The Dog Days Of Summer Come To Cornwall

After all the rain and grey days last week, Monday was beautiful. It was a Bank Holiday here and John reminded me last night that it’s the last one we’ll see before Christmas.

It’s no wonder then that it all went to the dogs yesterday … in our village at least. It wasn’t actually all about dogs, but the dog show was a huge draw and much of the afternoon was spent judging and being judged.

 

I was asked along with John and several other people to photograph the event for our Parish magazine. I had a hard time remembering to photograph more than what interests me, but when I reviewed my 222 photos, (can you say overkill) I found I had managed to capture enough to present a good overview of the day even though my photos were a bit dog heavy.

Speaking of dog heavy, I’m not sure I’d like to feed this big boy. I sat next to him earlier and he was a very well-behaved, but he wanted to cuddle when he saw a smaller dog crawl into my lap.

There were loads of different breeds.

This little dog was in an event for older dogs who were referred to as veterans which meant dogs over ten years old.

I had a chance to play with these puppies when I caught up with them later outside the pub.

This is one of our neighbors. She runs marathons with her Dalmatians and unless something changed over the summer, only three of these dogs belong to her.

My friend Patrice once offered shelter to a friend of hers who came with what she referred to as a damnation versus a Dalmatian because it was so uncontrollable and made her miserable. She was happy to see the back of it as they say here when the dog and her owner found a new place to live. Let me clear about the Dalmatians above, they are always very sweet and well-behaved and completely different from the experience Patrice had with the big D.

There’s so much going in this shot and you might think it too busy, but I love seeing all the different actions and knowing that many of these people live in my community. You may remember the little girl in the sunglasses from this post. She’s always a cutie!

This little girl was loving her puppy.

Waiting patiently for the judge’s decision.

There was a good variety of food with burgers and sausages being sold here. I didn’t have one, but I did see a happy dog scarfing down a hamburger that had been dropped accidentally .

There were other nibbles too like the scones and jam you see here.

If you got tired of dog watching there were different games you could try like the girl above.

Lots of boys seemed keen to do this one and had what looked like a bit of competition going with their scores.

Splat the Rat seemed like the most fun to me, but I tend to like games that involving whacking something. It’s a good stress reliever.

 

My friend Tina was making dreams come true yesterday and she told me later that this was the first time this little boy had ever had his face painted.

You could pick up bargains too as people set up tables and sold off a variety of things.

Here’s a shot of some more of my neighbors. Andy looks very stern in the background, but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen him without a smile. I love the shot of Gary with the teddy bear. I actually followed him for a few yards trying to catch just the right shot of the bear next to one of his colorful tattoos. This was my favorite.

There were quite a few vintage cars on the village green including an American made Chrysler Imperial (blue car) that you see in this shot. It’s so wide that I’m not sure how it makes it through most of the lanes around the village. The black Austin Seven (about 1935) was my favorite.

Here are a few more that caught my eye. Even though I loved the Austin Seven, if I were going to own one to drive it would be this silver one. I’d have to keep my scarves short and inside the car though so as not to end up like Isadora Duncan.

You could get out of the sun if you wished in the Village Institute ( it was a one room school originally) and pick up some jam or artwork to take home with you too.

Many people had a Kelly’s Cornish ice cream while others finished the day at the pub. I passed by this mobile dairy treat on my way to find John who was sitting with friends in front of the pub enjoying a pint in the afternoon sun.

The best part of my day happened earlier with this young puppy. He was totally irresistible and so cuddly and calm that I had trouble giving him back. I expect I’ll see Ziggy again since his owner is local.

He’s such a beauty and at the risk of sounding like Paris Hilton, look how his eyes match the color of my shirt. (I know dogs are not accessories)

I took this myself and he was a little distracted. I had trouble getting us both in the shot and in focus so I gave Ziggy first priority.

The photo below is my favorite as he gave me a little kiss while I was trying to stay steady and snap the shot. I love the light in this one. It looks like the last days of summer.

Hazy Dog Days & Puppy Love - Ziggy Kissing Elizabeth

Go Directly To Jail

This morning I was stuck. WordPress was not working properly for me and even though I kept deleting and starting over, my photographs would not go up in the order I wished. After trying a few times, I got irritated and then I thought, Right, I’ll just put them up in reverse if they won’t load the normal way!

What you see below is what I wanted in the beginning. It did require thinking about it differently and going at it from another direction which is interesting if you consider the images and subject for this post.

Bodmin Jail, also known as Bodmin Prison, probably didn’t allow much deviation from their standard way of doing things. Rules were necessary to maintain order and it was funny that today’s post would not behave properly.

