June 2012 turned out to be a month of ups and downs. While we had a good bit of fun, we also experienced some sadness due to the death of my grandfather, a.k.a. Pips. It was a peaceful passing as he was surrounded by his family and lots of love, but it was still sad to say goodbye. We were able to return to Maine (briefly) to attend the funeral, and we were happy to be with family. He was an incredible person. I am glad my children were able to know their great-grandfather.
In England, the month of June started with a party. The country was in a festive mood as the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne, and there were patriotic decorations and Diamond Jubilee parties everywhere. One traditional event in which we were thrilled to be able to participate was our neighborhood’s Street Party.
Although our decorating supplies were limited, but we did our best to make our family’s table look festive. I couldn’t help but add some American Flags – we love the queen too! I made an eggless version of a traditional dish called Coronation Chicken that was served at the Queen’s coronation. We got to try the famous Pimm’s cocktail which was strangely both savory and sweet, yet deliciously refreshing.
Our first day trip of the month was to visit the stately home and castle ruins at Scotney Castle.
We enjoyed exploring the beautiful house and gardens at Scotney Castle as we discovered a new and exciting hobby for our family: geocaching. Several of the National Trust properties have geocaches and GPS units that guests can use to try out geocaching.
Now we are hooked on geocaching! We hunted for caches whenever possible on our adventures during the rest of the month.
When we visited Leeds Castle during the winter, we learned that in the warmer months they host jousting tournaments. Well, of course there was no way we were going to miss that! June was the month for the big event.
As our time in England grows short, we have realized that we have spent far too little time in pubs! I suppose the fact that we always have three little boys in tow is largely the reason for that, but this month we did our best to try to rectify our deficit in pub-going. Our first stop was the little village of Shere. Because it is terribly quaint and quintessentially “English” it has been featured in a number of movies. We had lunch at the White Horse (seen in the movie The Holiday) and took a stroll in and around the town.
We also found what is currently our favorite pub: The Gomshall Mill. The place is full of history and ambiance with cozy corners and bits of its old mill history preserved for guests to see.
Now, don’t be thinking that we have been spending all our free time drinking and eating! The whole family also has been doing a good bit of running. Paul and I get out solo whenever we can, and the boys have also been running with us as well. In fact, I ran a 10k in the trails at nearby Polesden Lacey. It was fun but also ridiculously muddy and slippery.