Everybody Loves the Queen

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.  

February 21, 2009. I love this photo of Tommy and Pips drawing together in the sunshine. Tommy is putting his pencil behind his ear – he must have seen Pips doing this. Such a sweet moment.

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.

The neighborhood sets up the street for the 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.

Nice face, Tom!

For our dessert, I had fun making Diamond Jubilee cupcakes.  They were a hit!  

After everyone had feasted, there were games for the children and adults as people kicked back and enjoyed the afternoon (and dodged a few pesky raindrops).  

Paul joined the cutthroat adult game of musical chairs.
Check out our neighbor who dressed up as the queen! He was hilarious.

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.

Our first geocache find!

The cows were not impressed with the crazy geocachers.

The boys were quite impressed by the “treasure” produced by the cows, however.

Are we really that slow?

Now we are hooked on geocaching!  We hunted for caches whenever possible on our adventures during the rest of the month.

Geocaching at Polesden Lacey

Geocaching at Nymans (National Trust house and gardens).
This redwood tree was huge (reportedly the tallest tree in Sussex county).

Fountain in the gardens at Nymans.

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.  

Leeds Castle is stunning.

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.

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6 Responses to Everybody Loves the Queen

  1. Netley says:

    Excellent adventures as always!! Think of you all often as there are more and more features on the preparations for the Olympic being featured on the news.
    Uncle Mark

  2. Maryann says:

    What a beautiful picture of Tommy (I think thats Tom and not Sam!) and the redwood. You all are going to be castle aficionados!
    Are you planning on taking in some Olympics?

    • Amy says:

      Thanks, Maryann! Yes, that is Tommy with the redwood (they do look so alike sometimes). We can’t wait for the Olympics. The torch goes through our town in just a couple of weeks, and then the road bicycle races will pass through on the first Olympic weekend. Thrilling!

  3. Lisa says:

    How delightfully British. Tommy sounded British when he left his message for Mollie. Nice to see some pics of you. You look great. Can’t wait to see you in person!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks, Lisa! Joe and Tom have slight accents, but it really depends on to whom they are speaking – English person = bigger accent. I’m sure all day at school they really work the accent. Wish I could be a fly on the wall!

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