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This is supposed to be a post about gardens, but I have a feeling it isn’t going to turn out that way…

The Gardening Gals on the ferry (minus one gal who couldn’t travel this time)

It can probably be said of all of us that people are in our lives for a reason.  For me, I am pretty sure that every single person in my life has been hand picked just for me: and I laugh as I say “mostly to teach me things” as I think my motto in life is that “I am still learning”! 🙂

This lovely group of ladies in the photo above, which we nick-named “the gardening gals”, started out teaching me about gardening.  They know an incredible amount about flowers! I am amazed at how they remember all of the flower names, both common and scientific. And of course they know what conditions the flowers need to flourish, and the types of soil required, and so on. They are so patient with me, as I learn from them. Not only do they share their knowledge with me, they also share their flowers!  My garden has benefited season after season.

Happy Birthday Susan!

I digress a tiny bit.  Let me come back to this particular post:

Our gardening group gets together every so often to visit each other’s gardens, visit other gardens, or just to visit with each other.  We are all connected through one core “member” and her name is Susan.

Susan is an organizer.  She can organize anything and everything and she does so with flair!  She decided that for her birthday we would take our garden tour on an international level. And so the planning began and she did, in fact, organize every aspect of our trip!ferry time: Rosslare, Ireland to Fishguard, Wales

To start things off, we all met at in incredibly early hour of the morning to drive down to Rosslare where we would then take the ferry to Wales. I think Susan’s plan was that we’d be quiet and maybe even sleep on the drive down.  But the craic* was mighty in the back seat that morning!  The three of us in the back of the car jumped from topic to topic laughing all the while.  The fact we hadn’t seen each other recently and we all have so much going on in our lives helped to feed our conversations … non-stop.

*craic: term used in Ireland to describe what is going on

I managed to crochet on our trip (in the car, on the ferry, in the evenings…)

We planned to make a quick stop at a petrol station (or as I would say “gas station”) before arriving at the ferry.  I’d say our timing was perfect, at least for the young driver who was not making any progress with his attempt to push his car up the service station ramp.  A quick note here of what I observed: most motorists arriving that (early) morning were alone in their cars, so the fact that four of us could jump out of the car and help to push a stalled car out of the roadway and to a safe place is rather noteworthy.  He thanked us, and we were on our way, feeling all the better.

The grounds at Miskin Manor, Cardiff

We arrived for our ferry in plenty of time, and thankfully had a calm journey across the sea.  Funny enough, once we started our journey in Wales, the car started making an odd noise!  We ignored it for a while, but then decided to find someplace to pull over and investigate further.  How lucky for us that we decided to do this, because we happened upon the most lovely manor in Cardiff.

on the grounds at Miskin Manor, Cardiff

Miskin Manor is a former Abbey now converted into a hotel Manor.  The grounds were so lovely, we were delighted to have made this tiny detour.

http://www.miskin-manor.co.uk/

The grounds at Miskin Manor, Cardiff (those seats are carved crabs!)

The weather was sunny and warm and perfect for stretching our legs with an enjoyable tour around the beautiful grounds.  I can see why so many couples choose here for their wedding celebration!

The grounds at Miskin Manor, Cardiff

a woody and natural setting highlighted with daffodils and primroses

More good news: the car was fine.  So on we went with our journey.

flowers from the grounds of Miskin Manor, Cardiff

Our next stop was to Chipping Campden, in the Cotswolds.  It was a long drive to there, but it was so worth it!  The little town is picturesque, with lovely old buildings all of a golden hue, cobbled streets and everything within walking distance in the main part of the town.  We ate out, we ‘cafe’d’, we shopped (some more than others and I would be the most guilty here!), we meandered: We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

http://www.chippingcampden.co.uk/contentok.php

We stayed in an old converted Inn. The terraced house, named the Rose & Crown House, was absolutely charming, and perfect for the five of us.

What is your house named?

yep, I even liked the front door

We loved the beautiful, old converted Inn we stayed in

Our terraced house in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, U.K. (what lovely staddle stones!)

We, of course, loved the garden.  It was April and we were quite lucky with the weather.  The days were sunny and warm, while the evenings were cool, but not too cold.

the back garden of our converted Inn

my bedroom on the third floor (watch your step and your head!)

the family portraits in the dining room were interesting (although this one was rather intense)

Our time in the dining room stands out in my mind.  Here is where we delved into some deeper conversations, but also some very funny conversations (thank you Debbie!).  But in actuality, it was over the course of the entire weekend that we enjoyed true fellowship with one another.

out and about in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, U.K.

I had an overwhelming sense that these very special women were placed in my life to help guide and support me right now. What a wonderful feeling that is!

boots outside a shop – now this is my kind of town 🙂

I loved this door handle

the town was inviting

There is a special something in the air which you can only experience really early in the morning (other parents of swimmers can maybe relate to this!).  For those who venture out at that time, it is really an experience. We decided to go for a walk early on Sunday morning and the views with the sun were worth getting up early for!

early morning walk in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, U.K.

the only ones we saw on our early morning walk in Chipping Campden were these sheep!

I had to run to keep up because I was constantly stopping to take pictures 🙂

great spirits for such an early hour in the morning!

some of the beautiful buildings in Chipping Campden

something you don’t see everyday

and here it is! The Cart Wash!

We did, indeed, visit two incredible gardens (Hidcote and Kiftsgate) but I will save those pictures for another post.  I would certainly encourage you, should you be so inclined, to venture out and go see some gardens near and afar!  Before we had even finished our time away, we were talking of plans for “next time”!

just enough time…

I was so lucky timing wise, that I could make this trip. Maybe you know the feeling of having an incredibly busy schedule? Everything fell into place perfectly for me to take this trip.  Kinda like destiny 🙂

This little get-away was so special for me.  The ‘gals’ once again helped me to see that we should cherish the people in our lives, enjoy each other’s company, and whatever time you have you should spend it with those who love and support you.

In peace,
Dana

p.s. I have hundreds more pictures, and it was so hard to pick which ones to post.  I hope you enjoyed these! The garden ones WILL come, but it might take some time 🙂

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