Be like a train; go in the rain,

go in the sun, go in the storm,

go in the dark tunnels!

Be like a train;

concentrate on your road

and go with no hesitation!
~Mehmet Murat ildan

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

***Unfold your own myth.***

I hope you will go out and let stories,

that is life, happen to you, and that

you will work with these stories . . .

water them with your blood &

tears & your laughter till they bloom,

till you yourself burst into bloom.

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Sunday, 26 November 2017

A New Path

Life is change. 
~Heraclitus of Ephesus 

November is the month that marks the 
beginning of our path down Holywell Street 
& Holywell B&B nearly a decade ago.

We moved into No. 14 Holywell Street on a
Friday & by Monday afternoon we were
welcoming guests, jumping into the deep end
first. There was no gradual transition for us,
just unfamiliar & uncharted waters. The good
news is that Stuart & I are both good swimmers, 
and for 10 years have swum our little hearts out.

It's humbling to start fresh. 
It takes a lot of courage.... 
You just have to put your ego on a
 shelf and tell it to be quiet. 
~Jennifer Ritchie Payette

It was good to begin our Holywell life
in deep autumn, when there was a 
golden glow over everything. There's 
no more beautiful time in Oxford
than the Autumn.

Below: Jowett Walk &
Harris Manchester College
just around the corner from us.

Even with the world around us tinged gold,
those first days were rough going at times
but we knew it would be going in. We 
knew running a bed & breakfast is hard & 
relentless work, and I knew that I would 
suffer homesickness. But knowing and 
experiencing are two different
things. It was hard, but we soldiered on.

Every single thing changes and
is changing always in this world.
Yet with the same light the 
moon goes on shining.

Coming to Oxford & England as I had for 
nearly 20 years, staying weeks or months at a
time, was different than moving
here lock, stock, 40 ft. container, and barrel.
This time I wasn't going home after a few
months. Oxford was now Home.

Sometimes there are no words to help one's
courage. Sometimes you just have to jump.
~Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs

The funny thing about our brains is that
they like the familiar, the well-worn neural
pathways that crisscross the brain, much
like the old hollowed out tracks that 
crisscross Britain. So after a few months, 
I longed for the familiarity of our old
life; the old front porch swing, our
bed, our little cottage that was sold to 
finance the big move across the ocean.
By the winter I was desperately homesick,
but still we soldiered on.

Every single thing changes and is 
changing always in this world. 
Yet with the same light the 
moon goes on shining. 

And now we've come to the end of November and
the start of our 10th year running a B&B in Oxford.
Ten years is a good, round number and it seems like
a good time to make a change. Beginning in March
we'll be handing over the B&B to a wonderful
couple who will carry on the tradition of hospitality
& hominess that we've created over the past decade.

Best of all though, I'll be retiring; retiring &
splitting my time between Wales & Oxford
(but probably mostly in Wales). Stuart will stay on 
running Oxford Walking Tours, going back and
forth between Oxford and Wales. We'll have some
time apart, but in the first ten years of our
 marriage we spent at least six months of the
year apart, so we're old hands at that. Plus it's
only a three hour train ride to our corner of 
Wales, much better than the eleven hour plane
ride between us before.
A few weeks apart will be a cinch.

As soon as you trust yourself, 
you will know how to live.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To exist is to change, 
to change is to mature, 
to mature is to go on 
creating oneself endlessly. 
~Henri Bergson

As autumn comes to a close, so does my life running
a bed and breakfast, but thankfully not my life in
Oxford. I couldn't bear the thought of not seeing
Oxford's golden October light again, or shuffling
through the beech leaves along the river. My heart
is large enough to have two homes, so while Wales
becomes my new home, Oxford will remain as
always my English home.

There still will be walks with Jack
 through the University Parks.

We'll still watch our gnarled beech tree,
Old Twizzle Ears, change his clothing with
each season.

We'll always be in awe of the autumn light
 that continually stops us in our tracks.

And I can't imagine life without one of 
my best friends, the stately beech tree
that both towers over us in grace, and
lifts us up with the strength of its roots.

I frequently tramped eight or ten
miles through the deepest snow to
keep an appointment with a beech
tree, or a yellow birch, or an old 
acquaintance among the pines.
~Henry David Thoreau, 
 1817 - 1862

As our life changes, many things
 will remain just the same--just like
trees I suppose, as they change with
each season, but remaining at their
core, constant and steady.

Jack and I will always want to stop 
and watch the river flow by from the
Tolkien bench in the Parks. 

So 2018 will only deepen the life we choose to live.
A life that took a courageous leap ten years ago,
and is now melding into a life completely of our
own design. It's been made possible by soldiering
on through the difficult times, celebrating the
good times, and knowing we could get through
just about anything as long as Stuart & I are
together, along with Jack of course.

We hope you'll come along as we have one
foot firmly planted in Wales, while the
other one remains planted in Oxford.