Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Caribbean and Canada Customs by D.G. Kaye


If you would like to share some of your posts on travel to anywhere, by any means of transport and pass on your experience and tips, then details are at the end of the post. Don’t forget it is an opportunity to showcase your blog and your books!

Time for the last in the travel series of posts from D.G. Kaye’s blog. And this week we are off to the Caribbean and more adventures with Customs and Excise!!! First published by Debby Gies in February of 2017.

Welcome Aboard

Hello lovely people! I’ve just returned from the beautiful Caribbean, and although I’m in between my return and part 2 of our winter vacation in Arizona next week and doing lots of laundry, sorting out emails and details for the next trip, and having a few follow up doctor appointments for hubby, I’m dropping in here with a short post.

We had a spectacular vacation of fun and sun. We were blessed to have everything flow beautifully from our departure to Fort Lauderdale, all the way through our return journey home.

Fort Lauderdale

A view from our balcony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I had hoped to post more on social media, but between our constant busyness and unpredictable internet, as anticipated, I was pretty much absent on the web. While at sea, the days magically turned into night so effortlessly that time drifted by.

We were up early daily, eating breakfast on the balcony before we headed out by 9am-ish to either our lounge chairs at the pool or exploring on the shores. All the years I’ve been with my husband on vacation, he’s been the one to get out by 6am to secure the deck chairs with a towel and chair clips to ensure we ‘got a good spot’ to soak up the rays without being squashed in by too many other chairs enabling us to turn our chairs around as the sun moved. This time was different.

Balcony view on the Caribbean

A view from my cabin balcony in the Caribbean

Our friends who my husband had always got chairs for as well, repaid the favor to allow him to sleep in, and took turns waking at dawn to secure our seats. Chair saving and positioning is an art, and one the six of us are conveniently all fussy about.The weather was gorgeous and hot, particularly when we got out of the Atlantic into the Caribbean.

Balcony view Equinox

Our lovely balcony

We traveled with our friends Lynn and Gary who we’ve been friends with for 6 years now and actually met them on a cruise. They also live in Toronto, and now book our cruises together. We also met up with other friends we’ve made on past cruises, Deb and Sean from the U.K., who also booked the same cruise to once again spend time together. We soaked up the sun daily, laughed a lot, and met more interesting people, Holly and Brad from Vancouver.

The last supper

Last dinner night with friends: Sean and Deb, Hub and me, Lynn and Gary

Travel pals

Holly and Brad

The routine was simple: Get up early, get into the sun or off the ship and back into the sun after a shopping trip, grab a cocktail to go at 4pm back to the room to shower, lounge on the balcony and get ready for dinner, meet at the bar before dinner then go listen to music or dare to visit the casino, or on occasion head to bed at 930pm when we’d all taken in too much sun and fresh ocean air that knocked us right out. That combination is a great sleeping tonic and had me hitting the pillow and knocked out many nights before I could even read a book.

Amazing sunset in the Caribbean

Gorgeous sunset view from our balcony in St. Martin

So, with our busy agenda and lounging life, I didn’t have much opportunity get on the computer. When I did attempt to use the computer by getting up at 6am to try to steal an hour’s time on it, I found every page load was taking 5 minutes and decided I wasn’t going to spend hours in my room on the internet. Intentions were there but I wasn’t going to allow shaky, lagging internet to take over my vacation. Thus, I didn’t visit many blogs or even get to post pictures more than once on Facebook. Eventually I got over the computer withdrawl stage and relaxed in island time. I have to admit, it was quite freeing to do nothing but relax, laugh, chat, and of course, shop, lol.

St. Kitts

I hope to post some notable moments of our trip and some of the places we visited by the weekend. I have a few short days this week to get organized here and get ready to leave for Arizona early next week. And for many of you who have read my book, Have Bags, Will Travel, and know about my struggles with all my luggage and Canada customs, I’ll share an enlightening recap here of my return home to Toronto airport.

