A Blogging Blip and an Anniversary

Yesterday, as I usually do on a Wednesday, I put together my latest Wednesday Wander post and hit Publish.

But a funny thing happened. While my dashboard assured me that the post was, in fact, published, when I clicked the link to view it all I got was:

Oops, this page doesn’t seem to be here.

Strange, I thought. I went back into the dashboard, thinking perhaps I’d left the page too quickly, negating something mysterious in the process of click to publication. But my post was there, still insisting it was, in fact, published. I could update it if I wanted to, but it was definitely out there.

Except it wasn’t.

After trying a few more times I gave up. Perhaps the Happiness Engineers were tinkering with something, or perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. I went to bed, planning on looking at it again this morning.

But when I woke up, there it was. My shiny new post, published as promised. Whichever gremlin had been holding it had released it from their claws. So that’s one less thing I need to do today.

There is plenty to do around the house this morning, but I plan on taking a moment of reflection. For today is an anniversary. Six years ago I returned to the UK, my family in tow, arriving on a snowy dark day to the land of my birth. I sometimes wonder what would have happened had we stayed in Australia. I’m not sure if I’d be writing the books I’m writing. I’m quite sure there are several wonderful friends I would never have met. But, as Aslan says, we are never meant to know ‘What if.’

I’m happy that we’re here, even though there are dear friends and family I miss in Australia. That is the lot of a wanderer, I suppose. And so today I will pause, to reflect on the past and celebrate the present.

Hope your day is wonderful, wherever you are 🙂


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30 Day Writing Challenge – Day Four – Mirror

img_3257It’s day four of the 30 day writing challenge, and today’s prompt is: Mirror.

I had a few different thoughts about how to approach this prompt, but the lines from Tennyson’s Lady Of Shalott kept playing over and over in my head, and so I felt I needed to share them. These particular lines describe Sir Lancelot as he rode across the river running past the mysterious Lady’s tower, his beauty and song luring her from her loom to the window, whereupon she was cursed. The Lady had a mirror as well, a magical one that showed her all the sights of the world as she sat alone in her chambers – when the (unspecified) curse came upon her, it ‘crack’d from side to side.’ Seven years bad luck indeed!

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
       As he rode down from Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
‘Tirra lirra, tirra lirra:’
       Sang Sir Lancelot.
From ‘The Lady of Shalott’, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
While describing water as a crystal mirror these days can be seen (with apologies to Tennyson) as a rather over-used simile, I do think it apt. I love the effect of reflection on water, showing us another world in reverse. As above, so below. I’ve taken a few reflection photos in my wanders, so here are some more, courtesy of the ‘crystal mirror.’img_4273img_2093img_0150
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Circles Beyond Time – Dawn

img_3662This is the continued account of my weekend away with The Silent Eye. Click here for parts one, two, three, four and five.

5:11am.

Ugh. I hadn’t slept well, and my alarm jolted me out of a dream. Yet, once I’d woken fully, I was excited. This morning we were heading up into the hills to chase the sunrise. I wouldn’t have missed it, no matter how tired I was. I showered and dressed quickly, managing to gulp a few mouthfuls of tea before heading down to the deserted hotel lobby. There was a small moment of panic when I thought I was locked in, but I emerged eventually onto the still-dark street, a pale glow of light in the sky heralding the coming dawn.

We were to meet the rest of the group in the Fox House car park – my companion and I were the first ones there, so I wandered off to take some photos of the view, trees silhouetted against the pastel-hued sky. The air was cool and still, and I was glad of my extra sweatshirt and wool hat against the pre-dawn chill.

img_3671Then we were off, taking the winding road higher and higher until we reached a small parking area. Leaving the cars we climbed higher still, up stone stairs to where an ancient hillfort crowned the peak, views in every direction. The stones were large, in some cases huge, carved and shaped and most definitely placed there. But by whom, exactly, is lost in time.

img_3674We gathered as a group to watch the sun make its appearance over the far ridge, golden light moving across the valley floor, pushing mist ahead of it. The group chose to greet the sun in their own way – I stood to one side, for some reason feeling the need to be alone.

