A site for my handmade cards, accompanied by my photos and written meanderings which are occasionally witty, often tongue-in-cheek, and rarely profound. Beginning in June 2013, you'll also see lots of NBUS, which is an acronym I coined for Never-Before-Used-Schtuff. Feel free to join in, use the acronym, and use up your NBUS too! Thanks for coming by! Have a beverage and enjoy!

August 10, 2016

England Grand Tour, Leg X ~ London

Greetings! 

Finally I have returned with the last chapter in my Grand Tour across England! I took 1,677 photos on my trip, a ton of them in London, so it's taken a while to go through them all. Without further a dew, I will get right to it!

With hugs all around, and new friendships formed, we all said goodbye to a wonderful weekend Happy Little Stampers Retreat in Swindon. From there my sweet friend Val gave me a lift to London, the last stop on my tour. Since a major bike race was taking place in the city that day, we detoured north of the metropolis to Val's beautiful home (where she has the wee-est and most organized craft space ever!) to pick up her husband Jim.

[For this part of the story Jim is playing the Sherpa role normally played in my life by the Mister. Bless him. Well, bless them both for that matter.]

After a quick refresher, we embarked together on the London Tube with my worldly possessions which had grown considerably following the Retreat. As I'd never been on the Tube, it was yet another adventure! It is much like our BART system in the Bay Area. Detraining at Pimlico we found my hotel somewhat hidden like a jewel among the bushes.

Val and Jim kindly schlepped me and my schtuff up to the fourth floor. As the hotel was not air-conditioned, my room was 92-96 degrees and the window would only open three inches to stop overwrought hot and sticky guests from jumping. It was no wonder that Val and Jim declined my invitation to sit a few minutes to rest! Again, bless. And many thanks to them both for their generosity and assistance!

I could write a play about what happened next ... . It's a very long story but the punch line is that I ended up eating my dinner in a nearby restaurant dressed in my pajamas under a light jacket. In London. Yes, yup, yes I did. Please don't tell the children.

~~~

In the light of the next day, I could look back and laugh at the comedy of errors from the night before and look forward to the arrival of my long-time bloggie friend Gay Peplow of Crafty Musings.
You can tell from that beautiful smile that Gay was one very fun lady to share my London adventure with! Gay lives about an hour outside the city so she had to trek in by train each day. Originally we had made plans to have lunch on one of the two days I was in London, but as the time drew closer, Gay offered to join me as I saw the highlights of London both days. She also asked me about seeing a play and made all the arrangements for that and for tickets on the bus tour. What a doll!

So you know how I've been bragging that I brought the California sunshine with me and had some sun every day of my trip for fifteen days in a row? Well, shootums, can you believe the rain decided to appear for London? It did dawn lovely, so I was caught unprepared without my rain jacket. Gay loaned me her scarf to cut down the chill as we gamely stayed on the upper deck of the bus despite the drizzle. And despite the drizzle, I got some fabulous photos of this fantastic city.

Some iconic images.
Statues.
More statues.
Jewels.
Enjoying an impromptu and delicious pub meal Monday evening.
Tuesday dawned cloudy and I wore my jacket, but the drizzles were inter mitten. We walked around the city and even went shopping for a second suitcase for me in Primark. I love the architecture of the city, both the old and the new. 
The green space and majestic ancient trees were awesome throughout the city. Most of these photos were taken in St. James Park.
Flowers were all around.
Snapshots.
Before the theatre on Tuesday night, I took a quick photo of Gay outside Pret a Manger.
When I had the film developed (haha), I couldn't help but get a kick out of the guy standing near Gay.
Ahhh, people are sometimes funny and adorable, aren't they? I can't imagine what I said to Gay in the moment that caused such a cute reaction in this guy!

All too soon, we were at the Apollo Theatre.
Windblown and rained on, we were absolutely delighted to be topping off our adventure by seeing "Wicked!"

Thank you, Gay, for the gift of YOU and more for two memorable days in London! It was a perfect ending to a truly perfect trip of a lifetime!

~~~

I hope my trip will inspire you if you ever find yourself thinking you "can't" do something that you want to do! I still have to pinch myself that I did this all by myself even with lots of planning and the help of dozens of dear friends! Believe me, if I can do this, YOU can do anything!


I'll be taking a break to continue to make and write thank you notes (showing the backs of the first batch). Plus we are going to enjoy having the grandtwins for a weekend sleepover!

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS! Life is too short! 

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74 comments:

Rahmat said...

