Saturday, March 3, 2012

Thunderblizzards, A Book Finds Its Way Home, & the Emerald Isle

Hello kindred spirits!

How has your Saturday been?

Perhaps you'd like to grab a cup of tea for this post?  I'll include some music for you as well.

I personally am snowed in!  Want to see?

Oh I know you folks in California and Arizona and all of those lovely warm, sunny places are just green with jealousy but try to control yourselves!

This is a swing... it's about as tall as I am, at 5'3".  So those dark green metal bits are the height of a grown up, keep that in mind.

So my lovely neighbour came over and dropped this loaf of fresh, warm, home made bread off.  His wife makes the BEST home made bread.  How kind is that?  The snow was up to his hips.  And yes, I've already dug into it, can you tell?

By the way, I tried to go out last night, I really did.  My mom was driving me to a local dive bar.  Yes, I know that sounds trashy, but I LOVE dive bars.  Haha, weirdest sentence ever "My mom was driving me to a dive bar..."  But keep in mind I live in Northern Ontario, which has a culture that is comparable to some really rural areas of the deep south.  Hunting, fishing, church.  That's life here.  Well not for me... but I just realized if you google map my house, it looks like I live in the middle of the hundred acre (or perhaps mile) wood.  Back to the story... we turned around half way there.  Why?  We were having a thunder blizzard.  It snowed fiercely to the point that you couldn't see two feet in front of you it was so white.  There was also extreme amounts of thunder and lightning.  And no, I've never heard of that either, until I experienced it myself.  Thus, good choice in turning around... it never did calm and it's still snowing.  I guess I'll just use it as an excuse to stay in and paint!

So girls, I have a tale.

A very sweet one indeed.

About a year ago, I picked this book up from a local used book store.

I collect really old books and this one was obviously quite the antique.  The date of publication was 1899, so it's 113 years old!

I knew it had this inscription inside of it, saying it had been given to a woman called Rowena in 1911, in Wales,  for her charity work for the church.

Searching my bookshelf for something new to read a couple of months ago, I stumbled upon this again.  This time, I was filled with an overwhelming need to return it to its rightful owner.  I just NEEDED to find where it belonged and get it there.

So this being the age of technology, a simple google search including the name and place was all I needed to find contact information.  I found a man who had a family tree that included Rowena and sent him an email.  He replied and told me he'd send her grandson an email and ask him if he was interested.

After a few weeks had past, I'd nearly forgotten about this entire thing.  Until yesterday, when I checked my messages.  There was an email from Rowena's daughter!  She lives in another province, and used to live in my city, and says she lost the book and has been looking for it ever since.  She also told me about Rowena's life, and how she was sent to boarding school at age 8, and then married in 1927.  She also informed me that the fellow I had emailed on the website had sent a message to Rowena's grandson, who sent a message to Rowena's son, who sent a message to the lady I was now in contact with.

Based on the genealogy website, I discovered that Mary, the lady I'd been talking to, was Rowena's first child, and her second child was born in 1930.  This meant Mary had been born between 1927 and 1930.  So Mary must be in her 80's!

How lovely is that?!  I will be shipping off the parcel on Monday.  I am so happy to be returning this to her after all of these years :)

Time to switch up the music :)

I am unsure if I have shared this before, but I come from Ireland.

Well... technically.  Ok really, I would be considered Irish diaspora.

But we've got a place here in Ontario called Erinsville, which is the only Gaeltacht area in the world outside of Ireland.  This means it is an Irish speaking region.  There are many in Ireland, and it is a constant struggle to keep the language alive.  I consider myself tri-lingual, I speak French, English, and Irish.  The Irish is sub-par to the French and English though.

2008 was the last time I visited my home.  And yes I consider it my home.  And I will return again soon.  Pray for me that my dad is feeling generous for my 20th birthday in April?

This is Ashford Castle.  I believe I read on Vanessa (A Fanciful Twist's) blog once that her friend Mr. Ireland sent her an email saying they should go here.  I laughed since I actually stayed here last time I was in Ireland.  It's a luxury hotel now, and it's BEAUTIFUL!

