Monday, September 10

Rolling Hills, Moody Skies, Surprises & Picnics!

(Read below for a Scribble Picnic update and our new theme!)

Rolling hills, lush fields full of promise under brooding clouds and lashing rains. A somewhat apt description of our move here but also Sunday's drive to Somerset, KY, where we went searching for a few choice items for Alexandra's next downtown Campbellsville Artisan Market. (Last Friday's was fabulously successful. Aside from selling most of her original artwork — on greeting cards, tote bags, change purses and xmas ornaments, etc. — she also made further connections with people in the community.) Court & Main, by the way, is a wonderful shindig held once a month for any of you who might happen to live anywhere nearby and have thought of visiting this rising town that's throwing off its shackles from years of decline with various people moving into the area and investing into making it a newly forthcoming quaint downtown urban surprise.

Change is exciting and scary too all that the same time! Well, I should say, Alexandra is walking in total faith that we're to be here and stays focused on all the doors that have indeed opened up for us or will very soon. For me, it can be a little bit more of a challenge some days adjusting to a slower pace of life, a distinctly different use of grammar and some things not rolling out quite as fast as I had hoped. Leaving behind a long time job that I had always loved was not easy either. Yet these new horizons helped with that professional need to keep being challenged, fully utilized and growing.

There have been days, admittedly, where I've had to remind myself not to focus on things past but embrace the present, being thankful even for the so many spots along various drives where we feel like we're back in Norfolk, England again. Ha, I mean, there are even some quite narrow hedge-rowed country lanes every now and then! I'm actually surprised at just how quickly I've fallen for the landscape here and how much more in sync it is with my natural aesthetic preference for greenery. It truly delights my inner "city boy" heart and certainly helps when driving past areas not quite so lovely, shall we say? (Not to say that any Colorado town doesn't also have similar challenges with junk yards and the inevitable affects of economic decline, mind you.)

One of the biggest surprises here is that with Campbellsville also being a small university town, there is actually quite a lot of diversity for a hub this size in central rural Kentucky. On any given day in the coffee shop downtown, one can find a table or two filled with students (and some professionals) from other countries. Just this week alone, for example, I came across three suave looking eastern Europeans walking in with cuffed shorts and hair coiffed like George Michael (à la his Wham days); a table filled with Japanese students all speaking Japanese; a couple of Caribbeans(?); half a dozen Italians, and most recently a handful of Brits: two visiting who head up Vineyard worship in the UK, one who came here 18 years ago on a college basketball scholarship from Leicester and another just met today who's from Ipswich currently at uni here.

Just this last week, we were invited to a couple's lovely designed loft which is across the street from where we will be living, come November or so. (Alex had met them through one of the markets where the lady was thrilled to find that we too love English teatime and such as she grew up with an English nanny, having spent all her formative years in Malawi and Tanzania, former British colonies, and then later returning with her husband for another decade in Botswana.)  My mind kept on spinning that here was this couple, soon to be new neighbors even, who knew exactly where my oldest son is in the Kalahari with Peace Corps, having been to his neighbouring villages and pronouncing them with ease! Then when we learned their previously homeschooled son was now in Edinburgh studying for his masters degree where he's combining his fluency in Gaelic with his love of video gaming, I kept on having to pinch myself. Ha! So, all that to say, you never know what any place might hold. Every place has its own surprises and this is definitely no exception.

Oh, and in the meanwhile, I'm getting a chance to capture some beautiful scenes along the way. :)

UPDATE: Being that today is now Monday, the 10th, I think we best prolong Scribble Picnic for another week, for meeting here anew on Wednesday, the 19th, next week. Hope that's Ok with everyone? Thanks! Oh, and how about our next theme have something to do with... Exploration? :)

P.S. Please considering doing two other things, if you would:
1. Fill out this quick 1-question Scribble Picnic survey!
2. Read our very own Mary's fabulous write up from our super great visit when she and her hubs, Bob, came to Fort Collins. We had a blast. So much fun!



  1. Exploration sounds great Michael, have to come back later to do the survey and properly comment on your post. as I am in a hurry this morning.

  2. Michael, I am touched by the way you and Alex have both embraced, and worked through and into, this latest transition. Every place does hold it's surprises and delights. Both the good and not so good but I've always felt that each was an opportunity for growth. For expansion and deeper understanding. And a good eye opener or two! :)

    How wonderful to have found the landscape so much to your liking there and the diversity greater than you perhaps expected too!

    It is so easy to get caught in the cycle of looking back and not forward. We know the past, for all it's own good and bad times, and it's easier at times to focus on those than to look at an unknown future. Comfort, in terms of place/locale allows us to ease through that I think. I tend to reach back nostalgically anytime I am feeling out of my element. I've been in the same town for 7 yrs now and Ive noticed my tendency to do that has faded as I've grown to be more of a "local" here.

