31

My first bank holiday

Travel tip: the Monday after Easter is a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Why is that significant?

No bus service.

Maybe in London I would have had transportation to my next destination. Or I would have been pleased to spend another day sightseeing in the capital city. Instead, I found myself isolated in the southwestern corner of England.

Two months into my semester abroad, I was cocky about my ability to hop on a train to anywhere. I scheduled my coursework so that I only had class Tuesday through Thursday. This allowed me ample time to become an expert traveler.  But on the second day of my three-week spring break, I returned to campus with tail between legs. I got myself to Gloucestershire only to find the castle-turned-youth-hostel that I was dying to stay in fully booked.  Back in my dorm room, I planned my itinerary and confirmed accommodations for every night before setting out once more.

(Over)confident that I had learned my lesson, within days I was staring at a timetable that revealed that the bus to the town where I had a bed booked only departed on Tuesdays.

It wasn’t Tuesday.

But by the end of the second week of my adventures, I disembarked in Penzance having avoided further complications. I had honed my tourist chops. I strolled the town secretly hoping to see a pirate.  When clouds moved in, I caught the bus to St. Just-in-Penwith. The small village’s hostel would serve as base of operations for exploring Land’s End during the Easter weekend. Then I would continue to power through my sightseeing agenda.

As specified in my hostel guidebook, I got off the bus in the town centre. I checked the notice board to see what time on Monday I needed to be here for my return trip to the rail station. You know, “fool me once . . .”

That’s when I learned about the bank holiday. Shame on me.

Since things were already going so well, it began to drizzle. The mist obscured the landmarks I needed to find the youth hostel two miles away. As I walked, I alternated between reading the directions and looking for my next turn:

walk past the library away from the town centre along Market Street, turn left following Bosorne Terrace past a chapel and recreation ground, turn right down narrow lane passing cottages and old well, where the lane ends, past the sign “Unsuitable for motors,” turn right down a footpath following signs for YHA.

A poor judge of distance, I nervously walked on, uncertain if I was going the right way. I was relieved to spy the familiar green triangle.

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As I neared the hostel’s gate, I heard ocean waves crashing into the Cornish coast. The fog thinned, and I caught my first glimpse of the sea. I was humbled by its vastness and beauty.

Suddenly, I was no longer stuck at Land’s End. I now had time to walk barefoot in the sand. I had another day to hike the coastal path and get stranded in a sheep pasture. I had extra moments to visit the local galleries before lunching on fish and chips. I had an additional hour to sip coffee with an Australian guest and compare notes on our experiences. I had an entire afternoon to sit in the just-blooming garden and read a book from the lending library. More importantly, I had time to reflect on how much more I still had to learn about travel and myself.

Lucky for me, I had inadvertently banked some extra hours on my holiday.

10

Sunday Slideshow: The Easter Egg Hunt that wasn’t

The Easter Bunny frightened Philip. That was the reason we went outside.

We had arrived at the lodge promptly at nine o’clock as advertised on the signs. We had registered for the community Easter egg hunt and then eaten our pancakes (me) and sausage links (Philip). We lingered at the table waiting for the hunt to begin, but Philip grabbed me by the hand after several minutes. We took our tray to discard the remains of our breakfast. That’s when Philip spotted the Easter bunny. He stood rigid, unable to look away, but not wanting to go any closer. Finally, he could take the sight of the costumed stranger no more and led me out the door.

Other parents and children were gathered out front waiting for the hunt to begin. A brief announcement by volunteers had given them hope that  it would start soon. Philip wasn’t interested. He was leading me to the car.

I convinced him to take a walk with me. The last time we were at the lodge had been before Christmas, so I had not explored the area around it. I noticed a playground, so I led Philip there.

Philip dashed from one spot to another, checking out all of the equipment. I couldn’t figure out why the other parents just stood waiting with their kids. I suppose they were afraid they would miss the start of the egg hunt.

The air was chilly coming off the lake, but the sun was bright. Still, I didn’t want Philip to get sick, so I announced, “One more time down the slide.” Up the ladder and down the slide he went, then he ran off toward the car. I caught up with him before he reached the parking lot. The other families were still waiting in front of the lodge, but Philip and I had other things to do. The library awaited and then a lazy day of not competing with others over plastic eggs.

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Our only souvenir from the egg hunt that wasn't

Our only souvenir from the egg hunt that wasn’t

37

my blue period

It was too nice outside to wear my dark winter coat. Spring had finally arrived, and I was ready to ditch the heavy parka. A glance in the closet revealed no season-appropriate alternatives suitable for work, so I left the house wearing a black sweater.

It began to rain.

My gray umbrella helped, but I still had goose bumps as I dodged raindrops on my way into the office. Happy for an excuse to get away from my desk, I drove to the Goodwill Store during my lunch break. My mission: find a raincoat.

I had my fingers crossed that there would be something in my size. At least I could try on any raincoats I might find.  Clothes shopping is challenging enough, but I avoid thrift stores since there are no fitting rooms. I’m not confident that untested secondhand items will suit me. I’m petite in height but not girth.  I’m low- waisted and big-busted. My proportions make it hard for me to find clothes that fit . I like my attire to be plain and simple with the ability to hide all of my body’s faults. Above all, I embrace neutral colors. Baby may got back, but I don’t want you to notice.

