Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Two Weeks is Not Enough

On the heels of my 5K debut The Tour Guide flew in to visit for a couple of weeks.  He got here on September 24 and we had a fantastic time.  Because I’d just joined the ranks of the employed I couldn’t take much time off, but we did manage to sneak out of town for a few days.

I absolutely love Savannah so I took The Tour Guide on a tour of it.


We spent the night there and had a delicious dinner on River Street.

The next morning went down I95 to check out Cumberland Island.  We took the ferry from St. Mary’s over to the Island.  While there are some residents on the Island, they’ve banded together to preserve it in it’s natural state.  No hotels, no tiki bars, no airbrush t-shirt shops. There are no stores, no restaurants nor anything commercial.  We took a picnic lunch over along with a small ice chest packed with drinks because there’s nowhere to buy anything once you’re there.  Completely unspoiled.  The only thing there is to spend money on once you’re on the island is bicycle rental at the beach camp.  We met quite a few people who were camping for the weekend.  It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

A bit grey, but beautiful scenery at Cumberland Island
The ruins of Dungeness – Winter home of Andrew Carnegie

Cumberland Island is home to the very first African American Baptist Church and the original burial place of General Henry Lee, III.  Wild turkeys, turtles, and horses roam free.  The only vehicles in the State Park are the ones that the Rangers drive.

My brother-in-law built this cooker himself.

We also spent a lot of time with my family.  For my little sister’s birthday we had a cookout,

We make a pretty good team!

played games,

shot bows and arrows,

and fished.

Two weeks goes by way too fast. ;~)


Pure Joy

It’s been a really long time since I purchased real film, and equally as long since I’ve taken pictures with a camera in which I couldn’t immediately see if I liked the picture or wanted to delete it and try again.

The one good thing about a film camera vs. one of the lesser expensive digital cameras is that you can capture the moment.  I didn’t have the bucks to fork out for a digital SLR so I bought an el cheapo used 35mm SLR.  I couldn’t wait to get going with it.  I ran out to Wally World and bought film and batteries.  I read the instruction manual and rapidly snapped up 4 rolls of 24 exposure film.

The film isn’t too expensive, but the processing can be a little pricey.  Walgreen’s has a pretty good deal, though, where you can have a CD made and get the negatives with no prints that isn’t too bad.  That way you can select which ones you want prints of without paying for all the prints on a roll.

Anyway, I had a blast with this thing.  It’s been well worth the money I paid for it.  I was a little nervous. I mean, if it’s such a great camera why is the owner selling it, right?  But I’m pretty impressed.  I took up two of the rolls at my nephew’s third birthday party.

There is nothing like capturing the pure joy on child’s face…..

My Nephew Slip Slidin’ Away!
Woo Hoo!
Hehe…Slip’N’Slide courtesy of The Tour Guide and me.

Or the sweetness of a moment…..

Luke really likes this little fella.
This little fella really likes Luke.
I gizza kiss through the fence. 🙂
I really like my new used camera! :~)


A Midsomer Dream

The High Street, Midsomer Norton

During my first visit to England in September I went around to four villages spending the day taking in the sights.  The villages there are all so charming.  They are exactly like you see in the movies or on television.  Cascading flowers, climbing vines, and breathtaking architecture.

A lovey residential district in Midsomer Norton

Row houses line the streets.  If all the cars were removed from the streets it was as if I’d stepped back in time.  I felt as if I’d been transported to the pages of a Charles Dickens novel.

A beautiful bistro in Wells

I fell in love with this little place.  There were some places I just couldn’t get out of my imagination even after I left.

A thriving butcher shop in Bath

True dress shops, pastry shops and butcher shops fill the high street with thriving businesses. I had a fabulous time watching the people going about their day busily passing me by on the sidewalk, making their way in to buy fresh meat and bread for the day.

A busy day in on the High Street in Wells

I’m a people watcher.  I love to stand back and watch people go by and imagine what their lives must be like, where they’re from, and what they do. In America the big box stores have nearly shut down all the mom ‘n pop stores, not so in England.  Shops are bustling with activity.  Every storefront on the high streets are filled with locally owned establishments.

Municipal Building in Radstock

They make use of and maintain the buildings they have instead of tearing down and making way for the new.

