Spring Is In Full Bloom

May 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm (A Writer's Life, Creative Non- Fiction, Empty house, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

While taking a scenic drive around one of the many lakes in my area, I see wild flowers growing in pretty clumps along the road. I wonder if they would grow wild the same way in my backyard. I have small spaces that would look pretty with Lu pins planted beside my bird bath, colorful wildflowers  growing around my Lilac tree, Shasta daisies growing along my fence. I think my friends are tired of giving me cuttings that will grow in the worst soil so I am told. I am trying a drought tolerant garden this year. I like Succulents, some have the most beautiful colors. I may be able to have my roses and keep them alive too. 

With Summertime coming quick, I need to get my yard in shape to enjoy the ever-changing weather. It has been said “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. We have had an unusually wet Spring so far. We laugh when the weatherman says rain or chance of a thunder shower because the rain seems to pass over my town. Not lately though. We had thunder and heavy rains that flooded some neighborhoods. I noticed the ducks playing in the pond at the stop sign; They usually stay down by the river.

Every June, I attend the Annual Garden Tours;I love to look at all the beautiful neighborhoods and admire the hard work for everyone to enjoy. Many participants are retired and have been opening their homes for many years. You never know where the Garden tour is going to take you. You may stop at an old farm with a walking path to a rose garden beside the tool shed, a little house in town with a secret garden,one Host last year was just finishing up planting flowers along a walkway as the tour was getting started. He spent thousands just to have a nice yard for others to enjoy. This gentleman even included his Alpacas in the tour. Just some nice use of unused spaces to sit and chat or enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the City below you.

I may never be ready to participate in a garden Tour, but I am happy spending time on my patio. I can have a few stay-cations this summer listening to the crickets chirping, the birds singing at the bird bath. I know a lot of work goes into having a nice yard. A few years ago, I was give a couple of trees. I knew they would not grow in the yard, so I planted them in the most unusual locations. My Mountain Ash tree did smashing by the back gate, my two pine trees grew tall by the back fence no one said you had to separate them, who knew they would actually grow. Who knew a seed could blow into your backyard and start a Snowball tree? Now if a couple of varieties of wildflowers would jut blow into my backyard and seed around a few pine trees, around say my bird bath, along my back fence, I would have free flowers that actually stand a chance to grow for years to come because we know they reseed every year. 

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Garden MakeOver

May 18, 2017 at 5:25 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Empty house, family, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

I tease often that I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardener. By mid summer, my grass and plants are threatening to move to a new house, one with some garden savvy to live out the plant days in comfort and colorful bliss. I cannot help it, I water, dead head, prune, fertilize and yes, water. I would love to have a Home and Garden backyard worthy of an Annual Garden Tour, if I had the time to invest in a beautiful backyard. It is sad when I, yes I, can actually kill a harmless geranium. 

This year, I have a secret weapon. His name is Nigel. I am trusting we can get my yard looking nice again. I don’t want a secret garden, just one I can enjoy after a hard days work. Give the birds their own space to come and eat and drink under my pine tree. I see hummingbirds fluttering looking for a spot to drink, butterflies flutter around my yard looking for a perfect spot to land. I have such potential for a critter friendly place to visit often.  I can just hear some awesome gardeners thinking’ I would love to get my hands on her yards. I can work my magic.” Or you can give my some helpful hints to make my yard more inviting. 

When my husband and I bought our home thirty years ago, we lived on a pot holed dirt road, with five homes on the block. This was a fairly new development, with three floor plans. My house was pretty much turn-key. Jerry and I did  not have too much on a wish list, a place for our soon to come son, a bedroom for us and maybe an office. We have a spacious backyard(too spacious) but we never figured out how to fill the yard in with trees. You also know helpful relatives. They couldn’t figure out why we did not plant at least one tree in our backyard why it would be a twenty footer by now. Non of these advice giving folks ever offered to help beautify the sanctuary. I laugh now because my yard is nice,but I know it could look more pulled together.

I have a good friend that lives by the river I tease her about how her  house could be on a Garden Tour. She gets compliments everyday. She laughs because most of the beautiful plants everyone is raving about are weeds that reseed every year.  A funny story about her. She is a Flight Attendant: She left on a trip one morning, four days later when she returned home, her mother(they built the house together and resides together) her mom had the Junipers pulled in front of the grand wrap around porch. She told her daughter” they were too big and this way we have more room to plant nice flowers.” My friend laughs when she tells me the story because what could she do about it. As most of the gardeners know a nice yard takes a lot of work to keep up. I was amazed to find out she works nine hours pulling weeds, clipping, plating new flowers and mowing the yard just to keep it looking nice. It is easy to be envious of someone when they have the energy and the green thumb to have a nice place.

