Friday, 22 August 2008

Flora of England

Cosmic Cosmos

No Flora is not a woman I have met here or is she, stay tuned! This will be a pictorial post as have gone mad taking pics out in nature. This passion seems to have really bloomed (groan) during my month stay with daughter and family. They are partly to blame as have encouraged me to begin blogging and to pursue my passion. All photos were taken within ten minutes walk of my daughter's. All photos are copyright of Jenna. Now back to the flora.

Blowing in the Wind

Spirit rock

Village of Green

Leafy Swirl

Giant Yucca

Golden Grasses

Pretty in Pink

Monday, 18 August 2008

Rain, rain, again

I keep hearing, "it's not usually like this," and "isn't it horrible," about the weather. I have been here just over two weeks and beginning to adjust now. Mind you am typing this in a sweater (cardie) and slippers, in August yet! I'm allowed! After all arrived here from forever blue skies day after day and 36 degrees and holding! Weather is just weather. We have no control over it what so ever. What good does complaining do? None. I think complaining and moaning makes us feel miserable and hard done by, cheated out of our summer. Why do we think we have the right to a good summer? What we term as bad helps us to appreciate even more the good. As Stuart Wilde, one of my fav author's says, "Rain is just rain it isn't good or bad. We are taught that it is wet (yucky), uncomfortable (groan moan) and to be avoided. So go out in it and just do rain. Get wet, let it run everywhere, learn to enjoy it." Bracketed bits are my additions.

Where I live we have so little rain it is a miracle that anything grows. Sure we have incredible hot and sunny weather for many months but we also have huge forest fires that rage on for weeks and weeks often burning out of control. Forest fires that cost our province millions of dollars for fire fighting men and equipment. The choking smoke haze invades your home and stays for a month or more. The sun can be totally obscured by the smoke. Deer and bears have to swim large lakes to escape the fires. Whole grazing grounds for the wild sheep and goats are wiped out. Many micro-ecosystems are destroyed. The tourist season and locals holidays are ruined as camping is not allowed nor off road driving.
We have water shortages, that is drinking water, oh yes, as reservoirs become dangerously low. There are watering restrictions for home owners, farms and orchards. Fish die when lakes and rivers levels get low. Grass becomes bleached and burnt from the sun. The Okanagan is the first place I have ever lived that never has dew, imagine that! We long for rain. We long for a relief from the heat, those hot nights when it is impossible to sleep, when there is not a breeze. Yes air conditioning is a must. I often go out around 9:30 in the evening for a last swim, that cool down so I am able to sleep. A whole other world.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Purple Town

We did it! We did Glastonbury! We trotted up The Tor, after being mooed aside by a herd of cows at the start of the path. We discovered that we both had a passion for photos of benches. We reflected at The Chalice Wells, began our picnic lunch, got interrupted by wasps. At the very last minute we rushed inside the gift shop as the heavens opened and torrents of water poured forth. Yes I did the tourist thing and snapped away with my digital camera and bought (blush blush) 20 or so post cards. It was a magical two days where time seemed suspended, stretched out, and I floated weightless and free. Thank you Denyse and Chris for this wonderful gift of time-out-of-time at Glastonbury.

I was delighted to see so many books stores, heavenly! The Green Goddess book and gift shop scored top of the chart for both of us. We loved Truckle Of Cheese and so did our tummies! Cafe La Lune served the best coffee, coffee that this gourmet coffee loving snob swooned over. Why so much so that the young and very charming flirty server sent me off with a gift of some of their coffee beans. Denyse groaned out, "things like this happen only to my mother." Every time we asked directions to a shop or cafe it was 'around the corner.' By 6:30 PM we seemed to have regressed to our teen years and were a mass of giggles. We giggled around that famous corner and back several times. Denyse and I must have trudged up that hill to our B & B and back at least eight times as well that first day. I guess practicing for our trek up the Tor the following day.

Early on in our first day I began to notice the colour purple occurring with increasing frequency. Several shop windows had purple as their predominant colour scheme. There were purple priestess robes and purple items of medieval style clothing on display for sale. The locals of all ages wore items of purple. I saw purple jackets, cardies, scarves, hats, dresses, trousers, and yes even socks and shoes. There were varying shades of purple. How strange that I had chosen to wear a pale purple-pink dress my first day there, see photo. Our B & B room had purple duvet covers and pillow cases! Yes, may I digress here with raves for Jacoby Cottage B & B, a fabulous fairy tale place. Their gloriously wild garden in back went on in every rising levels, as if to infinity. The peace of that 14th century cottage and it's beautiful decor touched my very soul. In the morning our hostess Michou appeared and - yes you've guessed it -she was dressed all in shades of purple! Her jacket, shirt, pants (whoops I mean trousers) and socks were all purple. So I, being the shy and reserved person I am asked her, "what is the significance of all this purple in Glastonbury?" She didn't actually answer my question which seemed to speak volumes. Mind you those volumes must have been speaking in a foreign tongue as I didn't quite get it. Michou did tell me that you could also wear hot pink in Glastonbury!

