Friday, October 31, 2014

The Living

Everyone crowded into the big bathroom with the big mirror, and got ready for Hallowe'en. Mother was applying face paint while grandma took pictures. The future Astronaut watched and commented, and the small Anna ('Frozen') stood a silent vigil. She was ready and did not want to 'mess it up'.

It was certainly the place to be, tonight. Watching mother change a normal human face into a 'Hobbes' was fascinating. She expertly formed all of the important characteristics of the other half of 'Calvin and Hobbes', until the human boy actually did look like the make-believe tiger-playmate. With the addition of the hood, the sweatshirt-stripes, and the tail, the effect was complete.

We were ready to go.

Out we trooped, joining the throngs of other Trick-or-Treaters as they hoofed it down the street. It was a nice street. With nice people. Everywhere we went people called out hello, and how are you, and have I met you before? Just the sort of place you would want to raise your children.

All at once I started thinking back to significant Hallowe'en moments of my own. As children, we always went up to the McCullough's house and bobbed for apples. And drank apple cider. Then Mrs. McCullough offered us other goodies such as popcorn balls and caramel apples. Hers was a revolving door, filled with welcome.

It was always great, and always memorable. 

For a holiday that seems to celebrate the un-living, we sure had a good time tonight. I think we ignore the un-living bit, and go for the fun bit. Tonight there were even some good lessons learned. The three saw that in order to receive candy, one must say 'Trick-or-Treat!' and then 'Thank you!', once the candy has been received. They learned that once we were back at the house, giving candy to others was actually MORE FUN than getting it for oneself.

Soon our big bowl of candy ran out, and there were still more 'customers'. The small girl dashed back into the house for her own newly-won pot of candy. "They can have mine, mommy," she said.

An uncomfortable memory flashed before me. It was of another small blond on Hallowe'en night, perhaps in the 1960s, furtively hiding a sack of candy - well away from any possible prying eyes or hands. I don't remember everything, but I do remember that NO ONE ELSE got any of it.

Sigh. Well, there is a comfort in knowing that sweet generosity and kindness seem to be blossoming down here on planet earth.

Who knew?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">scarlett1854</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Josh Smith</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From Behind a Fence

It happened the first time as I was daydreaming along the way, minding my own business and humming a Beatles tune. At that precise moment a dog jumped up and barked frantically right in my ear. I jumped and shrieked in such obvious panic that it must have looked incredibly ridiculous.

Staggering to a stop, I hoped there were no witnesses. I quickly moved to the other side of the path. But I shouldn't have, because just a few steps along, a dog of massive proportions came out of nowhere and barked hideously into my OTHER EAR. Once again, the staggering. The panic. The shriek. He also was thankfully penned in, but certainly had great timing, and just a bit of dog drool. I really began to think that the whole thing was rigged. Planned. That the dogs along that pathway must have told each other I was approaching.

"Hey! There's another lady coming. Remember how we scared that other hapless idiot who came by yesterday? Let's do it again!"

I feel sorry for people who are told by the media that they should 'eat less, and move more'. But then when they go out try and do it, they get scared to death for their pains. 

That particular pathway is so pretty that I don't want to stop walking on it. But frankly, I don't think I can stand it. They will almost certainly be lurking back there, plotting their next move - at my expense. 

The worst part is that after the second hideous bark and the second staggering shriek, I could hear someone laughing from behind that fence. 

Oh, the humiliation.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">whodeenee</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"I'd Hate To Miss The Train" (The Beatles)

The date was January 30, 1969, and it was a Thursday. In London. As people wandered the streets on their lunch break, something that sounded like Beatles music came floating down toward them. Was it Beatles music? And where was it coming from? the roof? At first, no one knew.
Former location of Apple Corp Ltd   
Then the unmistakeable voice of Paul McCartney was heard singing the words, "Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner, but he knew it wouldn't last." And people knew for certain. It was the Beatles!

I was in High School, almost certainly fast asleep during this Rooftop Concert of the Beatles that day. I didn't even hear about it until years later. But now through the magic of youtube, we can experience what we missed. 

Recently in London, I went on a Beatles tour and had high hopes for lots of good, juicy Beatles gossip. The guide gave us an hour or two of Beatles trivia (not very juicy), walking us around some of the important Beatles spots. I had no idea of these spots but I was really hoping the Rooftop Concert location would be one of them. And then suddenly, as he was telling us that Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds meant LSD, we rounded a corner. Then there it was.

