st. ives

Old man strolling in St. Ives, Cornwall.  Photographed on November 25, 2008.  Whenever I'm here, I always think of that riddle.*

We're back in Houston, after what I have to say was probably one of our best holidays back home to England.  When we arrived in Cornwall last week Friday the 23rd, Marcus' sister Kate and her family welcomed us with such open arms, and we had such a great stay.  Alex disappeared as soon as she saw her cousins, and we barely saw her again until we left for London on Thanksgiving Day.  And even though I always let Marcus take the lead on these trips back to his home, we did everything that I'd hope we'd do:  we visited his aunt Pam's farmhouse, a large portion of which was built by her husband's bare hands, brick-by-brick ... and as a result, is quite possibly the most soulful, spirit-filled, happy home I have ever visited in my life.  It has been the highlight of each of our previous visits to Cornwall, and I really feel like I'm "refilled" every time I'm there.  We visited St. Ives, my favourite little town in Cornwall (the shot above really tells the entire story why, I think!), and we took my mother-in-law, Diana, to an amazing lunch at Alba, a restaurant in a refurbished lifeboat house:  if you are ever in St. Ives, run, do not walk, to this place.  I'm still dreaming about my meal.  And then, on Di's birthday, we visited Marcus' old surfing haunt, Porthtowan beach -- and ate at this dive bar that served the best shrimp linguine I've ever had.

It was very difficult to leave Cornwall.

London, however, was equally wonderful:  we spent Thanksgiving night with my very dear friend Mark, who is also Alex's godfather.  It was great to see him:  until a couple of years ago, Mark was a confirmed bachelor; now, he's living with a lovely girl, Morgan, in this amazing little flat in Holland Park, a beautiful neighbourhood in London.  (An aside:  when I walked into his apartment, I almost fell over:  Mark's previous apartments have all been ... well, what you'd expect of a confirmed bachelor.  This place, however, is so beautifully appointed.  "So Morgan decorated, then?"  I asked him.  He looked mildly offended:  "I could've done this!" he responded, huffily.  I continued to gaze at him levelly.  "Yeah, she did it," he finally mumbled.)   Our last day in England we spent sightseeing all over London, going to some of our favourite places and visiting the Tower of London for the first time, specifically to see the crown jewels (I bet you can guess whose idea that was).

Anyway, it was a fantastic two weeks.   I'm not sure what else to say about the trip; however, if you don't mind, I'll continue to share some of my favourite photographs from England over the next couple of days.  And we'll be back to Through The Viewfinder Mondays next week, I promise.  Also, I've updated the free desktop wallpaper for December, so feel free to take a look and download, if you're so inclined.

*And, finally, that riddle:

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven sacks,
each sack had seven cats,
each cat had seven kittens.
Kittens, cats, sacks, wives:
How many were going to St. Ives?


SongInto the Ocean, by Blue October