Tuesday, July 7, 2009

British Betty

You have heard about our London adventures, but I have to tell you the most wonderful part of England......Betty!

I lived with Betty in college while studying abroad. She remains a dear friend and in my mind, my "British Mom." She is the most gracious person I know and a big-time inspiration. Betty is well traveled (she is off to Petra, Jordan this Fall), an excellent cook, and always engaged and engaging. We have a ball every time we are at Betty's. This time she hosted a house full. Her son called while we were there and she said, "Reid's here!" and then she elaborated, "Reid's here along with her husband, her baby, and her friend, Kate!" I travel with quite an entourage these days. But Betty didn't blink an eye.
I love Betty's home. It is like walking into my grandmother's house every time we arrive. You know that feeling of warmth and familiarity Grandparent Houses always evoke? This visit I photographed some of my favorite spots. Betty has fresh flowers all over her home. And always in our room. I wish I had the dedication to do the same. It is such a little extra spark of welcome to know she put the flowers in our room for us to enjoy.
Connor loved playing in Betty's garden. It was like her little green playhouse. We could sit and enjoy breakfast and let Connor run free.
Betty always sets a full breakfast for us. She puts out a crisp new table cloth and full place settings in her blue china along with every possible spread or utensil needed. The table is routinely set before she goes to bed at night so it is ready no matter when we awake. I have many college memories sitting at this table in deep conversation with Betty and John (and my roommate Beth - we both lived with them during our abroad semester). We would discuss politics, travel, and life goals.
Betty's appreciation for the arts is something I love most about her. I have always admired the pieces throughout her home. I only this time learned that Betty's father was the artist. They are sort of M.C.Esher-ish; I love the color and movement in them. She told me some of her father's works are in London's Victoria & Albert Museum collection. Wow!
Betty and John collected teacups from all over. They lived abroad for many years, mostly in Mexico and South America. Unfortunately John passed away about 5 years ago. When I lived with them as a parting gift they had me pick one of their prized teacups to take home with me to remember them by. I LOVE the emerald green cup and saucer I chose with the red and yellow tulips. Here is a shot of some of Betty's remaining cups and saucers.
Betty has an entire cupboard of toys for children. She has 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. All of her toys are classics. They are items that are oldies but goodies that have stood the test of time. Connor loves the blocks and the soldiers and especially the London bus! She knows where the toys stay at Betty's and is quick to take them out and make a mess. Thankfully Connor is always quick to help clean these up too.

It is impossible not to fall head over heels for Betty. She makes London perfect for me.
And I am so happy Connor is having this chance to grow up with Betty's influence too.

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