The coats were on the wall to the left of the entrance. The sign above the rack announced good news:

SALE
Red dot = $5.00
Blue dot = $3.00

Surely I can find something in my size for $5.00, I thought. Money was as tight as my clothes, so I scanned the tags. I was hoping that a well-to-do woman with a heart of gold and a preference for tan had donated her seldom worn size “ample” raincoat. I don’t like drawing attention to myself with my clothes. Or with anything else for that matter.

I skipped the sky blue raincoat. Definitely not my style. Of course, the bright item hanging in the sea of brown, gray and black outerwear was the only actual raincoat on the rack. Why couldn’t this be a nice, navy blue? I lamented.

I checked the tag: my size. I set my brown purse on the floor and tried it on. It was comfortable, not too snug in the shoulders and not too tight across my chest. It had a spacious hood and large pockets. There were five firmly attached buttons. It was a perfect fit.

Except for the color.

I looked out the front windows. The rain was still coming down. Walmart was a short drive away, but I knew even their “Always Low Prices” couldn’t compare to the deal I had in front of me.

I bought the coat.

As the cashier handed me my receipt, I asked if she could take off the price tag. “I’m going to wear it out of the store,” I explained. She complied with little interest or enthusiasm. I thanked her and slipped on the raincoat so I would stay dry.

I was almost to my car when I passed another shopper headed to the store.

“Great color!” she called.

I didn’t melt into a puddle when she noticed me. In fact, I probably smiled as bright as the sun hiding behind the clouds.

 

 I needed to remember warmer times after seeing snow on the ground this morning. I’m linking up with the warmhearted bunch at yeah write. 

The Damned Truth (about EditMoi)

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Yesterday, I published my first piece of fiction on this blog (honest, I made it up). Sure, it was only forty-two words long, but that’s what was required for the yeah write gargleblaster challenge.

For those of you who said I should try my hand at more fiction, you’re in luck! This week, Axe-Wielding Editor Christi of Edit Moi is hosting the Blogging Alliance of the Damned. She challenged fellow alliance members to tell her something that she didn’t know about herself. We only had 100 words to reveal one of her secrets. Discover out all sorts of dirt about our hostess by clicking HERE.

Comments closed. Please stop by Christi’s blog to share your thoughts. Or make stuff up. 

 

25

closing time

My Skewed View

Apparently, this isn’t goodbye, but see you later.

“Dusty Old Dust (So Long It’s Been Good to Know Yuh)” by Woody Guthrie

We talked of the end of the world, and then
We’d sing a song an’ then sing it again.
We’d sit for an hour an’ not say a word,
And then these words would be heard:

So long, it’s been good to know yuh;
So long, it’s been good to know yuh;
So long, it’s been good to know yuh.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin’ my home,
And I got to be driftin’ along.

Jen Kehl is putting Twisted MixTape Tuesday on hiatus so that she has time for other projects and and life in general. She promises that she will be back, but this is the final week (for now). In that case, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth.

“We’ve Got Tonight” covered by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton

I know it’s late
I know you’re weary
I know your plans
Don’t include me

I first linked up with Jen and the other blogjays last October. I came to the blog hop at just the right time. I was struggling with some things and couldn’t write. The mixtapes got me through that writing slump. If it hadn’t been for the mixtapes, I’m not sure if I would have posted at all.

I guess I thought I could always rely on them as a source of inspiration.

“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
but I always thought that I’d see you again.

Once I was hooked, I began to listen to music in a different way.

How can I use this song on a mixtape?
What other songs would I put with this?
What theme would this tune fit?

It’s fun. I pay closer attention to lyrics and to who sings the songs now. I even was inspired to suggest last week’s theme after hearing this song. But when Jen announced “Missing You” as this week’s theme, I save the song.

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

“I Ain’t Missing You at All” by John Waite

Now see, I would never have known the name of the guy who sings this song were it not for these mixtapes. My apologies to Mr. Waite, I could have sworn that someone else sang this song. Can’t put my finger on who, but I was completely unaware of you and your appearance on Top of the Pops.

I ain’t missing you at all
Since you’ve been gone away
I ain’t missing you
No matter what my friends say

“Here Without You Baby” by 3 Doors Down

I’m here without you, baby
But you’re still on my lonely mind
I think about you, baby
And I dream about you all the time
I’m here without you, baby
But you’re still with me in my dreams

I knew there was the perfect song for this mix, but I couldn’t grab onto it in my memory. Then I heard this song on the radio three days in a row. The universe was trying to help me remember just in time for this last (for now) tape.

“Closing Time” by Semisonic

Just to show Jen how dear she and her blog hop are to me, I’m going to conclude this mix with a story I’ve never told before. I met my husband when we were both serving as disaster relief volunteers after Hurricane Katrina. One evening in a bar, this song came on. We now consider it “our song.”

I think these lyrics sum up how I’m feeling about the end (for now) of Twisted MixTape Tuesday:

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

Have you always wanted to link up with Twisted MixTape Tuesday? Here’s your last chance (for now). Find your favorite “missing you” songs and join us! Let’s send Jen out on a high note.