Tag Archives: England

Spring in a Victorian Cemetery

There is a Victorian cemetery near my flat, and I walk through it most days on my way to the Underground. I love the walk — the peace only broken by the caw of citrus-coloured parakeets (there’s a colony nesting in the trees) and rustle of leaves as squirrels chase each other around the headstones. This squirrel played statue while I took his photo — can you see him?

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Spring literally arrived overnight. The sun came out and spread carpets of snowbells and crocuses over the fresh green grass.

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And, here and there, a flash of yellow, as daffodils unfurled.

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a street away from the bustle of London on a busy weekday morning. Just me and the squirrels and carpets of flowers.

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Trafalgar Square

The sky was a fantastic blue today, so I headed into London to see the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, then had a wander around Trafalgar Square. There is something about the winter light which is so crisp and pure on a sunny day. I didn’t have my Nikon with me, but I couldn’t help but play with the camera on my iphone.

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I liked these nattily dressed young Londoners.

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You’d think you were in Canada, what with all the flags on Canada House.

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Phone boxes.

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The blue chicken! Oh, the blue chicken! Love!

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And, of course, Landseer’s lions.

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Nelson (he’s up there somewhere).

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A broad sweep.

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London Skies

The clouds hung like smoke over the Thames this morning, pressing the sky’s ceiling onto London’s skyscrapers…

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…and landmarks.  Tower Bridge…

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…and the Tower of London.

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An hour later I emerged from my meeting and patches of blue were starting to push through the clouds…

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…painting the glass skyscrapers.

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A Walk by the River

I’ve been making the most of living by the River Lea these past few days — going out for walks or jogs whenever I can, especially as I’ll be moving soon. Tottenham Hale has been a wonderful place to live — quite a hidden gem of London. Sshhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

I’ve been living with the calls of geese, ducks, moorhens and gulls resonating in the background of my life. And I love to see them on my walks…

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…not to mention the lovely mute swans…

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…and the herons.

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When the morning sun pulls me out of bed early, I pull on my jogging shoes and head along the towpath to the local park for a slow jog…

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…admiring the sunlight streaking across the green fields and the quiet of the morning, broken only by the calls of the birds on the river.

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And, in the lee of a garden wall by the towpath I glimpse some white — early daisies.

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January offers its own gifts if you take the time to look for them. Perhaps all the more special because you have to work to uncover them.

Thinking About 2013

This is it. My last blog of the year – 365 blogs, one for every day (not always published on the day, but I did always catch up). Was it worth it? Absolutely. I’ve become more observant from all my walks with Princess Ralphie on Vancouver Island…

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…more creative (I’ve written over fifty flower haiku which I’m now putting into an ebook)…

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… I’ve taken up photography (thank you Tootsie for all the photography books for Christmas!).

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I’ve lived in two countries (Canada…

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… and Britain)…

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…and travelled around Morocco with my dearest Berberman.

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…I have put out my novel to agents, had many rejections and some near misses, and it’s now on the “To Read” pile on a wonderful New York agent’s desk, having jumped the hurdle of her reader. So, that’s good. 🙂

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…I’ve eaten some fabulous meals out and about…

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…and in the company of good friends and relatives (thank you Jamjarjude, Tootsie, Wineguy, Hankenstein, Drumguy, Winehippie, Designergirl, Modman, Brewgirl, Socky, Magman, Cousin K,  Tangogirl, Fieldpoppy, Spicegirl, Prince T, Craftgirl, Marky Mark and Berber Angel…

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…and played (a lot) with my nephew Hankenstein.

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I’ve met some animal friends…

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I went back to my Newfoundland roots…

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… and did some interior design…

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…and started jogging…

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…and dusted off my tango shoes.

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A new year looms ahead, and I’m packing (again) to move into a new place in January, away from the lovely swans…

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…and cheerful canal boats of the River Lea…

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… to a flat in Hammersmith or Brighton…we’ll see how it all pans out. Then, who knows? I’m ready for new places, new adventures, new experiences and making new friends (human and otherwise). I’ll keep writing, and photographing, and tangoing, and I’ll put it all in my blog, maybe not every day but pretty often, even if my dog is in BC with Jamjarjude…

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… and my good shoes have now seen better days.

Keep moving, keep growing, keep curious and be kind.

Happy New Year to all my fantastic blog followers! Thank you for sharing the journey with me.

English Country Pubs

I’ve spent a lot of very pleasant time in old English country pubs over the Christmas period, eating delicious hearty home-cooked food with very good rustic wines. Day lunch was enjoyed at the Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington, East Sussex…

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…where I savoured game terrine followed by roast guinea fowl with lashings of French red wine…

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…in the jolly (indeed!) company of my sister Tootsie, her hubby Wineguy and my nephew Hankenstein. A brisk stroll on top of the Devil’s Dyke in Sussex ended up at the Devil’s Dyke Pub…

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…where we warmed up with steaming hot chocolate.

Off to visit my friends Modman and Brewgirl and her daughter Socky in Kent led (naturally) to a quick pint (for them) and a gingery Whisky Mac for me at the Farrier’s Arms (circa 1606) in Mersham.

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The next evening we’d booked a meal at the Black Horse Inn which is basically in a field in tiny Monks Horton, Kent, and which ended up being truly memorable, with a bar billiards table to boot!

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The roast pheasant with peppercorn sauce was gamey and delicious, but, the Zuppa Inglesi (English Trifle Italian Style) was stupendous. Biscotti soaked in vermouth with a marscapone custard, cherries soaked in Amaretto, cream and pistachios — it was my dessert of the year.

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In Canterbury the next day, after a marvellous visit to Canterbury Cathedral we headed to The Foundry brew pub for delicious steak and ale pies and ale (for them) and red wine for me.

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You don’t need to be a beer lover (or even a drinker) to love English pubs. Or even human.

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http://www.thejollysportsman.com/

http://www.vintageinn.co.uk/thedevilsdykebrighton/

http://www.thefarriersarms.com/

http://www.theblackhorse.uk.com/

http://www.thefoundrycanterbury.co.uk/

Canterbury Cathedral

It was another beautiful blue sky day yesterday so Modman, Brewgirl and I headed into Canterbury for a wander through the medieval town…

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…and a visit to the famous 11th century cathedral of The Canterbury Tales. I’d always meant to visit (I’ve been in England over 20 years!) but never managed to. Here was my chance.

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The newly clean stone shone in the winter sunlight but nothing prepared me for its size. The towers are cleverly designed to make them look even taller when you’re standing directly in front of the façade.

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Inside, the cathedral seemed even more immense, the Gothic arches soaring to points overhead and fanning out like the branches of sky-scraping trees.

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We walked around the nave until we found ourselves under the main tower. Then we looked up…to heaven.

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Then through another archway, and the “newer” addition. more Romanesque than Gothic.

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The most touching thing is the candle lit to honour the memory of St Thomas a Becket http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Becket, the 12th century priest murdered on 29th December 1170 in the cathedral by knights of Henry II. I stood on the spot exactly 843 years later to the day.

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Every now and then my eye was caught by the swish of clerical skirts…

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…or a glimpse through a half-open door of life behind the scenes.

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The bright sun of the winter day filtered through the stained glass windows…

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…lighting corners and illuminating details.

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The sun wasn’t the only thing to sneak in.

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If you find yourself on English soil, do make a visit to Canterbury Cathedral. It is awe-inspiring.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Cathedral