    I appreciate that you can see the good in changes to towns such as those you have lived in. I have never been so graceful with that. Certainly the renewal of a bleak economically depressed area is wonderful but I've also seen those towns turned into tourist traps where no-one can afford a home unless they've come from somewhere else and that, in my experience, can take a town's soul. It's not always the case, of course, and that's coming from me, who chose the grittiest of coastal towns so as to be in a true fishing village, a town which has been described as a "drinking town with a fishing problem" but I'm ok with that. It's not that part I came here for. That's the people, from the dory boats to the crabbers and fisherfolk to the artists to the outdoor enthusiasts. Even the fundamentalists and the retirees. I love them all even if I wouldn't agree with many if talk drifts into views on our world, but that's fine too. lol Maybe that's because I watched my hometown go from a thriving steel town to a string of gap-toothed city blocks and abandoned buildings. It's coming back now too and when I went home last year, there was an authentic French bakery smack in the middle of it all. It was beautiful and exciting. . . and they've priced things for the neighborhood, not to make the most they can off of each sale. Still, it left me sad that the old family run grocery store that once stood in that same spot for nearly 80 years is no more. I love history. Constants. Tradition. Even though I have never been one to seek it out for myself. Strange huh? Sometimes I think I may just be in training to be a grumpy old man. . .

    You have a wealth of experience to draw on. You've been through these changes before and you'll come through this time with even brighter reflections of who you are and a stronger sense of what you are here to do.

    I look forward to hearing more about your adventures there over the coming months.


    1. Wow, Nicolas--I'm super touched by your thoughtful muse here. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all that. I love what you say too and how you've learned to embrace people different than yourself, with sometimes maybe quite different outlooks. That is so crucial, so needed. the world would be a better place if we all could duo that more and that is in part what we feel we are here to do.

      So interesting what you say about the description of your fisherman's town. How on earth did I get in my head that you were in the midst of some forested area and not coastal?! Lol. You see the projections we make?

      Yes, as far as being outpriced for many as growth takes on, that is sadly what has happened to Fort Collins to a large degree. Our little old town 850 sq. ft 2 bedroom rental with no garage, charming as it was, would sell for close to half a million most likely - simply out of the range of most of us. As a result, like Boulder, the town will inevitably become another elitist centre for those fortunate enough to have the means to live there.

      I think that is definitely one of the appeals of Campellsville-still small enough to be far more economical, as in most of KY, but also not so stagnant that it isn't growing at all and modernizing for the needs of today's society.

      Need to pop by your blog at some point when I can take the leisurely time to peruse your prose more fully. :)

      Thanks again. Take care, my friend.

  3. That was a short survey, really I am good with whatever is your preference Michael!

    I suppose you are adjusting to your new surroundings, it takes time, change is difficult unless you are Alexandra, glad she did so well with her sales. Remember you can Facetime your daughter and grandkids!

    1. Planning to do that soon, after she finishes a recent move. :)

  4. Great post Michael. I've been checking back every so often to see if you've added new themes/prompts! I love how you wrote about your new adventure, and it's very true that there are doors and surprises at every corner in life. I'm glad you found them! :) I filled out that quick survey, but like Christine said, whatever is good for you is good for us!! :)

    1. You really are flexible, Rain, thank you...and for checking in too to make sure you don't miss anything. So glad.

  5. I'm already working on my 'Exploration' piece as life could be getting out of hand in the coming days.
    Hurricane Florence could hit NC coast and come inland to us by Friday night so we are battening down the hatches. Bob went out for bottled water today, tried so many stores and nothing was left, shelves totally bare. I'm stressed because we are due to leave next week on a trip to Canada - I'm just hoping we have no major house damage or loss of power so we can still make it!

    Yes dear, it was a lovely time with you - we will always remember it well, especially when we eat good chocolate and almond croissants!

    Stay well, Alexandra too. Hope things are coming together. The scenery is beautiful there in Kentucky.

    Love M&B -

    1. Friendship, chocolate and croissants....does it get any better than that? Nope. :)

      So glad you are ok from the storm and now on your trip to BC. You are going to have such a grand time there. Looking forward to seeing your piece. Thank you for doing that ahead of time too.

  6. Michael, I'm so happy that the move seems to be working out well for you and Alex including from her career aspect. I understand your own perspective that things are moving a little more slowly than you would have liked though. Embracing the present is a great attitude to have.

    The scenery is gorgeous! While it's lovely to hear there is some cultural diversity there, the sights of economic decline saddens me. The cost of living in Australia gets harder every year even though, thankfully, the Global Financial Crisis didn't effect us as badly as it did other countries. It's making it near impossible for young couples/families to buy their own home nowadays. And owners of rental properties are taking advantage by charging high rents for dumps because they know people are desperate. I don't like the current financial climate here at all. I long for a more simple way of life. There just seems to be so much financial stress put on people nowadays.

    How magical that you met a couple you will soon be neighbours with and that there are some great commonalities found already. It makes me think of that song - It's a Small World After All.

    I'm glad you postponed Scribble Picnic this week as, it's Wednesday here, and my son is having a hospital procedure done today so I wouldn't have been able to participate. I did do the survey. I'm actually happy with it being weekly as it keeps me on track but I do feel terribly guilty if I miss one. Fortnightly might be a better option with more time to complete the piece too but, like the others have said, it's entirely up to you, Michael. Sorry for the long comment.

    Happy Wednesday to you and Alexandra!

    1. Oh don't apologise for lovely long comments. So great to read. I love to hear your ideas and what's going on but do hope your son's stuff is better now!

      Yes,I totally get what you are saying above. On eof the BIG issues with Fort Collins area is that it is rapidly becoming yet another elitist overpriced bastion where one the wealthy can play. Tricky but that is the cost of growth and being popular in particular, I suppose. I mean look at England as a case in point!

      Yes, it really is quite beautiful here in various spot and even the humidity isn't as bad as I had braced myself for. Phew! Still though, a lot warmer at nights than Colorado's usually cool summer evenings. Harder to get in walks presently, must say.