In the Bleak Midwinter


The sound of steady dripping emanated from the bathroom where my sodden raincoat was hanging up in the shower to dry. The hollow drip, drip, drip as the water hit the tub below created a syncopated counter-beat to the drumming of the rain on the roof above my head. The world can be a dank, dark, dreary place in the depths of an English winter.

On days like this, when the rain falls relentlessly, a question asked by a visiting American friend comes to mind. It was the third day of her visit, and the third day of intermittent showers. She turned to me and asked, “Doesn’t the unrelenting gloom get depressing after a while?” Continue reading


In an English Bluebell Wood


“No life is so charming as a country one in England, and no flowers are sweeter or more lovely than the primroses, cowslips, bluebells, and violets that grow in abundance all around me here.” ~ Marianne North

Like many of my fellow Americans I have long been a devotee of British period dramas, but while scores of women’s hearts raced at the sight of Colin Firth jumping into a murky pond and emerging with his white shirt plastered to his frame, my eyes were glued to the stunning scenery in which all the action was taking place. Others might swoon at Mr. Darcy in his tight breeches; I swooned at any sign of a bluebell wood. Continue reading

Introducing Jethro


For a few months well-intentioned, kindly people have been asking me when they can expect to read my next blog. These people do wonders for my morale. They foster a naïve belief that somewhere out there a bevy of avid blog followers are pining to read my latest drivel, rather than just my family who have to read it or risk me telling all, like the time my brother…

But I digress.

There is a simple reason why I have not written for a few months. There is a simple reason for my messy house, my inability to have a normal conversation, my untrimmed hair, my aching back and my recently acquired stoop. That reason has a name, and his name is Jethro. Continue reading


Giving Thanks


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold rather a large amount of Gratitude.” ~ A.A. Milne

My favourite American holiday has always been Thanksgiving. When I was a child I looked forward to the dining table groaning with roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie, as well as the fact that my birthday sometimes coincided with the fourth Thursday of November. When I became an adult and entered the workforce the four day weekend shone as a beacon in the midst of the short, dreary days of driving to and from work in the darkness of late autumn. As time marched on and I experienced my share of the griefs and joys that make up a life, the actual meaning of the day began to take on greater significance. It may be hokey, but I actually do like to take time to think about all I have to be thankful for on this day. Continue reading


People Drink This Stuff?

The Education of a Reluctant Whisky Drinker

“The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.” ~ Winston Churchill


Tasting room at Penderyn Distillery

In Latin it is aqua vitae. In Gaelic it is uisge beatha. Both have the same meaning: the water of life. Over the centuries the mispronunciation of uisge beatha  (oosh’-ge ba’) gradually morphed into the word now known the world over as whisky, specifically, Scotch whisky. Continue reading


So, We’ll No More Go a Roaming


This morning I took myself off on one of our favourite walks in the neighbourhood, down the road through a nearby hamlet, then back around across the rolling farm fields. It is a walk we’ve done countless times since moving here, one we’ve enjoyed in all seasons except when the mud is at its worst. Today, for the first time, I had to take the walk on my own, without my faithful little companion at my side. Our sweet little corgi died on the 20th of April this year after a sudden, heart-breaking decline. A scan revealed a mass throughout his liver and we had to make the decision to give him a gentle, pain free end. Continue reading


A Genuine Subsiding Relationship


As soon as you become engaged to a British person, or perhaps even before, you begin researching the process you will need to go through in order to move to the UK to live with your beloved. A key phrase that soon crops up and begins to invade your every waking moment is “a genuine subsisting relationship”. Unfortunately, because we live on the top of a ridge with a steep, winding road that we have to drive down in order to get to the M4, I often pass by a sign which reads: Road liable to subsidence. As a result, my brain has come to twist the visa term into one with a very different meaning. I have to keep reminding myself that we need to demonstrate a genuine subsisting relationship, not a genuine subsiding relationship. Continue reading