Day #030

Sunrise in Oxfordshire, Jan 2013

Sunrise in Oxfordshire, Jan 2013

Apologies for the silence – I just spent a long weekend at my “country retreat” in Oxfordshire – it’s actually home to my dad and step/half-family, and I was visiting them before I fly out to America next week. I love to refer to it as my country retreat purely because after the bustle of the week here in Windsor (population 27,000) it’s nice to have a break and stay in the town of Faringdon (population 6,200) and the village of Clanfield (population 855)! Alas, there’s no internet connection … not necessarily a bad thing when you’re trying to escape!

Until next time …

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Day #025

Swans on a frozen pond - Windsor Great Park, Jan 2013

Swans on a frozen pond – Windsor Great Park, Jan 2013

We envy not the warmer clime, that lies
In ten degrees of more indulgent skies,
Nor at the coarseness of our heaven repine,
Though o’er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine:
‘Tis Liberty that crowns Britannia’s Isle,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.” – Joseph Addison

Until next time …

Day #020

Today is a special day for me. Today marks 1 year since Chris proposed to me on that beautiful island of Culebra, Puerto Rico. A year has passed and we are just about ready to begin the application for my visa to move to America. I can’t wait to return to Puerto Rico, I fell in love with that island, as I’m sure you’ve realised by now! So, I’ll just share one picture for today …

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

Until next time …

Day #019

Today is exactly 6 months until my 21st birthday. 6 months and there will be nothing left to separate me from being an official adult in every sense. In the spirit of new years resolutions (yes, even halfway through January!), I know that it is time to start something that I have been putting off for many years. I am going to start a scrapbook of my life.

I guess I am what you will call a hoarder, though not in the sense that I keep absolutely everything for some unknown future purpose. However, I tend to attach memories to almost everything. Today, as I ruffled through the 5 bags and 2 giant boxes – all affectionately labelled with the word Memories – I realised that at least a third of all the contents were receipts of mundane things, like my first purchase from a Walmart, or my first meal at Cracker Barrel (my favourite American restaurant!), or leaflets for places that I’ve never actually visited and, honestly, probably never will.

Cue the first, and easiest, stage of the clear out. I kept a couple of receipts, of course, like a faded receipt from December 2006 for authentic Belgian chocolate on a trip through Bruges, or a receipt for an inflatable rubber ring from a holiday to Ibiza in September 2009. A couple of things. I’m not that heartless!

And so then I sorted through a myriad of other things. Certificates. Newsletters. Old bits of “art” from school. Pens (oh yes, I had a thing about collecting pens!). GCSE certificates (that’s where they were!). Concert tickets. Boarding passes. Keyrings (I collected those, too). Various items collected from my 4 years working at Legoland (a majority of which were coloured yellow!). Postcards. Letters.

It was hard, but eventually, I reduced everything into a nice and neat pile for my scrapbook. And now a corner of my room is dedicated to a nice heap of scrap ready for the recycling bin tomorrow. There are some things that I couldn’t put in the scrapbook, but couldn’t bring myself to throw away, and so the red box has stayed, but it’s nowhere near as full as it was before.

As I write this now, at the end of the day, I can’t quite explain this sense of feeling lighter, like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. I knew that one day I would need to sort through everything, and the longer I left it, the more piles of “stuff” were added to the airing cupboard to eventually get to.

So, now on to filling my scrapbook (actually, it’s an A3 artists sketchbook, but I found it was perfect for what I had in mind!) …

Until next time …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

The Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is beyond.

This challenge could go in many different directions but I’ll keep this one to just 3 images …

Snow in Windsor, UK, Jan 2013

This first picture was taken earlier today, when the snow was falling hardest. For anyone in the south-east UK, I am sure you will agree we got more than we bargained for!! You can see our poor trees suffering just beyond the blizzard of snow.

The beautiful view, coming back to Carolina from Cayey, Puerto Rico, Jan 2012

This second picture (I think I’ve posted one quite similar before, but I hope it wasn’t the same one!) was taken on my trip to Puerto Rico. I love this shot so much, as it captures everything you could associate with a Caribbean island: the palm tree silhouette, the startlingly blue skies, the warm ocean visible in the distance, and the rolling lush green hills. I would give anything to return there in an instant!

Taking the mountainous route through Pennsylvania on our way to Ohio and ultimately Missouri, May 2012

And this final picture I think represents the meaning of beyond for me perfectly. What I absolutely love about the USA is, especially on a long drive (I’ve had my fair share!), there is always something to look at, or look for. There is always something around that bend, waiting just beyond your line of sight. When I finally get my driving licence (it’s 4 years late, but I will get there!), I cannot wait just to be out on the road, discovering.

Some of my favourites: A Meditative Journey With Saldage, Newbie Academic in a ‘Stan, Francine in Retirement, Slump’s Blog, What’s (in) the Picture?,  Alien Shores, Les Petits Pas de Juls, Polit-onomics & Travel, Nature in the Burbs, Wind Against Current.

Until next time …