Saturday, January 31, 2015

Comfort


It happens every time.

The door opens, revealing their much-loved Uncle (you can hear him before you see him), and all decorum instantly evaporates. It is the funniest moment of the day, when all of the laughter becomes contagious.



Today there was the sweet addition of one small, impressionable doggie who was only just learning decorum. Mommy had kindly reminded everyone about not getting wild (nearly impossible), not leaving doors opened (almost as impossible), and helping Athena to apply everything she has learned so nicely up to now.

One might think that from the look of the photo above, chaos ensued. But in all truth, it didn't. Athena was introduced to the newcomer, and they became instant friends. The kindly uncle knew the ropes. Believed the rules. Happily reinforced them, thereby making his sister happy and thankful. The children cheerfully added their own instructions for what should and should not happen:

"But she isn't allowed to nibble or scratch. We have to say NO! when she does."

"Whenever she is sniffing the floor we have to take her out to the potty RIGHT AWAY."

"Give her a chew toy when she tries to bite you!"

And so on. It was the funniest thing.

The lovely daughter made lunch, and everyone piled around the big dining room table. Children sat, politely munching and sharing, and laughing at Grampa. Plans were bandied about. Requests were made. All sorts of fun things can happen on any given Saturday, and lots of them did. 


"Grandma, can we get our nails done today?" said the 4 year old, hopefully. 

"Of course!" replied Grandma. "We can go just as soon as you are ready."

"Can I get my nails done too?" teased Grampa.

"No! You're a BOY!"

"Oh.." he said in a disappointed voice. "Can Athena, then? She would look pretty in pink."

There was just the slightest roll of the eyes, and, "Nooo, only people girls can do that."


And on that happy note the family dispersed, leaving Mommy to enjoy a rare but wonderful moment of peace. 




She watched as the van backed away, and down the lane. A sudden silence descended upon the Little Blue House as she walked through the door. It was lovely, this silence. It might allow her to collect her thoughts, and gather her sanity once again. Sanity came in very handy with a family of five.. and a dog.

But before very long, a strangely familiar feeling came over her. What was it? She was missing something that she felt she really should not miss.

It was the NOISE. Never underestimate the comfort of chaos.


See you along the way!
the SconeLady





Friday, January 30, 2015

Camaraderie


"She's learning not to yelp quite so much, Grandma," said the 4 year old, as she worked on a Lego house. "And she has a special spot for going potty! Mommy taught her how."

"Well - that IS good news," said Grandma. "The best of all possible doggie news."


It was true. Darling Athena behaved as though she thoroughly belonged now to the Little Blue House, as indeed she did. While there might have been a rare accident inside the house, no such calamity had happened while Grandma and Grampa were there. Mommy watched over the new arrival with a steady focus, so that the puppy had begun already to figure out the important bits.

"But I got a little scratch, Grandma," the girl continued. "On my arm."

I wondered whether said scratch had come from a certain doggie paw, and asked.

"Well yes, but she did't really mean it. She was just playing and my arm got in the way of her paw, and.." She hesitated, and then added, "It was a ACCIDENT."

"Oh of course it was. Puppies don't mean to hurt anyone - they are just playing." I said.

At just about that moment, I was kneeling down near Athena, giving her a pat. The little paws were swinging playfully up in my direction, and then suddenly - scratch! went one. 

"Oh Grandma! You got a scratch, too! Poor, poor Grandma!"

Everyone came over to check this out. "Oh Mother, poor you!" said the lovely daughter, and dashed in to fetch a bandaid.

It was soon washed, and covered, and Grandma exclaimed, "It was only tiny! It doesn't hurt at all."

The Grandma and the little girl looked at each other with perfect understanding. One small hand reached over and gave the arm a soft, gentle pat. "Our scratches look the same now, don't they Grandma?" she said proudly.

"Mmm, yes they do." Now this was camaraderie. 

There was a pause. "I think I scratched my little brother once," she went on.

"Oh?" I said softly.

"Yes. His arm got in the way of my hand..."

She glanced over at her brother, and added, "But I don't think that one was a ACCIDENT."






See you along the way!
the SconeLady













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. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilsingapore/9240825815/
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!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mount_otz/35644546/

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="https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilsingapore/9240825815/">neilalderney123</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mount_otz/35644546/">otzberg</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>





Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lovely


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.



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!"

"HUGS!"