First off, I’m proud to announce that I was quite disciplined when it came to shopping this trip. Subsequently, I stayed within my customs allowance, AND BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE.

I’ve made a bit of travel history for myself! But, just because I stayed within the limits doesn’t necessarily mean that Canada customs would take my word for it and may want to have me pulled over for further inspection, so I still felt a little apprehensive.

This time, as usual, they asked me questions about how much I spent and what I was bringing back. And as part of the system, they hand back my declaration card stamped and write a ‘secret code’ number in big red numbers on the card. These numbers always have me perplexed, leaving me guessing as to what fate will be in store for me, so I try to snoop at other people’s cards to see if anyone has the same number as me, or if mine is different, as has been the case many times in the past.

After picking up the luggage from the carousel, we get to either exit the terminal to freedom once handing over that card, or find out we’re being pulled over to the investigation room where they rummage through your luggage to see if they can find something we haven’t declared. I call it the ‘scary room’. I’ve been sent there too many times and done some fancy talking, and gratefully I always managed to get out unscathed.

I had a glimmer of inspiration this time when I noted that the number written on my card this time was ‘111’. Many of you who know my obsession with being guided by angels, may also know that triple sequence numbers, particularly 111 are messages that the angels are around you. I immediately felt calm when I noticed that number.

This was the first time of all my returns home from the Caribbean that I handed in that card after picking up my luggage, and sailed right through customs through the exit doors! A fantastic finish to a fantastic vacation!

©D.G. Kaye 2017

My thanks to Debby for sharing some of her entertaining travel posts and you will find plenty more on her blog, just follow the link at the end of the page. I have read Debby’s book Have Bags Will Travel and I am sure you will enjoy.

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Debby has written a book about her travel adventures – Have Bags Will Travel

About the book

D.G. Kaye is back, and as she reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines–with her overweight luggage in tow. Her stories alert us to some of the pitfalls of being an obsessive shopper, especially when it comes time for D.G. to bring her treasures home, and remind us of the simpler days when traveling was a breeze.

In her quest to keep from tipping the scales, D.G. strives to devise new tricks to fit everything in her suitcases on each trip. Why is she consistently a target for Canada customs on her return journeys?

D.G.’s witty tales take us from airports, to travel escapades with best friends, to reflections on how time can change the places we hold dear in our hearts. Her memories will entertain and have you reminiscing about some of your own most treasured journeys–and perhaps make you contemplate revamping your packing strategies.

A recent review for Have Bags Will Travel

Super fun travel reading on April 20, 2018

“Have Bags, Will Travel” is a delightful read on the experiences of travel, fashion, the art of packing suitcases with the emphasis on having a good time. Author, D.G. Kaye details her days on board planes to many popular destinations and her vivacious antics with friends. She also relates her solo travels to exotic destinations with steep cliffs and too much baggage. I particularly enjoyed the details of the by-gone, romantic days aboard Wardair, and the exquisite details of vintage Las Vegas.

A consummate shopper, D.G. Kaye relates her rather humorous run-ins with customs officials. How does it feel to be singled out routinely by airline officials? A read through this humorous pages will give you the insight to these first-hand conflicts.

I would say this might be required reading for shoe connoisseurs and fashion mavens especially if they have a plane ticket in hand. Germ avoidance theory is also discussed, and it may never be possible to look at airplane bathrooms the same.

D.G. Kaye brings back the memories of best friends and blazing trips through the desert. Many readers will identify with the struggles of this stylish lady attempting to blend in to avoid a custom’s mishap. A short and super fun read, “Have Bags, Will Travel” is perfect for your next airplane ride.

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Have-Bags-Will-Travel-Over-Packer-ebook/dp/B015HP1R6S

Other books by D.G. Kaye

51ipqxbodml-_uy250_crop

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google: http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

 

How to participate in this series.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog since you began blogging up to October 2017 and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 600 posts from 150 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The deal is that you also help promote the post by sharing on your social media and responding to the comments.

Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The Joys of #Travel Not! by D.G. Kaye


Welcome to Posts from your Archive with a travel theme… if you have stories to share that you have posted on your blog in the past you will find the details at the end of the post.

Author D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) is a seasoned traveler and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years.  In this post she shares some of the joys of travel that we face when we put ourselves in the hands of airlines.

The Joys of #Travel Not! by D.G. Kaye

plane

Traveling is hard enough these days, but add in a mix of extra city traffic, due to lane closures, construction and Toronto hosting the PanAm games, and driving in this city is a horror.

As many of you know, I’ve just returned from a week off to Las Vegas. This post is one of two (maybe three) I’ve written on my little getaway.

Within the week before I went on vacation to Las Vegas, two of our Canadian airlines had six bomb threats. And two days before I left, there was a Wildcat Strike by the fuelers of the airplanes. It was also July fourth weekend, and the U.S. was on an extra precautionary high alert.

Amidst all that commotion, you have me and my husband hoping our plane would take off SAFELY. There were two days of backlogged planes that were cancelled and delayed prior to the 5th, when we were to leave. I spent the previous day keeping an ear to the news updates, in hopes of hearing about the sudden unauthorized strike being resolved.

I went and did my 24 hour prior to flight check-in, and was happy to find that my flight, so far, hadn’t yet been cancelled. While I was surfing the Air Canada site, I thought I might as well double-check the baggage restrictions. My instincts told me that because there had been so much chatter and complaints about people getting ridiculous with the size and amount of their carry-ons, trying to avoid baggage fees, that the airlines may start clamping down at any time. No doubt, it’s those people with over-loaded carry-ons that ruin it for others. The overhead storage compartments on the plane get over-stuffed and the last stragglers on the plane often have no place to put their carry-ons.

So, naturally, as I surmised, the airlines had changed their dimensions of allowable carry-ons. Was it a coincidence these new guidelines changed within a month of my travel date? I found out that if regulations aren’t followed, our carry-ons would be checked and charged the same fee as though it were a regular bag. I also noted the standard carry-on legal size guide was somehow shortened to no longer than 21 1/2 inches long (from the previous 23″), INCLUDING WHEELS AND HANDLES.

 

I rummaged through my junk drawer, in search for a measuring tape. As I was measuring my ‘what had always been considered a legal size carry-on’, I discovered that my newest addition to my luggage, my Route 66 carry-on, was an inch and a half higher than now allowed. I called out to my hub to inform him that he had to go back down to the over-crowded locker, and bring up a different carry-on, because I didn’t want any unpleasant surprises at the airport.

Travel day arrived. I was happy to find that our scheduled flight for 9:15am was on time. I awoke at 4:00am and turned on my laptop to verify the plane was leaving on time, before I scurried around with last minute switching of things around between carry-ons, a quick coffee, and got dressed. Before I knew it, two hours had passed and the limo was picking us up at 6:15am. You may be thinking that’s early, three hours before flight time. But I anticipated it would be a hectic transition until boarding the plane. In fact, I was hoping I had given us enough time; twenty minute drive (with no traffic) to airport, and lots of time for line-ups. And line-ups there were!

I thought I’d be one step ahead by doing my web check-in and printing my boarding pass at home, but as it turned out, if you didn’t also print out baggage tags, you had to stand in some extremely lengthy lines to do so at a kiosk, then go to baggage drop off, or go to assisted check-in line where the line was half of what was doing at kiosk. I opted for the latter; what seemed like the lesser of the two evils.

The Air Canada zones were mobbed. I suspected there were many stranded passengers from the previous two days delays and cancellations. There we were, smack in the midst.

After the nice Air Canada check-in lady told us to have a nice flight and to go to U.S. customs, then to baggage drop-off. The usual protocol turned into a very lengthy exercise.

Normally, it was a three minute stroll to U.S. customs. But we had to take our bags about a half-mile down the airport to what seemed like a holding area. We weren’t allowed to go to customs at that point. The area was so crowded, and there were gated walkways patrolled by boarding pass checkers. They were only calling passengers by boarding times. We were asked to take a seat until our flight time was called.

