Another Day, Another….

I just wanted and image in the post. Random stairs from long ago.

I’m glowing with accomplishment because I just completed doing my exercise video for the third time this week. It’s more challenging to motivate myself for this than for exercise class, but I do enjoy doing it once I’ve started. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes on a different topic: “In writing, the only hard part is to begin.” Substitute exercise for writing, and there you have it.

I finished four of Anne’s sewing projects and arranged and paid for a package pickup, then the mailman didn’t show up for two days. I don’t know whether to be concerned about the health of my mail carrier or pissed off that he skipped me for two days (at least). Rachel took the package to give to her carrier. Hope it makes it. Mundane life in the time of the plague.

I still have one sewing project – placemats and napkins – for Anne, and I’m going to make face masks for Rachel and her colleagues to use when distributing Chromebooks to their students. School has been canceled for the rest of the term, and they’re working on a distance learning plan. Since Rachel’s job is in educational technology, she has been working very hard and long during this “downtime”.

Today is Colin’s sixth birthday. In lieu of a party, he has requested a hike and a picnic for his birthday. He isn’t lacking for presents. He opened several from me and various others yesterday and has a pile from his parents to open today. I made birthday cupcakes for him and am including a photo to illustrate my pitiful cake decorating skills. However, I ate one yesterday for quality control purposes and can tell you that they taste great.

Well, on to the next great thing. Maybe I’ll take a shower. No image for that. You’re welcome.

Bit by Bit

Spring in Montgomery Park

Day by day, bit by bit, I’m working to accomplish my goals for time management, exercise, and project completion. As an aside, what is this compulsion we have for accomplishing something, anything, rather than just letting our days flow? It feels almost inherent. Since I posted three days ago, I have accomplished a few things. Two days ago I took a nice long walk from my house to Montgomery Park. As illustrated to the left, spring is budding and blooming there, and really all around me.

Spring on Hahn Arroyo

It’s so much fun to look out the window from day to see and to see things getting greener and greener. Yesterday, after maybe overdoing the walk the day before, I didn’t exercise. The long walk made my new knee leg hurt all night. Guess I’ll make the lengths of the walks a little more gradual. Today for about an hour I did one of the exercise videos I screened the other day. I’m feeling pretty virtuous about that. When I’m done here, I think I’ll take a shortish walk. The weather is getting warmer as the days progress.

I’ve also been sewing. I completed one of Anne’s table runners and am working on a second one. I have enough left over fabric from the second on to make placemats and napkins. Sewing is a creative outlet for me, so I’m having fun with this.

I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday. They are good but not as good as Anne’s. They never are. She claims she uses the recipe on the bag of chips, and I do that, too. But they’re not the same! Oh well, that’s her signature dish, so I guess it’s just magic.

Trying to Organize

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In an earlier post I mentioned the idea of creating a sort of block schedule to organize my days and increase worthwhile use of my time.  Since I’m determinedly retired, I don’t want to use “productivity”, since that word reeks of corporate management.

There are a few discouraging things I realize about myself that relate to this attempt:

  1. I am terrible about creating an exercise routine at home.  I loved my exercise class and was as consistent as I could be at attending, but I have ALWAYS been bad about doing it at home.
  2. I tend to be loosey-goosey about timeframes when I’m in charge of my day.  I don’t want to say I’m lazy.  I’m not lazy.  Well, sometimes I’m lazy.
  3. I can tend to procrastinate the things I’m not so crazy about doing and rationalize by doing something else instead.  Oops!  Ran out of time for that.
  4. Due to all of the above, I’m afraid to do a block schedule, even though my better self wants to.

What to do, what to do.  I guess I’ll just blather on about something else (see #3 above) until I make up my mind.

On the national scene, California, home of my daughter Rebecca, has issued a shelter in place order and shut down most non-vital businesses and services.  Much of the rest of the country will probably soon follow suit.  While this certainly makes sense in terms of containing the Covid-19 virus, the social and economic effects in the short and longterm are almost incomprehensible.  The government is taking sweeping measures to help individuals and businesses and to stabilize the economy, but at what cost to our already monumental national debt? History will tell the story. Rebecca already works from home, so will probably be ok, at least for now.

Daughter Rachel and her family are all being treated for strep throat.  Not great, but glad it’s nothing worse.  I woke up last night worrying about the family’s restless teenagers, who are, of course, immortal and don’t want to be confined to home.  The consequences of them exposing themselves to this essentially social disease might be minimal for them but deadly for the younger and older members of their family.

