Friday, November 28


RIP my fair little pooter friend.
The computer that was my silver friend, my cyber voice, and keeper of my images alas, met an untimely moment with a tiled floor in Spain, and while it made it through my travels, for which I am ever did not make it at home.

It has truly died......I am now trading it in for a new pooter but will miss my little silver buddy!

Sunday, November 23

and can you believe....

I am siting on a train from Paris to London, all reserved seats, and a woman sits right beside me.

We get chatting, she asks me where I have been, I tell her Greece....she looks excited and says she has been to Greece....we remnisce together.

I say Spain,,,,
she says Spain...
I say the UK....she says the UK
i say Prague..(well you get the idea....parallel paths for sure).....we giggle

then she asks me where I am from, I say Canada

...she says she is from western Canada

I say I am from western Canada

....asks what city...

I tell her Victoria

she says she is from Victoria...

asks me whereabouts, I say Quadra and M.....she gets soooooo excited now, she also comes from my hood......we can't believe it.
I have not met very many western Canadians in my travels and this was right from my backyard.

We spent a lovely train ride comparing notes, sharing chocolate and giggling....the time went very fast and then we said goodbye.

These are the moments that make it all so special...the perosnal connections that come and then fleetingly go, but make permanent footprints on our journey

More to come...

Sunday, November 16

Abigail Pussycat...1992-2008

About Abby- Abigail Pussycat.

She came to us a broken down, skinny kitten, living on the street, drinking puddle water and munching on bugs, tiny and sad , not knowing how to play.

She Showed up at Daiv's old apartment porch one Halloween night and meowed, the only time I ever heard her make a sound. She was meant to be apart of our lives and it was obvious she had made her choice. We named her Abigail after my favourite play "The Crucible"

We couldn't keep her in either of our apartments, so we decided to move in together.( Isn't that what all of us would do :)?)
It is because of Abby that our life moved in the direction it did, together as a family...she was the force behind it all. That was 16 years ago.

We discovered she was pregnant and her kittens were born, 5 in all...beautiful... but Abby got very sick, almost died and she and her kittens had to spend some long days at the ER til she came around.
She never let her kittens down for a second amazing and generous mom.

We kept Flame.....the most intriguing of the bunch and I know Abby was grateful they didn't all abandon her.
I think that close touch with the spirit world changed her somehow.
She was simply the wisiest, bravest, most courageous soul I have ever known. There was a knowing in her eyes that trancsended her species and our realm.

After that time, we knew there was something even more special about Abby than we had understood. She was a sort of changeling kitty....she would appear and then poof, and then reappear , right where you were looking. Our Gray Ghost.

She rose above death, more times than I care to count, and it was years before she was finally diagnosed with triaditis.
Even with being that sick for moments in her life...she never lost her grace or dignity and would let us do anything we needed to help her...never a raised paw, never a harsh look. Right til the end.

She taught each of the new addititions to our house about love, interspecies especially :), and would seemingly host tea parties with neighbouring kitties in our backyard. Alway a Duchess...always the Matriarch, holding court. Her nobility was awesome.

Setting her free was an easy decision to make, because she made it, and she communicated with me that she knew her body was done, and it was time to move on. Little did we know she had kept intestinal lymphoma, a fast moving and hugely invasive cancer, at bay until I came home and spent a happy week, playing and snuggling and not knowing there was anything nearly so serious moving inside her.
She was so happy the day we went to the vet for the last time....she had a great couple of meals of some of her favourite food, we had napped together..snuggled up and she had spent the day before chasing butterflies and hanging under the butterfly bush in our yard with me.
Truly, hard to believe there was cancer right under the surface, it moves fast.

I will miss her soft, soft bunny fur and her eyes, but her energy and spirit lives amongst us and I am so very grateful to have known this beautiful spirit in my lifetime.

Farewell my friend.... she leaves a legacy of courage and healing for other kitties in her wake.

Sunday, November 9

and now the little things that made it all so special...

I spent a fair bit of time creating a broad picture to reflect upon here in this blog.
Now I am home, and the individual moments are what are sharp in my mind's eye.

The next series of posts will be to honour some of those people who are a part of the fabric of this European Tapestry.

( I do not have any pics from train stations as I did not feel safe to reach into my bag and pull out my camera.
You will have to use your imaginations as to the magical grey, cold, misty veil that hangs over a European train station at night., making the pavement glimmer like molten silver)

Standing in a train station in Cologne, waiting for a train to Prague, late...ugh very late in the evening, I am surprised by the amount of other people waiting for trains. I find out from a kind young man who speaks English, that all the trains are at least an hour late due to an accident on the tracks. He also confirms I have found the correct platform as nowhere does it say......Prague.
We start chatting and I notice an elderly couple are watching our conversation with smiles on their faces.

My new young friend also speaks a language they understand, and while he translates two languages, neither one his first language, we discover they are from Kosovo and very interested in Canada.
We all chat like old friends for about 45 minutes, talk of our homelands, of politics and survival. You can see thye have survived much.
This all results in this wonderful couple inviting me to their home in Kosovo and hoping I make it their after Prague, insisting we share their delicious home cooked picnic of sausages, baguette, cheese and flask of wine, I shared my patisserie, and they gave me their address and phone number.

