A new lease on life…

Colorful buildings create a pretty scene on the narrow roads in small towns in Cornwall.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth

Falmouth was the start
and finishing point for both Robin Knox-Johnston and Ellen Mcarthur’s voyages
around the world (Knox-Johnston in 1969 and Mcarthur in 2007) – sailing
non-stop single-handedly.

It’s foggy, rainy, and humid today but our hearts are filled with hope and optimism. I am better…so much better it’s indescribable. After 6½ months, barely functioning as a frail, shaky, unsteady pain-ridden individual, I am now a completely different person, only five days after completely stopping all three heart medications with terrible side effects.
We wandered through a tiny town after another, often finding this style of row houses on narrow roads.  Banners fly in the main part of town where the shops and restaurants are located.

I can walk. I can climb the stairs. My hands don’t shake. My legs don’t swell. I can breathe more deeply. I can bend over to pick something up off the floor when I suffered dearly in attempting to do so over this extended period. I was no longer sleepy at 10:00 am, about when the drugs kicked in, having taken them at 7:00 am.

Three drugs no longer fill my little pill case; a statin (Crestor), Amiodarone, and Bisoprolol, and the side effects of each are rapidly being released from my system.  

We love driving down these interesting roads in Cornwall.
Oh, I understand the statin enthusiasts who believe in these drugs, but I dare anyone to find a valid study (not funded by Big Pharma) that says otherwise. So far, the only report I can see is that statins may extend the patient’s life by three days. I’ll give up three days for quality of life. 

I won’t get on my Big Pharma soapbox here. Each person must do what is best for them. Please, do not stop any of these or other medications without consulting with your medical professional. In some cases, alternative medicine may be beneficial for a patient’s heart condition.

Both the Amiodarone and Bisoprolol were prescribed for me for aFib (irregular heartbeats and high pulse), which I do not have. Taking medication for a condition you do not have is dangerous and may cause serious consequences.
Suddenly, there would be an opening through which we could savor the view.

No, I am not an expert on this topic nor other medical issues. But, I decided to take my own life into my own hands, as risky as it may have been since I knew if I didn’t, the remainder of my life, albeit short, would have been as a frail, shaky, unsteady pain-ridden individual.  

Perhaps the final road to my full recovery is yet in the future. My right thigh still has a painful hematoma that requires sleeping with a pillow between my knees. The remainder of the horrific wound on my lower left leg still has a way to go to recover fully but is doing well. The incision in my chest continues to be painful to the touch and may hurt during specific movements.

Many of these attached properties are actually single-family homes.

On occasion over these past five days, I feel a little breathless, but it passes quickly. This is normal in the first year after bypass surgery. I don’t panic, and I relax to find breathing easier a few minutes later. In time, all of this will pass simply through the healing process, but at least drugs aren’t paralyzing me.

Tom and I discussed what would have happened had I not weaned off these drugs. I would have been wandering through my life in a haze of exhaustion, pain, immobility, and despair.

Boat lift in Maylor, Cornwall.

One of the most common residual effects of bypass surgery is PTSD, anxiety, and depression. The trauma to one’s psyche as well as their body is astounding.  Somehow, although I felt anxious at times, I wasn’t depressed nor had symptoms of PTSD. I was sick from drugs.

Although I didn’t have the daily face-to-face support of family and friends, I had Tom at my side.  He never wavered in his attentive care and emotional support.  He did everything for me. Now, I’m attempting to encourage him to let me do things for myself, carry a grocery bag, cook a meal or lift anything over five pounds.  

Yes, it will take time to rebuild my muscles and build strength and stamina.  Here in Falmouth, the house is too small for indoor walking, and it’s raining outdoors.  

This bike advertised the local business behind it, a bicycle repair shop.
My goal is to be able to do multiple flights at a time. But the frequent walks on the hilly road on a sunny day will serve me well.  Today, I’ve set my timer to go off every 20 minutes when I’ll walk up the stairs to the second level and then back down. Good exercise.

Thank you to all of our readers who have stood beside me during this lengthy struggle. I apologize for perpetually discussing this topic. When I didn’t, many readers would inquire, wondering how I was doing. Now, I can let this go, and if anything changes, good or not-so-good, I will share it here.

“They,” say writing down how you feel is vastly therapeutic. I’ve always had a voice. I always had YOU! Could it be that I averted depression by being able to share what I was going through with all of you?

Be well. Be happy.
Photo from one year ago today, August 31, 2018:
This was our first daytime giraffe visit at this house. For more photos, please click here.

A sunny day drive into wonderland…

Look at the number of sailboats moored in this bay!