Yesterday I cleaned out the files in my drawer containing the most current and active stuff.  Felt pretty good, but is just the tip of that iceberg.  Also, I got the material sister Anne mailed to me for her sewing projects.  I like sewing projects.  Today I need to update all the online accounts that use my expiring credit card.  Fun times.

TimeframeActivity Set
8 AM – 10 AMGet up
Morning routine – teeth, meds, etc, coffee
MWF – Exercise video, other days-recumbent bike
10 AM – NoonHousehold chores, blogging, reading
1 PM – 2 PMTake a walk, work outside, hike
2 PM-5:30 PMWork on projects, read, write to friends/family
5:30 PM-7:00 PMCocktail hour, begin dinner prep
7:00 – 10 PMDinner, TV, reading, unstructured time
10 PMGo to bed
Tentative Shelter in Place Block Schedule

There. I did it. I hereby remind myself that there will be no recriminations for straying from the schedule and that it will be amended as necessary. I consider this a social experiment. Furthermore, I exempt myself today, since I’m already off from the plan.

Fitness Log

Exercise clip art free clipart imagesWhat with the whole country cancelling every type of gathering and the need to stay home, I no longer have the option of going to my 3 times weekly exercise class at the Senior Center.  I’ve never been good at the self-discipline required for consistent exercise at home, but I know that it’s necessary if I am to stay healthy.  So, maybe this will keep me on track.  Resolution:  do something active every day – exercise routine, or stationary bike, or walk.  Here’s what i did.

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      • Ride recumbent bike for 20 minutes
      • Screen exercise videos on Prime Video (It counts!  I need one for tomorrow!)

 

What to Do When You’re Snuggled at Home

Image result for list So, I decided that while I’m confined to home my sanity and productivity would benefit  by having a list of possible projects and activities to keep me active and entertained.  As a side note, I saw a post on Facebook from someone who is keeping herself in order by creating a loose general block schedule to shape her days.  While I’m not always terribly organized with my time or particularly self-disciplined, I thought that was a pretty cool idea.  It’s related to this listing idea, but less specific.  So, I see another organizing post in my future.  For now, let’s start with the list.  Just as a means of self-encouragement, I’ll begin with items I’ve already completed.  Note: Items on this list are in addition to (and sometimes instead of) regular household routines like getting up, eating, doing dishes, etc. This is an ever changing document.

check-transparentBravo!  Done!

  • Clean debris from front and back yard
  • Clean rug on patio
  • Prepare and file taxes
  • Start blogging again

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Yet to Be Done

  • Keep blogging!
  • Season my new wok (more laborious than you’d think!)
  • Sort through and organize file drawers
  • Sort through and organize desk clutter
  • Sew table runners for Anne
  • Sew pillow covers for Anne
  • Download and edit photos from camera
  • Complete the online photo classes I’m signed up for
  • Do some art
  • Clean outdoor furniture

So,What to Do Now?

Here’s my little conspiracy theory.  I’m hoping it’s just sick and paranoid.  Our current President has been likened to Hitler or any other similar dictator.  There are those who believe, not without ample indicators, that in his heart he is an autocrat.  So here comes Covid-19.  His first attempts at “Never in MY America” were failing.  Damn it! Now if he were a rational person he would have taken a moment to regroup and (re)evaluate.  But that’s not his way. Fortunately, he has advisors who say, “Donny, if you ignore this and many people get sick and die, your chances of being re-elected will be in the dumpster.  On the other hand, if you take charge and institute drastic measures, you’ll be remembered as the President who led his country through one of its greatest crises in history.” [Now, let’s not lean too heavily on the veracity of their claim, just stick with me.]  So Donald thinks for a moment. [I know.  Just try to imagine that scenario.] A lightbulb goes off over his head.  Now he can order people to do exactly what he wants them to do!  And they’ll all have to do it.  And when the crisis is over, they’ll all be in line.  Right where he wants them.  Personal freedom?  Balderdash!  I’m in charge here. Mission accomplished!

On a more personal level, what will I do with all my time as I shelter in place (see previous post)?  I thought I’d compile a completely random list of possibilities.  Since it will be a document in flux as ideas enter my head, I’ll start the list as a separate entry.

