4,930 miles (one way!) is a long way to fly to see one’s closest friend – and that’s not counting the long train ride – but that’s what my husband and I did in June. Our friends, Jan and Girts live about three hours southeast of London in a lovely English village. The kind of English village that most Americans dream of. Yes, they do exist! For those of you who have read my blog from the beginning, you may know that Jan and I started out in 2010 as “pen pals”….literally writing letters to each other. We met in person in 2014 when Bill and I went to France. We made a side trip to visit them. So this year when we went to Portugal for vacation….we took another “side trip” to see them in their new home. And what a wonderful home! They welcomed us with open arms and we spent four days with them. I think Coco and Hedwig remembered us and Coco took a liking to Bill, snoozing on his lap in the Conservatory.
Girts is a photographer and a very talented potter. Jan is also a photographer but has turned her talents to intricate paper weaving. They opened an Etsy shop and they are also participating in English art festivals. You can read about our previous visit here or learn about how Jan and I met here. If you look at the photo of Jan and Girts you will see just a portion of one of Jan’s large pieces. We toured Jan’s craftery where she creates her one-of-a-kind pieces and I watched Girts at work in his studio designing new hand-built bowls with what will be melted glass rivulets embedded in the fired clay.
Their home includes a fabulous garden which is Jan’s pride and joy, fantastic views and a potter’s studio. Jan’s garden has about every kind of flower you could think of – poppies, nigella, sweet peas, lily pads in the pond…hydrangea and more! We enjoyed home cooked meals on the terrace, a lovely dinner at The Lamb (see the lemon tart…oh my!), photographing wild ponies on Dartmoor, seeing incredible cliffs in Cornwall, and strolling and visiting shops in town. We stopped at the local wine shop and of course I had to take pictures of Poppy and Milo sitting on an old leather couch. And then there was this sweet brown dog in the shop which sells pet foods. The shopkeeper in the small fruit and vegetable shop wondered what I was doing taking pictures of her gooseberries! Visiting our friends was the most relaxing way to end our trip to Portugal. Enjoy the images (click on an image to see it larger if you wish).