Fantasy Island, The Tour.

Yesterday I had my tour around fantasy island as our friend refers to it.It is tongue in cheek, but also I think a place where many crave to live. They are drawn to this place of beauty, surrounded by nature, where flora and fauna abound. A sanctuary in the south. It is private gated and restricted access so I felt privileged to get a guided tour from one of the Islanders.

I have only visited once before. Last time I came away my imagination fired up and I decided that it would be the most wonderful place to be able to live. Idyllic and the new life I crave for us would fit in there beautifully. 

His home with its interesting garden making use of things he has found, recycled items all around utilised within his space and others for projects yet to be undertaken. I found it so inspiring there I designed furniture following my last visit it reminded me of some of my as yet unfulfilled ambitions which I would like to work towards once my health improves.

Arriving there again I am filled with peace, my heart was racing as I arrive anticipation growing for what I might see whilst there. 

We drive, or rather he does so that I may be able to enjoy the view. I am in a semi altered state. Lightheaded or as though I am in shock. It could be the antibiotics or the painkillers. Or it could be just what I see there. I look at the houses as we pass and the fields and hedgerows as we drive slowly by, observing the lowered speed limit. It is a nature foragers dream, the hedgerows brimming with wild fruit, plums, elderberries. Blackberries, sloes. He stops to pluck one from the hedge for me to try. They would make Lovely jam I said, he agreed that they do. Enveloped by countryside with no one around hares running up ahead of us along the road and birds walking across the roads in front of us. We stopped at the cockle beach where apparently you can fish for Bass. I love sea bass. There was none but the birds. Around the island three rivers meet. Further round where it meets another river, there is a slightly more recognisable seascape. I may have seen near there before but not from this side. There were some wonderful rocks in beautiful colours piled high as though dropped there by giants. I intended to take photos on this tour but my eyes are taking it all in instead. The camera on my phone does not take one shot for the duration. Which as I write this I am regretting somewhat. It is unusual for me. 

Some of the grand houses, the homes with character and the cottages tucked away are empty. My imagination kicking in again as I wonder what I could do with one of them as a space of my own.The two pubs have long closed down as has the church. No longer required here lack of use forced their closure. There is one shop and there are farms in the village, it is a sleepy place. I wonder how and when it comes alive or if it is always like this. The workers have left for the day, a mass exodus off as I was arriving. Much of it looks deserted.

Our friend shows me his sculpture garden. Have you seen it before he said? No I replied. It used to be his allotment but he changed it. He built this to enjoy. In a non public place it is a community garden. He has had parties there and there is a summer kitchen with a pizza oven he has made. A pergola which has grape vines growing up it they have grapes this year apparently for the first time. There are plinths of marble and stone around and many of them hold small statues. They are not your average garden statue. Many are of the muscular male form draped around females. Holding, cherishing. I could have stayed there for a while. It was a place I could happily sit, embrace the moment and meditate. A calm place.

In the centre of the garden there is a huge stone column, about ten feet high and as yet I carved. He told me that it would become a dancing couple. I did not know when he took me there what I would find, the significance only dawning on me now in the early hours as I write this.
I was struck by the beauty of the stone. I asked who made them, he replied “some old bloke from over the road, he likes carving stone” I admired them blown away by what I saw, as he explained he told me about some them. He started the garden when his wife was gone I did not ask if it was in tribute to her. But it is clear that this man loves female company and why shouldn’t he for he is witty and charming, flirtatious and engaging and can cook. He also has several female friends who gather at his house for a meal on a regular basis.

There are signs carved in slate and sandstone sculpture along with white almost alabaster, possibly marble. They are beautiful and written with his sense of humour. The sculptures were something else and just the sort I like and appreciate. I wanted to touch them, feeling drawn to them and photograph them but it felt strange to ask. I have not known him very long and I did not want to push my luck.

He said that the locals are not interested in the garden, I asked why not it’s a beautiful place. They should use it if it’s for them too. 

He said that some of the other visitors to the island had seen it. I loved it.

Upon waking in the early hours it occurred to me, I may be way off the mark here but I get the very strong feeling that the “old guy over the road” was at that moment standing by my side proudly showing me his own statues. That he not only created the garden, but the sculptures within it. That the dancing couple would be formed one day by his own hands.

Only time will tell. There are clues, he is creative and has a good eye. His mother is an artist. He is useful with his hands, builds things in wood and has a beautiful garden. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit today, I don’t know if I bored him to tears with the subject matter. I talk more when I am nervous and I am not used to having the floor. When my partner and I are out together the conversation is more evenly spaced. It can’t have been all bad. I was invited to go and visit again whenever I liked. 

