From a Railway Carriage Window

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Local train headed for Reading on the Bristol – London line, taken on a Sunday afternoon dog walk in Southcote.

We moved three weeks ago and our new home backs onto a little river (the Holy Brook) and also not very far off is a railway line. I love travelling on trains, in fact they are probably my favourite mode of transport. Driving gets you door to door but is hugely tiring if the journey is lengthy, I love the excitement of airports but not the actual sitting imprisoned on a plane for any length of time and boats have to be large and the water of millpond status to get my vote, so trains it is!

In my 20’s I traveled a lot and railway journeys all over the country were a regular occurrence. I love to see the world speeding by and tiny snap shots of other lives being lived glimpsed momentarily from the train window, never to be seen again as we move relentlessly onward. There are tantalising glimpses of children waving on a gate,  shopping centres full of busy people as we cross over bridges, offices, car parks, freight yards, fields decorated with sheep, horses or cattle, lines of cheery washing and perhaps someone with her dog enjoying a familiar and local route traveled every day.

Now I am that woman … (with a dog) going her own way, purposefully  stepping out into her life and walking relentlessly into her future, glimpsed from a train window as we make our walk daily. I sometimes look up at the trains and catch sight of a gazing traveler and wonder about them. What is it about us as people that makes the otherness of lives unlived (those of other people) so attractive? I think it has something to do with escapism and living in the moment both of which train journeys give me. They are an antidote to the ennui that can afflict us all from time to time. There is the promise of new horizons and the reminder that our lives consist of happenings and opportunities and it’s what we do with these that ultimately matters.  As a traveler I am often spurred on to want to make changes and aim to start afresh in some area of my life once I have reached my destination. 

Now as that person glimpsed from the train window perhaps we (Alice and I) may have that same effect on someone else … not that I will ever know … 

Winchelsea … where’s that?

Brede Valley View Brede Valley view

The above comment was more often than not made to me prior to our break away to this lovely part of the country a couple of weeks ago. People got confused with Winchester, but it’s actually in Rye Bay which we discovered in July, just a mile and a half from Rye Harbour. We actually stayed in Winchelsea Beach to be exact, which is a short distance from Winchelsea itself. We had a lovely week and I thought I’d share some of the pictures we took.

Mermaid Street (2) Mermaid Street, Rye

The above is the most famous street in Rye, it is actually a steep cobbled lane, the creeper covered building on the right is the Mermaid Inn, haunt of smugglers and pirates, rebuilt in the 1420s, so quite ancient!

St. Richard's Church Winchelsea Beach St. Richard’s Church

This little Anglican Church was located just across the road from where we stayed and on a direct route to the beach. It advertised services on an occasional basis on Sunday afternoons. 

Photo-0299 Alice enjoys the beach

 

Photo-0298 Sunset over Winchelsea                                                                                                                  

Photo-0297 Evening on the beach

 

Photo-0303 More cobbles

Another view from Rye. It is a charming little town, heaven for tea room lovers like me! and also full of galleries, antique and gift shops. Hubby bought a pair of slippers in ‘Rye Shoes’!

Photo-0301 Morning …

 

Photo-0294 Duck friends 

There were a big extended family of the above who quacked their way around the holiday site all week, in the hope of kindly food donations.

 

St. Thomas Church Winchelsea St.Thomas Parish                                                                                                                      Church

Located in upper Winchelsea. We took it in turns to look inside as ‘no dogs’ (as another couple were doing). We also spotted Spike Milligan’s grave in the churchyard. 

 And finally …

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Just had to stop the car and take this photograph!! It’s located near another little settlement known as Winchelsea Station.

 

It’s the little things …

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One of several tiny visitors to our house this summer, and although sat on a soap box, he didn’t say much! We both (husband and I) enjoy the quirky, the unexpected and the unusual especially involving the animal kingdom. Even the sea gull family on holiday, eye balling us from the next door caravan roof whenever we looked out, we came to enjoy their antics and faithful attendance, even if they did screech a lot. I think it’s nice to notice the small things that can drop into our day, particularly the unexpected. I see it as like small graces from God that bring a new appreciation of life around us. Gifts from God that don’t cost us anything, don’t involve any stress, they just impact us with a strong sense of well being in my experience.

