CALGON BLOG POST

Hi everyone! Isn’t it about time we get back to England? I think so! Go get a cup of tea, this is a Calgon Blog Post. Off we GO! MUSICA.💛

Every time Joe photo4and I have gone to England it’s always been in the spring.  That’s what we saw first, and what we fell so madly in love with. Until this last trip, which was our first experience of a British Autumn. We wondered if we were crazy, leaving home in New England in the fall, 🍂when it’s so gorgeous here. And what makes the spring so wonderful in England (as opposed to the fall) are all the newborn baby animals ~ fuzzy yellow ducklings, frolicking lambs, and baby swans (signets) are everywhere you go ~ not to mention the forget-me-nots in bloom, fields of wildflowers, hillsides covered in bluebells, and the wild apple trees in tender pink and fragrant bloom. 🍏 apple trees in bloom

We wondered, if we went in the fall, would we miss all those springtime things? Would we be disappointed?  How could anything be as beautiful as this? So it was with a little trepidation that we ventured forth last September. And that’s what I thought I’d show you today. What is fall in Britain like? You’re about to see. We walked everywhere . . .  follow me, and please shut the gate behind you.

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English people are so polite. Even their signs say please.

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As I’ve mentioned before, there are thousands of ancient pathways all over Great Britain,  all made by hand, and each one is an adventure. Since the beginning of time, long before there were cars, there were people who walked everywhere they went, from town to town, to market, to church, to visit each other and borrow eggs or help birth a baby ~ that was the mode of travel, and a good one if you ask me, especially in this green and pleasant land . . . and all those criss-crossing paths are still there.iwalkJane could have ridden a horse, or taken a buggy ride, but she preferred walking.

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Us too. The slow way, through fields, next to rivers, over hill and dale, we were done with our work for the time being, and free as birds . . . as you’ll see, this is mostly my view of Joe. I dawdle taking pictures …

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You can go for miles on these paths through the dappled woods, even from town to town. It’s a people kind of country because of these paths, more than a machine kind of country.fullsizeoutput_3651

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The paths are often marked . . . there are great “Ordnance Survey Maps” that show where they are, but really all you have to do is look around you, because they’re everywhere.

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Some are more marked than others . . . when you see these little signs on gates and fence posts, that means you go girl.

endorse walk stileThose signs are often out in the middle of nowhere, see the little arrow sign on the left side fullsizeoutput_2372of the fence?  You wonder who put that there. Is it the government? Is it the farmer? Is it a good samaritan? I don’t know. And the wood thing in the middle, that is what they call a stile . . . it’s there to help us climb over fences so we don’t leave gates open and let farm animals escape. No gate, no escape!

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See? You just step up and over . . . then follow that little dark path next to the ancient wall and see where it goes . . .

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Because you never know where it will lead. That’s the serendipity of the English countryside. Each day is an adventure. Look at that sky! And we didn’t let the animals out! The Queen Mary 2 dropped us off in England in the middle of September, and as time went by, the trees began to change . . .autumn

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“When from every hill of flame, she calls and calls, each vagabond by name. . . ” I took lots of photos. I knew you’d want to see. And it was heavenly. See the clouds reflected in the water?livingnaturefall

So many lovely lakes in England, reflecting the sky. We found that we didn’t miss fall in New England after all. How could we?everythingwasromantic

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Here are a couple of lucky guys from the hood who get to fish at Blenheim Palace (where Winston Churchill was born). The peace of this alone could make me move here.

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I really wish you could smell it and feel the breeze, because the air is sparkling clean and cool and the leaves are swirling around us and it’s quiet except for birds twittering in the trees, lapping water and leaves crunching underfoot, the way it’s been for centuries.word shell summer

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The trees sway and rustle in the wind, the sun shone through them putting golden light on everything.

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↖️ See the little yellow arrow? They’ve even built bridges out in the woods. Many of them are very old and made of stone. And walkers rule. Look at my honeyman. He is beside himself out there.

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Oh, yes, we are.

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We are ecstatic. Can’t believe our good fortune. (Do you see my eyes are saying, “Can you believe this?”) The good thing about all that walking, is all that food!  For once you can eat!  To be out there with the birds and the quiet, even when we get rained on, is the happiest thing we do. You just feel God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world. 💜walk

Behind every little town there are paths, bounded by hedgerows, rivers, and stonewalls.

fallAnd views to forever . . . you see that green patch way in the back and you say, let’s go there! No cars, no noise at all, serenity. More Musica?

