a writer on a blog that i read (a working sheep farm!) made this same list in honor of elizabeth II’s 60th, and since i have a laundry list of things i love about ol’ blighty, i thought i’d join in the fun.
10 things i love about britain
- oxford. the magical spires, the bells ringing on sunday mornings, the cobblestone streets. the shaldonian, magdelen college deer park, st. cross road and the covered market. temple cowley school (where i attended 3rd form), st. aldate’s church, Brown’s restaurant, and blackwell’s bookshop.
- london. the underground, paddington train station, and the black london cab. the theatre district, the fringe theatre district, and the national theatre. westminster abbey, st. paul’s cathedral, the tower of london and its ravens. gorgeous old pubs and haunting walking tours (like the jack the ripper walking tour after dark). the british museum, tate gallery, national portrait gallery.
- castles. CASTLES! real, medieval CASTLES!
- cathedrals. gorgeous and awe-inspiring.
- the accent. the different spellings and pronunciations of “schedule” and “aluminium.” and different words like, “chips” for fries, “the lift” for elevator, and “tea” for dinner.
- the landscapes of ancient, old, magical, and country-lush.
- the british B&B. broiled tomato and egg breakfast, shared loo, ceiling-chain-for-toilet-flushing. british youth hostels.
- the food: bangers and mash, meat pies, and custards. the best “sweets”: cadbury chocolate, maltesers, aero bars, flake-bar-in-vanilla-ice cream, wine gums! tea with milk and sugar, scones and clotted cream and jam. a pint at the local. restaurants like Browns, Wagamama, and Harrods for afternoon tea, but also the small cafes that serve curries and fish and chips.
- the big issue. i bought it as often as i could on my walks to and from the tube on work days. usually from the same location.
- royalty. yep, i’m a sucker for the Royals. as patriotic as i am for America, i have a bit of a crush on British Royal history.
we had a lovely thanksgiving traveling 10 hours east to massachusetts to spend with two of kenny’s brothers.
thursday was our cooking day…my sister-in-law prepared the standard turkey dinner while i took notes in my head (dry sherry makes an already delicious turkey gravy 100% tastier; a stick of butter inside the cavity of the turkey makes the white meat even juicier, etc). we cooked, we ate, we played Wii. fabulous!
on friday, we caravaned down to plymouth, massachusetts where we toured the mayflower II and Plimouth Plantation which were just fantastic living history areas of a colonial village and a Wampanoag village.
Steve and Peg’s (brother and sister in law) have a wood stove in their kitchen eating area. every time we leave their house after staying with them we plan out how to have working fireplaces and a wood stove in our home. it’s just the best heat!
in a world of GPS, we still use maps that we pick up free from AAA.
over the river and through the woods….
we traveled a good bit yesterday and got to our destination a lot earlier than we anticipated (what with it being the busiest travel day of the year and all). i’m so thankful for modern travel – the ability to jump through a few states in a day, and for family time on holidays. we are in massachusetts with two of kenny’s three brothers. i’m thankful for little cousins and late-night adult conversations. i’m thankful for a roaring fire in a kitchen woodstove, hot coffee while the littles still sleep in the morning.
happy thanksgiving to everyone! i hope thankfulness and joy surrounds you and your families today!
there is a reason i’m being inundated with GRACE these days. comments, songs, prayers….the theme of grace is everywhere around me. the fact is, it’s always around…but for some reason i’m taking more notice of it now:
”The Law tells me how crooked I am; Grace comes along and straightens me out.”–Dwight L Moody
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. ~ Galatians 2:21
I can’t imagine a faith without grace. Perhaps we’re not meant to imagine such a thing…because we’d fail.
I’m thankful for a simple faith with hard-to-understand-yet-freely-given grace.
i’m so thankful for tea and the down comforter and flannel sheets on our bed. i’m so thankful for the end of the day when i get to cozy up and be comforted by these things.
especially after long, painful mondays.
on sundays in late november and all through december and EVEN january, i am so thankful for the Church Calendar. today is Christ the King Sunday, the last sunday in the liturgical church calendar, and the last sunday of Ordinary Time.
i cannot do this day justice through my own words, so i leave you with the incredible words of Christ the King Prayers:
A Song to the Lamb
Splendor and honor and kingly power
are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is,
and by your will they were created and have their being;
And yours by right, O Lamb that was slain,
for with your blood you have redeemed for God,
From every family, language, people, and nation,
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
And so, to him who sits upon the throne,
and to Christ the Lamb,
Be worship and praise, dominion and splendor,
for ever and for evermore.
