Going to the creek does not count as hiking, but it was a good start to the day. We try to take a photo of our walking partners, at least the first time during a visit.

Sadie, Kate and John at the creek

Kate is really good with Sadie, which is a total surprise. As a toddler, Kate was terrified of anything that moved quickly, especially dogs. She has worked hard to conquer this fear. Here is proof – Kate is testing a harness on Sadie after adjusting it for a better fit.

At breakfast, David casually tossed croissants on his plate. He got up late on his first day of vacation, eating after the rest of us had finished.

I said, “You can do better than that.”

I tried to balance the croissants against each other, but I’m not good at it. I turned around once, and David had them in position.

David’s goal for the day was for him to swim with his mother at Catawba falls. David, John, and I had been there in January 2020 when he took this photo. John and I did not get that far, because there was a rushing stream over the path to the falls. We stayed behind as David picked his way over a few stones above the water. Obviously, he didn’t swim that day because it was much too cold.

Catawba Falls

We made a good start on the hike when Kate and David went down to touch the stream on the way up.

John opted to stay in the car. I felt triumphant when I crossed the stream that had stopped me before. Not only was the temperature warmer, but the stream was low.

The path became steeper and rockier. When we came to this scene where David is on the rocks looking back, I paused.

I felt daring to get as far as I had. It would have been foolhardy to continue. I saw the angle of David’s feet and knew I could easily twist my metal knees. I’ve seen a mountain rescue before, and I did not want to be carried out. They were very understanding and felt comfortable leaving me to sit on a large rock on the left. I enjoyed the people and dogs passing by and played games on my phone. As it turned out, they did not make it to the swimming place, either. The climb was too steep for Kate. They played in a smaller pool, chilled themselves thoroughly, and came back down.

It was several hours beyond our mealtime, so we ate at the first restaurant we came to, a Chinese buffet. The food was good, and we all looked forward to the soft ice cream. We ate ours, and David brought his with him. We say he has a professional advantage to loading a cone, because he does it often at Burger King. We had enjoyed our whole day and came home tired, but happy.

Kate’s First Day

Daughter Kate drove 14.5 hours from New Jersey to our home in one day. She stopped in Virginia at our favorite barbecue place and brought all the fixings for proper barbecue sandwiches. What a great start for a wonderful visit!

John $, John, David, Nathaniel, and Kate. Sadie, with her begging brown eyes, doesn’t show.

Before leaving for church the next morning, Kate was there for the mirror ritual.

Nate lowers the mirror before leaving.

There was a special lunch after church for the retiring music director. We were sitting at a long table near the dessert station. Grandson Nathaniel was on the end, because he needs lots of space to stow his long legs. In one smooth move, he was on his feet and moving toward the serving table. I took a quick photo that shows nothing more than Nate’s back, but he went to the rescue of a short woman struggling with a heavy bucket. He easily lifted the bucket and poured iced tea into the dispenser. Without fanfare, the crisis was over.

After church and the luncheon, we walked through Forest City. It was a great break on the trip to take Nathaniel back to Charlotte. I was looking for photo ops, knowing Kate wanted a picture of her with her sons. Because there were eyes painted on the building, I made them pose on the sidewalk.

Nathaniel had to walk around some balloons, so there was another reason to take a picture. I’d never seen a balloon with something like confetti inside it. Can you see that in the white ones near Nate’s head?

I was tickled at the interest the boys showed in a baking company. Both were peering in the windows, and then Nathaniel was on the ledge, leaning in.

My favorite shot was in the center of the main street.

The final photo was taken outside Nathaniel’s dorm before we said goodbye.

Nathaniel’s Long Weekend

Grandson Nathaniel came to visit us and to spend 24 hours with his mother Kate. We performed the mirror ritual, where Nathaniel puts the mirror high on the wall so he and David can see their faces. Later that evening he was reading my grandmother’s hand-written recipe book.

Son John $pencer took Nate for a hike and a long ride in the mountains. This was a refreshing change from working in an office at his university. He chose this as his favorite photo of the day.

