About Me

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here I am in a little cottage that evokes the energies of my ancestral lands - a cottage on the moors of Cornwall, or on the cliff tops of Ireland or Scotland. It has a hearth. I am a hedge witch {of sorts}. I wear upcycled clothes, patchouli oil and Redback boots. I am a gypsy; an eccentric and a mystic [I often live with a foot in two worlds]. I serve my guests, tea from an old silver teapot. I love Vervain, yarrow, chamomile & mint. Star watcher and Moon gazer. story cloth weaver. keeper of family dreams and wishes. good friend and creator of life. herbal tea drinker and potion maker.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

the "epilogue"

For a long time, I have felt disconnected to the land of my birth, Australia. Feeling as if I had a foot planted in two different lands. One in Cornwall, the land of my ancestors and one in this vast, sometimes forbidding land, Australia.

Cornwall, a land of my childhood stories.. where folklore had been woven with and between layers of a huge journey, taken by my great grandparents - William and Laura - to the land of my own journey, Australia. Reasons of their decisions were told and embellished over the years.. until I had to discover, for myself, the reason why. and this meant travelling to that country...England.. but most especially Cornwall.
I wanted to see for myself how my ancestors lived.. I wanted to discover their folklore and spiritual beliefs. I wanted to lay to rest those ghosts that often accompany me. Ghosts that i struggled with daily.


"I am beginning to believe that the reason for me being in England for such a long time, is that I needed to get to a point where I knew without a doubt that Australia is my home. that it pervades every part, every cell of my being. And that I am connected to the country, a connection that I never knew I had until I visited Cornwall [and realised that I didn't belong there....."

"Lands End - I felt as if I were part of the rocks. that there was no separation between my own body and that of the cliffs....It was a primitive connection, almost primal"........

"I was told by a true Cornish person [one who is born in Cornwall with ancestral links to the county].. that the Cornwall of old, the one I was seeking, has gone. traditional Cornish life being taken over by tourism.. "......

and this one at a time when I felt as if i were complaining all the time.. posting, at times caused angst for me.. whether or not to post.. but with Joe's encouragement, I continued to put my thoughts down and shared them...
"sometimes I feel as if what I write is misunderstood as complaining.. and i hesitate to put down my true feelings in fear of being judged.. but Joe continues to encourage me.. as do quite a few friends .. because this is my own journey, thoughts and feelings and not those of anyone else
I never want to sound ungrateful with the experiences I have had. I won't call it a holiday, because like I have said many times, it has been a pilgrimage more than a vacation. The experiences I have had, the things I have seen will be with me forever and I will always be grateful for that [it is said, that gratitude is only one step away from love].. but I will admit the last few weeks were very difficult for me.. because i was so homesick.. ...".....

"the Cornish tinners had a strong spirit. I am a descendant of that, like my Pa said, Cornish blood runs in my veins... I can use that strength and tenacity in my own life.. and THAT is the legacy that they handed down to me....".....

"....in this area of Cornwall, [Perranuthanoe] there is a strong presence of my family. And at times it is overwhelming and confusing. So many of them, where did they all go? why do we not know of each other. I look at people in the villages looking for a family resemblance, all the while knowing that I really don't want to meet any of them.".....

"what hurts also, is that all the names of the villages that I had read of on my family tree, the land that  my ancestors live and worked is not that now.. and that saddens me.. alot.. I am feeling such a sense of loss at the moment. A sense of loss that the Cornwall that I thought  I knew.. from those childhood stories.. is no longer.. and I feel a loss of self, in a way.. a grieving perhaps for the loss of who I thought I was...I must sit with this and allow the feelings...".....

"I sat and meditated at the Abbey [Glastonbury] and as time went on, I heard voices of men.. chanting? monks?.. this was not of this world.. but of another.. and I felt peace of soul.
Seeing the Chalice well bought tears to my eyes. such a connection here for me.. I only wish that the church at home held this same sacredness for me.. this is what I need. A deep spiritual connection to the Divine".....

"...looking back over the past few days, with the rain and my melancholy and emotions... i realize that I had started to think that I had wasted my time coming here.. but of course that is not right..when I first decided to make the trek to Cornwall, I knew that this was not going to be an ordinary holiday.. sunning and surfing.. no. It was going to be a pilgrimage for me, mostly. and sometimes, when I cannot do what I thought I must do.. I get frustrated... like spending time in shops instead of looking at ancestral grounds ......"

"Now that i have  completed this pilgrimage, I know that both my feet are firmly planted in Australia. That constant yearning has gone..to be replaced with one of settlement..within."....

My ancestry may be in Cornwall.. but that is past..
and now I can move forward in deep gratitude to those who left England, to make  new life in Australia for the future generations.
Did they know that this was the right decision?..
I hope so.