What

“Are you kidding me?” I mumbled to myself as I surveyed what had to be at least a couple of hundred people waiting for their time to be called.

When I arrived there it was 6:50am, and they were only letting flights cross through departing at 8:50am. I pulled my husband out of the view of the boarding pass checkers, and tried to stand inconspicuously behind a big sign, keeping close to the walkway because there was no way I was going to be in another huge line to customs when our flight was called.

I was asked a few times to take a seat when the checkers glanced my way, but they were so busy turning people away, they didn’t reinforce their instructions to us, so we remained in our quick getaway spot.

About an hour later, around 7:50am, they finally called for the 9:15am flights to pass through customs. Hub and I were 2nd in line. Once in line, we stood another ten minutes until the entrance was opened, and then the walk to customs turned out to be another half mile back to where we originally checked in to go to customs.

We had to pass through another kiosk to swipe our passports and take our mugshots before proceeding to a customs agent for interrogation before we could drop off our bags. By this time I was feeling quite bitchy.

Yay, finally dropped off bags, and off to security line. Yes, I know the drill, I wanted to say as I smiled at the security checker. We unpacked, undressed, repacked, redressed, and finally we were on our way to our gate.

I stopped for a coffee so I could eat my breakfast I had in my purse—of which I had to show the customs agent; a flaxseed and corn wrap with chopped egg. Then I made one more stop. I stopped to get us our usual 500 ml bottle of water to have on the plane. The water that replaced the two half filled bottles we had to toss at security. “That will be $8.49,” the cheery girl at the cash said. I laughed out loud as I added my usual two cents about how I feel about being ripped off.

I said, “Are you kidding me?” As if I was really surprised that I’d be paying for a bottle of water almost the same as what a beer costs. Done ranting, I shoved my bottles of water in my purse and trekked about another half mile to my gate. No joke!

We just made it to the gate at the requested boarding time. By then I felt as though I’d run a marathon, lifted weights, and had put in a day’s work. Our flight took off on time. I sat in my cramped seat and wrote this post as we lifted off to the west.

Note: I’d like to proudly add that after traveling to so many places through the years and struggling with overweight luggage (my weakness) that I’ve learned the tricks of the trade and this trip, I successfully managed to be within the guidelines, without being stopped by the airlines going, and without being stopped by Canada customs on my return. For those of you who don’t know how many times I’ve been stopped in the past, this was a major feat. And because of the many issues I’ve encountered through my travels, they were the inspiration for my new upcoming book, Have Bags, Will Travel. A humorous book of tales about some of the places I’ve been to, and incidents that occurred with me and my bags on those trips.
©D.G.Kaye 2015

My thanks to Debby for sharing the trials and tribulations of modern day travel. It used to be glamour all the way back in the 1950s as bags were carried to the plane and you were served a complimentary drink before take off. It is as they say for our safety…

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Debby has written a book about some of her travel adventures – Have Bags Will Travel

About the book

D.G. Kaye is back, and as she reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines–with her overweight luggage in tow. Her stories alert us to some of the pitfalls of being an obsessive shopper, especially when it comes time for D.G. to bring her treasures home, and remind us of the simpler days when traveling was a breeze.

In her quest to keep from tipping the scales, D.G. strives to devise new tricks to fit everything in her suitcases on each trip. Why is she consistently a target for Canada customs on her return journeys?

D.G.’s witty tales take us from airports, to travel escapades with best friends, to reflections on how time can change the places we hold dear in our hearts. Her memories will entertain and have you reminiscing about some of your own most treasured journeys–and perhaps make you contemplate revamping your packing strategies.

A recent review for Have Bags Will Travel

Super fun travel reading on April 20, 2018

“Have Bags, Will Travel” is a delightful read on the experiences of travel, fashion, the art of packing suitcases with the emphasis on having a good time. Author, D.G. Kaye details her days on board planes to many popular destinations and her vivacious antics with friends. She also relates her solo travels to exotic destinations with steep cliffs and too much baggage. I particularly enjoyed the details of the by-gone, romantic days aboard Wardair, and the exquisite details of vintage Las Vegas.

