Had We But World Enough, And Time

Our power must have gone off yesterday.  The two electric clocks we have in the house were inexplicably set to zero in the afternoon.  And that got me to thinking about time.  Well, that and the shock that June is almost upon us (where did April and May go?).  And the real live cuckoo bird who is nesting somewhere in the neighborhood and sounding for all of the world like my clock, but “going off” at random times.  And the son who appears to grow by inches on any given night.  And the beloved dog and best friend who passed away last week.

Time engulfs us and confounds us. We decorate our towers and homes with it, wear it on our wrists, celebrate its high holy days, and mourn its passing.  Time heals all wounds, but steals all souls.  And if we respect it and appreciate all the fine gifts the years bring us, we still fear it.  We don’t understand it at all.

So, today, I offer a few photos and let time speak for itself.

Giant Cuckoo Clock on the Rhine River in Germany--looking out on new shops and very old castles.
Giant Cuckoo Clock on the Rhine River in Germany–looking out on new shops and very old castles.

 

Victoria Clock Tower, which stood by our house in Ripon, England
Victoria Clock Tower, which stood by our house in Ripon, England. On a personal level, a very special reminder of 4 great years in our lives.

 

 

The fabulous Corpus Clock in Cambridge, England--revealing less of itself in the gleaming sun and more of a reflection of King's College.
The fabulous Corpus Clock in Cambridge, England–revealing less of itself in the gleaming sun and more of a reflection of King’s College…because, after all, time is a canvas for the things of life.

 

 

Sienna, Italy
Siena, Italy–Town Hall and Clock Tower standing tall over the historic piazza.

 

South Gate Clock, Chester, England
South Gate Clock, Chester, England– is it a coincidence that clocks so often mark thresholds like this?

 

An 1820 Longcase clock from Leyburn, England stands sentry at our door.
An 1820 Longcase clock from Leyburn, England stands sentry at our door.
The Best Friend we loved and lost
The Best Friend we loved and lost. At 15 years old, she had lived a long dog life . . . but not nearly long enough for those who loved her.

 

The past came alive at a history fair at Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire
The past came alive at a history fair at Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire. And why is it that little boys always want to grow up to be soldiers?

 

Having fun with the past at Tweetsie Railroad in NC many years ago.
Having fun with the past at Tweetsie Railroad in NC many years ago.

 

And so, time marches on. . .

They are young one day, and all grown up the next.
They are young one day, and all grown up the next.

*”Had we but world enough, and time” is the first line of Andrew Marvel’s poem “To His Coy Mistress”

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A Week in Provence: La Portail, St. Saturnin-les-Apts

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A home in the ancient walls of the city.

 

Every child dreams of living in a castle or some old fortress–the romance, the glory, the adventure.  THE ADVENTURE! My family and I are twice blessed on this count.  If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know that we live in a unique, charming, and slightly spooky “castle house” in Germany.  And during my children’s Easter break, we packed our bags and drove to Provence for a week’s vacation in another citadel on a hill:  La Portail, in St. Saturnin-les-Apts, France, nestled in the lovely Luberon mountains of Provence.balc

It was a stroke of incredibly good fortune that we spent a week in Provence in April.  Good fortune . . . and kind friends with a vacation home there.  They offered us their home in the ancient city walls for the week, and the home and the town were both magnificent!  La Portail (the name of the house) is nestled in the ramparts of the ancient city, and it sits close to the top of the hill, offering spectacular views of the valley below:

 

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The house was elegant and spacious, and full of old world charm.  But before we could settle into the house, we had to find it!

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Arriving in town, we twisted our way through the winding streets, looking for the old city walls that would shelter us in the week ahead  and getting the general lay of the land.  St. Saturnin is a small town, and that’s a good thing.  It has beauty, charm, magnificent views and architectural details, and several fantastic bakeries and restaurants.  Winding through the streets of St. Saturnin was an adventure in itself.

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An arrow slit in a castle wall.

It didn’t take long for us to find “our house,” and we were enamored the minute we stepped over the threshold.     The main door opens into a grand living room–stone walls, exposed beams, a grand piano–so beautiful.  But that’s not what caught my son’s eyes.    By this door, there was an arrow slit–a reminder that this had once been an ancient defensive wall, and this house sits at the gate of that wall.  At one time, someone would have stood guard here and, when necessary, mounted a defense against unfriendly forces.  Being on vacation we were happy to find it glassed in and no longer needed for that original purpose.  As if to offer extra reassurance that we wouldn’t need to defend ourselves from marauders on this trip, a small spider had spun his dainty web over a corner of the glass.  It was a whimsical and comforting touch.

Sword standing at the ready.
Sword standing at the ready.

But, just in case, there was a sword standing at the ready by the other door.  (The sort of detail that I might have missed, but my children picked up on immediately!)

In recent weeks, I’ve posted many photos from Provence, and I will post more (along with some insights about the area) in the weeks ahead.  For today, I’ll simply leave you with a few photos of this lovely home, and views from around town.   And a heartfelt thank you to Beatrice for opening her home to us–it was so gracious, and we had a wonderful vacation!

 

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bed piano 2 small stairs

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Another side of the house in the old city walls: with two balconies and magnificent views.

 

The road to redemption, St. Saturnin, France
The road to redemption, St. Saturnin, France

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