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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tearful Goodbyes

There was much heartache and lots of tears as I left the States in August to return home to England. Especially after such a wonderful holiday. Tears flowed at goodbyes from Santa Monica, Scottsdale, New Jersey, Penn State and the last to our son Cody at the Newark Airport as we went through security on our return flight to Heathrow.

My heart truly aches with pain on these goodbyes knowing it will be AWHILE until we will be reunited. But God is good and since returning home the sun has been shining and that makes the return a lot easier. I LOVE England on sunny days!!!!

After a few days of jet lag recovery, our first Saturday back the sun was out bright and warm first thing in the morning and Jim and I decided to go to a National Trust site (British spelling!!!) near by. This is one of our favorite past times, right up there with antiquing. Jim selected Tyntesfield outside of the city of Bristol. He said it was a "Manor House with nice gardens". "Nice gardens" was all I needed to hear and I was ready to go.

Neither of us had ever heard of Tyntesfield Manor so we were very surprised as we arrived early morning to an overflowing parking lot and a sign that tickets were all ready sold out to see the house. Of course we were disappointed, but knew we could still wander through the gardens, parkland and around the perimeters of the house. As we entered the grounds, we handed the attendant our National Trust membership card. He swiped our card and said, "you've come a long way." Jim and I were a bit puzzled and then we realized our membership shows we are Royal Oak members, which is the American membership to the Trust. Before we could explain we just lived a half hour away, he handed us 2 tickets to see the house!!! We were so grateful!! One of those moments when I was glad to be puzzled and an American!

What a treat for Jim and I to see this beautiful Manor House from the inside. Tyntesfield Manor is a spectacular Victorian Gothic revival house which was created by one of England's richest commoners, William Gibb.
He made his fortune in fertilizer - smart man, the English have always had a passion for their farms and gardens. Four generations of the Gibbs family lived @ Tyntesfield Manor and they loved collecting "bits and bobs" (British slang) of treasures. It is the largest collection (50,000 objects) catalogued and owned by the National Trust.

As soon as we entered, the first room was the family library. I wish Jackie had been with us to see this room. It really is the feeling that we both love in design. It leans to a more masculine and comfortable look and has the collections that say one has travelled, collected and researched. The collection of leather bound books was endless and we admired the decorative leather cuttings attached to the wood shelves.

We always love it when we go in to the servants work areas and are reminded of Downton Abbey....

can't wait for the new season!!! In Tyntesfield's kitchen and work rooms there were so many treasures that reminded us of "finds" that are in our FMF collection (check out our Shopping Section at FMF Compagnie).

Sadly, as has happened numerous times in England, these wealthy families through the generations have a hard time continuing to maintain these enormous properties and in 2002 the last heir left it to be sold. There were rumours that Madonna wanted to buy it and that caused the National Trust to have an immediate plea for donations to save this property for the National Trust. Millions of pounds were raised by generous donations, including 4 million pounds coming from Americans. As you wander in to some of the last rooms to visit, you are surprised to see the Trust has left these rooms as they were upon their possession of the property. Furniture and collectibles are stacked everywhere, floor to ceiling and tagged with Christie Auction tags throughout. The Gibbs family was about to sell all their treasures before the Trust purchased everything with the property. Upon seeing the first room, Jim and I smiled at one and other and thought wouldn't we have loved to come to this sale!!!!

Just want to show you a few more pictures of the house and the grounds. Now you can see why Jim and I were so grateful for the house tickets. It was a wonderful day out....good for healing the heart and wiping tears away.

Having enjoyed the 52-rooms and gardens of Tyntesfield it is funny to think of our daughter Devan in her dormitory room at Penn State. Lacking 50,000 items to choose from to decorate her room, we relied upon creative 'bits and bobs'!

Photographs of friends and family are reminders of fun times and for those who remember 'Kodak Moments.' We used a lot of 'Homemade" votives wrapped in fabrics, God bless you kleenex box made with letters from old t-shirts and one of Devan's watercolors from 3rd grade.

We had so much fun with the variety of colourful and patterned tapes we found. Probably not new to those of you in the States, but novel to me!

The tapes were fun to make a grid and fill in with Dev's old tickets from Hunger Games, Twilight, Wimbledon, and pics of her dream VW BUS in every colour imaginable.

A wall of haberdashery... pages from old atlas' (now found on the internet!), caricature of Devan and her friend Rebecca on a visit to London. And Devan's favourite personal thought...."Give me food and a library and I'll be fine".

What fun we had setting up Devan's Penn State Uni "nest". It was a team collaboration and two of the star team members and best buds are pictured below.....our Cody and Devan. This has been a therapeutic tears, just happy memories looking through pictures from the whole holiday in the States. You all know who you are that I miss and love and treasure....God bless you all. Beth

P.S. Jackie has some really fun things to show you coming up...her juices have really been squeezing...there is a hint to you all in "juices"!!! Come back next week to find out.

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