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Whether it’s meeting with friends or family for cream teas and lunches, the gorgeous flowers at my Retreat centre, a picture drawn for me by my 6 year old nephew, or generous words spoken which lift my heart, I find there are many lovely occasions in the day when I feel I have received a gift. Not long ago at church, a blind gentleman visited with his gorgeous guide dog. She sat beautifully in church and when it became time for communion, accompanied her master to the communion rail and sat patiently beside him. I found this so touching.

So today I’m thanking God as He is the great giver and He knows just what will delight me, make me laugh and uplift me and these are the little things.

 

Animal family …

 

hello it's us! xx

The above picture is our collie Alice being visited in her bed by Felix! We currently have four pets: Alice our collie girl, and three  cats (all brothers) Felix and Hugo plus Charlie. I love them all to bits, and husband is enamoured with them too! Before going any further someone else must be featured in this post namely our very first cat, Sam who lived happily with us until he was nineteen years old ….

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Sammy was an only cat and my first ‘real’ pet.  As a child I had part share in a budgie that was really my sister’s, plus got to play with the various small classroom mice who accompanied her home when she was doing teacher training. My Mum used to complain they woke her up by making their beds at night as the cage was in our hallway. Sammy arrived almost by accident when we were visiting friends. As we parked at their house, a most handsome pale ginger cat arrived and jumped up onto the bonnet of our car and miaowed at us. I said to my husband he was just the sort of friendly cat I’d like. We mentioned we were looking for a cat, and it happened that Sammy had been rather challenging that day going into a neighbours and stealing food, plus he was jealous of our friends’ old cat and would push him off their laps! I think our friend J. was so exasperated she impulsively said: ” here you are!” and handed me Sam, following this up with the loan of a cat basket to take him home in plus food recommendations. He stayed with us for another eighteen years. I do suspect J. regretted this hasty decision but I certainly never did!

Sam was a delightful affectionate cat, he was also a fighter and loathed all other animals! We regularly had to referee ‘scraps’ with unfortunate feline visitors to the garden, and take him to the vets to treat bites and torn ears. He was even known to have a go at dogs. When he reached the grand old age of seventeen, we got Alice! Very brave of us really as Sammy initially disliked her intensely and would take a swipe at her with a paw whenever she came near him. This mellowed into tolerance eventually, but he never showed her the kinship and affection that our three brothers do. Despite all this Alice was very gentle and kind to Sam as the following picture shows as he lies asleep in his bed, not having much longer to live and she lays a protective paw there.

Nurse Alice xx 

Alice was very nearly not our dog, she had been returned to the Rescue Centre for barking (the lady had had her for one night!!) I saw her on the Centre’s website and we went down to see her, they were very keen to rehome her with an experienced dog owner and as we were first timers they tried to steer us towards less feisty dogs. She was advertised as needing ‘loving but resolute handling !! ‘ … took her for a walk in the paddock at the Centre and just fell in love with her, particularly when she gave me a huge lick right across my face (and I had never allowed dogs to do that to me!) We reluctantly agreed with the staff member to come back later when there were more dogs in, but at home I knew Alice was the one I wanted, so phoned them back and found they were responsive to our determination and the rest is history! She’s a spirited dog very clever, food obsessed, has a great sense of humour, loves everyone and is very good with elderly people and children. She is also a beloved companion.

Now for our three boys, they came from the same Rescue after Sammy was PTS in 2012. We visited several cats & kittens in their enclosures and they all differed in age and temperament, but as soon as we walked into the cage with this litter of kittens (there were originally five, two booked by another family) we knew they were ours. I still laugh at the memory of my husband with kittens clinging to every surface: legs, back, shoulders! as they made themselves acquainted like limpets on a rock.

Handsome HugoHandsome Hugo

 

All three brothers are great pets, they will all sit on laps  and allow you to pick them up and rub furry tummys. They also play fight causing great hilarity for onlookers and are adept at catching various rodents (not so popular .. ) They like Alice and greet her nose to nose and rub round her/walk underneath her. She is very good with them, (will give the odd chase!) but knows they are her cats.

CuddlesFelix and Charlie

Hugo and Felix are the most polite and well mannered cats you could hope to meet, while Charlie is the naughtiest. H. is the most ‘senior’ in the brotherhood, and the others defer to him usually, then F. who is the largest due to his eating habits, then C. is the smallest. Life can never be dull with them around.