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







Shining A Light On The Impact Of Indecision


Choices…sometimes there are just too many and I am unable to decide what to do next. So I sit, stuck in indecision. The impact of this affects a variety of other areas of my life chief of which is a low level restlessness that causes me to feel as if I’m not getting enough done. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t been productive in other areas, but the simple task of creating a post to share has caused me to do a bit of procrastinating where my blog is concerned. I could use a little help from my readers. So much happened on our honeymoon trip to Paris and I took so many pictures that every time I scroll through my images, I just can’t decide which to use and what stories to share with you. Here’s where you all come in…I’m going to post a few pictures and I’d like for you to leave a comment as to which ones intrigue you and leave you wanting to know more.

Please leave your response in the comment section by Sunday noon…that’s noon wherever you are and I’ll write about the picture or pictures that create the most interest.  Thanks for your help and I look forward to seeing your comments.

If there’s a comment for each one then I’ll respond to each in return so don’t feel you have to choose one based on what others have chosen.

(1) E with Painting


(2) Artists


(3) Cat


(4) Monk


(5) Window View


(6) Painter


(7) Doorknob


(8) Backside


(9) Woman


(10) The Watchers


(11) Dark Light


(12) The Ring


(13) Help


(14) Help X 2


(15)  Chagall ceiling



That’s all for now and thanks for your thoughts.


Paris…Then And Now

” When good Americans die they go to Paris ”

– Oscar Wilde


I’ve been working on a few new things around here, and I’ll be back with something else in a bit, but here’s a little something I managed to capture in Paris.

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.





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…