Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I guess it's time for a new header image ...

It's been a while.

I think I've mentioned before that because I post a lot to Facebook that seems to meet my need to keep in touch with friends and family near and far; but it doesn't really, coz not all of them are on Facebook.

When finally I do think about creating a blog post, I feel overwhelmed as so much has happened.

So very much has happened.

Butters, Roswell and Charlotte.

I began the New Year with four cats and two dogs.  Today I have one cat and two dogs; and one of those dogs is not the same as before.

Sooki, Wendy, Butters and Charlotte.

The precis version:  Roswell (died from a collapsed lung), Charlotte went to live with Kait, Butters (died from complications from diabetes) and my dear, dear Wendy (died from bone cancer).


My beloved Wendy.

Sorry to lay all that on you in one lump, but it is what it is.

My wonderful Wendy.

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I have never however been known for my practicality, and hence by summer's end a new pup entered our household.


His name is Dexter and he has fit right in...

Clara, Dexter and Sooki.

... but I still miss Wendy.

I have left memory stones at places we used to walk.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Milestones, canals, gardens and fretwork.


How can three months seem like a long time and yet a short time at the same time ?

My England trip was way back in May.  That really wasn't that long ago, but it seems like like ages.  


Given the nature of my quirky memory I need to see pictures before I can recall events.  However I don't need to see a photo to help me remember WHY I visited England just one year after going there.   

How could I NOT be there  for Audrey Swindells' 90th birthday !


Almost 50 of us joined her on for a five hour tour on a canal boat on the River Avon.    There were speeches and songs and much love as we endeavored to show our affection and respect for this remarkable woman.  

And there was a wonderful surprise.  Copies of a book Audrey had written were picked up from the printer and brought aboard as an extra special birthday surprise.  I'm sure her hand must have cramped from autographing copies for us.





The younger generation gather on the back of the boat with Audrey for a group shot.























Oh my it was a wonderful day, and the partying continued at her wonderful home in Bath.  




Audrey and her wonderful "children".


I felt so privileged to represent the Canadian relatives at this marvellous event.

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Knowing how much I love nature and the English countryside I got taken for a couple of magical rambles.


Josie took me for an wonderful walk  through pastoral country fields that looked too bucolic to be real...



While Sylvie treated me to a visit to 



these are community gardens but not like any I've seen in Canada.  For a small annual fee folk have access to their garden plot year-round.  The gardens are much bigger than any I've seen.


And people don't just garden them.  They put up structures and include little ponds.
Notice there's even a garden on the roof of this delightful quirky shed.  


 

I had left behind a Spring in Canada that hadn't really arrived and found the full-fledged lush Spring of England over-whelming.



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The most surprising event of my trip was making a connection with a certain S.M.

S.M. had contacted me a while back on my Ancestry.ca account.  He'd written to me out of the blue to ask if Elizabeth Dodge was a relation ?  She was my great grandmother who married my great grandfather, James Tupman.  He wondered if I had a photo of her.  And I was happy to oblige.  


We chatted a bit on-line and S.M. revealed to me that he had an interest in memorial pieces.  He said he'd found a fascinating item in an antique store in the mid 1980's and had bought it.  It had been his treasured possession since then.


This memorial piece was created by her grieving husband, James whose hobby was doing fretwork.
What an amazing piece of family history.

But the most amazing thing of all is that S.M. generously offered to give me this priceless family treasure !  I live in Canada and he lives in Wales.  Hmmmmm.   On a particular day he said he'd be travelling back from London while I was staying in Bath.  We arranged to meet in a tea shop on the Pultney Bridge in Bath; and magically we met up.


You can tell from the look on my face how thrilled and amazed I was.  What a generous thing for a complete stranger to do.  It now hangs on the wall of my bedroom where I can look at it every day.


Getting it back to Canada proved to be not as problematic as I'd thought; as the flight attendants allowed me to tuck it into a special compartment at the front of the plane.

Lucky me !






Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I promised I'd show you our visit to the newest castle in in England; hope you didn't get too excited waiting.  If so, I apologize as the newest castle in England wasn't really worth waiting for; or visiting with one unexpected exception.

Castle Drogo is a country house / castle constructed between 1911 and 1930 for Julius Drewe a self-made millionaire.  Pretty much from the time it was built the roof leaked !   


There is scaffolding and plastic up the side of the castle hiding it from prying eye.  For the sum of around $18 each we got to climb 58 steps to gaze upon the work being done there.   I had the naive thought that once climbed I would see more than an unfinished roof.   



I certainly didn't expect a 20 minute detailed talk on the making of shingles and waterproofing of same.  Perhaps if I was an engineer I would have found it scintillating; but I'm not and I didn't.


Having wild ADD I just couldn't pay attention to the talk of tar and seals and shingles, but giggled like a naughty schoolgirl with Louise while her daughter tried to pretend she was not with us.  Those hard hats that we had to wear had a dial that you could turn and tighten on the back.  That proved to be too much of a temptation for me ...













After climbing down from the scintillating talk on the roof we did get to tour one open wing of the castle.





Inside I was impressed by this lovely piece of artwork.  



It represents the first leaking drop that fell from the leaking roof; I kid you not.














This piece of art in the basement next to the private chapel was quite touching.

It represents workers vanishing as they go off to war.


 









But it was the grounds and gardens that dazzled me.     After all, Spring in Nova Scotia with blooming flowers and sweet scents in the air was still a month away.





The formal gardens and stunning views were stunning to these Winter-weary eyes.




















From there Phoebe and Louise took me to visit a pub located next to the ancient Fingle bridge.  Just driving around the country lanes is a feast for the eyes.   
























Of course I had to follow that intriguing trail.  I wasn't disappointed.


 

Even the drive home along country roads was magical ...