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth

 In 2016, Falmouth was
named best coastal community at the Great British High Street Awards, and in 2018 Falmouth has been named as one of the ‘best places to live in Britain’ by The Sunday Times.
We can easily see why the above statement under “Fascinating Fact About Falmouth” refers to Falmouth as one of the “best places to live in Britain.”  This is so true.  
If a potential resident can tolerate the “no assigned parking” on the majority of the streets near High Street, the center of town, and are willing to walk up and down many steep hills when out and about, this town has it all.
“The historic parish church of St Gluvias, dedicated to Gluvias of Cornwall (or Gluviacus), serves the Church of England parish of St Gluvias with Penryn. Gluvias of Cornwall was the son of Gwynllyw, the warrior, King of Gwentlog, and a nephew of St Petroc. The church was founded in the 6th century, and the parish was in the Middle Ages, sometimes called Behethlan or Bohelland. In 1881 the church was in a dilapidated state and need of thorough repair. It was rebuilt by J. P. St Aubyn in 1883, although the medieval tower survived and was built of granite blocks. The church contains the brass of Thomas Kyllygrewe, c. 1485. There are also three wall monuments of interest: Samuel Pendarves, d. 1693, and his wife; William Pendarves, d. 1671, and his wife (both are curiously positioned with the figures which should face each other on either side of the corners of a window opening); and J. Kempe, d. 1711, bust under drapery.”
Beauty, outstanding views from almost every location, mild weather in the summer months, friendly people, a quaint ambiance, and a sense of welcoming may be instrumental in making this a perfect place for a move or retirement.

However, I can’t stress how vital it is for a new resident to be pretty fit to tackle the steep hills. Long terms residents are probably in fairly good condition if they’ve been walking these hills for years.
Since the “action” on High Street includes grocery stores, shops, restaurants, and even a movie theater and is easily accessible “distance-wise” from many streets in this neighborhood and parking in town is at a premium, walking is a great way to get around.
The graveyard at St. Gluvias Church in Penryn, Cornwall.

As a matter of fact, on Sunday night, we have a reservation for the “Sunday Roast” at the local Boathouse Pub and Restaurant, which is close enough that we can walk. It’s hilly, but we’ve already tried it a few times, and I can make it up and back.

To give up one’s parking spot for such proximity to the pub makes no sense at all. On Sunday night, everyone maybe home, and finding a new spot will be nearly impossible.

Soon, once Tom finishes watching the last Minnesota Vikings pre-season game, we’ll be off again. It’s time to grocery shop, most likely for the last time with us leaving Falmouth a week from today, and we hope to plan to purchase sufficient groceries to last through the week.  

The side entrance to St. Gluvias Church.
We also plan to dine out on our last night here, Thursday, and have already selected another highly-rated establishment on High Street. Today, we’ll head to the pharmacy, the fishmongers market, and the Tesco grocery store, some of which are too far to walk from place to place.  

Tom will drop me off at the pharmacy, and I’ll meet him at Tesco a short time later. It’s only a block or two, and now as the pain in my legs continues to improve, I’ll be able to make it.

Yesterday, we hit the road again, driving to several picturesque little towns on the opposite sides of the bay. As the crow flies, it may have been a five-minute drive to the first town of Flushing but driving on the narrow, often one-car lanes took quite a while.

Another area of the graveyard.
We drove on to little town after another, reveling in the uniqueness and beauty of each area.  Some tourists wandered about the center of each city but nothing like how many there are in Falmouth, a port of call for many cruise ships that are older and considerably smaller than we’ve experienced.
We found parking spots in and approaching the small towns on several occasions stopping to walk to take photos. It was a blissfully sunny day, and we couldn’t have been more enthused to be out.

I surprised myself how much easier it was to walk up and down the many stairs and hills we encountered along the way. At times, Tom stayed with the car when there was nowhere to park, while I took off on foot on my own to get better photos.
Last posted church bulletin.

It was the first time I’d taken on such a challenge in almost seven months, and I felt energized and refreshed being able to make it up and back to the various venues, primarily churches, mostly up and down hills, without getting out of breath with heart racing by the time I reached the car.  

I’m hopeful for the future, more now than ever then, I dared allow myself to be.  But, you know how it is, as soon as we mention something improving, the next day can prove to be tough. So I play it by ear, one day at a time, until I can freely feel confident that I’ve fully healed.

May your Friday and upcoming weekend be filled with many beautiful surprises. For those in the US, please have a safe Labor Day weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, August 30, 2018:

This male ostrich appeared comfortably seated in the middle of a driveway of a bush home. For more photos, please click here.

Staggering beauty in the seaside country…

Ruins at the shoreline at an overlook.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth

It was following the development of the docks in 1858 and the introduction of railway services in 1863 that the town began to thrive as tourism and business prospered.”

Today, our photos are a bit hazy due to a cloudy overcast day which is not uncommon in England. Sunshine is a hot commodity here in the UK, even during the summer months.

Sailboats in the harbor.