Bodmin Jail is a collection of old buildings that are mostly falling apart. A few have been restored and you can have a meal in the restaurant or stay overnight as part of a ghostly evening, but most of the buildings are not in use. Unlike historical ruins in America, walking and exploring are permitted and John and I stepped through an old main door and into a former cell without any problem.

Standing in a cell built for one, I wondered what prisoners thought when they stared out through the windows. I found it scary and confining as you might expect a prison would be especially one with such history. Bodmin prison was the first British prison to have individual cells and I wonder if that was better or worse than sharing with another person. They were keen on punishing with silence and isolation and I was surprised to see they had windows. I wondered if prison officials thought that watching others walking free might increase the pain of incarceration.

You can get an idea of the size of the space in the cell by the photo above. John had just stepped out and I was shooting from very near the window. I looked online trying to discover what the long narrow trough was used for. John suggested it might be for waste disposal since there was no indoor plumbing.

As Bodmin Prison was built in 1779 I’m not surprised by the lack of facilities, but it is odd that I could not find anything to tell me why the trough was there. There’s a good bit of info on this site, but be prepared to have to decipher a bit as John and I both agree that it could use some editing.

This same shot appears on the website I mentioned above and I took it in one of the first cells you see once you are inside the main hall. I can only assume that the photographer was as nervous as I was about being in a place where people were once publicly hanged for their crimes and like me, did not feel like photographing the other cells. I did poke my nose in a few others, but I was moving fairly quickly.

This was just one building that housed prisoners. I can’t imagine the despair at being sentenced to serve time here especially when you read about how minor some of the crimes were.

There was no one about guarding the area and one could easily climb around if feeling brave. John never seems to need as long to absorb the details when we see new places and I’m not usually bothered about lingering behind to snap a few more photos before hurrying to catch up with him, but on this trip when I heard him say he’d had enough and was going on, I decided I’d seen enough too and left with him.

 

 

When Your Name Is Irene

Bodmin Moor (Click to Enlarge)

Even though we are a long way from the threatening fury of Irene’s arrival, it has been the topic of conversation here. Last night at the pub we shared a table with some friends from the village chatting over the week’s events with, Ian and Irene.

You may remember Irene from the photo below. It was taken at the pub back in January and she’s sitting in exactly the same place as she was last night while we talking about the hurricane that has so many Americans now running for cover.

I know Hurricane Irene has been spreading herself around and she’s caused millions of dollars in damages as she’s blown through the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas in her flight plan.

That Irene and our Irene have nothing in common, but she did share a few of the comments and jokes she’s had to endure since Hurricane Irene made the news.

Irene & Elizabeth

John is the weather watcher in the house. Most days, I barely pay attention to what’s happening weather-wise. That seems to have changed since he gave me Dora and I find myself feeling a bit grumpy lately that the weather has made it so uninviting to ride.

Living in Georgia, I took good weather days for granted. In Cornwall, we have a fair amount of rain and it’s usually not an issue for me, but it’s been cool and wet for the last week and I find that despite a long hot summer in Atlanta, I am not ready for summer to be over here.

Summer Flowers - August 2011

We’ve got a break in the clouds so I’m heading out in a few minutes to squeeze in some exercise and move my moodiness out the door. I’ve got loads to do today and no reason to whinge on about weather and inconvenience when so many are in such a scary situation.

Thank goodness we have ways to track deadly storms and prepare for them. I have friends scattered up and down the eastern coast of the US and I’ll be tracking their movement, watching as they hopefully provide updates on Facebook and Twitter or blog about their experiences with Hurricane Irene.

Here’s hoping you stay safe and dry wherever you are today.

Would God Send A Message In Online Ad?

The other day I saw something flash across my computer screen that at a glance looked like the words, “Need help praying?”

Taking a closer look, I saw that the words were actually “paying, not praying” and while I felt a little disappointed it made more sense.

Who doesn’t need a little help paying these days? Very few seem unaffected by the world’s changing economy, but for a half second I was thinking, Yes, I could use some help praying.

Other people seem to do it so easily talking about it online in Facebook and in their blog comments. I see it all the time and requests saying,”Prayers needed” are often met with a one word response, “Praying.” Sometimes my Facebook page looks like one big prayer chain with long lists of people joining in.

I never do. I watch from the edges not holding out much hope for the person in need especially if prayer is all they have left.

Don’t get me wrong, it looks like a comfort to be part of a support system where people believe that someone greater than themselves can heal their loved one, save their house from foreclosure, or bring them a loving partner if only they can raise enough voices to God in prayer.

I just feel so used to handling whatever happens that praying about it feels a bit like tossing my hands in the air and giving up control.

In my younger years when I heard people say, “I’m giving it up to the Lord” I would think and sometimes argue that I thought God gave us a brain to think with and we should handle things on our own.

