BIRTHDAY BASH FOR ME
On Friday morning, July 27, I flew from Dublin to Bristol, England, and was met by my wonderful friends Pat and Bert Gough. (They spend winters staying next door to me in Florida.) It was so great to have my mini-break with friends in their beautifully restored cottage, and to wash my clothes, have home cooking, and even be treated to a birthday cake! (Yes, on Saturday, July 28, I turned 29 again ... well, maybe it is 39...) I just love the Cotswolds, which I have read about forever but had never seen. One evening I had delicious fish and chips with Pat and Bert and their son Simon, and his children Jessica and Nick. I also had a diet-busting Christmas pudding for dessert, which Pat and Bert happened to have in their cupboard! (It was a gift that I don't think anyone else had wanted to eat.)
WAKING UP TO HORSES' HOOVES
Pat and Bert's little village has about 600 people and is near Chipping Sodbury (where J.K. Rowling was born. No blue plaque on any house there yet, however!) Pat and I walked down the street to see their ancient village church, called St. James the Elder. Every morning I woke up to the sound of people riding by on their horses! Much of it really takes one back in time... Pat and Bert (actually Bert was the extremely energetic chauffeur) also drove me all over the place and we saw some of the flooding which recently devastated much of Gloucestershire (though luckily not Horton). They sure have a nice retirement -- part of the time in Florida and the rest of the time in their Cotswolds cottage!