The expectation of sunny days is foolhardy, and planning outdoor activities for the future is risky, often resulting in disappointment. This weather is not unlike the temperature in Ireland which we left a mere three weeks ago when we flew to Amsterdam to embark on the Baltic cruise.

As is the case in Ireland, there appear to be more cloudy days than sunny.  As a result, we do our best to take bright day photos.  However, we don’t allow the sun to dictate when we venture out or not.  As long as it’s not pouring rain, we’ll head out.
Young men were sitting on rocks overlooking the bay.

Nonetheless, we’ve had opportunities to see some beautiful areas on sunny days or not. Also, what starts as a sunny day can become overcast in minutes.

We’re enjoying our time here. The house is comfortable, and the views are beyond description. At times, we’ve found ourselves on the veranda at night in the dark, staring at the boats in the harbor and the stars in the sky  when its clear. 
Cloudy day views across the bay.

There’s always something magical about being near water, whether its overlooking a pond, a lake, a river, a stream or the vast expanse of the ocean.  Our eyes are drawn to its ethereal qualities, leaving us mesmerized and enchanted.

Yesterday afternoon I spent over an hour on a Skype call (using our Skype phone number, not Skype video chat) with my dear friend Karen in Minnesota. I took my phone upstairs to the bedroom to talk to her for a little “girl time.”  

Houses and boats across the harbor.

Like Tom, who doesn’t have an opportunity to interact with his old friends, except visa Facebook quips here and there, occasionally I long for some of the candid chatter women are so good at.  

It truly was therapeutic talking to my friend Karen when I spoke to other girlfriends I left behind. This is not intended to imply men aren’t capable of this kind of talk but many women seem to gravitate to one another for intimate conversations. It is a by-product of this lifestyle we chose almost seven years ago.

Lighthouse at a distance on a cloudy day.

Now, with eight days remaining in Falmouth, we find ourselves savoring every moment. Many times during the day as well, we run out to the veranda to gaze at a passing sailboat, a flock of birds, a special boat in the bay, and of course, the cruise ships as they come into the port. It’s truly remarkable!

We’ll be back with more photos tomorrow after we venture out for a while on this sunny day (so far).

The shoreline is rugged and uneven in many areas, but sandy beach scenes will be posted tomorrow.

Have a spectacular day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 29, 2018:
Wildebeest Willie hung around for several hours, resting and eating a few pellets from time to time. He makes good eye contact, letting us know exactly what he wants. Do I detect a morsel of love in those looks? Could be.  For more photos, please click here.


A walk in the hilly neighborhood…

Vegetables for sale in a front garden.  We selected a zucchini and a small pumpkin.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth:

   “Falmouth was originally known as Smithwick, home to the Killigrew family at Arwenack Manor. In 1613 John Killigrew began to build houses around the harbor, despite opposition from the ancient towns of Helston, Penryn, and Truro, and a new town began to emerge, split into two hamlets called Smithicke and Pennycomequick. Finally, in 1660, King Charles II decreed that they should be known as Falmouth.”
Three days ago, I was official “off” the heart medication Bisoprolol, which caused severe side effects, including difficulty breathing, difficulty walking, extreme exhaustion, and a constant feeling of general malaise.
This is the sign for the produce garden products.  We dropped the appropriate coins in the letterbox after we’d selected a few vegetables.
The side effects of the medication withdrawal may include dangerously high heart rate, excessively high blood pressure, breathing problems, and severe palpitations.  
During this gradual withdrawal process, I experienced infrequent episodes of all of the above but for short periods only, no more than a few minutes at most.  Knowing the possible withdrawal symptoms, I stayed calm and made my way through it all.
Plant prices were marked and offered for sale in the homeowner’s front garden.
Within minutes, my readings would return to normal.  Once I was down to ¼ of the original dose, these side effects dissipated completely. I stayed on that dose for another week, and three days ago, I stopped completely.
I hadn’t planned to reduce the dose while on the cruise, but since the process seemed to be going well, I continued, checking my pulse and blood pressure a few times each day, which were normal except for one night early on. As I patiently continued, those ill effects ceased.
This sign is located in the garden by the plants for sale.
Among others I recently stopped, this drug may remain in one’s cells for many months, still serving up side effects. I hope I will make it through the upcoming months without incident and be free of these toxic drugs.
(If you are prescribed any of these mentioned drugs, please see your physician for changing or stopping your medication. Some patients must be hospitalized during the weaning process when doing so may cause a heart attack. Proceed with caution. We are not offering any medical advice, nor are we qualified to do so).
A Black Rose Aeonium.
The literature included with this last drug stated three days after gradual withdrawal, the incidence of side effects may begin to lessen. I started noticing a dramatic improvement yesterday on day 2.

As a matter of fact, for the first time since the surgery on February 12, 2019, Tom and I went for a walk in the neighborhood, taking the photos included here yesterday and today (post found here).