Look familiar?  This is Ben Bulben.  A mountain in County Sligo.  I am obsessed with Yeats.  I got to visit his grave while in Ireland, and my tattoo of the cat in the moon is inspired by him.

All this passion makes the studio a very busy place!  Will share soon :)

Congratulations if you've gotten this far.  I salute you!

Go leor de ghrá,



Treehugger_31 said...

I love that you found the family that book belongs to...what an amazing story! Sounds like something I would do. :)

Those pictures are lovely. I think that castle is so romantic looking. I'd love to see it in person one day!

I don't envy your snow. I've been counting my blessings this winter b/c I dislike snow (driving in it is not my idea of fun). We've been blessed with the most mild winter ever here in Ohio. We've seen temps in the 60's! Perfect. :)

Jessica said...

This has been a heartwarming post. You have absolutely outdone yourself, Jenn. I love that you found the owner of the book. Absolutely LOVE it. There's just something about old books that make me smile, and seeing that you were able to get it back to someone--make a connection with them--who had been missing it for a long time is truly and absolutely one of the most amazing things in the world. A simple joy.

I was swooning when I saw the pictures of the hotel/castle in Ireland. Absolutely SWOONING! I need to check out that post from Vanessa where she mentions it. You are one very lucky girl, Jenn! And the snow...the snow...Haha I sorta am green with envy! I know it must be a pain in the tush to have to shovel that out of the way to get to your car (you probably can't go anywhere anyway) but being snowed in just sounds so...romantic. A book by the fire, a slice of warm bread...(which looked delicious, by the way!) A cup of hot cocoa. Bliss.

Is that you posing in front of the buildings in some of your pictures? Forgive me--I tried to blow up the picture but I just couldn't tell. Beautiful! Again, one lucky girl :)

That reminds me that my friend Ariel from The Whimsical Journey went to Europe over the summer--she visited Poland, Germany, and Prague (my family is from the Czech Republic, so I have always wanted to go to Prague--I am jealous!!) and I bet she has some neat pictures to share from those places too! I'll encourage her to share on her blog and you two can compare visits, haha!

I am really glad you are safe. That must have been really dangerous driving in the storm. But I'm happy that you are all safe and sound, tucked away in your little painting sanctuary, able to come visit us :) I certainly enjoy our visits :) Which reminds me...when shall we schedule our Skype, Miss Jennifer? Sometime soon, perhaps? :))

Have an amazing weekend, little hunny bear!

xoxo Jess

P.S. Forgive my weirdness. I can't control it, okay??

Cameron said...

Did I just read above that you are on skype?! We must plan an artsy playdate sometime!

I so wish I was trilingual....and what a wonderful mix of languages to have a grasp of! I'm jealous of that....not of the snow....haha!

I live in's expensive, it's superficial in some respects, it's very hot in the Summer....but, I love that it doesn't snow! I'm a wimp with a 5 degree comfort zone....anything above or below, and I'm uncomfortable....haha!

I would love to go to a dive bar with you! That sounds like so much fun! People watching....jukeboxes....laughing too loudly....*sigh* good times ;P

You are just too sweet, Miss Jenn, to return a precious book and the memories of a beloved mother with if through some strange osmosis, the pages once touched by Rowena herself told you to send her home...

Loved seeing those bonny pictures of you, dear Lass, in your beautiful home :)

Have a productive weekend...painting away while it storms and snows! Sending warm hugs yur way,

Prudence Puddleduck said...

what a romantic tale , lass, very Irish of you to keep course on finding the books rightful owner..theres a memory for everyone everafter!
We are in the same weather system...Ok enough Mother Nature, you rule now lets move on...

Thank you for the lovely Sunday morning music ( my background is Welsh) I think I will play it just one more time (5 alrready).

Paint away the grey sky's till next time ♥Debi

Melanie Statnick said...

