U.K. Trip

I had the most wonderful trip earlier this month!  I don’t normally share travel here but many of you know the people I was visiting, so it feels right. This is a long one… you might want a cup of tea.

My hubby graciously sent me on my way to a weekend of mixed media workshops in Coventry, England.  That’s too far to go for  a weekend, so I extended a bit before and after (as one does!) and was able to pack a ton into my time there.

UK Trip

It was a total delight to start off the trip with Kaz.  She and Milly braved Birmingham traffic and took me from city to country in no short order. What a gorgeous part of the world!

The whole driving-on-the-other-side-of-the-road thing was unnerving and I was thrilled to not be the one making decisions. Once we were out of the city the narrowness of the lanes shocked me as they were not wide enough for two cars to pass. Not to mention a certain someone has a heavy foot (as do I, here) but wow… that was quite a ride!  They seemed to have a good neighborly pull-aside-and-let-pass system but I had to close my eyes a few times and just… trust. 

UK Trip 2

We spent our time shopping, schmoozing, and walking through quaint towns with history and architecture that spans hundreds of centuries. By shopping, I mean antique shops and consignment shops.  The best kind of shopping! 

Let me say, the U.K. has the U.S. beat on consignments. Here we have a few major charities that have shops in big cities, but there they have dozens of charity shops all in a single city.  After seeing Kaz post for years about her favorite shops, I was tickled to join her in them. It didn’t take long for me to figure out British Sterling Pounds though I was a bit off on the pence. If only my suitcase had no weight restrictions… ohhhhhhhmmmmm.

Shopping in the UK

We each picked up some goodies in Shrewsbury. We had lovely meals (don’t worry – Kaz isn’t allowed near kitchen appliances) and the time simply flew by. When our time was up, she brought me to Coventry in time to meet all of these lovely ladies for lunch on Thursday. Kaz, you and your family were outstanding. So lovely and so much fun! Thank you for every single thing. I wished you could have joined me for the next part of the trip, but we’ll have to plan another adventure another time. 

UK friends

Imagine my delight to have all of these artists come to the hotel. What a treat!  That’s Sandy Dallas, Jenny Marples, Anne Redfern, and Toni Burrows.  I think the hotel was ready to give us a nudge as our lunch went on for hours and hours.  I’d met Jenny in January at CHA, but this was my first time meeting the other folks. 

Sitting and gabbing for hours made me appreciate the internet all the more.  We’ve all followed each other’s blogs for years, and it felt like I was sitting down with old friends.

UK gifts

How lucky was I to receive gifts, as well? As if their time weren’t enough. I was floored. Kaz gave me the yummy ledger at the bottom, which will soon be seeing a lot of love, paint, and ink. 

Anne made me a customized journal with Eileen Hull’s die, complete with a canvas cover, funky inner pocket and British postal box charm. Jenny shared a fabulous stitched book with Umbrella Man. The cover is divine and I can’t even figure out the stitching.  Toni’s painted book is 3D with texture and charms… such a wonderfully British keepsake! 

And Sandy didn’t know it, but her Keep Calm & Carry On card set has already had quite a bit of use as my husband and I play Canasta and Rummy quite a bit. Thank you ladies, so much, for your friendship and generosity.

Warwick Castle

I’ve always felt a special connection with Anne, and when she offered to take me to Warwick Castle on the Friday before the workshops I leapt at the chance.  You’ve never spent a more pleasant day than a day at the castle with Anne and her mate, David.  This was my first time at a castle and believe me… it won’t be my last. How gorgeous is this?

I learned a ton and was very moved by the history. They were quite smart in the building and there were all sorts interesting stories in the reasons decisions were made (staircases spiraling in the ‘wrong’ direction so men couldn’t walk up with their bows/arrows on their right side, for one).  We saw a few live action shows (archer demo, and birding) as well as touring the beautiful grounds.The photo above is the view from the top, which I took after David and I climbed up the tower.

Anne and I got a kick out of the maiden in the center photo below with us who said something to the effect of “I’ve no idea what that device is you are holding, Sir, but it seems you’ve turned it off” when David accidentally turned off the camera setting on the phone.  She was the first person we saw upon entering the grounds and that was the first of much laughter throughout the day.

Anne, I’ll treasure the memory of this beautiful day. Thank you so much.

Warwick Castle collage

Saturday morning the workshops began. The event was called Applied Creativity in Three Acts. There were three classes each day: one from Finnabair, one from France, and one from Marta. Nine hours of workshops is A LOT but we got through them all and were definitely inspired.