No, during the 30-minute walk, I wasn’t free of pain in my legs, but I did considerably better than I’d done while on tour in St. Petersburg. The hills are steep in most Falmouth based on the terracing of homes for the outstanding ocean views. Walking on the local streets is a challenge for most people, let alone me in my weakened condition.  

Fuzzy burgundy blossom was spotted on the walk. Any ideas what this may be?
It’s not so much that I run out of breath when walking but more so having to deal with the severe pain in my legs. Now, as I continue to progress, we’ll walk more and more, taking advantage of those hills to aid in my recovery. I only push myself as far as I can go, frequently stopping as needed.  

Today, we’ll stay in on a rainy day. There’s no point in risking a fall on the cobblestone streets in the rain. Instead, I’m busy around the house, organizing and repacking my messy suitcase. We leave here in nine days for the following location, but fortunately, we’ll be driving, not flying.
We made a reservation for the “Sunday Roast” which we’d had at a restaurant in South Kensington, London, in 2014 at the Andover Arms.  Here’s the link from that date.  Fantastic meal.  I hope to be so once again.  Check back on Monday for details.
With the towel situation resolved and a bottle of Prosecco for our inconvenience delivered by a wonderful neighbor, Sheena, we’re willing to provide a good review if everything continues as it appears from here on.  

We love the beautiful location, and the house is fulfilling our needs with good Wi-Fi, constant electricity, running water, and a very comfortable bed. The fridge is tiny, but we’ve adapted, and every three days, we shop for perishables.

Have a pleasant day and evening.

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2018:
We visited the Railway Museum in Livingstone, Zambia. A steam engine reminds us of “Thomas” trains, appropriately named, built-in 1919.  For more photos, please click here.

Struggling with sorrowful situations…

The Artina Phoenix Reisen, with 1260 passengers, built in 1984, is a passenger ship, arrived in the Falmouth port this morning.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth:

“Falmouth Harbour and the Carrick Roads form the third deepest natural harbor globally and the deepest in Western Europe.”

It’s a glorious morning in Falmouth, England. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and a cruise ship is docked at the Falmouth Pier while passengers disembark to savor this stunning town and surrounding areas.  

We were able to take a photo of a portion of the ship, part of which is obscured by a building. Perhaps later, we’ll walk down to the road for a better photo. But, today, our hearts are heavy.

As the sun began to rise this morning, Tom captured this photo with the sun’s reflection in the bay.

Someone we love has been diagnosed with cancer, and we pray she’ll find a path to recovery and healing. Our love, hearts, and prayers are with her until we can be at her side in 73 days. (To protect her privacy, we aren’t disclosing who this is and the depth and breadth of her condition).

As we’ve learned, particularly in the past seven months, joyfully traveling the world in love with life and one another doesn’t make us exempt or free from the sadness associated with disappointment, heartbreak, and sorrow.  

Sunrise with more reflections in the bay.

Often, others perceive our lives of world travels to primarily consist of the pleasure and fulfillment one might experience on a non-stop holiday/vacation.  Not the case.  

As “they” say, “Everywhere we go, there we are.” There’s no escaping the realities of life, much over which we have little to no control. As I struggle to re-learn to walk less tentatively, I realize, perhaps for the first time in years, that regardless of a degree of sheer will and determination, not everything can be overcome.

Sunrise in Falmouth Bay.

Oh yes, some theories promise that healing can come from meditation, mindfulness, and prayer. And, perhaps, there is a particular element of fact in these modalities when we exercise our hearts and minds to heal and ultimately recover.

Is the reality such that “we can’t control what comes our way?” But we can control how we react to what comes our way. And, can it be that our reaction has a profound effect on the outcome?  With that, I agree.

All Saints Church in the center of the town.

I’ve been no hero or example of strength and fortitude over this past almost seven months filled with pain, worry, and frustration. Many have so kindly written praising me for “being tough and strong.” I appreciate these comments wholeheartedly (no pun intended).

However, my reality remains…I merely have done my best to get through this, emotionally and physically intact. That’s all any of us can do. We have the option to “give up” or continue. But most of us have a robust commitment to ourselves and those we love to heal and recover.

A clock atop the Packet Quay, where vacation rentals are located.

I will admit I did exercise a high degree of self-control to avoid self-pity and hopelessness by not complaining aloud. The story can be shared but not in an attempt to elicit sympathy, although a tinge of compassion goes a long way when I haven’t been able to keep up the pace.

Over the past months, I’ve seen this compassion from our readers, expressing a deep understanding and compassion over my inability to write at times, take photos, and get out sightseeing to add depth and interest to our site.

Alternate view of the cruise ship in port.

Believe me. If it hadn’t been for all of you, I could easily have become a “couch potato” lounging day and night. Instead, I was keenly aware that our readers expected a “little action,” thus motivating me to get out and do more and more. This proved to be a blessing in disguise.

