Flower Delivery For Abelard & Heloise Still There

If you’ve been reading my blog, you may have read about my gift for Abelard and Heloise.  If you haven’t, you might want to go back and take a look at yesterday’s post so this one will make sense to you now. Kim, a blogging friend in Paris took a little stroll up to Père Lachaise cemetery yesterday after reading my post to see what I left behind. She sent me word in the comment section of yesterday’s post that my wedding bouquet was still there.

Today, she very kindly sent me an email with a photograph she took of my bouquet at the grave. In the picture, you can see someone else has tossed a flower tribute as well. I left mine there on February 4th and it looks suprising good for being out there slightly more than three weeks. If you consider that I made my bouquet on February 1st, I’d say those flowers were a good buy.

Big thanks to Kim for sending this picture for me to share.  She’s added a new chapter to an already sweet memory.

Wedding Bouquet - 3 Weeks Later February 26, 2009

Wedding Bouquet - 3 Weeks Later February 26, 2009

A Gift For Abelard & Heloise


Carolyn guessed correctly that I was taking my bouquet to Père Lachaise cemetery, the burial place of many people famous in their day and in their death. Many know that Jim Morrison of The Doors fame is buried there, but some may not know that Moliere, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Isadora Duncan, Edith Piaf, Camille Pissaro, Richard Wright and Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas rest there as well along with too many others to name here.  While many of these grave sites would have been a good place to leave my flowers, I had a different location in mind.

As you can see from the title, I took my bouquet to the shared grave of the famous lovers, Abelard & Heloise who while separated by horrible circumstances in life, now lie together in death. I’ll leave you to read the stories that tell the tale of love, separation, and the loss that accompanies their doomed love affair. Much has been written and I’ve long been interested in the letters they left behind in The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (Penguin Classics). I’ve owned a copy for longer than I can remember and still take it off the shelf from time to time to reread parts of it.

They were secretly wed in real life and I thought it a sweet gesture to leave my wedding bouquet where modern day lovers or those who are loveless have left their own letters for years. If you know the story of Abelard & Heloise, it may seem odd to leave a happy token of our special day in a place where one might see only the sorrow of lovers separated in life, but I tossed my flowers over the iron fence that surrounds their grave for Heloise who never wished to be the bride of Abelard (because of her love for him and her fear of the consequences) or of Christ, but seemingly followed the wishes of the man she loved to the end of her days. It’s a romantic gesture of hope for lovers who wish for deep and abiding love.  

My images are not quite as I would have wished…the grave site had scaffolding around it as repairs were being made to to the aging monument and it was difficult to get a clear shot without the barriers.


Two Heads Side By Side On Pillows Of Stone




Angling For A Good Landing Spot

Angling For A Good Landing Spot

My Overhanded Toss Of The Bouquet Captured By John

My Overhanded Toss Of The Bouquet Captured By John

Perfect Landing!

Perfect Landing!


Abelard & Heloise

A Gift For Abelard & Heloise

My Very Own Version Of Planes, Trains, And Automobiles

Picking up from my last post, we did arrive at the local train station and found that we could all ride the same train together at least for a little while. First we had to wait… and some of us were less than happy with this.


The purchase of a little snack made us all feel a bit better.



Here comes the train…and we’re off!


Crossing the Tamar estuary on Brunel’s historic bridge as viewed from the window of train number one. After a short ride, we said goodbye to John’s daughter and granddaughter waving them off as their 2nd train departed. In these next three photographs, I’m in the reflection you see in the window outside of the train saying goodbye while John’s granddaughter’s little face is looking back at us through the window from inside the train.



Me with my backpack and my wedding bouquet…it looks like I’m blowing kisses. 


A Last Look Back

We boarded our next train and then dashed to our bus before arriving at the airport and our plane which fortunately was delayed by the weather.  After they deiced the plane, we were on our way to our honeymoon destination…the city of love…Paris!


I’ll be back tomorrow with more, but let me leave you with a challenge…can anyone out there guess why I took the flowers below with me to Paris…leave me a comment with your thoughts and I’ll announce who gets it right first.



Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Through The Snow We Go

The morning after the BIG snow!


Snowy Self Portrait

Okay, maybe it wasn’t really a big snow to some of you out there and I’ll admit when I lived in Oswego NY for two winters, I had a chance to see snow measured in feet not inches, but for Cornwall…this was a good bit of ground cover. If you read yesterday’s post, you saw the picture I took of John’s daughter and granddaughter walking down a snowy road as they hiked out of the village. The goal was to walk the 2+ miles from the house on the hill to the main road to meet a taxi at a pre-set time.

