Where Are We? Where’s Walter? And Where is That Fleeting Moment?

My daughter Bea’s spring break didn’t coincide with her Dad’s, so we took our first overseas trip together, just the two of us.

She was a sophomore in high school, but I knew she  would be college bound before I could blink twice, and her spring breaks and summers would likely be spent on internships, summer jobs, or traveling with friends.  Each moment felt precious and fleeting, except perhaps our first night in England, when my darling girl got very sick.  There was nothing fleeting about that night–it lasted an eternity!  But Bea rallied, and we made the most of every moment.

Each day I studied the map and planned our route, which ‘A’ road led to which ‘B’ road which led to tiny country lanes with no names.

“Why bother, Mom?  We always get lost anyway,” said Bea.

Good point.   If we asked a local for directions, the answer went something like this: “Right! Take the left fork, then the second right, go past three fields and take a left where the old oak used to be…”  Once I even had to knock on a stranger’s door to beg directions.

But a dandelion is only a weed if you don’t want it, and getting lost was an interesting diversion, so long as we were in no hurry, and we never were.  Our oft-repeated motto was, “We always get where we’re going…………………………………………….eventually!

I wanted to share some of my favorite places with Bea and do a bit of research for a historical novel, but mostly I hoped to discover exciting places new to us both.  On previous trips, I’d never made it to Canterbury, though the town had played an important role throughout English history.   So we moseyed to Canterbury, and stayed at Blackfriars, an inn that was once a 13th century friary.

At Canterbury Cathedral we had our tour guide all to ourselves.  I’d have sworn he’d stepped right out of a BBC special, with his gray hair, proper English accent, and Mr. Rogers sweater and tie.  He also carried a cane, and I suspect that he’d suffered a mild stroke.  Yet here he was, kindly sharing his expertise and his precious time with us.  We asked questions about the cathedral and even ventured into politics, current events, and other matters I’d always wondered about, such as, “What do contemporary English people think about Henry VIII?”  When our tour ran over–too many questions–our guide called the front desk for permission to spend another hour with us.  We felt so honored and grateful.  After saying goodbye to him, we went to the gift shop for our pilgrim badges.

We heard great stories from John the Boatman on the canal tour in Canterbury.  When we came to a particularly low bridge, he  warned us to duck.  As we passed under, he pointed out the groove worn into the center stone by the heads of boatmen not quite fleet enough, at least when it came to ducking.  How many times, I wondered, would you have to smack the back of your head before you caught on?  And how many boatmen had it taken over the centuries to wear a grove in the stone?

Some of our discoveries were due to fools’ luck.  On an evening stroll we stumbled upon this little coffee shop where in 1620, according to its proprietors, America began.  (It was the place where the Mayflower was hired to carry pilgrims to America. Using that logic, the soda fountain where Mr. Disney popped the question to the future Mrs. Disney is the place where Disneyland began.)  Nevertheless we took a photo for future reference, since we have a personal history and interest in the Mayflower.

We visited castles, museums and took high tea, but a trip to the grocery store was as much fun as Disneyland.

We love to try new things, especially when the second ingredient listed is sugar.

…and I think there should be a monument erected in honor of Mr. Kipling, for his contribution to the world–Mr. Kipling’s Exceedingly Good Cherry Bakewell Tarts.

But Bea and I don’t need a tourist attraction to amuse ourselves–we talk history, life, story and more story.  Wherever we go, Bea and I  inevitably produce an outline for a novel based on this era or that event, and England was a fertile and storied land long before we arrived.   We took turns brainstorming and talking each other through rough spots in our writing projects.  I’d just finished a draft of a women’s contemporary, Real Troopers.  One of my characters is Walter Clark, a retired F.B.I. agent, poet, and amateur astronomist.  He is older, with white hair, a good looking sixty-something.  But was he too good to be true?  Could someone like Walter exist in real life?  Bea and I invented a game, ‘Where’s Walter?’  On country lanes and city streets, we kept a discreet eye peeled for him.

“How about him, Mom?” asked Bea, casually nodding her head in the direction of a man walking toward us in the crowd.

“Too young,” I said.

“How about him?” asked Bea.

“Too old,” I said.  “Oooh, don’t look, Bea!  Turn slowly and check out that gent by the phone booth.  Could that be Walter?”

