Featured Slider

Golden Moments #7

Life is frequently annoying. Life is stressful. Life is sometimes just a bit much. So, in my irregular attempt to concentrate on the positive, here is my list of golden moments lately. I must admit, it has been a bit of a struggle to come up with a whole post's worth but they are there if I look hard enough.

My son graduated from high school. He graduated on time despite dealing with some health issues during the past year or so that made this doubtful at times. His health is improving and life might go back to semi-normal soon.

My husband was rear-ended while he was on his motorcycle tonight. Wait, I know that doesn't sound like a golden moment but he wasn't injured and neither was his motorcycle. He was stopped at a light and someone behind him didn't stop soon enough. He was pushed out into the intersection but it could have been so much worse. Though his back is bothering him so there is that to keep an eye on.

My daughter and I have been having fun trying new craft projects this summer. Right now our living room is taken over by bracelet making materials. She wants to learn how to make beaded, braided, leather bracelets. It is harder than it looks but we are getting there. Next up, we bought fabric to make aprons and I am going to teach her the little I know about sewing. I used to do a bit years ago but then I had kids and that ended. Yes, my son is 17. I suppose I could have picked it up again before now. Celia and I are both enjoying having something we do together, just the two of us.

I brought a load of stuff to Goodwill and checked out the books while I was there. I found a British Library Crime Classic. I have never seen one in this country, though I have heard rumors they exist, so it made my day. No, it doesn't take much.

The kids and I spent the day with old friends we hadn't seen in way too long. There was swimming, bb gun target shooting, lots of chat, and lots of food. It is so nice to see friends again after a long time and pick up right where you left off.

My husband and I took the day off and went to Tower Hill Botanic Gardens. I wrote about it here. It was very nice to spend a bit of time together and enjoy the nice weather before it got brutally hot.

My daughter and I got our hair cut and went out for ice cream. It has become a bit of tradition and, goodness knows, we are a family that loves our traditions. The ice cream stop makes what would otherwise be simply a  necessary excursion feel a little bit special. Plus, time with Celia is always fun.

What golden moments have you had in your life lately?

In Search of England by H. V. Morton

Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time probably realizes that I have a bit of an obsession with England. As a natural correlation, I love books set in the U.K. When I stumbled across a description of In Search of England I knew it was a book that was just made for me. The description on the back says  "In the course of a light-hearted journey round England by motor car between the wars, the author captures the sights and sounds, and the personalities, of countryside and town." If you can resist a light-hearted journey round England by motor car then you are a stronger person than I am.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a joy and pleasure the whole way through. It was full of fascinating facts and descriptions of towns and country life. Morton does, at times, assume the reader has a knowledge of history that, in my case, is sketchy at best. We will put that down to my being an ignorant American.

As usual, instead of a real review, I will give you a few quotes I particularly enjoyed. Here is his description of the village of St Just.

There are a few cottages lost in trees, a vicarage with two old cannon balls propping open the garden gate, and a church. The church is grey and small and, as a church, not worth notice; but it stand in a churchyard which is one of the little-known glories of Cornwall. I would like to know if there is in the whole of England a churchyard more beautiful than this. There is hardly a level yard in it. You stand at the lych-gate and look down into a green cup filled with flowers and arched by great trees. In the dip is the little church, its tower level with you as you stand above. The white gravestones rise up from ferns and flowers.

Doesn't that sound lovely? Then there is his response to the city of Bath.

I have decided that when I grow old, with or without gout, sciatica, rheumatism, or lumbago, I will retire to Bath with an ebony cane and a monocle. I like Bath:  it has quality. I like Bath buns, Bath Olivers, Bath chaps, Bath brick, and Bath stone (which to my London eyes is the beatiful sister of Portland Stone), and few sights are more stimulating to relaxed nerves than to sit on the hotel terrace opposite the Pump Room and watch the Bath chairs dash past.

That paragraph alone is as if I submerged myself in every British book I have ever read. Maybe that is what I so enjoyed about this book. It brings to life an England I am happy to believe actually existed.

I went out into the churchyard where the green stones nodded together, and I took up a handful of earth and felt it crumble and run through my fingers, thinking that as long as one English field lies against another there is something left in the world for a man to love. 
'Well,' smiled the vicar, as he walked towards me between the yew trees, 'that, I am afrad, is all we have.'
'You have England,' I said. 

I mentioned that I feel that I am a bit lacking in my knowledge of England's history. I know the basics but that is about it. Morton mentioned G. M. Trevelyan's History of England. It is a happy coincidence that I just purchased two volumes of this history from Maureen who is @finepreserversbooks on Instagram.  They arrived in the mail the same day that I encountered the reference to them in In Search of England. So, now I am all ready to justify the belief of the verger Morton encountered when touring Winchester Cathedral. Morton asked " Who are your most intelligent listeners?' The verger's response?  "American women over forty!"

A Day Out--Tower Hill Botanic Gardens

Last week my husband and I took a day off from real life and went to Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston, Massachusetts. It is 171 acres of gardens, paths, woods, and benches. There is plenty to fill a few hours on a sunny afternoon in mid-June. We had perfect weather, it was dry and comfortable without ever being too warm. This is vital in ensuring that I do not get grumpy about being outside. Humidity and I do not get along.

The gardens have a gorgeous view over Wachusett Reservoir. I could have happily sat and looked at this view for ages but it was our first stop during our walk through the gardens so we didn't linger long.

The gardens had a fair number of people visiting but were by no means crowded. It was mainly an older crowd--our kids kindly told us that we must have fit right in--and many of them stayed close to the visitor's center with the cafe. Once we had walked just a small distance away it felt like we had the place to ourselves.

It was a very nice day. The gardens are a bit smaller than we had originally thought and they did not have a ton of walking trails but they were pretty and peaceful and we enjoyed the respite from everyday life. My husband and I are trying to make sure that we buy out the time to spend together. Sometimes we concentrate so much on making sure we spend enough time together as a family that we neglect to do things as a couple. This day was an attempt to redress the balance. Obviously, we live wild and crazy lives since visiting a garden is what we chose to do when we could do whatever we wanted.

It was a lovely day in a lovely setting. We should do things like this more often. I'm already planning our next excursion. I think it might involve a visit to a bookstore and some ice cream.