Air Ambulance To The Rescue

Air Ambulance To The Rescue

The Air Ambulance above is ER bound or as they say here, A & E for accident and emergency. While I was working at my computer yesterday, I heard this terribly loud noise. It was not a sound I’d heard here before even though I spent the better part of last year in this village with John. It took me a second to realize that the sound I was hearing was not a plane landing on the house, but rather a helicopter flying in tight and low looking for a place to land. Just about the time I realized what it was, it shot over the house past a window and I was up off the couch as John came inside saying, ” Elizabeth, that’s an air ambulance …”  Grabbing my shoes, I was reaching for a light coat when John said, ” Do you want your camera?”  Want my camera…most of you know I don’t leave home without it and I was scooping it up practically as he spoke. It circled twice and headed in the direction of the village green, but there are so many trees on the green, I knew it wouldn’t be putting down there. I ran out the door with John following at a more leisurely pace and ran down just past the pub to find two women directing the odd car or so away from the lane (small road bordered by tall hedges) because there had been an accident.

It seems a group of about ten walkers had been been having a Sunday hike and were passed by three people on horseback. I often encounter riders when I’m running or out for a walk with John. The horses usually seem as used to people and cars as we are to them, but yesterday…one carrying a teenage girl of about sixteen spooked and dumped her. In trying to find it’s footing, her horse trampled over her according to the two women at the top of the lane who were directing cars. They were part of the group of ten who were there during the fall. 

In this country, when something occurs that we might call an ambulance for, or if you’re sure you should go to the A & E , if you call the emergency number (999) you may see any one of three main types of vehicles and medical people show up.

All three were present yesterday. These next two photographs were taken after the crisis. A Rapid Response Vehicle may get there first before the ambulance arrives, “Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) RRVs are normally staffed with a single Paramedic or Technician who can get to the scene of an emergency quickly and provide patient assessment and advanced life support techniques. If possible the RRV may transport a patient with minor injuries or it may have to wait for back up from an accident and emergency ambulance or urgent transfer vehicle. Alternatively the crew may refer the patient to another health agency.”

Rapid Response Vehicle

Rapid Response Vehicle

Or you might see this a larger vehicle show up with more equipment and medical personal such as an Accident and Emergency Vehicle, ” accident and emergency ambulances are normally staffed with a Paramedic and a Technician crew. The ambulances are fully equipped to deal with most circumstances and can transport a patient either sitting or lying down on a stretcher.”

Accident and Emergency Ambulance

Accident and Emergency Ambulance

Finally, you see the Air Ambulance which I followed on foot. For those of you in America, you probably think like I do that air ambulances are reserved for the most critical situations…well, you’d be surprised how often they’re used here and for the types of accidents or emergencies that most of us wouldn’t think of as requiring a flight out to the nearest trauma center. If you’re interested in knowing more you can check out this site for more information. The quotes I used above were taken from it and I was intrigued to see that they have medical people responding on motorcycles and mountain bikes as well.

Last thing…something I don’t think you’d get in America anymore due to privacy laws..the ambulance attendant gave us an brief update on the way out of the village by saying they thought the girl would be okay. The attendant said she might have a fracture, but it was more for precaution that they were taking her by air.


Picking Up The Patient

Picking Up The Patient

 Look low to the ground…it’s sitting in a field near the injured girl.


Up Up And Away!

I have to share what I was thinking as I ran down the road following the path of the helicopter. As I paused to snap a photo in mid run…I thought , “Elizabeth you’ve turned into an ambulance chaser.”

Good News Update:

I received an update on the injured girl after a trip to our village shop today. The postmistress who was present yesterday for all of the watching and waiting told me today that she had been told the teenager was going to be fine. She had two stitches to her face and was released.


Bird Song – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

It begins before dawn with a lighter pattern of  tweets and sounds I have no name for and by the time I push back the duvet and slip from the bed, it sounds as if a chorus has joined the few who began the morning wake up.  There are a variety of reasons birds may sing in the morning. I found an interesting bit of information explaining why the music is so loud in the early morning hours on a BBC site here.  