Bea pretended to stretch, discreetly twisting her head for a look, then gave her report.  “Walter would never have frown lines.”

She was right, of course.  We left Canterbury and The Walter That Wasn’t to depart for our next destination.  Not knowing if I’d have another chance, I had splurged for a night in a very spiffy 15th century B&B, The Olde Moat House, in Ivy Church.  There was a tiny hamlet with only a church and a pub, where two men were having a pint at an outside table.  We were coming from a different direction than we’d planned, but figured we would find our way there…………………………………….eventually.   After a mile or so, we realized we’d overshot the town and turned back.  As we passed the pub for the second time, one of the men jumped up and flagged us down.   I stopped and rolled down the window,  and he said, pointing,“The Olde Moat House.  It’s in that direction.  Look for a gate with two white posts.”

 “How did you know?” I asked.

“A mother and a daughter.” (He did NOT say “looking confused,” but he didn’t need to.)

For one night, Bea was a princess.

The next day we had tea at The Mermaid Inn in Rye.

The inn was there at the time of the Conquest.  It was so old they had to remodel in anticipation of a visit by the first Queen Elizabeth.

Our bartender was Paddy Mortimer, whose ancestor had come over with William the Conqueror.  (We forgave him.)  When he heard Bea had been ill, he mixed her the special orange juice concoction his mum always made him when he was sick, and served it to her on the house.  He had us wait five minutes for his shift to end, so he could escort us to our car park.  Thank you, Paddy, dear lad.

True ghost stories from Dover Castle must wait, as will the story of our visit to Battle Abbey, where we walked the battlefield on which the last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold Godwinson, was defeated by William the Bastard, thereafter known as William the Conqueror.

I also wanted to take Bea to Battle, because it is the starting point of my historical novel, The Keeper of the Crystal Spring, which I co-authored with my sister Deborah.  It was a really special moment to share with my daughter.

So we had our eating moments,

and our bleating moments…

…and even our cheating moments.

That happened on the Underground.  We were returning from London to our  hotel when I saw him.  Among the bustling crowd on the subway I saw Walter!  “Look, Bea,” I whispered.  “It’s him!”  Bea confirmed.  Yes!  We had a positive identification, but we needed documentation.  I whipped out my camera and said, “Smile!”  Bea did, and I shot right past her head to snap a creeper photo of Walter, concrete proof that he did, indeed, exist!  But the shot was out of focus, soI tried again…

By that time I was laughing so loud that I embarrassed Bea, and drew unwanted attention.   Thank goodness, the train stopped, and we all went our separate ways.  But now I know, somewhere in the streets of London, Walter exists!

I will tell you one more story, about the 650 year old Clergy House in Alfriston.

In the 1880s it was in a state of decay, and church authorities wanted to tear it down.  Living there was a ninety year old woman who had been renting the house from the church for many years.  She cried and begged them not to destroy her home and put her out onto the streets.  They took pity, and granted her permission to live out the rest of her life in the old clergy house, and then they would raze it.  She surprised them all by living another three years, just long enough for the right folks to found The National Trust.  They got organized just in time to purchase The Clergy House, raise the funds to restore it, and maintain it as a priceless national treasure, the very first property of many such historic treasures acquired by The National Trust.  When we toured the house, there was a smooth-edged little hole in the lintel over the front door, worn into the wood by six centuries of coming and going of the furry little bats living among the rafters.  Who would have thought such fleeting appearances by such tiny creatures would make such a lasting mark?

Fleeting moments occur, and often reoccur.  I think of the Canterbury boatmen who wore down a stone bridge with the backs of their heads.  But then there are the bats who have done much the same thing at The Clergy House, only they created a pathway to home, a far worthier pursuit than banging your head against a wall.  I’m more like a bat than a boatman.  Every expression of love, every shared smile, every conversation we have is a precious fleeting moment in time.  Just like it did for the bats, that moment builds upon itself, and the effect is cumulative.   I think of the empty nest I will be living in next year, but I will try not to feel too sad.  Bea and I have shared a lifetime of fleeting precious moments that have worn a pathway from heart to heart, and that will never go away.

Copyright 2012 Naomi Baltuck



  1. Lovely….fun! My husband and I visited a few of these places. So incredible.

    1. Thanks, Holly. It is a really beautiful piece of the world. I appreciate your stopping by.

  2. I’m SO Jealous! Haven’t traveled in Europe at all. Loved the photos and anecdotes, especially your relaxed, adventurous attitude towards getting lost.