While Kate was driving here from New Jersey, John and I took Nathaniel to a favorite thrift shop in Hendersonville. Although it was his idea to go there, we were the ones who bought things. I chose two plates to go under pots on the back porch and a storage jar for coffee. Nate pointed out a pretty gravy boat. Knowing how I love gravy boats, John bought it. Nate couldn’t resist trying on this flashy red hat and had the staff in stitches.

We took a long way home through the mountains so that Nate and I could listen to a stream for a little while. The grandsons know how to get the most from a stream by standing in it.

We are waiting for Kate to arrive.

Why I had to Wash my Hair

Did any of you have a Toni doll from the 1950’s? I copied this photo of an ad on the internet that shows the doll with setting lotion, a curler, and a comb. I had a doll like this, only mine had dark hair. I am amused now, because I disliked dolls. Not only that, my miserliness can be documented to the day I received this doll as a gift. I wouldn’t use the setting lotion because I wouldn’t spend money to get more. My mom read the label and said we could make our own lotion, because the listed ingredients were sugar and water!! Today I am appalled at that memory. From time to time we have infestations of ants in our kitchen. Can you imagine having a doll that might draw ants like a magnet??? I wouldn’t have taken a doll to bed, but some girls might have. Ugh! How totally disgusting!

Now for today’s story. I was gathering branches John had trimmed from the bushes near our back porch. It was tedious, since the branches were small and had been rained on. My head was so full of grumbles that I paid no attention to the hummingbird feeder. That is, I paid no attention until I began to straighten up right under the feeder. My head hit it, not once, but twice. Sugar water splashed onto my hair. You know what happened then, don’t you? I BECAME A LIVING TONI DOLL!


England 40 Years Ago — July 27, 1981

We had quite a day communicating with distant relatives Hildur and Bernt Ellertsen all day long. He speaks limited English; she understands some. After coffee, cake and much gesticulating, we walked around the fish market where Hildur bought fish.

Bergen Fish Market
Family poses in the fish market

Hildur stayed home to cook while Bernt took us to see the house where Grandpa Ellertsen was born, the school his father attended, and the church where he was christened.

This is the church where John’s grandfather was christened. He later went to the United States, taught school, went to seminary to become a Lutheran pastor, and founded a church in Brooklyn.

Bjarne (my spelling might be as good as your pronunciation), their son, came home from work at 4:30. His parents live in the north of Norway, but the problem of cooking in her son’s kitchen didn’t phase Hildur a bit. She produced a marvelous dinner of cod in a batter, lightly fried.

Bernt, Hildur, Lisa, Kate, John, Bjarne

We all went on the funicular train up the mountain above Bergen. Four went to see Christina Onasses’ yacht in the harbor; Kate, Hildur and I went to Bjarne’s house to wash dishes.

View from the funicular
Kate on top of the mountain

Norwegians have fish shops to equal English butcher shops. We realized after we got back to England that we had had meat only two times on the whole trip.

The normal dinner time of Norwegians on the west coast is 4 to 5 p.m.!! My impression is that people from Bergen have a late breakfast, coffee and cake, middag (dinner), and sandwiches later before bedtime.

Old Bergen
Bernt and Hildur

In Bergen we stayed at a summer hotel – in winter it’s a college dorm. We think it spacious with two bedrooms, kitchenette and shower room. The shower drains into a hole under the sink; have to mop up a little to use the loo, which is in the same room. The closets are built into the hall walls and are covered by curtains.

Entertainment on a Rainy Day

When rain set in, David went on the front porch to enjoy it from his hammock/swing. Sadie was anxious to be out there with us, so David improvised a barrier at the top of the stairs. Even though there was other activity on the street that Sadie barked at, she made no attempt to jump over the two chairs and a table.

Sadie’s barrier

There was no containing Sadie’s excitement when she saw Logan (10) at our driveway. The boy was barefooted but wearing a sweatshirt in the heavy rain. He patiently moved gravel to channel the water down the street. We guessed he wanted the rainwater to float a large black shoe, although we could have been wrong. He was on the left side of a small evergreen tree in this photo.