Coventry classes

It was wonderful to meet Jennie Atkinson (below, top left) and we were able to have a few meals and chats over the weekend. Wish we lived closer.  Kassa Hayselden (below, top right) is a hoot and I wish we’d had more time to visit as we laughed quite a bit while we did.  I was thrilled to have found my tablemates ~ Rachel, Debbie and Massira (bottom left).  We felt quite fortunate to have found each other as we were together for the entire 18 hours of instruction and it can be daunting if you have a grump amongst you.  Luckily, we were all mellow and quick to laugh!

Coventry friends

France and I squeezed in a day in Birmingham on Monday before we both flew home on Tuesday morning. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with France and this marked our third country together.  She’s stayed with me here in the US and I’ve stayed with her in Belgium, so now we have a combo country in the UK.  May there be many more in our future!

Birmingham

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… start a blog or connect with the online community where people share what you are interested in. It could even be a Facebook Group.  Relationships take time to build online just like they do in real life.  You never know the places you’ll go and the people you’ll meet as a result.

Thanks for the visit!  If we’re not already connected, please sign up for my newsletter or find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter.

Marjie

 

Your comments are very much appreciated!

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  1. Keyboard working temporarily so have stopped by to say how much I enjoyed this post… Though I couldn’t join you that side of the Atlantic, I’m so glad we get to rendezvous this side!
    Alison x

  2. So lovely to read of your adventure in UK Marjie. It’s fantastic that you met so many kindred spirits in person… Nicola x

  3. Thanks a million for sharing your adventures Marjie. Almost felt like I was there with you. What a great experience and adventure you had. I know a lot of the players and can just imagine all the laughs that took place.

  4. Wonderful post Marjie! I enjoyed 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    I just wish I will be able to meet you one day! 🙂

  5. Juli Riedel says:

    What a wondetful trip!! Thank yoy for sharinf Marjie!!

  6. Such a lovely post Marjie! So glad that you enjoyed your stay in the UK and it is so true what you say about connecting online. A few years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of having ‘online friends’ but the wonderful people I have met through blogging, have certainly enhanced my life and proved that very real friendships can be made by connecting in this way. I look forward to meeting you again ! With love Toni xx

  7. France Papillon says:

    I sure hope there will be many more hon!! 😘

  8. Aww Marjie, what a fabulous time we had! It was a pleasure to share where we live, my favourite shops and to show you the sights! I’m really pleased you especially enjoyed my driving…. did I tell you I’m a formula one driving right too?! Thank you for your lovely gifts too, I will treasure them xx I’m just sad it flashed by way too quickly…. that just means you have to come back for more xx really enjoyed reading all about the rest of your adventures…. until next time xxx lots of love xx kaz

  9. Wowza… you really chop chopped to the UK. What a memorable trip.. the wonderful friendships. So awesome!!

  10. What a lovely post Marjie! It was such a pleasure to meet up with you and wonderful to see what you did before and after we had our time together (I know what you mean about the narrow lanes, they still frighten me!). David I both treasure the time we had with you and we were happy to share a ‘piece of British history’ with you! I really hope we get the chance to share more time with you in the future. Anne xxx

  11. How fun and exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Followed along on Facebook, but I love hearing about all the tiny details here. THOSE are the things I live for! Someday I hope to hop over the pond and meet some of the gals you got to meet, and someday meet you too!

  13. You totally cracked me up when you talked about the driving. My son-in-law laughed at me all the time because in the country the ‘roads’ are so skinny and when a car is oncoming they don’t slow down at all even though there isn’t enough road for two cars! I had my eyes closed so often and made, apparently, a lot of strange sounds when passing other cars. I mean, what the heck if there’s only an inch in between us and them going 60 miles an hour?! I asked my son-in-law if he ever lost a mirror and he quite calmly said, “Oh, only once or twice a year,” which totally made me laugh. We went to Shrewsbury as well and saw the crooked houses, and Ludlow. Shropshire is so beautiful. We also went to Warwick castle. The actors there were so fabulous. We did the dungeon tour and were in stitches the whole time. I wonder if the same court jester is out the front of the dungeons, the one who embarrassed the hell out of me … I haven’t blushed so hard in years! If you go back, you must go to the Cotswolds, the small villages like Bibury and Broadway are just so gorgeous. You’ve made me want to go back!

  14. Thanks so much for this wonderful post Marjie and the super photos! I thought of you all a lot during that weekend and I just wished I could have been there, but alas, I always work Saturdays…. I had met up with Jennie A. a few weeks before and I know how much she was looking forward to it and specially also meeting you! You are so right about what you say regarding blogging and social media friends. (I have met Anne and David as well as Jenny M on several occasions in person, and know exactly what you mean)! As I am retiring in a few weeks time, I am hoping that in the years to come I will be able to attend many more workshops and am keeping my fingers crossed that one day I will have the chance to meet you in person too, either here or across the pond… xxxxx

  15. Wow what an amazing adventure!! Thanks for sharing!