Gazing Over My Cuppa Tea

A few months ago I got a message saying, “Tiddles and Shindig need you in May!” So here I am revisiting my first housesit. Greetings from Great Malvern, England. After a wonderful but uncharacteristically chilly and rainy stay in Germany, I told the homeowners that I was looking forward to going to England for some warmth and sunshine. I said it jokingly, but it’s been surprisingly accurate.

It’s the first day since my arrival in England that I’m getting stereotypical English weather. Undulating shades of white and grey shroud the skies that were sunny, bright and blue yesterday. It isn’t exactly raining, but the air itself can’t seem to decide if its oxygen molecules are solo or married to dewy hydrogen.

My eye is drawn up from my “cuppa” tea to the clematis bursting with cheerful, pink stars pushing aside tiny, white clusters on the bush it embraces.  I smile at the profiles of two wood pigeons; their heads bobbing in unison, propelling them forward like a child’s toy along the mossy tile roofline.

Sprawling burgundy Japanese maple complements the column of chartreuse cedar behind it. The jaunty, handlebar mustaches of the hemlock seem to taunt the droopy cedar fronds that imitate an old man’s unkempt beard gently wagging under the muttering breeze.

Sharply dressed magpies come to visit each morning. Drinking from the birdbath that’s clad in the same ruddy-brown moss that covers the roof. One struts upon it, pecking the moss, looking for food or maybe he’s just being contrary because he can.  The magpies exude a cockiness that is absent in the bumbling of the pigeons and doves.

Behind it all are the Malvern Hills.  For a Kansas girl, “hill” is an incompetent word to describe the enormous, green-blue shapes hulking far taller than the tallest trees or church spires. It seems unreal that those white speckles at the very top are sheep.  I still remember my sharply aching knee and shortness of breath from the meandering hike to the peak last fall. The patchwork view and the conversation with my elderly hiking companion were worth the effort ten times over.  Raining or not, it’s good to be back in jolly old England.

***Note – photos were taken when the sun was shining!!! 😁





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  • Alexandra

    June 15, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    This is beautiful! you are a very talented writer :)

    • xtina
      to Alexandra

      May 6, 2020 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks so much Alexandra! Sorry for the much delayed reply! Hope you're doing well. Greetings from Birmingham!

  • George Brown

    May 29, 2019 at 12:33 am

    What an exuberant description.

  • Melanie M

    May 28, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I love this! Pictures and the way you word things. I’m glad that you are continuing to enjoy your adventures! Yvette

  • roggedance

    May 28, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    This beautiful painting with words makes me want to run out to our arboretum to enjoy the beauty of nature!

    • xtina
      to roggedance

      May 6, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you Jen! I hope you did. Is the arboretum open now?

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About Me

Hi, I'm Christina. I love travel, cats, gardens, house sitting, birds, painting, dogs, museums, good food & drink, you know - all the good stuff! I've been working on my first memoir, Magicians, Cross Dressers and My Uterus while living my second!

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