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And, not to worry, there were PLENTY of animals, because everyone in England has at least one dog ~ we were the only people without a dog to walk.  It was almost embarrassing. Like, Where’s your dog? What’s wrong with you, don’t you like animals?  And I think I pet and took a picture of every one of them. I’ll show you next post!animalsfall

Here, we’re on the grounds of a manor house we’d come to visit. Most, if not all, the castles, palaces, and manor homes open to the public, have acres of lovely gardens you can walk through ~ some are formal, but they usually include wild woodland and river walks, blazing thickets, little cottages, sometimes tunnels or a stone circle, a red fox here and there, dozens of pheasants grazing, and pigeons, high up in the trees, cooing “my-toe-huts-bet-tee.”FollowYourHeart

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See the hedge opening at the back? Does it not just boggle the imagination? Don’t you just want to GO there? Okay . . . . get ready to kick all those leaves up and twirl  and dance with the joy of it . . .

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Here we are on the other side of the hedge! Ahhhh.

“And straight was a path of gold for him . . . “  Robert Browning

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You come around the corner, and there’s this . . . you can see the manor house we just came out of, called Waddeson, in the background ~ but we loved the leaf blower . . . yearned to throw ourselves in, but old enough to know better!

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But I did play hide the foot.

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And, of course, there were sheep everywhere, just grownup lambs, still adorable . . .

Joe walkAnd there were wildflowers . . .stripofflowersfall

And wonderful fall gardens to visit with centuries-worn stone manor houses and brick walls . . . and don’t forget, every garden comes with a gift shop! And a tea shop!

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We brought home memories!pink-flowers

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Just as beautiful, in any season . . .

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See the bell on top of the little house?

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And the church bells rang, as they have for centuries . . . and your heart swells from the beauty, you want to throw your arms around it!

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We walked in the graveyard at night, and the wind blew and the Hunter’s moon shined down on us and turned the leaves to gold . . .

“From all who dwell below the skies, let faith and hope and love arise . . .”

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And as you drift around, from garden gate to castle doors, you hope that nothing ever happens to change these wonderful old places . . .

“October is the jewel set in the hand of time.” Gladys Taber

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Because it’s magic. And all serendipity. You just never know what you will find.

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And speaking of Magic: here’s our friend Siobhan. You could go on a walk by yourself. And star and moonthat’s fine, you will have a wonderful time. But if you go with Siobhan (pronounce it Shiv-on), you will find magic. I know, because I’ve tested it several times, and so far my theory has never failed. Once, we were walking, and three large white horses with flying manes came running up to us! Here she is holding off stampeding cows. We could not have survived this walk without her.Friendsendorse fall walk following siobhan around malmesbury

For example, since this is the town she grew up in, she knows every crevice of it, all the hidden paths you can take to cross through town. Isn’t it wonderful? Can you imagine how long this leafy little alleyway has been here? Neither can I. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for hide and seek? You could scare the bejeebers out of anyone coming around that corner!

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She knows every shortcut. And don’t you love a town that has these little walk-throughs between the buildings. You don’t have to wait until you get to the corner, since there aren’t many of them anyway. The village was made for people on foot, not cars.

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Centuries have come and gone . . . but these little pathways through the rural villages are all still there, and keeping all their secrets.thoswhodontbelieve

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One of her hidden paths took us past this farm . . . and through the town, with a faint tang of woodsmoke in the air . . . (and now, because I never get tired of hearing this Music, for you and in the name of hope.💞)

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. . . she took us to visit this wonderful Abbey House with the wonderfully symmetrical garden . . .

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Siobhan taught us how to dress, yes, you DO need Wellies, pretty much year round, don’t even think of going without them . . . and see the dog tail at the door? He’s going with us! (And there’s his bunny toy, bottom right.)

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And off we go . . . out her front door, walking through the woods, along the river, to this place . . .

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I wasn’t sure who was happiest, Dusty, nosing through the grass along the water’s edge, racing out to the woods following some crackling noise, or us!

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I honestly think it was us.

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So the rule is, wherever Siobhan leads we will happily follow, loving it, through the musty smell of fallen leaves.

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These kinds of far views are all over England, the sky is huge and I can’t tell you how many photos I have of clouds . . . I don’t think England has mountains, I think it only has valleys. You ride along the top, and suddenly you’ll come to a valley, but hardly ever to a mountain.