Sheltering in Place

March 16, 2020

A world pandemic is changing everything.  On a global scale, healthcare systems are being overwhelmed, people are getting sick, and some are dying.  Two terrifying things about Covid-19 are that little is known about how it plays itself out in the sick person and that it spreads exponentially.  In addition, like most virulent diseases, it is most deadly in at-risk populations like the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.  All of this is widely known now, and drastic measures are being taken to contain the virus and to identify and care for those who have it.  Throughout the country, public places are closing, events of all sizes are being cancelled, the stock market is plunging, and people are being asked to stay home.  The full effects of all of this on our economy and our way of life are yet to be determined.  There you have a brief summary of the news.

On a more personal level, my way of life is changing.  There is a difference, of course, between staying home because you want to and staying home because you must.  So far, the psychological hardship has not been too profound for me, but it feel it baying at the edges of my consciousness.  I’ve always been pretty good at fighting any tendencies toward depression, but the struggle has already been real the past couple of years because I relocated to Albuquerque from my longtime home in Indiana.  While my reasons for doing so were solid – nearness to family, starting my life over at 70 has been challenging.  I left behind many family members and friends and a happy and active social life and community involvement.  I’ve been very diligent at working to make connections in my new home, but it takes time, hard work, and good fortune.  Now, all my outside activities have come to a standstill because of the virus.  My age puts me among the at-risk populations, so I am taking the shelter in place mandate seriously.  While all this sounds a little whiny, I have to say that I’m finding the challenge rather interesting.

For example, here I am writing in my blog for the first time in several years! (I must admit that I’m rather embarrassed about that lapse.)

Autumn Walks

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Nan at the zoo.

I began the day today with a walk at Mesker Park Zoo with my friend/walking buddy, Nan.  I didn’t take my camera because our goal was walking and I knew it would slow us down since I’d have to photograph everything I saw.  However, I did have my iPhone, of course, so I took a few shots and processed them when I got home using some of the iPhonography apps and tools recommended by the fabulous Rad Drew when he addressed the Fine Art Camera Club recently.  I’ve been meaning to do that, anyway, and had planned to spend today studying various photography materials, so mission accomplished!

Below are a few of the exotic animals we saw.

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The autumn colors have suddenly become much more pronounced this weekend, and I was really feeling the need to get out with my “grownup” camera and take some photos of the foliage.  I noticed in driving to and from the Zoo that the trees in and surrounding the cemetery across the road from the zoo were very striking.  And there’s something about the dying of autumn and the commemoration of the dead that seems so sadly beautiful.  So later in the afternoon, I returned to the cemetery and captured some images there.

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Stations of the Cross

Taking the Long Way on Route 66

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(Click on images to view full size.)

The drive on three Interstate highways from home to Albuquerque is fast and long.  Boom, boom – hundreds of miles of Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico roadway flying past.  However, if you’re willing to slow down, you can drive most of this on the old Route 66, the Mother Road. I’ve driven the 1208-mile Interstate route several times and viewed sections of Route 66 at 75 mph, thinking, I need to take this trip on the old road one day.  That day came this summer.

Planning a drive to Albuquerque to visit my daughter and her family,  I decided to to add an extra day to the trip and spend part of the drive there on Route 66.  I kept thinking about how much more fun it would be if someone went with me, but couldn’t really ask anyone since I planned to be in Albuquerque for two weeks.  I was bemoaning this fact over lunch with my friend Jane. When it dawned on us that it was possible to book a one-way fare with frequent flier miles, she was suddenly coming with me!  My best friend was sharing the adventure! Road trip! The planning continued in earnest as we both studied maps and books and online resources.

Day One: Saturday, July 25, 2015

Route66-07-2015-0001About two weeks later, we hit the road.  We joined Route 66 in St. Louis with, appropriately enough, ice cream!  Ted Drewes Frozen Custard is famous for both its location on the old Route 66 and for its “concrete” shakes.  We opted for the special of the day, a tricked-out butterscotch sundae, and acquired our first Route 66 souvenirs.  While we were thrilled to be at this famed iconic temple of frozen confection, our consensus was that the ice cream tasted a whole lot like, well, pretty good ice cream.

Route66-07-2015-0026On a sugar high, we proceeded, partly on the old Route 66, partly on Interstate 44 to our next stop, Meramec State Park, home of the famed and totally kitched-out Meramec Caverns.  Among the caverns’ claims to fame are their service as a hide-out for Jesse James and assorted outlaws and as a filming location for episodes of the Lassie TV series.  The caverns are truly magnificent and their discovery and history is a fascinating story. Hundreds of people are led through the caves daily on guided tours that highlight their natural wonders and their legendary past.  Cameras and iPhones snap away in the dark capturing dim memories of the natural wonders and the lit displays of scenes depicting early miners and outlaws.  It was a refreshingly cool break from a sweltering summer day, and we felt thrown-back to the heyday of Route 66 when families flocked to roadside wonders guided by beckoning signs all along the route.

