Air Ambulance To The Rescue

Air Ambulance To The Rescue

The Air Ambulance above is ER bound or as they say here, A & E for accident and emergency. While I was working at my computer yesterday, I heard this terribly loud noise. It was not a sound I’d heard here before even though I spent the better part of last year in this village with John. It took me a second to realize that the sound I was hearing was not a plane landing on the house, but rather a helicopter flying in tight and low looking for a place to land. Just about the time I realized what it was, it shot over the house past a window and I was up off the couch as John came inside saying, ” Elizabeth, that’s an air ambulance …”  Grabbing my shoes, I was reaching for a light coat when John said, ” Do you want your camera?”  Want my camera…most of you know I don’t leave home without it and I was scooping it up practically as he spoke. It circled twice and headed in the direction of the village green, but there are so many trees on the green, I knew it wouldn’t be putting down there. I ran out the door with John following at a more leisurely pace and ran down just past the pub to find two women directing the odd car or so away from the lane (small road bordered by tall hedges) because there had been an accident.

It seems a group of about ten walkers had been been having a Sunday hike and were passed by three people on horseback. I often encounter riders when I’m running or out for a walk with John. The horses usually seem as used to people and cars as we are to them, but yesterday…one carrying a teenage girl of about sixteen spooked and dumped her. In trying to find it’s footing, her horse trampled over her according to the two women at the top of the lane who were directing cars. They were part of the group of ten who were there during the fall. 

In this country, when something occurs that we might call an ambulance for, or if you’re sure you should go to the A & E , if you call the emergency number (999) you may see any one of three main types of vehicles and medical people show up.

All three were present yesterday. These next two photographs were taken after the crisis. A Rapid Response Vehicle may get there first before the ambulance arrives, “Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) RRVs are normally staffed with a single Paramedic or Technician who can get to the scene of an emergency quickly and provide patient assessment and advanced life support techniques. If possible the RRV may transport a patient with minor injuries or it may have to wait for back up from an accident and emergency ambulance or urgent transfer vehicle. Alternatively the crew may refer the patient to another health agency.”

Rapid Response Vehicle

Rapid Response Vehicle

Or you might see this a larger vehicle show up with more equipment and medical personal such as an Accident and Emergency Vehicle, ” accident and emergency ambulances are normally staffed with a Paramedic and a Technician crew. The ambulances are fully equipped to deal with most circumstances and can transport a patient either sitting or lying down on a stretcher.”

Accident and Emergency Ambulance

Accident and Emergency Ambulance

Finally, you see the Air Ambulance which I followed on foot. For those of you in America, you probably think like I do that air ambulances are reserved for the most critical situations…well, you’d be surprised how often they’re used here and for the types of accidents or emergencies that most of us wouldn’t think of as requiring a flight out to the nearest trauma center. If you’re interested in knowing more you can check out this site for more information. The quotes I used above were taken from it and I was intrigued to see that they have medical people responding on motorcycles and mountain bikes as well.

Last thing…something I don’t think you’d get in America anymore due to privacy laws..the ambulance attendant gave us an brief update on the way out of the village by saying they thought the girl would be okay. The attendant said she might have a fracture, but it was more for precaution that they were taking her by air.


Picking Up The Patient

Picking Up The Patient

 Look low to the ground…it’s sitting in a field near the injured girl.


Up Up And Away!

I have to share what I was thinking as I ran down the road following the path of the helicopter. As I paused to snap a photo in mid run…I thought , “Elizabeth you’ve turned into an ambulance chaser.”

Good News Update:

I received an update on the injured girl after a trip to our village shop today. The postmistress who was present yesterday for all of the watching and waiting told me today that she had been told the teenager was going to be fine. She had two stitches to her face and was released.


Bird Song – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

It begins before dawn with a lighter pattern of  tweets and sounds I have no name for and by the time I push back the duvet and slip from the bed, it sounds as if a chorus has joined the few who began the morning wake up.  There are a variety of reasons birds may sing in the morning. I found an interesting bit of information explaining why the music is so loud in the early morning hours on a BBC site here.  

Spring it seems may have a good deal to do with the frequency and volume of  the bird sounds that wake me each morning like a natural alarm clock.  Bird songs are important in the breeding cycle which is why if you’re a light sleeper like I am, you can count on waking to a chorus of  males each trying to out sing each other as mating season begins. It puts me in mind of a bird form of American Idol or Simon Cowell’s original version, The X Factor. 

