Saturday, February 5, 2011


We knew they were coming in February and had reserved a guest room for them beginning on the 18th, so imagine our surprise when we had a surprise visit from our friends, Sheila and Harvey from England. They popped in on February 2 to say hello. Each year when they return home, they're not sure that their health and the exchange rate will allow them to continue with their yearly appearances, but they always manage. I know I've told you about them before, but taking into consideration that we have some new readers, I'm going to do it again. We have a mutual friend who years ago traveled in the British Isles and happened upon a Bed & Breakfast run by Harvey and Sheila. Booking it for several nights (I may be making that part up) they found that the travelers and the innkeepers enjoyed each other's company and they kept in touch.

When the Smiffs gave up the B & B, they found time to travel and began coming to the States for several months at a time, bringing only what they could easily carry. I hope they won't mind my telling you that they live a frugal life in order to afford such luxuries as extended travel. From all reports, their house on the banks of the Thames is a modest abode and every facet of their lives is carefully thought out and if you were to meet Harvey you'd soon discover that he drives a hard bargain, but that may be what is known as telling tales out of school.

Their garden at home is a splendid sight, but let me tell you how they accomplish it. Harvey plants seeds in their greenhouse and when they sprout, Sheila has the task of setting out thousands of hired help for them........what you see is the product of hard labor.

We used to fret about leaving our garden for 2 weeks while vacationing. The frequent rain in England makes it possible to be away for extended periods, although when Harvey and Sheila return home the first thing they do is get busy and whip the somewhat neglected garden into shape.

I never get over marveling at their horticultural accomplishments. Such industry brings wonderful results, but I'm simply not that industrious so I'm open-mouthed at what they do year after year in their great outdoors.

I've tried for 3 months to get pictures to line up side by side and all of a sudden today they're doing it and I feel that I should be holding my breath and whispering so that they don't undo themselves. At any rate, isn't this a garden to rave about? The Wrinklies are humble souls and would never wax lyrical about their green thumbs, but I can shout it from the rooftops......especially now that I live on the topmost floor of a minor high-rise.

Harvey & Sheila sign off their emails to us as "The Wrinklies" and because Mr. Bob and I are so unsteady on our feet, we refer to ourselves as "The Wobblies". And as Harvey would say, "That's yer lot."


  1. WOW!!!!!!!!! A Non Y Mouse

  2. Double WOW!!! I can only imagine how much joy and admiration they generate as folks drift down the Thames past their lovely cottage!

  3. What a lovely break it is from an already too-long,too-cold winter to open these well-crafted tales every day. The Wrinklies AND the Wobblies continue to make those 7-foot snowbanks seem less formidable.

    Thank you!

    Love from here where the flowers are waiting to burst forth - I'm am just sure of it,


  4. Your English HouseguestFebruary 5, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    How wonderful to see my big brother & his wife once more. Wish I was there with them.

  5. I didn't sign up for this blog to be frightened witless by your pictures.
    What a scary sight ;o)
    The Dorsettler

  6. Wow....the banks of the river and the beautiful flowers...what a sight to behold. Living frugal does not men living without! You have shown us with this post!!

  7. Jane in Oregon writes:

    Hi Jane,
    I so loved todays blog! Where is their house located? Just maybe ,when I go to the wedding in April I will pop over to see it!!
    Your photos are lovely and remind me of my precious memories of visits to UK.
    Many thanks for your energy to write.... keep on....

  8. Connie writes:

    Thanks for sharing the beauty, Jane. My soul shouts out.......... as does my back !!

  9. How beautiful! I imagine wonderful, loamy soil and rains that are good for plants, but obviously a lot of love went into this, too!

  10. A wonderful presentation of our Garden Miss
    Good to hear from My Pansy dead heading Sister.
    Will deal with the Dorsettler, on our return .
    The Wrinklies