Darnell, I had been following all your adventures on my phone, couldn't comment, as I was on holiday as well. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading and specially the pictures with the blog land folks. How special this trip must have been.

Nancy said...

Looks like such a fun and exciting adventure, Thanks for sharing your photos!

Helen said...

what ana amazing end to your adventure, and I love your shots of London. hope you have a few days rest before you embark on another trip (ha ha). you have certainly made some memories to treasure.

Gay Peplow said...

What a wonderful way you have with words Darnell! Didn't we have just the best time! Lovely post, that guy didn't know that I was sideling up to get him in the photo, what a gent! LOL Have fun with the twins, mine are coming for four days on Sunday, it's all go when they're here! Have fun , hugs Gay xxx

Sue said...

Hi Darnell, I doubt if you had a travel agent work out your itinerary they couldn't have done as good as you did. To get everyone sorted for each leg of the trip must have taken ages.

So glad you enjoyed London even with the wet weather.

Have a lovely weekend with the twins. Sue

Linda Harris said...

Such a wonderful finale to your amazing trip. We saw Wicked last year and I loved it - hope you enjoyed it too. Enjoy the time your darling boys. X

Inkyfingers said...

Looks like you had a fab time in London but I'm agog to hear how you ended up eating out in your PJs! Have a great weekend with the boys.z💐

Kathyk said...

Oh Darnell, people can't help just having the best time around you (I include the guy on the phone in that too,mate!). Lovely photo collages too. I hope you have nothing but HAPPY memories of your rather brave solo GRAND TOUR, it was lovely to have some small part in the Darnell Roadshow!

Bet you slept well when you got home!

Kathyk

Linda said...

What a trip ..... I've enjoyed every minute, and what a fantastic collection of photos, great memories to cherish.
Enjoy the weekend with the grandkids xx

Julie B said...

What a way to round off your Grand Tour! Sorry the weather spoilt your last few days but this is England after all! My sympathy about the overheated hotel room. What is it with these places that think we want it so hot?
Once again well done with your organizing and planning, it seems to have been spot on.

Have a great time with the twins and thanks for the inspiration! xx

scrAPpamondo said...

You have had a SUPER time!!! Such a great tour!!!

Kathyk said...

Darnell, thank you soo, sooo much for the delivery this morning - pix on my blog tomorrow.

It was my pleasure, honest!

Kathyk

Glennis said...

What a grand adventure you have had - I am quite envious

Lia said...

It all looks sooo familiar to me. We can visit London every year because it's just on the other side of the Northsea. I am glad you are enjoying it and I love the way of the lay-outs of your pictures!
Lia xx

Michelle said...

Wow! What a fabulous collection of photos and what a fabulous couple of days in London! I enjoyed every moment, especially dinner in your pyjamas (I really want to hear THAT story). :-)

Liz said...

TFS photos of your trip to the UK. So pleased to have met you on your travels. London is one of my favourite cities and it looks like you had a fabulous time there seeing all the sights, despite the weather. I've never had dinner in London in my pyjamas - perhaps it's something to put on my 'bucket list'! ;-) I'm sure you have many wonderful memories of your adventure and it's a trip you'll never forget. xx

Marianne said...

Having dinner in your jammies at a London restaurant?! Surely there must be a sequel to this post after such a cliff hanger? loved to see the pictures of London. Cannot remember the last time I went there... Yes I can. I went there for a technical writers conference in 2000 and then DH joined me for the weekend. It was his first visit to London.
Hats off to you for arranging this trip and enjoying it too lol.
Marianne xxx

Carole said...

Glad you are back home safe and well after your escapades (they certainly sound to have had their moments.) It was a joy to meet you in Knutsford and your London trip sounds like the icing on the cake for you! We were in London last weekend and if you want to see what was the icing on the cake for us do pop by my blog! Well must dash...ironing to do.....only kidding but that conversation funnily enough will always stick in my mind..... no ironing sounds like a good reason to emigrate to America!!...or go in the craft room. PLEASE PLEASE put us all out of our misery with the pyjama tale...and on that note...take care! Hugs xx

Sandra H said...

Wow what a memory to take back home with you and l am so pleased you have shared all of those moments with your blogging friends and l am for l pleased to be part of your circle (Blogger) you look so well in all of the photos and it shows your having the time of your life thank you again take care sending lots of love xx

Dotty Jo x said...

What a fun time! thanks for sharing all your pics, Jo x

Cathy said...

What an awesome experience Darnell! It's been so much fun following you on your trip and putting faces to names. Glad you are home safe and sound, Cathy x

Valerie Nolan said...