For those who are worrying about a loved one’s illness, there’s no easy answer.  Not everyone wants to include other family members and friends during a difficult time. We must respect this and let them know we care. It’s not about us and how we react. It’s all about them and the process that lies ahead and how they choose to handle it.

Our love and prayers to our loved ones and yours, who struggle to find peace and resolution in their challenges.Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 27, 2018:

Lots of kudus by the steps to the veranda.  We couldn’t hand out pellets quickly enough.  For more photos, please click here.

A fantastic road trip in Cornwall, England…

Arriving across the bay, we captured this view looking back to our house.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth

The town, which has a population of about 21,800, is one of the oldest and busiest ports in Cornwall, with a deep, sheltered, working harbor and docks which is one of the biggest employers in the region.”

Colorful series of apartments on a hilly road.
As often the case in many parts of the world, the day starts out sunny and a few hours later a cloud cover monopolizes the skies. Such was the case yesterday when after two days of blissful sunshine, the clouds rolled in no more than five minutes after we left the house.

Realizing that we were entirely out of photos, we knew we needed and wanted to continue regardless of the weather. We spent most of the afternoon, which was well-spent, as we often stopped on the side of the road to take photos and gawk at the gorgeous scenery.

Many roads lead down a steep hill to the sea.

We couldn’t help but be thrilled to see each sleepy beach town while on the scenic route following along the coastline. We’d heard about many of these particular areas and reveled in their beauty and uniqueness in each case.

Not all buildings are in good repair.

As we meandered the coastline on the easy-to-maneuver scenic route, we wandered off to many side streets and often were pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous homes, neatly trimmed gardens, and ocean views.

When we reached a particularly scenic spot with parking space, we exited the car to savor the view. Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing our photos, albeit cloudy days photos, and plan to head out once again on Wednesday after the cruise ships will be gone.  

Utility boats in the harbor.

With a few thousand passengers disembarking the ships to explore this particular area, we’re better off to wait until the crowds thin out. Also, school starts the first week in September, resulting in less traffic on the narrow roads.

Cruise ships often dock at this port enabling passengers to visit the charming town and other points of interest.

Each time the sun peeks out we head out to the veranda to savor the sunshine, the warmth, and the views. Yes, there are some inconveniences here but the town and its surrounds, easily make up for them and we’re delighted to be here.

When we’d completed the scenic drive for the day, we drove back the market in Falmouth, located where all the action is. Parking is a definite challenge. Tom dropped me off while I shopped.  

Typical for most sea towns, every inch of space is utilized.

He’d taken off to find a parking spot and then joined me in the store to finish up the shopping and bag the groceries. We both walked up the steep hill to where the car was parked, and I surprised myself at how well I made it up that hill.

As far as my ability to walk, it’s still limited and quite a challenge. Today, I stopped the last tiny dose of bisoprolol. In two to three days, I’ll know if I weaned off it too quickly and if necessary, go back to a very small dose to start a new tapering over a slower period.

This style of house and grounds may be found anywhere in the US.

In the past six weeks, I’ve stopped three drugs that were causing me severe side effects and profoundly affecting my quality of life. No doubt, it will take time for the side effects to diminish fully. I’ve read it can take as long as a year. I must stay active, positive, and patient. I’m fully committed.

Thanks for visiting once again. Much more on this lovely area will follow.

Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2018:
In Marloth Park, when it took a few minutes for Tom to mix up the bowl of raw scrambled eggs, the mongooses began walking up the steps to the veranda. For more photos, please click here.

Life as we know it has begun in Falmouth, England…Settling in…

The crowds were considerably less today than Friday night when we shopped for groceries at the “downtown” Tesco Supermarket.

It’s quite a comforting feeling to become settled into a new home, whether for weeks or months. In this case, renting a holiday home in the picturesque Falmouth, England, causes us to realize we won’t be here for long.

With only 12 days remaining (September 6, 2019) until we depart for the following location, we plan to savor every moment while living in this stunning seaside town, filled with scenes us ocean-lovers only imagine in our dreams.

The roads are narrow, especially between parked cars in the area of our holiday home. Parking is not assigned, nor is there a parking fee.  However, it’s not easy to find a parking spot nearby.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post (click here for details), we’ve encountered a few issues with the property that the owner had never experienced in the past…lack of attention to detail by cleaners. We tried to be patient.

Finally, two days after we arrived, the next-door neighbor dropped by with a stack of towels we could use during our time here. I suppose the owner called the neighbor (a friend), hoping she could attend to the towel situation. It wasn’t easy living without towels for two days. We’d never experienced such an anomaly.

The Packet Quays, a holiday rental complex, crosses over the road creating an exciting scene.