I now feel a connection so strongly to this vast land where I was born. With all its magnificent forms, with its ancient grounded-ness, its at times, forbidding aura and know now, that this is where my spiritual journey is.

this trip to Cornwall has helped me to discover what and where my own spirituality is.. where it lies. I come home with a strong faith of  my own. And hopefully a settling into that of my own rituals and ceremonies, without having to look without, constantly, for reassurance..

do I regret going? NO! not one bit, not one minute of the trip would I change.. not even the constant rain or the manic drivers.. it was ALL a part of my experience. It was exactly as it should be.

Friday, January 4, 2013

London Town...

being in London, seems almost surreal.

"I don't think I am going to have a religious experience in London.. it is purely a tourist place.. for me anyhow.. a pretty city in the daylight. lots of grand old white houses with black trims. a feeling of elegance. I think a few days in London for a holiday would be nice, but not after such a long time away from home like we have had. I just didn't appreciate all of the history here, as I am in history overload...."

Taking the Hop On, Hop Off bus, blue route, we travelled first through the museum district.. and hopped off at Piccadilly Circus.. to catch the red route bus that had a personal guide.

this took us all around the city..

past some well known places..

  others you had to get off and walk to see..

people were queuing to see the Abbey.. and the crowds near the palace were insane.. from the bus, the people looked like millions of ants all scurrying around.. we decided not hop off and walk to see Buckingham Palace after I saw those crowds.

continuing past the theatres and the grand hotels...

hopping off again at Trafalgar Square to have lunch

then on again to Harrods to complete my mission...

to buy the bag..

then we had afternoon tea at Harrods.. it is so much like David Jones at home.. just more people .. but now I can say that I have done it.. oneday who knows.. my grandchildren may say 'my grandma had afternoon tea at Harrods.." or maybe not

and now.. our last night in England.. I prepare to fly home. what a journey. of a lifetime. a pilgrimage to my ancestral home and now, back to my birth home.

what happens next?

gym, garden, walking, meditating, art, family, friends.... and I write the epilogue to this journey...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

To London, To London

well. here we are in London. and my reflections today are those, of a very tired woman.

One who didn't sleep much last night due to the fact that the chinese food most probably had MSG added and whose whole digestive system is in toxic shock from two months of eating mostly sugar and fat. one who is craving fresh organic salads, fresh juices and fresh summer fruits.

after driving to Reading to drop the car off.. and being told by the car hire guy to stay outside to keep an eye on our luggage.. then in a taxi to the station.. caught a train..

they even have first class on suburban trains. Like us going from Paramatta to Sydney, there is even a first class carriage and what seems to be one for lower classes. Joe and I made a spectacle of ourselves by getting into the upper class carriage and had to walk through to where we apparently belong

arrived at Piccadilly and caught a cab. to the motel. a cab driven by a very rude taxi driver. who didn't get a tip for his rudeness.

By this time, I was over the whole thing. I don't do cities very well at all. I am like a country mouse going to the city. And if one more person looks at my knitted pants, oddly, I am going to slap them hard. I don't fit in at all.

We arrived at our hotel in Earl's Court.. having booked before we left home.. given our key and told to go to the lift.. up to floor 1....and when we got to floor 1, we had to drag our luggage up a flight of stairs..thinking we had a superior room, we opened the door on to what amounted to a box with two single beds.. and a bathroom as big as a match box. I could feel my spirits flag... and I knew Joe was feeling the same way... we decided to go back down in the lift as big as a wardrobe and ask if we could upgrade.. thankfully they had a larger room, more modern and updated. I am not a snob, but for the last two nights, i want to be comfortable and settled.. not in a room like a cell.

so we went back to room #1 to get our luggage, back down the flight of stairs.. into the lift as big as a wardrobe with 4 pieces of luggage plus us.. up to floor 3, up a small flight of steps and into our room.

by this time, I wanted to just get the hell out of here and go for a walk.. thought we might walk to Harrods, to have a look but were told that it is a good 25 mins walk.. so we caught 'the tube.'

another experience. From Earls Court to Knightsbridge where Harrods is.. up and down escalators with signs everywhere..

and to Harrods...

a little overwhelming actually. Our first entrance took us into the 'Parfumery' and Joe said he felt like Mister Bean, no wonder he crawled through on his hands and knees trying to avoid being accosted by a multitude of perfume bottle wielding sales assistants....[not Joe, Mister Bean, although I think Joe would have done that if I had allowed him to]

the perfumes were overwhelming. Not sure why they think they need to be spraying toxic chemicals onto you as you walk past.. good old patchouli oil for me!

we wandered around, rather aimlessly in Harrods. We looked for the tea rooms... finally found them.. but a half hour wait for a table... couldn't be bothered waiting actually.