I had to realize I was a single parent who provided a loving home; I did not have the time or  the finances to keep updating my yard. A few plants here and there were fine, but I know people who spends hundreds of dollars every summer. I love the term a work in progress- The home looks like Better Homes just visited and their yard is being featured in next Months issue. But for now, I will take out a crowed shrub,put in a container garden in front(word to those thinking about a metal roof. Good investment, make sure your plans are in containers because the snow will bury them. I found this out this last winter. I think with all the commercials coming out now about making your own retreat is intimidating. You one need to have the cash flow, and two, someone willing to come help you build your grilling area, don’t forget the fire pit, and your relaxing oasis area. Stay cations are getting more  popular now. If you spend this much on a yard, why go to a five-star hotel when you have just created one. Sounds like a plan to me.

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A Mother’s Day Gift

May 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Leavinghome, Memoir, Middle age, Mothers, positive thinking) (, , , )

This morning I was feeling a little melancholy; so much has changed in the last few years. I miss my son who died in a tragic car accident in 2007, family and friends have moved away, mom needs extra care now, I was feeling blue. Even though Levi died ten years ago, I still miss seeing him walk through his Grandmas front door for dinner. The last Mother’s day I spent with my son, he hand delivered a bouquet of roses where I worked; What a nice surprise to start my day. We met that evening for dinner at my mom’s house. 

I went over to my mom’s house this afternoon to give her a shower so she could be looking nice for  tomorrow. I have a nice dinner planned for the two of us, and then off to work. My next door neighbors came over to  to help me with her  shower. The kids surprised me with bouquet of daisies, and a box of candy. It wasn’t the fact I was given a nice gift, it was nice to be called mom. The girl next door has been calling me mom since she was little. Levi and Ashley grew up together; Every first snow fall, I knew the kids were outside in front connecting our yards together with a snow tunnel or you could find them sledding down the small hill across the street. They were good kids. Hard to believe the kids are now thirty- something. Ashley and her boyfriend are still a big part of my life. 

I hope tomorrow brings a wonderful day for mom. Maybe not breakfast in bed, or the kids decide to do the dinner dishes,or the garbage mysteriously get taken out without an argument but I wish all the moms a Happy Mother’s day. What I cherish most are the special things said through the years not the gifts. They say some pretty amazing things. This life as that has been transformed by son moving out, new found Independence, taking your time in the grocery store, they have thier own car now, earning a paycheck, but family game night is still special isn’t it?

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A Sweet Note

May 10, 2017 at 3:38 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Survivor) (, , )

 

I am sitting here thinking about a poem my son had written several years ago. My son moved out to help care for his Grandma after his Grandpa passed away. He left all his worldly possessions in his(my) bedroom thinking I was supposed to just store all his stuff(and he had stuff) for free. They trust us with all this valuable treasures to hold  for them scattered in the basement, the garage, still in limbo in the bedroom. I have to give Levi credit though, at least half of the bedroom was packed up in big boxes(left in the middle of the room). I guess he never thought I would actually want to have a guest bedroom; I love that he thought he could still just walk in the front door scaring me half to death because I was not expecting company, go to (my) room now, pick something up and leave after just three minutes. One day I mentioned to him I wanted to make his room my guest room and either he can move out completely or pay rent on his stuff  he left. The look he gave was priceless. He promised to have all his prized possessions out of the house by the weekend. Levi died in a tragic car accident the next afternoon. He was only 20. 

A couple of Months later, I was going through his desk,  I found a small piece of paper with something scribbled on it. When I opened up the note, I found some sound advice. I would like to share with you the mot important words I will ever read except for God’s word. ” Life can change in a moment, live everyday like you mean it, and don’t look back with any regrets.” My son left a lasting legacy of  the fine young man he had become. I miss he mischievous smile, his infectious laugh, his generous heart, and most of all, his appetite for life. A few years ago, Levi and his boss laid new carpeting in my house. It was a treat to get new carpet, and an honor to have my son help lay it. 