According the the BBC link above, some of these birds even imitate the  songs and sounds  of other birds just to add to their repertoire. It’s kind of like Danny Gokey choosing to sing some of Daughtry’s tunes rather than his own…it may show a bit more versatility, but does nothing to attract the female (bird) fans who are looking for a fit healthy male of their own species.  So if you’re moving to the tunes of nature early in the morning like I am, you can put away your alarm clock for a while because the music of the morning will last from January through July as the votes are counted and the winners fly off to begin another round in the cycle of life.


Did I Hear Someone Say...Birds?


Baby Steps


John Walking With Mom

John Walking With Mom

Sometimes all we need is a little support when we’re learning how to do things we’ve never done before. In the picture above, John is wearing something they call a walking harness and reins here in England. It’s designed to increase stability and confidence when young ones are learning to walk. Parents can hold onto the reins giving the illusion of total independence, while keeping the child a bit safer and somewhat close at hand.  You still see them in use here as I saw recently when we were out one day. 


There are times lately when I feel like I could use a guiding hand at the end of a set of reins. The work I’m doing these days is multi-layered and requires a good bit of  juggling.  I’m teaching myself how to do things I’ve never done before and it’s just plain hard at times. I see other people doing the very things I want to do with such ease and I forget that it often looks easy because they’ve been doing it a while. I try to remind myself of this when I feel frustrated that I haven’t moved as quickly in the creative directions I have mapped out in my mind and on paper.  On days when my frustrations threaten a total boycott of creative focus, I find myself saying, ” Baby steps, Elizabeth…walk first.” Being a runner in real life, my daily internal dialogue can mirror what goes on in my head during a race and suddenly the creative process gets bogged with chatter that sounds a bit like , “where’s the finish line, how much time do I have left to get there, who’s in front, and can I push through this pain…”  

I’ve rewritten a last paragraph five different ways and still don’t like the look it so..I’m going to finish with these last words and get back to work… remembering as I go, that baby steps are just first steps and they’ll get bigger as I grow.

Primroses & Powershots

I thought I’d show you a little of what goes on behind the scenes here at Gifts Of The Journey and I need to say now…it isn’t always pretty. I’m almost never without a camera of some kind. It could be my iPhone or my Nikon D200, but more often than not it’s my Canon Powershot G9. Last week, I was running through the churchyard on my way to what I refer to as the buttercup field, when I was overwhelmed by a carpet of flowers that seemed to have popped out almost overnight. There were primroses everywhere I looked blanketing the ground like a patchwork quilt. I had my iPhone with me, but I wanted to get a higher quality picture so I went on with my run, but cut it a bit short to get back to the house to pick up my Canon. It was a perfect weather day, but given how it can be sunny one minute and dark and rainy the next, I didn’t want to take any chances and I barely paused as I told John what I was up to while running in and out for the camera. He said he would walk down and join me in a few minutes and showed up a little later with his own camera.  Here’s a bit of what he captured of me that day along with the bottom three which are my images. 



I didn’t realize until later that I had been so excited about getting the photographs that I wanted that I’d forgotten to take out my earphones even though I wasn’t listening to music. See below…


Remember what I said about it’s not always pretty….well here goes..


Would you like to see what I was trying to get a decent shot of back in the shadows?


I think it’s one of the oldest gravestones in the churchyard, but I don’t have info on it yet.  


These are two more of my photos from that morning…



This churchyard is one of my favorites in Cornwall and much to my surprise, there  are a few Harpers buried there. No relation I’m sure, but interesting to see my name among the gravestones.

A Few Things About Me

I was tagged by the talented Melissa who can be found here. According the the rules, I’m supposed to fill out this little Q & A and tag eight people to do the same. I decided to shift it a bit and added a few photographs to help you see what I’m talking about…show and tell…one of my very favorite things in school.

Additionally, for those who would like to give this a whirl, you get to delete a question and add one of your own. My question is the first one below. I’m tagging these eight people and if you’re checking me out, scoot on over to a few of these folks when you get a chance and have a look around their space. I know they’ll make you feel welcome. Thanks again Melissa.  Now for my eight in no special order (they’re all special)… Kim, Hay, Leslye, Carolyn, Kerstin Darcy, Maz, Alycia, Leaca, Bim, and  Jules.

The question I added is the first one.