The address was 3 Savile Row, London UK, now the former location of Apple Records. In 1969 the Beatles were planning at some point do a live performance, but finding the right place wasn't easy. Ringo Starr said, "We were wondering where we could go—'Oh, the Palladium or the Sahara.' But we would have had to take all the stuff, so we decided, 'Let's get up on the roof'".[3]

So, they did. Sound men carried the equipment, hooked it all up, did a quick sound check, and then Paul began. The concert lasted 42 minutes before the London police halted it (I think they were worried about traffic, or something). But for those 42 minutes people crowded onto the roof, or climbed to other roofs, or sat below and watched, in wonder at this impromptu moment in history. If you want, you can watch it too.

As the tour group gathered on that street, all these decades later, we stared upward and wished some Beatles music might float down toward us. It was fun imagining that it might. I know that the Beatles might not have been every parent's dream for their children. They might have made a mess of things here and there. 

But for someone who was in High School at the time? It was sure a fun ride.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">shaun wong</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Leaving One's Heart

Just about every day in St Ives was wonderful. Really and truly, up to a point it was wonderful. The 'point' up to which it was wonderful might have had something to do with rain.

We checked this a lot, and it really didn't have a huge impact. But it had some. There was one actual day where our activity level was interrupted, and we did not go. But the rest of the time, the weather didn't matter all that much. You can tell just by looking that the high temperatures were not vastly different from the low; and so everyone just keeps on going.

One day of rain found us upstairs, in The Sloop. The Sloop had already become our favorite local pub, and had given us the best pub food anywhere. Ever. The day of rain made us want to be sure and eat indoors and so we stepped toward the upper floor into a room called The Captain's Table. The food and the prices were the same, upstairs and down; inside and out. And so it was advantageous to try the upstairs/inside place.

It was sweet; it was quaint; it was what every American hopes to find in an English pub, and more.

The ceilings were massively low! The SconeLady herself would bump her head if she did not have all of her wits about her. In the photo above you can see that her head is actually touching the beam above her. It really is. So just think of how a man, or a taller woman, would feel if walking willy-nilly around The Captain's Table. He or she would not like it.

The waitress was just the jolliest and kindest person. She guided us to a window table, overlooking the harbor/harbour, and kept us entertained by regaling us with stories of the town when she was a child. For she, like many of the wait staff in St Ives, had been born there, and stayed. If you ever reach St Ives, and if you ever walk into The Sloop, or Porthminster Beach Cafe, or The Crab and Rum Shack, you will meet locals. They who have stuck by the town and want to raise their kids in it. It is a view you won't find elsewhere.

That's what you get to see when you stay in one place for three weeks or longer. You get deeper into the 'onion' of it all. Peeling back the layers, finding the heart. And once you do this, that heart gets into you. There is no avoiding it. You won't want to avoid it.

The words to a song have kept going through my head, as I think of St Ives. A few of the lyrics I have replaced:

I left my heart in Saint Ives, Cornwall,
And from the hills, it calls to me
With its little cobbled streets, the people that I meet,
The morning mist may chill the air, I don't care

My heart waits there in Saint Ives, Cornwall,
Above the clear and windy sea
I will come home to you, darling Cornwall,
Again your sun will shine for me
-George Cory, Douglass Cross

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, October 27, 2014

No Toys. No TV. (2)

It is true, we have no toys and no TV. None. The prospect of having the three darlings over for a night should have been daunting without those two commodities. But no one even asked about them. Not a whisper. There was so much else to do.

This takes me back a bunch of decades, to when the SconeLady was really young and newly married and thinking about a life without a television in it (there was so much else to do). Her newly married husband agreed, and so there was no small screen in the house (a theater screen, however, must have been different, because the SconeLady saw the movie Rocky NINE TIMES in the year before.. That's a topic for another day).

This no TV idea was a pretty steady thing. Apart from the first Gulf War (1991) during which we purchased one 2nd hand, there wasn't any. The kids didn't really have that steady Hollywood diet and everyone got on fine. It was sweet.