    1. Thank you! Every little side trip takes you somewhere you might not otherwise have gone. Nice to have you back! Sounds like you had an amazing trip of discovery as well.

  3. scillagrace says:

    Thank you for this treat, this re-treat! I enjoyed savoring your travels and your relationship with your daughter!

    1. Thank you for coming along, Scilla. As I put this together to post, I feel like I just took another little trip myself.

  4. Ah, what a lovely mother/daughter story. It looked like you had great fun (except for the getting sick part) You always have good stories, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Maggie. You do too. Did you have those folks some and interview you for the magazine yet?

      1. Yes and we just got back from Cinque Terre (thank you for posting that picture) Now I can finally relax…

      2. Welcome home! Did you have a wonderful time? Were they recovered from the flooding? I hope you will write a post about it!

      3. I wrote one post already and intend to write two more.. They are not fully recovered but almost and working all the time. Thanks!

      4. Hurray! I’m looking forward to it, Maggie.

  5. Carol says:

    A delightful trip, even if my pleasure is vicarious. How nice for you and Bea to share this, to make more lifetime memories. So, what do the current-day English think of Henry VIII?

    1. This gent chuckled a bit, but went on to say that, for all the bad things you could say about him, he was a reformer and the church was in dire need of reform. I was in no position to judge–I’m trying to remember if George Bush was in office then.

  6. Lynne Ayers says:

    This is so heart warming, to share all this with your daughter, for a lifetime. I enjoyed all the anecdotes and photos. I agree, many of the best times are those that come by happenstance, unplanned and unexpected.

    1. Thank you, Lynne!

  7. Jueseppi B. says:

    Absolutely beautiful post….one thing was missing tho…Beatrice is beautiful but her mom should be in more photos!!!!!

    1. You are so sweet, Jueseppi! I am almost always behind the camera.

  8. paulaacton says:

    I live in the UK and haven’t been to some of the places you visited yet strange how when we think about taking a trip or holiday we always think we have to board a plane lol I do love seeing photos from people who visit the UK though they always pick up on so much we take for granted. A fb friend from the phillipines visited and I couldn’t understand why he was so fascinated with the shop fronts and big window displays in the end i had to ask..the answer was simple because of the weather they have monsoon, typhoons they could never build store with the huge glass windows we take for granted. Sometimes it truly does take seeing something through anothers eyes to appreciate what is there

    1. That’s true. Paula, you live in such a beautiful country.

  9. What a lovely tour you’ve taken us on. It’s heartwarming to hear stories of mothers and daughters spending precious moments together. Thank you for sharing.

    1. HI Tess, thank you so much for visiting. It was a really special time to spend together.

  10. Naomi says:

    I love England. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story of your adventure with Bea – brings me back to my university travels from London to Oxford.

    1. Hi Naomi, I love England too. I’d love to hear more about your travels. Do you have them in your blog archives somewhere? Thanks so much for stopping by.

      1. Naomi says:

        Sorry, Naomi, my travels come from an earlier time. I first went to Europe on a trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland with my German class in my final year of high school. A little while later, I was fortunate enough to spend the third year of my BA in Nantes, France, which gave me the opportunity to travel around the northern part of the country and cross the channel to Britain. I love British writing, have a British background and was absolutely enamoured with England when I was there. I also went to Belgium and Germany that year. After graduation, I returned to France and Belgium, and went to the Germanic countries again when I was teaching. After I got married, left teaching for public librarianship and had my babies, travelling became next to impossible. I adore this time of playing dress-up and running around in the park with the kids, but I do miss all the travelling, and find your blog takes me away to the most wonderful places when I can’t get there very easily at this time. Thank you again for sharing your experiences.

      2. Dear Naomi,

        You sound like you had more adventures than most BEFORE you had kids. I think it takes a certain kind of courage and commitment to study abroad. I wouldn’t trade my time with the babies for anything, either. Different stages in life offer opportunities for other kinds of adventures.

        I thank you for your very sweet comments. I always love to hear from you.

