Low Lying Stakes On A High Water Wellie Day

You may have heard that 2012 has been the wettest summer in Briton in 100 years and I’ll admit that all this rain has had an effect on our normal outside activities. That said, I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my party plan when Jersey Girl came to visit. When she was with us two years ago we had a Pirate Party for her down by the river just off the Camel Trail and invited the children of some of our friends who live in and around the village.

She still remembers that day even though she was six at the time. When she asked John if we were going to have another one just before he brought her back from Jersey to stay with us last week, I wasn’t sure I could create a memory as nice as the one in 2010. Given how wet things were and the tight schedule we had between my work and the availability of the children we wanted to invite, we had a few hurdles to get over. The main one was the weather and we decided that rain or shine we were going to DIG!

Some of you had a chance to try to guess what the stakes were for when I posted this photo in an update on Facebook. Sorry to make you wait for it, but this year I decided to give the kids experience of archeological dig even though the items waiting to be discovered be planted by me.

So I dressed for nasty weather and went out about an hour before the party was to start to stake and tie out an area for the dig. I left the string loose to avoid young feet getting tangled in the barriers and then I dug down a bit to bury the objects. It was raining so hard that the raindrops quickly made the earth look pretty natural and undisturbed.

I wanted to get the best shot I could of the area before the children came to dig it all up so I climbed the closest tree to snap a few photos. l intended to just take the one you see below, but liked the look between the limbs of the tree I was standing in and wanted to share it with you too as well.

Two of the children who came to the Pirate Party had family in from America and couldn’t join us, but Jersey Girl was happy to see Archie even though his younger brother decided to stay home and dry. My friend Tina’s twins, Maisie and Ella came, but we miscommunicated on our location and they didn’t have as much left to dig up once they realized where we were.

Archie is holding a brass bracelet, one of four that I buried ahead of time. I tried to talk them through why one might participate in a real archeological dig, but it was a bit tough to have many teaching moments with the rain pelting down. They had a good time digging up pottery pieces, old miniature bottles, and jewelry and seemed to have as much fun rinsing their finds in the river as they did discovering them.

In all the drama of digging in a downpour something I told them we would not have done if it had been a real dig, I forgot that I buried one more thing. I remembered it later that day when it was dark and we were tucked in for the night and I wondered if the river might have washed it away. I’ll share more about that in my next post.

Here you can see Tina and John standing on the bank watching as Ella and Maisie make their way down the slippery bank. We went back to Lara and Brian’s (Archie’s parents) house to dry off and eat the snacks that Jersey Girl and I had made hoping to eat them at the picnic tables near the river. Big thanks to them both for opening their home to a wet and slightly muddy group despite having had a good rinse in the river.

Once we had rested and eaten a bit of the white chocolate tea cakes and Coco Pops ‘Krispie ‘Treats, the children put on a show in the living room that made me think that perhaps they might have had a bit too much sugar for a rainy afternoon.

 

After watching the wall climbing and flips off and on to the sofa, I decided that the fossil painting I’d intended as a final activity intended to slow the energy level down was one the children could do at a later time. JG chose one of the fossils we’d made the day before and we left the rest to be divided between the remaining four children.

I may need some ideas for next year’s party when Jersey Girl comes back to Cornwall and I’d be happy to know what you may have done in the past to create fun and memorable moments for your children or others you know.

Dora’s Day Out

I know you won’t find fault with my lack of words lately especially when I explain why. I meant to give you something more today, but I was lured away from my desk by the promise a little sunshine brings and the allure of a lady (of sorts) in red, waiting for me to come back to where I last left her.

One minute I was typing away on something I wanted to say and suddenly I’m hearing the brrrring, brrrring, of Dora’s little bicycle bell. After a quick tire check and a bit of light dusting, Dora and I headed for the Camel Trail. John was waiting at Helland Bridge and we cycled on together to Bodmin to pick up a few things for dinner.

Here’s a few photos from our afternoon out.

The Camel Trail:  A river runs though it. Okay, it’s really along side it.