And now the kiddies were coming, and rather than scrambling for an entertainment, we had a great plan. Here was our plan:
  • fishing from the dock
  • having a weenie roast
  • roasting marshmallows and making s'mores
  • swimming in the pool/hot tub
  • reading
  • going out to iHop first thing next morning
  • going around the lake in the row boat 
  • coming back for more fishing from the dock
  • going to PetSmart to look at dogs, cats, fish, and creepy/crawly things
  • going to McDonald's PlayPlace for lunch
Does that seem like a lot? It was. And we did it all. In 19 hours. 

You almost get a whiplash thinking about it. We moved from one thing to the next so quickly that it was like a blur.

The kids themselves showed no signs of flagging. A few hours in, we started to! But we were too busy to think very much about it. Too many hooks flying and hot dog sticks swaying ("oh - watch that hook, please. Umm, watch it, the hook's too close to your brother's eye. THE HOOK!!!".. and so on). 

But - I have to be honest with you, dear Readers. We ended up bending the rules just a bit. The 'no TV' rules. When there was still an hour before bedtime and their energy levels were rising? I configured a new plan. It was lovely. Who says we can't be flexible? 

Netflix. On the iPad.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">massdistraction</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Sunday, October 26, 2014

No Toys. No TV.

It reminded me of the hundreds of worms my husband had put onto hooks for me. I could never bear to do it for myself, or touch the horrid things. And yesterday he was at it again. Three fishing poles, three wiggly worms, three hooks. It would be a daunting task for any fisherman, especially when the three hooks are mobile and almost certainly unpredictable.

But the three small fishermen did not mind handling these worms. Oh, no - they wanted to handle them. And did. But at last, the worm would make its way into grandpa's capable hands, and expertly onto the hook. Then cast. Then handed to the child. 

There was a pause, as everyone watched their bobber. And then - a nibble.... a strike! a catch! A reeling in of wiggly fish. Three catfish (and maybe more - or maybe the same ones again -  we can't be sure) were caught and rejoiced over! 

Success is defined within the parameters of fish actually caught, and humans un-caught. There is a fine line.

After the fish had been caught and released, and after the row boat had been placed in the water, they four ventured out. Grandma sat waiting on the dock. She could hear their voices calling out as they floated around the bend, Grampa rowing in their midst. 

"BYE, Gramma!" someone shouted.

Before bed, the 4 year old and I snuggled up on the couch, flipping through some iPad photos of my trip.

Up popped some images of Scones, that highly favored of all commodities. She was most captivated by the sight of the jam and the cream, and gently touched the colorful pictures.

"Grandma, are you the SconeLady?" she asked.

"Yes, my darling. I am she."

"When are you going to make some scones? I would like some scones.." She looked up at me and smiled.

"Well then, you shall have some!" I replied. "Great Aunt has a recipe I am excited to make. Would you like to help?"

I saw from her face just exactly what she felt about 'helping'. "Oh yes, I would love to!"

And so, at some future point, the SconeLady will have Help - the kind of help that makes everything much nicer, and everything taste better.

If we think of future prospects in such terms as 'Good', 'Better', or 'Best', my vote is utterly biased and will go with 'Best', every time.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, October 25, 2014


One of the sweetest things we came upon was - a Duck.

This particular duck I have come to think of with a Capital D. We four were walking along on a tour of Mousehole, and the town of Paul, and everything in between. Only a short walking tour but well worth every meter. 

While stepping along next to the shore, we saw the cutest, loveliest tiny gardens just overlooking the water. There were several of these tiny gardens, all enclosed with small hedgerows, so unique that they can really hardly be called hedgerows. Well, I might as well show one to you, just so you know - the one with the Duck:

Rosie and I immediately stopped. We gaped. The duck saw us, but was fine with it and didn't put any space between itself and us. In fact, as we walked along a few steps, it walked too. Sort of, in fact, following our steps, all the while gazing up at our faces. It was uncanny.

It even uttered a quack, or two. Not an irritating, loud sort of quack either. A cute quack.

We never figured out who the Duck belonged to, or which house; but we felt (Rosie and I, that is) that what we really wanted was to adopt it ourselves. The husbands, however, clearly did not feel this and so on we all walked, Rosie and I taking stealthy looks over our shoulders. The Duck watched us leave, and plaintively quacked.

You never know what you might find when you are on a walking tour, in England. Especially in delicious Cornwall. The place is already magical, already beautiful, even without coming upon the dearest, sweetest, whitest little Duck, EVER. 

A lucky Duck.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady