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

    Sunday, February 22, 2015

    Cornwall, Day 2 (The Rain!)

    Remember my photo from yesterday? The serene blue sky, with a pretty array of clouds drifting past? Well! all that blue sky is now hidden, and the clouds have become stormy. The terms 'downpour' and 'gale' fit the situation quite well.

    But I am going to show you one more pic of lovely yesterday, before I move on to Storms:

    The day began with an ominous sound outside this cozy window. No longer just the sound of the waves comfortingly rolling themselves along. The wind was sounding howly-er by the moment. But I was determined it would NOT stop me from my Plan of getting to the church on time. I wanted to walk the paths along my way, meandering those green hills and enjoy the view - stormy though I knew it might be.

    But it took such ages to get ready to go. Layer upon layer. Sock upon sock. Boots jammed on over socks and onto two feet. Cap. Scarf. Thick coat. gloves. But I forgot the most important thing, until I was wall away from the cottage. The rain slicker! There was nothing for it now, but to skedaddle - which I certainly did.

    The harbor itself was stunning in its own turbulent way. Although many of the fishermen have moved their boats to calmer waters inland or into storage, there is still a good handful of faithfuls bobbing about in the harbor. And surprisingly, as I made my way through the deluge today there were actual crowds out and about, grazing the shops. Do you find that surprising? I did! 

    St Ia Church, pre-service, 22 Feb 2015

    As I made my way into the church yard the bells rang and rang, calling the faithful to gather. Two welcomers greeted me, handing out prayer books and worship sheets. The organist played a splendid prelude which swelled throughout the church, and encouraged all who entered. Then the processional began, led first by a white-robed woman holding the incense; then two others in their immaculate white; and then the Cross with all eyes upon it as it made its majestic way around and to the front. Many others followed, choir members all, singing their hearts out. It was the sweetest thing.

    There were prayers; hymns; thankful messages; readings; a preaching, wherein the minister announced he would be getting married soon - and spontaneous applause broke out! How terrific is that? Joy, and yet more joy.

    And of course, I had to stop in at the Sloop Inn, for lunch. I couldn't believe it when I learned that their soup of the day was BUTTERNUT SQUASH!! The absolute best, and with warm crusty bread and butter, who could have needed anything more? The rest of the day would contain more walks (this time with the rain slicker), writing, fiddling frustratingly with the Internet which is.hardly.working. It remains to be seen whether this post will actually fly. But let us all hope for the best.

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady

    (Breakfast today: coffee, toast, fresh butter, Grace Hall's jam, and Muesli!)

    Saturday, February 21, 2015

    Cornwall, Day 1 (The Arrival!)

    Not very much needs to be said, if you are looking at this. Would words themselves be enough to describe it?

    St Ives Harbor, 21 February 2015

    Simply walking near such a sight is happy-making, no matter how cold you might feel. And I did feel it! But I shall now become organized and put you in the picture.

    The day began with an early wake-up, followed by cereal, tea and toast while listening to BBC Radio as it burbled along in its comforting way. The kitties were eating their own breakfasts and licking their little chops while smirking up at us. Including Trevor. They three were very funny, and eccentric, and entertaining.

    Then it was a dash for the railway station, with hasty goodbyes as my kind and lovely hosts waved me away wishing me luck. My chariot bore me off, first in a northerly, and then westerly direction - and then, gradually, south.

    The only trouble with rocketing Southwards is coming within absolute inches of trains that were rocketing Northwards. It was very disconcerting. But as there was simply no way for the North bound trains to bump over onto our South bound tracks, it was pointless to worry about it. So  I put it out of my mind, and thought of scones.

    These are the delightful scones gifted to me yesterday by Grace Hall, co-authoress of The Little Book of Scones. She brought 4 of them, which she had baked herself and were the fabulous Cherry and Almond variety. And heart-shaped! She also put in fresh jam, clotted cream, and a copy of her book, signed.

    I have eaten them, dear Readers. Oh yes, I have eaten them piled high with cream and jam, along with delicious Asaam Tea, and the only score I could possibly ever give them is a TEN! I hope you will order this book and bake the Cherry and Almond recipe soon. If you do, please tell me how it went and how you liked them. I predict success!

    Besides these delights, today I:
    • was picked up at the railway station by a nice cab driver who guessed right away where I come from! (Gee, I wonder how he knew?)
    • was dropped off at the beach cottage in an absolute gale of a wind
    • came inside and immediately began playing 'houses', putting items away, straightening items, tossing items willy-nilly in my quest for perfection
    • bundled back up and walked to the shops for sustenance
    • put the sustenance away properly (Mother would be proud)
    • and.. and!.. began the BOOK!
    There is no better place for a pilgrimage such as this - this writing - with the crashing of waves just yards from the window; the howls of wind just outside this door. But I won't forget you, my reading friends. No - I shall come back to this space again and again, for you give me hope and encouragement. Just knowing you are 'out there' urges my fingers to fly over these keys, and send you my compliments.

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady

    Friday, February 20, 2015

    London, Day 2

    His Royal Highness, Trevor, glares at the SconeLady

    Did I mention it was cold?

    This poor southern Californian forgot the feeling! But I came well prepared with lots of layers, heavy coat, boots. Umbrella! All of which have kept me warm and happy and enjoying long walks along the way. And London was just as robust as ever, everybody hurrying themselves along and looking very serious indeed. Perhaps they were all late for a meeting, or something..

    This glad day began with the realization that I had slept 8 hours non-stop, which as you know is hugely important. We had breakfast (cereal and tea and toast, for my inquisitive sister, ha!) while listening to the Desert Island Discs radio program - which I and my hosts completely adore.

    We then made our way to the London Bridge with a vague idea in mind of a nice lunch somewhere, at some point. But we were suddenly stunned and waylaid by a most magnificent cathedral, just - sitting there looking beautiful! You may have heard me going on about one day seeing all of England's cathedrals - well, now I have another on my well done list. You may find out all about it here. Southwark is the oldest cathedral church building in England, so I have now visited both the newest (Truro Cathedral) and the oldest. Divine!

    Of course, like many American tourists I immediately whipped out my phone for a quick snap of a pic. Momentarily a dear man in a flowing black robe approached.

    "I'm afraid you will need to pay a fee if you are going to take photographs, Madam.. you must have a badge.." he said apologetically.

    So of course, I dashed over to pay immediately and all was instantly well (it was worth every penny).

    Lunch was delicious and plentiful (prawn salad, and squid - for my inquisitive sister!), at a place called (simply) Fish! While eating, we could see through the windows of a bread baking course across the cobbles, and so we watched as the would-be bakers kneaded away vigorously side by side. It was very sweet.

    We then went our separate ways, and I strode along White Hall (coming upon the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Number 10 Downing Street!) to meet up with the lovely and delightful Grace Hall, co-author of The Little Book of Scones. We sat down for conversation and a 'cream tea', both of which were splendid. And she surprised me with four of her very own home baked Cherry and Almond scones! 

    In a word? Bliss.

    Hearing the story of someone whom you have only just met, who is beautiful and courageous, and who shares her scones with you, is the happiest of all possible outcomes. I hope to hear more about Grace and her work, perhaps even another book. Do order The Little Book of Scones on - you will love it!

    And now it is late, and my day is complete, with only the 'goodnight's yet to come. Goodnights, followed by sweet dreams of the day to come, and .... Cornwall.

    I can hardly believe I'm here!

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady

    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    London, Day 1

    Here I sit at the outskirts of London, in the guest room of kind friends. A hot water bottle has already been tucked into my bed, and just across the hallway are friends Rosie and Ted. Next to my chair there hangs a mirror, the reflection of which shows my somewhat sleepy but smiling face... for I can hardly believe I'm here.

    The journey across the Atlantic was eventful, with only minimal turbulence and no major events. At the end of Customs, baggage claim, the Underground and a train, I found my host waiting beneath an enormous umbrella. Shouting out, "This way! Let's get you out of this rain. Welcome!"

    Ah, to be so welcomed.

    The day has consisted of lovely conversations over warm tea mugs; catching up on all things Rosie; being ushered to the most comfy bed ever for a short and much needed nap.  And the evening? the evening! It was nothing short of a celebration all its own.

    You see, we had a bit of a wine tasting. Our darling hosts will soon celebrate 40 years married, and they want to get it right. So we 5 sat round the dining table, sipping and writing our wine-ish opinions upon a list. The chosen few will be served at their celebration. 

    Between the sips we were served the following items, one at a time:

    • mixed nuts
    • freshly hand-shelled shrimp with lime/mayonaise
    • individual pavlovas with fresh fluffy cream!
    • sliced baked squash
    • venison casserole (unbelievably yummy!)
    • freshly made bread x 2 (soda bread and a round white loaf)
    • homemade pie with heavy cream poured over (I forget but think it was a berry mix)
    • we were offered a cheese board but everybody groaned out immediately and said that they 'couldn't eat another bite'.

    By the time we had consumed all of this, and discussed the major concerns of the world, it was 11:00! And now, it really really is time for the hot water bottle, and the bed.

    Tomorrow will hold all sorts of fun. I get to meet one of the authors of The Little Book of Scones! And I shall tell you all about it, as soon as I can.

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Another Airport

    The plan works brilliantly every time. I arrive. Get in line. Check the bag. Drop the bag. Walk the steps up to the TSA dudes. Be looked at by the TSA dudes. Throw everything into the X-ray bins. Raise my arms. Finish being x-ray-ed. Gather everything together again. Go to the gate. And then...


    This last is the most important step in the process because one's electronics simply must be fully charged for the journey ahead. And would you like to see my list of electronics? they are:

    • iphone 5s
    • iphone 6+
    • ipad
    • MacBook Air (laptop)
    Not all of these items were fully charged when we left home, for a variety of reasons. Two were, two weren't. So arriving early is the grandest thing. 

    I then walked into the empty gate area and immediately began the search. There were, it appeared, none anywhere. I must have looked horribly stranded and confused because an official took pity and pointed me to a wee corner which contained the ONLY power point in that area. I dashed over and plugged in, and voila! I am SET.

    But - what is this?! I am suddenly and completely surrounded by young, energetic students, almost all boys - none of them the least bit shy. I count 40, perhaps on some sort of school tour. All British, that is clear. All with their own electronic gear on their laps  (probably needing outlets..). And they are accompanied by a handful of harried-looking grownups who clearly cannot wait to have this over.

    Those poor grownups.

    And so the SconeLady awaits her red and white Chariot to lumber up to the gate, and receive her. She is ready. She is happy. But - she feels lonely! Oh dear. 

    Thank heavens for FaceTime.

    See you in England!
    the Sconelady

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    Leavin' On A Jet Plane

    I suppose it was inevitable.

    "Uh-oh... I haven't called AT&T yet!" said the SconeLady, this morning. This alarming comment was made in the general direction of her husband, the long-suffering kindly tech expert I've come to rely on (he may have tensed, just the slightest tiniest bit, but I can't be sure).

    You see, I meant to call them - truly I did - ages ago. There were two iPhones needing to be attended to in preparation for the trip to Cornwall. One will need to be 'unlocked', and the other an International 'plan'. To me it sounded simple enough. AT&T is up to the task, right? So I had procrastinated.

    This good man waited to hear whether his wife would need help.  And of course, she did.

    He maneuvered through the labyrinth of AT&T, talking (he seems to speak their language), looking up codes and details, doing whatever it took to accomplish the task before my plane was to leave. And he did it! It was certainly not the first time, and the SconeLady is certainly thankful.

    With this finality settled, with the bags sitting here in their readiness, I can finally feel the Peter, Paul, and Mary song coming on.

    All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go,
    I'm standing here outside your door,
    I hate to wake you up to say goodbye.

    But the dawn is breaking, its early morn;
    Taxi's waitin', he's blowin' his horn,
    Already I'm so lonesome I could cry.

    I'm leavin' on a jet plane..

    And I shall keep you in my Loop, if you wish to be in it - daily updating my dear Readers, sharing the adventure. The scones! Even the weather; for I have been checking, and I'm afraid that Cornwall is in for a week of rain, and wind. But let it come. I am ready.

    Today is Tuesday. I fly away tomorrow!

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady 

    photo credit: <a href="">close call over England</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

    Monday, February 16, 2015

    Party for a 'Five'

    It was so much fun, and there was so much food. In fact it might be said that there was possibly too MUCH food!

    But the fun is what I am thinking of now. In that fun, we will include:

    • arriving in the back yard to confront an enormous bouncy castle
    • watching everyone - children and Mother - jumping in and shouting hilariously
    • taking the puppy for her first neighborhood walk and watching her collapse on every green lawn, exhausted
    • talking, talking, talking, while walking, walking, walking
    • fixing the dinner in companionable togetherness while kids and dog float in and out ("Mommy, can we have the cake yet?")
    • bouncing some more in the castle, and coming in for multiple drinks of water
    • bowing for the prayer, knowing that to Thank is a fitting humility
    • being, actually, Thankful
    • laughing when the smallest accidentally makes a joke
    • eating deliciousness to our heart's content
    • *Mommy now can we have the cake?"
    • noticing that the cover is off of the cake and there is a finger print (or two) in the frosting
    Mommy and Daddy then made a kindly, command decision: baths would be taken before the cake and before the gifts. No groans were emitted, no tears shed. Instead, motivated little bodies dashed for the tub and neither Mommy nor Grandma even had to put a toe in that room. The men did it all.

