55 Days to go!

If I could start my career over again, I’d be a travel counsellor. Nothing gives me more pleasure than traveling to new places and visiting place I’ve been before and loved.

Since my last trip to Italy (two years ago), I’ve had health concerns, a visit to the emergency room and more stress than I care to talk about, but I’m hoping to exercise the daemons and get all of these issues blown away in the place that soothes my heart and soul, Italy! I can’t wait to sit in the pool of the beautiful villa we’re renting, and look out at the perfect blue waters of the Mediterranean. 55 Days to go!

 

Pikes Peak – Dressed for a Wedding

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Pikes Peak was showing off this morning when I got up. All dressed up and magnificent.

Lake Garda – Wish I were there!

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I still dream of retiring to Italy, but would one home be enough. Ravello and the Amalfi Coast is the place I think of most, but Lake Garda and its beautiful scattering of towns, is always in my heart!

Memories of Campania

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I could wander those beautiful streets forever.

My Addiction to Travel – Piercebridge

PiercebridgeCottagesMy addiction to travel surfaced when I was ten years old, it would hit me in about March. I’d get itchy feet. You can’t go far when you’re ten, but I’d take off on my bike, usually on my own, and have a little adventure. I’d visit villages I’d never been to, or just pack my lunch and enjoy the countryside. I lived in a picturesque little village in Northern England called Summerhouse. It was safe to be on your own back in 1967.

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My first solo trip found me in Piercebridge and brings back happy memories. It was quite a ride! I should go back and visit, see how things have changed, but its a long way from Colorado, and this is where I ended up. The travel bug was a family affair!

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Final Journey!

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I opened my eyes and stretched, it was a Saturday, not that one-day is much different from another when you’re retired, but I remembered it was a Saturday because I had a hair appointment. Maybe I’d go to the mall early and enjoy a little retail therapy. I sat up in bed and stretched again. It was a good morning, no aches and pains, no creaking bones.

I washed and donned my PJ’s. No crazy rush to get the washing done over the weekend, I was retired; I could feed the washer any day I chose. I padded down the stairs to Bob’s man cave. Even at seven o clock in the morning the television was on. Arsenal was playing, and for once it seems, they were winning! No Arsene Wenger at the helm these days.

“Bob, what do you want for Breakfast?”

No answer, he was engrossed in the game, didn’t even look up. Not unusual when he was engrossed in football.

“I’ll bring some toast and coffee down.”

I switched the coffee machine on and cut some bread. Yup, still made my own bread, neither of us liked the doughy mess the American supermarkets sold. I wasn’t hungry though so I took a tray down to the man cave and left it on the coffee table. You could at least say thank you, your team are winning for heavens sake!

I walked out onto the porch, it was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm. Bird’s song was the only sound I head. I love living out in the country. I inhaled the atmosphere. When I die, this is where I want my ashes scattering, I feel comfortable here.

No time to linger today, I have a hair appointment and shopping to do. Maybe some new sandals, we’re flying to Italy next month. Maybe I’ll have my ashes scattered on the Amalfi Coast? No, maybe not, its beautiful there, but I don’t speak Italian, I’d be lonely. Why am I thinking about where I want my ashes scattered?

I went back upstairs to the bedroom, ignoring the dishwasher that needed to be emptied. Not in the mood today, it’s a ME day and I’m going to enjoy it.

I was lost in thought, wondering what I should buy. Maybe a new sun dress too, can’t wait for the Italian sun to kiss my shoulders. I giggled as I remembered the last time we were in Italy, and getting my 65-year-old bum pinched!

I froze in the bedroom doorway. If I’d had any breath left in me I’d of gasped. There was someone lying on the bed, still as a church, it was me!

NO! NO! NO! How could this happen?

I ran downstairs to Bob; he was engrossed in the game. I tried to shake him, but he didn’t see me, didn’t feel me.

Bob! Bob! I think I’m dead!

