Christmas Foods and Traditions: Chocolate

The Spanish first brought the cocoa bean to Europe from Central America. Cocoa pods fell from the cocoa tree or were cut off. The cocoa pods were easy to harvest because they grew on the trunk of the tree or on large branches near the ground. The harvested pods were split open and the pulp…

Christmas Foods and Traditions: The Trencher in Elizabethan Times

The 16th century was a fast-paced and fascinating time for the whole of Europe. Improvements in design of ships meant they could travel further and faster, resulting in the circumnavigation of the world. Queen Elizabeth granted Sir Walter Raleigh a Royal Charter, which authorized him to explore and colonize any “remote, heathen and barbarous countries,…

Christmas Foods and Traditions: The Tudor Christmas and the Trencher

In 1526 the Eltham Ordinances were written at Eltham Palace. These were rules and regulations monitoring food purchases, storage and distribution of food across all the palaces. The Eltham Ordinances also laid down instructions for court ceremony, for example how the food was presented and the manner in which it had to be taken to…

The Elizabethan Christmas and the Tale of Oranges

To continue with my Christmas Foods And Traditions Series we will look today at the Elizabethan period of England. As a queen, Elizabeth had access to some of the most luxurious foods that were on offer now from many parts of the world. Her food reflected the wealth and power of England and was an important…

Christmas Foods And Traditions: Oranges

Why Do We Put Oranges in Stockings at Christmas? 1. St. Nicholas and his sacks of gold. One explanation for this tradition stretches back hundreds of years to St. Nicholas, who was born in what is now present-day Turkey. He inherited a large sum of money, but devoted his life to helping others, and eventually…

21 Steps of Honor

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: What do you know about it? 1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why? 21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignity. 2. How long does he…

A Stroll Through Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Upon arrival the Brookfield House B&B looked like this! Located on a quiet side street it is still close enough to walk to the shops and restaurants. The Brookfield B&B was the perfect spot to stay in so let’s look at some of those photos first! We like staying in small B&B’s when we travel and…

Agatha Christie’s Greatest Mystery

In December 1926, Agatha Christie was a thirty-six year old, established crime writer, when she mysteriously disappeared. Early on the morning of December 3rd, Colonel Archibald Christie, an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps, had asked Agatha for a divorce because he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele. He then packed up and…

Thursday Doors: Harrogate

A few weeks ago I was supposed to be in…….. Harrogate, a spa town in North Yorkshire, England. The town became known as ‘The English Spa’ in the Georgian era, after its waters were discovered in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries its ‘chalybeate’ waters (containing iron) were a popular health treatment, and the influx…

Great Dixter Gardens: Part Two

Previously we learned the history of Great Dixter and today we will continue our walk around the grounds and gardens.  Apart from a couple of mixed orchards and a scattering of trees, there were no gardens here when the Lloyds arrived in 1910. There are many out-buildings on the property including several old barns. As…

Great Dixter Manor: Part One

This is the oldest section of Great Dixter Manor and as you can see it tips to the left! All great manors have a fascinating story to tell and Great Dixter is no exception. Nathanial Lloyd, born in Manchester, made his fortune when he founded his own color printing firm in 1893.  In 1905, he…

The Last Walk Through Pashley Gardens

Here are the final photos I’ll show from Pashley Gardens. Truly, if I had one garden that I liked the best above all others I have seen in the last two years, it would be this one. The setting among the rolling hills and ponds was breathtakingly quiet. The garden was immaculate with all flowers…

Thursday Doors at Great Dixter, Sussex, UK

Great Dixter is the private home and garden of the late gardener and gardening writer, Christopher Lloyd. First, let’s look at the doors I found there! We had a great deal of action with doors here……. keep the door open…….. Ring the bell loudly……… Don’t go in…….. Go in…….. Duck or grouse (grumble or complain…

Pashley Manor Garden, A Walk Around the Ponds

There are just so many many beautiful details to this garden I couldn’t resist showing more sculptures, the manicured garden and the walk along the ponds! Which way should we walk first? A cottage is nested in the woods! These little guys have a grand place to play! Maidens take a dip! We’re about to…