Silent Miaow – Molly 2001-2018

The Silent Miaow* - Ellie Kennard 2015
The Silent Miaow* – Ellie Kennard 2015

It’s always so hard to say goodbye. In this case we didn’t even get a chance to do that. We lost Molly last night, when we were thousands of miles away.

Molly was such a different cat. She took 17 years to really come out of her shell and learn to play and show affection. Her last years got better and better as she gained confidence and began to enjoy her life. She discovered the fun of chasing her tail this summer, at almost 17 yrs old. It’s so sad that, having got to that stage, her life ended so suddenly.

Molly had a special fashion sense. This photo demonstrates it best…

Molly's manicure- Ellie Kennard 2015
Molly’s manicure- Ellie Kennard 2015

Molly was very serious almost all her life, with an intense way of looking at you – almost right through you. We sometimes called her The Looking Cat. We never knew why she was like that as Cornish Rex cats normally are very playful and not at all timid. Her life long companion, Rupert is totally different. He is gregarious, fun loving, affectionate and full of confidence. The first 2 weeks we had her she spent lying flat between the mattress and the box spring of a bed, almost too frightened to come out to eat. Once she began to trust us, after about 10 years, she would sometimes just sit and stare at us unblinkingly, making everyone feel slightly uncomfortable. She looked right into our souls.

Molly's intense stare - 2015
Molly’s intense stare – 2015

Molly knew how to be elegant. Like all cats, she loved the sun and would always seek it out, whether indoors as here, or outdoors as in the opening image, wearing her harness which kept her from straying.

Molly Silhouette - Ellie Kennard 2013
Molly Silhouette – Ellie Kennard 2013

Goodbye Molly. Rupert will miss you. And so will we.
*Molly was here sitting in front of the book “The Silent Miaow” by Paul Gallico

Revisiting England – thoughts from abroad

It’s time to revisit England. Not literally, though a little while ago we had thought to return this month. No, this time I am thinking of England at my favourite time of the year, when I always wish I were back there. It was April, 1968 when I first visited. I had just left a Canada which was still wintry, slushy and tired of the cold and snow. England was having one of its balmy, even hot, sunny springs, with flowers blooming everywhere, birds singing and everyone friendly and happy, sitting on the grass in parks and by canals. I fell in love with the country then and I will always go back there in my mind every spring. There is nowhere like it for me. I have no photographs of the spring in England, I don’t need them. My memory holds it all including the warmth of the sun on my back and on my pale winter face, and the wonderful scent of the spring flowers. Every year I think of the lines from Robert Browning’s “Home Thoughts From Abroad“* – “Oh, to be in England Now that April’s there…”

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry - Ellie Kennard 2012
Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry – Ellie Kennard 2012

And then another line comes back to me from “A Shropshire Lad“** by A.E. Housman “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough…” Many years later, the first real home I lived in in England had two ornamental cherry trees outside the front door.  To this day every time I see a cherry tree in bloom, I am transported back to that time and the joy they brought me then.

Through the cottage window

There were few flowers to be seen on our trip back to the UK, but some of the scenes brought back just as many memories. It’s funny how even the interior of a modern park home, one of many almost identical in tight rows, can seem like a quaint cottage when it is filled with the things brought from just such an old home. Everything about this said ‘cottage window’ to me and the simple treasures brought to it from such an old kitchen filled the modern space with a feeling of solidity and timelessness. The little lidded pots for tea and coffee had made a graceful transition to sit on a modern windowsill, and the bird feeders transplanted to the tiny garden were so familiar that as you looked out beyond them to the golden leaves on this new riverbank you were once again standing in the kitchen of the ancient cottage on the river bank in the Suffolk countryside.

Cottage autumn window - Ellie Kennard 2016
Cottage autumn window – Ellie Kennard 2016

The things we choose to keep

When we move to new homes, we choose the things that we want to keep around us, things that represent in some way who we are and who we have been. Here, this window hanging plant crossed generations and was selected to be brought through multiple moves. The horse brasses in the sitting room, tide clock and seascapes from Suffolk hanging on the wall as if they had always been there all serve to connect us all with past windows, past cottages, past loves, friends and families. No casual visitor could guess why such a plant, such simple possessions were carried through sad and happy times, places and lives, yet, even without guessing, something does come through, something more powerful than a simple object.

Memories through a cottage window - Ellie Kennard 2016
Memories through a cottage window – Ellie Kennard 2016

Looking around the home we were staying in I was warmed by the memories that each piece of decoration brought back.  They all opened a window onto the past that was still there, though so far away in time and miles.

*Robert Browning’s “Home Thoughts From Abroad” (to hear the whole poem on Youtube)
**A Shropshire Lad” by A.E. Housman – the whole poem linked here

Joni is Four

Joni never minds the cold of winter walks, as long as she has our company!
Joni never minds the cold of winter walks, as long as she has our company!