You may have noticed that I was standing a fair distance from where they were when I took the photograph. It wasn’t because I decided it would make a great shot and so decided to hang out and wait for it, but because I was running to try to catch up. When I came in from my big hike alone through the snow, John told me that his younger daughter and granddaughter were walking out and that we should go with them. I hadn’t even packed yet thinking that I would have time to before we left especially with our previous plan to drive to Bristol to catch our plane. John asked if I could be ready in 30 minutes or less. 

Grabbing our backpacks from the attic so we could carry our stuff out on our backs, we began to toss things in fairly quickly. I was moving so fast, I could barely think about what I needed to take.  As we were packing, they set out ahead of us because it was a long way through the snow for a 4 year old. John followed them not long after with his backpack and a small duffel bag with some of their things in it. I was the last to leave as I was running around trying to shut down my computer and be sure I had all of the camera gear I might need. I forgot my boots, but I managed to make it with everything else.

As I was running out the door to catch up with the three of them, I grabbed my bridal bouquet on the way out. I attached it to my backpack and took off running down one hill and up another in an attempt to catch up.  As I ran, slipping and sliding on the snowy street, I scooted past John to get close enough to snap this  photograph.  My bouquet dropped off my backpack as I ran past him and I actually ran on a few yards before I realized it had fallen. Running back, I scooped it up and ran on with a camera in one hand and my wedding flowers in the other. I’m sure I was a sight pounding up the hill with a pack on my back and something in each hand. 


The Long Walk Out

The Long Walk Out



We were on the other side of this bridge heading up yet one more icy hill when an angel in a four wheel drive stopped and offered us a ride to the main road where we were meeting our taxi.  After Matt, (our burly angel) moved a few things around, we all squeezed in and began to make our way through the snow.  A quick phone call gave the taxi driver notice to meet us a bit earlier and on arriving at the drop off point, we had an opportunity to pay back some karmic goodwill by pushing a stuck car out of a drift. 


I’m wearing the brown coat with the light blue jeans and John is to my right.  The taxi arrived just after his daughter snapped this photograph as we pushed the car onto the main road.  Once we were in the taxi, I caught this curious look on John’s granddaughter’s face.  I imagine she was thinking, ” What is with this woman and that camera!”



I’ll leave you here now with us all packed into a taxi hoping that we can make it to the closest train station.  Come back tomorrow if  you’d like to join us for the next leg of our journey.

Three Weeks Ago Today…

Three weeks ago today John and I were doing this….


It began to snow just as our reception was coming to a close and when John and I went on a walk later that night things were being to look a bit like this…   

Is it  just me or does anyone else see a shape in the photograph below?


 What began as a few flakes became this by morning. I grabbed my camera and headed out early for a quick walk and a few photographs before the rest of house was up and out. Remember, we had wedding guests who’d slept over as the roads had not been drivable the evening before. I was excited and worried about all the snow since we had a honeymoon flight to Paris scheduled for that day. Not wanting to miss the early morning light and the fresh snow I drank a quick cup of coffee, pulled on my wellies and headed out.






The Buttercup Field In Winter

The Buttercup Field In Winter






Our Parish Church

As I passed by the parish church again on my way back home, I saw that the roads were still icy and cars were not yet able drive out of our village due to the amount of hills where we live.  When I arrived home, John said that his younger daughter had decided to try to walk out of the village and up to a motor way where she could arrange for a cab to meet her and her 4 year old daughter. Her plan was to try make it to a train station and on to the flight they had scheduled to return to their home. John and I had tickets to fly out of Bristol to Paris later that day for our honeymoon so we knew if we were going to make it, we would need to hike out as well. I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you more of our post wedding adventures, but for now…here’s a little preview.





Walking The Saints Way – When Living Your Life Gets In The Way Of Writing About It




Three guesses as to what I’ve been doing instead of writing.  John and I like to spend a fair amount of time walking the coast path here in Cornwall. We went out for a little walk on Friday and it wasn’t until four hours later that we headed for home. Additionally, I had a few projects drop into my lap that have required my creative attention and life has just gotten in the way of my blogging. I want to take a minute to share some photographs from our walk along the south coast path toward Polkerris and The Gribbin a few days ago so you can see a bit more of my world through my eyes.

After leaving our car in the car park we set off in the direction of Pokerris and the Gribbin, with part of our walk taking us along The Saint’s Way which is clearly marked with signs like the one below.


Marker For The Saint's Way

Marker For The Saint's Way


As you can see above we hiked for most of the time with a heavy sea mist all around us. 





