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13.2.13

64 Sea Change


On a sunless day in February the seaward shore of Walney Island is bleak and cold, so cold that if to operate your camera you must first remove your gloves you'll have about five minutes before your fingers stop working. On a rising tide and with a strong wind blowing only a myriad oyster catchers were braving the elements. And me. It was exhilarating.

I hadn't set out to shiver on the Cumbrian coast, but had found myself not so very far away while running a long distance errand for my daughter. And I simply couldn't resist the pull of the sea, even in winter. Could you? Before there's a next time however - and it's almost certain there will be as said daughter is relocating to the area - I need to knit myself a pair of photographer's convertible mitts with flip tops, because my fingerless Runrig's just didn't cut the mustard in such Arctic conditions!

It's going to be most discombobulating, having my darling girl such a long way from home. We are well on the way to becoming empty nesters, the Mr and me, but not a one of our fledglings has flown far, until now. But her moving will furnish me with a wonderful excuse to head north to The Lakes more often. And she and I are already planning summer meetups in the topiary gardens at Levens Hall, a place we both love. (Have you been there? If not and you get the chance to visit do go, the topiary is amazing, magical even!)

Changes are afoot for other members of my family too, and not all for the better. But, as Heraclitus so famously said, "Life is flux". And Thomas Hardy said it too*, "So do flux and reflux - the rhythm of change - alternate and persist in everything under the sky"? I kinda like that, I almost find it comforting. All things change, but if we embrace the inevitability of change, and the changes that occur, and look for the silver linings, how much easier and richer life becomes!

Can you tell I do a lot of thinking when I walk by the sea?! How about you? Where do you think best?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I looked for a heart shaped pebble to photograph in situ for Valentine's Day, but despite filling my pockets with interesting beachy finds a pebble heart proved as elusive as a four-leaf clover. So I will just have to settle for wishing you and your sweetie a fun-filled February 14th!


* Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, 1891

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64 comments :

  1. beautiful pics!!! I love to have walks along the sea....I enjoy a lot sitting on the beach at sunset time with my eyes on this immense water tank...then all my thoughts start to flow.....
    happy valentine's day, xoxo Ale

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  2. I do my best thinking in the bath!
    My son is considering moving to Berlin for a year in the summer shortly after my daughter gets married, she however isn't flying far.
    I'm not good with change!
    V xxx

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  3. Lovely pictures Annie! I love visiting the beach...although ours look quite different from yours :-)
    Hope the move goes well for your daughter, xx

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  4. The beach is one of my favorite places to be......but thinking time......when I'm knitting! (knit, knit, knit....bounce up to rearrange a room....knit, knit, knit.....hop to the kitchen to make bread---you get the idea!)

    Happy Valentine's Day to you all!!!

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  5. I love the beach in cool weather -- no crowds! My children aren't too far from home, about a 2 1/2 hour drive. Both are in school. Our daughter finishes grad school this spring, so we don't know where she'll be next - wherever she can find a job!

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  6. Or as I like to say, "I live in the great state of flux!"
    Oh my, the beach has been calling, the ocean's undertow swifts in my veins... my best thinking gets done in briny mists!

    Happy hearts and flowers to you and yours! Those summer garden meet ups sound perfect, you will create lovely memories with your daughter. Magical topiary you say?

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  7. The water is a magnet for me too. I love the warm tones in these photographs .... It doesn't feel cold at all :)

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    1. It does to me ... but I guess that's because I know how cold it was! These shots are evidence that I've finally given 'tilt shift' a try, and I'm rather liking the effect :)

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  8. I love the beach at any time of year and if I happen to be on my own then there is lots of time for thinking. Otherwise I find I come out of a hot shower with lots of ideas. My heart sank a bit at the thought of your daughter moving away but rose again at the thought of your lovely future catch-ups :-D And i hope these other changes go ok too. Happy Valentines day to you and yours. Mel x

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  9. In lack of sea and lake I walk through the meadows and forests for clearing my thoughts. There are plenty here, thoughts and forests. Have a nice day and keep your fingers warm. Regula

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  10. I love a walk in the woods when I need to think - the stillness of the trees helps my often frenetic mind focus.
    Sometimes I sit and think too- walking is almost too much of a distraction when I need to work through a problem, other times (as the saying goes) I just sit!

