Thursday, January 29, 2015

Anglophilia (2)

"All the way to England!? but why?" someone asked.

It was discussed that Cornwall is rather too far away; it takes an enormous length of time to get there even once you have landed at an airport. One must get through the flight, get off the flight, yawn, go through an excruciatingly long line at customs, report whatever needs to be reported, collect one's baggage (excruciating), take the tube or London Express or bus to Paddington Station, dash off to the Great Western Rail gate and climb aboard, find your seat, then be transported for about 6 hours to beloved St Ives.
Perhaps visiting somewhere nearer might suffice?

Even, perhaps one might consider traveling within the borders of the United States?

Or even easier, one might just as well stay home to write the great American novel. 

All lovely possibilities. And all truly fine for people who are not the SconeLady. I am sure that all of these other places are simply smashing, and worthy, and good. But when you let the SconeLady out, she will be off and running toward Cornwall, every time.

Sometimes Americans who visit or move to the UK are discouraged about what they think of as the inconveniences:

  • lack of garbage disposals (shocking!)
  • housework takes longer
  • tiny refrigerators!
  • lack of electric clothes dryers and so you have to hang your things out to dry. In the rain.
  • lower salaries
  • smaller cars (I think they are cute)
  • expensive petrol (not cute)
  • smaller houses!
  • teeny tiny roadways and curves you can't possibly see lorries coming around
  • lack of Americanized foods in the stores (what a relief!)
  • lack of large grocery stores (but don't you love shopping in the corner markets? I do)
But then, there are other things to consider:
  • you can order your groceries on the Internet, for home delivery!
  • corner bakeries with delicious fare
  • afternoon teas with enviable scones
  • double decker buses
  • red phone boxes
  • theatres, concerts, museums
  • cobbled lanes to wander down in your search for a favored scone
  • green fields and hedgerows
  • castles!
  • the British sense of humor (unrivaled)
  • and best of all? NO STRIP MALLS! Hooray!

For these and other reasons, you won't find the SconeLady complaining. And you will find her on a flight, in the customs line, in the Tube, rocketing south toward Cornwall, and trodding cobbled lanes in search of perfection..

..a perfection she is sure to find.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">neilalderney123</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


It was such a lovely Wednesday. Driving south toward ocean waves and salt air, a sister, and tea. There we sat, gazing out at the great Pacific. Watching surfers in their wet suits falling, then flailing, then trying again. I laughed. All I could think of was the rather stunning son, who would have simply loved it all.

The SconeLady daydreams about another ocean..

Tea cups in hand, eyes on the waves, we talked. It was mesmerizing to watch the waves roll in and flatten, then gather themselves back up again like some giant and never ending coil. The talking continued until suddenly a smashing dinner was produced, and happily consumed. And then it was time to go. Mother would stay, and visit this charming and talented little sister, getting to gaze out that that for four days straight. Envious! I was. But -

"Thank you for the salmon!"

"Thank you for driving me!"

"Drive safely!"


"See you on Sunday!"

"Miss you already!"

"Thank you!"

And off we went, heading north. This thankfulness never ends, you know - thankfulness for a mother who, at 90, is funny, and pretty, and smiling. And comforting. And - millions of other things! Thankful for the family she raised and who still love her and each other; thankful for the children who were added, and who are now adding.

I love it all. Thank You.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Book

We entered the front door, instantly to be greeted by a small 'yelp!' This plaintive yelp came from the regions of a doggie crate containing the sweetest, most dear little puppy ever. We approached, quietly, so as not to alarm her. The three children were also quiet, having learned the drill by now. They had had darling Athena for 5 days, and were doing everything by 'The Book'.

Everybody knows how important it is to train up a puppy properly. These properly trained pups will grow up to become good dogs, and not bad ones, and people will want to be around them. It is this which has the lovely daughter motivated, and she has motivated everyone else in the family. Including, and maybe even especially, the children.

"Can we take the puppy out and play with her?" Grandma said hopefully. 

"Oh no, she is in her crate and can't come out of it until 5:00," said the 7 year old. "It says so in The Book."

"Oh.." said Grandma. "The Book."

"Yes, it is a book of LISTS and you have to do everything on the LIST every day, or the doggie won't turn out right."