      3. Naomi says:

        Yes, I’ve been very lucky to have all the adventures I did, and I’m also lucky that my interest in literature can still be fed. Because my main interest was languages, though, this very stationary stage is dramatically different from the one that came before, so a little armchair travelling helps keeps the current incarnation of me connected to the past incarnation of me. And travel will come to us again. Right now, the fun comes from watching the kids experience everything in life as a brand new adventure. 🙂

      4. There is NOTHING like seeing the world through your children’s eyes! It’s refreshing, uplifting, eye-opening, and I believe it makes you a deeper participant in life.

      5. Naomi says:

        Agreed. And for me, nothing is better than when I can create a little magic for them. Blowing bubbles in the backyard is a full-on celebration for my exuberant three year old daughter, and my six year old son and I are getting into homemade science experiments. I love the pure joy on his face when he’s made a ziploc bag explode using nothing but baking soda and vinegar.

      6. I remember those days! Bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. Stickers and markers and dressup and bedtime stories and songs every night. My daughter is seventeen and my son is twenty-one and we still do read-aloud when we travel together!

      7. Naomi says:

        Yes, that’s it in a nutshell. Pirates and princesses and tea parties and karate, preferably all at the same time. This stage is filled with fun and there are plenty of heart-melting moments, but I do love your blog when I’ve just stepped on Lego and then found oatmeal matted in my hair.

      8. Hah! I know what you mean. Iremember one of my first storytelling performances after having my son. I was onstage at the North west Folklife Festival, with Cheerio crumbs in my pocket, a damp spot on my shoulder from spit-up, and in the middle of the performance I realized I’d put two big dangly earrings into the same ear lobe. I am so glad to have found you too!

  11. restlessjo says:

    Wonderful to have such a close and happy relationship with your daughter. I did so enjoy my reminder of Canterbury. Your writing is so full of warmth and humour Naomi.

    1. Thank you, Jo, for stopping by and for your generous comments.

  12. enjoyed the travelogue of the scenic countryside and photogenic sheep

    1. Glad to hear it. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. elisaruland says:

    Ohhh, I cannot wait to take advantage of a quiet moment and read this properly. My daughter will be a senior in high school this year so I know I will relate to your mother-daughter European travel tale…the pics look wonderful!

    1. Hi Elisa,
      Isn’t it shocking to see them grow up so fast? But wonderful, too. This is going to be a very special year for you both, so packed with emotion, so rich with those fleeting moments that will last a lifetime. Wishing you a sweet year, and many more adventures together, like shopping for prom night, college visits, maybe a girls’ night out. It’s an exciting but scary time for the chicks who are about to spread their wings and step out of the nest.

  14. Absolutely delightful! Thanks for taking us along on the journey.

    1. Thank you so much for coming, Cathryn!

  15. sue says:

    I think it is really cool that you and Bea could travel alone together. I’ve always felt too guilty to attempt something like that with just one of mine and not all. Bravo to you. Another fabulous trip and documentation.

    1. Hi Sue,

      I think you can get trapped into trying to have everything come out exactly even. That is hard to do when you are cutting a pie but even harder when trying to figure out life with kids, because they are all different, and have different needs and wishes. Eli got four years as the only child before Bea arrived, then he was off to college, having his own adventures while Bea and I had ours. Soon she will be gone, and Eli has some time before heading off on his Fulbright adventure, so he and I are planning to do something special before he goes. It all works out in the end.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Sue. I always love to hear from you.

  16. pattisj says:

    What a wonderful trip for just the two of you! Loved seeing the sights with you…and Walter, too!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, and making me smile.

  17. TheOthers1 says:

    My word, Naomi! You weave a wonderful tale. It was definitely like I was there with you. What fun times. And I loved this line: “But a dandelion is only a weed if you don’t want it” gorgeous.

    1. Dear C.C., thank you so much for your visit, and for taking the time to share your really sweet comment.

  18. Indeed it’s a beautiful and exciting fleeting moment that you will both cherish for the years to come. Just amazing pictures that transport us to a magical place. Thanks…

    1. Dear Island Traveler, thank you so much!

  19. Missus Tribble says:

    What a delightful read – I’m so glad you enjoyed your stay in my home country!

    If you ever visit again, I highly reccommend that you visit the Cotswolds (especially Tewkesbury on the first weekend in July for the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival and Battle Reenactment on the famous Bloody Meadow) and Straford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s town) at least once. Also Evesham, where Simon de Montfort met his very nasty (and undeserved) end.