Spring it seems may have a good deal to do with the frequency and volume of  the bird sounds that wake me each morning like a natural alarm clock.  Bird songs are important in the breeding cycle which is why if you’re a light sleeper like I am, you can count on waking to a chorus of  males each trying to out sing each other as mating season begins. It puts me in mind of a bird form of American Idol or Simon Cowell’s original version, The X Factor. 

According the the BBC link above, some of these birds even imitate the  songs and sounds  of other birds just to add to their repertoire. It’s kind of like Danny Gokey choosing to sing some of Daughtry’s tunes rather than his own…it may show a bit more versatility, but does nothing to attract the female (bird) fans who are looking for a fit healthy male of their own species.  So if you’re moving to the tunes of nature early in the morning like I am, you can put away your alarm clock for a while because the music of the morning will last from January through July as the votes are counted and the winners fly off to begin another round in the cycle of life.


Did I Hear Someone Say...Birds?


Baby Steps


John Walking With Mom

John Walking With Mom

Sometimes all we need is a little support when we’re learning how to do things we’ve never done before. In the picture above, John is wearing something they call a walking harness and reins here in England. It’s designed to increase stability and confidence when young ones are learning to walk. Parents can hold onto the reins giving the illusion of total independence, while keeping the child a bit safer and somewhat close at hand.  You still see them in use here as I saw recently when we were out one day. 


There are times lately when I feel like I could use a guiding hand at the end of a set of reins. The work I’m doing these days is multi-layered and requires a good bit of  juggling.  I’m teaching myself how to do things I’ve never done before and it’s just plain hard at times. I see other people doing the very things I want to do with such ease and I forget that it often looks easy because they’ve been doing it a while. I try to remind myself of this when I feel frustrated that I haven’t moved as quickly in the creative directions I have mapped out in my mind and on paper.  On days when my frustrations threaten a total boycott of creative focus, I find myself saying, ” Baby steps, Elizabeth…walk first.” Being a runner in real life, my daily internal dialogue can mirror what goes on in my head during a race and suddenly the creative process gets bogged with chatter that sounds a bit like , “where’s the finish line, how much time do I have left to get there, who’s in front, and can I push through this pain…”  

I’ve rewritten a last paragraph five different ways and still don’t like the look it so..I’m going to finish with these last words and get back to work… remembering as I go, that baby steps are just first steps and they’ll get bigger as I grow.

Primroses & Powershots

I thought I’d show you a little of what goes on behind the scenes here at Gifts Of The Journey and I need to say now…it isn’t always pretty. I’m almost never without a camera of some kind. It could be my iPhone or my Nikon D200, but more often than not it’s my Canon Powershot G9. Last week, I was running through the churchyard on my way to what I refer to as the buttercup field, when I was overwhelmed by a carpet of flowers that seemed to have popped out almost overnight. There were primroses everywhere I looked blanketing the ground like a patchwork quilt. I had my iPhone with me, but I wanted to get a higher quality picture so I went on with my run, but cut it a bit short to get back to the house to pick up my Canon. It was a perfect weather day, but given how it can be sunny one minute and dark and rainy the next, I didn’t want to take any chances and I barely paused as I told John what I was up to while running in and out for the camera. He said he would walk down and join me in a few minutes and showed up a little later with his own camera.  Here’s a bit of what he captured of me that day along with the bottom three which are my images. 



I didn’t realize until later that I had been so excited about getting the photographs that I wanted that I’d forgotten to take out my earphones even though I wasn’t listening to music. See below…


Remember what I said about it’s not always pretty….well here goes..


Would you like to see what I was trying to get a decent shot of back in the shadows?


I think it’s one of the oldest gravestones in the churchyard, but I don’t have info on it yet.  