A consummate shopper, D.G. Kaye relates her rather humorous run-ins with customs officials. How does it feel to be singled out routinely by airline officials? A read through this humorous pages will give you the insight to these first-hand conflicts.

I would say this might be required reading for shoe connoisseurs and fashion mavens especially if they have a plane ticket in hand. Germ avoidance theory is also discussed, and it may never be possible to look at airplane bathrooms the same.

D.G. Kaye brings back the memories of best friends and blazing trips through the desert. Many readers will identify with the struggles of this stylish lady attempting to blend in to avoid a custom’s mishap. A short and super fun read, “Have Bags, Will Travel” is perfect for your next airplane ride.

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Have-Bags-Will-Travel-Over-Packer-ebook/dp/B015HP1R6S

Other books by D.G. Kaye

51ipqxbodml-_uy250_crop

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google: http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

 

How to participate in this series.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog since you began blogging up to October 2017 and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 600 posts from 150 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The deal is that you also help promote the post by sharing on your social media and responding to the comments.

Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord New Series of Posts from Your Archives. – Visiting Jane Austen on a Motorbike by Darlene Foster


Time for a new series of Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about travel.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog since you began blogging up to October 2017 and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 600 posts from 150 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The deal is that you also help promote the post by sharing on your social media and responding to the comments.

Previous participants are more than welcome

The theme for the new series is travel.

  • Places and countries you have visited,
  • Different cultures,
  • Exotic food you have discovered when travelling,
  • Modes of transport – cars, bikes, horses, RVs
  • Camping Trips,
  • Road trips,
  • On the road for work,
  • Train Journeys,
  • Travel themed music,
  • Planes and airports,
  • Ships and other marine vessels,
  • Humorous adventures etc.

To kick off this new series here is author and travel writer Darlene Foster with a visit to Jane Austen on the back of a motorbike.  You will enjoy I am sure and you will also see how it can work as a way to market you work.

Visiting Jane Austen on a Motorbike by Darlene Foster

Our delightful visit to England included Yorkshire and North Wales. Viewing the countryside with its stone hedges and ancient castles was made even more enjoyable as we hurtled down narrow roads on a motorcycle.

We had one thing left to do before flying back to Canada; deliver the motorbike to its new owner in London. We travelled down from York, stopped for lunch at a pub in Cambridge overlooking the Thames and watched the rowers practice. As we rode towards London, I was puzzled when we didn’t turn off the M1 taking us into Guildford, but turned east. Soon I recognized signs for Alton, Strawberry Hill, Steventon and Chawton. We were on our way to visit my hero, Jane Austen! My dear husband had planned this as a surprise for me.

As my knight in shining armour parked the pearl white Honda Goldwing in front of Chawton Cottage, he said, “Take your time. I’m going for a tea.” He pointed at Cassandra’s Tea Shop across the road.

I couldn’t believe I was actually there. Chawton Cottage, a charming 17th century, three storey red-brick house, was Jane Austen’s home for the last eight years of her life. I entered the front door thinking about how many times dear Jane had crossed that threshold. When I mentioned I had come all the way from Canada, and I was a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, the kindly receptionist waved the entry fee.

There I stood in Jane’s house, a gift from her brother which she shared with her mother and her sister Cassandra; the place she wrote most of her work. I entered the parlour and gingerly touched the little round table she wrote on. Prickles ran up and down my arms. I had seen some of her original writing at the British Museum a few years earlier, but this seemed more real. I imagined Jane slipping her writing under a book whenever someone entered. Although she often shared her writing with her family, she only did so when she was ready.

The house, very much as it was when Jane lived there at the start of the 19th century, displays family paintings on the walls. The pianoforte Jane played her music on when no one was around, adorns one corner of the drawing room.