Jane orders road food.

After a couple of hours of cave exploration, we were ready for an another authentic Route 66 eating experience, and we found it a few miles down the road at the Circle Inn Malt Shop in Bourbon, MO.  This diner was satisfyingly Route 66 in its black and white tiled decor and was peopled with locals most of whom sat at the counter in overalls and plaid shirts smoking and visiting.  In a nod to road-food tradition, we ordered hamburgers and fries, and Jenit (Dutch spelling), our waitress, provided background history while we waited.  The Circle Inn, she told us, has been family owned and operated for four generations.  Jenit and her husband owned the local drug store.  After her husband’s death, she ran the business until competition from the chains caused her to sell.  The Circle Inn owners are family friends and they lured her into helping at the restaurant for Fish Fridays, their busiest night.  This led to her eventual full-time work, which she loves.  While we were there, locals wandered in and out chatting, smoking, even occasionally eating.  It was a bit of culture shock to be in a restaurant that still allows smoking, but it added to the sense of throwback to the heyday of old Route 66! And I suspect that the local smokers appreciate a haven for their habit.

Our goal was to reach Carthage, Missouri, by evening where we had a reservation at the Boots Court.  So we headed west on I44, planning to get off the Interstate onto the Old Road for Devils Elbow, a stretch much admired by the writers of our tour books.  We did drive through part of it, but missed quite a bit of it, as it was a struggle to find the route on our maps, a common situation we found throughout the journey.

Route66-07-2015-0035The Boots Court proved to be one of the highlights of our trip.  Lovingly restored by two history-loving sisters, it is managed by their childhood friend Debbie, who came out of retirement to live and manage on-site after they completed the first phase of the old motel’s restoration.  The sisters used grant funds from the National Parks Association along with their own resources to restore the property to its 1949 condition.  With an emphasis on authenticity there is “a radio in every room” tuned to the local station playing music from the era and providing local news.  So far, eight rooms have been restored, including the one that Clark Gable slept in with its adjoining private carport.  The restoration is both authentic and incredibly clean and fresh.  We felt transported to the fifties! Debbie is filled with pride for the project and generously shared information about the local history and Route 66 “must sees.”  After checking in, we took a walk to nearby downtown Carthage and viewed the beautifully ornate old courthouse on the square before purchasing snacks and retiring to our room for the night.

Gallery of Images from Day One.  (Click on image to view full size.)

Day Two: Sunday, July 26, 2015

Route66-07-2015-0143After breakfast at The Pancake House next door, we discussed nearby points of interest along the Route with Debbie.  She highly recommended Red Oak II, built outside of Carthage by local artist Lowell Davis.  She told us that if we were lucky, we might even get to chat with the artist, whose home is there.  Deb’s enthusiasm convinced us that we had to visit Red Oak II before we left the area.  We weren’t wrong and we were lucky, for shortly after we arrived and began wandering around this fascinating living work of art, we ran into Mr. Davis, and he became our tour guide. Here was a man who relishes the role of eccentric old artist – and does it very well indeed!  He beganRed Oak II some thirty years ago on his farm property there.  Primarily a sculptor and a painter, Davis had grown up in the original Red Oak, which by that time had become a virtual ghost town. He began buying up old buildings from there and other abandoned towns in the area and moving them to his farm property.  He restored the buildings and added his own sculptures to the site, creating a living whimsically historic work of art. As we wandered the property with him, he shared stories of his life, his artistic philosophy, and of his ongoing and constantly evolving project.  Red Oak II, he said, is created from materials other people have thrown away.  One of the buildings he purchased, moved and restored is the small country church that sits on the property. He felt that the hillside next to it would be perfect for a small cemetery.  In addition, he wants to be buried “where I lived my dream and made my art.” So he placed a stone there that will ultimately be his marker.  He surrounded it with grave stones he “recycled” from a local carver.  These markers had been rejected for one reason or another by the families who had commissioned them.  He had to agree that he would either obtain permission from the family of the deceased to use the stone, or he would obliterate the actual name on the stone.

Lowell Davis enjoys his pipe while we eat popsicles he provided.

The artist in his garden.