The store is so big. with room after room.. leading here and there and I felt as if it were truly overated.. all i wanted to buy was a Harrods bag. And of course, there is just not one style but many and I decided to walk out with nothing. I had to regather myself and go in with a list tomorrow.. for exactly what I needed - on a mission.


so, here we are in London for our second last night in England...

first impressions:

too busy. unfriendly. too many people.

Harrods: over rated.

tomorrow we have a hop on hop off bus trip around the city.. and to Harrods with shopping list in hot little hand.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

leaving Cornwall and to Salisbury

we left Cornwall yesterday. 2 days early. The dampness in the cottage was really affecting us both. so we just packed up the car after returning from Fowey and headed for Salisbury..

as we left Cornwall and came into Devon.. a rainbow appeared as if my great grandparents were saying to me 'You have made the right decision leaving early'...
 they were Cornish.. they moved to Devon and then migrated to Australia.

JOURNAL: "I can feel that my great grandparents know that they made the right decision. They have seen, through me, that Cornwall is not what it was.."

 "we left Cornwall on my birthday. A perfect time to leave, I think. It has been a bittersweet journey for me and in a way I am sad, that Cornwall was not what I had expected or anticipated but I believe that this is a good thing. Visiting Cornwall has laid ghosts to rest for me and settled something deep within. Like missing pieces of a jigsaw have been found and placed where they belong. Like parts of me have returned to my energetic body."

and we booked into a 13th century inn for two nights in Salisbury... The Rose and Crown - what a hoot! crooked walls, sloping bedside tables and hills in the floors..

January 2
so here we are in Salisbury and today we decided to play tourists and just wander the streets and a visit to the Salisbury Cathedral. a few packages were sent home and we wandered in and out of shops looking at the christmas sales.. buying a few things for ourselves.. looking for a journal for me, taking photos and then had lunch.. I thought i would have a pastie and a cup of tea.. and I need to say that pasties here are nowhere near as good as those I have had at home. Here, they use chunks of beef and onion whereas at home, they are made with minced beef, parsnip, carrot and onion and they are absolutely delicious...

and then we visited the cathedral.

something that everyone said was a must... and truthfully, for me, it did not have the emotional affect that York Minster nor Truro cathedral, did. And I definitely could not feel any prayers or wishes seeping through the walls... maybe it is because there were so many tourists wandering around and there were guides showing groups around.  But the architecture was stunning.. there were saints carved from stone all around the outside.. angels and roses. Gargoyles. everywhere, works of art in stone. like I said.. absolutely stunning building

However, this did not stop me lighting candles for some prayers needed.. nor did it stop me from entering the Chapel of Archangel Michael that is set aside for personal prayer.

JOURNAL: "walking around Salisbury today, I felt as if I have been living in a different world for a month, surreal, while in Cornwall. Even though Cornwall is a county of England it is almost as if it has a culture all of its own. A world apart. And suddenly I realized that I no longer feel a connection to Cornwall, at all. That yearning has gone. "
that said, I have had the most brilliant time in Cornwall.. despite the rain..

And tomorrow? We head for London for two nights... not sure what to expect there.. but really, it is only a stopover on the way home!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Eve ~ celebrating in style

well another year gone. this one, we celebrate so much differently than in years past. amidst strangers in a foreign country. Don't know what induced me to decide to stay here for the New Year and more importantly my 55th birthday. But here I am. and making the best of it that I can.
we woke to damn rain pelting against the window at 5am and it has not stopped. It is so depressing.

we decided to book in to The Fowey Hotel for New Years Eve.. so glad we did.. it will be a bit of pampering in an otherwise grey dismal day. Plus, I am having respiratory problems from the constant damp, mould and musty smell in the cottage.
then we come back for one night and have decided to leave Cornwall early and travel to Salisbury for a night then to London on the 3rd.
geez, i am hanging out for the 5th to come!! then to see sunny expansive skies, hear kookaburras and cockatoos [which by the way, I will never complain about again!!]..

arriving at Fowey, in the rain.. we walked down to the shops to send the last of our packages, [we hope] and I bought myself a birthday gift for tomorrow... then back to the hotel to wait for our room.. we sat and played on our iphones because by this time, it was 2013 in Australia.. and wishing all my relatives and friends a happy new year.. bought on more pangs of homesickness... I shoved those down inside to deal with later, because the last thing I wanted was to be crying in the drawing room in front of strangers. as I sat there, in the drawing room, I thought of the many years that we had celebrated with our friend Peter.. and how New Years Eve had always been so special.. and made a promise to myself, that next year, I will do an elegant dinner party on New Years Eve at our home in Katoomba. I will just have to find some silver to go along with it!

afternoon tea was served at 2.30 and then we went to our room for a nap before dinner. a very swish affair, unfortunately i had forgotten to pack my evening dress so I hoped that the upper class would forgive my black skirt, leopard print tights and slippers. Actually, I don't care. One thing I feel so happy about is that in Australia there is not the class system that seems to be everywhere here. it would drive me nuts.