These are two more of my photos from that morning…



This churchyard is one of my favorites in Cornwall and much to my surprise, there  are a few Harpers buried there. No relation I’m sure, but interesting to see my name among the gravestones.

A Few Things About Me

I was tagged by the talented Melissa who can be found here. According the the rules, I’m supposed to fill out this little Q & A and tag eight people to do the same. I decided to shift it a bit and added a few photographs to help you see what I’m talking about…show and tell…one of my very favorite things in school.

Additionally, for those who would like to give this a whirl, you get to delete a question and add one of your own. My question is the first one below. I’m tagging these eight people and if you’re checking me out, scoot on over to a few of these folks when you get a chance and have a look around their space. I know they’ll make you feel welcome. Thanks again Melissa.  Now for my eight in no special order (they’re all special)… Kim, Hay, Leslye, Carolyn, Kerstin Darcy, Maz, Alycia, Leaca, Bim, and  Jules.

The question I added is the first one.

Who was your childhood hero or person you most admired and why? My aunt, Wylly Folk St. John. She was a published author of many children’s books and twice nominated and runner up for the Edgar Allen Poe Mystery Writer’s of America award. She made me a character in one of her books (I bet you can’t guess which one) and gave me some of the best presents I’ve ever received. Her gifts were always lumpy strangely wrapped bundles of books and handmade treasures, like a pin cushion tomato that she embroidered my name on the side. I still have it almost forty years later. She brought a sense of belonging into my life with every letter and I think about her almost everyday.

What is your current obsession? Taming the wild ponies of Bodmin Moor with sugar cubes.

What are you wearing? My UK uniform …  sweater, backpack, jeans, good walking shoes and a camera.


Do you nap a lot? No, but when I do, I power nap. 12 minutes and I feel as refreshed as if I’d had a full five hour night.


Who was the last person you hugged? My darling husband, John


If you were a tree, what tree would you be? A little one like below reaching towards the light


What’s for dinner? This is more like what John had for dinner last night at the pub. I had a burger and chips (fries)


What was the last thing you bought? Today …I bought five packs of my new favorite Chocolate Mint Gum (Sugar Free)

What are you listening to right now? Carry You Home – Listen Here

What is your favorite weather? Blue Sky


Say something to the person who tagged you: Hello Melissa…this is the very first time I’ve done one of these Q & A things and it was a lot of fun…thanks for sending it my way.

If you could have a house, fully furnished and paid for, anywhere in the world, where would it be? Scotland, Isle of Skye


Favorite vacation spot? The western highlands of Scotland


What would you like to have in your hands right now? My former dog Bones now renamed Beau who lives with a sweet woman who dotes on him and lets him sleep in her bed. (He didn’t get to do this with me)  I see him every time I go back to Georgia.

What would you like to get rid of? My house in Atlanta Georgia

What is your favorite tea flavor? No tea… I don’t like it!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would it be? In Cornwall, walking the coast path with my daughter and her dog.


What is your favorite snack?


Dog or cat? I love them both, but…. I miss this dear little dog.


What’s Behind Door Number One, Two, Three…

What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.

– Julia Cameron


Sometimes, it’s difficult to choose which direction is right. It’s fine to say follow your dreams and the money will follow, but for most of us who have in the past or who may be currently struggling with how to pay for basics such food and shelter…dream seeking may seem like a luxury right now.


Others, may find themselves financially able to seek, but they find they’re not sure where to look.


Some of us may find ourselves standing in front of doors we never thought would be before us.


