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Island Tales

When I came to live on this island two and half years ago, we had a dog. It was fun exploring, but sadly she was old and our adventures were limited.

When she died, we were never getting another one. Eight months late, we thad Tilly, also a Yorkshire terrier. This time a puppy as Jodie was a rescue dog, coming to us when  when she was eight.

IMG_2833Tilly is now just over a year old and we venture out to explore every day again. We couldn’t let Jodie off the lead. So it’s a pleasure to see Tilly running in the big open spaces, be it fields, parks or beaches.

What we never foresaw is how we would end up with a second dog. Meggy came to us via a charity, having been rescued from a puppy farm. She was about four, had no name and the most traumatised dog I have ever seen.

When I was a child, Mum and Dad had a King Charles spaniel and sadly she died young. I Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 10.35.52never imagined I’d have the same type one day. Meggy is wonderful, and great off the lead. She follows me everywhere and gets on well with Tilly, despite Tilly hanging off her ears sometimes!

To watch both dogs running together is a joy I never expected. Did you dogs can smile? Their tongues loll  at one side, and their teeth are on show. There is no mistaking the look of pleasure.. You can see it in this photo of Meggy and I’ve seen the same look on Tilly.

One of the many places we can taken them is Penrhos Coastal Park and Nature Reserve. It sits between the village of Valley and the town of Holyhead. It’s a natural habitat for the red squirrel. As a child, I saw many in our parks but as the years went on the grey squirrel appeared and the red, disappeared.

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I have seen three since I arrived on the island. One ran across the road in front of my car. Then two recently at Penrhos.

There are many paths to follow, some more dense with trees. On the perimeter there are beaches, and even a hill with a seat on the top that gives great views over the sea.

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Some years ago I had a replacement knee and for the first time I could walk unaided. I made it to the top of the hill and was very proud of myself. Sitting down, I was admiring the views when an old lady with a walking stick passed sprightly by. It took the wind out of my sails, and I didn’t feel so clever after all!

One thing I enjoy is how the dogs walk along side me as we venture down the different paths. Tilly is still learning and as other dogs approach, I’m able to keep her back from going to great them. She wants to jump up their legs as if they are all her friends. I don’t want her to do that as not all people are dog lovers. She learns fast and I’m proud that she is such a good girl. Meggy is naturally shy and stays by my side.

Many years ago Penrhos used to be an estate with a big house. The house has long gone but many of the out buildings and dry stoned walls still remain. A lot are in disrepair, which only adds to the charm. The stones and slate used is mined on the island and have been used for building for hundreds of years.

Some buildings have been restored, a roof put on, and a seat inside. A nice place to be amongst the trees to sit and contemplate whilst admiring the different typles foliage, and enjoying the fresh scented air.

IIMG_2585 recently came across this bench and it caught my eye because it had four colourful flowers at each of the legs.

Many of the paths are sign posted and wheelchair friendly, although I’ve never seen a wheelchair there, it also means its fine for prams, and there are plenty of those.

Recently I’ve found a new interest – painted rocks. Facebook has a group called Anglesey Rocks, I’ve mentioned it previously on this blog.

Anyone can paint the rocks and hide them for others to find. Kids and adults love it. The simple making and hiding is a lot of fun. Once the rocks are discovered a picture is posted on the Facebook group. It’s quite thrilling seeing mine posted there and re-hidden for others to find. They don’t just stay on the island. One of mine ended up in Copenhagen. You can see the full article here.

I went twice to Penrhos recently and didn’t find any. It made me smile because people were walking around with cameras, and looking up at  trees trying to spot a red squirrel. Then, there was me, a grandmother, on a bigger quest searching for painted rocks! On my next visit I found two and was so excited. My husband muttered something about – ‘Little things…..’

Once more, I count my blessings. I love my new island life. From living in the big city of Manchester, I always knew I was a country girl at heart. I loved my holidays here and walking through Penrhos with its natural beautify settles my soul. When I would return to real life to the built up city streets, part of me was always left behind. I yearned to be back, to smell the fresh, clean air and feel the sea breeze on my face again.