And what if despite all the prayers … the loved one dies, the house is lost to the bank, and no loving partner is revealed? Does that mean God wasn’t listening?

I did a lot of praying when I was a child, when I believed that prayer was like a hotline to God’s ear and I will still offer up a gentle request sometimes when I’m on an airplane and someone else in control, but prayer feels more like a “just in case” sort of action now, rather than one based on any firm faith or belief.

It’s the contradictions of the seemingly faithful that give me pause, the people who pray out loud, “Bless us O Lord,” while turning away from those in need, or the church leaders who pray about avoiding sin and secretly commit heinous acts themselves.

Sometimes I wish for a burning bush. I know I’m not Moses and I don’t have any people to lead, but I sure have a few questions I’d like to ask God.

The seeker in me wonders if the praying versus paying ad might have been a spark for my burning bush moment, perhaps a flicker of a flame meant to catch my eye.

Sending A Little Sunshine To A Heart In San Francisco

Sunflower Daydreams

I stumble across blogs like most people who read them. By taking a moment to follow a link or a comment, I sometimes end up in place I would hate to have missed.

Guilty With An Explanation is one of those places. I can’t remember how I got there, but I always look forward to reading posts written by the woman I’ve come to know as ‘Heart In San Francisco.’

There’s so much to read about in Susan’s life and she shares it with humor and empathy for others despite the sad role she is in with her husband Flip. His early onset Alzheimer’s and her search for healthcare solutions highlights what is missing for people in his condition.

Although she writes about Flip and his changing needs, her blog is not just about Alzheimer’s and I always leave with something to consider.

Susan writes so beautifully that I often feel as if I am there with her silently witnessing the moments of her life. Her post today had me sitting in the car with her watching from the front seat as she tried to elicit a smile from the man in the toll booth.

I’m sending her a few sunflower photos to say I see her even if the man in the toll booth has become immune to the smiling face of a friendly stranger.

Facing The Sun

Adding More Light To My Life

You might be tired of hearing how wonderful my husband is and may well be thinking, “John, John, John, can’t she talk about anything else!”  It’s just difficult not to share when he does so many things that make me smile.

Todays topic: A DIY Photography Light Box 

While I was in Atlanta, I sent John a couple of links to several DIY light box examples. I thought having one would be useful in photographing items for a vintage shop I’m setting up online. I would have been content with a light box made of paper like this one, but John made a lovely and more lasting one with some extra wood and paint he had in the garage.

It’s sitting on a small stool in this shot.

 

I have some white paper to drape inside for things to sit on and the sheet above should work as well. Add a bit of light and I think it will be perfect. I hope to announce the shop opening in a few weeks so you can see how well it works when the images go live.

 

When Your Reputation For Alcohol Precedes You

Exmoor Ales - Empty Glass

For some people this empty glass is an invitation to buy another round. They do that in our village pub. Buying rounds in they way they do was new to me. It might well be the same in the US, but due to my lack of alcohol consumption, I don’t have much experience with these things.

I tend to have a camera in hand more often than a pint when we’re at the pub and I’m always trying to capture the best images I can using a small point and shoot camera without a flash so as not to disrupt the naturalness of the scene. The image above I shot standing on a picnic table outside the pub while looking in through a window. I don’t think anyone saw me that time, but sometimes I do get funny looks.

This poorly lit image of John was taken on the restaurant side of our village pub. He’s drinking a cider (I think they taste like apple juice gone bad) and I’m having my usual diet lemonade which is like a diet Sprite. On quiz night I splash out as John would say and go for a double.

Elizabeth Holding Jess At The Pub

Here’s a shot John took of me last February holding one of my favorite pub pooches. Jess tolerates me cuddling her for a bit, but her gaze is never far from her John who I wrote about here. (It will make you smile)

I was sitting on the same stool last night holding her as I joined John and some of the other Friday night regulars who stop in for a drink and to catch up on the week. It’s a nice way to relax with friends and I make do just fine with my diet lemonade or diet Coke.

Most Saturday nights we have live music at the pub and tonight we have a local family doing their annual night in August where they’re billed as the Spriggs Family Robinson.

A group of us are meeting at the pub this evening to support Jos, Connie, Rebecca, and other Spriggs family members, and as we were confirming our arrival times among our group last night I said, ” I might even have some alcohol! ”  As I am so well-known for not drinking anything with more kick than a bit of carbonation, this comment quickly elicited a rousing chorus of ” Oooooo! “

I’ll let you know tomorrow if I decide to splash out or spend the evening as I usually do with my camera and a diet drink.

I think I need to consider my options carefully as it seems that I have a bit of a reputation to maintain now.