Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cornwall, Day 9 (Happiness is: a Friend in Cornwall)

Shall we meet at The Sloop?

I sat in a drizzle just feet from the sea, with the ever present gulls circling above. At any moment I would see a black Mercedes convertible (the top up!), within which would shine the smiling face of friend Rosie, and her Ted. Another St Ives reunion!

Only it wasn't meant to be raining. It was meant (in my scheming mind) to be lovely, and blue, and rainless with perhaps just a breath of wind. I would welcome them with flowing blond hair, wave graciously and dash to open the car door. Instead I huddled beneath a purple umbrella, hair damp and unforgiving.
The Sloop Inn, St Ives Cornwall, Oct 2014 
But through the rain there came the Mercedes, with Ted responsibly driving down the tiny harbor lane covered in cobbles. As soon as I saw them, all plans of perfection disappeared, for they would neither notice nor care about hair. True friends see MORE! not less.

I climbed into the car with them, shaking the umbrella and offering directions. After a flurry of signaling, and turning, and then finding the car park, I turned around to look at Rosie and grasp her hand. We both smiled. A sight for sore eyes!

We got them parked and began to step down the hill toward our cottage by the sea. Each of us carried the most amazing food! Casseroles, and fresh bread with wines, and 'tasties' - which were sliced Italian deli meats and enticing packages of cheeses to die for. With Ted, only the best cheeses make the trek to St Ives from that land of Norfolk.

It was obviously going to be a lovely week.

And anyway, neither of them cared about the rain. The British expect it. Only the Americans hear that it is coming and then are disappointed when it does! But then just this morning, we were awakened to a bright and blue sky after all. The first of many long walks revealed the magnificence of Cornwelian cliffs, and as we wandered along them we watched the surfers gathering in force. 

Wave after wave astounded, as these fearless men and women climbed atop them. And a lone paddle boarder, very tall and rather regal, threaded his way among them doing his amazing thing. It was like an orchestra, never a clash and many a thrill. We were wind blown when we returned, but wonderfully exhilarated by it all. I was fiddling with my tangled pile of tech cables when I heard Rosie say,

"Right. Now who is feeling like a hot drink? I'll just put the kettle on, and we'll all have tea!"

But from his perch at the end of the couch could be heard Ted's clear, Irish voice: "Tea? Not here - I'm going for a pint."

And promptly disappeared, making his way to the ever waiting, ever welcoming Sloop.

It was a perfect day.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cornwall, Day 8 (Blond Bombshells)

It was decided that we would FaceTime at 3pm, which for me would be 11:00. Late, yes - but did that matter? I would see the three darling blondies just at the end of the school day and who, I say, wouldn't want to stay up for that?

The timing couldn't have been more perfect because they were just then climbing into the white van. Not yet strapped in, free as birds, they could bounce about to their heart's content as their mother held the phone. Grandma would catch glimpses of faces here and there as the energy gained momentum. The 7 year old hovered briefly in the frame and said with his own sort of enthusiasm, "Grandma! I've changed my mind!"

"Oh?" said I. "What did you change it to?"

"Well this is what. I'm thinking about a different LEGO now, not the one I thought of when you were here." And he held up his somewhat tattered and worn blue LEGO booklet.

"Really? But you wanted that other one quite a bit.." I was trying to keep up with all the different choices as they moved up and down the scale of importance.

"Well I'm getting used to changing my mind quite a bit and so I did it. Again. Besides, this one has a helicopter.." 

And then suddenly another face flashed onto the camera phone.

"Grandma it's me! Do you see my new pink sunglasses? They have polka dots." It was my darling girl-of-5. "I got them from GRACIEEEEEE!"

The phone darted back and forth, between the brother and the sister, and I wondered out loud where their smaller brother was.

"He's here, he's here!" they cried."That's his arm!"

The littlest was waiting patiently for his turn, and grinned out at me from behind the head rest. I smiled back at him. "Grandma I got a new truck.." he said quietly. We talked about the truck for a bit until it was time to go. It was such absolute fun to be included in a van with these small energizers. Even if, for a time, I must be a Grandma-from-afar.