Now we, hubby, and I, are retired we get do this every day, whenever want.  What could be better?

 

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I even found a naturally made heart on a tree.

A Chance Encounter

By Jennifer Deese

 

The day started bright and sunny, her coffee was smooth, just the way she loved it. The outside beckoned. Her need to submerge herself in Mother Nature’s earthly embrace was poignant and urgent. Roxie quickly finished her morning routine and donned the active wear she preferred for hikes along the mountain trails surrounding her property. She felt she was on the edge of something monumental but, for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out what. Shaking off the feeling, she stepped off the veranda…reveling in the soft, spongy feel of rich earth beneath her sneakers. Taking a deep breath of the refreshing air, Roxie headed for the trail head. Again, she had to push away the feeling that something was looming above her head. Instead, she allowed nature to soothe away life’s hectic worries and chaotic events. After a few stretches, she was off for the needed exertion of a long hike.

Twenty minutes into her journey, as she was rounding a bend in the trail, she noticed an elderly woman walking towards her. The woman locked eyes with her, and in an instant, she liked this stranger – immediately she felt a deep connection. As the two women walked towards one another, the woman flashed a welcoming smile, waving as if they were old friends. Roxie smiled in reply. “Hello”’ said the woman “I was looking to have a seat, and enjoy a bite to eat. I’ve got plenty, would you care to join me?” Before she knew it, and without knowing why, Roxie said yes – something she would normally never have done. She followed the lady to a patch of flat grass,  in a clearing, on the side of the trial. Her brain was having trouble grasping the fact that she had so readily agreed to a picnic with a total stranger. Usually cautious, over cautious actually, impulsive behaviors were a stranger to Roxie. From childhood, she had always been hesitant to open or to be impulsive and carefree, to the point of causing others to steer away from her company. She tended to come off as closed, and unwelcoming That trait had carried over into her adulthood, and if she were to be completely honest with herself she would even say it was the very reason she was still alone in her mid-thirties She had never been in a relationship, in fact, it was rare for any of her first dates to ask for a second. She was well aware that this particular quirk in her personality was handicapping her, it was robbing her of living a full, and satisfying life. To counter that she submerged herself in her work, filling every little void with work, work and… more work in a feeble attempt to chase away the moments of loneliness.

The sandwiches the woman offered were delicious. The lemonade was refreshing. After thanking the woman, Roxie lay back to look up at the sky – wondering what had made her so easily agree to join a stranger for lunch, out in the middle of nowhere. The woman cleared her throat and asked Roxie if she would be willing to listen to her talk a bit. “I so rarely get to chat with others. “My life has been lived mostly alone. I never married, never did much outside of my comfort zone”, the old lady said with a sigh. “And I would so love to just talk to another person for a bit. Would that be okay with you?”, she asked, peering intently at Roxie. Again, Roxie was compelled to comply, something in the aged eyes, and wrinkled face of this stranger rang the bell of familiarity.

“I’ve gained a lot of hindsight wisdom in my years,” the woman stated, “And I have found that when you second guess yourself you make unchangeable changes in your fate. The failure to move beyond what is comfortable to you, and hesitations to make a bold move will cost you a lifetime of

happiness…and companionship. Caution is good in small doses but, if all you ever do, such as I have done, is stress and worry about the myriad of what ifs, then that is all you do…stress and worry. These things can turn a journey with a soulmate into a walk of loneliness. You meet your soul mate once, and if you let that meeting slip by without grasping it to your heart, and soul, it will be a loss felt forever. I once had a chance, on this very trail, to meet my soulmate. I let my own over cautious hesitation take him away. I’ve wondered every day, if indeed, that man I failed to speak to was who the Fates had truly intended for me to be with. Caution and hesitation have been my bane, young lady. Please, do not let them be yours…” As the old lady finished talking Roxie felt something deep in her soul quiver for a moment, it was as if this strange, perplexing little old lady was talking about her. How could that ever be?, Roxie thought to herself.

