A ‘novel’ 7th Finder!

Mary from Los Angeles, California was visiting London, one of her favourite travel destinations she tells me, when she popped into the famous Foyles Bookshop.

Foyle’s was founded in 1903 by brothers William & Gilbert Foyle. It has expanded & moved several times most recently in June 2014 to it’s current 107 Charing Cross Road location. The new Foyles flagship houses a range of over 200,000 different titles on four miles (6.5km) of shelves – the equivalent of lining one bank of the Thames with books from Battersea Power Station to the Tower of London.

Whilst browsing the fiction section Mary picked up Victoria Hislop’s latest novel ‘Cartes Postal from Greece’. On opening the book she came across the InspiredTravels71 postcard I had hidden there just a few weeks earlier. Mary was enchanted by her find & wanted to get in touch so copied down the details on the back of a Boots receipt & put the postcard back with the hope that someone else might find it at a later date.

Mary tells me that as her father, best selling novelist Sidney Sheldon loved to travel & gained much inspiration for his novels from time spent overseas, so as a child she travelled extensively with the family. It was during one of these trips at the age of eight that Mary found her love & spiritual home in England, she says ‘she’s never looked back’. She spent 2 years at boarding school in Oxford & returns annually to the UK to visit her favourite haunts especially London, & a few new ones too. Luckily Mary’s husband & daughter share her love of England.

Mary, herself a well known novelist, shares these favourite travel memories from her trips overseas :

‘I especially remember a trip I took when I was eight to the Valley of the Butterflies in Paros, Greece. This was probably the favorite day of my mother’s life.

Mary’s mother, actress Jorja Curtright on her journey to Valley of the Butterflies, Paros Greece.

A guide took us, via donkeys, down into a deep valley. It was very quiet – we were the only ones there. The trees, I remember, were covered with a gnarly brown coating, which the guide hit with a stick. Immediately, the coating revealed itself to be the folded wings of thousands upon thousands of orange butterflies. The sky was filled with them – an incredible sight.

The orange butterflies at Paros, Greece.

She continues ‘That was about fifty years ago, so I don’t know if the valley is still there, or has been destroyed by pollution, or overrun by tourists. But it was a magical place.

A second favorite travel memory happened last year. I’m an avid collector of dolls house miniatures, and had heard of a town in the Cotswolds called Bourton-on-the-Water which had a miniature replica of the village itself. My daughter and I decided to visit. It was quite an adventure getting there — by train, then by foot, then by bus, then by foot again. The village itself was wonderful, and the miniature village was enchanting beyond belief, a tiny and complete representation of every actual store and house. And it was totally up to the minute — whenever there was a change of ownership of a shop, the miniature counterpart was faithfully changed as well.

Mary’s daughter Rebecca at the miniature village, Bourton-on-the-Water, The Cotswolds.

I especially remember the kindness of the townspeople. I guess they don’t get many visitors from America, and everybody was so solicitous about putting us on the proper buses and making sure we got where we needed to go. It was a marvelous adventure indeed.’

Thank you Mary for taking the time to respond to the postcard you found & for sharing your delightful favourite travel memories with me, my readers but most importantly, my mum Anne.

Sarah x

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