It was hot that morning as we wandered through the village, so Mr. Davis offered us popsicles and we ate them in the eccentric garden behind his house as the roosters wandered through and he told us how he met and married his third (present) wife. He met her on a trip to Korea with his artist friend, Samuel Butcher (the creator of the Precious Moments figurines and the nearby Precious Moments Chapel).  He and his wife live in the house once occupied by old west legend Belle Starr, the Bandit Queen.  His wife, he told us, was presently visiting in New York to “restore her sanity,” but he invited us into the house to view it and his art that decorated the walls.  There we met his daughter who lives nearby and was helping out in his wife’s absence. (For more information about Red Oak II, click here.)

More images from Red Oak II (Click to view full-sized images.)

Route66-07-2015-0156-EditAfter spending most of the morning at Red Oak II, we headed for the Kansas stretch of Route 66 around 11 AM.  The Old Road cuts through just a corner of Kansas and includes Galena, home of Cars on the Route (formerly 4 Women on the Route until only one of the original owner/operators remained).  The “Cars” of the name refers to assorted vintage vehicles parked in their lot, including the tow-truck which they claim inspired the character depicted in Disney’s Cars movie.  Disney, of course, with their usual copyright paranoia, will not allow them call him “Mater.”  Included in the vintage gas station building was the requisite gift shop featuring Route 66 memorabilia and a small diner with the classic Route 66 black, white, and red chrome and tile decor. Here the short-order cook served up our second hamburger lunch of the trip from the minimalist menu: hamburgers, hot dogs, fries. Later, while we were browsing the gift shop, the attendant was making a count of visitors who had signed the registration book since the beginning of the year.  On one side of her sheet were ticks for US visitors and the other side for folks from other countries.  Surprisingly, the ticks were about even, with hundreds of visitors counted on each side of her page.  Indeed, we had seen a number of foreign visitors at the various sites we visited along the way.  It seems that the Route 66 journey of nostalgia is very popular among visitors to our country.  It made me wonder if their vision of the US is of a rural landscape with small towns along two-lane highways dotted with dusty neon-lit motels and cafes filled with simple folk selling fried food and kitch.

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Swimming is no longer allowed, but you can walk in the belly of the whale…and his mouth and tail.

Our intention was to visit Baxter Springs, Kansas, in a bow to Jane’s last name, but we realized that if we were to reach our motel in McLean, Texas, before nightfall, we need to boogie on down the Interstate.  So we hopped onto I44.  We did decide to get back on Route 66 to visit Catoosa, Oklahoma, home of Mother Road icon, the Blue Whale. With all the hype typical of tourist attractions along Route 66 we expected the the road to the Whale would be well marked.  However, we wandered through quite a few miles of countryside, then some of it again before finally asking a local for directions.  And there it was…a somewhat faded version of it’s blue glory.  It was formerly a delightful giant mammalian entry to a small lake, but no swimming is allowed any more.  But we could walk into its mouth and onto the diving platform of its tail.  And, of course, there was still a souvenir shop on the property.  Onward to Texas!

Route66-07-2015-0174As we approached the McLean, Texas, exit off of I44 a little after nine that evening, we saw an enormous column of smoke ahead.  Police were routing traffic through McLean at what was fortunately our exit for the motel we had booked for the night.  When we arrived at  the Cactus Inn, the receptionist was clearly shaken.  She told us that she had seen the huge explosion on the highway from where she was.  She saw a truck drive by, then it exploded.  We were sick, sure that there was no way anyone could have survived such a huge explosion and fire.  When we left our room to check out the next morning, however, the clerk pointed out a couple using their cell phone on the parking lot.  They were, she told us, the occupants of the truck. They had survived the explosion and had been brought to the motel the night before by the emergency responders.  I spoke with the couple to tell them how happy and relieved we were that they had survived such a horrible fire. They told me that they heard an explosion and suddenly the truck was on fire.  Both managed to flee the truck but her cell phone was all they had left. Even his shoes had been provided by a volunteer fireman.

Route66-07-2015-0178Route66-07-2015-0183A word about the Cactus Inn.  It, too, is an historic Route 66 hotel.  But unlike the Boots Court, which is old and restored, this one is just old.  However it was adequately clean, very inexpensive, and ultimately a significant addition to our Route 66 adventure. (Click on pictures to view full size.)

Day 3: Monday, July 27, 2015

Before leaving McLean, in the spirit of our Old Road experience, we had breakfast at the Wagon Wheel in downtown McClean.  The food was good (who can mess up bacon, eggs, toast, and orange juice),and the decor was, guess what, black and white tile with red checkered tablecloths!