These days are perfect in some ways for leaping off into directions we might have been afraid to venture until recently. With the economic downturn, some people have no choice. We are reminded every day now that nothing is secure. Many people I know have been laid off from companies that they gave almost all of their time and energy to…often missing important times with family and friends or working themselves sick. They traded moments they can never get back. I’ve done that myself and no award or salary increase can alter the regret I feel for the times I missed. I have to say it wasn’t ego that drove me, but fear. Like most people, I worried about keeping my job so I could pay my bills and take care of my daughter. I wish I’d worked as hard achieving my own goals as I did for the different companies who bought my time, but wanted my whole life.




dsc_0295In early 1982, I was scheduled to complete my military tour of duty and begin to work on a University degree. It was a terrible time to be leaving the security of a military paycheck during peace time. After getting out, I was so worried about finding a job that I almost reenlisted. The economy was much like it is today in terms of unemployment with 7.4 % of the nation out of work in November of 1982. Still I managed, I rented a room in the home of a local teacher for $25 a week. I had kitchen privileges and I shared a bathroom down the hall with two other people in the house. It wasn’t a perfect situation, but one I could afford.

Enrolling at S.U.N.Y. Oswego in upstate New York, I declared a major and managed to get a job on campus in the Sweet Shop, one of several jobs I would have during my time there. I eventually shifted south to the University of Georgia where I changed my major and graduated with a Theatre degree in 1987. By the time I graduated in June, I was married and six months pregnant with my only child.

Now, 27 years after I left the army, my daughter has entered the workforce in a similar economic situation. Actually, I think it’s much worse. As stressful as these times are for her, I wish it were possible for her to see something that took me years to really believe…that real happiness and security will not be found in the job that pays the most money or wields the most power, but in finding and doing the work she was meant to do. That’s a lot to ask of a 21 year old. I’ve not alway lived fearlessly in the ways I wish she could and I’m 27 years older. There are so many doors out there…so many choices. I wish she would take a little time to see what’s behind as many as possible so she can build a life with few regrets when looking back in 27 years.


The Long Walk From Mevagissey To Gorran Haven & Back


Yesterday John and I took a long walk along the south coast path of Cornwall. We began in the village of Mevagissey and picked up the path just past the harbor where colorful boats rocked gently and seagulls battled loudly for bits of dead fish floating near the boats in the low tide water that edged the harbor.


With a fish that big you’d think they could share it, but most of time, the strongest one wants to take it all. Take a look in the two gulls over at the right in the picture above…don’t they look like they’re planning something.


Meanwhile,  I think there may be more fish in the ( gulp) sea…



Leaving the seagulls to battle over brunch, we climbed up out of the village and onto the path going towards Gorran Haven. The day could not have been more perfect, blue sky, a light wind, and everything blooming and greening up for spring. People in the village had paintbrushes out touching up for the season of tourists that come for summer holidays and school breaks. The coast path though was mostly empty with only a few people passing us fro the opposite direction. 



This green space with sheep was what we could see when we looked to the right and below is what we saw on our left….        img_73035     


It’s a remarkable contrast…it reminds me of both Scotland and the California coast.



You have to mind where you go as sometimes the path takes you right along the edge. 


These forget-me-not flowers almost don’t look real. John said they were a bit early for this time of year and then he reminded me of how when I came to Cornwall to see him the first time, I brought him a packet of forget-me-not seeds. He planted them after I left  and they didn’t do well here in Cornwall. He has the nicest green thumb, but only one tiny flower survived. Of course, one can be enough…if it’s the right one.


Directions & Choice


Good Morning!

I’m like a snail most days… at least that’s what it feels like to me.



I tend to check things out very throughly before moving in new directions… generally looking at things from all angles before proceeding.


Although I don’t have a huge fear of failing when beginning a new project, I do tend to give things a good going over before taking a leap in a new direction.


Occasionally, I worry that I’m moving so slowly that I’ll lose my momentum or that others will pass me by.



Sometimes, even when the idea is there, there are just too many choices…and since I’m not really an either or kind of person…


I generally will try more than one…….at the same time. 


Unfortunately, there are times that even when I decide to choose one over the other, I’m still not as focused as I’d like. At least with this decision, I won’t go hungry. I’ll be back a little later with something more substantial….after breakfast…maybe?



