Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wind Chimes

Being here in England, as I mentioned in my first entry, has made me learn about a world of new things. America and England have many things in common in day to day life or there are things that are quite similar, and then there are those things that remind you of the cultural differences. So it is intriguing to me when I get to experience something different from my life back home. I do get homesick sometimes and I have had bad bouts of this before, but I try to think about it as if I were able to talk with my mother and what she would say. Her advice to me, as it was right before I left America, and right before she died, was to enjoy every minute and really soak in all that there is for me to see. She knew that I was off on a journey and unbeknownst to us, she was about to go elsewhere too. So even though sometimes I long for the comfort of familiarity of back home, I am trying to embrace things here more. I admit though, I am human, so I am sure there will be some days when I may vent or just downright whine about things. :-) I just hope that whoever reads this will indulge me.

So on to what I have been up to lately. Well, my husband and I had a “date” this past weekend. We went to have lunch at this garden centre in the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds is an area of England that is renowned for its natural beauty and its amazingly picturesque golden stone houses. It is a beautiful corner of the world. There is a slower pace of country life there and it is just nice to take a breather there. Much of the charm of the area is its connection to nature and natural beauty, so of course a garden centre is not at all out of place there.

The garden centre was lovely. I don’t know how they compare to those in the US, because I have only been into a couple back home and I was in and out in a flash. I have rediscovered my love of plants of late. When I was a kid, I used to follow behind my dad as he planted our big gardens and I would drop seeds into the earth. I remember loving the smell of the freshly turned earth and the feeling of the coolness of it between my toes. I was quite a nature girl when I was a kid. Then my dad died when I was twelve and I sort of dropped all of that stuff. My mom was a keen gardener and could nurse a twig into a huge vibrant plant. After she died, I did my best to water her plants and prayed that they wouldn’t die. They lived and now they are in the care of my sister.

So my husband and I went to this nice garden centre in the Cotswolds and had lunch. We each had a cheese sandwich and few french fries or “chips” as they say here. The lunch was nothing glamorous, but it was simple, fresh, and good. They have a conservatory or what we would call back in my neck of the woods back in the southern US…a sunroom, where you can sit and have your lunch. It is really nice and bright and airy. It is like having your food outside, but thankfully we were inside, because it was freezing outside. :-)

After we had our lunch, we strolled around and looked at everything. They of course have plants here, but they also have a deli-like food section and a gift section. I wanted to buy everything they had in the food section, just to try it out. It all looked so intriguing and tasty. We settled though on some cookies or “biscuits” as they say here. A lot of the foods that they stock are locally produced so it is very much in line with the green movement we all have to take notice of these days. It seems to me that our current environmental concerns are in some ways a wakeup call to get back to basics.

We then wandered over to the gift section and into the house wares section. The stock was really varied and there were many things I would have loved to take home with me. In the end, we walked out of there with a lovely wind chime. When I saw the wind chime, it reminded me of my mom. We both loved wind chimes and the sound makes me think of the air and life and the outdoors and of growing up back home. I grew up in the country and it was wonderful and now I am in the country in another country, so talk about coming full circle. :-) Since I see the sound of a wind chime as the sound of air, I move it around here and there, inside and outside to have all that good around me. Here is a picture of it. And since I am writing about gardens today, here is a picture of the first signs of spring in our garden…the daffodils are blooming. They have been frozen with each new frost each morning as we nudge slowly into spring, but they still keep lifting their heads. When I look out at them each day, it just reminds me of how we have to keep our heads up and keep going every day.

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