    1. Dear Missus T, I would LOVE to see that. I have been to all those places, but never for a festival or reenactment. I love being transported into other times and places, which is just one reason why I love history and science fiction so much. I will try to plan ahead the next time. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for this great tip!

      1. Missus Tribble says:

        I am a HUGE history buff – when I still lived in Cheltenham I would go to the Tewkesbury Festival every year. They do an authentic Medieval market in amongst the stalls, and you get to see enactment swords and chainmail being made on the spot, as well as falconry displays and stalls full of gorgeous Medieval clothes and jewellery. There’s also a beer tent where you can try Mead (very addictive!) and you can also buy bottles of the stuff to take home. There is also a highly comedic jousting tournament; you need to pay to see that, but all money goes towards keeping the festival alive so it’s worth every penny.

        The battle is War of the Roses – York and Lancaster – and one year I was there the wrong side won! Not quite sure how that happened, but happen it did!

        Even here in Chelmsford, Essex, there is history. Where we live was farming land long ago, and we once dug up the shin bone of a cow when we were creating my flower borders (an archaeologist friend confirmed the find for us) and this entire area was a favourite of King Henry VIII.

        Other places of interest in the Cotswolds are Prestbury Village (the most haunted village in England) and Belas Knap in Winchcombe. I had a very interesting experience at that particular burial mound late one night on a ghost hunt!

      2. Wow! I need to take notes, so I can check all these places out! I love the Cotswolds. I’ve been to Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Camden, and some other little towns and villages. I have never been to Prestbury or Belas Knap, and would love to know more of their stories. And your burial mound ghost hunt story!

      3. Missus Tribble says:

        Stow and Bourton are just lovely – Stow actually boasts one of Englands oldest inns, The Eagle And Child. If you ever hit Cheltenham, then Prinknash (pronounced “Prinnish”) Abbey Deer And Wildlife Park is a must-see – even the Peacocks will eat straight out of your hand and the Deer follow you all around their field!

        I have been quoted on Belas Knap here – http://www.darkstar1.co.uk/winchcombe1.htm

  20. I loved every word you shared with us here Naomi! A very enjoyable post.

    There is one picture that made me smile and it’s the one of the sheep, looks like they were posing for you 🙂

    1. Dear Pablo, I think they were, as they came over to be petted and spoken to! Thank you for your lovely comment!

  21. ritarivera says:

    Naomi, these are fantastic! I did a similar trip with my daughter. – rita

    1. Hi Rita, thanks for stopping by. Where did you go with your daughter? Did you do a blog post that I can go visit?

      1. ritarivera says:

        In another life I’d like to do a blog post, but I haven’t. Just have the photos. We went to London and Edinburgh and then Paris. It was crazy but we loved it. We got caught in the ash cloud mess (2 years ago) when all the planes were grounded so we took the train everywhere. That in itself was an adventure. We met locals and foreigners everywhere. – rita

      2. Oh, Rita, that sounds wonderful! I remember the volcanic eruption in Iceland, I think. I can just picture you and your daughter having your adventure. I’m pretty sure that ours was three years ago, because I don’t remember having to take the ash into account. If it had been two years ago, we might have run into each other at the Tower of London!

      3. ritarivera says:

        No doubt! Although we never went there. We stuck to museums, the Tate is amazing – the Globe, Canary Wharf, Oxford, and took the ferry boats around the Thames instead of the Tube. We didn’t do a lot of typical stuff other people do. We loved the local pubs.

  22. Aurora HSP says:

    Beauty mini vaca and real life one for you two – love it 🙂

    1. Thank you, Aurora, for coming along.

  23. i mayfly says:

    What a lovely reminiscence.

    1. Thank you, Nikki.

  24. adinparadise says:

    How fantastic to go travelling with your lovely daughter, Naomi. I think Walter looks very intriguing and quite handsome too. 😉 Love Bea’s princess bed and room. What a treat! It sounds as though you both had the BEST fun together.

    1. It was really a blast. Don’t know when we can do it again, because she goes off to college in September, but I hope one day we can pick up and go–maybe someplace new to both of us.

  25. kewsmith says:

    Thank you for sharing. What a wonderful bunch of memories for both of you. I would love to return to England and my daughter would be the perfect companion. I love trips without minute by minute itinerary.