It was useless. Slowly I went back upstairs and looked around our bedroom. It was full of memories, photos of my daughter, and paintings of Italy. I touched the cold face of the “me” that lay on the bed, hoping I’d wake up. I didn’t, so I sat next to me and waited.

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It was 10:30 when Bob went upstairs. Sheila normally rose around seven, but he hadn’t seen her yet. He worried she was sick.

“Hey, are you staying in bed all day? I thought you had a hair appointment.”

He saw his wife lying on the bed. She was pale and still.

            “I’m sorry Bob, you’ll have to get your own breakfast today.”

He didn’t hear of course. He wasn’t a romantic man, but he bent over his wife’s body and gave her one final kiss on her forehead. They’d been married over 50 years, he’d be lost without her.

 

Jamie Oliver Italian Victoria – Fast Food at its worst – Stay Away!

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We made a trip to England in December, decided it would be a good thing to introduce my son-in-law to family he’d never met because not everyone made it out to Colorado for the wedding.

As expected England was cold, and sometimes very wet, but it was a lovely worthwhile trip. We at great food in pubs and restaurants. “M” on Victoria was fabulous. Great cocktails, fabulous food and incredible service. The pub grub and restaurants up north and in the midlands were amazing. I’ll tell you more about them in another blog. I want to dedicate this blog to Jamie Oliver’s Italian on Victoria.

Our reservation was made almost three months ago. We picked the food in advance from the celebration menu. I made a reservation for five people. It was supposed to be a perfect New Years Eve Meal before heading to the fireworks (which were Spectacular).

We were greeted by the hostess at the restaurant who didn’t say “Welcome to Jamie Oliver”, but said “We need the table by 8:30 so you need to finish your meal by then.”

“What” I’m almost sixty, and a traveling foodie who likes to dine in restaurants all over the US and Europe. I have never ever been greeted so rudely.

We were taken to a booth upstairs and when our waiter turned up to take our order I explained to him I’d ordered everything for our table back in September, including the wine. He looked confused! Eventually the food started to arrive. My smoked salmon was just OK (how hard is it to put salmon on a plate?) No one was impressed with their appetizers, which were a bad start to a terrible meal. The wine eventually came and WAS NOT what I ordered. I can’t drink Sauvignon Blanc, it’s too acidic for me, but that’s what they brought me. A carafe of cheap undrinkable wine.

Main course. Mine was pan-fried cod floating is a sludgy mass of something green! Not good, but perhaps the best of the five main courses we were served. Everything looked like warmed up congealed leftovers , with exception to the vegetables. They were burnt beyond recognition. The Tiramisu Pavlova, ordered for dessert by two people in our party was inedible. You get the drift. We paid over two hundred pounds for this disaster.

Yes I complained, no they didn’t care.

Mr. Oliver, I’ve watched you on television for several years, you are quite a star here in America, but I will no longer be a fan or waste my time on your shows. In my opinion you have put your name to this restaurant as a money-making machine and nothing else. I don’t eat fast foods, but in my opinion, your restaurant in Victoria is an overpriced fast food restaurant (very overpriced for the slop you serve). As a chef, you should be ashamed of yourself.

My advice to anyone wanting a nice meal. Go to “M” which is close by, has great ambiance, and serves good food. Or save your pennies and go to Gordon Ramsay’s Maze where you aren’t herded in like cattle and you’ll be served a meal you’ll remember for the rest of your life, for the right reasons.

Elegance at St. Ermins

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A little pricey, but well worth the experience. Beautiful, elegant and in Westminster so convenient for everything. Lovely!

Rugged Beauty in Northumberland

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The colors of Northumberland change with the weather.

A Traditional English Christmas!

As I count down to my trip to England, all I can think of are Christmas Carols. Nowhere in the world does Christmas better than England. I know I deserted the homeland from the USA over 20 years ago, and would never move back, but I do miss a traditional Christmas. If you listen to this beautiful rendition of “God Rest you Merry Gentlemen” you’ll understand.

 

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