“I don’t own an inch of land, but all I see is mine.” 💜 Lucy Larcom

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And we walked in the shade of ancient old trees . . . SocietyGrowsGreat

And no, we don’t ever get tired of it. Who gets tired of magic?

Well, I think I have to go, but I’ll have more England for you in the next post ~ I have Plaid to show you! And Carrie’s house! And poppies and reindeer heads! Dogs! And Food! And Bunting! SO much to look forward to!😁fullsizeoutput_f820

In the meantime . . .Little things in lifeNow, before I go, I have to tell you about a TV show that I bet you already know about, but just in cases: You should try to find A Place Called Home.  It’s on Acorn TV (probably other places too) ~ it’s set in rural New South Wales in Australia, and is so well-written and so well-acted, and so exciting that sometimes you’re forced to wring your hands and yell at the TV screen, because it’s very fast-paced and everything that COULD happen, does. The music is great and the cars are fabulous! Set in the 1950s. If you have any worries on your mind, this will give you respite. And Joe likes it as much as I do. There are three seasons available right now . . . a good winter hibernation project! We pour wine, make dinner, get blankies and settle in. Give yourself a few episodes to get used to it, because it just gets better and better.

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OMG, look at the time! I gotta go!

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But just so you know, life goes on as usual around here . . .

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Jack is still our best entertainment . . .

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I just finished the May page for the new 2018 calendar . . . that’s my rendition of me and my mom . . . I loved working on this . . . can’t wait to get out to California to see her!

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My shadow keeps me company  while I work . . . the ferry horn blows out over the harbor.

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Joe and I walk in our very own woods here on the Island every day . . . sandy dirt road, leafless trees, icy air, blue skies, and sparkling sea . . . the best part of our day.❤️

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This paper mug has gone off to get a price quote and a sample made . . . it might even be here by the end of next week!!!! So excited. I love this thing. I would even buy one, so I’m thrilled to be getting it. Fingers crossed that they can do it, and that we can afford it! It’s a mug, even though I call it a cup, it’s big, holds 16 oz, would be dishwasher and microwave safe, and made of thin bone china. All the things I love! It even has a theme, it’s called Little Things, because it’s all about the little things in life. This isn’t the only design, there are three, one is Love, and the other is Nature! (England and Christmas are both in the works!) I’ll show more soon! If the sample works out, it will go right into production and I think we’ll have them before Mother’s Day! Don’t worry, this paper mug is all glued together, it will look a lot better when the cutlines and scribbled numbers go away.sb borderUpdate on the book signing at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo: It’s definitely Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the 18th of March, at 2pm. If you can come, try to reserve a place to stay, sooner rather than later. I think they might be selling tickets (not for me, for them),  I know they’re putting up a tent, and having food, and I’ll be giving a talk, answering questions, and then signing books. Kellee and Sheri will bring lots of books and other fun things from the Studio. Sounds like a Girl Party! I hope you can come!word dream

Prayers for the new President, and for us, my beloveds, for the kitties and doggies, for the trees and our history, and for the world.💞

Let beauty, truth, and good be sung, from every land, from every tongue . . .CountingBlessings

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DELIGHTFULLY CUT OFF ☃️

Good Morning . . .MUSICA We are, right now, in the midst of a beautiful inspiring Ad for Victoriasnowstorm here on Martha’s Vineyard, delightfully cut off from the real world, not just any storm, they’re calling it a blizzard. Sometimes, I have to say, working at home has its snow treedrawbacks. You forget to get out of your jammies (until someone drops in, then you think, OMG, L👀k at me!), you lay out your newly designed calendar pages all across the living room floor (generally making a mess wherever you go), you stand staring into the fridge and then eat it all ~ so excited about something you’re painting, that you just leave the open extra-crunchy peanut butter jar and the sourdough toast crumbs on the counter and run back to the studio ~ which means your house gets a little disgusting to match your darling self in jammies and shawl, BUT, on a day like today, I take it all back, I’m grateful because it is heaven to snowy dawnbe cozy at home, listening to the crackling fire, smelling the smoke, in my jammies, warm in my plaid shawl from Scotland, laying out my calendar pages, eating everything in the fridge, drinking tea with honey and milk … and feeling pretty sure (and safe), that in the pouring snow, no one will stop by! Taking deep breaths, and wishing I could slow down time . . . I love winter, everything so much easier now, than in the summer when the windows are open and the birds are singing and all I want to do is run out and play!img_2849

Right now, it’s just counting my blessings, trying to make something out of nothing, blank piece of paper in front of me, never knowing for sure what I am doing, but trying hard to do it, snow falling outside the windows, squirrels hanging from the bird feeders, purring noises coming from my art table . . . the clock ticking on the mantle . . .saying hello to you here and on Twitter (you can go there and just look, you don’t have to join, just in cases😘), then knitting and TV and bed and then do it all over again . . .