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  11. Hello Annie:
    One of the things we so enjoy about our Brighton apartment is that we are constantly looking at the sea in all of its various moods. Alas, though, the Sussex coast does not have that wonderful wild ruggedness of Cumbria.

    Levens Hall, with all that marvellous topiary, is so splendid; it will make a very good meeting place with your daughter in the summer months.

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  12. I agree, the beach is a great place to think, looking out at that vast mass of water makes me (and my problems) feel pretty insignificant. With communications being what they are these days our loved ones are never too far away. My son has been travelling in India for the last 5 months and we have kept in good contact - though I REALLY need a hug from him! Juliex

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    1. Oh goodness, five months without a hug from either of my sons is unthinkable. I do hope your boy is back to give you a hug soon :)

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  13. How you make me yearn to be by the sea Annie. It seems an age since I last saw it although it's only 6 months. I think best when I'm walking anywhere. I think walking is good for mental health as well as bodily health.

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  14. Oh! My little island! Next time you're here Annie, you'll have to call in for tea and cakes ... very well done to your daughter, but sad for you as I know what it's like when one of our chicks moves far away.

    Which beach did you go to? I am 2 minutes away from Biggar Bank. You did mention in your email that you were coming to the area but I didn't realise you would be coming to Walney so didn't pick up on it. So sorry, you could have come and warmed up here!

    Have a lovely Valentine's Day ...

    Claire xxx

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    1. I found myself with an hour to kill and driving past Jubilee Bridge. I'm not sure which beach I was on though. I drove along Ocean Road, turned left when I reached the sea, and followed a long almost country lane until I came to a small off road car park. The tide was in but it was still lovely just to breath the salt air :)

      I will let you know if I'm coming that way again with time to spare :D

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    2. You passed my house as I live at the end of Ocean Road .... go up the hill and you're at the sea. That was Biggar Bank that you drove along and the car park at the end is at Thorny Nook ... a well known haunt for courting couples! Do let me know if you're here again, it would be lovely to meet up ... by the way, I finished the book and loved it, it's on its way to Canada now! xx

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  15. Thank you for reminding me of Britain's lovely coastline. I thought you were going to say that those delicious colours had inspired you to knit a scarf or something to capture them.

    My best (and worst) thinking is done in the early hours when I can't sleep. This sleeplessness doesn't occur every night, thank goodness but when it does I try to turn it to good advantage and think about my latest project. It could be the latest stitch I'm learning or how to turn a cardboard box into a toy theatre for my favourite granddaughter.

    We live 6 hours away from the sea and I miss it terribly. Living in Cornwall until 13 years ago, we could visit our favourite beaches and headlands whenever we wanted to.

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    1. It's funny you should say that Chrissy ... I have some icy sea-blue yarn and I'm thinking up sea inspired lace patterns for a Walney shawl ... it may be a while coming though, with all the other knitting projects I currently have on the go!

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  16. Life is flux, that is well-said indeed. Our lives are like beaches with in-coming and out-going tides so may we momentarily experience emptiness or fullness according to the rhythm of the seas.
    May your day be blessed with plenitude.

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  17. The sea always draws me to it, winter or summer, although our winters aren't as cold as you describe. My mind always feels so refreshed by the salt air.
    My daughter is also moving away mid year. It will either be a one hour flight or an 8 hour drive! x

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  18. I absolutely love the seaside in winter ... more I think than the summer ... no pressure to brave the elements and hop into the freezing Atlantic in winter ... our sea never warms and I prefer to be walking on the beach with the sea spray in my face ... close enough for me :) ... hope the changes aren't to difficult to face ... Bee xx

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  19. Oh, I very much loved those wild and wintry shorelines when I travelled around the UK back in my far-distant youth. A winter beach in any place appeals to me greatly. Perhaps it's my fair skin that can't tolerate too much summer sun...