    1. Oh, yes, me too. Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re looking for until you find it.

  26. Kathy Klein says:

    Wonderful, wonderful post. I feel almost as if I’d been carried along in your pocket the entire journey. Thank you for the fun trip!
    And I’m so glad you finally found Walter. What a good-looking guy! Totally worth the quest…can’t wait to read the novel now 😉

    1. Dear Kathy, I’m smiling from ear to ear as I read your message. I hope Real Troopers will be in print one of these days, and when it is, there will be a copy with your name on it. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your lovely comment.

  27. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing the sights and the people!

    1. My pleasure, Mary! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  28. ShimonZ says:

    A lovely post, and you have beautiful pictures here. And I find myself very happy looking at your family.

    1. Thank you, Shimon.

  29. Millie Ho says:

    I love the way you tell stories, Naomi! Like many others have said, it feels like I am there with you. I openly laughed at the “second ingredient is sugar” part. Delightful. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Millie. Other folks might bring back little piggy banks that looked like proper British phone booths (well, we did too), but our favorite souvenir was as suitcase full of Fair Cakes, Bramley tarts, Battenburgs, and of course, Mr Kipling’s Exceedingly Good Bakewells. Than we threw tea parties for the Girl Scouts, for Grandma, for Uncle Lew. It was like extending our trip and bringing a little taste of England home with us.

  30. Madhu says:

    Aww, this is such a precious post Naomi. You have so deftly woven your personal moments with Bea, with the history of the places you visited. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tale. Shall keep my eyes peeled for Walter if I am ever in that region 🙂

    1. Thank you, Madhu! And do keep your eyes peeled. Dear Walter might even be in the streets of your own home town!

  31. wow, what a fabulous trip! I feel like I was there – I really want to sleep in the princess bed 🙂

    1. Thank you, Beth! You made me smile!

  32. fivereflections says:


    David in Maine USA

    1. Thank you, David. Just having a little fun.

  33. Fabulous travelogue of your trip with your daughter – thanks for sharing it!

    1. Thanks for coming along! I appreciate your visit and taking the time to comment.

  34. I haven’t been here in forever it seems. I enjoyed this post. I really did. Such wonderful photographs and such a great tour guide to accompany them. I loved the photos of Bea and the last one of the two of you. I ordered Keeper of the Crystal Spring, I know. Yes, I remember that I had to buy it on the secondary market. I just looked. The housekeeper put it in a bookcase. She does that after she allows a book its allotted time on a table or wherever it finds itself. 🙂 How could I forget that it is your book? I am going to start it today! Thanks, Naomi!

    1. Dear George, I have noted your absence, and was so pleased to see your face. I hope you enjoy The Keeper of the Crystal Spring. I am always touched and honored when someone invests money, or even just time into someone my work and a my world, especially fictional one–it is such a demonstration of faith!

  35. Jamie Dedes says:

    Beautiful photos and narrative … even more beautiful is your relationship with Bea. I’m pleased to know that you were able to do a trip alone with her before the time for that passed. Probably something she’ll even tell her own kids about.

    I felt much the same way when my son went off to college. There’s a gift in it as there is in everything: there are new dementions to the relationship … Like everything we’ve shared, that’s something I would not have wanted to miss.

    Bea has a beautiful smile.

    1. Thank you, Jamie. I have secret hopes that we can keep finding or making the time to travel, but I know they have to make lies of their own, and if they do, we have done our job as parents. But I wouldn’t trade those precious moments with them for anything.

  36. eof737 says:

    These are all terrific photos and such fun too… This is what I do love about photography … capturing the moment. 😉
    ღ˚ •。* ♥ ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ 。*˛˚ღ •˚ ˚ Happy Independence Day Greetings! ˚ ✰* ★˚. ★ *˛ ˚♥* ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ ♥ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ღ ˚ 。✰ •* ˚ ♥

    1. And you do it so well, Elizabeth. Happy Independence Day to you too!

      1. eof737 says:

        Ditto Naomi! Be Blessed! 🙂

  37. tedstrutz says:

    Delightful post. ‘American Hot Dogs’… what a crack up, in a jar no less… those foreigners are pretty funny.

    Bea is awfully cute… and a good sport. She is a lucky girl, I think… and so are you, to have such a willing accomplice.

    1. HI Ted,
      Thanks for stopping by. I love British grocery stores! Bea is an incredibly good sport. I am twice blessed. Once because I am, and twice because I know it.