Yes, we could have gone to a store and purchased towels, but that wasn’t our agreement. If we’d done so, we anticipated we’d have a hard time getting reimbursed for BPS $81.44, US $100, worth of towels.  

When we booked this property, the listing specifically stated: “towels not included.” We’d never heard of such a thing. Every holiday home has towels.
When we negotiated the rental with the owner, we asked that towels be included, and he sent us an email agreeing to do so.

I had no choice but to take photos through the windshield when there was no way to stop on the narrow road.

OK…enough about towels. It’s now resolved. As for the remainder of the challenges, we mentioned in yesterday’s post (found here), we’re adapting as we often must do when staying in a new location.

I’m making it up and down the stairs to the second level each time I need to use the bathroom. Ultimately, I believe this will be good for me, forcing me to get more adept at going up and down steps, of which there are many in every direction, including many steep roads.

The quaint and charming town of Falmouth is a visitor’s paradise.

Without having any laundry done while on the ship after they’d raised the price to BPS 28.51, US $35, for a relatively small paper bag, we each had no less than three loads to fit in the front-loading washer. Yesterday, we did all of mine, and today, we’re getting Tom’s three loads underway.  

Today, it was sunny until we went out for a drive, our first since our arrival two days ago. Cloudy weather is expected in England. It’s often cloudy and rainy. We’re savoring every moment when the sun peeks out, sitting outdoors on the veranda savoring the heart-pounding view. It’s cool, but when the sun is shining, we are comfortable.  

There is an endless array of shops and restaurants in this delightful area.

Now, as I write this, I see more and more clouds rolling in and imagine there will be a dark cloud cover by the end of the day. However, as we’ve often mentioned in past posts, we don’t mind bad weather as long as we get an occasional sunny day.  

Many shops and restaurants have interesting British names, often humorous and light-hearted.

There’s plenty to see and do while here. Today, after Tom watched the Minnesota Vikings football game last night, we headed out on a long drive searching for photo ops to share here. There are plenty! I’m particularly anxious to get out after staying in all day yesterday while we unpacked and started laundry.

Boats moored in the bay.

May your Sunday be filled with beautiful scenery and balmy breezes.

Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2018:
A massive old elephant was resting his trunk on his tusk.  We saw this only one other time in the Maasai Mara in 2013.  Here’s the link to that post where there are some shocking photos we’d taken at that time, including lions! Here’s the link to the year-ago post.

A few issues with our new location…

Gorgeous estates overlooking the bay.

We haven’t had any issues with a vacation/holiday home since we rented our first home outside the US in Belize. The city water only came on for a few hours a day, and we needed to stay around to fill buckets with water. Also, with no bug screens on the windows and scorching heat, I had no less than 100 no-see-ums (sand fleas) bites, making me miserable and unable to sleep.

We have breakfast in the tiny kitchen, but dinners will be at the larger dining room table.

Crazy! We found another place and moved out in a week, but the owners refused to refund our money. Now, years later, the rental website HomeAway would have been helpful to resolve this and get us a refund.  

I don’t know how we managed to fit all the perishables in this tiny refrigerator. This is the only refrigerator on the property. We’ll have to shop with this small space in mind.

This property in Falmouth certainly doesn’t have nearly as many nor severe issues as that house in Placencia, Belize. Overall, the problems are minor, except for one…we still don’t have a single towel in the house except for two kitchen towels.  

We couldn’t shower without towels, although I used one of our dish towels to dry off this morning. Weird! That was a first for me. Tom will wait until the towels hopefully arrive today.

The living room (lounge) has everything we need. We each sit on one of the two sofas when working on our laptops.  

In addition, the shower leaks onto the floor even when not in use due to a poor plumbing connection. The owner warned us to make sure the shower faucet is fully turned off when we’re done. However, there’s something wrong with the connection when we never used the shower yesterday.

The house wasn’t entirely clean or organized when we checked it. It wasn’t filthy but things like messy bed-making, dirty rags lying around, etc., made us a bit frustrated. Since that time in Belize in 2013, we’d never encountered any issues. The holiday rentals were always meticulous.

A little messy with our stuff cluttering the dining room table, but this space will work well for dinners after we’ve removed everything.

Some owners leave us a variety of converters and adapters to use for plugging in our digital equipment. Alas, none were here, and we headed out to town to buy what we needed. As it turned out, the grocery store, Tesco, had everything we needed, and we were able to recharge all of our equipment.

This seagull perched on the fence post, asking, “Ya got any pellets?”  We did not, and he later flew away.

While we were at Tesco, we decided to go grocery shop for dinner. We were both exhausted, needed showers, and didn’t feel up to going out. Instead, we made a quick and easy dinner, as mentioned in yesterday’s post found here.

As it turns out, the house has an odd configuration of steps on the second level where the three bedrooms are location requiring us to be extra careful when going from the bedroom to the bathroom.  

