If you have been wondering about my whereabouts rest assured MI5 are now looking to recruit me as an international spy based on my cloak and dagger expertise lol. More on that later!
After the longest coach ride i have ever had (almost 13 hours!!)
I arrived at Victoria Street station in London. It was a chilly morning and so it was time to find a hot drink and a snack as i waited for the bus to Chelmsford. The station was bustling with people heading off to an assortment of locations both in the UK and on the continent. I found myself a spot with a view of the departure board and made myself comfortable. At 10.50am it arrived at the station and a small group of us climbed aboard for the 2 hr trip to my destination.
Traffic was very thick due to tons of construction and roadworks and an accident that had traffic being diverted from otber routes. Still we got out of London in an hour and arrived in Chelmsford on time.
What a lovely feeling to see my gorgeous friend waiting for me at the station. There are some people that you can be far away from yet they hold such a special place in your heart. Sally is definitely one of those in my life. So i felt really blessed to be here with her. We headed back to her house and i finally put down my bags.
Now the real covert operation began. I am heading to a family event on 22nd September with family on my dads side so i am laying low to not let the cat out of the bag that i am here! But i will try and catch up with mums side of the family. The challenge is not to bump into anyone who i am trying to surprise while i see people. Difficult when both sides of the family come from a stones throw from each other. Still i will do my best.
First on the list of to do’s is to visit some family favourites. High Roding was first on the list. Sally had lived here with here mum and dad and brother. For me, lots of my aunties, uncles and cousins had also lived here.
Mum and lots of others had gone to school here. The old school house is now a private residence but is still beautiful.
The next stop was Great Canfield church. Nanny and Grandad Barker had lived opposite here and i remember running in the graveyard with my cousins when i was little. I found the headstone for some relatives and then we wandered around soaking up all the history.
This is a beautiful church that holds so many memories for me. Especially being a bridesmaid for my Aunty Colleen who is now buried in its grounds.
Then we drove around the village to stop at places that felt significant. Cuckoos lane, where great nanny Reeve lived.
Also The Chesnuts, behind the Green door was where i lived when i was little.
And yes there are chesnut trees… anyone for a game of conkers!!
Next it was a stop at the pond.
Time for a drive to Takeley to the iconic Four Ashes before we headed back to Canfield.
I love that the old red phone boxes are now mini village libraries, how wonderful. Sally had to tear me away before i borrowed a book. LolHome in Great Canfield Essex loving every minute.
The next day it was time for my surprise visit to Aunty Josie but first we did a drive around Dunmow past the Doctors Pond
All this exploring is hungry work and Scrumptious tea house was just the place to stop for snacks lol. Sally and i chatted and had our fill on yum delights. Oh and yes my half were GF!
I love surprises so we headed off to see Aunty Josie to carry out my first family visit. We were let in by a lovely lady who pointed us into a room full of people who had been at a special lunch. Think we managed the surprise quite well. ❤❤ It was lovely and everyone was smiling at Sally and I. They made us feel like celebrities. It was lovely to spread the love around the room. Bless..
Even met someone who went to school with Dad, Gwen and aunty Josie also knew Sallys mum so it was wonderful to share this surprise with them all.
What followed was an afternoon of stories, laughter and tender moments. It was really lovely.
Over the next few days lots of sightseeing with Sally so here are a few shots from Colchester:
Heybridge and Maldon.
We have had an amazing time wandering, chatting shareing things from our hearts.
I also got to catch up with Aunty Joan and Uncle Derek. It is actually a real blessing to be creeping around making little personal visits where we get the opportunity to really chat and laugh. My life is feeling pretty full.
Getting to catch up with Kay was an added gift
We have spent almost all our lives communicating across the world. Waiting for a letter, then emails and now messages. There is an absolute joy in being in the same space, laughing out loud, strolling along paths. My heart is full of gratitude for the opportunity to share part of this journey with Sally and family 🌼🌻🌺
Next up a couple of days with my lovely cousin Kay in Cambridge. Time to relax and see even more wonderful things.
Cambridge is beautiful and historic and arty and everything a university city should be. The student accomodation is fabulous…. wonder what i could enrol in??? Lol
Sightseeing is a strenuous business lol so we stopped in the market for awesome glutem fee brownies… couldn’t walk past those!! Then it was more sightseeing before heading home.
Time to head back to Kays for a rest. I love her garden, it is like three rooms in an outdoor space. There is a sense of flow and calm and i felt at home.
After a couple of lovely days swapping childhood memories and making new ones it was time for me to head back to Dunmow where Kay and I had dinner with her mum and dad before Sally picked me up and we headed back to Chelmsford.
I have slept well every night here. Probably due to a combination of fresh country air, laughter, love and walking. Feeling very blessed.
A wander around Chelmsford made me smile. There is balance in all things in the universe so in returen for all the essex girl jokes here is a reminder that essex boys exist too!! Lol
Chelmsford cathedral is a gorgeous mix of the old and the new and a lovely place to quietly wander.
Who would have guessed that one tree of life painting could contain so many stories.
Next stop was in Writtle. We were actually on our way somewhere else and i was telling Sally that my Great Nan came from Writtle and that i didnt know anything about her. So it was that we thought we would have a look at the church and cemetery on the off chance a bit of the family tree puzxle might be found.
There is something magical that happens along the journey of life and if you allow it to flow wonderful things happen. Lets just say we made some finds that might lead me to the missing piece in my family puzzle. Soon we had worked out way round the whole place and i came away with 18 clues… Unbelievable!
How somethings survive is astounding and our next stop was incredible. The oldest wooden church in the world!!! St Andrews Greenstead is both beautiful and incrdible.
I am humbled by the history and the passion of the locals who absolutely light up as they tell you the tall tales and true of thier village. This lovely church also threw up some clues in the family tree but thats a story for another day.
Last stop for the day was Hylands house and park. A beautiful estate with open parklands and squirrels playing under mighty oak trees. The air was crisp and cool so by the time we got home we were ready for tea.
There has been so much that i have seen, felt, loved that now lays softly in my heart forever. My next post will start in Falmouth, let the shenanigans begin.
Peace and light xxx