Love this post Darnell, what fabulous photos! Amazing memories for you and all of us xxxx

Di said...

What a fabulous ending to your trip Darnell! I'm so glad you took a little time in London and that the lovely Gay was your companion/guide for that time. The open bus was a great idea dontcha think? :) And, I neeeeeed to know how-come you dined out in London in your PJs?!?! We're all agog! Wonderful, wonderful London photos too - I know so many of the places really well from my time spent there, it was a bit like a trip down Memory Lane.

Hugs

Di xx

Em Louise Fairley said...

SOOOOO glad you had such a great time in London. We need to hear about the pajama drama. Grin.
Hugs,
Em x

Jeanne said...

Thank you so much, Darnell for sharing your glorious trip of a lifetime with us! I've thoroughly enjoyed each post. You have shown what wonderful people there are throughout the world. Thank you for taking the time to pull these posts together, which I'm sure was a marathon effort. Have a spectacular time with your grandtwins and good luck getting all those thank yous written. That is definitely a labor of love, for sure. Big hugs and welcome home! :)

Pat said...

First off I would also like to say a big thank you for the wonderful surprise I too got this morning! It was the greatest of pleasure for us to show a lovely lady like you a little of our corner of the country and help you on your way, and so pleased you had a great last leg in London, and I'm so jealous you got to see Wicked. You must tell us more about the pajama episode...sounds intriguing! Love all the great photos and that pub sign with the gold Mr Punch was a good spot. Glad you are taking time to enjoy being back home amongst the family, mind you that looks like a lot of work in progress, but enjoy having the twins for the weekend too. x

Bunny said...

What a fantastic trip. A nice memory. Thanks for sharing all the photos. It was great to go along on the trip vicariously.

Sharon Underwood said...

Darnell, I'm so glad you had such a wonderful trip. It's really good that you were able to do all this. Enjoy your grandchildren!

Brenda in IN said...

Waiting with bated breath for the pajama story. I am so happy for you for getting to have this fantastic trip and think you are amazing for doing it. Coming to IN would be a piece of cake now! You met some lovely stampers and they were so very kind. Have a great weekend with the twins, I know you missed them. Hugs.

Sandy said...

You weren't kidding about the 1,600 photos, were you? So glad you shared them with us, it was fun to see London through your eyes.
Let me put in my vote for hearing the story of how you came to be out in London in your PJs.

Tracey McNeely said...

What an epic adventure Darnell! I think that you must have had the absolute best time! Love all of your photos of London! On my bucket list!

Loll said...

You've had the most amazing adventure with memories that will last a lifetime Dolly. So fantastic that you got to meet so many blogging friends and that bond has grown stronger. You must wonder at how fortunate you were to have so many generous friends helping you along the way with your trip as well. Crafters are the most generous and caring group of people.

Enjoy your blogging break, enjoy the grands .. and take some time to relax with the Mister. Lolly xx

Viv said...

Aww what great photo's and lovely memories for you too Dee! so glad you enjoyed your stay in the UK and got home safely too ;) hugs Viv xx

Barb said...

I've been away so still catching up on lots of your tales but so glad you enjoyed you last few days in London. Your photos are wonderful but what a shame you had wind and rain. You obviously didn't cross your fingers when you spoke about the sunshine you'd brought over here to us. Dining out in London in PJ's sounds intriguing. As the saying goes "That's one to tell the grand children. Have a lovely time with them and so sorry I wasn't one of the lucky ones who got to meet you. Barbxx

I Card Everyone said...

One cannot see London without a little rain, Darnell! What an adventure you've had ... trip of a lifetime, for sure. [side note: my great-greats lived very near St. James Park, in Westminster and they were married in St. Martin of the Fields church in Trafalgar Square! GGF was a piano forte maker - there are such stories there that I wish I were privy to!]
=]

Jacquie Southas said...

Well, obviously we need more details of how you ended up eating out in your pajamas. Thanks for sharing so much of this amazing trip, Darnell! I have a feeling it won't be long before you are dreaming of and making another adventure happen :)

conil said...

Oh boy, you got to see WICKED...IN LONDON!!! What a treat and it was lovely that your friend, Gay, arranged it all. Seeing London in the rain was kind of iconic, wasn't it? Good thing your companion seemed ready for it. Shopping is always fun in faraway places. Not surprised, at all, that you needed another suitcase. All the photos are fantastic...great photography and collages. Have to say though, I'm a bit intrigued about eating in your pajamas IN PUBLIC. I look forward to that story.

