Monday, October 30, 2023

Neighborhood watering hole -

Up early. Still jet-lagged. The surprise of seeing the sun washing the sky with brilliant colors in the east, and the brightest full moon still hanging in the western sky beyond the back garden oaks, was beautiful. Our aging small house is down in a bit of a dip, tucked into land once a farm, the remaining trees are massive. There are no distant views, no hold your breath scenery, just ancient trees . . . . . and more houses dating back to the years when large houses were few and far between. Beyond them, winding streets and cul-de-sacs lead to Midtown, Raleigh's expansion of city living with almost skyscraper high office and apartment buildings, upmarket shops and restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues, and a few small green areas tucked in here and there thankfully. A manmade lake is in the future plan. 

Meanwhile, we have our old neighborhood watering hole, Eastgate Park. Tennis courts, playground, community building, walking trail, a few picnic tables, a large open field for games, and the best feature, Cooper's Pond. A memorial plaque tells a bit about the pond. established in 1915 by J. Cooper Young, who lived there until 1966. The city of Raleigh purchased it in 1972 to turn into the park so that the "simple beauty of the park land and water would remain for the pleasure of all of its citizens."  Home to Canada geese, mallard ducks, and some very old, large turtles, the pond remains peaceful and is now very colorful dressed in Autumn foliage (above). Nature is busy with paints and brushes and the coming cooler weather here will soon bring down the leaves.

Yesterday, walking around the neighborhood on a beautiful Autumn day around noon, I was grateful that some things don't change. In this rush forward to take down the old and change the landscape with little consideration for what has stood for years, it's still our much loved neighborhood. It needs to remain part of history and continue to bring small moments that lift the soul and bring joy to this sometimes difficult life. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Lifestyle Changes -

I'm back from the trip home to England. During two and a half weeks of mixed weather I wandered around wondering why I ever left. I thought about all the visits I had made in the 61 years since I emigrated. Each was different because of the people who were waiting. The beauty of a place stays with one forever. When that beauty fades a bit feelings become mixed and muddled. One wants to hide under the covers and have a few tears. If only the parents were there still. Mum waiting at the window as the taxi pulled up and deposited me with luggage. . . . . . and an American accent getting stronger each time. Dad in his usual Harris Tweed jacket staring at my false eyelashes in the late 1960's and wondering "why". Brother growing taller and smarter, with hair longer than mine after heading to university. The house looked the same, even the shrubs in the garden hadn't changed other than get taller. The washing was still pegged out on the line despite Mum buying a little electric dryer "for rainy days" of which there are many! We rode the red double decker buses for years. We walked to the village pub up and down a couple of hills - good for shapely legs we were told. Bob apparently liked mine. We sat by the open fire on cold winter visits and took dips in the mild waters of Tor Bay in the summer. Traipsed though gorgeous National Trust gardens on open days, ending with Devonshire cream afternoon teas and cups of Earl Grey, sometimes in a country home, other times in an apple orchard.

Those were the days. These are the new days. I feel this last visit has given me a new perspective on my former life. Growing up in another country, one such as beautiful England, perhaps made me a different person when I came to live here. I did eventually learn to fit in. I have had a wonderful life with a great husband and family, however a huge part of my heart always remained behind and now and then I have felt perhaps I made the wrong decision all those years ago.

Today is my 80th birthday! This is really a very hard day for me because I don't feel anywhere near this age. Where have all the years gone? Am I living on borrowed time? What should I do with the years to come?  Life is filled with quite important questions now and I don't have the answers. Sometimes I feel I'm drowning in 'what ifs' and what will I do. I want to learn to live in the moment. Much relies on health and movement and so far I'm doing well in those categories. However, a lot is about using my days and time to do what I want to do while I can. I'm learning to say "no" and I don't want to be the organizer any longer. I need time for myself to wander, look more closely at nature, read more, photograph more and most of all write more.  

Thank you all who have followed this blog for so many years.  I don't have plans to close it any time soon. I do feel I haven't got enough time to post as often as I used to. Perhaps I'm just slower. I hope to write more about the past rather than the present, if that makes sense. I do have stories to share of travels and life both here and back in those days growing up across the pond. For now I'll say goodbye...........after all it's my big birthday and I haven't organized anything spectacular, other than trotting off to a favorite wine bar with a few people who might enjoy popping a cork and toasting those coming days with a chilled glass of champagne.  Wish you were here to join me!!!

Friday, October 13, 2023

Visiting home again -

Time is flying fast and we've already been here in my home town for a week.
Needless to say it has been really busy and will remain this way for the entire
stay.  Many family members and friends to visit, places to see, shopping
 being done for things English I still find hard to live without, and restful times
 to just sit and enjoy the scenery with a coffee mug, cup of tea, or a glass of
 wine, depending on the time of day.

Weather has been quite good, warm and sunny at first, now cooler and
a little damp with light showers and bracing breezes from the 
English Channel.

Some photos to show you where my "home, sweet home" is - all of these
 were taken in Torquay, Devon.
I'll try to get back here during the visit - if you don't see me here, just
know it's because I'm having too much fun!

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Good things come to those who wait!


Thoughts on traveling require a nice cup of tea and something sweet. 

I've been awaiting another trip home. We were there last year in the lovely month of June, this year we're crossing the pond in October. It's different packing for a cool weather trip when bulky, sometimes heavy, items of clothing are required. . . . . .and we all know how boots and shoes weigh so much more than sandals! These last few weeks I've chosen my clothes and footwear, then had to rethink the whole situation as to what to wear if cold, if wet, even unusually warm, as the climate seems to make odd, expected, changes this year. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times things have been returned to closets and drawers!!! Today I think I have it done and I feel happy with what I will be packing tomorrow. I will be ready for whatever the weather throws at us, and whatever social situation pops up, from walking the beach to dining out in a posh restaurant. Yes, tomorrow is that day! Getting all the stuff into the suitcase might be a challenge but hopefully it will all work out. Also, my hair is cut, Bob and I had pedicures yesterday, I had my nails done today. We are ready to fly, literally!

I will be be seeing family and long time friends. My brother and family will fly over from France and spend a few days with us. I will also be meeting up for a cuppa  with a fun blog friend of several years, and her husband, for the first time. . . . .that's always exciting. Recently, we met a charming English couple visiting Raleigh and now are back home in the UK. As they will be in my hometown for a short break during our stay, we are getting together again for dinner at their lovely hotel which is also a favorite of ours, and where, long ago, we had my late mother's wake as it was her favorite place to eat and sit out on the patio viewing the beautiful seascape.

I've had no time to blog lately and I apologize for not commenting on your recent blogs. I do read them and promise to get back with you when I return from England. I admit that I now find preparing for overseas travel a little more difficult. . . . .I know I've slowed down a bit and not always able to keep up with you 'youngsters' out there. I turn 80 later this month! Where the heck have all those years gone?  I will continue to do what I can do even if takes longer.  You may see me here whilst in England - if not, you know I'm having too good a time with my loved ones, haha!!!

Cheerio for now!