Therein happiness lies.
Did you ever see a sweeter face?  

This was all very encouraging. During the hour or so of our visit, Athena was taken through her routine, and (mostly) not interfered with as Mommy led the charge. It wasn't the out-and-out free for all one might expect from a family of small children with a new puppy. People weren't running about willy-nilly, chasing, or being chased. Children were not shouting, or throwing items, or pulling tails. I found it fascinating.

Training a dog is funny because the training part is mostly for the humans, have you noticed? We need it almost more than they do. 

The small girl was playing with her Legos on the living room floor, but put them instantly away when she heard that Athena was going to be let out. "We can't let her swallow any LEGOs," she piped. "Swallowing LEGOs would be a bad thing and hurt her. It says so in The Book.."

I think I'm liking this 'book', or whatever it may be called. We could all sure use a book of instructions that might be learned and that would make us all easier to get along with. Instructions that, when followed, could bring joy and not sorrow all the days of our lives. 

Sounds a lot easier than the out-and-out free for all. Don't you think?

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Monday, January 26, 2015

Downton Abbey (S5 E4)

I still think 9:00 is a little too late in the evening for a drive through lonely back roads. But, not having a television, I did it anyway. For Sunday nights must mean the magic of Downton Abbey (do I really mean magic? perhaps it's just entertainment). And who would miss that? 

Our host turned the lights down, and I soon felt a soft tongue on my hand as the resident doggie climbed into my lap. She (at least I think it's a she) did this on and off throughout the broadcast, until it was time to deliver me back to my car. She was very loyal, and sweet. She would sometimes sleep on my lap and then wake up for another furtive lick. In between times, she and I together watched the dramas playing out before us. She behaved as if she was also interested, in: 

Doggie's eyes mysteriously glued to the television
  • Thomas, creeping mysteriously back from town looking horrible
  • the Dowager Countess visiting her old Russian aristocratic beau in the catacombs while Lady Rose served soup
  • choir boys drifting past along the city street under a blue sky
  • Molesley discovering that being the First Footman isn't all it was cracked up to be
  • a marriage proposal from Lord Merton, with the accompaniment of appropriately sweet background strings
  • the wonder of 3-second-per-day 'aristocratic parenting'
  • Lord Gillingham being ridiculous
  • Cora giving Lord Grantham the shake down after he had been ridiculous
  • Lord Gillingham winning the prize for being the most ridiculous when Mary tries to break it off
And that's only scratching the surface!

I do so hope she is able to be rid of Lord Gillingham. For the life of me I can't figure out why he is a 'Lord' in the first place. And why would he have money and estates, when he so clearly is a dweeb? I never did understand that about England.

Of real concern is the fact that the constable keeps showing up (just like detective Columbo) to talk about the hideous Mr. Green. Why, oh why, can't he just go away and leave us all alone? Poor Bates!

As we came to the end of the episode, I felt the soft warmth of the doggie wriggling around on my lap. It is always nice to have a new and furry friend to comfort one while working out the confusions of the upper classes. I never did work them out. But I did simply love the line Lord Morton used during his proposal of marriage:

"I really should go down on one knee, but I fear I’d never get up again."

It was romantic. I was charmed. 

Really - who could resist such a proposal?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I love taking screen shots because then I can refer to and drool over the places I love, with one click. An iMap can transport an Anglophile in mere moments, which is very useful when longing for the Real Thing. From the distance of a lone far-flung satellite, one can't really see what's there, but it is fun all the same. Take for example this image:

The beaches alone should be enough to make millions of people flock themselves to Cornwall. But strangely enough, only thousands do. In the meantime, just looking is almost as nice as being there. 

Someone said recently that I must be an Anglophile, so I looked it up just to be sure. "An Anglophile is a person who admires England, its people, and its culture.[1] Its antonym is Anglophobe.[2] The word's roots come from the Latin Angli"the English", and Ancient Greek φίλος - philos, "friend.""          (

Really, I must acknowledge that this is certainly entirely true. Friend of the English - that's the SconeLady hands down.

True Anglophiles apparently do all sorts of odd things that reveal their feverishness. They might use British spellings rather than the American versions (colour, flavour, centre, theatre, etc); they share a fondness for the British monarchy (guilty!!); they love red phone boxes, double decker buses, Parliamentary procedures, the comforting presence of the London 'bobby', and British films. I can hardly wait to get over there and swim around in all that Anglo-ness again.