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This is the view from my studio window right now . . . snow pouring down, spirals flying off the barn, piling up at the tops of the picket fence, making snow flowers in the tree branches . . . snow

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I walk through my sleepy house to go to my Studio in the morning, as I have for so many years, the old floors creak here and there, muffled noises of snowplow come from outside, and I am overwhelmed for the moment, so grateful that I got to grow up and meet Joe and move here, to this old house I adore so much ~ a house that’s more like a parent, protective and safe, like a mom or a dad. 💖 So cozy, it’s hard to tear myself out of bed in the morning ~ I stay a while and listen to the house and the wind.

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There’s my honey, a man and his castle, the barn. He was up early, “It’s snowing” he yelled as he ran out the door! The man loves to shovel snow. Don’t ask me why, he just does. Another blessing to be added to my very long list.

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I do my part . . .

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We kept a few lights in the kitchen ~ along with candles and the flames in the fireplace, they make a perfect cheery contrast to darker shorter days . . .

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The lights are still on our kitchen porch too, we keep them year round, they looked good on the summer night of Joe’s birthday too . . .

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This place is the perfect place for dreaming . . . and I’m definitely dressed to go dreaming . . . and no, I don’t mind if you come along…🎵🎶

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I thought you’d like to see the photo the Sisters sent from the Holy Nativity Convent . . .  Isn’t this just darling? This should be their Christmas card next year! Pure love. They have Hygge totally under control! Thank you all for your support of the Sisters ~ so many of you responded to that post by ordering candles and clocks and all the other wonderful things the sisters make… they are ecstatic, you’ve made their day/year, and filled those 17 little stockings with peace and good will.  I just have to say, for the upty-ninth time, I love us!sweetnessflowers

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I love him too. My kitty. Now when he rubs his head on me, I rub my head on him. We are simpatico together. I get him, he gets me, and all is well in la-la-land.Do not disturbsantiago

So here I am, painting away for the next calendar, thinking to myself, as I watercolor my letters to the tune of the ticking clock, “What will they like? What can I give them . . .” meaning you, and hoping I guess right . . .  I do dream it . . .if you dream it

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Oh, and I was thinking, maybe I should make my own mugs? I mean other people have done it, I ought to be able to figure it out. So, for starters, I made a paper one. Just fooling around . . . but isn’t it cute?

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As you know, my boy Jack hangs out in the Studio with me, sometimes asleep, but other times he’s going after something . . . like my new Scottish plaid heart (sent to me by Elizabeth) which was hanging on my “fridge.” This is his “you caught me” face. See the pillow on top of the fridge? It didn’t used to look like Jack, but I blacked in the nose and mustache with a black marker and now it does! Life and all it’s little bits and pieces, ahhhhh.happy! flowers

 I do have to get to work though, we leave for California at the end of next month, I’ll be meeting (in person) the screenwriter who is still hard at work on the script for our (not-ThreeBooksgoing-to-happen-but-still-a-fun-thought-anyway 😜) movie or series or whatever it will be.  It was just this time last year when I first heard someone might want to make a movie from my trilogy of books, and so we’re going to meet under the HOLLYWOOD sign when Joe and I get out to California ~ her idea! A place I’ve never been! So, how fun is that?  And also, that book signing I mentioned? It is for sure going to be on March 18th. I don’t know the exact time yet, but Apple watercolorI’m assuming it’ll be in the afternoon ~ at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo, CA. Did I hear someone mention road trip????  I hope so! Lots of wonderful EVERYTHING in the SLO-town area in March, Spring!  Ocean, sunshine🌞, and beach restaurants, cute downtown shopping, antique stores, nearby towns filled with charm, wineries, farmstands and good restaurants . . . on and on. Put the Beach Boys Kokomo in your MUSICA, start learning the words, sing along in your car and and come on down (or over, or up)!  Until then, dear friends . . . Enjoy! Next time, on the blog, I’ll show you more of England!HeartThrobswinter word

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