From this my avid imagination zipped on to secret rites and exclusive mysterious groups such as the Masons for example. Was it a sign of a Glastonbury resident? Perhaps it was the sign of a mystical resident,maybe a priest or a priestess? Or was it a sign of a reincarnated ancient of Glastonbury? I have googled purple and found some fascinating facts. It is a mysterious colour and associated with nobility and spirituality. In the Elizabethan times clothing was very important and the color purple signified wealth, status, and high social standing. It was a very expensive dye thus the significance of wealth. It was Tyrian purple from Tyre, Lebanon. It was made from crushing thousands of sea shells. There was no mention of what sort of shells nor of the poor creatures who dwelt within. This dye ceased being made after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. After that a much cheaper purple dye was made from lichen and madder. Madder being a southwest Asian perennial plant of the same family as coffee hmmmm! Back to coffee now.........Should I begin drinking my morning coffee out of a purple cup!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Impressions of England

Yes impressions of England, impressions of England.....this is my sixth visit to England yet each time is like a in your face, dream time, other world trip. Imagine a giant being lifting you up by your shoulders, slinging you across a large continent, over an ocean then poof back down on land. An all turned around, compressed land. A land of houses all jammed together. A land packed full of people. People who speak the same language but you can only understand about half of it on a good day. Language deficit, sensory overload, emotional over drive! Daughter and grandson I haven't seen for three years wow, wow, wow. Daughter's partner I have never met whooo whooo whooo.
How is it possible I am here. My daughter Denyse made it possible, she of the maker of wishes and dreams. She writes a novel, a whole novel yet, her first novel, and presto has a publisher and will be published. That was enough to pop my mind like a cork from a champagne bottle for a few years. She lives here, creates, here, have procreated here. Way across the world from home and family, all she has ever known, she has created a full new life. My grandson with his so English accent and ways, remembers me, accepts me, as if there hasn't been this three year gap. Remarkable! Denyse's partner Chris has this eccentric woman (me) in his home and space for almost a month yet he accommodates this transition as if it were an every day occurrence. Family dynamics 101 Crash Course, no charge! All it requires is taking your head around the bend! If you can manage to hang on for the ride there will never be a dull moment and you will pass with flying colours. Whatever colour has to do with passing?
Ok now how can people in England look different then those in Canada? I cannot pinpoint this 'different look' but it is there. I can sit on a park bench and look at people all afternoon. Was astonished to see so many Canada geese here. Street signs are different, buses, stores (whoops shops), the wind, the climate, the food. Our family is big on food. We love the buying, cooking, preparing, displaying and eating of food. Like say to me, "want to come with me to Tesco" and I have to slot my head between my knees so as to not pass out from the excitement. For example we don't have wine nor beer nor any booze in our grocery stores. We don't have clothes and shoes in our grocery stores. We don't have creme fraiche, nothing close, clotted cream, nor gasp blackberry yogurt! Our goat cheese is a quivering sickly imitation of yours. As for your lamb, especially Welsh lamb salivating down my chin already. Clothes, well your charity shop clothes are ahead of our styles. I could go on but won't because - brief break for slotting head between knees once more from excitement - Denyse and I leave for Glastonbury tomorrow morning!!!!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

About water. Water, as in being immersed in it, spelled SWIMMING! I love love love swimming. I usually tell people that I prefer wild water. By that I mean outside water, rivers, lakes, the ocean. I moved to the Okanagan 12 years ago. Of course no coincidence that it is a valley situated along a very long lake, 70 miles to be exact, and a lake with many beaches. Oh the luxury of saying to myself, "now which beach will I swim at today?" Waves the more the better, strong current yahoo! I don't clock myself, go for speed or distance. I swim for the sheer pleasure. It is one of the ultimate sensuous pleasures in my life. Oh to slip into a body of water and feel all that silkiness surround me. I do like to be in deep waters , over my head deep. I like to swim against the current and feel the strength of my muscles.
When I speak of a great beach I mean what it is like in the water not actually on the beach. How clean the water is, clear of under water rocks and weeds, the wave action and all that sort of thing. Just in case you astrological types are wondering I am not even a water sign! I am a earth sign and in the Chinese horoscope I am a fire dog.

reason I started this blog....

Well my daughter has a fantastic blog and she has 'convinced' me that I need a blog. Well with trembling fingers and rapid heartbeat, even though I have been a writer most of my life, a long life I must add... it is with great trepidation that I begin this.
Now that my daughter is a bonafide soon to be published author I must measure up! Before this (bb, before blog) my musings and various and assorted writings were scattered in several notebooks, on the backs of envelopes, scraps of paper and along the sides of gas and grocery receipts. I do have much on my computer at home also. I have had some modest poems published and one short story. I have won three writing contests. But still a bit of the old school in me and love the pen and paper routine. Well much to do and will be back soon to do more on my blog. How sweet and exciting is this life!