Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Last, From Europe

Yes, to tell the truth, I am blog-weary as well as travel-weary. I will be brief. On our return from Cambridge, my sister kindly came to pick us up at Harpenden railway station, and we spent a couple of pleasant hours over lunch before returning to the family house here. A blessed hour or so of rest and a while spent playing with the children before heading out, we five adults, myself and Ellie, my son Matthew and Diane and my sister Flora, to a very pleasant dinner at a Harpenden pub, just a short drive from home. Here we are, most of us:



Diane...


Flora and Ellie...


and Matthew....

Flora came over Sunday morning for a cup of tea out on the lawn, staying until the family left on an expedition to the Luton Hoo,




a modest little country estate, converted recently into an upscale hotel. We wandered around for a while inside, a motley crew, somewhat misplaced in the grand surroundings,






then ventured outside into the gardens surrounding the mansion. Picture time.










After which, we repaired to the stables, a ways distant from the house, where they have opened a brasserie-type restaurant for the hoi-polloi, with neatly set tables surrounded by movie stills from pictures that were made here ("Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Eyes Wide Shut," and many others.)



(Alice is trying on Ellie's glasses...)



A nice lunch, only briefly interrupted by my artful spilling of red wine all over the table--and myself. Ellie and I opted out, when done, for a brief walk at the edge of the woods surrounding the stables, where we found dozens of old-growth rhododendrons, a personal favorite of mine since childhood, when I grew up amidst a grove of these glorious flowering shrubs. I took many pictures, of which these are a few...








Back home, Alice left for a Hawaiian-theme birthday party, doesn't she look beautiful?



While the rest of us had a lot of fun with keraoke, courtesy Playstation 2,





and a lovely family dinner, expertly prepared for us by Diane.



And... an early bed. Here's Matthew, looking like I feel!



Today, Sunday, we're looking forward to a day of rest.

3 comments:

MandT said...

Fun, family, kids, flowers and celebration----now that's the essence of joy!

citizen of the world said...

Looks like it's been a fantastic trip all the way around.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

That appears to have been a fine, if tiring, family day. I hope that Sunday brought you the rest you needed.