  38. Sounds like a wonderful trip–I’m jealous! What an adventure to share with your daughter. And, a dandelion is only a weed if you don’t want it…I like that. 🙂

    1. Hi Jeanette,
      Thank you for stopping by, and for your thoughtful comments.

  39. Grace says:

    Hi Naomi! Thank you for taking us along in your journey. Great pictures! I love how you narrated the story behind each place you visited.

    1. HI Grace,
      Thank you so much!

  40. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Love that princess style b&b. What adventures you all had! Wow! Gorgeous pictures and fantastic stories. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Kourtney.

  41. Lovely pics! Beautiful daughter. Memories for a life time! Thanks so much for sharing your travels! ♥

    1. Thanks for coming along, Paula.

      1. a great journey! 😉

  42. It’s a very long time since I’ve been to England but it made me nostalgic seeing your pictures and reading the stories. I love that attitude to travel – we’ll get there eventually! Sounds good to me.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you can get there soon.

  43. thanks for sharing this wonderful diary!

    1. Thank you so much for partaking! It is always good to hear from you.

  44. We have so much history in the UK – castle, cathedrals, Kings, Queens, the works. I’m glad you and Bea enjoyed immersing yourself in it all. My son’s degree, just completed, was in History, English, and Creative Writing. He chose as his dissertation ‘The Economic Consequences of the Black Death’. Perhaps he’ll write a great historical novel one day – who knows?

    1. History, English, and Creative Writing is heaven! Him being your son, the Creative Writing doesn’t surprise me. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah.

  45. interstitial_squirrel says:

    All your posts about traveling make me want to travel with you! You always have such a fun time, and don’t let anything get you down. (I sometimes get irritable if things don’t go as planned, though I’m working on that.) You’ve collected a lot of amazing stories.

    1. Thank you, Katie. We do try to go with the flow, and most of the time we can find something to laugh about. I appreciate your stopping by.

  46. niasunset says:

    So beautiful, so beautiful. I loved them all dear Naomi, as if I did this travel too… Thank you, love, nia

    1. Dear Nia, thank you so much! Love to you too!

  47. You both look like you had a fantastic time, the sheep picture is hilarious! Great photos!!

    1. Thank you! The sheep were friendly little tykes! They came over to be petted! I appreciate your stopping by.

  48. eof737 says:

    Thanks for the positive vibes lady. 😉

  49. An absolutely delightful post! I loved it, every word of it, and the photos were mezmerizing. 🙂

  50. mamamuhely says:

    I just found your blog through “Joy in the moments”. Reading about your journey is magical as I’m due with my baby girl in 6 days. You gave me a glimpse in the future. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Congratulations! I love my writing and storytelling, but being a mom is the hardest, most demanding, most rewarding, most joyful, most worthwhile and important and satisfying job you will ever have. I wish you joy and luck and all good things! Each time you think “It can’t get better than this,” the kids grow into another interesting stage of life, and bring you along with them. You become a deeper participant in life, and see the world all over again through their fresh young eyes. Sometimes you will be exhausted and frazzled and sleep-deprived, but there is so much joy and wonder to more than balance it out.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  51. Hi, I wanted to thank you for liking my blog. I think yours is wonderful. I loved the stories and pictures. I am no following you. Have a blessed evening.

    1. HI Shirley, thanks for the follow. I have signed up to follow yours as well. Good luck with your writing!

  52. envy~ you can travel everywhere you like!

    1. Hi there! There are many places I have never been to, and would one day like to go to still, but I feel very fortunate. Even if I am going down the hill to the park by my house, I bring my camera and photograph the beauty I see there.

  53. mj monaghan says:

    Wow, what great photos and stories. It makes me miss England so much.

    1. Thanks so much. Where in England did you go, mj? Putting this pos together made me miss it too,

      1. mj monaghan says:

        I was in the USAF – we lived in Upper Oddington (the Cotswolds) for several months and lived in Bicester for 3 1/2 years. Bicester is in Oxfordshire. Total of four years. Had a wonderful time there.

      2. Lucky duck! What a great experience!

  54. alicematilda says:

    What a trip! The stories and photos all really paint a wonderful picture. Especially like the last photo of you two in the mirror, would love to paint that if you have a more close up version of it?

    1. That is so sweet! I’m not really technically savvy. I just know how to transfer the photo from my camera to IPhoto, from IPhoto to Photobucket, and from Photobucket to my blog.

