It is two years ago that I first visited Caffe Vista in the Summer of 2014. I made a spontaneous visit and discovered this great place in Tenby which drew me back this year. I was lucky on all occasions to get a seat on their small balcony. There is plenty of seating inside which is really nice and a variety of food which I have not yet sampled. I enjoyed a strawberry, raspberry and mango smoothie followed by a hot chocolate on my first visit of the day while I sat reflecting on the beauty of Tenby and thinking about life. I then returned for a strawberry, banana and yoghurt smoothie to take another break from ambling along by the beach and through the narrow streets. A lot has happened healthwise during the past two years and I felt blessed to be able to return. Next door to the cafe I noticed that there are some holiday apartments which enjoy the same views – what a wonderful place to stay!
I have just returned from Wales and spent a wonderful day at Tenby in Wales. It is such a special place – beautiful beaches, interesting and colourful buildings, stunning views. There is a good holiday vibe in the summer with many tourists but even during the school holidays this week the beach was not crowded. I would love to visit in the winter when it is quiet, some would perhaps say bleak, but it is a place where there is so much natural beauty – a truly spiritual place to experience.
Our new puppy Jasmine is the one on the left. This was taken while she was still with her mum and as you can see very young. She has grown a lot since then – see my other post today of our trip to the seaside on the Isle of Sheppey.
I’m excited to be back on WordPress after spending yesterday helping my friend Artist Julie Bradshaw with her own blog (more on that in another post). It’s given me the incentive to get back on here, I’ve really missed it. There’s been a lot going on in my life keeping me busy, mainly getting back to university after my debilitating illness throughout 2015, trying to catch up on what I have missed and keeping up with working on my modules so that I can complete my second year and progress to my final year. But … one of the most exciting, heartwarming and life changing things has been having the new addition to our family, Jasmine our chocolate labrador puppy.
It had been a possible intention to do a separate blog, or create a YouTube channel, for my puppy and tell her story from when she was born throughout her early days and beyond. But the reality is that when Jasmine arrived home, I can only liken it to having a new baby with all the routines and care of looking after a new life. Jasmine is a joy to look after but much as I wanted to take lots of beautiful photos, most important is to enjoy and be with her and the camera sort of goes out the window a lot of the time (and has luckily escaped the clutches of Jasmine’s teeth!). I have taken quite a few photos but they are not the ‘perfect’ puppy photos I had imagined – but then Jasmine to me is perfect in every photo because it is her. So at various points I will share some of the earlier photos and I’m sure she will appear in future posts as we enjoy the summer together.
So for now, here are a few photos of our trip the other day to the seaside on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. It was a glorious if slightly chilly day and there were surprisingly few people about. I do enjoy finding these gems of places that are not so far away from my home and I wonder why I don’t visit more often. I love the seaside and Jasmine really enjoyed her visit, despite having her nose to the ground most of the time. But perhaps that’s a sure sign of happiness for a dog!
I just came across this poem I wrote some years ago when I was in my bedroom looking down onto the snowy urban landscape around me, stuck at home and unable to travel as the roads were so treacherous.
There’s nowhere I can go
you spread your blanket high
I’m trapped within this box
and I don’t have any socks
How can it really be
you flutter from the sky
it makes this life so hard
and we’ve taken down our guard
We never are prepared
you make us really sigh
it brings us to a halt
and we’ve used up all the salt
Then suddenly it comes
to those that do not cry
it takes away the stress
and don’t even have to dress
We’re stranded here at home
with no-one coming by
it brings such wondrous calm
and don’t come to any harm
There’s some that have a go
don’t stop to think of why
it may be hard to see
and they may just hit a tree
We ventured for a walk
you felt so very dry
the world it did stand still
and with magic we did chill
Laughter rippled through us
a warm tear filled the eye
with luck did surely dice
and we fell for paradice
I had no doubt I wanted to share this photo but I pondered the title. Yes it was my sixtieth birthday recently. I’d been very specific about my age when I was in hospital over the past year and they had me down at one stage as 60 – NO! I said, I’m not 60, I’m 59 – a big difference in my eyes, fiftties sounds younger, sixties sounds, well, old.
So here I am, 60 and proud of it. It’s a fact, it’s a number. But does it really mean anything? I opened a card just the other day from a fairly new friend who had never known my age. She couldn’t help adding a comment to the card that we had chatted, shared things and experiences together, laughed and more and she couldn’t believe I was the age I was and said it proves age is just a number. I don’t know her age. Somewhere between 30’s and 40’s. Does it matter? What matters is that we clicked, we get on well together, she always makes me smile. She said I was an inspiration but she inspires me. We inspire each other, what can be better than that – peer inspiration, the best.