I might just have to go and ask him about his garden.

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A little bit of Sparkle

26/4/17 There is something quite magical about standing on the top of a hillside at 2am brushing your teeth in the moonlight. The crisp night air and a sky of the darkest blue filled with stars. There was not a sound but for the crackling of the fire when my partner rushed into tell me that it was snowing! It is the very first time that I’ve experienced this up on the hill and although it had been so cold that we couldn’t feel our fingers and toes all day it was still unexpected at almost the end of April. But there we were surrounded by a beautiful crunchy layer of white snow, totally pure and sparkling peaceful and quiet. We took the dog out for his nighttime walk. He was thrilled. His Mama and Daddy wandering around and rushing up and down the garden whilst he ran and rolled and ate the snow he was in heaven eating it and prancing about. One happy pup we went back indoors to warm ourselves up and hoped that the power would not fail us in the night, we would need the electric blanket. Unfortunately all the cameras were dead by then so we only got a couple of pictures by torchlight.

I checked the weather report again last night and saw there’s a possibility of Thundersnow. Our boy would love it.

How Beautiful Do You Feel? What is Your Perception of Beauty


Inspiration for this comes from a clip I recently saw again from earlier this year. It is where a photographer films the response on people’s faces when they are told they are beautiful. Asking you to watch what happens…

I have never considered myself to be beautiful. Thankfully otherpeople from  time to time have in my life.

I was not one of the “Beautiful People” as I grew up. You know the ones who seemed to have it all. Lots of friends, a good job, nice material things and a good life. But quite often life is not all as it seems for those people anyway.

Then the line of a song popped into my head as a reminder while I write this it is also something you hear so often. “Beauty’s only skin deep”

I beg to differ! 

Occasionally when dressed up in my finery for a night out or special occasion I have sometimes felt a little bit beautiful, but more “well presented” and usually a little uncomfortable but having been injured during the past two years, never more so than now and I have not been feeling beautiful for some time. Along with the small amount of self-confidence that I had having taken flight I now also have facial scars.

Sure, they are healing up and could have been much worse but they are there nevertheless and people do tend to look at you differently. As I show people who know me, I point  out that they are healing well, as though to reassure them that I will look and feel like me again sometime soon. I now understand why so many people hide under their daily face. The make up is not only there to enhance but to cover. I have never really worn a lot of make up and while the skin heals, since I have been able to recuperate at home I have stuck with little or no make up to help it. But plenty of Bio oil and Aloe Vera to renew the skin and help the scars.

I always thought that my eyes were my best attribute, but they really are the window to my soul and can be read so easily. Sometimes that worries me as I don’t want to always be an open book for all to read. But I digress slightly.

Over the years some of the people in my life have arrived and felt that I am beautiful. Some have been there fleetingly, others have stayed realising that beauty takes so many forms.

My beauty lies within me! 

It is not only skin deep. I am a nice person. I try to do my best for those around me in my life and others I have yet to meet. For a world that is so much bigger than mine. I cherish what nature gives us and encourage growth wherever possible.

So, you may ask Do I feel Beautiful? And as I stand shy of the mirror and think past looks alone I will answer yes. Grateful for having been shown that it does lie within us. So if you do not feel it, search within and when other’s shine a light upon your beauty and tell you you are beautiful embrace them and it and let your spirits rise.

Image: FB  Positive Outlooks 

Flora #1 Ornamental Poppies

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The other evening I was walking with my family and spotted some ornamental poppies growing in the front garden of an empty property.  Years ago, I attempted to grow some. I have tried to grow so many types of poppies over the years with varying success and currently only have yellow Icelandic ones.  I once had deep purple ones which were very beautiful and kept some of the seeds.  So I never miss the opportunity to collect the pods once the flowers have shown us their beauty.

Since the flowers had finished, as I often do I took some of the seeds from the flowers so that I may transplant them into our own garden once again. The rest I will scatter in the garden on the hill and give to friends and family.  That’s the thing with poppy seeds, there are so many that there are plenty to go around.

I took this particular photo when one once grew in our garden, it was a solitary red poppy. As though it was growing in memory of someone special, I hope that there will be many more, since we have lost many special people.

Bear River and the Diamond in the Rough

Some years ago, before Scotland or the Puppy even came into the equation about 2008, I was looking at property in a much more interesting place, to the one we inhabit.

Yes, I had itchy feet and thought about what it would be like to live in a different country. So a quick search for property abroad threw some interesting places into my thoughts. I thought about France, an awful lot.  I have always wanted a place in France….

