Thursday, September 12, 2013



We have been in England for a week now, and our jet lag has finally abated. Today, we went adventuring in our rental car, a VW Polo. We started the day with a visit to the village of Corfe, where we had tea in the National Trust tea shop’s garden, just so that we could gaze again at the ruined castle and wonder at the fact that the Roundheads, having taken the castle, chose to destroy it. If we had conquered that castle, we would simply have moved in. Silly Oliver Cromwell. After tea, we headed for Lulworth Cove, which involved driving through a military shooting range. We stopped in a car park to admire the scenery, and we could hear machine gun fire in the distance. Moving right along……

It’s been sixteen years since I was last at Lulworth Cove. That was on my first visit to England. On that occasion, we took the high path out of the village, along the very top of the cliff. At one point, I said “I don’t want to leave here.” Robin tried to reassure me. He said we would come back the following year. “No,” I said. “I don’t mean that I want to stay in England. I don’t even want to go back to your brother’s house. I want to stay right here.”


That was more than a little impractical. We were sitting on a grassy ledge, looking out over the ocean, listening to the sound of sheep baaing in the distance, feeling the wind in our hair. The view was fantastic, but the site was altogether lacking in amenities, so we left, sighing.
I’ve come back to England many times now, and I’ve now got my favourite haunts – no trip is complete without attending Evensong at Winchester Cathedral, for instance – but somehow, we haven’t come back to Lulworth Cove until now. This time, we took the low road, and even that was a challenge. We have, it appears, grown older.
We strolled downhill through the village, taking our place in a line of what could have been – and perhaps were – pilgrims, all of us bound for the shore. Stepping onto the sand, we looked around the cove and decided that it was a little too populated for our taste. So we backtracked a little way and turned up the lowest path along the cliff. I’m so glad we did. Even from that elevation, the view was spectacular. I saw again the bare cliffs that fascinated me years ago, their rock layers bent and twisted, the sea rushing through arches worn through the rock.
On our way back to the car, we stopped at a shop selling Cornish ice cream. Robin ordered a single scoop vanilla ice cream cone. I ordered a single scoop mango sorbet cone. We walked along, eating our treats, and I couldn’t help noticing that Robin’s vanilla ice cream was yellower than my mango sorbet. I don’t know what they feed the cows in Cornwall, but it’s powerful stuff.
We took the long way home, just to avoid the rush hour traffic at Poole and Bournemouth. I’m not sure how many times I would have to ride in a car here, before I could overcome my terror. I’m happiest on the motorway, where we aren’t screaming past parked cars that I could swear are less than six inches from my door. Today, I nearly leapt into the back seat to get to safety. Not that that would have helped, but that’s what my muscles wanted to do.
Never mind. We are home again, safe and sound, and it’s time for me to go for my evening swim in the indoor pool. Now this, I could get used to.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dance me to the end...




I can hardly sit still, I'm so excited. All year, I've looked forward to this night, this journey, this hand on my arm, this man at my side. Sometimes I wish that the Willow Manor Ball came along more often, but in truth, the waiting is part of the fun, and I don't know how I would manage to do this much shopping more than once a year. Not that I haven't enjoyed every wild, extravagant moment of it. I mean, a Cartier bracelet! Can you believe it?  What I love about this bracelet, by the way, is that it's really a watch, so when I'm dressing for the ball, watching for my escort (I'll tell you later who that is, but I've already given you a clue!) I can sneak a look at the watch to see how much time I have left.

My dress isn't complicated, thank goodness. This year I went for a young, romantic look, because I know how much that kind of silhouette complements my slim figure and my long, glossy hair. I chose my dress quite early, because I fell in love with it at first sight, but I wasn't sure what colour I wanted it to be until I found these earrings. Bingo! I thought at first that I would choose the pewter colour in the centre for my dress, and I still love that colour, but after all, this is a party, and a party calls for colour, so I've decided on the blue.

Then I went looking for shoes. That took some serious shopping. Do you have any idea how many fabulous pairs of shoes there are? I finally got it down to two pairs, but I couldn't make up my mind between them, so I bought both. This morning, I took out the two pairs of shoes and had a long talk with myself (and with them, actually, but don't tell anyone!) Suddenly, I was absolutely sure which pair I wanted to wear. Aren't these gorgeous?


And now, the pièce de résistance -- my wonderful, beautiful, stunning, absolutely unforgettable dress.

Just picture it in that luminous blue -- at least for now. Soon, very soon, there will be a knock at the door, and I will open it to greet my date, and we will be on our way to the manor, and all this will be real, not just images on a screen.

I mentioned my hair, didn't I? Well, this is the arrangement I decided on. My hairdresser has done herself proud. I promised to bring her some photographs from the ball. I just hope there will be an official photographer, because I don't know where I'd hide a camera in my gown!

The only really bright colour I'll be wearing is on my fingernails. I've fallen in love with nail art.
Even my mask will be understated. I want to waft through the room like a whisper, or like something you can't quite remember, but can't quite forget. Do you think I've captured that look?

All right. The time has come. He is at the door, looking distinguished, somehow looking mature and yet as youthful as when we first met.

Yes, it's Leonard Cohen. When he called, I confess that I played hard-to-get for a few minutes, but that was just until he promised to sing to me at the ball. Then I smiled and said that of course I would go with him.  He returned my smile, because he knew all along what I wanted.

Now we're off. We have the Lear jet, of course, and the limo at the other end, but it's still a long trip to the Manor, so we had better get going. Oh, look. Champagne. How thoughtful!



You know what I want Leonard to sing, don't you?






*Except for the photo of Leonard Cohen, which is a Google image, and the Willow Manor Ball badge, which is used by permission, all these images come from Pinterest, my department store of choice.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dorchester 
Be it ever so humble....

Yes, we are at home. We decided not to spend the night in Vancouver last night, because we wanted our own pillows; we got home some time after 7:00 p.m. and managed to stay up until 9:00. That was 22.5 hours after we got up, so we figured we had done our best.

I woke up at 1:00 a.m. and watched television for a while; then went back to sleep, only to wake up at 5:00 a.m., absolutely famished. I headed for the kitchen, figuring there might be something edible there, even though we had been gone for a month: and there was Robin, out in the back room, gathering up some tomatoes that he had left to ripen. They had indeed ripened, so both of us carried tomatoes to the kitchen, made sandwiches, ate them, and went back to bed. I finally surfaced at 9:00 a.m., and I've had a great day.  Robin's jet lag is worse than mine, this time. Maybe that's because instead of trying to take a nap this afternoon, I went for a pedicure. I can wholeheartedly recommend the pedicure (with foot and calf massage, of course) as the perfect post-flight experience. It is after 6:00 p.m. and I am just starting to feel sleepy.

I've already been online, looking at cottages to rent next year. We probably won't do another narrowboat trip this coming fall, or stay in a hotel. I did not enjoy being without a kitchen during our hotel stay, and Robin is thinking that if we were to have weather next year like what we had this time, he'd just as soon not be standing outside, steering a boat. I'm excited at the prospect of having a home of our own for the month and taking our usual day trips.

Meanwhile, we will be heading to Texas in January, and before that, there's NaNoWriMo to keep me busy. And work, of course.

Thank you for following my English adventure story. I hope you'll come back to hear about the Turtle's next voyage.