Archive for August, 2013

This is another image taken from my dads home. He would be horrified, if he was still alive and knew that I had posted it online, for the world to see how he lived. As much as it use to shock me into action on a return visit to the UK, I have come to the realization that it was his choice to live as he did. I took around 200 photos the day this one was taken, each image portraying the neglect and deterioration of a home and its contents.

There was a time when I wondered why on earth I had taken them. To start with it fueled my guilt of emigrating so far from this place called home, I was embarrassed that I could let my father live in these conditions. These days however, they seem to touch my more creative side and I can detach the emotions, looking at them with a more artistic eye.  Looking back, I believe I wanted to create something beautiful out of what seemed ugly and confronting. On a subsequent visit to the UK, I discovered that my nephew, who is a professional photographer, took many of the same images, compiling a book as part of a uni assignment. What he did was breathtakingly beautiful and I may atempt to do the same one of these days.

The clock reminds me that we can live a life focused on the past, or choose to make the effort and keep things moving. The worm-eaten timepiece had not been wound for years and as you can see by the holes, was slowly being devoured by Woodworm.  In life it is easy to let small things eat into our lives, causing us to stand still emotionally. Sometimes we need to take hold of situations, treat the negativity, clean up our behaviors and use our gifts and talents for the purpose they were created for.

Orphaned lambs come to mind as I see the stoneware Hot Water Bottle. Many a time on the farm, we had to care for lambs who were rejected by their mother or orphaned through a difficult birth. A large box would sit to the side of the Rayburn (wood burning oven) and this hot water bottle was used to warm up many sad and sickly babies that had spent a lonely, frosty night in the cold. I loved the lambing season and a recent trip into the country brought a huge grin to my face when a field of lambs were frolicking in the warmth of a sunny day. I might be a city chick these days, but a country girl is still in there somewhere and I very much believe, that when life throws cold and frosty experiences at us, there is nothing better than the warmth of love and friendship to get us through.

The stoneware bottle holds Pheasant feathers and I wonder why these were considered worthy of honor. We grew up on the produce of the land, so they were not rare. It is one of those little mysteries in life that I will never find the answer for and I can live with that. We all have our treasures in life, sometimes they have a huge monetary price tag and other times they hold little to no physical value. Their unique worth is in holding untold stories and secrets and I know I have a few of those myself.

Dust and cobwebs like the ones pictured don’t appear overnight. They build up over time and often get overlooked. I am reminded that I have a few projects like that. Filed away stories and pieces of poetry that need to be collated, sent somewhere and used. My NaNoWriMo effort is still waiting to be brought out into the open, get dusted down and cleaned up (edited).

My thought for the day is…

We can not buy back lost time, it is a priceless resource and we should use it wisely.


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This weeks photo was taken at an old mill in Avoca, Ireland.

Catching up with family is always important when we travel, but we have taken to combining our trips with exploring new and exciting places we have not been before. On this occasion our decision was to take up the offer to visit a close friends daughter, who now lived in Bally James Duff, Cavern, Ireland.

Our trek from Devon took us North, weaving in and out of minor roads, instead of the motorway, so we could enjoy the smaller towns and the countryside. Northern Wales was breathtaking, our approach to the mountains of Snowdonia not disappointing. Hair-pin bends and views were a plenty, my camera pointing in all directions, only to be faced with better view around the next corner.

Our night in Holyhead had us surveying the bleaker landscape dotted with stone circles and ancient looking sights. Where our ‘Time Team‘ education had us marvelling at our wisdom and academic know-how, on all things ancient.

Early next morning we boarded the ferry and fortunately had a calm trip across the North Sea. The previous days crossing had been cancelled due to the rough seas, so we had a full boat, feeling like sardines, as our car was parked beside trucks and busses. We thoroughly enjoyed our boat trip and looked forward to the return trip.

Avoca was an unexpected destination, as we were headed somewhere else. The lack of accommodation had me navigating the roads, as well as scouring the brochures for a place to stay. The ‘Wooden Bridge Hotel’ caught my eye and we changed directions, finding what is reported to be the oldest hotel in Ireland. An old coaching house, at the intersection of three roads, beautifully whitewashed, with unbelievably thick cob walls and tubs of flowers, all eager to great the visitors.

Once checked in and cleaned up we took off again, Avoca being a short drive and the place where the TV series Bally Kiss Angel was filmed. I had my photo taken outside the pub, wandered the church, then came across the old mill. Once again we had discovered another ‘Oldest in Ireland’, with a plaque declaring that it was built in 1723. We spent a lovely time watching a weaver at work, then explored the gift shop, before heading off to ‘The Waters Meet’ which we’d seen sign-posted.

This place seemed to cast a spell over the two of us as we reflected on the joining of the two rivers. We were close to celebrating our wedding anniversary and many an analogy could be found as we sat on the banks, drawing in the magic and inspiration. We were not the only ones to have been inspired by the scenery here. Thomas Moore who lived in 1779-1852 wrote…..

There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet
Oh the last rays of feeling and life must depart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart

Yet it was not that nature had shed o’er the scene
Her purest of crystal and brightest of green
‘Twas not her soft magic of streamlet or hill
Oh No ’twas something more exquisite still
Oh No ’twas something more exquisite still

‘Twas that friends, the belov’d of my bosom were near
Who made every scene of enchantment more dear
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve
When we see them reflected from looks that we love
When we see them reflected from looks that we love

Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best
Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace

We were sad to leave Ireland and promised to return one of these days. Although I have a hankering to see some of Scotland on our next visit to the UK. I can already hear the Bagpipes, see men wearing Kilts and am ready to trek a glen or two.

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