Sometimes people get annoyed with technology. Think it is entirely too complicated for its own good and makes their lives more difficult. It may be all of those things to some people, and I almost agree with them at times. But just now, when I can be thousands of miles from home but still see my heart's desire? I'd say technology got this one right.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, February 27, 2015

She Was Her Middle Name

After receiving the news of our Loss, and hanging up the phone, it was hard to know what the next step should be. There were so many things to consider; so many questions to ask about and most especially because the one person I wanted to ask about them, was her. 

So I pulled on the necessary layers, locked up the house and made my way upward. To the cliffs. Past the Tate, around the bend, and on in through the gate to the Churchyard. Back home such a place would be referred to as a graveyard, but I like the term Churchyard best. It reminds one of a time when more people associated death with Life, and were reminded of it each time they saw the stones. 

It was a lovely day, with both sunshine and shadow flooding the stones. Birds circled noisily above as if ordering me to go away. But I didn't. There was a tryst to keep.

"Sacred to the memory of.." "..In loving memory of.." I read, seeing the details of someone who had been loved and was now being remembered. Most of these gravestones were ancient, far older than anything we might see back home. But whether old or new, loved ones of both countries have gone to great lengths to be sure the person they had loved was not forgotten. 

She was my husband's mother. Because of this, I was given the chance to love her and to be loved back. I was incredibly blessed by this. She had always wanted a daughter, and now, she said, she 'had one!' 

She made me dresses. She bought me sweaters and shoes, just because she wanted to and saw things she thought would look pretty. I married her son almost 38 years ago, and her joy in giving never waned.

I write about her here because I can't help it - she was so large a part of our lives, and her spot now stands empty. She had read these blogposts every day since they started, and then shared them with everyone she could think of. It was the absolute sweetest thing.

And I won't forget the most important thing, dear Readers - the thing she spoke of most often and passed on to her children. The joy of her Christian faith. She said recently that she did not fear death, because she was going to Jesus. Heaven would be no strange place, for her. She would be 'going Home'.

So when we think of her, when we see her photographs as a young girl, as a new mother, as a happy grandmother, and as a blessed great grandmother, we will always think of Joy.

And that was her middle name.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cornwall, Day 6 ('Rock Stars' in St Ives)

The two of them walked into the shop hand in hand, simply glowing at one another. They were not young, really, in fact much older than two people would normally be who have a glow like that. 

"May I help you?" asked the proprietor.

"Oh yes! We would like to order wedding invitations!" said the beaming Groom.

The proprietor's face lit up as he said, "Oh! Well, congratulations, then!"

And suddenly we all laughed because we couldn't help it. It was the sweetest thing.

"Our friends tell us we're too old for these things, ask us why we don't just live together rather than going to all the fuss and bother of a wedding," said the Bride. "But we find we rather like the fuss and bother!"

"Oh yes, it's fuss and bother for me, every time!" said the smiling man.

I waited as the three of them discussed fonts and joked about groom's cake and honeymoons. "We think it's to be the Bahamas!" chortled the Bride. "For a week in June."

"Warmth! Idle time! Dancing in our bathing suits," he added, sounding as if such a place might actually be Heaven.
With each choice, the man asked the woman what she wanted, and then she asked him what he wanted. They always wanted what each other wanted. There was a deference. An absolute absence of bickering. Unusual, I know. 

They finally finished their transaction, gathered up their bags, and went out the door hand in hand. It was a bit darker in there, without all that glow.

The proprietor turned to me with a puzzled look. 

"I just don't get it. She treats him as if he's a Rock Star."

"A Rock Star," I said, thinking. There was - something, that was for sure. Something that made them feel like a million dollars and a record deal. Perhaps even sequined costumes. And then it suddenly came to me. They were thinking of each other, and not of themselves. 

I believe that's Love. And everybody could use that kind of fuss and bother.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">celtic wedding rings</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="">"To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with." mark twain</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cornwall, Day 5 (From a Distance)

Today's will be a different kind of message, dear Readers; the unexpectedly sad kind. Early this morning I learned that my pretty, and kind, and consistently wonderful mother-in-law has passed away in her home. So unexpected was this that it is almost impossible for us to believe. She was so happy and vibrant just days ago. But believe it we must, and loved ones are now making their way to the farm to think of and to celebrate this wonderful woman.

