Welcome to September. The children have started school and us parents can breathe again, at least until the afternoon, when activities and homework fill the hours with hurry once more.
Amidst the many emails from this year’s teachers and coaches, I still receive notices from the school our children attended in London several years ago. I could un-subscribe, but I secretly cherish this little ongoing window into life there! Today I indulged and opened the St. Barnabas & St. Philip's emails, checked the website, and read the upcoming events from our church in London...
Dawn Landes is a singer-songwriter based in Nashville, TN who plays “Americana” rock/folk/country and recently released her fifth album, Meet Me at the River, and an EP, My Tiny Twilight, inspired by becoming a mother. While she lives in the Country Music capital of the world, she recently returned from a European tour spanning three countries. I am lucky to call Dawn my sister-in-law, and on her most recent trip to the UK, she even went on a buying mission for Briton Home! Check out these amazing silver teaspoons- chosen with care by Dawn in Exeter during an outing between shows.
When she got home, Dawn was generous to let me interview her about her experience in Britain, as she has gotten to know England, Scotland and Wales over the last fifteen years through the lens of a musician. She has toured in the UK over twenty times, on her own and with other performers, including Sufjan Stevens, Hem, and most recently, Nick Lowe. From Cardiff to Dorset, Glasglow to London, Dawn has met other musicians and performed in venues large and small, iconic and idyllic. She has had a window into a side of British culture many of us never see.
Read our interview here!
We’re wrapping up the month of May, moving into June and a different routine. There’s been a heat wave across the Southeast US this month, and it already feels like summer. We have a few weeks left of school, and the calendar is full of end of the year banquets and celebrations, beginning of the season events at the pool, tryouts for next year’s activities. It’s hot out there, and while I’m grateful for air conditioning and a car to get us from place to place comfortably, I take note of the trade-offs.
Spring, the season of noticing new life all around and pleasant weather that invites us to come outside to enjoy it seems to have come and gone. It’s so easy to barrel right from one season to another, full steam ahead.
We rode bikes to school this morning, which is something we don’t do everyday. I rode home alone, having kissed my littles goodbye and watched them saunter into school, heads high and ready for the day, enjoying a peaceful moment of gratitude. I noticed the branches that hit my head, heavy now with leaves. The freshly-cut grass made my nose tingle, the geese honked overhead, the baby birds hopped across the sidewalk ahead of me. I waved at my neighbors heading out to work, other parents taking children to school. I had forgotten how great it is to get from place to place outdoors- on foot or by bike. Sure, I was sweaty by the time I got home, but at least I’d had a real encounter with the world.
The Sunday Roast is one of my favorite British traditions that is still alive and well. This weekly celebration of abundance and community is the inspiration for the items I've chosen to start the Briton Home collection.
We discovered the Sunday Roast by accident. A few weeks into living in London, we met another American expat at a pub for dinner. We placed our orders, and when the meal arrived, we had plate envy. I hadn't paid any attention when he ordered the roast- but what arrived at the table was a heaping plate piled with roasted vegetables, crispy potatoes, tender meat, a sausage, AND a golden flaky pastry full of yummy looking gravy (the Yorkshire Pudding). I assumed it was the equivalent to our "blue plate special," but it turns out it's a thing...
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