Take the time everyday to tell your loved ones how much you love them, you are proud of them, they can live their dreams, make time to get together often. Our lives have become too busy,slow down. The kids really are only young once. So many families cannot get away for vacations,  the new trend is outdoor living spaces. After a hard days work, come home put on the grill, go for a swim, and end the evening in front of the outdoor fire-place( I am jealous). Life is about slowing down and making lasting memories. A lot of private homes are looking nicer than a luxury Hotel. Who needs to go to the movies when you have a home theater? You don’t have to be wealthy to make a few changes the whole family can enjoy for years to come. Watching some of the Home Renovation Shows give you some good ideas on how to improve the home without adding square footage. 

 

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A New Season

May 3, 2017 at 5:26 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

A new season is upon us once again. For many families,this will mean new chapters in their lives; Graduates preparing for College, or maybe starting a Military career, venturing into unknown territory with an apartment, a new job, an unplanned pregnancy, or mom decided to go back to school. 

Empty Nest; For so many parents, the very thought that my life is going to change is scary. “We have been a family unit for 18 years now. How can my child think of venturing out into the big black unknown hole?” I have talked to many parents who were not ready to let the kids fly the coop just yet. We think being a parent is going to last forever; we brought them into the world helpless, they one day become a tween, and all of a sudden,they know more than us imagine that! We rejoiced when the kids took the first steps, said the first word, ate without throwing the food on the floor. Hard to think about giving all those memories up now. It is the first day of the rest of our lives my friends. Time to reevaluate our lives. We all of a sudden, are not on time constraints. This was the most incredible feeling I have ever felt. I could actually shop and not dart out the door to get back to the house in time for the bus. All of a sudden, I actually had change in my coin purse, I had hot water once again, no late fees at the video store, food in the fridge, no late night pizza deliveries, no sneaking in the door 2 a.m. Our lives indeed become different. 

The Problem; what to do with all my fee time. Many couples join a gym and get back into shape. the home renovation revolution is in full swing. We build onto our homes a new suit, new decks, revamped back yards for you guessed it the kids coming home for the weekend. I think so many families are so busy,they cannot get away to an exotic location, so backyard decks complete with an outdoor grilling station, pool side comfort, and a place to pitch the tent. I have seen a few commercials that show case what can be done to update a basic backyard with breath-taking results. Having a spectacular out-door area does not take the place of a good day at the park. Flying kites, feeding the ducks, playing on the play ground with other kids are healthy also. What a nice place for grandma and grandpa to come visit for the weekend in a four star retreat. 

So much has changed since I was a little girl. We had a swimming pool in the back yard where the neighbors came for an evening swim followed by desert. We spent many years hosting pool parties and pool table parties. We had a small house in a tract home like many families in the 1960’s. My dad added on a room onto the back patio.  I remember watching my dad and grandpa building our fire place in our living room  out of brick. My dad was the proud owner of a slate pool table. My granddad bought my brother and I a smaller pool table to host our own pool tournaments. Families are busy folks now. Business trips abroad, deadlines to meet, business lunches,  many weekends are tied up with work. Families cannot hardly make ends meet without two incomes.  We needed a nice getaway from the stress of our week, so we created a mini- fortress to escape. Who does not love to enjoy the family outside by the pool, grilling steaks and listening to the kids play football before dinner? Sounds better than the weekly deadlines. Parents are finding ways to have date nights in the backyard by the outdoor fire place. In our ever busy schedules, we are finding time to make lasting memories by having mini weekend escapes in our own town. As the summer begins, the boats come out,a day at the lake,followed by a big BBQ in the backyard. As the kids leave for College,getting married,having families of thier own, at least on thing never changes mom and dads. It is a good place to be.

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A Fresh Cut

April 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , )

Last October, I went into my favorite Salon to get my Fall do. I usually cut my hair the same way all year round,this time I decided to let my hair grow out. I did not realize the difference in the way I was treated with longer hair. I guess I looked really young to people. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a play at the College. I almost thought the play was cancelled because it was fifteen minutes before the first act, and nobody was in line yet. I was about to enter and find my seat, when the usher showed me the sign on the door that read (serious) ‘ For Mature Audiences). I almost asked her how old she thought I was, but chuckled and found a seat. I have been told it is a compliment to thought of as younger than ones age. I am fifty five and not having a single problem with my age. 

