Monday, November 4, 2013

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

What a busy time I have had in the past week since returning from my holiday.  I've had to fit quite a few actions and attentions into allotted time, while trying to retain all my memories of the relaxing, energizing and inspiring vacation.

Around this time of the year I've often done some posts about Halloween and the New York City Marathon, but this year I am going to return to my holiday reporting.

Let's see, where was I?

One of the benefits of being a Tate friend/member is having access to a room and a balcony terrace on a top floor of the Tate Modern building.  The view is obviously rather spectacular.

In fact, once I had been reminded of the existence of the still fairly new suspension pedestrian bridge linking the two banks of the Thames, I decided that I must join the others headed towards St. Paul's.

The fact that the weather was clearing encouraged my decision.

Here is a view from one bridge looking east toward some other bridges, and other architectural features.

Lots of other folks were taking photos along our stroll.  As I was exiting the bridge, I decided to take the following photo of various reflections in the windows of a building just to the right of the bridge.  Perhaps I was still thinking about the "gradations" that Klee used in many of his watercolor paintings.

All my holiday time was not spent in London.  Early on one Monday morning I set off from the South Kensington tube station for a journey to Shropshire.

The South Ken station looks different, very different, from the NYC subways stations through which I usually commute.  We don't see much natural light or many hanging plants.

My train journey to Ludlow required me to make a transfer in Newport.  I was in Wales!

I was tempted to hop on that pretty blue train, but knew that my ticket to ride listed a different destination.

As the train neared Ludlow, my gazing through the train car's windows showed me that I would have a very soggy arrival.  I began to wonder about the strength of my little umbrella, and the length of the walk from the Ludlow train station to my historic hotel, The Feathers.

I was right to worry.  Not only did the open station platform provide rain; stiff winds were also part of the menu.  Up the hill I walked, umbrella swaying over my head.

How grand to finally reach my hotel, receive a warm welcome, dry off a bit in my cozy room, and within a half-hour, have the immense pleasure of meeting one of my very favorite blogging friends, known to you all as Friko.

I'd been looking forward to actually meeting Friko for many years, and she truly brought me such happiness on that very dark and rainy day.  I am so grateful to her for getting her own elegant self a bit wet driving in to Ludlow to meet me.

We had a leisurely, chatty lunch at the hotel while keeping an eye on the weather, hoping that the rain would lighten up enough to venture outdoors.  Friko knows Ludlow very well, and I definitely wanted to have her show me around this beautiful ancient yet modern town.

Thank goodness, the weather gods heard our plea and the rain withdrew to drizzle status, and so we were able to take a wonderful walk up and down hilly roads and see beautiful old buildings and note how Ludlow is more than a museum.  It is a functioning contemporary market town.  Not every market town has a castle like Ludlow's!

I am so delighted that Friko and I had this opportunity to get to know each other much better, and am already looking forward to getting together again whenever we may next find each other on the same side of the Atlantic.

The above photo was taken from one of the old windows of my hotel,  and shows a view of rush hour in Ludlow on a drizzly afternoon.

The following photograph shows Ludlow on the next morning.  The sky was clearing, but more precipitation seemed likely.  On a clear day, there would actually be a view of distant hills beyond those bunting flags.

I was hopeful that by midday the air would be dry.  I was to meet some more friends for lunch, and hoped for another fine walk around Ludlow.

I will be writing about that get together in my next post.  

My New York schedule now demands that I leave my laptop and Ludlow memories so that I can get myself to an appointment with my dentist.

Thank you for your visits and your comments.  I will endeavor to reply to your comments and questions as time permits.


  1. Glad you liked Ludlow.It is a lovely place to wander around.

  2. So glad you had such a varied look at parts of England. Ludlow is especially beautiful with its black and white buildings.

  3. I have been past Ludlow many a time but I can't actually recall ever dropping in. So thank you Frances, for the tour. As I have said many times before you should be working for the tourist board. Looking forward to the next instalment.

  4. Delighted you had such a fine visit across the pond.

    When you mentioned Ludlow, the first thing that came to mind was A. E. Housman's "When smoke stood up from Ludlow." I recall reading that in first year university, about 45 years ago. Good grief! The time as flown!

    Looking forward to reading more.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  5. Hello Frances! So you have been to the UK and went to Ludlow. Great experience, Shropshire, isn't it? And all those lovely ladies, too. Glad you had so much fun even in the rain. Looking forward to the next stop.

  6. There are some very old looking buildings there and I am pleased that you took some photos, even in the rain. It was so nice that you and Friko could meet – must have had quite a lot to talk about. I liked that Welsh sign – Casnewydd – such unlikely spelling from my eyes more used to Latin type words.

  7. It is such a shame you did not get to see more of Wales, maybe next time? It looks like you had a very happy day with Friko in lovely Ludlow.

  8. Glad you enjoyed Ludlow - another fan here!

    Hope you'll return one day - we've lots to show you just across the border.

  9. What a pity it was such a wet day. But that’s what you get round here at this time of year. No guarantees.

    I am amazed how much you pack into your trips; you have reminded me how much I like London. i really must go again.

    Looking forward to seeing you again.

    I hope your tooth is fine, it was’t anything to do with English toffees, was it?

  10. Hi Frances .. I didn't get to Ludlow on my recent visit to meet up with Friko on my Hereford/ Shropshire/ Chester trip ... next time perhaps. Though a trip out to Friko's world is a lovely country car ride .. I was lucky having 4 wheels.

    Fascinating seeing your photos of London too .. and then the artistic reference to Klee in the window/ concrete photograph ..

    Love the photos ... and I too hope that dentist trip solved things for you .. cheers Hilary

  11. It is obvious that you have made the very best of your time in England, getting around and about and packing so much into each day. The weather has been very Britsh but when you are on holiday it doesn't seem to matter because there is always so much to fill the days in another country.
    Pleased you had an interesting and busy time and chance to meet friends. Your photographs tell the story so well.
    Now you are back home, it probably feels like a 'country dream' .

  12. what a lovely your blog with all the photos..just love it..

  13. Gosh, that's somewhere else I haven't seen - and what a treat to meet Friko too. All best wishes for your trip to the dentist. x

  14. Welcome back Francis. Happy to hear you had a good time in England and Wales. Such fun to meet your friend! Hope you will be visiting Holland next time!!!

    Have a lovely day!

    Madelief x

  15. How marvelous that you met up with Valerie and Gretel in England! I just read her post.Miss Marple, I presume?

  16. Hi Frances; I can see you enjoyed your trip to England!
    Also nice that you met a Blog-Friend! Isn't that amazing !
    I've also been to Shropshire on gardentours once; beautiful countyside! I love the old white-black beamed houses (Tudor-style?)
    Greetings from Fleur in de polder

  17. Oh, what a treat! You and Friko together! How I wish I could have been tagging along -- Ludlow is beautiful!

  18. I love Ludlow too and Friko would be the perfect guide - erudite and witty! I do wish we can managed to get you up here, or me down there for that matter, Ludlow is only a couple of hours away. Next time!

  19. Delighted you had such a good time dear friend, and have forgiven you for coming so near to Ireland - and not getting here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Maybe next time ;-)

  20. You are such a good narrator, Frances! It's a pity the weather was rainy, but you prove that for good friends this can not be an obstacle! I like the architecture in Ludlow and guess your stay at the hotel with that beautiful name was romantic!:)

  21. So pleased you met with Friko. I was lucky enough to meet her some years ago in a Purplecoo meet-up. I am glad you liked Ludlow too.