Who was your childhood hero or person you most admired and why? My aunt, Wylly Folk St. John. She was a published author of many children’s books and twice nominated and runner up for the Edgar Allen Poe Mystery Writer’s of America award. She made me a character in one of her books (I bet you can’t guess which one) and gave me some of the best presents I’ve ever received. Her gifts were always lumpy strangely wrapped bundles of books and handmade treasures, like a pin cushion tomato that she embroidered my name on the side. I still have it almost forty years later. She brought a sense of belonging into my life with every letter and I think about her almost everyday.

What is your current obsession? Taming the wild ponies of Bodmin Moor with sugar cubes.

What are you wearing? My UK uniform …  sweater, backpack, jeans, good walking shoes and a camera.


Do you nap a lot? No, but when I do, I power nap. 12 minutes and I feel as refreshed as if I’d had a full five hour night.


Who was the last person you hugged? My darling husband, John


If you were a tree, what tree would you be? A little one like below reaching towards the light


What’s for dinner? This is more like what John had for dinner last night at the pub. I had a burger and chips (fries)


What was the last thing you bought? Today …I bought five packs of my new favorite Chocolate Mint Gum (Sugar Free)

What are you listening to right now? Carry You Home – Listen Here

What is your favorite weather? Blue Sky


Say something to the person who tagged you: Hello Melissa…this is the very first time I’ve done one of these Q & A things and it was a lot of fun…thanks for sending it my way.

If you could have a house, fully furnished and paid for, anywhere in the world, where would it be? Scotland, Isle of Skye


Favorite vacation spot? The western highlands of Scotland


What would you like to have in your hands right now? My former dog Bones now renamed Beau who lives with a sweet woman who dotes on him and lets him sleep in her bed. (He didn’t get to do this with me)  I see him every time I go back to Georgia.

What would you like to get rid of? My house in Atlanta Georgia

What is your favorite tea flavor? No tea… I don’t like it!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would it be? In Cornwall, walking the coast path with my daughter and her dog.


What is your favorite snack?


Dog or cat? I love them both, but…. I miss this dear little dog.


What’s Behind Door Number One, Two, Three…

What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.

– Julia Cameron


Sometimes, it’s difficult to choose which direction is right. It’s fine to say follow your dreams and the money will follow, but for most of us who have in the past or who may be currently struggling with how to pay for basics such food and shelter…dream seeking may seem like a luxury right now.


Others, may find themselves financially able to seek, but they find they’re not sure where to look.


Some of us may find ourselves standing in front of doors we never thought would be before us.


These days are perfect in some ways for leaping off into directions we might have been afraid to venture until recently. With the economic downturn, some people have no choice. We are reminded every day now that nothing is secure. Many people I know have been laid off from companies that they gave almost all of their time and energy to…often missing important times with family and friends or working themselves sick. They traded moments they can never get back. I’ve done that myself and no award or salary increase can alter the regret I feel for the times I missed. I have to say it wasn’t ego that drove me, but fear. Like most people, I worried about keeping my job so I could pay my bills and take care of my daughter. I wish I’d worked as hard achieving my own goals as I did for the different companies who bought my time, but wanted my whole life.




dsc_0295In early 1982, I was scheduled to complete my military tour of duty and begin to work on a University degree. It was a terrible time to be leaving the security of a military paycheck during peace time. After getting out, I was so worried about finding a job that I almost reenlisted. The economy was much like it is today in terms of unemployment with 7.4 % of the nation out of work in November of 1982. Still I managed, I rented a room in the home of a local teacher for $25 a week. I had kitchen privileges and I shared a bathroom down the hall with two other people in the house. It wasn’t a perfect situation, but one I could afford.

Enrolling at S.U.N.Y. Oswego in upstate New York, I declared a major and managed to get a job on campus in the Sweet Shop, one of several jobs I would have during my time there. I eventually shifted south to the University of Georgia where I changed my major and graduated with a Theatre degree in 1987. By the time I graduated in June, I was married and six months pregnant with my only child.

Now, 27 years after I left the army, my daughter has entered the workforce in a similar economic situation. Actually, I think it’s much worse. As stressful as these times are for her, I wish it were possible for her to see something that took me years to really believe…that real happiness and security will not be found in the job that pays the most money or wields the most power, but in finding and doing the work she was meant to do. That’s a lot to ask of a 21 year old. I’ve not alway lived fearlessly in the ways I wish she could and I’m 27 years older. There are so many doors out there…so many choices. I wish she would take a little time to see what’s behind as many as possible so she can build a life with few regrets when looking back in 27 years.