The oceanfront houses, some large and others small, present an eclectic look along the coastline.

The steps leading to the second level are otherwise straight up and not excessively steep, compared to the spiral staircase in the house in Ireland. Also, there’s only one bathroom on the second level, requiring us both to go up and down several times a day.

Rolling greens hills at a distance.

I feel that the steps to the bathroom will be a good form of exercise, and so far, I’m doing ok with it. But, the parking situation, with no assigned parking, requires we scramble to find a spot, and then once we do, the hilly roads present a challenging walk to get to the terraced house overlooking the bay. Tom suggests he drop me off at the gate to the house, but I insist on walking with him.

From there, we have to walk up or down 25 uneven stone steps to get to and from the back of the house to the terraced level where the house is located. I’ll undoubtedly be getting much-needed exercise while here, which ultimately is a good thing. See the photo below for these steps, taken from the bottom. There is a handrail which helps.

Twenty-five uneven stone steps to get from the house to the road and then on to where Tom’s been able to find a parking spot.

Otherwise, it is beautiful here with stunning views of the bay, the smell of fresh sea air, and access to many restaurants, pubs, and shopping only minutes away. The downtown area is unbelievable. I can’t wait to take photos and share them with all of you.

The bed and bedding are comfortable, and last night we both had a good night’s sleep. Today, Tom is catching up on missed Minnesota Vikings preseason games while I work on some financial tasks, leaving us free to embrace this exquisite town and all that it has to offer.

The view is astounding in each direction.

A special thanks to our friend/reader Liz, from Bristol, England, whom we met in person in London in 2014 when we stayed in South Kensington for two weeks, and she came to meet us. She took the train, two hours each way to meet us, and we both had a fabulous day with her, staying in touch all these years.

This view takes our breath away!

Yesterday, when we arrived at the house there was a piece of snail mail for us.  Liz had handwritten a welcoming letter on a pretty card, making suggestions on what to do while we were here in her ancestral town.  

Whoever handwrites letters these days? We couldn’t have been more appreciative and impressed. Hopefully, we’ll see Liz again when we move up the coast for these four properties as we get nearer and nearer to her home in Bristol.

Have a beautiful day! We’ll be back with more tomorrow!

Photo from one year ago today, August 24, 2018:
This young male’s horns have started to sprout.  He was mature and experienced enough to know that looking into our eyes would reap some rewards. How right he is! For more photos, please click here.

We made it to Falmouth, England and were in for a few pleasant surprises…

This is the view from our veranda in Falmouth, England.  We couldn’t be more thrilled to be here.

As much as I’d like to do a whole post tonight, I don’t have it in me. Only minutes ago, we finished our first homemade dinner in Falmouth, England (we both were too pooped to go out to eat), and now it is almost 2100 hours, 9:00 pm.

We’ve yet to unpack and start laundry since when we arrived. We had to grocery shop and found converters/adapters for our plug-ins when nothing we had on hand worked. Mission accomplished, along with the purchase of a SIM card for my phone.

We rushed back to our new temporary home, tried to figure out how to use the complicated “hob,”  only finding answers from a YouTube video. We’ve run into this issue in the past, but finally, the chicken breasts were baking in the oven.

Tom’s rice was cooking on the stovetop along with my pre-cut stir fry veggies, all of which we purchased at the well-stocked Tesco store in the charming holiday town of Falmouth. 

I assure you, we’ll be heading there after some much-needed rest and taking photos for days on end.  It truly is a wonder. With the final weekend before school starts again on Monday, it was packed with tourists.

By Monday or Tuesday, it will thin out, and we’ll be able to leisurely take our time to enjoy this magical place and walk the hilly streets based on how much I can do.

So, for now, I’m wrapping this up, but once we get laundry started in the morning, I’ll be back downstairs sitting on the comfy sofa surrounded by fluffy decorative pillows, anxious to share more with all of you.

Have a fabulous evening and enjoy a sneak peek at the above photo of our outstanding view of Falmouth Harbour. Wow!

Photo from one year ago today, August 23, 2018:
We’ve rarely been this close to a waterbuck since they remain close to the river, impossible for us to access.  What a handsome animal! For more Chobe photos, please click here.

Final expenses, Baltic cruise…Final sailing day…Stockholm, Sweden photos…

Please see our final cruise expenses at the end of today’s text. With the poor WiFi connection, I couldn’t move the expenses box to the text or load captions due to the poor signal. Please excuse the inconvenience.

The cruise is winding down. Tomorrow morning we disembark in Amsterdam to take a taxi to the airport and fly to Exeter, England, where we’ll pick up a car and drive for approximately two hours until we arrive at our next holiday rental in Falmouth England.

It’s wonderful knowing this cruise is ending only to result in our starting our next adventure for two months in England, staying in what appears to be four unique and exciting country cottages.