But I noticed that Madonna is stated as an example of an Anglophile. You know, the girl who looks perpetually like a Victoria's Secret ad? Well, we heard recently that she didn't show herself to be a Friend of the English all that well - and in fact was quite agitated. She said that ramblers could not 'trespass' on her 9,000,000 pound estate, which has a public footpath. This was tantamount to scandal, because members of the British public HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ALLOWED TO WALK ALONG PUBLIC FOOTPATHS. Who IS this woman?
Ashcombe House, one of Madonna's homes

It could be that she is an Anglophile, I don't really know. But still, it's shocking to find I have something in common with her. Something like that doesn't happen every day.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015


A kindly sister has just today flown north, a thousand miles north, and is now back in her sweet woodland town - likely tired, and probably freezing. But her husband was there to gather her up and turn on the heat, then cooking her a delightfully tasty meal. For no one cooks like Lorenzo. It is a very handy thing to have a chef for a brother-in-law!

For one week those of us in the warmer climes had the fun of this visit, the only sad thing being the speed with which it passed. There was so much to catch up on and to do! But we were only just beginning when the week came to its end.

On one of the days a visit was made to the Little Blue House, where lives a little girl having a birthday. It wasn't the birthday yet, but Great Aunt would not be there for the celebration and so she brought something special in advance. She had looked and looked for just the right thing. The SconeLady had told her that this particular little girl loves to draw and to do art, and so the kind Great Aunt (who used to be a teacher) had picked out some very special crayons. 

The small girl smiled, holding her special crayons and telling her Great Aunt "Thank you!" properly as she tried at once to open them. She was helped, of course, and then Mother got out her very own roll of newsprint to draw on. It was so much fun. And best of all, she shared the crayons with her small brother who stood expectantly, but kindly, even though it was not his own birthday. He understands such things.

It was all very satisfactory, and for days the three children drew and drew, making pictures of astonishing talent and color. There seemed no end of newsprint art created in the Little Blue House. It is all neatly rolled up and placed in the corner, ready for whenever Grandma comes to visit. 

The little girl heard that her Great Aunt had gone home today, and she said, "But where did she GO, Grandma?"

"Oh, she went back home, to Oregon," I said sadly. "Back to that sweet woodland town, where you can walk for miles and never see a frowning face.."

It did my heart good just to think of it.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Sir Mildred Pierce</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's a Fever

The SconeLady's finger hovered uncertainly over the purchase button. There was so much possibility beneath that one little button! If she pressed it, the jolly prospect of wayfaring would again open up before her. Boots and walking gear, endless gazing at the sea, writing, Cornish Pasties, scones. It was all there, and all she had to do was to click. That one little click would set the whole thing in motion.

For Cornwall was once again on the horizon, just out there beyond home, 6,000 miles distant. Can you see it? The white sands of Porthmeor and St Ives Harbour; the green walking pathways along a coastline so stunning it could hardly be called anything but Perfect; the kindly Brits and their kindly dogs.

She was distressed about all sorts of details that might hinder a decision, but it was winter - the 'off' season, and therefore cheaper. The exchange rate was good! - and it was all highly motivating. 

Still, her finger hesitated over that key.

The SconeLady's husband was encouraging. A good man. The boon companion who had been there and knew the early morning walks along the shore. And the boats! And the highly favored scones at tea rooms just over the road, visits to places like St Michael's Mount and Truro Cathedral. He would not go this year, but was kind toward her schemes. 

"I think you have a fever," he said one day as I poured over cottage possibilities. "A fever that isn't going to go away and the only antidote is climbing on a plane." 

"But I don't LIKE planes.." I replied somewhat lamely.

"That doesn't matter to a fever," he said.

I suppose he is right. It's a little bit like Malaria, which comes and goes but never actually leaves. Once bitten, the victim goes back and back, seeking the light and the sea. If it really is a disease, well - I might not want the cure!

And so, it was decision time. The SconeLady hesitated for only a moment more, and then - click! - went her finger, and purchase! went her charge card (gulp). The stage was set, the actors assembled. 


See you along the way!
the SconeLady