Compliments Of The Chef

Today’s post is a bit like a party platter appetizer that you might order at your favorite restaurant. Picture a large platter laid out with all the yummy things you selected when you placed your order. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about this sampler of snacks for a few days because you’ve been to this restaurant before and you know the chef always tries to whip up new and unusual things to delight the palate. At this little eatery, the chef likes to send out new bite size bits of goodness that she’s been working on in the kitchen where she stays busy thinking about all the creations she’d like to whip up to tempt the regular visitors who keep coming back for a bit of sustenance. So for today, in addition to those of you who placed an order, you may get a little something extra, compliments of the chef.

Compliments must be paid to those who placed their order a few days ago and provided the chef with the key ingredients needed to complete today’s meal. If you read my previous post, the chef had too many good things lying around the kitchen and was overwhelmed to the point of inertia with all the combinations that were possible. Carolyn was kind enough to offer some direction as well as much appreciated words of support. Jean echoed some of Carolyn’s kind comments and offered some additional direction and Riley in typical Riley fashion, was brief and to the point. Just this morning… Kim, a later arrival added a bit to the mix of suggestions and helped as well in guiding the direction of the story. I so appreciate all of their thoughts and hope todays post will be pleasing in both flavor and presentation.

Bon Appetit!


The Ring

The Ring

The Ring

Towards our last day in Paris, John and I were walking near the Seine enjoying the last of our honeymoon while trying to get to the Orsay which is housed in a former railway station and one of my very favorite museums in the world. It’s small enough to enjoy without feeling lost or overwhelmed, but large enough to contain a variety of artists that I always like to revisit. Having talked about my desire to share the Orsay with John for the whole of our Paris experience, I was beginning to be concerned that we would run out of time so I was really excited when after a hearty breakfast and several cups of strong black coffee, we began to make or way in the direction of the Orsay. I’m sure we had a bit of a tourist look about us, pausing to photograph more than a local might on a bright morning during the work week. Having traveled a great deal, I think we would both say we are pretty street smart. It was not our “smarts” though that saved us that morning, but rather a sense of doing the right thing. We were targeted for a common scam in Paris when we were approached by a plumpish woman with a gold ring in her hand. She claimed she had found it on the ground and said we should take it for luck. We said no thank you that it wasn’t ours and walked away thinking that what looked like a large gold wedding band for a man was a good find for her and sad loss for someone else. Walking on we hadn’t gone far when we were approached while taking pictures on the bridge pictured below by a second woman with another gold ring. She was a younger version of the other woman dressed as the previous one in a large orange sweatshirt. We had a good laugh as we shook our head and walked away not even bothering to pause for her story of the found ring.
The picture of the man on the bridge was taken from a good distance away. Even though I travel with a small camera, my Canon Powershot G9 is pretty good at picking up the details with the telephoto feature. When returned home to Cornwall, I found pages of sites on the internet that refer to the Paris gold ring scam including a site here that actually shows the very bridge and the back of a woman in orange that looks like one of the women who approached us. I forgot to mention that the gold ring is actually brass despite the gold stamp inside and in return for accepting this valuable “found” item the person offering it to you will expect a bit of money in return which I read seemed on average to be about 10 euros. It was funny to see just how long this has been going on and makes you wonder how many people were surprised to find they’d brought home a souvenir brass ring from their Paris vacation.


Woman With The Ring

Woman With The Ring



The Door Knob

The Door Knob

The Door Knob

Paris is a place where if you walk a lot and need to find a bathroom or as some here England might say a loo, then chances are you may find you’ll have to pay to use the facility. On the day that John and I made our way to the Louvre, I stopped at a place tucked off to the left in the picture below that had a bathroom worth paying for.



