My New Ride

This morning my new ride showed up at the door. Thanks to the Christmas generosity of my step-mom Cullene, I have a new way to try to fight the steady diet of carbs, carbs, and more carbs that I tend to indulge in since moving to Cornwall. I thought this exercise bike might help balance my inability to walk past a plate of eggs, sausage, and chips, better known as french fries in America.

My will power seems to have evaporated since my hip pain became an issue and I need a little something to get me moving again. I decided after a good bit of research to not have the hip surgery that I mentioned in several previous posts. The recovery was so long and people who went through it still appear to have a fair degree of pain along with a limited range of motion and I just could not convince myself to risk those odds. While I am generally an adventurous, risk taking kind of person, I felt like my inner voice was saying no … don’t do it and at my age I’ve learned to listen to that voice.

With surgery ruled out,  I decided to readjust my running (not give it up) and bring in a few more fitness options that won’t stress my hip quite so much. Now I just need learn how to say no more often when John asks me,  ” Do you fancy sausages tonight? ”  because everyone knows that sausages taste infinitely better with a side of chips.

Image from Amazon site

The Dance Of Life

John lifted this image from a 1953 movie that his cousin Mary mentioned when she was here a few weeks ago. She is only in Will Any Gentleman for a few minutes, but you can’t miss the Cancan scene where Mary who was a professional dancer for more than twenty years is kicking up her heels. During her career, she danced with the Ballet Rambert, which is the UK’s oldest established dance company and still considered one of the world’s most renowned.

Take a look at the six women above and see if you can pick Mary out of the chorus line. (I’ll tell you which one is her at the end of this post) John found the movie online and ordered it almost as quickly as he heard Mary’s story when she was here for Christmas. We had a great time figuring out which one was Mary after it arrived. She would have been about 29 or 30 when this film was made and having just turned 87 we thought it might be a bit of a challenge to pick her out of the group based on how she looks now.

By slowing the movie down and viewing the scene frame by frame, it was very easy to see which woman is Mary. Despite the fact that her high kicking days are long past, Mary’s graceful movements as an 87 year old are still very similar to her much younger self.

It’s there in the angle of her head when she is listening to a conversation and you see it in the fluid rhythm of her hand gestures when she is telling a story. The lovely posture you see on her wedding day below is still very evident today.

David Levack & Mary Bench 1948

In addition to aging with grace and intelligence, Mary has not lost her taste for adventure as you can see by her decision to get close to the water’s edge on a blustery day when the sea at Trebarwith Strand was really rough.

I was a bit nervous thinking that as tiny as she is she might blow over, but John persuaded me not to hover and Mary was just fine.

I climbed up these rocks to catch the view of the ocean from a higher location and to my surprise …

I turned around to see John (no surprise there) coming up the rocks with Mary close behind him.

Remember what I said about adventure … she didn’t even need help going back down. My idea of what 87 looks like went through some major shifts during Mary’s visit.

This view waits for those who climb the path.


I saved this one for the last because of how absolutely beautiful Mary looks here. On Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, John and Mary went to Falmouth to go sailing with his brother David and his family. I stayed behind for some rest and missed all the fun, but John came home with some video so I could see how the day went and then created this still image of Mary from it. (The Cancan dancer second from the right is Mary, John’s adventurous, still stepping cousin.)


New Year’s Eve – 2010 Or 1944

It’s midnight and the pub is filled with people dressed as historical figures from the past. Some are clearly in costume while a few are in evening clothes and less easy to identify. Just a few minutes before the BBC radio which is playing in the background announces the beginning of a new year, a group of people I don’t recognize spill into the pub arriving in modern day casual clothing that stands out a bit next to characters such as Robin Hood, Van Gogh, and Amelia Earhart. There’s no time to wonder who they are or to say much more than hello as the voice of the BBC begins to countdown. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … Happy New Year!

People are kissing and confetti is flying and there is an excitement that is familiar and reassuring to one so far from home. From the door where I am standing, I can see people all around the pub crossing their arms one over the other as they reach for the hand of the person closest to them. Rocking and swaying, they are suddenly a body of like minded people as they begin to sing a song I recognize, “Auld Lang Syne.”