Redanne said...

What a testament to London, it just shows how anonymous you can be in that grand city - to be able to wear PJ's unnoticed!! Lol. I love that story and what a wonderful visit, despite the rain, your photos are as good as any tourist book! And you got to see Wicked too, how fabulous. Gay certainly did you proud, what a lovely lady she is!

Hope you have a great sleepover with the Grandies! Big hugs, Annie xxx

Cara said...

You know that you have to spill the story about dining in your jimjams. We'll allow you to recover from your weekend sleepover before you tell us, we are nice people after all! Lovely to hear that you enjoyed your trip, we all certainly enjoyed meeting you. Cara x

Julia Aston said...

I am in total awe of your wonderful trip Darnell - I can't believe you were still standing at the end - you packed so many friends, locations and activities into your trip - truly a lifetime experience - wonderful photos of London!! Julia xx

OH Babs said...

I have loved sharing in your journey and your adventures. PJ's? How wonderful all your blog friends have met you up close and personal. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting you know they have been blessed my your kindness and sense of humor. So proud of you for having put on your big girl panties.

Jeanne H said...

I have so enjoyed your pictures and these collages are just wonderful. London is on my bucket list! Thanks ever so much. I hope your weekend is fun and relaxing. I too, though, want to hear about the PJ's. Hugs!

Sarah said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your diary Darnell and this was a fantastic post and I am delighted that you enjoyed our part of the world so much xx

Julia Dunnit said...

My gosh you really packed in a lot of London, does Gay know her way around or was this well planned? I really like the photo montages, specially the old and new architecture....even us Brits need reminding of such things! What a trip, what a great account, so lucky to have been able to meet you in your travels, thank you!

Kathleen said...

Brilliant post, as always and so very glad that you had a wonderful time, the lovely Gay seems to have done you proud.

Kath xx

Cat Craig said...

What a finish to your grand tour! I have so been enjoying your story telling Darnell, but I feel like I am missing out...ya gotta spill the beans on the pj story! Welcome home again and enjoy the boys.

Carol Hintermeier said...

What a great trip you had!!! You sure have my curiosity going wondering how you ended up at dinner in your PJ's! You have to tell us!! LOL! Your pics are fab! Brings back memories of when my hubs and I honeymooned in London--30 years ago this October!! Thanks for sharing!!

Gay Peplow said...

I received a fabulous pressie today, Thank you Darnell, thay are gorgeous :D xxx I have messaged you :D

Sybrina K said...

So many wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. :)

Jean said...

Such amazing memories!

shirley-bee said...

What a wonderful finale to your trip, Darnell! It was only right that you got to experience the best of England's drizzle after sharing so much of your Californian sunshine with us ;) The photos looks fabulous - I'm sure I've been in the Punch Tavern :)
Can't wait to hear about the PJ dinner....

frommycraftroom said...

What an adventure! Thanks for sharing all your pics of your travels and get togethers with blogging friends. :)

Susan said...

You really had a great adventure! I almost feel like I was on the trip with you and kind of wish I was. That was very brave of you to do that on your own I'm not sure I could do that. I do want to hear that pajama story. I know it must be a really good one. Glad you're back home safe and sound. Enjoy your time with the twins.

Lisa said...

Wonderful wonderful photos Darnell, thanks for sharing them!! The highlight of your trip for me...picturing sweet adorable you having dinner in your PJs!!!

Susan said...

Darnell, I totally applaud you for organizing and going on that fabulous trip all on your own! What an adventure! And what a thrill to meet all those blog friends. I've enjoyed reading every post and seeing your fabulous photos.

Susanne Vargas said...

I really enjoyed reading about your trip! Thanks for letting us be part of it! It really seems to have been the trip of a lifetime! But I agree with some of the others: You'll have to tell us the story about your dinner in PJ's; you can't leave us hanging like that...

Zelda C said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photo's and journey with us. What a fantastic trip creating special memories and long-lasting friendships. But you're going to have to tell us the pajama story....... ;)

sandie said...

So sorry to have missed you, next time xx

Pollard Carole said...

