Heading north on the Motorway from Crawley to Desford, we were lucky to experience only a couple of short traffic jams as travelers always expect long delays on England’s highways. Chris and I both enjoy looking at cars and The Mini was by far the most popular; we also saw many Jags, Fiats and BMW’s and a few classic Bentleys and many funky small delivery vans, some folks towing caravans and some smaller scale motorhomes on our trip.
After so many days packed with activity, it was a pleasure to arrive at “Dumbledykes”, Marilyn’s beautiful home in Desford. It sits on the edge of town with country views stretching out on three sides of the property. Look south and see sheep, west for crops and cattle and north to the woodland. Mike’s “footprints” are everywhere in the house and especially the gardens. It was very sad being there without our beloved friend Mike to greet us. It was so relaxing, sitting with a “cuppa” watching the Wood Pigeon, English Robins, Finches and Titmouse visit the birdfeeder.
The following day we did a few errands like grocery shopping and visiting the garden centre. The farms and towns that we passed were beautiful with their Tudor Revival, English Cottage-Style homes, their steeply pitched roofs, decorative half timbering, leaded windows, patterned brick or stonework thatched roofs and chimneys, each unique. The main road through towns usually held the familiar row houses huddled next to the Butcher Shop, Bakery, Florist and the Newsagent. Even a trip to the grocery store in a different town or country can be an experience!
We walked in the woods beside the small town of Ratby where the Bluebells bloomed in purple radiance. It is a common English experience to park just outside a town and walk a towpath or woodsy lane at any time of year. Bluebells join the Daffodil as English icons of Spring.
Our primary purpose for a visit to England was to visit Marilyn and pay respects to her late husband Michael. He rests in the most beautiful Natural Burial Ground, just outside the town of Quorn. The grounds are comprised of a parcel of country fields, wild flowers, and quiet woodland. When loved ones are buried, the family selects a tree, native to the area. After the tree grows large enough, a name plate is fixed to the tree. Many people erect birdhouses near the gravesites as well. Filled with apple blossoms and spring wild flowers, the meadow is the most beautiful and tranquil place. Looking skyward above where Mike lay, we watched a plane fly over. It is a bonus that David, Marilyn and Mike’s son and airline pilot, often flies the route above the burial grounds.
Mike was a passionate train buff and it was fitting that his wake, last May was held at The Manor House across from The Quorn and Woodhouse Heritage Railway Station. We enjoyed a delightful lunch at The Manor House.
We enjoyed a stroll beside the Vintage Trains, Waiting Room, Signal Box and many other steam powered tractors and machines of The Main Line, Great Central Railway.