After the difficult year I have had, I felt blessed to reach my 60th and even more so when a surprise birthday celebration was arranged by my close family. I had an inkling that we were going to do something, I thought a small family meal out together somewhere. I was urged to be ready in time and was frantically trying to get my Christmas gift of earrings from a friend through my ears that I had not done for nearly a year, didn’t even know if the holes would still be there. Success and then I made my way out the door to be greeted by a huge white limousine.
It was a wonderful surprise and I sat sipping a taster of Champagne as I floated in the car to our destination. It seemed unreal. In my mind I kept thinking I knew where we were going as we took different turnings and changed my guess as we went past. We ended up arriving at one of my favourite haunts some years back where we spent many happy times, a fairly local hotel where I had partied, had family brunches with Santa and enjoyed the therapeutic benefits of the health spa. After capturing our family group outside the limo, I ventured inside, not prepared for the surprises that moment by moment dawned on me. Some of my closest friends who had supported me so much during the past year were already seated in the lounge area, scattered so it took me a few minutes to take it in and tears of emotion and joy escaped my eyes. It couldn’t have been more perfect. How they had all managed to keep it from me at a time when we were wishing each other a Happy Christmas and not expecting to see each other until the New Year I do not know. I never suspected such a surprise. It brought a warm glow to my heart and I treasured every moment.
I have dwelt on this more than I intended and it is hard to express in words how I felt. I had not felt able to make plans myself because I had not long had my last treatment of chemotherapy and was still recovering, and somehow it being the last of the cycle made it more difficult though I should have been pleased. As I write this I have enjoyed a joyous Christmas at home and spent a couple of days away at a family party where most of my family were present and I met once again with the youngest member, just under a year old, my niece’s son.
I would never have imagined years ago that at age 60 (which always seemed so old when I recall my own parents reaching that age) that I would have a teenage daughter and be mid-way through a degree course at University. I have a wonderful family, dear friends and a range of interests that keep me happy most of the time. There are challenges ahead but there is so much to be thankful for. I am returning to study in January and this will bring its own pressures which will again mean that my blogging will no doubt go on hold again, but it is not something that I want to let go of. It is something that I want to return to again and again as there is something so special about it. I have tinkered with different aspects of social media. Each has its place, benefits and downfalls, but to me nothing gets near to what blogging can do. It opens up a whole new world and the opportunities are endless. Whenever I come on here I get lost in what I am doing and never feel that I have wasted my time. There is always something that draws me in to read more and I know that it is always there for me if I need it.
I’m now catching up on what I’ve done over the past couple of months when enjoying the freedom to go out and about in my car and on the train. These are photos taken at Chatham Maritime, just round the corner from the Chatham Dockside outlet shopping centre, Dickensworld tourist attraction, Odeon cinema, restaurants, coffee shops and an ice cream cafe which apparently is well-worth the queueing, and lots more besides. If you are interested in learning more about the area take a look at Chatham Maritime Trust’s site. The Trust is a registered charity and guardian of the Chatham Maritime Estate which has lots of history.
Beyond the boats, which can be seen in the photo below, is St Mary’s Island. This island is very small and filled with modernish residential houses. The island inspired one of my poems which was a bit gloomy and in no way represents what I think of the island. I thought I had shared the poem before but on checking don’t think I have so when I find it, I’ll share it.
I never used to visit the Island until a couple of years ago when a friend told me they often went there for walks. I had seen no sign of anywhere much to walk but one day was determined to find it. I parked on the island and eventually managed to slip through a footpath between houses which took me onto the perimeter pathway. From there I was right beside the river estuary (if that’s the right way to describe it – never one for geography). It was a beautiful sunny day and I wish I had the photos to show you here. As I walked around, the high fencing/walls beside the path hid the houses and all that could be seen was the path and the beautiful views of shimmering water and bobbing colourful boats. It seemed to have taken me to a magical place that I never knew existed, it didn’t feel like the Medway I knew – another hidden gem. Walking further round to one end I came across an amazing massive sculpture, the Mariners, which was to mean more to me in the future – more on this in another blog. Here is the link to the sculptor Sam Holland’s website.
I am to-ing and fro-ing a bit in time, but I wanted to share how worthwhile it is – if you find yourself near Chatham Maritime and St Mary’s Island – to stop off and take some time out for yourself. There are two bridges which go across to the Island, one where the cars go and one where there is a lock, and this is the best route to the pathway from Dockside (though watch out for the parking restrictions).
The pictures shown here do not do the area justice but they are a reminder to me of the day I visited. I can’t walk far so stopped off by the pub and visited the Co-op supermarket. The cool breeze is always so refreshing and lifts my spirits. The pub the Ship & Trades is a great meeting place and – unlike here – is often very busy with a convivial atmosphere. I can thoroughly recommend the food and they are always very helpful with meeting special dietary requirements.
The following photo is one of my attempts at having a different perspective and I liked the way the shapes made geometric patterns. I sort of like it. Now I’m off to see what other photos I can share with you. Kay