I better start posting more regularly if I’m going to write about our whole trip! I love looking through our photos and reliving each day. To me, each represents a special moment or beautiful place that I’ve experienced. I think that’s one reason why I am known (and teased by some) for taking SO MANY PICTURES! I don’t care if I’m ridiculed for it – I blame it on the fact that I’m half Japanese. 🙂
Anyway, on our last full day in Barnsley, we started by splitting up. David took Charlie to the Barnsley football (soccer) stadium so they could watch the professional team practice. David used to play for their youth team as a teenager, and he is still an avid supporter of the Barnsley football club, so I think this was just as much fun for David as for Charlie!
The next day we all went to the club shop and bought some official Barnsley tops for the kids which was really fun! Their English cousins have some too so later in the trip they all wore their Barnsley kits (uniforms) and it was so cute!
But back to Barnsley: while David and Charlie were at the football club, I took Sienna and Henry to the town centre to walk through the open market and visit a toy store in the mall. Wow, it felt so different walking through the town! I loved that there were stalls set up on streets that were closed to all car traffic. However, I couldn’t believe how much cigarette smoke we were exposed to! David and I noticed that both here and in the center of London, we encountered more people smoking than we have for a long time. I don’t know exactly why this is, but it was not pleasant. I still loved being in the midst of a foreign town with such a different feel to it though. As we walked through the streets we were surrounded by buildings much older than those in a typical American town, built in a different style, and lining winding roads that were probably designed for horses and carriages rather than automobiles. In the air around us were voices speaking in a thick, Yorkshire accent that can be a little tricky to understand even without the numerous phrases singular to that area.
Speaking about the Yorkshire dialect reminds me of a funny incident from that morning in our hotel. As we entered the lobby, some women working there greeted us and one saw that Henry held a little toy car in his hand. She said she liked his car and remarked, “That car wants mekin’ bigger, that! So me and Lynn can go for a ride in’t town!” Henry stared up at her with a blank expression! 🙂 Even after being married to David for almost 13 years and visiting England about ten times, I still need a translation sometimes!!
After our morning in Barnsley, we drove a little outside of town to meet David’s great Aunt and Uncle for lunch. It was so nice to see them again after four years, and they really loved getting to see how much the children have grown and to meet Henry for the first time!
Meeting Henry was very special for Uncle Howard, because his actual first name is Henry too. He was named after a family member, but always referred to by his middle name, Howard. So our little Henry is carrying on an old family name. 🙂
Sienna and Charlie were old enough this visit to appreciate some of the remarkable talents of Uncle Howard in gardening and marquetry. He has won awards for growing orchids and has even created his own unique types. He still does all of his own gardening in their yard and greenhouse, and both are immaculate! In addition, he used to create beautiful pieces of artwork using the technique called marquetry, which involves fitting pieces of wood together to form a picture. It is much more complicated and detailed than that of course. I love admiring the pieces he has created when we go to their house, and this time the children appreciated them as well! Here you can see one that is flanked by some of the orchids he has grown.
This one with the birds is my favorite:
This is Uncle Howard’s favorite piece:
David and his siblings always loved this one as kids. Here is the beautiful princess….
But she looks quite different upside down!!
After spending some time with David’s great Aunt and Uncle, we drove over to his cousin Catherine’s house, where we were able to see Catherine, her husband, and their two kids, along with David’s Aunt and Uncle. It was so nice to catch up with them all, as we have not seen most of them for four years! Catherine’s daughter, Charlotte, did come and stay with us three years ago, so we had seen her more recently, but as she is now 18 she has changed so much in a few short years! Catherine’s sister Joanne and her family couldn’t make it, but we got to see them the next week in the days around his brother’s wedding!
Henry with Catherine’s husband, Phil. Henry has a unique camera smile at the moment!
Beautiful Charlotte and her mum, Catherine. I love these two girls!
Catherine’s son, Joseph, was so sweet with Charlie. He played football with him for nearly the entire time and gave him so much attention!
All in all, our trip to Barnsley was fantastic! Each night David was also able to meet some old childhood friends to catch up with, which was so special. He didn’t take any pictures though, much to my chagrin! On Saturday morning we drove down a few hours to David’s parents’ house in Bristol. His sister, Ruth came by soon after with our three nephews, and there was a joyful reunion between the cousins!! It was the first time David’s parents have had all six of their grandchildren all together!! Ruth’s family came to visit us in 2014, so over two years had passed since we had seen them, but the kids picked right up where they left off. Skype really is amazing for keeping in touch!
The youngest boys in the tent, or as Peter called it, his “spaceship.”
Our littlest nephew, Peter, is so entertaining. He is always telling creative stories with so much enthusiasm and plays in such an imaginative way! Right here he has taken the sprayer from a toy fire truck but I believe he was using it as something to cure hurt feet. Hahaha! I miss hearing his sweet little voice! In fact, I miss all of my sweet nephews and wish I could give them a squeeze right now!