~ Book of Common Prayer, 1979 (Revelation 4:11; 5:9-10, 13)
Collect for the Solemnity of Christ the King
Almighty and merciful God,
you break the power of evil and make all things new
in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
May all in heaven and earth
acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
~ Catholic Collect
a great lion, four curious children, and a magical land under a spell….
i loved the story of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe so much as a child that I barely remember the other books in the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. it was one of the first books we read aloud to the boys, and we’ve since watched the newer version of the moview twice…the second time being last night.
the boys can’t just watch a movie passively. they process the entire story as they watch it, they need to “snuggle” during the intense parts, and they jump up, talk through what happens next (to reassure not just us but themselves that it ends up GOOD in the end), and each time we’ve watched it, we’ve had to skip the aslan on the stone table scene.
i’m so thankful for the genius that is C.S.Lewis. i’m so thankful that he wrote the Gospel story in such a beautiful work of literature. i’m thankful that my dad read it to us aloud when my brothers and i were kids, and i’m thankful that my kids have heard the story, seen the story, sang the story and understand as best they can right now, the story that is central to our lives.
i’m thankful for the scads of dust bunnies in the corners of my home today. because for the past few days you couldn’t see them! seeing them today means that the SUN is OUT!
i never realized how much i thrived on sunshine…how much the sun boosts my mood – almost instantly. i don’t need anything artificial, all i need is sunshine! yesterday, the sun peaked through the clouds for literally 5 minutes total – in brief 30 second intervals. each time, i was standing with my back to a window and i could feel absolute warmth melt the cold shivers. it was like a sugar high!
i am so thankful for sunny days, for sunny forecasts, for the sun in general. i am thankful for the earth’s proximity to the sun!
there was a fabulous lady in my old church named florence. she recently passed away but not for lack of living! this woman lived to 100 (at least!) and each day, she lived like it was her last ever since i knew her (we were introduced about a decade ago).
she knew movie trivia better than anyone i knew. we met for lunch several times and she treated me to a viewing of Gone with the Wind at a local theatre (my first time seeing it). one day, when her eyesight began to go, she invited me up to her apartment and gave me her sewing machine. it was roughly 50 years old and portable but she said i was bound to use it more than her, so it was mine if i would just carry it out of the apartment for her.
and so began my love of sewing.
the machine has since died (the motor, i think…), but i still have it. perhaps one day i’ll have it serviced and it’ll be like new again. i have a newer machine now that enables me to do basic sewing and i’m thankful for it. but nothing beats a sturdy green machine given as a gift from a woman who knew how to live.
i’m thankful for the times i spent with florence, and her gift of a sewing machine. i’m thankful for the time i have these days to sew…and for boys who beg to press the pedal, or flip the “reverse” switch while i sew. it can be a bit annoying to have three boys hanging over your shoulder…but when i get annoyed by these things, i instantly remember how thankful i am that they’re there with me, not dis-interested in what i do. yet.
i’ll be the first to admit that our meals (and meal times in general) are not perfect. they are not perfectly well balanced, vegetables are spat out, full white pasta is preferred over whole grain amongst the littles, and there is a fair share of leveraging for eaten meals in exchange for being excused from the table.
there are evenings that i’m so tired of BEGGING our youngest to eat, tired of the complaints that this is “SO NOT MY FAVORITE MEAL” and a little tired of the silliness that ensues when we’re sitting around the table come 5:30 or 6:00 every night.
but…at least we are all sitting around the table every night. i know that this could change once we get more involved in outside activities but we have set the standard high since the beginning of our family: eating together, most meals of the day.
i’m thankful that we all expect a dinner at the kitchen table every evening together. i’m thankful that i enjoy cooking. i’m thankful that my husband is a great cook and cooks for us on occassion. i’m thankful for the times we share our table with friends and family. i’m thankful for a big dining room table around which we can share meals with others. i’m thankful for food, family, fellowship.
and obviously alliteration.