After handing over the equivalent of about 50 cents, I walked down several steps to a long hallway and into a space that seemed as if it had been a bridge underpass at one time before being converted into a tidy restroom with 8 to 10 floor to ceiling enclosures that were tight little boxes of privacy each containing a clean toilet. Always one to appreciate privacy in such situations, I chose a door almost as far as I could get from the front entrance. The place was empty at the time I was there except for one person I heard in a stall a few feet away. When I closed the door to the one I selected, I noticed that the twist knob was a bit hard to turn, but never one to give up easily, I assumed it was just a bit tight and gave it an extra hard twist and it locked without any further issue.  Afterwards, when I twisted the knob to leave, I had a little surprise. My doorknob appeared to be stuck. I tried a variety of ways to get it to turn, but it would not budge. With the male attendant way down a hall and outside the door of the Ladies room, I was forced to bang on the door and shout in order to draw enough attention to bring the attendant down to free me. Let’s just say it took longer than should have for a woman making as much noise as I was. By the time he arrived, I was totally alone in the bathroom. Poor John had been standing outside freezing, wondering what was taking so long and oddly enough afterwards didn’t seem to think it that strange that I’d been trapped in the loo. The day after this we went back by again and I stopped for a quick toilet break and discovered on my return that I had unknowing chosen a lock the day before that was broken. You can see by the two photographs, what the lock should look like versus the broken lock that I thought was just a futuristic shape. 


A Working Lock

A Working Lock


The man who freed me from the locked loo never said a word…he didn’t even make eye contact and when I went back the next day he wasn’t there nor was there even a sign on the door saying broken lock…don’t use.  



The Cat

The Cat


The Cat

I tend to spend a good deal of time walking around in cemeteries especially when I travel. It’s not for everybody, but I love to take my camera and spend hours watching and photographing the light changes that shift across the stone tributes to the dead. A vacation almost always includes a visit to a local cemetery and I’ve been fortunate to be able visit a variety of locations and capture some of the unique styles of cemetery art that exist around the world. Sometimes these visits offer something new or an unexpected experience that adds to the events of the day. One of the most unusual was when I had to resort to bribery with a gatekeeper in Peru to get a good look at a locked cemetery where I photographed some of my favorite gravestone images like the one below.


During my visit to Pere Lachaise where I had gone to leave my wedding bouquet with Abelard and Heloise, I came across something I’d never seen among the gravestones before. The yellow tabby cat you see in the pictures below appeared to be living there. When I first approached her with my camera she was rolling around on top of a crypt and as I got closer she popped up and came toward me with such speed she startled me a bit. I later witnessed her enjoying a snack three graves over from Jim Morrison’s tiny and disappointingly ordinary grave and I decided she had rushed to meet me because she expected food.


In fact when I reach out empty handed to touch her, she quickly bit my hand, but got only a mouthful of leather glove. From the looks of the space around Morrison’s grave it appears he still has a steadfast groupie albeit a slightly fuzzier one than he was used to in life. His human fans still visit as well and leave behind mementos…it seems that these are the people who feed the cat.  So if you’re making the trek to Pere Lachaise, stop by Morrison’s grave and look for the orange tabby cat which surprisingly resembles the most well known American tabby, Morris the cat. Funny isn’t it ..the similarity between the names Morris and Morrison…hmmmm.

Jim Morrison's Grave

Jim Morrison's Grave




Morris The Cat?






John and I were walking along the Seine on day two of our honeymoon when we began to hear the sounds of police and other emergency vehicles getting closer and closer. As we walked on we saw police along the river who were actually stopping some cars and motorbikes that appeared headed in the direction of the sirens. Suddenly we were close enough to see a couple of what seemed to be bundles in the water being carried by the current and a large commercial barge loaded with tourists who all appeared to be photographing some event a bit out of our viewing range.


Walking on we quickly came upon what was clearly a water rescue as you can see by a few of the photo’s I snapped. I held my breath as I watched medical personal work on what seemed to be a drowning victim. After a few minutes, they backed away from the prone man and began to strip his wet clothes off right where he lay on the stone walk by the river’s edge. They wrapped him in a shiny blanket designed to maximize body heat and after watching for a few more minutes we walked on assured that the man was alive and breathing. I tried to find more of the rescue online when we returned home, but was unable to discover if the man survived.



A Favorite Place


A Favorite Moment

A Favorite Moment