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

My Changing Perspective On Finding Community

When my husband and I met for the first time in person only six weeks after meeting online, I came to him. I had loads of frequent flyer miles and two weeks of vacation time that I would lose if I did not use it before the end of that month so off I went to England to meet the man I had found quite by accident online.

I had no idea what to expect really even though I had seen photographs of John and Cornwall and even bits of his house and the village, I still did not have a real feeling of what life was like there.

While there are some properties that have parts as old as the 12th or 14th century in the village, we live in a more modern section with many of the houses around us being only twenty or so years old and our home a very young one at thirteen years.

Seeing the houses built so tightly together with so much open land all around them was a surprise to me. I’m not sure why exactly, but I remember thinking at first what a shame it was that the houses were so close. I considered how difficult it must be to feel as if you had any privacy with the houses built as they were.

The view was beautiful though and I was able to see a far distance over the village from my early morning position on the sofa where I would sit with my laptop and write. Blessed with all this beauty I still grumbled to myself about how, as pretty as it was, it would be prettier without the rooftops of other houses.

Can you believe I actually thought that! Let me tell you what’s different about my view now. After living here off and on for most of 2008 and continually since 2009, I’ve settled in and met and made friends with many of the people sheltered underneath those rooftops I once moaned about interfering with my view.

Thanks to days like this and people in the community who reach out to care each other in good weather and bad, I’ve had a chance to meet my neighbors and really learn what it means to be one. I’ve lived so many places in my life and I have become great friends with some people who lived close by, but there’s something different about living in a community as small as this where people come together in the pub, village hall, church and even the village shop.

Finding your own sense community can be difficult due to time and responsibilities. Most of us have too little of the first and too much of second, but if we’re open to looking at things a bit differently we might be surprised by how easy it can be to shift our perspective.

The other day when John was up on the roof working on the house, he encouraged me to climb up and have a look at the view. What I realized standing up there was how differently those rooftops look now that I know the people living beneath them and how much richer my life is for the closeness I feel not just in their physical proximity, but also in the kind way they’ve welcomed me into the community.

I’ve included a rooftop view to help illustrate my new perspective. What about you … is there anything in your life that could benefit from a shift in perspective?

Snow Days And Nights In Cornwall

Morning light across the village green.

The last two days have seen our little village fairly cut off from the rest of the world by all the snow we’ve had over the last few days. All day yesterday and late into today only those with 4 wheel drive could make it in or out. Around 3:00 pm, John was finally able to get through the lanes to the main highway and drive the five miles or so to the closest supermarket. He picked up a few things for a neighbor and let another know we are now well stocked in case things freeze as the weather reports are predicting. He had to leave the car and hike up the hill to the house with the groceries, but he made it home safely just before things began to freeze.

Our village shop was pretty cleaned out today with certain items such as milk being made available first to those with small children and the elderly in our community. Even though I wanted some milk for baking, I liked seeing those who really needed it receive it first. I walked back up our street from the shop with Len and Mary who are friends and neighbors that live on our street. I watched as they knocked on the doors of the homes of several people in their 70s and 80s checking in to be sure they were doing all right.

I managed a good long walk through some of my favorite places around the village and of course snapped a few photographs to share. Much of the UK is experiencing a slow down or in some cases no movement at all. Schools are closed and hospitals are asking that only those in dire need come in and I feel fortunate that I have no where pressing to be over the next few days. Seems like a good time to do a bit of baking … I’m thinking maybe a nice big batch of cinnamon rolls to go with all of the hot chocolate we’ll be drinking over the next few days.

These are photographs from the last two days:

The buttercup field under cover of snow.

This is the old stone bridge we cross to get to the buttercup field.

Me, on the other side of the bridge.

John crossing a farmers field with the entrance to our village in the distance behind him. (see the church tower)

Our village on the hill.

Me making a snow angel.

Not bad for being no angel myself.

Night fall – I stepped out on the patio to snap the sunset just as bunch of sparrows flew over.

Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone

JASPER

Sometimes on Wednesday nights John and I walk down to the pub and because Wednesday is trivia night, we usually have a bite of dinner and stay to play trivia. We tend to end up somewhere in the middle of all the other teams rarely scoring enough to be considered a contender for first place although we do have a lot of fun. Once we came in second, but we’re usually quite happy with third or fourth place. Poor John is a good bit handicapped with me as a game partner since at least two-thirds of the questions are related to British life and history. Sometimes, I know the answer to those, but frequently he’s on his own.

Tonight was a particularly significant game night as we joined forces with a group of four who always do much better than we do and it was the first time we won. That’s right a big old first place. We didn’t let it go to our heads as we could see by our participation what we might have missed if we had been on our own. Jean and Robert were two of the team members tonight and I think it was at a trivia night that I first met the little dog in the picture above.

Jasper as you can see by the photograph is a cutie. He’s getting on in years, but always is very friendly and happy to share any part of your dinner that you’re willing to give up when he comes to the pub with them on quiz night. Our pub like some others I’ve seen always welcomes a dog as long as the dog remains controlled and on a lead. (leash)

In our pub, dogs always get a treat from the bartender when they come in. I was quite charmed by this when I saw it the first time, but I never realized the impact it had on some dogs until I heard Jean tell a story about her dog Jasper.

It seems one day Jean was getting ready to take her dogs for a walk. Jasper and Molly enjoy an outing now and then, but they’re not always in a hurry to head out the door.  One evening while getting Molly together for a walk, Jean looked around for Jasper and could find him anywhere. In fact the place where he usually sat waiting near the gate was empty as if he had waited for Molly to get it together for the last time.

Realizing that Jasper appeared to have grown tired of waiting and worried that he might be headed for open road, Jean began to look everywhere for her little dog. She walked back and forth in front of the house then around to the back garden and up the road in the direction they usually walked calling his name concerned about where he might be.

Going down the hill, she walked past her house towards the village green thinking it a fine open space that might appeal to any dog, but a quick sweep of the center of the village told her Jasper was not hiding in the grassy area. Seeing the open door of the pub, she walked quickly in that direction intending to ask inside if anyone had happened to see her little runaway. As her eyes adjusted to the pub’s darkened interior with the rows of mugs lining the ceiling absorbing most of the natural light, she saw Jasper sitting near the bar like a regular coming in for his evening pint. Jasper it seems had decided a chewy sounded good and he had taken himself off to the pub to get one on his own.

I believe if I remember the story correctly, he had been given one to chew on while the pub staff considered what they should do next. Assuming correctly that Jean and Robert might not be far behind, they made Jasper comfortable and waited.