Staying In Focus: Weekly Writing Challenge: Build Your Own: Envision


Daily Post:Weekly Writing Challenge: Build You Own:  Choose  a place:  scenic countryside

Choose a first line:  In my dreams I envision a place.


During my cruise around the British Isles last year we took bus rides out into the countryside of Ireland, Scotland and England. These photos and your prompts come together in the following poem:


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In my dreams I envision a place

A village nestled in the countryside

Far removed from the rush about pace

Of everyday life.

I sit in my garden, sipping my tea

And the villagers nod as they pass

Some stop by to chat with me

On happenings, this and that

The summer days are slow and warm

The sheep graze on the hill

And if this was the place where I was born

I know I’d be there still.

– pc 2014

A recent daily prompt was to imagine building a  magic tunnel. Where would it lead to? I didn’t finish it because  the appliances in my house, specifically the air conditioner and the freezer both bit the dust on the same day and thre us for a loop. The topic, however, meshed nicely with the  writing challenge.

Of Hedgerows and Tea

Another outcome of my cruise around the British Isles last summer is that  I know exactly where my tunnel will lead. It will lead directly to a small English village located in the pastoral countryside, but not too far from London. This quiet little village will be my refuge from the complications and stresses of everyday life. It will be where I go to rest, to write, to find my muse and refuel my imagination. Once this is achieved, having London nearby will provide for cultural and leisure activities. It’s not far from South Hampton where the magic cruise ships await to whisk us off to see the world.

I plan to have many good years there, but the inevitable will eventually happen and my cottage in the village will become my final.refuge. As I grow older my capabilities will decrease as the PD robs me of movement and other things too scary to contemplate at this point in my life.  So I will spend my remaining days in the garden, sipping tea and finding joy in just being.

However, as we have allowed for the possibility of a magic tunnel, the door  to  a cure for PD is open, we have all the money we need to live comfortably in our cottage , to take cruises whenever we are bitten by the travel bug, and we will live well past 100 healthy years. Now that is my kind of magic!








Staying in Focus: On Old World Charm

With  St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I have thought about all the wonderful architecture we enjoyed viewing on our visit to the British Isles last summer.I found a great buy on frames at AC Moore and knew just what to put in them. They are gold and speak to me of an old world style, so I decided to fill them with my favorite old world buildings. History is embedded in the very character of these buildings. When you step into them, you feel as if you are stepping out of time., the whispers and echoes of voices past , people long gone, their lives lived and completed before ours began. Somehow, I doubt as many of our buildings will survive the ages as these have. But as with all things, time passes and styles change. In a future post, I’ll show you some contemporary “Old World”  buildings.


Muckross House, Kilarney, Ireland: A landowner’s home of the 1800s


Stained glass windows of St. Patrick”s Cathedral


St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland


Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow, Scotland


St, Margaret’s Chapel, built in 1130, in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland


Stained glass window in St. Margaret’s Chapel


House in Queensferry, Scotland


Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France


Church of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, (Channel Islands)


Big Ben, London, England


My Display

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: All It’s Cracked Up To Be: Our Trip of a Lifetime

Daily Prompt: Tell us about a time when everything actually turned out exactly as you’d hoped.

Our cruise around Great Britain last summer was a bit complicated, but fortunately, as it was the vacation of a lifetime for us, everything went well. This was the first time we had ever used passports, but we sailed through security at RDU . We were in plenty of time to catch our ride (we even had time for chocolate ice cream). IMG_1204 We boarded our tiny plane and made it to Toronto, where we had a quick supper before boarding a larger, nicer plane for our trip to Heathrow Airport in England.

We had an almost glitch when, about halfway there, the flight attendants asked if there were any medical people on board because a passenger was having chest pains.  Fortunately there were, and when we arrived at Heathrow, a medical team was there to meet the plane.