But I also thought about somewhere farther afield where I might be able to get some land and make a beautiful place for holidays and could rent out.  It has always been something that is in the grand plan.

That was when I spotted it, a place which by name alone, fired the imagination and I began my research into this wonderful sounding place.

Bear River, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Now, it’s a bit of a way away from the folks if we were to up sticks and head off there, but it would be a fantastic adventure I’m sure and might be an ideal place to open a business of some sort at the time and is a tidal river which means it’s most likely to have a good availability for Seafood, which is important to me.

So what could go wrong, there were relatively cheap flights to Canada from the UK accessible airports to us and the very sound of the place sounded idyllic. The exchange rate of the Canadian Dollar meant that there was 2.3 dollars against the British Pound at the time.  Which was pretty darn good.

I had cousins which emigrated to Canada about 30 years ago, never to be seen again, they loved it so much there that they have not returned to the UK.  And trust me, when you have got the getaways, then that sounds just far enough away to do it.  I tried to research the area as much as possible.  It ticked a lot of boxes for me at the time. The area is not far from the ferry crossing from Digby to Maine, in the US which is another place I have longed to see, for many years.  Lobster and Scallops are readily available on the Canadian side near to Bear River and since I have a love of Bears, it seemed the perfect place to take my partner.  It is after all his nickname.  Apparently it is a haven for artists and there are boats nearby whilst being surrounded by wonderful forests and mountains, which you could access to ski all within about an hours travelling time.  The nearest airport, Halifax was also about an hour away.  See, I am painting a beautiful picture.

There was a house there which was not furnished, which means that my imagination could furnish it at the same time, with endless possibilities.  A timber clad house in a slightly New England style built in the early 1900’s. I wish that I still had the file with the photos which I had saved of it (but the loss of a hard drive put pay to that).  It had everything that I wanted in a house, huge space, a porch going around the outside.  A utility room, basement and attic, more space than I could think to fill and was described as a “Diamond in the Rough” by the agent selling it.  The rooms were painted in bright colours, it had huge windows which overlooked a massive garden of at least a couple of acres and was on the outskirts of town.  So it was rural enough but still had facilities nearby.  The rooms lent themselves to antique furniture and the whole place reminded me of a huge American or Scandinavian Lake house, the type I would love to live in.  It had four large bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and large receptions, more than enough space to do the entertaining that I thought I would get the opportunity to do once all our friends came out to visit us there for holidays, the parties we would have there. Oh Boy, Christmas would be just amazing in a place like that.  Yes, I had imagined the Christmas Tree in the hallway.

Alas, It was not meant to be…  I looked into selling most of our worldly goods to get the place and thought about what our new life there might bring.

Then two things brought me back to earth with a bump.  Or more like a thud actually.  At the time I was in touch with Wilf, someone I was connected with on MySpace, (Oh the early days of ancient social media, before Myspace became a bit sordid).  He was a DJ who built Kayaks in his spare time, they were beautiful, real pieces of art.  It turned out that he knew the area and when I mentioned that I had been looking at properties there, advised me against it. Wilf told me that it used to be lovely, just like I had imagined, but in recent years the place had gone downhill and there was now a crime and drug problem there due to the closure of an industry and the mass unemployment that followed.

Just to add water to the fire, my partner also scuppered the plan completely after lengthy discussions about the possibility of living there.  He agreed that it sounded great, but said that I could not anticipate how cold the winter months would be.  Having travelled a bit and spent some time in Canada he was ahead of me and recalled just how low the temperatures are.  The fact that you can be cut off from civilisation for weeks, sometimes months.  He asked how would I feel about that? Hmm I thought, perhaps it would make a good summer residence then? (I wasn’t giving up hope) But summer is going to be colder than here in the UK too possibly.  My bones and joints ached at the mere thought of it so I resigned myself to the fact, that it could be lonely and cold there.

But after all that the memory of the place, specifically the house, that “Diamond in the Rough” has returned in my thoughts for several years, like a wonderful place on my wish list.  I think of what I would have done to that house and how living surrounded by the mountains and Bears near to a river, in a town filled with Artists and Artisans could fire the imagination.

A quick return via Google takes me to a wonderful article, Welcome to Bear River – Huffpost  which was written in 2014 and sums up exactly what I thought the place could be and how it might have become that special place for us. At the time when we were looking the country was apparently in deep recession as the UK was about to be too and I was to find out. Clearly the time was not right for us, but never say never, after all we now have a puppy who would love the cold, and there is always a log burner to keep us warm.

Oh Daydreamer, when will you learn…