Joni turned 4 years old a week or so ago, though it’s hard to believe it’s been that long since she joined our household! She still has the boundless energy and enthusiasm of a puppy, a characteristic of border collies. Born in the winter, she loves the cold and finds the snowy, blustery days invigorating, where we have to bundle ourselves up against the elements. Soon the snow will be deep on the ground covering the frozen treacherous icy ruts on the road and fields and the walking will be easier as we don our snowshoes (and Joni her boots) to head out across the landscape. The freedom of being able to go cross country on skis or snowshoes in the winter is hard to imagine if you haven’t tried it. The interesting thing is that once you are out in it, the cold doesn’t feel as bad. There’s a saying that it’s not that the weather is too cold, you’re just not wearing warm enough clothes!

Enjoy the winter, those of us who have it, Spring will come eventually and the cycle will begin anew.

When Friends

Thinking of you - friends
Thinking of you – friends

When friends think of you and they let you know in some way, it makes your world a happier, warm place.

Thank you to all friends everywhere who brighten our lives.

Naturally Curly

I have had many new subscribers sign up for my blog lately, to my surprise (and delight, thank you all!). In celebration of this and for all of you reading, I am sharing a favourite image of mine I took in the full bloom of summer. This was our first year of growing dahlias since we left France, 20 years ago (and we had some glorious ones there, raised in the heat and sun of that idyllic place). We didn’t have much choice by the time we went dahlia tuber shopping, but we were generally pleased with the results, only losing a couple that didn’t make it to the surface. And the earwigs! What a battle I had with them, but I won!

Though the fresh blooms of this particular dahlia are flamboyant and dramatic, my eye was caught by this one which was almost spent, finishing its flowering in an elegant, stylish fashion. Each of the petals had begun to twist and curl and they reminded me of the tousled head of a little girl with brightly coloured, naturally curly hair.

Naturally curly - Ellie Kennard 2017
Naturally curly – Ellie Kennard 201

WHAT THE BEST DRESSED FUCHSIAS ARE WEARING THIS FALL

Now fall is upon us and the colours are starting to develop and intensify. It’s the most beautiful time of the year in some ways, though the chill is something I could do without. The warmth of the wood stove we use to heat our house and the faint smell of wood smoke in the cool, brisk autumn air have an appeal of their own and so I must simply shift my focus from the summer joys to those of this, one of my favourite seasons!

I looked out of my kitchen window yesterday morning to see these three jaunty looking fuchsias, protected so stylishly from the hard frost of the night before. I know their days are numbered, but as they are in glorious full bloom still, it’s surely not too much to ask just a few more days of enjoying the beauty of these before they go away for the winter?

What the best dressed fuchsias are wearing this fall - Ellie Kennard 2017
What the best dressed fuchsias are wearing this fall – Ellie Kennard 2017

While waiting and in memory

Some of my friends have recently lost loved ones, so thinking of them and their sadness at this time, I wanted to give them, even if only virtually, some of the dahlias from our garden. If they had lived nearby I would have taken them the actual flowers. These are for Prue, for Cynthia and for Amaya and for everyone else who might be feeling the loss of a friend or family member.

I am planning to share a few posts on a different theme from my usual ones on here, in hopes that they will be of interest to my present readers. I have been giving some thought as to how to do this, but I felt that I wanted to share some of the beauty of our garden with special friends and all who visit. They come with my love and thoughts for you all.

This fiery streaked and almost ragged looking flower has a warmth and a wildness that really appealed to me.

Dahlia flower - Ellie Kennard 2017
Dahlia flower – Ellie Kennard 2017

And a dahlia in waiting, teasing us, only partly unfurling, as if shy to show herself, the first to bloom on this new plant.

Coming soon, dahlia in waiting - Ellie Kennard 2017
Coming soon, dahlia in waiting – Ellie Kennard 2017

Joni’s Bike Ride

Joni eager to start back on the return journey.
Joni eager to start back on the return journey.

Joni’s energy levels never cease to amaze us! Today was the longest bike ride we have done to date, using the Bike Tow Leash * to attach her safely to the bikes. (Joni now loves her bike rides so much that when she sees me holding the Martingale collar we use to attach her to the bike, she runs up, wagging her tail and sits down by the bike ready to go!)  The whole trip was about 20.5 kms, (maps shown below on two apps, one managed to record the way out, the other managed the return trip, both giving slightly different distances for exactly the same journey). It’s a lovely ride on a groomed trail made from a converted rail line through the countryside, through woods and beside farmland and the dykes, with no roads involved.

We were careful to stop part way to offer her a drink (she was not interested at the 5km mark) and to chat with a few cyclists who were on their way back from a day out, then again at the half way mark in Wolfville, where we rested, as you see below, by the Minas Basin. There Joni lay down for about 20 minutes or so. She did have some water at that point, but was quite ready to go as soon as we were. The tide was high and the weather was warm, but not too hot and the ride was really a joy.