We made it through customs and security, collected our luggage, which had the decency to take the same plane, and found our cruise line representative waiting for us, holding up a Princess Cruise Lines Card. We waited for a little while and were able to tap into the free Wi-Fi at the airport. Then we headed for a bus which whisked us off to the Southampton to board the ship.IMG_1180 IMG_1215We arrived at our cabin, and so did our well-behaved luggage, attended the requisite Titanic Scene safety drill, wearing our life jackets and assembling for a brief demonstration on how not  to drown while fumbling with our life jacket. Finally we were free to enjoy our cruise.

We didn’t get the Norovirus, or lose engine capacity or anything like that. We ate a lot of great food, enjoyed the musicals at the theatre at night, and the shore excursions by day. We even lucked out in getting the best guide for our Liverpool excursion, which was called “In the Footsteps of the Beatles.” Our guide, Marie, grew up across the street from Ringo and she was a font of information on everything to do with the Fab Four. Fantastic!IMG_1253

The weather was warm and dry for the most part, with one day of rain in Ireland. We also visited Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the beautiful town of St. Peter Port in Guernsey .IMG_1091 We spent a day in Paris and our two days at sea were spent enjoying the hysterical humor of the two cruise directors and their staff.

When our cruise was finished, we stayed for 2 more days to explore London and visit Stonehenge. We walked from our hotel to Buckingham Palace, ate some fish and chips in a pub, and rode on the upper deck of those familiar red buses of London.

Unseasoned travelers that we were, I think we did pretty well on our first foreign country experiences. I must give credit where credit is due, to my husband who did the planning and to the cruise line staff and the tour guides, who made it all, come together.  And, of course, to Air Canada, who flew us safely there and back to Toronto and then to RDU.  In Star Trek vernacular, the trip was “as smooth as an android’s bottom!”

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Standout: Hats On

Daily  Prompt: Standout  When was the last time you really stood out in a crowd? Are you comfortable in that position, or do you wish you could fade into the woodwork?

I really am not comfortable standing out in a crowd, but sometimes I do feel eyes on me because of my hats.  I really do not know why more people don’t wear them, for more often than not, someone will complement me on them.

Hats have their utilitarian uses – a bad hair day or a bad hair cut can always be remedied by a wearing a pretty hat. Hats protect you from harmful UV rays, keep your head warm in the winter and dry in a downpour.

Hats have other uses, too. They are simply fun to wear and you feel like a different person in different types of hats. Wearing my turquoise cowboy hat makes me happy, my Vera Bradley hats add color to my world; if I wear my bucket hat, I feel sort of casual and laid back, my big-brimmed hats, fashionable, my new green hat, woven in Ireland,  reminds me of being on vacation, My floppy hat means a day in the sun, my fedoras are  a touch sophisticated, My wide-brimmed straw hat means time to garden.

When I was in high school, my friends and I would go to the Kresge store and try on hats just for fun. In those days I had a head of thick, curly hair, and hats didn’t work as well for me then. When I wore them I would get a serious case of hat head. But now that my hair is less full and I straighten it, hats are much easier to wear. I still cannot pass a hat rack without trying some on.

Above all there is something about wearing a hat that boosts your self-assurance.  So if you are tired of being a shrinking violet, of blending into the crowd, a turquoise cowboy hat sure  beats going into therapy. Feeling down depressed or blue – buy a hat and stroll down the street as if you own it.  Add a smile and you’ll be standing out!  (See post 1/11/2013 for more on hats)

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Staying in Focus: The Green of Ireland


I can understand now, how Ireland became to be known as “The Emerald Isle“. The countryside is covered in various colors of green. In some places,  the green groundcover shines brilliantly in the afternoon sun. There’s nothing more appealing than the sparkle of freshly washed grass, or shrubs, following an afternoon shower. Sheep and cattle graze lazily in the warm sun. The following pictures were taken in the rolling hills of Killarney, Ireland.  We visited the Muckross House and took a tour through it. They have weavers there who weave beautiful hats and scarves. And anyone who knows me knows I can’t pass up a good hat. I decided, in honor of the green  of Ireland and Scotland, to buy my hat in a green tweed. (see above).

I invite you to take a ride  through the beautiful Irish countryside.

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