    I find it hard to imagine the empty-nesting stage of parenting from my vantage point (the one where I'm screaming to anyone who'll listen, Please take my children out of the house for just a few hours so I can have some peace and quiet!!!!!!!!!) I imagine much lovely solitude, a touch of melancholy, and wonderful boisterous get-togethers with sparkly successful adult daughters over good food and wine. xx

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    1. I'm imagining that too Greer, but although I do have the sparkly, successful daughters, I also have the laundry-generating, loud-music-playing, never-stops-eating, muddy-booted, booming-voiced Farmer Boy still at home - hard to believe he was once a tiny baby! - so peace and quiet there is not!

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  20. Discombobulating is one of my favourite words! Thank you but I am sorry you are feeling that way.
    The sea is good for the soul. In fact being near any water is (clearly not the kitchen taps...)
    Happy Valentines to you!
    Ax

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  21. The garden is my thinking space. Weeding can be so therapeutic, especially when it gives me time to iron out a few knotty problems too.

    Happy Valentine's Day Annie and love the pics. If not the cold. Brave girl.

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  22. Outside in the open air and weather is where I do my thinking and conjuring up of compositions in my mind's eye.
    Beaches are wonderful in winter - but I'm a long way from the sea (yes, I live in Suffolk, but 80 miles from the nearest beach!) so the field furrows, Roman Roads and Saxon Dykes are my choice for walking; the wind in my face still blows in from the North Sea!

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  23. There is something special about beaches in Winter. It has become a tradition of our new year gathering with friends to spend New Year's Day at the beach. It is always cold but refreshing and uplifting.

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  24. I love the beach on a Spring or Autumn day, although this part of southern Sweden where I live is not exactly renowned for its beautful coastline. Water is fascinating, at least when I don't have to see it from onboard a boat.

    Levens Hall looks fabulous. It would be lovely to be able to visit one day, but for the time being I am very much exhilarated by and looking forward to a March visit to Bath!

    My son lives a 4-hour drive from home, and my daughter moved back to Sweden last year after spending four years in Glasgow. I missed her terribly, but at the same time it was really nice to go visit her! I love Scotland, but thought that Glasgow would be just a shabby rundown city, and instead it turned out to be really lovely, with a friendly atmosphere and very much to see and do. So it's not all bad to have ones children move away some distance from home.

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  25. Dear Annie
    What a beautiful and evocative post. I would love to visit Levens Hall - perhaps one day.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  26. Life constantly changes and evolves, at time it can feel overwhelming. Just take things one day at a time, and if a day feels too much , just one hour at a time. New things are just around the corner for you, and it's up to you how you deal with them. Somehow I think you are going to be just fine! :) x

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  27. lovely pictures Annie and nice to planning new adventures already. I like your header by the way nice and simple. Heather x

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  28. You could have made a heart out of pebbles, but then your fingers would have probably dropped off with the cold. I hope the move pans out well for your daughter. I'm having to cope with the thought of my first born leaving the nest later this year and heading off to university, but as you say, you must look for the silver linings. I know that it will be a great experience for him, and there'll be less arguements in the house between him and his sister.

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  29. What a lovely post, Annie! I shivered as i read about your fingers getting cold while you took those beautiful pictures. I had a similar experience taking pictures of my knitting on a very cold and wintery day back in January and I was actually afraid for a bit that I had frostbite.

    Change is hard. Even when it is a good change, like your daughter moving to a place she wants to live, and one that is so close to natural beauty. I hope the things you alluded to that aren't such good changes end up not coming to pass.

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  30. Being beside the sea is lovely on a winter's day - though only if you keep warm and snuggly (you definitely need new gloves Annie) and have a nice big thermos of something good and hot to warm your cockles afterwards. I hope the changes afoot aren't too painful and that you enjoy frequent lakeland trips to see your lovely girl x

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  31. I like this very much Annie. It resonated with me. My youngest starts school in September; the baby days are done and I am entering a new phase. I am terrified but you are right, we must embrace change because time wont stand still and things will change whether I like it or not. I think a lot by the sea. I also get terribly homesick by the sea. Hmm. Maybe I should move to the coast?