Once we began our travels, I envisioned living in a stone cottage in the English countryside, and now this dream will be fulfilled. For us, it’s always the “simple life” that brings the greatest pleasure and purpose to our world travels.

Today is our last full day at sea, and the ship is a flurry of activity with passengers booking new cruises, meeting up with others they’ve met along the way, and reminiscing about the experiences of the past almost 12 days and nights.

Last night, once again, we had dinner with our favorite little group, including American partners Fred and Larry and British mother Deborah, and adult son James. The conversation and laughter are neverending with this six-person group, and thus we booked a unique table with our favorite waiter for tonight’s final dinner at 7:45.

Last night we stayed up late watching passengers dancing to various “oldies” in the Centrum. It was the first time in my life. I couldn’t participate in the lively dancing. Tom and I love dancing together, especially to “oldies” of the correct beat (to us anyway)

Trying not to feel sorry for myself, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever been able to dance again. Right now, it doesn’t feel as if I could. Currently, right now, my legs feel as if they’re made of jello, and it takes everything I have to keep from falling flat on my face. But, hopeful that I am, I’m now dreaming of the day I’ll have my strength back and be on steady legs.

I believe this is a result of the medications and the weaning process, tentative walking being listed as a significant side effect while on the drugs and attempting to wean off of them, possibly lasting for many months.  

It would be a lot easier if I knew that an end to the discomfort was in sight. But, like life itself, nothing is certain. We attempt to live in the moment and how important it is to treasure each day as it occurs. It’s challenging not to project into the future.

This morning I reduced the dose of the Bisoprolol in one more increment. I’m now down about 70%. I’ll wait another four or five days until I attempt to reduce it again.

The most common side effects of the withdrawal of this beta blocker are increased heart rate and blood pressure, breathing issues, at times to dangerous levels, and coughing and painful walking. I am monitoring these closely.  Once the body adjusts, the rates return to more “normal” levels for most people, and the pain eventually dissipates.

Before weaning off this drug, my pulse was in the 40s and 50s, causing me to feel exhausted and short-winded. Now, as I’ve reduced the dose, it’s running between the 60s and 90s. My blood pressure is low. We’ll see how it goes.

Oh, I am sorry to go on and on about my health. Let’s face it. It has had a significant impact on our travels. If we were living in a condo somewhere in a warm climate, I could easily have fallen into the trap of being the “perpetual patient,” going back and forth to doctors to answer every question that comes to mind.

Now, I lean on reputable scientific research to guide me through this process.  I’ve read in many cases how many cardiologists have suggested their patients stop these drugs “cold turkey” while others warn patients to be hospitalized during the weaning process. Go figure.

Medical information is misleading, and doctors can have varying “opinions” on treating their patients, especially cardiologists. I’ve chosen to go to the “middle ground” and try to work this out independently.  

Of course, if anything untoward were to occur, we’d immediately seek medical attention. Also, if my pulse or blood pressure rise too much, I always have the option to increase the dose short-term to get me through a bad spell and then try again a few days later. Right now, I’m holding my own.

As the day quickly sails by (no pun intended), we find it hard to believe this cruise is over. We’ve already packed our bags, leaving out clothes to wear tonight and tomorrow. Since our bags will be whisked away at 10:00 pm tonight, most likely, we’ll wear the same outfits tomorrow that we’ve worn tonight.

Today’s photos are those we took while in Stockholm, Sweden riding on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus that we decided to try one more time. With no rain this time, the photos were better.  

We were able to ride on the top deck without windows providing us with a clear view. It’s not easy taking photos from a fast-moving bus, but we did our best and are delighted to share these with you today.

Most likely, we won’t be able to prepare a full post tomorrow, but we’ll let you know we’ve arrived at our new holiday rental in the late afternoon. We’ll be busy unpacking and washing clothes.  Hopefully, we’ll have a few new photos to share!

Be well. Be healthy. Be happy.

Final expenses for the cruise:

Expense US Dollar Euro
Cruise Fare  $          4,313.84                      3,894.36
Airfare –   $             385.00                    347.56
Hotel & Meals Amsterdam- $              440.00                    397.21      
Taxi   $             102.00                      92.08
Cabin Credit  $              (150.00)                  (135.41)
Wi-Fi on ship  $                227.40                     205.29
Gratuities  $                520.00                     469.44  
Miscellaneous  $                   82.00                       74.03
Tours  $                 930.00                     839.57   
Total  $             6850.24                   6184.12
Avg Daily Cost – 12 nights  $              570.85                     515.24
Photo from one year ago today, August 22, 2018:
While on safari in Chobe National Park in Botswana, we were excited to get a view of the leopard’s face after waiting for a considerable period while Samson, our guide, kept moving the vehicle for better shots. Upon careful inspection of this photo, you can see the pads of the feet of her kill in the tree near her head.  For more photos, please click here.