so we dressed for dinner.. me in my new red shoes, that I had bought myself as a gift for my 55th birthday [those red slippers meant something to me.. 1... when Dorothy clicked her heels together, closed her eyes and said, 'there's no place like home'.. she was whisked back to Kansas and 2. My dad always said to me to 'put my red slippers on and skip along the yellow brick road']..
 I walked down the steps... like a lady must..

pre dinner drinks... rose [imagine one of those little things over the 'e']
.. cheers!

canapes anyone? we had brie with strawberries, miniature yorkshire puddings with horseradish, chicken liver & onion chutney tarts and smoked salmon on toast with cream cheese. all very yum.

the table was set for two, overlooking the Fowey River.. at night it is beautiful looking across to the other village
and for the rest of the guests.. a beautiful setting to celebrate New Years Eve, if one is away from friends and family.
we were seated next to a lovely couple from Stoke-on-Trent.. elderly,beautiful couple. Frank and Jean. they have travelled extensively in Australia and knew Katoomba very well.. we chatted all night to them. They love Australia and would love to return one-day.

Happy New Year.
fireworks taken across the river.. someone said to me to use the fireworks setting, but in the dark, without my glasses, i couldn't even see if there was one.. so this is as good as it gets.

and here I am... 55 years old - 2013
I wonder what the year has in store for me...
 I wish for another full year with my mum, in good health, I wish that my friend Peter McTaggart lives for another year... and no deaths in my life at all this year.
And I wish for a year where peace shines from within me.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bodmin Moor. at last.

last night, it rained and blew a gale and rained.. somemore. I was beginning to think that we were in some kind of tropical typhoon. And we woke to rain. so it was a bit of a downer really...
I wanted to go back to Tavistock to visit a church I had spotted when driving yesterday.

the water table is saturated and the water has no where to go..

we drove along roads, not much bigger than goat tracks in places.. all washed out and flooded by the rain.. on the way we saw a kestrel, hovering just above us. they are stunning birds. so graceful.

Our Lady and Mary Magdalene, catholic church.. [funny how Mary Magdalene has accompanied me on this pilgrimage]

it was not as old as the anglican churches [which apparently were catholic before King Henry V111 decided to reform it all] but simple inside, although the design was taken from a Roman Basilica, it was still very impressive compared with Australian churches.

then we decided to go to Liskeard for lunch.

on the way, we took a detour to find a Holy well that i had read about - Dupath Well.. believed to cure whooping cough.. but came to a dead end at a farm.. and decided not to trek through the farm looking for the well...

Liskeard is what is known as a 'poor town'..and I can see sadly, that many shops are closing down, much like at home.
we found an op shop [where I bought a cup commemorating some kind and queen] and a junk shop.. obviously the junk shop doesn't know that the country is in a recession as they had a similar mug for sale for 10 times the price! there were lots of treasures in the junk shop though.. but sadly, too crowded and damp to even want to look inside for too long. lots of water problems in many buildings here.. rising damp and leaking rooves.

after our browse in Liskeard we headed for the second well that I wanted to visit..

Holy Well of St. Cleer - 15th century
[St. Clarus, a benedictine.. the Benedictines are a big part of my life. I love the Benedictine Way..]
the Holy Well, was originally used to treat the insane. they were tossed up and down in the water until their sanity returned
sounded good to me....

but of course.. modern times, safety issues.. the well was covered.. so I had to be content with dipping my hands in.. [and this is where I placed my little rock that I had bought from home]

it was quite sad actually.. the Holy Well seemed neglected.. aluminium cans and rubbish littered the crystal clear water.. if I lived here, i would adopt the well and clean it up, decorating it on the feast day of St. Cleer ..

next to the well was an ancient 7 foot cross

then we drove towards the Moors... towards Minions..the highest village in Cornwall.

we stopped to look at The Hurlers. Bronze Stone age circles from1500BC.

I must admit that Bodmin Moor was beautiful. very cold and windy. and of course wet. but the part that I saw was gorgeous. I walked around for a very short time as alot of it was so wet, so much so, that I kept losing my wellies in the mud.. it touched my heart and I am sure if I spent more time there, it would steal my heart... but anywhere like this always touches a part of me that cities and towns don't. Of course, this is only a small part of Bodmin Moor, but it will have to do.. I know that I have been to yet another area where my ancestors most probably were at sometime. satisfied? yes. yes.

then home to Ingledene.. to an invitation from a couple that we had met at the Fowey Hotel.. for lunch tomorrow.. [they live in North Devon and we clicked immediately on meeting them last week.. they were also grieving being away from family at Christmas time.. their children and grandchildren live in Australia!! She is the Mayor of her village.. they once hired a motor home and drove to Cairns.. oh the tales they told us of that adventure!]