Count Your Blessings

It’s the third Christmas since the day my beloved husband died (990 days to be exact). Although each day had been as long as an eternity yet, it seems as though he only passed away yesterday. This year I am learning to appreciate time on my own, I am also learning to be happy facing the misery of being left a widow instead of, running away from it as I did the last two Christmas

I learnt to count my blessings, and that I did not have to plan a big Christmas dinner for anyone, and definitely counting my blessings that I did not have to shop with thousands of other shoppers. I smiled watching how people rushing around buying as though the shops would be closed for weeks and not for just one day. Anything but to do with the real spirit of Christmas: Shouting the insults at one another, fighting for a spot in the car park that already full. So many dramas that being put into one day of the year for families to connect or to disconnect? And if Christmas comes once a month, would families have enjoyed each other more without too much effort? We’ll never know.

Perhaps I envied those, who have families gathering around them?  Who had to get up on Christmas morning and in a hurry to get “things” done? Perhaps I should have felt guilty that I did not have any worry making sure the family Christmas dinner is up to the usual expected standard; like the turkey might be too dry? Or the pork is not crispy enough? And what happened to the pudding?  But instead, I did not have to rush out of bed, and then I took my meditating time wandering through my herbs garden, listening to a birdsong,  picked some fresh herbs to make a creamy omelette that would turn into a soft fluffy scrambled eggs for breakfast. How perfect! Not to mention the aroma of my favourite freshly brewed organic coffee, just the way it should be on Christmas morning and I better get used to it.

Well, like a bear, I decided to hibernate this Christmas, in the luxury and abundant quietness, away from the hustle and bustle of the festive season, allowing not, the crowded loneliness and the loud misery affecting my soul. I am counting my blessings indeed, for a lovely Christmas morning, totally alone. And yes, I did turn my phone off just for Christmas.

“Christmas Roses”
Watercolour
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Night Butterfly

“This is the most controlled floral I’ve done in a while. I loved the streak of the blue-purple amethyst that’s like a butterfly in the night. And alone in the night garden I sat thinking of you. The summer evening filled with sweetness while the heat of the day turned my hydrangea all brown. Iris was also your favourite flower as with yellow rose and red cyclamen and many more. So when I happened to paint them you entered my thoughts, and I felt so alone without you. No hand to hold or even just to touch the tips of your fingers. Here in the night with the moon and the stars, I sat alone in my garden…”

Missed The Moon

The moon above the cloud over Seattle
The moon above the cloud over Seattle

Super moon came and went for three days now and I still haven’t been able to have a glimpse of it. Not because I did not look, but the sky over Fremont clouded so thick every night with constant rain. There were sunny patches but only during the day when gusty winds occasionally managed to chase the clouds away.Photo by Thai Peck

Wandering through the rose garden by the Seattle zoo where autumn is making room to welcome winter as the leaves turning from yellow-red to brown while the trees looking bare and shivering. Scattering around were some lonely flowers desperately hung on to thorny branches knowing soon enough they too will fade and die.Photo by Thai Peck

But fear not, when spring follows winter, the next generation of roses will assuredly bloom much more beautiful as I watched a team of gardeners hard at work nurturing them with definite care if not tender and loving.Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

And I remembered on this spot where I sat, in the brilliant summer sun of last year. The roses may have been so much prettier though I saw none but pain and grief through tears…Photo by Thai Peck

Suddenly the sun moved behind the cloud, casting a more sombre shade and I thought I felt some tiny drops… is that rain?

Extra Steps…

Photo by Thai PeckDespite of how slow I walked during the last five weeks wandering over England, Scotland and Wales, my left knee started to give me some discomfort during the last few days while stopping at my son’s house in Surrey on the last leg of my journey.

Surrey, England
Surrey, England

Photo by Thai Peck

It turned out that I have sprained my knee without knowing until a slip on a doorway at a café yesterday, which gave me an excruciating pain that the doctor had to be called, now I was ordered to rest from all my modest up-hill-and-down-dale wanders. The next five days will be just rests and exercises for my knee to heal before a long flight back to Australia.