…it seemed that her path lay through solitude. Companions there would be, but in the end, she had to choose her own way, be true to her own self. So she faced the dawn apart, but not alone, sending a greeting from a place deep within…

img_3684Once the sun was above the ridge we were free to explore, wandering along sandy pathways studded with tiny pieces of white crystal. I walked among the stones, listening to the morning sing and watching mist rise like dragon’s breath from distant Carl Wark, where the weekend’s journey had begun.

…as she walked the peak to the sunrise, all at once it was as though she stood on a pathway of stars, the heavens above reflected below, and she a dancing figure poised in between. The feel of something older, something beyond…

img_3699As the light grew brighter, I amused myself by taking shots of my shadow against the golden-lit rocks. We weren’t the only ones up there, a few photographers taking advantage of the clear morning and glorious views.

 

img_3681I took several photos of the small depressions carved into many of the rocks, their reflections like a path of stepping stones towards the sun. One particularly large rock formation had taken my attention and I turned to Sue.

img_3693‘Those stones…’ I began.

‘Oh yes,’ she said, smiling.

…a piled stone figure, lion messenger of the people who were once here. It reminded her of ancient doorways an ocean away, of stone figures left on mountainous shores, marks of the peoples who lived there. It was both welcome and warning, that here she stood on ancient land…

img_3694We continued to wander the hilltop a while longer, but it was getting cold and breakfast was beckoning. The decision was made to descend, arrangements made to meet up later for our final trip to the stone circle at Arbor Low. The golden sunrise promised a fine day ahead…

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Wednesday Wander – Llangollen Canal

I’ve just been down a tax wormhole this morning, so it’s nice to take a break and go for a wander. Today’s Wednesday Wander was selected at random – I opened IPhoto and went to the first place I saw, which is the old canal in Llangollen, North Wales.

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I’ve written about Llangollen before – it’s a place dear to my heart. My mother’s family is from that part of Wales and I remember childhood holidays spent in the are, as well as more recent trips to the small town hidden among mountains. It’s an ancient place, with the River Dee racing through, small streets of houses and the ruined castle and abbey nearby.

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I’ve walked the canal several times, though these photos were taken around this time last year, when we followed it to its source. Completed in the 19th century as part of the great British canal network, it follows the wild river waters for a way, the calm still reflections a contrast to the rushing white foam below, then continues on to the Pontycsyllte aqueduct, recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We walked the other way,  to the weir where the river and canal meet, a huge oak tree guarding the conjunction of waters.

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The day was cold, but the winter colours and mountains made for a beautiful walk. There’s a peace I find there like no other, so it seems an appropriate choice for today’s wander, when the myriad intricacies of even a simple tax invoice have made for a not-so-peaceful morning. Thanks for coming with me 🙂

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Of Doors and Getting Back Into Things

I’ve just come back from holidays. Oh, very nice, you might say – and you’d be right 🙂

At the same time, it was a busy couple of weeks. No sitting around on beaches – instead we had a planes-trains-and-automobiles type trip starting in Vancouver, Canada and ending in Cambria, California, taking in the sights of Seattle, San Francisco and Monterey before heading to a family wedding on the coast.

I’ve written before about how being away can make a big difference, and so I have found it to be again. In June this year I had pretty major surgery, and the recovery process took quite a while. I also published my second book, upped my blog output and was training fairly regularly in a variety of different exercises, as I’m of the use-it-or-lose-it school of thought when it comes to staying active. Since my surgery I had been easing back into my usual life, so taking a break has let me see where I could make some more positive changes to my regular routine. I’m also part way through Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and it’s certainly given me food for thought about how I conduct my creative life and what I expect from it.

I’ll be writing more about my trip over the next little while, including a post about the fact that I really, really dislike flying, plus a few other ideas that have been percolating in my mind. For now, I’ll leave you with this picture of a rather gorgeous door that I took in Cambria – perfect for Hugh’s News and Views latest Photography Challenge – Thursday Doors.

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And thank you to everyone who stayed in touch and kept up with my blog while I was away – much appreciated! xx

A quick update: Hugh from Hugh’s News and Views very kindly let me know that the door challenge isn’t his – it’s actually Norman Frampton’s, from Norm 2.0, and the link to his challenge post for today is here. So pop on over and check out his door, and add your own if you feel like it!