Wonderful you certainly had an amazing day lovely photos so many memories to treasure Love and hugs Carole x

Brenda said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful trip Auntie and such beautiful friends you got to spend time with!!! I love how friendly everyone was and at how they took such good care of you while you were there! The sights of London are just beautiful, loving that park with the beautiful old trees!!!! The flowers, statues and buildings are so amazing and beautiful as well, loved seeing them! But it was the picture you took of Gay that had that man in it. That was so cute!!! The smile on his face just said it all. lol I'm so glad you had such a wonderful trip. I know you said anyone could do it, but don't think I could...heck I don't even shop much in my small town by myself and I can get lost in my own backyard if you spun me around enough. lol But you sure made me think I might would think about something like this. And look at you, already on top of your card making! You amaze me Auntie!!! Enjoy those sweet grandtwins!! Hugs, Brenda

Paper Creations by Shirley said...

Another fabulous 'leg' of your amazing UK vacation. Gay seems like such a nice lady, it's wonderful that you got to meet her IRL and spend a couple of days touring London. Thanks for sharing details and photographs of your amazing vacation. Hugs xxx

Geri said...

Thank you soooooooooo much for sharing your fabulous journey with us! Your pictures are AMAZING and so are all the wonderful folks that welcomed you with open arms and shared their time and country with you! Enjoy your bloggie break - you deserve it!

Jeanne J. said...

Next time take me with you.. wish you could hear me oohing and ahhing over the photos..I giggled at the guy with the hard hat. how fun! you made me feel 16 again! Betcha said "hey darlin" or something to that effect!

Ros Crawford said...

Haha! I would love to hear how you came to be eating in your PJ's... What a terrific time you must have had and what a lovely lady Gay is to have joined you. I am so very happy that you enjoyed our country and got to see the sights and meet all your lovely blog friends. I know I will treasure the meeting and I'm sure you will have many happy memories and tales to tell those boys of yours... Have a beautiful weekend lovely lady! xxx

Janelle said...

What an amazing tour you've shared with us. I've loved your photos and the stories that went with them. I'm glad you got home safe and sound. looking forward to seeing what cards you create next. ☺

Janelle said...

What an amazing tour you've shared with us. I've loved your photos and the stories that went with them. I'm glad you got home safe and sound. looking forward to seeing what cards you create next. ☺

Maura R said...

Welcome back, Darnell!! What an amazing adventure and I love how you saw an opportunity and took the risk to make this happen! Way to go!

I have loved all the pics and hearing all your stories - thanks for sharing with us!

Shona Chambers said...

What an incredible time you had and I bet the Mister so was pleased to see you back home again. So many memories and photos, you will be still flying high from your trip for a few weeks. So happy for you that it all went well, you got to meet so many of your friends and you made it back home in one piece. We all missed you!!!!

Greta said...

Enjoy the twinks--I know you must have missed them as well as The Mister while you enjoying your trip of a lifetime! So fun to see your pictures & oh my goodness--dinner in pj's--love it! At least you didn't decide to sleep outside on a park bench--must have been pretty miserable! Sounds like you ended on a high note, though--so happy for you!

Gerrina said...

I had so much fun reading all about your grand tour! Most of it I read during my own vacation in the UK (Manchester, Leeds and York) and I can only say it is so good to see what a hobby and a blog could make a change in life! So great to see that it is possible to make friends just by blogging that you otherwise would never know nad find! Things like this make me feel that the world is and still can be such a wonderfull and fine place!
Thanks for sharing your adventures! It says to me: do more what you want; you can do it!
Hugs, Gerrina

Misty Elam said...

Hi Darnell!!! I LOVE reading about your adventures and seeing your wonderful pictures!! What an experience!! And how cool that you were able to meet up with some of your crafty friends in real life!! I got a good chuckle out of the look on that guys face that is standing next to your friend, Gay. His look is priceless and I can only imagine WHY he's looking at your like that. hahaha Glad you are back home safely. :)

Neets B said...

Sorry for the late visit, sweet Darnell. It's so great to see what you got up to after leaving the retreat and before heading home. I'm sure the memories of this trip will stay with you for many years to come, what an achievement to meet so many people who share your hobby. Fabulous photos and memories xx

Anita in France said...

What an amazing finale to your trip, Darnell ... all those amazing sights, sounds, meetings, experiences ... indeed, a true adventure! It's been a joy to share it through your posts ... looking forward to hearing more about 'The Pyjama Incident' ... so impressed you had a light jacket that matched them!! LYAMYTACWTSY! Bigs Hugs & bisous, bisous, Anita :)

Lisa Tilson said...

It has been wonderful reading about your trip Darnell - so many memories for you, and hugely impressive organisation on your part! Sounds like you had such a fabulous time, seeing the sights and meeting old and new friends along the way. Sorry rainy London let you down in the end, it's even more beautiful in the sunshine, but of course I am biased :)