"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)

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/chi_bellami/6268722278/


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="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chi_bellami/6268722278/">Chi Bellami</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Anglophilia


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.""          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglophile)

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?


https://www.flickr.com/photos/astrolondon/2896515960/
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="https://www.flickr.com/photos/astrolondon/2896515960/">Kaustav Bhattacharya</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>






Saturday, January 24, 2015

Goodbyes

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sirmildredpierce/39339644/

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="https://www.flickr.com/photos/sirmildredpierce/39339644/">Sir Mildred Pierce</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">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. 

Lights...Camera...Action!






See you along the way!
the SconeLady










Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hideous in Nordstrom


"Maybe I'd better go home and change first. I look hideous." I had walked 7.4 miles out to the house, and was wearing huge black walking shoes along with other bag-lady varieties of clothes.

"You don't look hideous, you look wonderful. No need," said my kindly sister.

"But my shoes.." I said, peering down at the offending appendages. 

"No one will notice your shoes," she said. And thus, we decided. I was glad and didn't want to go home to change first. We were going shopping with Mother, and wanted no detours.

So we took Mother in the car, and headed in the direction of the one and only department store deserving to exist on this earth. Nordstrom. We had gone there for so long and shopped there so much that at least one of the store ladies used to know us by sight - and probably even by name. She was almost certainly familiar with our charge cards. 

"So glad to see you again! May I help?" she would beam.

But today would be different. We were no longer in what you might call the acquisition mode. For a variety of reasons we did not automatically pull out the Visa upon glimpsing a smashing dress: "Oh! You have to try this on! It is so cute." And... "This one is just your style. I'm sure he won't mind the ENORMOUS PRICE TAG!" 

And so on.

This day, as we walked into the hallowed halls of Nordstrom I had a sudden odd feeling. My feet were dragging along the floor as if a weight were on both. Why? you ask. It was because I had accidentally glanced into a mirror, and there saw - my SHOES! And they were, almost certainly, hideous.


Other shoppers glided by in pretty spikes and swishing dresses. Stylish mannikins mocked me from their silent posts, all of them dressed fit to kill. My own mother and sister looked lovely and not like they had walked 7.5 miles down an asphalt highway already that morning. Oh, the poor SconeLady!



I quickly recognized the sudden reoccurrence of Acquisition Fever. Have you ever had that? My breath came in short stabs as I passed by a pair of heels I just KNEW had been on Keira Knightly at the last Golden Globes.. surely I could use ... such a lovely pair...

We headed on through the shoe department and into the mall. My breathing became slowly calm; pulse slowed; Nordstrom faded away, into the hall behind us. 

That was a close one. (But - I couldn't help but wonder if they would take ApplePay..)



See you along the way!
the SconeLady







photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/rusty_clark/6259047504/">RustyClark (hottnfunkyradio.com)</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Listen



There are 82 years between them but you would never know it. It was time for dinner, and he had heard that his great grandmother was going to sit at the other table. But he didn't want her to sit at the other table and so he whispered, "Can Great Grandma sit next to me?"

"Of course! She would love to." And when Great Grandma heard about this kind invitation, she turned around and carried her plate to that honored spot, next to him.

They chatted together, and laughed, and he kind of hovered nearby for the rest of the evening - except, of course, during the hot tub play time when everyone splashed and shouted and the kids dumped freezing cold water on their own heads. Great Grandma was inside during that (wise woman). 

It's fun having generations where no one notices the difference. Where no one comments on age at all and acts as though it is perfectly normal having people together whose times on earth are varied. That way the children aren't burdened about it, bless them.

They sat and chatted about this and that, and passed a very pleasant dinner which included a variety of stories and jokes, and enough 'what if?' scenarios to beat the band. New ideas always go a long way when you have a new person to share them with, especially when this new person is a listener. There isn't much she hasn't listened to, over the years. Including, of course, myself.

It is a gift, this listening. Children recognize it, and are drawn to it like young magnets. It's just like something we used to see on The Waltons, all those many years ago. Grandpa and Grandma and other relatives being there, being part of the undeniable fabric of life. Interested. Receiving. Paying attention.






I love that the 7 year old has already learned this, and probably didn't even notice when it was that he learned it. I suppose it comes from watching and noticing. And, of course, listening. Something that comes best with a little practice.



See you along the way!
the SconeLady



photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/_tim/36924484/">Tim Murtaugh</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tell Me A Story

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mexicanwave/185858206/

There was much rolling around on the floor near where Grampa leaned against a pillow. He was quite comfortable. Grampa always makes a delectable target whenever he happens to recline, and tonight was no exception.

