Stories and Tid Bits

My friends and I enjoy a tea break at the beach-side cafe in Runswick, North Yorkshire.

Lillie, her husband and grown children live in Berkshire, England.

I'd like you to join me, Marilyn Leach, in welcoming my friend, Lillie, to Stories and Tid Bits. 

She has graciously consented to sharing her "penny's worth" with us from jolly England.  

Lillie, there's so many wonderful places to visit in England and the UK.  Tell us about some of the places you've been.

Andy my husband, and I, both belong to the National Trust and English Heritage.  This means, we can visit as many historical castles and grand houses we wish in a year’s time for a set fee. 

We recently went to Hampton Court, former home of Henry VIII.  It’s very large, and easily gives the sense of what life was like in Tudor England. 

We love to visit different parts of the UK.   We have holidayed in Cumbria and visited many parts of Hadrian’s Wall which was an ancient boundary between England and Scotland.  We spent some time in Yorkshire, in a little village called Thornton le Dale.  Using it as a home base, we travelled to the village of Goathland where they filmed the TV series Heartbeat and took rides on the local steam train which traveled across the majestic moors. 

There are lots of steam train societies all over England as my husband is a keen stream train follower.  When our kids were young, we used to take them to Didcot Railway Centre so they could crawl all over the trains.  They loved it, usually getting covered in coal dust but very happy. 

As you remember, Marilyn, when you came to visit us most recetly, we wanted to show  as you much as possible of our history.  So, we took you to Waddeson Manor, the ‘for weekend entertaining’ home of the Rothschild’s, which is an absolutely huge estatethat boasts artistic flare at every turn.  We also visited Hughendon Manor, the home of Benjamin Disraeli, who was prime minister during the time of Queen Victoria.

There’s just so much to see, do, and learn about in the UK, we can't wait to visit sights at every opportunity.

Lillie, we've had so much fun shopping together.  Tell us about your favorite places to shop near your home.

 My favourite retail shop is NEXT for home décor.  They have some really great ideas for the home at attractive prices, very reasonable.  Recently, I bought a table lamp there.   The base consists of cups and saucers stacked upon one another.  It catches the eye.  Many of the lighting features at NEXT make a statement.  For clothing I prefer Marks and Spencers, or Marks and Sparks as we call it, but Laura my daughter, buys most of her clothes from Next, Oasis, and Warehouse.  I love going to Debenhams Department Store especially when Christmas is near as they have really high-quality chinaware.  Also, we have a first-rate shopping centre in our town called the Oracle and a lovely river flows through the very centre of the shopping mall.  Alongside the river, the shops are all restaurants and a delight on a summer’s evening.  My daughter and I sometimes pop to the Oracle, have a nosey around the shops, and then stop for a snack by the river.  I call it retail therapy.

Lillie, tell us about some of your fondest memories as a child growing up in England.

I was born and raised in Tottenham, North London.  My parents, two older sisters, and myself made up our family.

Tottenham wasn’t a wealthy area.  Most people were working class and sometimes lived three families in a single terraced home.  But that didn’t mean we were short on pride.  Rather, it was a part of who we were.  For instance, Mum was forever outside cleaning the front door step with red ocre polish.  Though we lived in council property social housing, our front step gleamed.  Also, my dad painted our bedroom wall bright yellow.  After cutting out magazine pictures of the royal family, he stuck them on our wall.  Imagine, the queen in our bedroom. 

 As children, we were always outside.  We saw mum at mealtime.  Otherwise, in all weathers, we played in the streets with the other children.  Our terrace was near the Tottenham Hotspur football grounds.  When the Spurs played on a Saturday, fans would park their cars in our road.  All the kids in the street, including my sisters and I, would tell the car owners that their vehicles would be well looked after for a shilling.  Not bad for ten-year-olds.

 Also on Saturday, without fail, my dad went to the fishmongers in the High Street and returned home with a brown bag of winkles.  You know, the little shellfish eaten straight from the shell.  My sisters and I would sit down with a plate of the yummies, use a needle to take off the eye of the winkle and place it on our faces to create beauty spots!  Just like film stars we were.

 Mum and dad loved going to the local pub of a Saturday evening.  We’d come with and sit outside on the step with our arrowroot biscuits and orangeade.  When our uncles, who frequented the same pub, asked us if we had enough to eat, we being greedy little ones gave “No” as our response.  Those uncles, one by one in turn, kept us well stocked with crisps (potato chips) and more orangeade.  It was a grand feast.

 Finally, a special memory was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  Everywhere you looked there were street parties.  Tables and chairs sat in the middle of the street, filled with revelers, while Union Jack bunting flew high from one side of the street to the other.

 These are all treasured memories of childhood I shall not soon forget.

Interview conducted by Marilyn Leach    

This is so scenic, so typical of beautiful Yorkshire. Friends stayed there a while back. Reading in the front garden was ammended with lots of touring the countryside.

Here is an interior view of the room my friends stayed in at the Three Choirs Vineyar. This is the vineyard's inn. It looks out over the vineyard grounds. There are also nearby attractions: an estate church and a lovely country estate house. 2/21/13

My friends in Berkshire just spent a holiday overnight at Three Choirs vineyard in Glousteshire, England. They said it was truly lovely. They even recommend it. "The rooms are beautiful, the view outstanding, the food excellent, and rather romantic." They hope to go again one day. Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind a go myself. Perhaps the next time I visit them. 2/21/13

In my last video chat with my friends, Andy and Lillie who live in Berkshire, England, we had a good chin-wag about family, friends, new British TV mysteries, and of course everyone's safety and well being at this time.  The UK has been greatly impacted by the pandemic that's touched us all.  I'm very grateful that we can keep in touch via video chats that can make you feel as if you're just feet apart instead of oceans apart. Lillie will bring us more chit-chat soon.   

Kuzey Güney 23.05.2019 07:07

England is a glamorous country which I visited after my Its places are awesome. London Eye is my favorite

marilyn leach 19.05.2015 21:57

Mary, keep working, hoping, and trusting. You'll get to England someday. Cheers, Marilyn

Mary Hagen 15.05.2015 21:57

How lucky you are. I've always wanted to spend time in England since I love stories about England, past and present, biographies of famous people.

Brad 08.04.2013 18:05

Lillie. How fun to read some of your background. We too, used to play in the streets of our neighborhood. Loved the car deal where you make a shilling.

Lillie Harris 14.04.2013 20:29

Thank you Brad, they were great times for us. We always had ways to make a penny or two.

Karin Kaufman 18.02.2013 19:06

I've always wanted to string fairy lights in my garden, but I haven't got much of a garden.

Looking forward to reading Stories and Tid Bits.

Margo 17.02.2013 05:46

Can't wait to meet Lillie and read her pennie's worth!

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26.11 | 21:04

So glad you enjoy London. Cheers