We were worried that Joni might have got too tired, as we were setting the pace, but she seemed to find the average 8 or 9 km/hr comfortable. When we got back to the car she rested (20 kms is a long run) and had a drink while we loaded the bikes back onto the car for the drive home. As soon as we got back, she ran to find her Frisbee for a quick game before supper. Unbelievable.

First half of the journey, New Minas to Wolfville.
First half of the journey, New Minas to Wolfville.
Return journey from Wolfville back to New Minas.
Return journey from Wolfville back to New Minas.

 

Steve, resting with Joni, beside the Minas Basin, in Wolfville, the first 10 km done comfortably.
Steve, resting with Joni, beside the Minas Basin, in Wolfville, the first 10 km done comfortably.
Here I am at the half way mark, ready to set off back again.
Here I am at the half way mark, ready to set off back again.

*Re: the Bike Tow Leash – we have no affiliation with this company at all, apart from being satisfied customers whose dog loves to go for bike rides with us.

Because : Pretty in Pink

Just a post because…. because it’s pouring with rain and seeing these photos will brighten up my day (and maybe yours); because flowers, (especially after rain) have a power to lift the spirit and lighten the sadness felt by so many it seems; because this fuchsia cheers me up every time I walk up my path to my front door; because it’s pretty in pink! (See all my floral images on my gallery here: Flora)

Fuchsia Pretty in Pink- Ellie Kennard 2017
Fuchsia Pretty in Pink- Ellie Kennard 2017

This is a wider view of the fuchsia plant, hanging with blooms, each one lovelier than the rest!

Fuchsia - Ellie Kennard 2017
Fuchsia – Ellie Kennard 2017

And last is a fantasy fun blur image, in a tunnel whirl of pink! Have a wonderful weekend. (See all my blurry images in my gallery here: When Life is a Blur )

Fuchsia in a whirl of pink- Ellie Kennard 2017
Fuchsia in a whirl of pink- Ellie Kennard 2017

Foggy Old England – Blame the French

Fog over fields, Lincolnshire - Ellie Kennard 2016
Fog over fields, Lincolnshire – Ellie Kennard 2016

Whenever the subject of the English weather comes up in conversation among those who have never been there, it’s never too long before I hear about how foggy it is there. I always laugh and say that what you see on TV shouldn’t be taken too literally, as often the programs represent Victorian England, when the pollution really did bathe the country in a murky dank smog. But those days are long over and England is no more or less foggy than other countries these days… Which is a shame in one way, because I really love foggy days.

For most of our stay in England last winter, the weather was absolutely glorious – at least during the dates we had planned to be there. We had to extend our stay due to illness and as if on cue, from that day the clouds, gloom and rain descended. And the FOG! I guess I have to revise my defence of the English fog as it really was very thick at times. But then I heard on the radio that this was an illegal weather immigrant phenomenon.

BLAME THE FRENCH!
So it seems that this deliciously atmospheric pea soup was wending its way across the channel and travelling hundreds of miles up into the heart of England, from France. We were driving through the Linconshire countryside as we heard this announced on the car radio and sure enough, there it was, creeping up the country, clearly visible across the field bordering the highway we were on. We pulled over and I took that photo you see above. So it’s not really English fog at all. But it stayed with us until we left.

FAMILIAR STREETS SEEM TO BECKON TO MYSTERIOUS DESTINATIONS

Foggy Street, Dogdyke - Ellie Kennard 2016
Foggy Street, Dogdyke – Ellie Kennard 2016

We took a walk down a familiar street which seemed to dissolve into a mystery just out of sight. Without the effect lent it by the Continental mist, this modern development had no more appeal than any other housing estate, but now it seemed to draw you along to see what secrets lay just out of sight. And then suddenly there it was! Right at the end there was a very English path with a lovely little crooked gate and a stone bridge through which trickled a gentle stream. It felt like we had jumped from one world into another!

A DIFFERENT WORLD

Country walk in the fog - Ellie Kennard 2016
Country walk in the fog – Ellie Kennard 2016

DUCKS IN THE MIST

The pond by this path was filled with ducks gliding silently through the reeds. The mist made them almost ethereal, like creatures of my past reappearing to remind me of all the ponds with all the ducks that had had bread fed to them when I stood by them on misty walks with my little girl.

Ducks in the mist - Ellie Kennard 2016
Ducks in the mist – Ellie Kennard 2016

It’s true that although England is no longer (usually) shrouded in thick smog, some of my fondest memories of the landscape of that country include mist or fog. All the same, I had not expected those memories would be so poignantly brought back to me on that short trip to Linconshire.

Jennie Feeding the Duck - Steven Kennard 1980
Jennie Feeding the Duck – Steven Kennard 1980

See the full gallery of my UK photographs here: https://elliekennard.ca/ekgallery/uk/