There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

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.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Friday, 2 October 2015

Dogs and Parks and Oxford

"Ever wonder where you'd end up if you took your dog 
for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?"
 ~Robert Brault

The duck pond at 
Oxford's University Parks, October 2, 2015
One of the best things about having dogs is that they get us out walking every day--rain, snow, mist or shine. We're out with them at sunrise, at sunset, and all the hours in between. The other nice thing about walking dogs is that in Oxford, the best place to walk dogs are also some of the loveliest spots for people.

Magnificent specimen trees line the
pathways of Oxford's University Parks.
Now that Jack is older (6 1/2 months now), he's up to longer and more challenging walks, so at the moment our favourite morning walk is in the Oxford University Parks. A short walk down Mansfield Road, then crossing Parks Road takes us there. There are wide grassy areas for Max and Jack to run and chase crows and squirrels, and beautiful tree-lined pathways that circle down past the river and a duck pond.

Plenty of grass and wide open space for Jack to run
 off some of his Jack Russell/Puppy exuberance. 

Wide, tree-lined gravel paths lead down
 to and along the River Cherwell.
The colours are beginning to change to autumn hues.

Punters navigate the Cherwell.

Another perfect dog-walking spot is around Christ Church Meadow. It's beautiful in any season, but in autumn it's especially spectacular with the changing colours and falling leaves. We've yet to take Jack there, since it means crossing the busy High Street and walking through lots of people, and he still gets a little puppy-confusion when there's too much going on around him. Max has logged many, many miles around Christ Church though, and keeping tabs on the squirrels there is his life's passion.

Christ Church Meadow, Oxford

"October’s poplars are flaming torches
lighting the way to winter."
~Nova S. Bair

Max is the little black splodge sniffing about the trees.

And last, but certainly not least is Holywell Cemetery, just around the corner from us on St. Cross Road and our 'go-to' place to walk the dogs. It was a perfect spot to train Jack to walk with us off the lead without running away.  It's also a meditation spot for me, as I walk the now-familiar pathways which wind through the cemetery almost like a labyrinth. It's the place we greet every season.

October 1, 2015, Holywell Cemetery

Holywell Cemetery has been a safe and protected 
spot to teach puppy Jack how to behave on walks.

The beautiful crosses make a 
perfect backdrop in any season.

Jack says, "Follow me
through the yew tree forest!"
Always the good listener, our Jack.

"I spy with my little eye........."
Even the walk to and from Holywell Cemetery
 is beautiful, down Jowett Walk.

Jowett Walk

Harris Manchester College,
Mansfield Rd. and Jowett Walk.

To a dog, each walk is a new adventure so more than anything else our dogs teach me to look at the world, and Oxford itself, in a fresh way every day. Thank you Max and Jack!

"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day 
I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk 
away from every illness. I have walked myself 
into my best thoughts, and I know of no 
thought so burdensome that one 
cannot walk away from it."
 ~Søren Kierkegaard


  1. What absolutely idyllic walks (I know that word is waaaay overused, but really, is there any other that works??!! The dogs are wonderful and Jack is just as cute as ever. He is one gorgeous pup!! Thanks for the lovely break in my morning's work! We are preparing for a large (for us) art event in 2 weeks, and I'm preparing the signage and handouts and lots of other details! Thankfully I have a coworker doing the lion's share. Our weather is gorgeous right now, too. Autumn is simply the best, isn't it!? I am absolutely besotted with Oxford along with you!!! It's lovely now here, too, though. Jane xo

    1. Oxford is idyllic (so it's a perfect word), especially in October with the golden light bouncing off the golden Cotswold limestone. I never, ever tire of autumn--other seasons like winter and the long, long English spring I can wish away, but never autumn. All the best for your art show--I'm sure it will be wonderful and enjoy your beautiful fall. xxxooo Carrie