Thursday, 4 July 2013

Oh . . . the places I go . . .

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“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” 
~Ralph Waldo Emmerson 

When I was a child we had an encyclopedia, "The Book of Knowledge."   I can say with all honesty that I read that encyclopedia from the first page of book one to the last page of the last volume and back again many times.  I found it all very fascinating.   It sat in a special bookcase in our living room and had come with several other sets of books.

There was a set of abridged literary classics, with glossy engraved red covers.   In those books I was introduced to many wonderful pieces such as "Leaves of Grass," by Ralph Waldo Emmerson and "Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift . . .

There was a science set as well as the yearbooks which came out updating the encyclopedia with facts each year and two large fat dictionaries which also got really good use from us.  There was never a time when I asked my father how to spell something or what something meant that he did not tell me to look it up in a dictionary.  We were a family of word lovers and voracious readers . . .

One of my favorite sets of these books however, was the Geographical set, which had information and photographs about every country in the entire world and I do confess to having taken many journeys in my mind each time I read them . . .

I am still like that.   I love to watch travel programs and learn about new countries.  You are never bored if you can read . . . you always have a friend . . . and oh my . . . the places it takes you, there is no end to them.

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One of my favourite places to visit was Holland.   Oh, the many times I strolled along the banks of the Zuider Zee, and gazed upon Windmills in my mind . . . dreamed of picking tulips or eating cheese, cut from large red or orange balls, and moved about on a wooden sled . . .

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I was particularly fascinated with their traditional dress . . .   Oh how I longed to have a pair of wooden shoes that I could walk around in.   My sister had a Dutch costume for her Barbie Doll which I truly coveted, with it's little white starched lace hat and plastic "wooden shoes," and pretty striped skirt!

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In my mind's eye I traveled to the top of the Eiffel Tower and gazed out over the beautiful expanse of Paris while I munched on lovely buttery iced cakes and listened to a man in a beret play an accordion with a string of garlic around his neck.   Oh yes . . . stereotypes for sure, but then again . . . I was a child.

I had been to Paris of course, but had no memory of it at all.  My mother has a very grainy and foggy photograph of me in front of the Eiffel Tower.  I was four years old and it was very foggy and you can barely make it out  . . . we were on our way back to Canada from Germany, where we had lived for several years.   I have been to the outskirts of Paris in recent years . . . to the airport, but I hardly think that counts . . .

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In those pages I visited the crowded outdoor Arasta Bazarre  and  wandered the streets of Istanbul . . .  running my small fingers over the brightly coloured threads of hand woven carpets, and gazing upon barrels of dark glistening olives, and baskets of ripe sweet figs . . . the noises, the smells . . . all alive in my mind's eye . . .

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Other times it would be the multi-coloured houses dangling on the cliff's of Cinque Terre, Italy . . . I would sit on a sun gilded terrace, sipping a cold glass of limoncello (I did not know what it was but it sounded tasty) and gazing out on the Mediterranean . . . my fingers lifting slices of pesto drenched foccacia up to my lips, and afterwards eating tiny spoonfuls of honeyed gelato . . .

Even then my mind went to food, as you can see . . . 

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I munched on pork pies and sipped on Ginger Beer from the top of a Double Decker bus in the shadow of Big Ben . . . 

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Nibbled on Fish and chips on the Brighton Pier . . .

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And wandered along the White Cliffs of Dover with an icy coronetto . . .

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Of course as an adult I have been blessed enough to realize some of those childhood journeys and dreams, and many more . . . such as wandering about the grounds of Scotney Castle  . . .

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I've munched on slices of buttered Bara Brith on the banks of the River Dee in Llangollen and picnicked in the nearby woods, listening to the whistle of a steam train echoing through the trees . . .

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I've wandered through beautiful gardens  in the steps of Kings and Queens at Hever Castle . . .

Oh yes . . . I have many more places I still dream of going, but I am also so very grateful for the places I have been blessed to see and the adventures I've been able to take . . . things my child's heart could never have possibly imagined could come true.

Tis sometimes very good to dwell on these magical things and count your blessings I think . . .  I am glad I was a reader as a child and that I still am . . .

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Well, my trip to the Dentist did not go as planned.  I was ever so filled with trepidation, as if I knew something would go wrong.  I am usually not near as nervous as I was yesterday.   What should have taken about ten or fifteen minutes ended up taking well over an hour and I was frozen from pillar to post.   The crown broke off my molar as the Dentist was trying to pull it out . . . which he was worried would happen.  He then had to dig out the roots, which also were really stuck in there and hard to remove.  Some of the bone in my jaw was attached to one of the roots and so he had to scrape that away.   My jaw on the other side of my mouth was ever so sore while he was working at it.  He was ever so sorry it did not go well . . . and I lay there the whole time praying that it would soon be over.  He told me afterwards that I have a higher risk of experiencing a dry socket because of this. Please pray that I won't!   Thank you!

I have a very sore mouth this morning and expect I will do for a few more days at least!

A thought to carry with you through the day . . .

"For the man who prays in his heart . . . the whole world is a church."
~Sylvain of Athos

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Onion Pan Burgers.  Delicious!

July 4th

Happy Fourth to all of my American friends and family out there and to everyone else . . . have a fabulous Thursday!



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