In honor of Mary Tyler Moore (who could turn the world on with her smile), today is the perfect day (since she loved them, and all animals so much) to do DOGS of the English Countryside. MUSICA  And do not think I am insane, remember I am only the reporter. I didn’t think of this all by myself, and don’t forget this isn’t just one day, it took two and half months to take all these photos. I actually didn’t take pictures of every dog we saw, but I tried.

fullsizeoutput_1393British people are famous for their love of dogs. It starts right at the top, and is met with a mighty roar by everyone else in the Queendom. Dogs are everywhere.animals

Queen Elizabeth

The media has lots of fun with the Queen’s well-known adoration of Pembroke Welsh Fairy1Corgis, which have followed her around for her whole life. My favorite part of the wonderful movie The Queen was seeing those dogs with Helen Mirren, they just made every scene they were in. And it was all real, as you can see HERE.  According to Welsh folklore, Corgis were the “enchanted dog of the Fay,” and the perfect mount for tiny fairy warriors.

Queen Elizabeth

It all began when Elizabeth was a child . . . the look on both of their faces says it all…dog

dogI thought I might show a few of the British dogs we encountered on our walks. Of course, there were Corgis like this adorable one at Stourhead. If I had a dog, this sturdy little fellow is the one I would want!! They are always smiling. And when they want to play, they bounce on their front feet.


Dogs provide the perfect opportunity to talk to strangers when you’re traveling. And as you know, dog owners are the best people (right up there with cat owners)! Here we are on a walk, hooking up for a meeting of the minds. Two dog owners and us and plenty to talk about.


This dog was reaching up for a head pat and a smile.


And then expressed joy of gorgeous fall day in the leaves and the wind . . .


She wouldn’t stop. She was in heaven.get-attachment.aspx


We definitely had nature’s address, so here we go … here’s my dog gallery:  This cutie was prancing along just fine, but was suddenly put off by the camera and the strange person behind it . . . he came to a stop, and was just about to step back . . .

dog at blenheim castle

This big boy was wearing his plaid best while walking the grounds of the Palace where Winston Churchill was born. His lovely owner shared him with us.


This one thought it knew me. Just for a moment.


Here come the twins. Yes, I am on my haunches ready and willing to be licked to death.


Swans are another thing you see lots of. Most people know to walk around them, even when they look sociable, it’s a ploy. But that little dog wants them so bad.


This is that same walk past the swans, along the canal in Aylesbury ~ you can see the little dog from the last photo in the back.  As we visited with the person who owns these dogs, she told us the black one carries his toy because it keeps him from barking. Brilliant!


It was a beautiful, misty, fall day in the neighborhood.


Then there was this one. In a store . . . she let me take her photo, one ear up, and one down, but soon it was clear she’d had enough,


She opened the door . . .


and left.

Dog George and Dragon Pub, chacombe

Because they are a civilized country and very people-oriented, dogs are welcome, along with their bones, bowls and chew toys, in almost every pub and tea shop, and most hotels.


So, if you don’t mind the separation every night, you CAN bring your dog with you on the Queen Mary 2.  THAT’S how civilized this country is! Not so sure I see happiness in everyone’s faces, but still, dogs and cats can come along, they just aren’t allowed to sleep in your room and have to stay in this kennel where the owners can go visit. This would turn me into a smuggler. Look at that bulldog’s face. It says it all.


And will be welcome wherever you go. You’ll note the water bowl with the heart in it. MAS MUSICA!

pub dog

All three wearing plaid, in a pub, and with all different owners . . .


This one is at the table next to us at an outdoor tea room . . . extremely interested in …


. . . this guy, just across from us.


This one, and the one up ahead, are right at home at the beautiful Devonshire Hotel. And why not, look at the wallpaper. (Excuse me for a moment, Jack is insisting I come into the bathroom and watch him drink water from the faucet.)

words cat critters love life is good

dog lucas paul

Speaking of love, this is Alice. She is the lucky puppy who belongs to Rachel and Paul, our wonderful English friends.


Here’s Alice among the flowers. She is beloved and they take her everywhere. She knows her way around the train too.


This is Alice’s collar.


And here are some of the decorative Alice collection, antique and otherwise, that reside on Ray and Paul’s kitchen shelf.


Rachel is a dog lover from way back. This photo is in her childhood bedroom.


So you can imagine how Joe and I felt at this antique store when we saw all of these wonderful old toy dogs . . .


We were almost drooling over them through the glass cupboard doors, especially loving the one on wheels . . . thinking what a good gift one of them would make and how cute it would look in their living room.


Trying to decide . . . very exciting, so many choices. “Maybe I could make cookies,” I was telling Joe, “and give them to Ray and Paul in this darling box.” Good idea!


And then I started asking for prices. And was horrified to discover they are NOT FOR SALE. None of them. They were just put there to torture us!  The store owner’s private collection. Really! And I’m sorry to say that begging didn’t help a bit.

dog gift for ray and paul

Later on in the trip, we found this little iron door-knocker in another antique store, probably the only one of these dog things in England that other lady didn’t own. So we snapped it right up. Not big, furry, or on wheels, no straw hat, but still, old and kinda cute.fullsizeoutput_3738

There were dogs on every walk . . .


We didn’t even have to get out of the car to take pictures of them.  This is at Loch Ness in Scotland. Look at the man wearing a kilt, talking to that white-haired person over the garden wall . . . Ahh Scotland . . .


Doggies on display at stoplights . . .


. . . and when we come out the front door of the house we were staying in, this car was parked across the street. Look at the little pillow hanging on the window.