Mallard’s Pub, Midsomer Norton
There’s a pub on nearly every corner.  This one is situated adjacent to a church.  I found that strange because any establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold where I’m from must be at least 500 yards from any religious establishment.  The Tour Guide just laughed about that. He found it funny and said, “The people will walk straight out of that Church on Sunday and into that pub and order a drink.”  I’ve wished for such after a few church services myself. :~)
City Park, Bath, England
City Park, Bath England
   Well manicured lawns, eye catching focal points, and well placed statues grace their parks.
Did I say that sometimes I think it might be good to just pack up and move away?  Ahhhh……a girl can dream, can’t she?


Churches of England Part Deux

The beautiful village of Wells, England captured me.  The high street was filled with people carrying on their daily business, oblivious to me.  This streetscape and skyline are breathtaking.
There was a blind man in this square preaching his heart out.  He was holding his Bible over his head, shouting out everyone’s need for a Savior and giving his personal testimony.   I stood there and listened for a few minutes.  He wasn’t obnoxious or overbearing.  He was pleading.
Just beyond the square, nestled into the corner is this quaint little setting.
 Through the stone opening just left of center is a masterpiece…
Wells Cathedral, built and expanded on between 1175 and 1490 A.D. –  mostly completed by 1239 A.D.
The facade of this mammoth cathedral is covered in stone carved saints.  The detail is exquisite.
Perched above the high altar is this work of art.
The architecture and detail are stunning.

My pictures don’t do the stained glass justice!

One can only imagine this great hall filled with the sounds of this massive pipe organ.

Down this corridor and out that door is a beautiful courtyard.

A view of the cathedral from the courtyard.
I am in awe at the dedication and perseverance it must have taken to complete this painstaking labor of love.   Words cannot adequately describe the beauty that is this work of art.


Churches of England

When I went to England in September I was simply blown away by all the architecture. On just about every corner in the villages and sprinkled what seemed every few miles in the countryside was a Church.  The pubs were just as frequent.  We’d be driving along in the middle of nowhere and boom…a pub…and a Church.  We’re not talking a little old wooden church in the woods.  Every one is made of stone with large wooden doors hundreds of years old.

I only spent five days there though I could have stayed five weeks.  It was an amazing experience and one I’ll never forget.  Having stayed through a Sunday I did go to Mass at an Anglican Church that belongs to the Church of England.  This is the one that I went to.

St. John the Baptiste Church, Midsomer Norton

It was the first liturgical service I’d ever attended.  The vicar was very sing-songy while reciting his part of the liturgy.  Having never participated in a service of this kind, I was lost until a woman in front of me showed me the prayer and liturgy book.  Even then I was still a bit confused because depending on what the vicar recited there were two or three options that the congregants were to respond with.  Just call me blonder than I pay to be.*grin* We sang some hymns and though the words were familiar, the tunes were completely different and no music was played.  The acapella hymns echoed off the hard surfaces of the stone carved interior.  At the time I thought I didn’t really care for the service.  It seemed so formal and rigid.  Reflecting later, though, I realize just how much I really did enjoy it.  Though I felt like a fish out of water I saw beauty in the tradition and  reverence, awe and purpose for each implement.  When the time came for the Eucharist people slowly filed out of each pew and down to the front to kneel at the prayer bench.  Even if there was no intent to partake of the Eucharist one could simply cross their arms and receive a blessing from the vicar.  I stayed quietly in my seat.

The next day was a full day of sightseeing.  I had my own personal tour guide.  We drove to a car park and caught a bus into Bath.

Bath Abbey originally founded in 675 AD as a monastery.  The detail on the stone carvings is unbelievable.
Bath Abbey, Bath England
Bath Abbey, Bath, England
Nave, Bath Abbey

Bath is only a short distance from Midsomer Norton.  It’s absolutely breathtaking!

The stained glass is something to behold.  Vibrant colors all telling a story of saints and angels and Christ.

Stained Glass, Bath Abbey

We walked, and we walked, and we walked some more.  Up 217 steps of narrow, steep spiral staircase to get to the top of the spire at Bath Abbey.  In every direction as far as I could see there are church spires reaching up toward the sky.

My trip was certainly an eyeopening experience. The people there were lovely and didn’t seem hung up on a lot of the things we are here.  They didn’t appear to be sizing me up by what religion, political party or race I belong to.  They embraced me for who I am, I didn’t have to put on any airs.  Just me, and that was good enough.

Oh, I thought I’d be going back in September of 2011, but I just can’t wait that long.  So I’m leaving Friday on a jet plane…..