It can’t really be possible that it’s almost time for her to go … didn’t we just pick her up at the airport the other day? I still have a million things I want to show her and things I want to say. I know I’ll see her in July when I go back to Georgia for a few weeks, but I want to teach her how to make pasties while she’s here and have time for her to teach me how to knit again while sitting side by side in my studio space. I want to see her feeding the wild ponies too many sugar cubes on Bodmin Moor and take her picture on Jubilee Rock and Helland Bridge. I want to have enough time to ride bikes along the Camel Trail and walk with her through the buttercup field and show her how magical the bluebells look lining the hills of Lavethan Wood. I just want more time …
In the first few minutes of the day when my eyes are barely open and I am still shaking off the last bits of sleep, there’s an increasing sense of expectation as I pull myself back to a waking awareness that I can feel around the edges of my consciousness, a sort of shadowy sense memory that today is a special day and I think to myself, what’s happening today … because it feels like Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one and then I remember that someone very special is sleeping in the next room and I smile as I stretch and think about how excited I am to have another day with her.
Another beautiful blue sky day where we get to explore the world or at least our part of it and I have a chance to see her across the table from me sharing a meal and the kind of table talk you miss when you are separated by distance.
Later we’ll have moments lost in uncontrollable giggling as we look over our pictures of the day and laugh at the funny ways the wind can make our hair look when it catches it and whips it high above our heads where it is captured forever in photograph that neither of us will want to share.
She won’t because she thinks that it’s not her at her best and I won’t because the moment of laughter is so special that I will want hold on to it … keeping it private for just the two of us, a memory of the laughing sweet days we shared in Cornwall she when goes back to America .
I think to myself over morning coffee that these are the days, and how I remember hearing a song with the same title for the first time, in a car, at a traffic light, in 1992, when moments with my then four-year old daughter were everything I wanted to hold on to and remember. These are still the days …
Remember when I teased you with a hint of things to come at the end of this post ? Well, the day has finally arrived and as American Airlines used to say in the 80’s and 90’s with their slogan,” Something Special in the Air, ” there’s something special making its way to the UK today.
I have been looking forward to this for weeks and daydreaming about it even longer. I’m trying to stay busy until it’s time to leave for the airport, but I am so excited that I have to keep reminding myself to breathe.
If you have any tips on how you stay calm and grounded in moments like these, please share them with me. In the meantime, I’ll just have to cut back on the coffee and maybe go for a quick run on the moor or even to the next village, but not the airport … soon, I tell myself, but not yet.
Yesterday was a day of exploration for me. Since moving to Cornwall I’ve not had the same need to be in the drivers seat as I previously did in the US. This change in position from driver to passenger and the ease at which I made the transition surprised me having been somewhat controlling when it came to driving in the past.
My previous career in pharmaceutical sales kept me on the road daily for years and I’ve driven back and forth across the US and as far north and south as you can go on several occasions with all manner of short trips in between. I drove for a couple of years on the German autobahn with no set speed limits in my late teens and early twenties while stationed there during my army tour of duty.
Having been to the UK three times before meeting my husband John, I had a rental car each time where I was the designated driver. While much of that driving was limited to the wide open spaces of the western part of Scotland, I did make the trip twice from Isle of Skye to a London airport covering a distance of 650 miles, all while sitting on would normally be the passenger’s side of the car, while driving on what would be considered the wrong side of the road in America.
And did I say, the car has a manual transmission as many do here and because I sit on the right side to drive, I have to shift with my left hand. It’s not as hard as I thought it might be, but you can see why I was content to enjoy the ride with John behind the wheel.
So you have to wonder with all of that driving experience, why make such a big to-do about yesterday’s excursion. My solo road trip was important because it was the first time since moving here that I drove alone and for such a long way. I’ve done a few trips alone of five miles or less and I know that thirty miles isn’t really that far, but this trip had me pointed in an unfamiliar direction as I made my way to a village in Devon to meet up with a new friend.
Armella, is an American who lives in St Louis with her British husband. Over the last few years she has done an amazing renovation on a property that she and her husband inherited from family. After finding me through an Expat Blog site, she sent an email a few months ago and yesterday, I fastened my seatbelt and went for a little ride … alone.
It was actually pretty easy once I got underway. I did make a wrong turn at one point, but followed my intuition until I found my way to the pretty little village where Armella and I met for lunch at the White Hart Inn and Pub. I also had a chance to see the work she’s had done on the property during a tour of the rental house before her new tenant moves in a few days.
I didn’t take any photographs of the rental property as there was scaffolding blocking much of it with work being done to an outside wall, but I do have one or two of Cardinal Kiss Cottage named for a love of the St Louis Cardinals, and the three x’s on the outside wall that offer additional wall support. After one of her renovation folks referred to the x’s as kisses, she decided kiss should be part of the new name.
Armella will be back and forth from the US to the UK for a while as she isn’t quite ready to retire to Devon yet, but after spending only a short while with her I could tell it’s only a matter of time before she’ll be one of my more permanent neighbors.
Cardinal Kiss Cottage (See the Church to the right)
Notice the river that runs past the cottage, you’d never guess that CKC was an abattoir before it became a holiday home for Armella and her husband.
The upstairs window in the bedroom.
The amazing view from the window above.
People are always asking me if I find things very different having moved from the US to live in the UK. I go on about tumble dryers and food differences and of course the ways in which American English differs from British.
What really amazes me though and honestly sometimes catches me by surprise are moments like this one yesterday when I walked into a shop to see this sleeping dog lounging on the sofa. Clearly used to calling the space his own, he barely budged when I took a series of photographs until I moved in a bit closer to give him a little pat on the nose.
All of a sudden I began to smell the worst odor and thought at first that it might be coming from the now awake pooch. I thought surely the noxious smell could not have come from this cutie. There was a very large Irish Setter on a leash sitting a few feet away while the two women it was with were looking at the ceramic lamps on sale and I glanced over at it suspiciously.
I’m not sure why I decided it had to be the big red dog sending out the toxic fumes, but as the two women with him moved away to another part of the shop, I hurried out to meet my husband John who was waiting for me at the start of the path that would take us back to our car. He was walking in front when I heard a noise behind me and turned to see a woman with what looked like the dog I had photographed only a few minutes before as it lay splayed out on the sofa.
We stepped to one side of the narrow path so the woman and dog could pass and I said to John that I thought that had been the dog I had caught napping. A few seconds later an overpoweringly familiar stench hit my nose and I knew that I was looking at the moving backside of the odoriferous culprit whose sleep I had disturbed in the village shop giving a new meaning to the old adage, ” let sleeping dogs lie. “