I climbed the stairs to Jane’s bedroom. The first thing I noticed was the patchwork quilt, made with her sister and mother, hanging on one wall. Each floral, diamond patch stitched meticulously into place surrounding a large basket of cheerful flowers in the centre, reminded me of the hours of labour that would have gone into this undertaking. The bed she slept on, covered in crisp white linen, sits peacefully in a corner. On another wall hangs a topaz cross, a gift from one of her beloved brothers and most probably the inspiration for the topaz cross given to Fanny Price by her brother in the novel, Mansfield Park. A window overlooks the garden. Jane spent many happy hours in this room. When she grew ill, she entertained her visitors here.

Other rooms upstairs, house Regency period costumes, carefully preserved and displayed. I enjoyed viewing the muslin, floor length dresses with Empire waists and soft loose skirts in pale pinks, periwinkle blues and lilacs, such as Jane would have worn. At least she did not have to deal with the constraints of a tightly laced corset. Memorabilia of her two Royal Navy brothers, Frank and Charles, can be found in adjoining rooms.

I felt Jane’s presence everywhere in the house, but nowhere near as much as in the lovely garden surrounding Chawton Cottage. I could sense Jane taking a turn around the garden, delighting in the many varieties of herbs and flowers, and resting on the rustic garden bench. Even her old donkey cart, which carried her around when she was too ill to walk, lives on in the bake house.

Back in the cottage I chatted with the host and perused the comprehensive selection of Jane Austen books. Of course I could not resist purchasing a few (not that I needed to read anything else about J.A.) I also chose a few souvenirs and postcards before I bid Jane, the house and her memories goodbye. I walked across the street to Cassandra’s Tea Shop to meet my husband, who had downed three cups of tea, ate two pieces of lemon loaf and washed the bike while waiting for me. He asked how my visit was.

I replied, “Jane was most happy I visited her and approved of my arrival on a motorcycle.”

It was a sweet view – sweet to the eye and the mind. English verdure, English culture, English comfort, seen under a sun bright, without being oppressive.
– from ‘Emma’, Jane Austen’s novel written at Chawton Cottage and published in 1815

©Darlene Foster

Thanks to Darlene for getting the new series of Posts from Your Archives kicked off in style…What a treat it must have been to visit such a role model’s home.. great husband…

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

About Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music

Twelve year old Amanda Ross finds herself on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. When she is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Germany, a mean boy immediately attempts to take it from her.

Back on their cruise, Amanda struggles to keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy. Along the way, she encounters a mysterious monk, a Santa Claus look-alike, and the same nasty boy.

Follow Amanda down the Danube, through Germany, Austria and Hungary, as she enjoys the enchanting sounds of music everywhere she goes. She remains on the lookout though, wondering just who she can trust.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Michael and I read this book together and we both enjoyed it immensely. It is my favourite of the three Amanda books we have read to date and we will definitely be reading more.

Amanda and her good friend, Leah, are on a boat cruise along the Danube and very much enjoying the good food and fascinating villages and towns that they stop at when they become embroiled in a new mystery. A young boy who plays the violin most beautifully asks Amanda to please take his violin on the boat with her and meet him in Vienna. Amanda agrees to the request and quickly comes to realise that the talented boy is not the only one who wants the violin. There are a few people, both on the cruise and elsewhere, that are determined to lay their hands on this instrument.

I really like Darlene Foster’s books as they have an interesting and face paced story but they also include a huge amount of fascinating information about the specific country in which each specific novel is set. We both learned a lot about the towns and villages in Germany, Austria and Hungary and the traditional foods, entertainment and some famous places of interest. There is a lot of research that goes into each of these books. We rated this book five out of five stars.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Danube-Sounds-Music-Travels/dp/1771681020

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-Danube-Sounds-Music-Travels-ebook/dp/B01J4KULPU

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Thanks for dropping in today and if you would like to participate by sharing some of your travel themed posts, written before October 2017.. contact me sally.cronin@moyhill.com