He worked down the street and to the right of the evergreen tree, still moving gravel in place. His focus and diligence were amazing. I texted Shawn this photo, saying it was the best entertainment for neighbors.

She replied, “And for parents.” She then responded with a photo from her porch.

Their view was better than ours. Unfortunately, the rain stopped and so did Logan’s work on the water project. It was getting late and time to go in.

David and the Catbird

Grandson David and the catbird have nothing to do with each other, except that I took their photos on consecutive days. If I’d used film, you could say I was on a roll.

As I walked near the overgrown sheep pasture, I became aware that a bird was flitting from weed to weed. It was gray, but I couldn’t see it clearly. Right now the camera has better focus than I do, so I zoomed in and shot it. The bird was agitated, probably because its nest was nearby. Its call reminded me of a cat. Bingo! It had to be a catbird. The photo confirmed it – an all-gray bird with a black cap. It’s the first time I’ve seen one here in the mountains.

We ate at a Japanese restaurant after church and were impressed with David’s choice of tempura chicken. What a mountain of food, beautifully arranged! He said it was delicious.

Putting up a porch swing/seat was amusing. It did not come with a chain for hanging, so David climbed into it from a ladder to test it out. Yes, it was very comfortable.

He wiggled around in it until he looked like a colorful caterpillar with blue and green stripes. Don’t you wonder what he would have turned into if he had waited for metamorphosis to occur?

Sadie Takes Over

Grand-dog Sadie likes my bed, but up until now she has always slept with son John $pencer at night. She must have slipped out of his room in the wee hours. I woke to find her crowding my head.

Evidently she was comfortable, not moving when I got up to get the camera. She had pushed me to use only a third of the bed, taking the other two thirds for herself.

Is this a rant? By no means! It’s poking fun at people like me who indulge a beloved animal, even when it causes temporary discomfort.


John and grandson David had a thrill of a lifetime with Gil, a church friend. Having heard John talk about the train club in Tennessee, Gil offered to fly them down for a meeting. Fog was a concern until the last minute, but it was clear enough for them to take off. They flew around fluffy clouds and looked down on the mountains. The views were magnificent. John was impressed with how many huge homes were built high on the sides of mountains. Both liked seeing the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs along the ridges. Here are a few of the photos David took.

Asheville airport after takeoff
David’s view of the propeller
Mount Pisgah
David’s view of Gil’s area
Blue Ridge Parkway with an overlook near the wheel

Because of this special adventure, Gil was not with his wife Linda on her birthday. She told John not to change anything, since Gil promised to take her out both before and after her special day. They were free the day after, so we went out to lunch after church to celebrate.

Anne, Linda, and Gil
John and David

Process in Writing a Post

Chrissie at Word Quilt (https://chrissie.blog/2021/07/06/posting-process/) wrote a post about her method of writing a story about a vacation with lots of photos and stories. She’s an expert with WordPress. I knew I would learn new ways to do things, and I did. She asked that readers share their process. This is mine, and I encourage you to skip it if you aren’t interested in technical things. Do read Chrissie’s method, complete with video.

My procedure differs from hers, because I write where I am most comfortable – with a word processor. Following is my list of things to do:

Upload photos to the computer. Put ones I want to use in a folder and rename them with date and brief description.

Open the word processor and begin writing the story. I flip back and forth from photos to words by pressing the alt key and tapping the tab key. (That action switches between the last two windows opened.)

Write a paragraph about each picture or set of pictures.

Copy the words and paste in the WordPress block editor. (Highlight the whole document and press Control/C. In the block editor press Control/V.)

Put the cursor at the end of the first paragraph and click on the + sign to add a block. Change it to an image block. Go to the photos, making the explorer window small, and drag and drop the photo into the image block. I usually click on the image and use the menu bar to center it. Go to the next paragraph and repeat as needed.

If there are several photos to go with one paragraph, I choose Gallery and drag them in. It’s also fun to use Columns, using three columns for three photos. (Change each column to image before dragging a picture to it.) I also use Columns to put words in one and a photo in the other. It looks prettier to center the words vertically.