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Daily Journal

June 25 – The Long and Winding Road
Morning in Catlowdy

I rise early and dress in layers, remembering the chill of last night. Slipping from the room as quietly as possible so as not to waken Robin, who had stayed up very late enjoying a comedy program in the lounge upstairs, I head outdoors. The horses I'd seen in silhouette the night before are standing in a field very close to the back of our converted stable. Their heads lift and large intelligent eyes meet mine for a moment. They then flick their ears in dismissal and return to their grazing.

It's Sunday morning and very still; a morning of rest for the farmers that populate this area, but not for the wildlife that fill it. The crows are already calling from the treetops and I wonder what they're saying to each other. Four sheep crop the grass nearby. It's so quiet, I can hear them breathe.

Dana joins me soon after and we talk about our sons who are three years apart in age, laughing and sharing anecdotes. They seem to be made of the same stuff – snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Deciding to explore our surroundings a bit, since it's still a while before our 8:00AM breakfast call, we walk up the long drive toward the main road. Past rolling fields filled with wildflowers we tramp.

The air is chilly and invigorating. When we reach the main road we stop and take a look in both directions. Nothing to see but four sheep who have been shorn almost naked, a small post-office/general store and a ribbon of road that disappears over the hills. Bessiestown is in the middle of nowhere, but centrally located to so many sites in the area. I'm very glad that we're staying here rather than in Carlisle. A peek at my watch shows that it's almost time for breakfast, so back down the gentle incline we go at a leisurely pace.

Robin joins us in the dining room, which is decorated with antiques and lovely landscapes. John greets us and invites us to help ourselves from a table full of what he calls "starters." The fruit looks delicious – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, red and black currants, grapes and honeydew melon.

Soon after we have seated ourselves with juice and bowls brimming with luscious berries John reappears with tea and coffee and a plate of warm homemade bread, and asks what we'd like for breakfast. Full cooked breakfasts seem to be the way to go; they keep us fueled for the long, long days we're putting in. Before long, platters of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms are set before us. This is a meal fit for kings to which we apply king-sized appetites.

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