    Soon three scrubbed children hopped into the living room, ready for the fun. Never had princess dresses, LEGO sets, Hello Kitty stickers, or Razors been so much fun all at the same time. The small girl shrieked out her delight, hardly knowing what to play with first.

    The cake was finally cut and consumed, and then it was time for Grandpa and Grandma to go home.

    "Goodbye!" everyone shouted. "Sleep tight my darlings.." whispered Grandma.

    As we drove away, there was a sudden silence in the Volvo. How could someone already miss someone whom they had seen mere seconds ago? It seemed hardly possible, but...

    .. not for the SconeLady.

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady

    Sunday, February 15, 2015


    There is a Birthday lurking, and nearly ready to pounce. One small girl is about to join several friends and cousins to become a newly minted 5-year-old, and great is the anticipation of it. Those eyes simply sparkle with thinking how wonderful it must feel to be Five.

    We never knew Five to be such a magical number until it approached our darling girl. She watched it for a while from afar, as various other small fry sent out their invitations and the parties flew. And now tiny girls will descend upon the Little Blue House, to bounce in a castle and be face-painted and eat to their heart's content. 

    Ah, to be Five.

    I have tried to remember when I, myself, became Five - but failed. There is a scrap of a memory that lingers, though. A vision of standing on a porch with my brother, throwing tree branches like spears across the ditch out front. I didn't think I could do it but longed to try.

    My brother threw his 'spear' splendidly and out it sailed across the ditch - which was really more like a small dry river - until it landed, piercing the dirt on the other side. Perfect! 

    And then it was my turn. Back I drew my arm, concentrating upon the spot toward which he pointed - and zipp! - it sailed right across that ditch. But no - what was this? A thorn had been in the spear! and the thorn did not stay in the spear but pierced into my hand! 

    The predicament of this made itself all too clear that day. I cried out and dashed for the door. Dashed through the door. Frantically hollered for someone - anyone - to rescue me.

    And there suddenly was my 12-year-old sister, running to me as fast as I was running to her. "Oh dear, that looks painful," she said, more calmly than I expected her to. "Let's get it out, shall we?"

    Only I didn't want to 'get it out'. It was already painful, and ... - AND OUT IT WAS PULLED, RIGHT THEN! No warning, just - yank! It was, in fact, merciful.

    The memory stops there, and so I shall sit instead thinking of sparkling eyes, and princess dresses, and rich pink cakes. Surely not thorns and spears. Not just yet. 

    For we will celebrate tomorrow, thankful for cakes, and castles, and thorns, and Mercy.

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady
    the SconeLady, possibly nearing Five,
    with 7 year old sister

    Saturday, February 14, 2015

    Along A Cobbled Lane

    Only 4 days to wait! 

    And what will the SconeLady do first, upon reaching darling St Ives? What has drawn her back across the Atlantic again? There are so many bright spots to choose from that I can hardly pick out the nicest. But I do believe my first visit should be to the site of last year's winner of the Challenge - finding and consuming the best and tastiest of scones in Cornwall.

    The Digey Food Room.

    And yes, among other things, I will once again be searching for the illusive 'best scone ever', and will be doing my utmost to find it. Very possibly, the result will be the same, ha! You may find the way we met the baker of this very best scone ever, here. There were lots and lots of other tea type shops, places that advertised well and had all the trappings of greatness. But there is simply something very special about Josh's product. The crisp flakiness on the outside, the softness on the in; the just-right-amount of sweetness added; the warmth that testifies to having just come from the oven and not a microwave (I did not see a microwave in there). All of this underscores my respect, and I can hardly wait to walk down the road, around the corner, onto the lane called The Digey, and on up toward the Food Room.

    It is so aptly named. They could have called it a cafe, a restaurant, a bistro, a tea room, or coffee bar, but they made themselves more specific. Food Room. It is what it says. A place you will find food at its very best. There are no white table cloths, no soft music piped to your table, no waitresses dressed like Victorian servants. None of those things will you find here. 

    But I can make a confident guarantee right here and now: you will find what you hope to find, every time. 