Route66-07-2015-0202Our goal for this day was to visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle several miles south of Amarillo.  The morning was very hot and dry, but fortunately, this site can be toured by car as you wind through the canyon to view its many layers of rock and stunning mesas.  Called The Grand Canyon of Texas, it is the second largest canyon in the U.S.  This landscape is such a departure from the flat stretches of the Panhandle along I40!

The iconic leaning water tower near Amarillo

Another Route 66 icon, the leaning water tower near Amarillo.

Palo Duro Canyon - Such a surprise in the flat dessert stretches of the Texas Panhandle!

Palo Duro Canyon – Such a surprise in the flat dessert stretches of the Texas Panhandle!

Heading west!

A few miles down I40, we pulled off onto Route 66 again, this time to visit Adrian, Texas, home of The Midpoint Cafe at the halfway point of old Route 66 between its endpoints in Chicago and L.A. We had hoped to eat lunch at the Cafe, but the kitchen was closed for the day.  However the souvenir shop was open, of course, and I purchased my requisite Midpoint Cafe coffee mug.  Obligingly, they had the perfect half-way photo op set up outside with old and new windmills and the gorgeous Texas planes in the background. We headed west toward our Albuquerque destination.

Our next pull-off was Tucumcari, New Mexico, because how could you not stop in a place named Tucumcari?  Once famous for its “thousands” of motel beds, it’s still filled with some of the best neon along the road including one of the most striking at the beautifully restored Blue Swallow Motel.  Sadly, it was still light out when we photographed it, but even at that, it was worth the detour.

Our final stop before arriving in Albuquerque was at Clines Corners – just because there were so many signs for it, we felt compelled. And we needed gas.  It is, as promised, a GIANT truck stop on I40 with every kind of, you guessed it, souvenir imaginable.  We managed to buy only gas and arrived at our destination in time for one of Bret’s wonderful dinners and began our visit with him, Rachel, and the world’s best grandchildren. And we still weren’t far from Route 66.  One of these days I’ll have to do a thorough pilgrimage to all the Mother Road icons in Albuquerque!

Albuquerque - flowers and Sandia Mountains

Albuquerque – flowers and Sandia Mountains

Living the Dream in Someone Else’s Dream Come True

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lakedistrictB&B001 copy-2We’re in a rental car driving the winding English roads. We’ve just left the Cotswolds and are heading up to the Lake District.  It’s a scene out of my dreams of pastoral England.  It’s early June, after all, and the countryside is lush and blooming.  As we near our destination, the scene to our left is a landscape painting of Northern England’s sheep farming country. The land rolls up and down as far as the distant rugged hills.  Fields are delineated in an irregular scrawl by ancient low stone fences and are dotted with sheep and cows grazing on the lush green grass.  To our right is a hillside painted with a lavish display of floral abundance only an English garden can create. And winding up the hill to a structure barely visible through the trees and flowers is the drive to our home for our sojourn here.  Moving through the floral paradise, we arrive in the clearing to see a sprawling single-story Victorian house.

Our hostess, the tall, perfectly weathered keeper of the floral paradise, greets us and shows us through the house with obvious pride in this lovingly created step back into the Victorian past.  The walls are bedecked with flocked wallpaper and hung with portraits and landscapes in gilt frames.  Flower bouquets are everywhere.  The furniture would be recognized and loved by your mother’s grandmother.  And our room is spacious and sunny and an old-fashioned haven for travelers who prefer to imagine rural England as it was a hundred years ago.

Over breakfasts in the next couple of days, we learn more about the home from the loquacious host, a former taxi-driver and present day tour guide for the area.  It seems that many years ago, when their now grown children were young, our host drove a taxi while his wife raised the children and ran a small hotel in the nearby village. In his comings and goings he had driven past this property many times.  It was deserted and overgrown for many years, and he was intrigued.  Then one day, he saw a for sale sign in front of it. He went home to his wife and insisted that she come with him to see the property. “Are you crazy?” she replied, “I’m way too busy taking care of the children and running this hotel to come with you to look at some abandoned overgrown property!” He persisted for many days, and eventually, probably to shut him up, she agreed to take a look.  They had to fight their way through overgrown weeds and underbrush to get up the hill to the house.  She walked in, wandered through the deserted, abandoned, and somewhat decrepit house and said, “This is my home.”  They bought the property and moved in with their four small children.  At first the water and lights were not working and she would take the children across the road to bathe in a stream on the hillside. Gradually, they lovingly turned it into the home and bed and breakfast it now is.

Note: This posting is in response to the Day Two assignment of Writing 101:
A Room with a View – If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?