This is a great post! what a wonderful story about that book I just love it!!. My grandmother was born in Ireland and come to Canada to learn trade and meet my grandfather who was here from Poland. So I was lucky enough to be born with the redish blonde (wich later turned dark blond) hair and Green/Gray eyes. Anywho I love your photos and happy adventures to you. I have'nt seen snow like that in so long. My last winter in Ontario was in 2000' I wont wish you happy shoveling because That must be a pain in the arse. We in the South (not the deep south) have been enjoying upper 60's and last week we had in the upper 70's. Come visit You'll love the beach! Hugs kiddo.

Donna Patrice said...

Wow - that is awesome that you found the original owner of the book - how wonderful for them that you took the time to track them down! I know that would mean the world to me to have something precious belonging to someone I loved returned to me. =)

I've always wanted to go to Ireland - my father's family came from there a long time ago. My father, when he lived, was a musician and physician. When he sang, he had this gorgeous deep brogue and you could hear his heritage (if that makes sense). I do not have a single recording of his singing, which breaks my heart. He sang a lot of folk music and even sang in clubs from time to time. I used to tell him he needed to make some recordings. =( I still hear him in my dreams, though.

I want to go to Ireland and stay in that castle!!! I could pretend to be a REAL princess...

We had a bit of snow yesterday, but it passed quickly and the sun is shining today. My lilacs and all the trees here are in full bud and I noticed yesterday that the rosemary, arugula (!!), cilantro and a few other herbs are actually still growing in my garden, so they already have a head start! =)

Oh, scents: Definitely Forever Sunshine!! Butterfly Flowers is another I love, but I've been told that I can only get it online now. Bummer. I am also sampling another that is nice called White Citrus - yummy for spring and summer! And there is a lemon one - I can't remember the name of it, but it is one of their "Classics" and comes out in the spring/summer. If I remember the name, I'll let you know. I have fall favorites, too - like Pumpkin Spice!

Thanks for stopping by, Jenn. It is always so sweet to hear your "voice" on my blog! Hugs!

Bobbypin Bandit said...

I freak out when it snows like an inch here, but you have REAL snow! Wow... that's crazy.

I don't think sounds odd that your mom drives you to the bar. I wish my mom would do that... then I wouldn't have to worry if I got tipsy.

That loaf of bread looks phenomenal!

That photo of the castle is just gorgeous!

That's an amazing story about Rowena's book. It's fascinating to me that the internet shrinks the world so much. You are so sweet to return the book!

lvroftiques said...

Oh Jennifer how absolutely lovely of you to return that book to it's original family! It must have wanted to go home because you said you got a strong feeling. And then everything unfolded perfectly!

And the pictures of Ireland make me long to be there. I'm actually a Swedish Danish Scott lol! *winks* but Ireland is sooo beautiful and green and is calling to me. I've always wanted to go, and so I shall *winks*

Oh and we had snow too! So no jealousy here *winks* Although not as much snow as you have. It's Christmas time at your place all over again! That bread looks delish BTW! I can't resist home baked bread. I actually think it's my favorite food in the whole world *winks* Low carb for me isn't going to happen evah!

You asked about VV shopping tips? I asked one of the employees there what day was best for the good stuff and he told me Tuesday. I've gone in on Tuesdays a few times but with no better luck than any other, so I think it's pretty much a crap shoot. It's more a matter of luck being education meets opportunity kwim? I sooo wish we lived closer and I'd give that bed crown to you...It really has YOU written all over it Miss Princess Jenn! *winks* Vanna

goddessof4 said...

What a fabulous story about the book!!!!! It is amazing what the internet can find!!!!! I would love to stay in that beautiful castle!!!! I always dreamed of being a princess when I was little and living in a castle!!!!!! Blessings,Sara

Queenie Believe said...

I absolutely know you had your angel wings on during the whole antique book adventure. You totally made that woman's day!!!
Way back... I mean waaaaay back when I spent a month in Ireland with the Queenie M & F and B the Brave. Rented a car, stayed in B&Bs and traveled about the majority of the country. Truly a beautiful and magical place.
Thoughts and prayers ascend for your birth day wishes.
Have a great day.
Always Queenie