plane tickets are bought, rail passes and pounds sterling are ordered, the london hotel is booked and today was all about the itinerary...
we have a beautiful large work table in the garage, just the right size to spread out an extra-large map and just the right height to stand and pore over it for hours... ipad in one hand with the britrail map in view... pen in the other for making notes
mentally over-lapping the two to see if we can get where we want to go
it really didn't take all that long - we had a fairly good idea of where we need to go to see what we want to see - it was more a matter of deciding how many days to stay where
in looking so very closely at the map, it was amazing to me how many of the place names are familiar...the early canadian settlers were not very imaginative when it came to naming towns and rivers...
and along with finding the original holders of many canadian place-names, i found reading the map was also like re-visiting old nursery rhymes...
"ride a cock horse to banbury cross
to see a fine lady upon a white horse
with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
she shall have music where ever she goes"
sometimes i get overwhelmed when i think of how much england and scotland are so completely entwined with who i am... nursery rhymes, poetry, high school english literature and western civilization classes, geography and of course, family history
the people in the photograph below are one set of great-grandparents, the ones that emigrated to canada from scotland less than 100 years ago; above is where they came from
the child in the photograph was my grand-father, pictured below with his wife, my grand-mother
my grand-mother's mother emigrated from england along with her mother at around about the same time, her husband following a little later
the ring you see above and again below, was given to me on my wedding day; it belonged to my grand-mother's grand-mother, my great-great-grandmother julia
oddly enough i've managed to trace julia's family back to scotland as well, to a small town about 12 miles from where my grand-father's family had lived for generations... small, small world
i'm taking the ring with me
maybe i've seen and read "lord of the rings" too many times, but ever since it was given to me i have known i would take it back someday... for whatever reason, i know i have to wear that ring on this trip
after scotland we go to the south of england
marc has a hankering to go to penzance
"a cannibal bold of penzance
ate an uncle and two of his aunts
a cow and a calf, an ox and half
and now he can't button his pants!"
in my searching out of family history, i have had less success with my mother's side... her maternal grand-parents also emigrated from england, from westham but so far that's all i know
gentleman, caddy, turvey, eadie, henderson, whitehead, roberts, marshall, their names are tumbling around in my head, fleeting images of sober faces in dark clothes
(sometimes i forget that though their pictures may have been taken in black and white, the world they lived in was filled with the same beautiful colours we see today...)
i want to see where they lived, look at the same stars sparkling and wheeling in the night-sky, watch the same trees dancing in the wind, older now, and bigger, follow well-worn paths, smoothed a little by their very steps, and marvel at the water that still runs in the same river, sparkling in the sun as it streams through the little villages they called home...