I was unable to get there this time, but what an amazing gift to have known such a warm welcome and to have made such dear friends to break bread with.

Thursday, November 6

You can go home again...

...and home is lovely. After the long...looooong 22 hours of travelling to get home, I was met with flowers, hugs and a new puppy in my mom and R's world and brought furries were confused by all the smells all my things carry, but soon they were surrounding me and catching up for lost time..

D and I caught up and had a nice visit before the comfort of my own bed called......yay for my own bed!

Was that really two months?????


Well here I sit in World Business class on my way to Chicago…what you say? Chicago?
That wasn’t in the plan? Aren’t you supposed to be going home???

Well you are sooooooo right about that.
How on earth then, one might ask, does one go from an economy class ticket from Amsterdam to Vancouver and end up in Chicago in world business class?
Wellllll, it’s like this.

I checked in this morning, Wednesday November 5th at 11:00 in Norwich. There I am told my plane home from Amsterdam has been re routed through Chicago and I won’t be getting into Vancouver until 10:30 pm making me miss my flight connection from Vancouver home to Victoria. An extremely unsympathetic woman kinda shrugs her shoulder and says I’ll have to take it up with KLM in Amsterdam….hmmmmm…you’re damn right I will. I also find out I have been involuntarilly rerouted with a 5 hour layover in Chicago because they overbooked my original plane. I am steaming mad, but summon up a sense of humour and wish my dear friend a final goodbye…I will really miss her and Reading Room Cottage, and I know she is worried about my travel issues too.
Have I mentioned how much I do NOT want to travel through the states on the heels of the election?????

Now, I arrive in Amsterdam and am told to go to gate 6 transfer with my concerns. I do, and am met with a woman whose bun is so tight it is pulling her wrinkles out of her forehead…I am worried.
I explain what has happened and she looks coolly at me and says…”exactly what do you think I can do for you?” At this point I start vibrating with anger and dammit, that usually means tears and I say, I will need to re book a flight in Canada, possibly pay for a hotel room and I expect some kind of compensation as it was an involuntary reroute at a minimum or a place on my orignal flight, that I paid extra for to have a straight through flight, as an ideal.
She says again, “there is nothing I can do, here is your boarding pass, I suggest you hurry they are starting to board.”
I ask her if this was her daughter, what would she like to see happen, really… watch her sleep in an airport all night?... and she just glares at me without a response,a staring contest.
I ask to see a manager and she hands me a complaint form to fill out, no manger is called.

I walk away and the emotion of it gets the better of me…because I am soooooooo maddddd….but as it always does, this comes out as tears and I am riding an escalater, tears streaming down my face when a kind cleaning crew ask me what’s wrong in broken Englsih. I explain, they tell me that’s ridiculous, ofcourse I will get compensated and lead me to another transfer gate. I meet a lovely angel, named Wendy ( my mom’s name ☺ ) who sees the mess I am in, sees my flight is leaving in 30 minutes and tries to create a few miracles.
1…no way I am getting on my original flight, and she really tried,……but they will compensate with a very generous bank card holding Canadian dollars for me, she rushes this paper work through.

2nd….she checks to see when the last air canada jazz is from vancouver to Victoria and discover there is a flight at 11:45 I should be able to catch, and now have more than enough money to buy that ticket in Vancouver.

3rd….after bringing me water….stopping the loading of the plane to wait for me, organizing my paper work to rush through for the cash,…she escorts me to the security line, informs all of the crew what has happened and surprise, hands me my world business class ticket to Chicago, I am pleased…now this is an 8 hour flight and a little space, glass of wine and good food has certainly stealled me for the longer trip home. On my individual screen , I have watched Frasier episodes, Mama Mia and Sex in the City….a few old friends to help cheer my mood.

The crew have bent over backwards to be kind, the pilot came out to aplogize to me for what happened, and I am now still not happy about going through the states, but I have filed a large complaint, with the crew’s help, against the first woman who would have seen me sleeping at the airport in Vancouver before helping me in any way…apparantly she has a repuation. They all knew who she was.
Sigh…once again the kindness of people wins waaaay out over the cold unfeeling snatches, and it is that I will remember, even as I have to travel for 24 hours. Sigh….Now to break it to the family they will not be picking me up until 12:15 instead of 7:30.

Sigh. I think I will have a bit more champagne

Saturday, November 1

Home again...away from home

I am back at the comfort and hugs of Reading Room Cottage and a bonfire and fireworks would have been the plan but for the rain and windstorm. Instead we stayed in and ate much fabulous food and drank mulled wine and caught up.

It is so incredible to think I will be home in Canada and not able to pop back back to Norwich anymore. it has been an oasis of tranquility in my travels that would have seen my trip be very different without my time here.

My family in southern London were spectacular also. They welcomed me as a long lost friend and made sure I had all the family history ( gossip..tee hee) and brought as many other family members round as possible while I was there.

England has really opened a whole new world of connections and family and a knowing that there is history ad roots out there beyond Canada, and who exist as friends as well as family who I coul go back to anytime and who I hope will come to us in Canada.

Sigh........Canada has so much I am thankful for, but it does not offer access to the kind of art, family members and architecture that Europe does and I will dearly miss that.