I tried not to think that my journey should end on a low note, that was not what I intended. Maybe I should consider myself fortunate that I am not in a worse situation and the high note is yet to come?

The woodland in Surrey
The woodland in Surrey

Photo by Thai Peck
Photo by Thai Peck

Anyway, the weather has been good everyday, and the granddaughters have been wonderful for hugging and kissing on daily basis.

Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

 

 

 

 

Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai PeckMy son thought it was a drastic measure on my part to get out of babysitting, and worse still to get some attention by two good-looking strangers who just happened to be around helping me every little step from the café to the car. It might have been only 50 steps but I managed to drag them out to a hundred, at least!

Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, I am now also a proud owner of this cool walking stick, which came with a flashlight and an alarm and it can be folded down to the size of a folded small umbrella. Serious James Bond’s stuff indeed! 🙂

Wandering Bluebell

Photo by Thai Peck“A fine and subtle spirit dwells, in every little flower. Each one its own sweet feeling breathes, with more or less power. There is a silent eloquence in every bluebell, that fills my soften heart with bliss, that could never tell…

… ‘Sad wanderer, weep those blissful times, that never may return!’ The lovely floweret seemed to say, and thus it made me mourn…”  Anne Brontë

Wandering Still…

Photo by Thai Peck

After a very pleasant train trip with Grand Central Rail, the journey took a bit over two hours from London to Thirsk in North Yorkshire. The town station had no lift one had to walk up some thirty steps to get out onto the street level. Fortunately I had a friend who was there to help me with my heavy suitcase.Photo by Thai PeckFifteen minutes drive through the town of Thirsk, we passed a pretty hamlet of about twenty houses or so scattering among green hills, patches of yellow canola fields, and well-kept farmhouses. Arriving at Upsall Castle, a very impressive site standing on a hill above a picturesque lake where some Canadian geese made it their home peacefully raising their goslings.Photo by Thai Peck

The original castle from a Roman fortress which some of the walls are still standing dated back to the 13th century. Restored around the year 1800 and was burnt down in 1918 and when it was rebuilt in 192o Roman coins and artefacts were found when the workmen dug up the ground, though the pot of gold has not yet been discovered, the people are still living in “hope”.

Original castle wall
Original castle wall

Photo by Thai Peck

From every window one enjoyed a different angle of the beautiful scenery that spreading over the city of York in the far distance, and from the undulated green hills of The Dales crossing over the high moor of tall grass and heather, such an idyllic landscape.Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai peck

I am fortunate to be invited to stay at Upsall Castle for a few days and today I was driven to the edge around Yorkshire Dales, visiting Bolton Castle, a spectacular medieval fortress with a fascinating history where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned in 1568. I hope you still enjoy wandering with me.

Oh To Be In London!

“… I wander tho’ each charter’d street, near where the charter’d Thames does flow…”    (William Blake)

Come wander with me through the last three days in London. Through city streets, parks and bridges that always managed to stir such romantic nostalgia in one’s heart…

Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

 

 

 

 

“… Roses, roses! Penny a bunch! they tell you, ruddy blooms of corruption, see you and smell you. Born of stale earth, fallowed with squalor and tears – North shire, south shire, none are like these, I tell you, roses of London perfumed with a thousand years…”  (Willa Sibert Cather)

Photo by Thai Peck

Photo ny Thai Peck

Photo by Thai peck

“… Earth has nothing to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by. A sight so touching in its majesty: This city now doth, like a garment, wear the beauty of the morning…”  (William Wordsworth 1802)

Photo by Thai peck

“… Twenty bridges from Tower to Kew – Wanted to know what the river knew – Twenty bridges and twenty-two. For they were young, and the Thames was old… “

Photo by Thai Peck

“… Saint Paul’s Cathedral is the finest building that ever I did see; there’s nothing can be surpassed it in the city of Dundee, because it’s most magnificent to behold. With its beauty dome and spire glittering like gold…. Oh mighty city of London! You are wonderful to see. And thy beauties no doubt fill the tourist’s heart with glee…”  (William McGonagall)

