A true lady feeling at home in the UK…
It was inevitable that one day we would invite aunt Nanny to join us on a trip to England. At moments she appeared to be more English than Paul is and with the three of us getting on so well it was only the right thing to do. So plans were made, flights were booked and appointments were arranged. All was ready for a fantastic week in the UK.
So in April, Mirjam, aunt Nanny’s daughter, picked us up and brought us to Maastricht airport from where the three of us flew to London Gatwick. After we landed we collected the car that Paul had arranged and drove to the South West of England where our friends Peter and John were living.
Peter and John lived in a beautiful country house and with them being such perfect hosts there was no need to do extensive sightseeing in the area. For the next couple of days we enjoyed their beautiful place. It was obvious aunt Nanny felt extremely at home whilst the three of us enjoyed an extraordinary case of hospitality. It was simply one of those visits we will never forget and it was fantastic how aunt Nanny felt so much at ease, enjoying the environment and the beautiful friendship shown by Peter and John. Their hospitality is unsurpassed.
As much as we loved staying with the two of them it was time to say goodbye and head on for our next destination, the beautiful village of Lacock, which is listed in the National Trust Foundation. The village is a firm favorite for film and TV producers, most notably for its picturesque streets and historic cottages, untouched by modern alterations. The village’s most famous appearances include ‘Downton Abbey’, the BBC’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”. Obviously Aunt Nanny was having a fantastic time and enjoying every single moment of our visit. We would have loved to spend some more time but as there was still a long drive ahead we had to move on.
As we were in the area of Stonehenge, there was no way we were going to skip that place in Wiltshire, one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the UK. Besides being very informative it was a welcome stop on our drive to Horsham, our final destination.
But before we continued to Horsham, we had another short tea break at another good friend of us, Willi Schuhman, better known as the duchess of Waterloovile. Late afternoon we arrived at the place of Paul’s father where we were going to stay for a couple of days.
Obviously we wanted to show aunt Nanny Brighton, the city where Paul had lived for so many years. Whilst Paul’s father showed around Aunt Nanny the Brighton pavilion we shortly went to say hello to Robin and David, where Paul lived during his Brighton years.
When we reunited with aunt Nanny and daddy we showed her the Brighton lanes and it was difficult not to loose her in the many antique shops which were displaying their goods. It was the perfect place to entertain her for a couple of hours and it was nice for Paul to spend some time in the city where he had lived so many years.
Our biggest surprise was yet to come as we had booked afternoon tea at the Grand Brighton, an iconic Victorian seafront property where had planned some pampering in the most English way we could think off. Whilst overlooking the fabulous Brighton coastline we indulged ourselves with a selection of freshly made sandwiches, pastries, scones and cakes, and plenty of tea. Certainly an afternoon to remember and as you can see Aunt Nanny was in her elements.
With the city of London being so nearby we left that as our last day trip before coming home. Although it was extremely crowded aunt Nanny felt at ease and was enjoying every moment of our time in the city. At one point we did loose her whilst on the way to Fortnam & Mason. Fortunately we did not have to look for her for long. We had passed St. James Piccadilly church shortly before we lost her and there was a charity market on the grounds. Knowing aunt Nanny it was obviously she got distracted and slipped in there to find anything that caught her eye. We found her in a deep conversation with one of the locals, we should have known…
Our week in the UK went by far to quickly and the three of us have had such a good time and so many laughs. We returned home safely where Mirjam picked us up from the airport again. I think she picked up three people with a big smile on their faces. It had been simply fantastic.
Aunt Nanny passed away on Easter Monday in 2012. We were devastated to have to say goodbye to such a dear friend, but feel privileged to have been able to share trips like this with her. Memories of a lifetime that no one can take away from us. The both of us are grateful she played such a big role in our life.