Everyone who knew her loved her. She made friends and kept them. Her children and grandchildren were her true joy, and to say that we will all miss her terribly is an immense understatement. But we all will, and we already do.

When her husband was so ill and in Hospice not very long ago, no one could have been more attentive and loving. She sat by his bedside and would not leave it. "Honey, I will see you again when we are both with Jesus," she whispered. And now, they are.

May God bless you both, mom and dad.

With love, from
the SconeLady

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cornwall, Day 4 (Here Comes The Sun)

The Digey Food Room, St Ives, 24 Feb 2015

I had wandered nostalgically past it a few times already, but wanted to go there when the sky was just as blue as their sign. Today, at last, it was. Even bluer! (is that a word?)

Coming through the door of the Digey I felt as if my entire family were all right there with me. They know it well! But I walked in alone, breathing in the wonderful aromas that met me there. Ah, scones.

A menu lay unread on the table because I always know exactly what I will order. There is no other viable choice (although one sister did mention rather liking a photo of the gingerbread there. I will soon try it, and let her/you know!). 

Josh, the best scone baker in Cornwall

Of course I ordered a scone and a pot of tea-for-one, and of course JOSH delivered it to my table! 

"Are you Josh?" I queried, and identified myself as the SconeLady.

"Oh! I thought I recognized you," he said, smiling. Once again he submitted to being photographed, this time with the famous scone. Kindly man of few words, scone-baker extraordinaire, always willing to help out this wandering SconeLady.

If such a thing is even possible, the scone at the Digey Food Room today was even better than before. And it was a 10 ALREADY. I had promised you that I would use Josh's recipe soon and tell you how it had turned out. Alas! I have not yet done this. 

I now admit that this neglect is mostly because the recipe was in the large quantities befitting a Food Room. I didn't feel up to all that division of grams and other odd metrics. And yet - perhaps when friend Rosie arrives next week, WE can use the recipe and let you know how it turns out. She can figure it out with me!

Besides these scone-ish delights, today I:
  • enjoyed an apple-berry Cornish pasty for breakfast :-)
  • walked 10 easy miles under a blue (if windy) sky
  • began to be recognized and spoken to!
  • was surrounded by four darling doggies wishing to share their love
  • signed myself up as a 'temporary patient' with the National Health Service! (alert: the Brits do it best)
  • fixed the Internet troubles :-) and...
  • remembered that the Oscars had happened 2 days ago - without me! 
But I don't think I really missed very much, do you? My heart just wasn't in it this time. Still, I would like to have seen what the ladies were wearing. Or not wearing, whatever the case may be.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Barnoon Cemetery, St Ives 24 Feb 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cornwall, Day 3 (Happenings)

This is the day that I:

  • had a fresh croissant from the corner market, with coffee at my own sweet kitchen table
  • heard a strange pinging noise on the roof and peeked out to find a freakish HAIL falling from the skies
  • walked along the harbor half an hour later to suddenly be surprised by a sky of immense and gleaming blue
  • struck up a conversation with two friendly British ladies whose husbands are in southern California ("Where are they?" I asked. "Laguna Beach - and it was 82F there today! They keep rubbing it in and we are supremely jealous," they replied cheerfully)
  • walked with joy along the heights and depths that are St Ives Cornwall
  • suddenly remembered I had forgotten to watch two episodes of Downton Abbey!
  • forgot how early it was back home and Face Timed the rather stunning (and sleepy) son, and saw that he was happy with me anyway
  • bought the most delicious block of Cadbury's Chocolate. And...
  • stood inside an ancient church building, gazing out at the sweetest view of the day (see above)

It had taken me 5 days, but today I all-at-once knew that I'd been walking on the wrong side of the roadways/walkways the entire time because I forgot I was an American and everybody else here isn't and pedestrians and vehicles were all becoming bunched up and confused and waiting for me to GET A CLUE. 

You see, the streets and avenues here are teeny-tiny and there's just NO ROOM to dither with. And everyone is so completely polite here that they don't scold. I love this place! Back home I would have been honked at and probably yelled at and there would have been no end of a row. 

But I've figured it out now. And tomorrow there will be a visit to The Digey Food Rooms, where I am certain to find the finest scone baker in all of Cornwall.

Porthminster Beach, St Ives
23 Feb 2015

See you along the way!
the SconeLady