    Gillian x

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  32. Happy Valentine's Day from across the way.
    Susan x

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  33. It was lovely to read your post today as I've been feeling the push and pull of change in my little family as well of late. Our first-born will be heading off to college in less than six months and while our lovely daughter has a few more years being under our roof, I know only too well how quickly that time will fly. Hugs.

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  34. Beautiful atmospheric photography Annie. I feel very fortunate to be a 5 minute walkaway from the coast and try never to take it for granted. If its not windy and still lat at night I like to think I can hear the sea but its probably the last train on the tracks to Hastings!
    Its weird but I tend to do a lot of my thinking in my care driving around in the day for my job, I can think and pray and that makes me happy. I am also a real star gazer and go outside when its clear with something warm to drink in Winter or cool in Summer. I like to think all those people whom I love and are precious to me that are far flung across our planet are sharing the same sky. I can think and talk to them when I'm alone under the velvet sky.

    I do hope your daughter settles into her new place quickly and that its not long before you meet up again. I can't even bear to think how bereft I will feel when Alice leaves one day. She's my girly and we are very close, hopefully the next few years will start to prepare me for it as she gets more and more independent. Much love on this V of days xox Penelope

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  35. Lovely photographs! Very peaceful looking. I like to be able to sit and think on the rare ocassions that I am alone in the house, stretched out on the sofa, and my next more common place is in the shower. So I have to think quickly Ha ha.

    xx

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  36. pebble gathering and fresh sea air - perfect! Glad you had a lovely time, Maggie

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  37. So beautiful there! Glad you could breathe in some fresh sea air! Levens Hall sounds beautiful, wish I lived closer! Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day Annie!! xo Heather

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  38. I think a lot by the sea too. Aside from my time in London I Have always been drawn to the sea and am lucky to be so close to it now. Annie be thankful your daughter hasn't moved as far away as my mother's daughter has, i feel so terribly guilty about that one. And I hope you will adjust easily to the other changes coming your way, we folk don't take too kindly to change but I think we are more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for :)
    Xox

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  39. Your post fills me with great excitement, because I am headed to the Oregon coast tomorrow for the weekend! Six of us are driving 2 hours away to spend the weekend enjoying the sea, working on scrapbooks, and I am tucking in a bit of crochet and knitting as well.
    I LOVE being near the ocean, my most favorite spot on all the earth! For seven years my husband and I lived two blocks from the ocean in northern California with beaches so deserted we often felt we owned a private beach.
    Watching the ebb and flow of water is a wonderful place for me to think about the ebb and flow of life, but conversely, holed away sitting in a favorite chair surrounded by books and yarn is where I do most of my thinking about the most important aspects of my life.
    Thanks for a lovely post, Annie
    xx, Gracie

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  40. I can't ever resist the pull of a shoreline. I think it must just be in our bones. It's so tough being away from my daughter. Discombobulating is a good word for it. I can't wait for her next visit! I'm in a state of flux myself right now. Thanks for the encouragement!!
    xoxo
    Selena

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  41. Beautiful photos.
    I love the sea but unfortunately live miles from it

    Hope the changes that your faily eperience will turn out ok for everyone.

    Have a good weekend

    x Fiona

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  42. Annie I agree the sea is a wonderful way to blow away cobwebs and set the mind free. As usual though I just love your photos and they are truly why I linger here!! A calm refreshing space you have created honey:~))

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  43. I think, if I was to be very fussy about my perfect thinking space, it would be mountains and trees beside a river......but really anywhere rural and peaceful. Beaches definitely work for me too! I think your approach to change is really the only way to go - most of them will happen anyway so embracing them has to be a positive thing. At least your daughter is going to a very beautiful area. Good luck to her, and to you. Juliex

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  44. I do my best thinking in my home, especially in the comfort of my bed. Even though some nights it keeps me awake longer than I would like. I find comfort in pondering ideas, thoughts, worries, and plans, inside a big fluffy bed.
    Change is indeed inevitable and when you comes to terms with that, it does ease the concerns, doesn't it?
    Best wished for your family and in dealing with changes.