"Grampa, tell us a made-up story!" the two little ones squeaked.

"I don't know what story to tell you. Should it be a happy one, or a sad one?"

"HAPPY!" they shouted.

"Ok. Once upon a time there was a Grandma who had a pretty kitchen and lots of pretty kitchen stuff in it. She could cook in it and make all sorts of tasty treats. One day the man who lives in her house (Grampa) came in and smelled the most delightful smell he had ever smelled. He went into the kitchen and found that Grandma had made him an APPLE PIE, and this made him a very, very happy man. THE END."

Cheers went up all around.

"But tell us another story, Grampa!"

He thought for a moment. "Hmm. Should it be a happy story or a sad story?"

"A SAD story!" they shouted.

"Ok. Once upon a time there was a man who had a nice kitchen and he was really hungry and decided that he wanted to eat an APPLE PIE. He bought all of the ingredients and then he got out some cook books and decided he could MAKE the apple pie all by himself. He read up on how to make this pie, and he made it right then and there. He cut up the apples, and he made the crust. And then he put the pie in the oven. It was a hot oven. Then the man was very very tired from making this complicated pie, and so he layed down and slept. When he woke up, to his dismay he found that the pie had been burnt to a crisp, and this made the man VERY VERY SAD. The End."

"Yaaaaay!" shouted the children, and jumped on his tummy.

It was time for bed and so their Grandpa gathered them onto the bed and read to them the Bible story. It was from 1st John 1:5 - "This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."

The three children lay on the bed as these Words washed over them and quietened them. They liked the thought of Light, and that God is that. Bedtime sometimes made at least one little girl think of how she did not like darkness very much. Now she heard that God is the kind of Light that has no darkness. "No darkness at all", the words had said.

No one spoke. The littlest wriggled around and held his blankie. The eldest simply lay there, thinking. The small girl patted her Grampa's kind head, and whispered, "Goodnight Grampa; Goodnight Grandma.."

Their grandparents tiptoed out, listening for further comments, or noises, or questions. But there were none.

It is a good message to think about. A place in this rather cold, dark world, where people take other people and don't let them go home. Where people stop believing and forget there is a God. Where there seems to be just so much darkness.

But God - is Light. In Him there is no darkness at all.

'In Him' sounds like the very greatest possible place for us to be. We better get back there.




See you along the Way!
the SconeLady



photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mexicanwave/185858206/">Mexicanwave</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>


Monday, January 19, 2015

Downton Abbey Episode 3 (When Nobody Was Looking)

Catching up with the Times we Live in


If this is what 'catching up with the times' is, I wish we weren't catching up with them in such a frightful hurry. But in the case of Lady Mary, that Train has  irredeemably left the station.

At the end of episode 2, we were left wondering which way this thing was going to go. Was Lady Mary going to lose her virtue with a creep and open the doors to additional creepiness? Or was Lady Mary going to come to her senses before it was too late?

For those who hoped she would keep the virtue, it was a Sad Day. What would Matthew think? Alas!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremysorrells/8075820997/


It was too sad. Too sneaky. And because of all the sneakiness, things had to be kept hushed up; guiltily secretive; furtive. That's what happens when people discover they actually (shockingly) do have a conscience.

For good or ill, and quite possibly ill, secrets and mystery ran rampant within this episode. For example:
  • Why are Lady Mary and Lord Gillingham behaving as if it were the year 2015?
  • Was Bates in York or in London on a certain foggy and very significant day?
  • Did Mrs. Hughes and Lady Mary find and destroy a key piece of evidence?
  • Has Lady Edith got an ulterior motive for visiting the little girl at Drewe Farm?
  • Did Spratt (or did he not) let a certain cat out of a certain bag?
  • Will that cat stay within that bag?
  • Will Mrs. Patmore's nephew be included in the Downton Abbey memorial? (Would General George Patton like Mrs. Patmore's nephew if this had been World War 2 instead of 1?)
  • Did the Dowager Countess have a romantic past? What on earth!?
There were more questions, oh-so-many more. And I couldn't possibly keep up with all the mystery. So when it got too confusing, I determined to listen carefully for the Dowager Countess's droll comments. Such as -

  • Regarding her butler going to a funeral: "Surely you can't begrudge him that. Servants are human beings too". "Yes, but preferably only on their days off."
  • To Lady Mary upon hearing of her 'tryst': "In MY day, a lady was incapable of feeling physical attraction until she'd been instructed to do so by her mama."
She was entertaining, and all, but even the Dowager Countess can't quite make up for the moral decline of the British Aristocracy when everybody thought nobody was looking. 