A few minutes later she was helping the woman pack up the leftovers and utensils. Thanking the kind stranger for the pleasant lunch and conversation Roxie stuck out her hand, and instead of shaking her hand the woman grasped her by the shoulders pulling her in for a tight hug. Right before she released Roxie she whispered, “ Let your life happen, Live!”

As the woman turned back toward where she had come from, Roxie turned toward home, the words of wisdom still with her. To her absolute surprise, she noticed a tall, and rather handsome, man standing on the cliff side of the trail. He was staring intently at the vista of the valley below. Not sure how long he had been there, she was going to ignore him, but something inside her found the strength to push aside her hesitation…maybe it was the words of the old lady. Clearing her throat and, swallowing her nervousness, she called out a hesitant greeting. Fear almost made her scurry away down the path but, the wise words of the old lady made her throw caution to the wind. He turned toward her, waved and gestured for her to join him on the precipice, a warm smile on his face…a smile that immediately felt like a warm fire on an icy cold night. Before she joined him, she gave one last glance in the direction of the old lady.

The kind woman was just about out of view, around the bend, when Roxie called out, “ I didn’t get your name!”

“My dear, you know who I am…My name is Roxie”

 

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More about the Author

Jennifer Deese first officially joined the writing world and became a published author in 2013 with her inaugural novella, The Orchid Keeper. Miss Deese is fond of writing shorter stories versus full sized novels. Her first book will eventually be the prequel novella to a series of short books called The Osipian Chronicles. From childhood, her mother has fostered her imagination and love of reading…which Deese sees as the roots of her love for writing, especially fantasy. As a lover of

As a lover of nature it is not surprising that it tends to play a part in many of her writings. A mother and a Nana, Jennifer Deese looks forward to spending time with her loved ones. She resides in Pennsylvania with her two dogs and boyfriend James and his son.

Life on an Island

On Mondays, we, that being hubby and me, try to get out and explore our new island home.

This Monday we went out to lunch at Red Wharf Bay, and I’d seen The Ship Inn advertised on Social Media, so we thought we would visit.

It’s an historical pub going back to 18th century. We sat outside because it was a beautiful day, not sunny, but a with a warm breeze and light coloured clouds. The food was delicious, I had a steak and onion sandwich, with chips and salad. Hubby had the same with a crab sandwich instead.

I couldn’t resist taking a look inside and I wasn’t disappointed. There were oak beams, white washed walls, stone floors and wooden furniture. It was like walking back in time. Charming in every sense of the word. Follow the link above to learn more about it.

 

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We then went a walk around and the tide was in splashing up against the sides. The breeze had picked up and the dog loved the grassy walkways, sniffing her way through and stopping to do what dogs do. The children had gone back to school and the people walking around were our age all older. It was peaceful and everyone smiled and acknowledged each other.

Back in the car we drove over to Benllech Bay, and you’ll see from the link how beautiful the sands and beach are. The tide was right in exposing just a small patch of sand and on the promenade it splashed up against the wall. It reminded me of being a child and the excitement of getting wet when the waves spilled over us.

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It’s lovely to see the water bouncing about and unfortunately dogs were not allowed on the beach until the end of September, so we watched from the promenade and said we would come back at the end of the month.

We drove over to Moelfre, a little cove with a lifeboat station. It’s winding road to the front was full of cottages and reminded me of the beauty of Cornish coastlines.

We finished off at Cemaes Bay another really pretty harbour. We bought an ice cream and wandered down the front promenade which had been much improved over the years. They even had a bell on the beach and when the tide is in and splashes against it, it rings out. As you can see the sun came out and we walked on the beach finishing our day beautifully.

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A Baby Butterfly

by Karen J. Mossman

Another story from my mum, who found a chrysalis in the garden. She brought it inside and put it into a jam jar with some foliage.  For days she watched the butterfly grow in its cocoon she would report back to me on its progress.

“I can see it moving,” inside she said.

Then as the days went on, she’d say, “I can’t way to see it emerge”

Finally that day came and a beautiful butterfly broke free.

She watched in awe as it flew out of the jam jar into the kitchen on its maiden voyage.

Suddenly from the corner of her eye, she saw the dog leap up and swallow it.

Poor Mum was heartbroken.