I caught John was adjusting his hair in this action shot and told him I was going to start calling him “Hollywood!”

The trail runs along the same path as a former railway line. There’s a shell of a building in the top right of this photo.

 Check out the determined look on my face.

 I’m halfway home in this one.

I took advantage of this stile to catch my breath, give Dora a rest, and snap a few photographs.

If you climbed up you’d see the view above. In the photo below you can see part of the slow incline of the last long hill before home.

Turn slightly and the view shifts a bit to include a huge old house that’s perfect place to let your imagination go wild. I always think of Mary Shelley when I see it.

Here’s a closer look at the house over the cropped hedges. I always think the hedges look so awful after they’ve been cut back. They look as if they’ve been given a bad haircut with dull scissors. In a few months they’ll be so lush you won’t be able to tell they ever looked so rough.

Angela Jardine & The Write About Love Project

Paris - 2010

Last February I announced ‘ The Write About Love Project ‘ and then promptly seemed to forget about it. I assure you that like most things that compete for my attention, TWALP has not been forgotten but only tucked away for a bit waiting for a chance to showcase the stories of someone new.

In July I received a gentle inquiry from blogger and writer Angela Jardine, or Angie as I’ve come to know her. She sent me an essay that I had overlooked and later a followup email to see if I’d received it. After getting over my embarrassment for being so slack with email, I found her essay a nice fit and hope you’ll enjoy it too.

One of the best parts of blogging is when we have an opportunity to meet people through a chance online connection. While I’m not completely sure how Angie found ‘ Gifts Of The Journey, ‘ I would guess it had something to do with Cornwall.

She and her husband live in Devon now, but will soon be moving to a village near mine. We’ll be connected by the Camel Trail and the idea of riding my bike to see her has me impatient for her to arrive.

I’ve nicked a photo of her from one of the sites where she writes http://angiejardine.hubpages.com/ and you can also read what she has to say at http://thisisangiesblog.blogspot.com/ as well.

Click here to read her essay for TWALP and find out what she loves and why.

Taking To The Open Road With Jersey Girl

When the rain of the last few days eased up yesterday we finally had a chance to do some bike riding and scooting around the village before our visit with Jersey Girl was over. Our little houseguest went home early this morning and John and I will be taking the next few days to pack and get the house in top order for the folks that will be here while we are away.

Before I begin tossing the contents of the frig and emptying dresser drawers for our housesitters, I wanted to share a few pictures from our last day with JG and her mom.

Jersey Girl gave me a brief tutorial before we headed out with our scooters. The most important thing I learned was how to use the brake. I had not even realized these things had brakes, (I think I had the Fred Flintstone foot-dragging approach to stopping in mind) but once we were shooting down a hill I was glad I had mastered slowing down and stopping in the proper way.

Here you see us demonstrating how braking works. See our back feet pressing down on those metal flaps … it’s easy-peasy.

John caught us pausing on the path across the village green.

Earlier in the day we took a ride on the Camel Trail. We all got pretty muddy, but we were determined to have a bike ride together before JG and her mom had to go home.

This is the bridge that leads to the buttercup field and even though the buttercups are long gone for now it is still one of our favorite places to walk. John took this photograph of his daughter Rachel and his granddaughter, JG today. It is difficult to catch her when she’s not pulling a face as they say here.

While reading a book together last night, JG and I were discussing rather sadly how long it may be before we see each other again and together we came up with the bones of a story that may turn into something sweet.

Since it falls to me to write it, I may work on it during the first leg of our journey next week as we will be in the air for 22 hours with one short stop for refueling. (That’s a big hint for those of you still guessing about the trip we begin next month)

Safety First

This is a photograph taken by a kind stranger in May of 2008. I had just returned to England from my home in America about a week earlier having … quit one job, said no thank you to an offer of another job from a law firm I had interviewed with for several months, rented my house out to strangers, sold off most of the lovely contents of my home and my car as well and packed myself off to the UK completely secure as I kissed my friends and family goodbye that I was on the right path for me.

