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

Saturday, 5 November 2016

A Walk Around the Neighbourhood--Autumn Edition

I cannot endure to waste anything so
precious as autumnal sunshine by staying
 in the house. So I have spent almost all
the daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne,
10th October 1842

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

One the very best things about having a dog in the family is all the doggy walking that goes along with it. Morning, noon and night, Jack gets us out of doors, in every season, in any weather. Our little Jack recently had to have some extensive emergency surgery and has had to spend some time recovering. It meant no long walks for several weeks--just gentle strolls around the neighbourhood for no longer than five or ten minutes.

Just try putting a half Jack Russell on post-surgical bedrest--it's no less than a herculean task. But even though we've been missing the University Parks and Christ Church meadow, there's still so much beauty to be soaked up on a simple walk around our block; around our Holywell neighbourhood.

Out the front door we go, which is looking
autumnal with rich, deep colours in the
 planters and blowing leaves.

Jack leads us down Holywell Street,
New College casting beautiful shadows
over the street.

New College, Oxford
Established in 1379.
The nights start drawing in noticeably by the
middle of September and soft lamplight
lights the way on our evening walks.

Sometimes even moonlight lights our way--
the October Hunter's Moon over New College.

Jack trots along as we round the corner onto
Mansfield Road, where we check the time
and see where the wind is taking the bicycling
 principle of Harris Manchester College.

Harris Manchester, a college for mature
learners, is on our left as we walk down
Mansfield Road.  The inscription on the
clock tower is perfect for its students--
"It's later than you think.....but it's never
too late."  It's never too late to learn, to 
stretch, to grow. What a great daily reminder.

By late afternoon, the sky is dusky
and the setting sun lights up the horizon.


In the daylight though, the colleges shimmer with
gold, the light bouncing off the Cotswold limestone.

A beauty lights the fading year... 
~Phebe A. Holder,
"A Song of October,"
in The Queries Magazine, October 1890

As you walk through Oxford, you're
 never more than a step away from a bicycle.

The bicycle, the bicycle surely,
should always be the vehicle
of novelists and poets.
~Christopher Morley

We turn right onto Jowett Walk
which runs parallel to Holywell Street.
It's lined with maple and locust trees,
perfect for leaf kicking.

Besides leaves and bicycles, Jowett
Walk is full of students during
Michaelmas Term, the first term
of Oxford's academic year. These
students are just returning from their
matriculation ceremony, where they
were officially made members of the
University of Oxford.

By Halloween the street lamps
are lit by 4pm.

Stuart & Jack lead the way
through the leaves.

"Let Heaven and Nature sing!"

Sunlight flickers through The Lewis Tree
and lights up the ripening apples.

Narnian lamp posts line Jowett Walk, a
street C.S. Lewis would have walked down
many times, perhaps seeing Mr Tumnus
in his mind's eye. We keep a keen eye out
ourselves for the Narnian faun, hoping
we can help him carry his parcels home
 and have tea by his fire. We wait in hope

It will not go out of my mind that if
we pass this post and lantern, either
we shall find strange adventures or
else some great changes of our fortunes.
~Lucy Pevensie.....
C.S. Lewis; The Lion, The Witch
and the Wardrobe

October, baptize me with leaves! 
Swaddle me in corduroy and 
nurse me with split pea soup. 
October, tuck tiny candy bars 
in my pockets and carve my smile 
into a thousand pumpkins. 
O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!
~Rainbow Rowell, 'Attachments'

Oxford is full of gentle curves and soft lines,
like St. Cross street, which curves
around to become Longwall Street.

On the days the sun takes a brief holiday, the
trees step in and do the job of lighting up the sky.

St. Cross Church and Holywell Cemetery,
always ready to put gold in our pockets.

Two weeks post-surgery Jack was feeling brave
and confident, walking along the stone wall at
Holywell Cemetery--after the scent of fox no doubt.

Our morning walk after breakfast is
a part of the day we treasure. Can you
just see Jack peaking over the headstone,
making sure I'm following right behind,
making sure we all stick together?

Who will tell whether one happy
moment of love or the joy of
breathing or walking on a
bright morning and smelling
the fresh air, is not worth
all the suffering and effort
which life implies.
~Eric Fromme

An early morning walk is a
blessing for the whole day.
~Henry David Thoreau

The last of summer's colour brightens
the street as we turn for home.

Our walk leads us back down Holywell
Street, and like any typical Oxford
street, instead of cars it's forever 
full of students and bicycles.

If we tuck into the gates of New College
we can catch the ancient buildings lit
by the morning sun....structures which
have seen the sun rise for over 600 years.

It is not talking but walking
that will bring us to heaven.
~Matthew Henry

And then our leaf-kicking and fox-sniffing
is over and we're back home--
home to No. 14 Holywell Street....
until the next walk that is.

After a day's walk everything
has twice its usual value.
~George Macauley Trevelyan


I'm so very happy to say that Jack has been cleared by his surgeon with a clean bill of health and able to take long walks again. We've got our wax jackets on, along and my wellies, and we're back walking the beautiful paths of the University Parks or Christ Church meadow. Jack is one pleased pup, running happy circles around us, and we're so glad to have him back to health.

With arms outstretched I thank.
With heart beating gratefully I love.
With body in health I jump for joy.
With spirit full I live. 
~Terri Guillemets


  1. Wonderful as always, Carrie. So glad Jack is back to full walks again. And I know you are, too. So much to explore, and the perfect time of year to do it. Enjoy all our chats! Take care. Jane xo

    1. Thank you Jane and thank you for joining in the prayers for little Jack. It's wonderful to be out and about with him again, at this magnificent time of year. xxxoo

  2. Dear Carrie, This is a walk that I will take again and again. Your company and Jack's (and CSL's) make the most lovliest of rambles through the most glorious of byways into a magical tour ~ and a gift to all who join you. xoxoxo Christie

    1. Thank you Christie for joining us and for appreciating all the magic to be seen, not just in Oxford, but in the wider world. Come along any time! xxxooo

  3. Oh Carrie, happy Jack is back at it again! This post is delicious....truely. I want to print this and stick it on my frig to read each time I walk by. But it also makes me long to take time out and head back to the UK!!! Thank you!


  4. So glad to hear Jack is doing well. I absolutely LOVE these pictures!! Truly magical!