See you along the way!
the SconeLady




photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcts9/6003796492/">KCTS 9</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Small Voice Trumps iPhone


"But Gracie's door is RED.."

She looked up at me with one small tear gathering, wondering why Grandma had taken her to a house with a green door, and not a red one.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/the-o/2322334895/

I thought the smartphone in my hand knew, and therefore did not pay overmuch attention about things like doors. It didn't sink in. Now I can't believe how utterly atrocious were my listening skills. Not just mediocre.

But we waited, and rang again the bell of the green door (she knowing it was futile), and waited some more. Surely the family would soon hear the bell and come. I knew they were home. But no one did.

The mystery remained unsolved until I finally looked more carefully at the offending smartphone and discovered something: we were standing on the street just before the street with the house with a RED door. Oh woe! Into the car we climbed, click went the car seat belts, and off we drove up one street.

The mother was outside, waiting for us. I saw her. Waved. Felt embarrassment. Looked at the house, and saw - the reddest door in the neighborhood! We had finally made it.

The little girl got out (no tears in evidence) and flew across the lawn to her beloved Gracie, hugging, laughing, telling her why we were late. "..And I told Grandma that it was the WRONG COLOR..!"

But I hadn't listened very well, now had I? The 'digital director' in my hand had led us (or so I thought) to the address, and that was that. This only goes to show us/me that People are more important than Things. And that even small girls who have no smartphone, no digital device, and no proof of their own, know when something is bafflingly off.

It is so lovely to spend time with sweet, polite children, and not horrid, nasty ones. I love the privilege of occasionally transporting them places, and want to get it right. Small children's voices aren't very loud in themselves, it is true. But they really should be listened to as if they are a Fog Horn.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lumen850/7138008953/


See you along the way!
the SconeLady




photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/the-o/2322334895/">David Paul Ohmer</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/lumen850/7138008953/">elminium</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Swiss Family Robinson (Then and Now)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/36599428@N00/449075901/

I don't know whether it was a true story or not, but in 1960 I sure did think it was. We walked into the theater as the movie was already in progress, and the place was packed. All eyes were straight ahead and glued to the screen. I was instantly fascinated.

We had to bump past some other movie-goers in order to get to our seats. But finally our full attention focused onto the great fat pig the family were trying to rescue. And then the dogs! and the geese, ducks, donkey, and other animals who had been stranded right along with the Swiss Family we had come to see. I was never to forget it.

Tonight I got to see this film through the eyes of the next generation. The three had been in and out of the tub/shower, been scrubbed into a state of utter cleanliness, with teeth brushed, pjs on. They sat perched upon their parents' big bed, all ready for Grampa to push 'play'. And then the magic began.

From the first moment, the 7 year old was as enthralled as I had been those many years ago. He was transfixed by the ship approaching certain disaster, ready to be smashed to smithereens. It did, in fact, smash to smithereens, much to his amazement. Adventures untold awaited! Instantly they caught on to the plight, the attempts at self-rescue (having been abandoned by the ship's captain and crew), and the protective way the family treated their Mother.

Grampa and Grandma had to leave before the movie ended tonight, but we had seen it all before and knew the outcome. It will be fun to ask them about it. I feel they will surely have loved the Christmastime dinner and music and dancing in the tree house; the girl found in the clutches of horrid pirates (the girl having been dressed as a boy for her protection) on the other side of the island; the steps the Swiss Family took to protect themselves from those pirates and how the ending battle took place.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/5020302777/

It was enough to fulfill all of any child's need for adventure. I remember very well laughing hysterically as one fat pirate received just what he deserved as he stepped into the tiger pit. (Don't worry. It was all very 'tastefully' done).

I'm pretty sure that the 7 year old will be dreaming of some plan to 'practice out' a rescue in the coming days. I am certain his plan would be very effective.


Life without a shirt


And one thing is for sure in any scenario - he would never need a shirt. The guys in the Swiss Family did NOT have to wear shirts, and this would be the utter height of fabulous in this boy's eyes. He could think of nothing greater than running around an island rescuing people, playing with monkeys, building tree houses and swinging from ropes, sliding down a cascade of water and into a pond - all without a shirt. 

How could it possibly get any better than that?


See you along the way!
the SconeLady



photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/36599428@N00/449075901/">RubyShoe</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/5020302777/">Castles, Capes & Clones</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">cc</a>