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady

    P.S. But - dear Readers! - I will be there for more than just scones, this year. Dare I mention? My eye is on the completion of (or at least the beginnings of the completion of) a Book! Can you believe it? Written by the SconeLady while in Cornwall - a dear story needing to be told. So, it will be a longer trip. And you will be able to follow it right here, and all it will take is a click - and there we will be, together.

    Friday, February 13, 2015

    Teacher's Pet

    The girls are for the girls, or so I've heard. In this case, it certainly seems to be true.

    The girls I am thinking of are one small human, and one sampling of the canine variety, both of whom are awfully kind to one another. It could be because they are both girls, but I really do think it might be because they are both so perfectly sweet. And they speak, in some strange way, the same language.

    During a recent visit we had a chance to witness this. 

    "Grampa, Athena can't play with you yet, she has to go out because she just woke up and has to go potty." This was stipulated very clearly so that Grampa would have no doubts.

    "Oh, well that's just fine," he said agreeably, instantly helping the puppy trot out the door.

    During the play time that followed, the 4-almost-5 five year old gave Athena a series of directives. 'Teaching' moments, I think they are called. And by jove that little girl had them all down, all vocal inflections sounding just like her mother. Athena understood these directives, following along like a little trouper. It was the sweetest thing.

    "Athena? sit." she would chirp.

    Athena sat.

    "Athena? Hurry up!" (this being the comment that means go potty).

    And Athena 'hurried'.

    "Oh no, Athena, that is NOT ALLOWED! Put that down. Down! No jump. Oh good girl." There is always something that Athena needs to 'put down'. Always.

    For the jaws of this young and growing pup are well developed ones, believe me. The SconeLady is absolutely not able to open the jaws of Athena, no, not even one little inch. But the lovely daughter can open them. She is a past master at prying open small doggie jaws that contain 2 socks - 2 socks that will surely go down that gullet and have to be rescued out of it. This would be disastrous. Thus, the lovely daughter's vigilance (given the cost of surgeries these days).

    It's uncanny the way that puppy listens to her little mistress. They are similar in size and fine bone structure, and are both fond of running endless circles. The dog certainly landed on her feet when she 'picked' this family to join. Wild and happy laughter rings throughout the day, inside and out. It couldn't get much better than this, surely.

    It's funny to see and hear the balance between 'firm' and 'kind' in this young puppy trainer's voice. And that is where I think her success lies. She has perfected just the right amount of hard and soft, in her voice. Perhaps one day she will become a teacher. If so, everyone would want to be that Teacher's Pet!

    But if you really must know, she already is one. After all, it runs in the family.

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady

    Thursday, February 12, 2015

    Downton Abbey: 'Change You Can Rely On'

    "Previously, on Downton Abbey..," came the measured tones of our faithful Masterpiece presenterSomething about the sound of her voice draws me in as scenes from last week's episode flash before me. And then that music begins, that doggie walks along, and I am caught up in the drama that is Downton Abbey.


    This time I think I heard Mr Bricker say something rude like "Not every man would be as blind as YOU!" to Lord Grantham. He should probably not have said that, or anything like that, even if the statement itself might have been a bit - trueI think that Mr Bricker learned a valuable lesson here: Do not mess with Lord Grantham (or his wife). 

    And along with Bates' accidental but dramatic discovery, the card game between the Dowagers, the horrid medical treatments for Thomas, and the sad but dramatic ending, it was a very busy time for everyone over at Downton. And that isn't even counting the point-to-point horse race! I could hardly keep up. Among the other juicy tidbits, we had:
    • unpleasant news for Edith (sad)
    • a darling baby for Edith (glad!)
    • an inheritance for Edith
    • Bates finds something and gets a shock (shouldn't have looked)
    • the Dowager Countess's ridiculous new maid (I know this is a First World Problem, but - really.)
    • someone's in love with the Dowager! (lucky fellow)
    • someone else is in love with Isobel! (ditto above)
    • Hitler looms ever nearer
    • Spratt and Denker do the laundry together (bad idea)
    • Bates is angry at Anna and Anna is angry at Bates
    • Mary's hair!
    • please tell me the doggie is alright. Please?

    And finally, upon seeing a Lady riding a horse straddle-style, the following comments were made by our darling Dowagers:

    Isobel: "I think she's splendid!"

    the Dowager Countess: I think she's cracked."

    Either way, splendid or 'cracked', change is coming to Downton Abbey, and you'd better hang on to your saddles.

    See you along the way!
    the SconeLady

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

    photo credit: <a href="">at the races</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>