  55. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

    Nice photos – it looks like you were fairy tale land! – Patty

    1. Hi Patty, it sure felt like fairy tale land! England is really a beautiful country, so picturesque and so much history everywhere. I thank you for stopping by and for the follow too. I look forward to following you too!

      1. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

        We are planning a trip to England, Scotland and Ireland – I cannot wait to explore the countryside and learn more about the history of Great Britain – very fascinating and interesting to say the least.

      2. Oh, that will be wonderful! What do you want to be sure to see? I hope you will be blogging about it. Take lots of pictures!

      3. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

        Everything! I would love to see where Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine lived and is buried, also to visit Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. Pay my respects to Princess Diana. Visit as many castles as I can, go to as many museums as I can, tour the country side, take lots of pictures, go to the Tower of course (as a visitor!! LOL)…you name it I would love to see it. A part of me still belongs to Europe. My mother is German and my great grandfather came from Ireland so the ties are still close.

      4. Oh, my! You are going to have a blast! Lucky duck! I hope you’ll write all about it.

      5. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

        If not writing I am sure I will have a years worth of photos, not sure if we can fit everything in but it will be worth trying! We are going on a cruise this year so I hope to have definite plans by the end of 2013. So far yet so near!… but it will be here before we know it. By reading so many blogs on England though, I keep adding new things I want to do and see. 🙂

  56. Terri O.A. says:

    There are so many good things in this post I can’t even get to them all. The photos and most of all the relationship with your daughter reminds me of my red head who I have had so much fun with…love love the last line. I want to read some of your work. Historical novels are wonderful, and what a great place to set a story. Fascinating history. I enjoy David Oakes photography at word press. His photos of England and surrounding areas are always presented with history of the area. Since he has lived there all his life I really enjoy his point of view. Thanks for the good read! 🙂

    1. Hi Terri,
      What sweet things to say. Thank you so much! I am so glad you have a daughter to play with! I am going to look up David Oakes. I love England and English history. Just putting this post together gave me itchy feet!

      I am pulling the bits and pieces together for the next novel, which will be a historical set in England in 1100. I co-wrote one with my sister, set in post-Norman Conquest England. It’s called The Keeper of the Crystal Spring. I’m kind of proud of that one. It was a Double day Book-of-the-Month Club selection.


      Thanks again for your visit, and for your very kind words.

  57. I enjoyed your eating and cheating moments! thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  58. I’m still amused by your very British trip!

  59. I could read again and again 🙂

  60. tchistorygal says:

    This is my favorite. I took a trip like this with my mom in 1992, and you have inspired me to dig it out and post it sometime soon. What precious moments you have together. I love Walter, and Bea’s expression when you are snapping his second picture. I can just see you two giggling like school girls! hahaha what fun! 🙂

    1. Hi Marsha,
      It was a very funny moment, and we were both giggling uncontrollably, but I have no regrets! I would love to hear about your trip with your mom.

      1. tchistorygal says:

        It will take me a while to scan the pictures and write it, but I think it would be a great story to share. It was a highlight of my life. 🙂 I love hearing about your moments with your family. I think they are my favorite posts of yours, and you have a lot of great ones! 🙂

  61. Lynne Ayers says:

    I like this again, Naomi 🙂 – caught it on frizztext’s EEE challenge

  62. frizztext says:

    you amused me very much with your storytelling – my favorite fragment (better than any ghost fiction, because it’s hard reality):
    “When we came to a particularly low bridge, he warned us to duck. As we passed under, he pointed out the groove worn into the center stone by the heads of boatmen not quite fleet enough, at least when it came to ducking. How many times, I wondered, would you have to smack the back of your head before you caught on? And how many boatmen had it taken over the centuries to wear a grove in the stone?”

  63. nutsfortreasure says:

    Great trip! Bea was a doll for letting you share her. My favorite shot if I had to pick one was your boatman here I was thinking he was WANTED so he covered his FACE lol

  64. There is no doubt that this adventure with your daughter, Bea, will be imprinted in your heart forever. A beautifully written adventure of two woman on a journey to discover many wondrous things. There are many photos that I enjoyed but the one of the lambs with their wooly fur and tiny faces is priceless. Bea is simply gorgeous. Thank you for posting this very special time you had.

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