I sing along for a minute, one arm over the other, but I let go of John’s hand and I lift my camera high trying to capture a moment I am not sure I will be able to recreate later with words. Watching as they sing, I suddenly feel as if I have been transported back in time to 1944, a feeling so strong that even now days later I still can’t quite shake it. I don’t know why it is that date stands out … only that it does. It seemed fitting to color the image to fit the feeling I have when seeing it.

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Mister Rogers would be proud of the people in the little village I now call home. We’ve spent the last week fairly well snowed in and the care and concern I’ve witnessed among my neighbors has been lovely to see. I’ve never lived in a place where I knew so many people. In a village of 500, it is easy to learn not only the names of the people who live here, but often a bit of their history as well. Today I want to share a little with you about a few of my neighbors who help make this such a special place to live. If you are unsure as to who I am referring to when I mentioned  Mister Rogers earlier, this little video will help explain, but be forewarned it might make you cry.

Fred Rogers always began his children’s program with a special song about being neighbors and I’ve mixed in the lyrics which I’ve highlighted in blue with a few pictures of my neighborhood and neighbors.

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

This is the way to my neighbor Janey’s house. Yesterday when I couldn’t get to Port Isaac to have my stitches removed from a small procedure done the week before, Janey volunteered to take them out for me. Now a clinical psychologist, she trained as a nurse in her first career and offered to help when she heard me saying that I might have to do it myself.

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,

In the three pictures below, you can see Gary and Margaret who own the village pub. Margaret is also the post mistress and while I’ve seen them involved in fundraising for charity events more times than I can remember, they have been such good neighbors during this week of snow that it’s really been something to see. Our village shop which houses the post office among other things became a sort of command central staying open and supplying necessary items to keep the people in our community from doing without. Watching Margaret directing and coordinating the restocking efforts while continuing with her regular responsibilities was impressive. Her husband Gary was able after the first 24 hours to make trips in and out of our village maneuvering through the icy lanes in his 4 wheel drive vehicle picking up supplies for the village shop and giving people rides on some of his trips.

Gary cooking at a fundraiser for cancer research.

Gary behind the bar in the pub.

I had trouble finding a picture of Margaret in my files, but managed to find this one of her in the pub. Margaret is rarely seen behind the bar which explains why it looks as it does. I was shooting on the fly and not very well I’m afraid.

The flowers and cottage above belong to Jeff, a 77 year old man who I kept seeing with Gary when I would happen to run into them at the village shop as they were moving about the village giving some people rides in between their frequent trips to get supplies. I usually bump into Jeff three or four times a week and I was surprised to see that I did not have any pictures of him to post.

I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

Len and Mary are the couple you see here with their dog. I caught them just after they had returned our neighbor Betty’s dog after taking it up on the moor for walk for her. Having watched Len and Mary pick up deliveries from the village store all week to take around to some of the older people who could not walk to the shop, I can almost guarantee that what ever is in the bags they’re carrying, it is almost certainly a delivery for someone who can’t manage the snow. All of the good neighbors I mentioned have been tireless during this time making sure everyone who needed something was able to get it. I wanted to acknowledge these folks who did so much for the neighborhood and managed to look as if they were having a good time doing it.

So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?

Won’t you please,
Won’t you please,
Please won’t you be my neighbor?


Thoughtful Consideration

I could not let this day pass without acknowledging the significance of today. Every relationship has milestones and today marks one for me and John. Two years ago on January 5, John received an alert that I had no idea I had initiated while viewing his profile on the UK dating website, Guardian Soulmates.

After seeing this picture and reading his profile, I saved him to my favorites and went on with my day. Little did I know that saving his profile would send him an email saying that he had a fan. John responded with a email to me and after I recovered from my surprise, I sent him one back. He responded to mine and ended it with his email address for a more direct contact than through Soulmates and let me know he was interested in continuing to talk. I had not intended on establishing contact with anyone … I was really just looking at profiles as a distraction and out of curiosity. I wrote about this last year here in great detail, but I didn’t say then that after our initial contact on the fifth it took me until the seventh to send him another email.

It took two days of thinking about why I should or shouldn’t be developing something with a man in another country, but ultimately I thought, oh go onit’s not like you’re going to get married or anything.

John likes to think of  the fifth as our anniversary since it was our first meeting … at least through email. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long you’ll know that we have another anniversary coming up next month. I bet most of you won’t need a hint to guess what we’ll be celebrating then.