Having only been to Cornwall once for two weeks when John and I met for the first a few months earlier, most of the people who loved me thought on some level that I had lost my mind. John and I had known each other only about four and a half months when this picture was taken. Looking back now if any of my friends had made so many major changes for love, I would have thought they were a bit nuts too. If you’ve followed our story for very long, then you know it has all worked out so well that it feels as if it was all just meant to be.

A few things have changed since the picture above was taken, we’ve been married for over a year, and since that first bike ride we’ve had change in attitude with regard to safety when cycling on the Camel Trail. Even though most of our bike riding is confined to car free, easy bike trails where one might feel safe enough as we did back then to ride without a helmet, today when we go out for a ride along the same path we’ll be wearing some protective headgear.

This shift in our cycling attire has a great deal to do with our recognition of how special what we have is and our desire to safeguard it right down to protecting our physical bodies from harm. The realization of just how fragile our lives really are can supercede quite a lot including the discomfort of a helmet when it comes to protecting life and love. In the pictures below, notice in the first one John’s headgear and in the second, my helmet hair after we stopped along the way to take a photograph on Helland Bridge, a place that will always be special to us both.

The Camel Trail

John & Elizabeth – Helland Bridge

Can You Tell Me How To Get To …

I’m often stopped by strangers when I’m out on a run who ask, ” Can you tell me how to get to … ” and I must have acquired a new level of confidence when responding as people seem inclined to accept my instructions without displaying the hesitation I’ve witnessed in the past.

The man in the photograph below was walking on lane in the opposite direction as I passed him yesterday and wished to find the Camel Trail. He had parked nearby, but had somehow gotten off track and needed a bit of help to find his way back. As I was going in the same direction, I led him to the trail and then slowed to a walk to allow him to get far enough ahead so I might feel a bit more alone on the path. He was the first person I had run into on a stunningly perfect weather day and I was surprised not to encounter more folks along the way.

Even though it was hardly crowded with only the man above and his dogs, I still wanted a bit more nature and no people if possible so I could be totally alone my thoughts. I was doing some big daydreaming yesterday as I mentioned here and I didn’t want to have to stay alert to the passing bell sounds of cyclists approaching from behind or to have to break concentration to give a customary greeting or head nod to others on the trail. On days like these when I need more room, it helps to know which direction to go or at least have a sense of adventure about discovering the less traveled places.

Now that’s more like it …

… just me, the trees, and the river.

Pirates Come To Cornwall

I’m a bit short on words today so my pictures will have to tell the story. I missed a few activities and didn’t get shots of everything, but I think you’ll be able to see that the children seemed to have a great time at the party yesterday. I was amazed watching them play in a place so beautiful and so close to where we live. I run past this spot which is just off the Camel trail. I can’t imagine what it must be like to grow up with all this nature around them.

If you closely at this photo, you can see ducks in the river and cows in the meadow.

The river is to the left in this shot of the tables and the field is a fine one for play. The woods in the distance were used to hide two of the treasure boxes.

The bottle with the map was hidden near these rocks which are across from the picnic tables.

Here comes the first wave of pirates with John and Jersey Girl joining in the procession.

A little snack before the work of treasure hunting begins.

Pirate Queen  ‘Miss S’

Pirates making a plan.

Finding the map.

Opening the bottle to get to the treasure map.

Finding one of three hidden treasure boxes.

The littlest pirate waits for a hand while the others follow the map to search the ferns.

You can see the gold and silver find in the ‘crystal’ box in the pirates hand.

Time for some video before moving on.

These two were the first ones in the water.

Then the girls began to edge around it too.

Muddy, you don’t know muddy until you’ve played with these two.

Here’s a couple of pirate moms taking a seat across from the river where the pirates are getting muddy and wet.

One of John looking a bit sea going himself.

One of a few games that they played although I’m not sure what they doing.

This is the book and clue I mentioned yesterday which led them to the treasure map. I’ll be a bit more chatty when I’ve recovered from the week.  Thanks for your interest in the party and I hope the photographs give you a sense of the afternoon.