Don’t you think this pup would look perfect with Jack? They would make a beautiful pair. He seems very fit to me, and dressed tastefully, like the boots and pants of his owner.

dog caledonian canal

Photographing dogs means you get a good excuse to do the shoe-cam . . . these two look so alike, something about the eyes.


Look at that eyeball. Isn’t he darling. What kind is he? I don’t know. Morning Science. I would like hair that color. Or those colors.


Cool dogs in Bath.


Farm dogs . . . in a car pulling a trailer filled with hay.

dog Joe and Mike

 Here’s Joe and a man we met on our walk named Mike. That’s our walking path off on the left (don’t you just want to follow it and see where it goes?), he was coming down as we were going up. He has a dog, so of course we got to talking ~ he was so nice and so funny. He had that cute English accent and all . . . . . .and after a while, among other things, he shared with us that he was a recent widower, he’d lost his wife Hazel, just six months before. We could easily see how much he was missing her. But his memories seemed to be all joy. 💝


There is his beautiful dog, and I mean this dog was beautiful, standing near the fairy circle Mike had built for his wife . . .


We’d seen this mysterious circle (at least to us, imaging all sorts of ancient Mists of Avalon Druid-y things) before we ran into Mike and started asking him about it, what it was, how long it had been there . . . he told us he was the one who’d actually made it (not a Druid after all) because his wife asked him to, from tree stumps that he buried . . . she wanted a magical place outdoors where the local children could have birthday parties. Isn’t this the best remembrance?  Shows how really easy it is to go on living forever.❤️

met Peter with dog Rex on walk

Same walk, different dog, in the English Countryside, which among other things, defines the meaning of the word “green.”

dog "largest in terrier breed"

This one liked to model for us. He was excellent at it.


Very playful sweetheart of a dog. So see? It’s not all just trees and things . . . dogs and their masters are part of the discovery too.

endorse dog

Remember? I showed this one on the blog the other day. We’re in Birnam Wood, where we went to see an ancient tree, alive in Shakespeare’s time ~ I’m down low to take this photo, and he just kept coming. . .


Getting cuter and cuter, he almost knocked me over! But it was worth it.

TV BBC 1 watching "one man and his dog"

Dogs on TV too . . . I was just going through the channels and happened upon this show and it was the BEST!  Could have watched it every night . . . it was called One Man and His Dog. You can see an episode HERE ~ you’ll love it too. Who knew? It’s a whole other world.

dog on tv shepherd contest

This was the winning dog in the episode I watched. Dogs have so much heart.


Seeing that show on TV was what got us wanting to see the dogs and sheep in person . . . so when we got to Scotland we found Neil Ross, a shepherd and spent the afternoon enjoying his wonderful display of working dogs . . .


I wrote an earlier post about them. So beautiful. And amazing, what they can do.

dogThey had puppies at the farm too . . .


We spent part of our time in Scotland with our friends Elizabeth and Mike . . . and all of us fell in love with the dogs.


Elizabeth has two dogs at home in California, one looks just like this one, this cairn terrier we met on an abandoned WWII landing strip (as we learned from his mistress) we found while walking the perimeters of Stourhead. See? Meet a dog, and you get all kinds of interesting information and history.


Pretty and clean ~ obviously not walking through the English countryside. A town dog.


Another Scottish dog.


The look of love.animals


And this little one is called Jack, and belongs to Carrie (our friend from Twitter @holywellbnb), and has a wonderful life chasing birds in Oxford. Soon, on an upcoming post, we’ll go visit the whole family and see inside Carrie’s really old, beyond normal, darling, cottage.


And then there was this beauty. Perfect for a winter in the northlands.


This is an English doghouse. Because charm is their middle name.fullsizeoutput_11032

Not every picture I took had a dog in it… some, like this one, had to stand on its own. And does a pretty good job of it. Loveliness-wise. Can you just feel yourself on that path. Look at that “architecture!” Who does that?ruralenglandistoobeautiful


Ahhhh, deep breath, the English Countryside . . .

april 2014 sweetnessWell, I suppose it’s back to real life for me . . .


Hope you enjoyed that ~ I’ll be back soon with more . . . maybe some amazing pub food, or maybe some Scottish plaid. Something quirky, no doubt.  I hope the sample mug shows up this week, if it does, and it’s good-to-go, we’ll have a Giveaway in the next post.💖 And, remember, if things get rough while I’m away, follow the old Mark Twain rule of thumb and it will all seem better . . .EatABullfrog OR, watch this . . .

Or, this . . . (you can go on all day with these!)

Or, if you have a special dog in your life, you can make these:dogbonesflowers


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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 (cygnets) 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.

path gate

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

endorse fall path walk with siobhan in stow

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.

endorse fall walk aylesbury canal

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 …

endorse walk

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


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.

endorse walk sign

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!

endorse walk stile

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

walk devonshire arms bolton abbey

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


“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


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.


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

fall climbing hill woodstock

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

walk joe

↖️ 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.

endorse me walk

Are we happy?fullsizeoutput_f4ba

Oh, yes, we are.

me tea

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?


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


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 . . .


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

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


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!

foot lost in leaves

But I did play hide the foot.

fall sheep lamb

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!


We brought home memories!pink-flowers


Just as beautiful, in any season . . .


See the bell on top of the little house?


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!


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 . . .”

endorse fall newark park staying at siobhans

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

endorse fall

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


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!


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.

path alley stow

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


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.💞)


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

endorse walk

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.)

endorse walk

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

dog dusty

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!


I honestly think it was us.

endorse walk

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


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

tree fall

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.


OMG, look at the time! I gotta go!


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


Jack is still our best entertainment . . .


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!


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


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.❤️


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 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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