Photo by Thai peck

 

Photo by Thai Peck

Photo by Thai peck

Sunday Post

The case of stolen ThymePhoto by Thai Peck

A little potted seedling of Thyme would cost almost $3.00 from a market stall down in Chelsea shop. It was nurtured, watered and cared for outside the front fence, growing slowly but healthily, I was hoping to see it turning bushier for a sort of ground-cover which passer-by can pick up a sprig or two for their stew pot.IMG_1401

One morning it disappeared! The hole where the soil formed a round shape of the plant was there but the little Thyme bush has gone. Some thief had come in the night and stole my lovely green lemon Thyme!

I don’t need any sleuth to tell me that the culprit must be a super nose-sensitive woman; a common man would not be able to smell it unless if he is one of those TV chefs talk with a French accent.Photo by Thai Peck

Standing at the crime scene with my magnifying glass, studying the surrounding, searching for some glue. The street was almost deserted, in an atmosphere void of any human footsteps being taken for a walk by their dogs except for parked cars lining the kerb.

Photo by Thai PeckMy assistant, Dr Watson, Hastings, Miss Lemon brought up a theory that it must be a woman and that she must have come from the left side, which is the end of the street,  walking toward the beach passing my house and on her way back.

Photo by Thai Peck

She must have smelled the Thyme bush, then waited until nightfall, came out to do the job. Miss Lemon concluded: the woman must be a resident in one of those units toward the end of my street. Perhaps I should walk by to nose around and see if I could detect roasted lemon Thyme.

“Sergeant” Adam was told, from the iPhone he asked: “What happened to the CCTV?” Well, it has never worked, and the solar sensor light had stopped working altogether, because the sun may have moved since we entered halfway through autumn? He assured me that he would drop by to check it all out. Which means he will want a wholesome tasty dinner afterwards, preferably “lemon thyme marinated chicken”.Photo by Thai Peck

It is an odious crime; in the olden day the woman would have been shipped to Australia (?) as a convict. Today, one could only hope that her dinner will somehow always have a certain bitter taste from the revenge of the stolen Thyme.

🙂 🙂 🙂

“Come Wander With Me”

Photo by Thai Peck

These photos were just quick snap shots with my iPhone on my wander this morning.

Photo by Thai Peck

Photo by Thai Peck

“…He said come wander with me love

Come wander with me

Away from this sad world

Come wander with me

He came from the sunset

He came from the sea

He came from my sorrow

And can only love me…”

A song by Jeff Alexander

Photo by Thai Peck

Photo by Thai Peck

The Ties That Bind

Photo by Thai Peck

This book was weaved from forty ties, forty ties out of almost a hundred ties! They came from almost a lifetime in which I had my share that is from 1968 until 2015 and that covered almost my entire life.

Photo by Thai Peck

After a long and hard juggling trying to save them, the forty ties were cut so the artist could weave without too much difficulty to bind the book cover. To quote a phrase: “…and so the ties were cut!”

Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck
Photo by Thai Peck

“Only ever with you, I love to have and hold into the circle of your arms,  I’ll unfold; into your blue eyes’ greeting shine, my gold; only ever with you, I yearn to grow old…

Only ever with you I can write rhymes as such, for you bring my muse from dust to dash, to hush.  Only ever with you my being wants to attach, as first step already taken to our primrose path.

Stars and moon may leave the dark skies yet, one look at the gleam of your blue eyes day and night, I see the rising sunrise. Only ever with you, I will dive to lows or heights.

For only ever with you, I’ll plunge to infinity.  Prayers plea asking blessing from divinity, to tie two hearts and two souls in sole unity.  Mindless to whatever is there in humanity.”

(A poem by Olive Eloisa Guillermo)

Photo by Thai Peck

One could not help but feeling some regret to finally cut the ties, but in order to be free and move on with living it is necessary, only to have the comfort that I am blessed with the memories to treasure while I am getting ready for my journey onto a new path.