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  45. Gorgeous photos and a thought-provoking post, Annie. I can think in all sorts of places, but they must be quiet. Noise really distracts me as I have enough in my head as it is. So walking along a beach or out in the countryside, or just sitting in the sun in the conservatory or lying in bed when i first wake up, are all good thinking places for me.

    It's so long since our two left home for good in their very early 20s that it's hard to remember how empty the house felt at first. They are each 4 hours drive away in different directions so we don't see them as often as we'd like, but that's life......

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  46. We shouldn't forget to give ourselves a pat on the back for raising children who are confident enough, and capable enough to leave home and fend for themselves, or forget how blithely we ourselves left home with hardly a thought for how it was for our mothers! (I know that's true of me anyway..)

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  47. I know how you feel on the empty nest front - two down, one to go here. The answer is definitely to cultivate lots of absorbing interests and keep busy, so you don't have time to notice the echoing halls and lack of laundry. Keep on knitting and stitching and writing and taking photos and you will weather the sea change just fine.

    Pomona x

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  48. Having four children, and now only two at home, it doesn't get any easier watching them test their wings and fly the nest................but what a beautiful place to fly to.

    I wish your daughter well in her new home, I'm sure they'll be lots of lovely visits for you to look forward to. x

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  49. Hi Annie,

    I love the photos of the beach and yes, often in winter, when there are not a lot of people around, can be the nicest times. The colours are gorgeous.
    Wishing your daughter all the very best in her new place, and know that you will be happy to go away and visit her. The topiary gardens would be nice to go and visit.

    Happy weekend
    Carolyn

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  50. Hey Annie, how wonderful to plan lovely catchups with your daughter.......Wish I lived a little closer to the coast bleak, Wintry walks along the beach sound wonderful......
    As for gloves.....No 1 bought a pair of gloves to wear in Canada....they have special tips on the end of the fingers, so you can use smart phones without removing your gloves!!

    I don't have any particular place or time for thinking, it just sneaks up on me and catches me unawares sometimes!!

    Enjoy your weekend,

    Claire :}

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  51. I think the sea is irresistible. When I go into town, even just for a quick errand, I almost always take the slightly longer route via the seafront. And sometimes have to stop the car and get out and get onto the beach - especially if it is windy and the waves are crashing. Exhilirating, cold, and wonderful.

    But I think best in bed, before I go to sleep. (It does keep me awake too long though.)

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  52. What beautiful and take-you-right-there-kind of photos you show today. -sigh-

    How lucky you are to be able to wander along the Cumbrian Coast, at times....

    Not-so-jolly coming changes... Well... Wishing you well, with those...

    "Auntie"

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  53. I'm so glad you're well and up and about getting some salty air in. That garden place is extraordinary! Do take lots of pics.

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  54. Gosh, what a long list of comments! Lovely photos as always. We were at the beach yesterday and I nearly always find a heart...but not this time. I made one though (see photo on current post!!)
    I like the way you are approaching change - I need to learn from that.
    And there was a time not so long ago I couldn't imagine my boys flying the nest- but with the start of the (wonderful!) teenage years I can see how quickly it will come. I hope they stay nearby.
    Sending love Annie,
    fee x

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  55. Hi Annie,
    I don't know how I missed this wonderful images of the sea. I hope your daughter settles into her new home. I find with the children no longer permanently around that the time spent together now is more cherished and appreciated.
    Sarah x

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  56. I'm going to say that over and over to myself, about flux and reflux, and try to see the silver linings.
    Sory ro have been slack in commenting but I'm not getting on the ol' computer much of late. x

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  57. Lovely shots from the beach. I hope your daughter enjoys her new home. And you can look forward to visiting her and the topiary gardens. Have a happy weekend!

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