,. Now back up a few years to my love of historical fiction and my obsession with Sharon Kay Penman books especially the Welsh trilogy starting with “Here Be Dragons”

Why i am infatuated with all the unpronounceable  names of people and places with too many consonants and far too many ‘Y’s and ‘L’s and errant and unnecessary’E's  is beyond me, but the wild land she described has been calling to me since I picked up her first book many moons ago.  Seeing Andrew and Andrea’s footage while there got me rethinking our original plans.

Then , after a very busy last few months when time has been a blur and I have not been able to do many of the things I love ( like read , blog, and garden)  , I finally have hit the stack of books and magazines that have been awaiting cold snowy days spent by fireplaces and was gobsmacked by the photos in The English Garden magazine (Jan 18) taken of the winter garden in Bodnant. I just can’t take my eyes off them,The Winter Garden at Bodnant Garden

This is a garden that was never on my list to visit, and according to John Rippen, the head gardener there it is not on many other people’s either because of it’s northern location, John stated that if it were more southerly and closer to other touristy stuff it would be in everyone’s top ten. Well ,John, you got my attention for sure!

A quick google search led me to find there are stone cottages for rent , are you kidding me???? Craggy cliffs and ancient forests? yes,please.

it’s like a kid getting to stay at Cinderella’s castle!!!  Add in sweet villages around mountainous terrain with scenery to die for and hiking trials and cafes with homemade scones and clotted cream and a small shoreline and I  feel as though there was a reason our trip has been delayed so I could find all this first.

there are some battles to be fought. Wil  likes amenity filled hotels as opposed to drafty cottages with unknown hosts and iffy mattresses. There is also no way you could stretch your imagination enough to call him “outdoorsy” or a hiker so the appeal of a nine km trek over a small mountain to get a scone may seem far less appealing to him than it does to me. Also we would be far from the touristy UK stuff  in England in Ireland that were in the original plan so some maps would need to be acquired and a great deal of planning be done.

I remain optimist and hopeful. I hope you are all enjoying your winter down time dreaming up new things for the garden, ordering seeds, and maybe planning a trip of your own.

I will be back in full swing here very soon!


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