Danger In The Mist


Sea Loving Dog Walking The Wall

Sea Loving Dog Walking The Wall


The Saint's Way Footpath

The Saint's Way Footpath

Not all paths along the way are scenic…some pass right through farms right near the cows and through the muck.


Mind Your Step!

Mind Your Step!





The Newlyweds

The Newlyweds 2009

This last photo below is taken around the same time last year in the same location as the one above.

John & Elizabeth 2008

John & Elizabeth 2008

I’m Official… Limited Leave To Remain Approved!


Sample of Identity Card for UK

Sample of Identity Card for UK

The sample above is an example of what my coveted identity card will look like…well with a few changes like my face and details instead of Susanna Sample’s student info.

This little card is good for two years and confers more than a few benefits on the person to whom it belongs, chief of which for me is the right to stay in England with John. Additionally, with my new status I can now work in the UK. For someone like myself who tends to be a bit of a workaholic, getting this card yesterday was reason for a celebration on multiple levels.

John and I traveled about five hours north to Birmingham on Tuesday in order to meet with the UK Boarder Agency office staff on Wednesday for a 10:00 am appointment. Once there, we were interviewed and had our documents reviewed quite carefully and after a I submitted to another biometric scan of my face and fingerprints, we waited about a hour or so to receive the official word that I had been approved.  Total time spent with the appointment about 3.25 hours. Everyone was very polite and helpful, but as I told John while waiting, the spartan office environment reminded me of the calls I used to make on physicians who worked in public health clinics in America.  

It could have been the plain utilitarian furnishings in the various waiting rooms or the crying babies and small children running around, but I think it was something about the white tile floors that made me feel most like I was in a free clinic waiting to see a doctor.  The biggest difference was the on site security screening with guards and the way the chairs were chained together. Additionally, the staff was tucked safely behind the kind of protective glass one usually sees in an open all night convenience store in America and every where you looked were signs saying that you could not abuse the staff. It made me wonder if the chairs were chained so they couldn’t be thrown in a fit of anger. It’s probably more likely they just want them to stay where they’re placed instead of having large groups come in and rearrange the chairs for convenience. More signage that was very prevalent was that which spoke of  their commitment to a respectful exchange and their desire to provide good service. I’d say they accomplished all of that and not just with the two of us, but with all of the interactions I observed with others as well.

Everyone’s A Wedding Photographer


My handsome husband was a bit put off by the idea of hiring a wedding photographer for our ceremony two weeks ago.  It seems the idea of having a professional wedding photographer to capture the best moments of our day made him uneasy. I think he thought having someone with pro equipment snapping and flashing in his direction might make him more the center of attention than the title of bridegroom already conferred. Now for anyone who’s been to my old site at http://www.giftsofthejourney.com you may have noticed that I’ve photographed a few weddings myself. It’s one of the ways I earned my living in America and something I’ll be doing here as soon as I am approved for work by immigration.

Let me show you what happens when you tell a woman who photographs other people’s weddings that we’ll skip that part of the wedding planning and just let our guests snap a few of us instead. Actually, I think I did pretty good job of letting go of my camera for the day….well almost.

Bride Grabs Camera On Wedding Day

Bride Grabs Camera On Wedding Day

I’ve been very fortunate to marry into a family of women who know how capture a good moment and with this many shutters snapping, you’ve got a good chance of getting something that works.  John’s idea though…the one where no pro photographer equals no posing for a bunch of photographs… well, toss that idea right out the window.  

Winchurch Women Turn Paparazzi (Photo by T.R. Cross)

Winchurch Women Turn Paparazzi (Photo by T.R. Cross)

Almost everyone came with a camera of some kind. John’s younger daughter was gracious enough to take control of some of my gear and she used my Nikon D200 like a pro.

Handling It

Handling It

Here’s some of her work.

dsc_0289    dsc_0261



John Winchurch & Elizabeth Harper 2-2-09

I have to thank Tina (T.R. Cross)  for her work as well.  She did a great job with my Canon Powershot G9 and a couple of other cameras that she happened to be handed from time to time.




Here are a few more photographers pressed into action for the day including John’s firstborn who appears to be taking tips from Tina, but is quite handy on her own with a camera. The rest and there were more… seemed to have escaped being photographed with a camera in their hand.

Our Youngest Photographer

Our Youngest Photographer (Age 4)




Some mixed images from that day.





This is John’s grandmother’s knife that he saved from his dad’s tool chest years ago where he’d been using it to open paint cans. John rescued it and cleaned it up and has been using it on a daily basis ever since. It seemed appropriate to me to use a knife with so many years of history to slice in our wedding cake and add a bit more memories to the old blade.



















Last one…signing the registry book of weddings.


Will You Stay With Me, Will You Be My Love

Will You Stay With Me, Will You Be My Love....

Will You Stay With Me, Will You Be My Love

Today is the anniversary of the day I first stepped off a plane in England and into John’s arms. We’d spent the previous six weeks first emailing and later talking on Skype so we’d seen each other online for quite some time, but had never touched. Very quickly, I developed a huge crush on the darling Englishman who is now my husband. That we met for the first time in person on Valentine’s Day was more because it suited my work and travel arrangements than by romantic design. Because I had so many frequent flyer miles and a keen interest in seeing John in his own space, I suggested the idea that I come to him. I came with an open mind and a tender heart, but no expectations beyond the idea of getting to know him as only one can when actually in the same physical space.

As I write this, I have just been reminded by John that one year ago today, exactly 30 minutes from now, my plane touched down in a tiny airport in Newquay.  It is a vivid memory for us both and it’s funny now to look back and remember the thoughts and feelings I was having as I walked down the steps of the commuter flight across the tarmac and into his warm embrace that morning.

Any of you who’ve been reading my old blog ( http://www.giftsofthejourney.com ) for long are aware of how this first meeting progressed from friendship and mutual attraction to the sweet ceremony we went through not quite two weeks ago. It seems appropriate to share our buttercup story and why these tiny yellow flowers have such meaning for me now.

When I arrived on that chilly day February 14, John asked me if I felt up to a little walk along the ocean on the coast path at a place called Bedruthen Steps. It was on the way back to the tiny village where he made his home and he was exited to show me a bit of the Cornish coast that he’d been telling me about for weeks. Despite having been too excited to sleep on the plane, I was definitely interested in seeing any of the places I had heard him refer to during the hours of talks we’d had using Skype.

We gradually worked our way back to the village and after putting on wellies we took a walk though a beautiful wood that opened into what I now refer to as the buttercup field. Of course, in February there were no buttercups, but I was intrigued as John described how by May the field would be covered in gold as the buttercups competed  with the constant green of the grassy space. As he told me this I thought how lovely that would be, but it was only after having spent the better part of two weeks with him that I knew with absolute certainty that I needed to come back to this field and stand in the middle of the buttercups that he said would come with the month of May.

Jumping ahead here and skipping over the activities that happened in order to bring me back, I arrived  back in England on May 13th. As I got closer to my travel date, I kept asking John, “ Have the buttercups bloomed yet? “ I was so worried that I would miss them.

Below are some of the images from the day I arrived in May last year. Few things in life are just as we imagine they will be, but this day was special and it was better than I could have imagined.  When I first saw the field of gold, I could almost hear Eva Cassidy’s voice singing in my head providing a romantic soundtrack to accompany the images that filled my eyes.  The song I heard was Fields Of Gold and I now think of this as our song. Take a minute and listen to it here.


I love the part of the song where she sings, ” Will you stay with me, will you be my love…”  These words were embroidered on a special linen tablecloth by my new friend Tina to use on our table for our wedding reception. The flowers you see are the two buttercups I picked that day in May. I tucked them in a pocket on the side of my pants and played in the buttercup field with them where they stayed until we returned  home. I forgot they were there and when I noticed them again, I took them out and pressed them in a book. They dried twined together having fallen into the position that you see in the picture. I took a photograph of them and Tina created a sketch from it and the tablecloth design is a now a lasting memory of the day I came back to John and saw the buttercups for the first time.

I’m off now to climb Bedruthen Steps with John as we go back to the place we walked one year ago today. Today we’ll celebrate old memories and look forward to making new ones…and soon we’ll be walking in fields of gold again.

Fields of Gold - Buttercups

Fields of Gold - Buttercups



The Two Buttercups

The Two Buttercups

Here’s a last photo for today from where retraced our path along Bedruthen Steps.

John & Elizabeth, The Return

John & Elizabeth, The Return

Gifts Of The Journey Moves To A New Home

Welcome to my new blog home.

I’m still doing a bit of decorating so please bear with me as I work out the kinks.

What do you think of what I’ve done with the dining room so far?

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

The Royal Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

Or how about this living room (Grand Salon)….I wonder how much help it takes to keep this clean.

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

Look at this….someone has left a bunch of old clothes in the parlor…hmmm,  nothing here that would fit me.

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

The Apartments of Napoleon III - Louvre Museum

I guess you’ve got a pretty good idea by now of where we spent our honeymoon…need another hint?

Paris from the Towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral

Paris from the Towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral

I’ll be back in a bit with some stories to share…once I figure out how to make the color in my photographs appear less muddy.  I miss iWeb…