I laugh at the memory now, but back in High school, if you had long hair like Marcia Brady, you were expected to keep it long. (I think so the others could watch you walk down the hallway and admire it). My problem was one, I hated my long hair. I could not get a regular job because I looked too young, and my hair was really thick and hot in the summer. I was a brave soul once and actually cut my long beautiful hair three inches.(gasps) I though I committed a cardinal sin or something. People who never talked to me before wondered why I would cut MY hair. I cut my hair when I was out of school and moved to another State; I cut my hair in the popular Lady Diana cut nobody liked the cut, I had a headache for three days afterwards and wanted my hair back even if I had to glue it back together. I have lived with the same cut for over thirty years now. I have a nice color and will not let my hair grow out again (until fall, when it turns cold).

Being middle age, I look at things different now. If my socks do not match, it will not kill me or the one who noticed and had to point it out to you(true story), My sunglasses are almost always in my car console, Keys always(yeah right) go in my purse the second I get out of the car, I will never forget my grocery list and find the items by memory. My body hurts when I wake up in the morning, I have not even gotten out of bed yet, I will probably almost always go into a room and wonder what I was in there for, where did I park my car?, I had it in my hand a minute ago. 

I am learning people are too busy, slow down, just remember, have fun, does it have to be perfect?, are you living your dreams or did life happen?, Some of us are in the best years of our lives. Those who have grand kids look forward to the next visit, some folks are pet grandparents and look for the next visit as well. I wake up each morning and listen to the birds chirping, I hear many birds in the trees all happily talking to each other. The squirrel running up and down the trees in the back yard and the dog serenade.  I open my window in the cool morning and sip my first cup of coffee. After my son became a young man, my time was freed up because he could make his own appointments and drive there himself. (although I would like to take him one last time). Life is what you make of it. everyone has had disappointments along life’s highway. Some become angry and bitter, while others make a pitcher of lemonade. I want to squeeze out every ounce of life I have left and I am thankful for the love and support of family and friends. Life is good indeed!

 

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Spring Fever

April 24, 2017 at 9:13 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Mothers, positive thinking) (, , , , )

The older I get

 

I can’t believe I am thinking this thought, but I am looking forward to Spring this year. We have had colder and harder winter this year and having one too many sub-zero days has gotten me used to the idea of warmer temperatures. Spring is usually not one of my favorite seasons because well, yard work. I work odd hours, I am usually tired, and I need to update my landscaping in my front yard this year after the harsh winter we had. One day last week,  I took a drive around my favorite up scaled neighborhood to get some ideas to freshen up my tired looking yard(front and back). I  took away some good ideas to turn my small home into a oasis to enjoy for another thirty plus years. 

Gardening has never been my specialty. I wish I could be one of the many who blog about how beautiful the yard is this year. I have trees I have planted in my back yard that has been trying to grow for the last twenty years. I might as well tear out my lavender plants this year, they just won’t grow. A few years ago, a friend of mine helped me with a few focal points to the yard. A well placed bird bath by the pine tree, I have an old brass bed I spray painted cream, and I have my sons old sand box turned planter. I have a good start, just need some color back there. caring for my aging mom now on top of working in health care, I prefer a staying home in my own comfortable B&B inspired home. I have been blessed by the  Lord with some dear friends who have helped me with updating my home after I lost my son suddenly in 2007. Inside and out have been freshly painted, new kitchen flooring, reinvented my closets, and my Victorian furniture I bought a few years ago for next to nothing. 

 So may wish they could downsize into a smaller home, have a little space for the garden, some flowers and a place for family and friends to hang out; Tiny homes are becoming a very popular option in living. Although I do not know how I would live in a 300 square foot home,many are loving the lifestyle. If you just starting out, you really do not need a lot of stuff.  Many families are keeping the older homes and renovating; they cannot afford a new home, so they are adding on or updating the old home; What a good way to have the added space for family and friends to visit. I know the vacation time is near,but many like me cannot get away to an exotic location, outdoor living spaces are a great way to spend a vacation at home. My favorite TV commercial shows and mom and daughter heading out for a relaxing afternoon by the pool(complete with tote bag for daughter full of towel,and girly stuff) later, dad grilling dinner in the outdoor living space, after the kids went to bed, the parents are enjoying the outdoor fire place. What a wonderful commercial showcasing a relaxing stay cation this year. I used to pitch my son Levis tent in the backyard. He and two friends spent the night under the stars laughing and talking all night. Live life comfortably but simply.

 

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Renovation Nation

April 19, 2017 at 7:03 pm (COMFORT AND JOY, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , )

While watching one of my favorite Home and Garden shows last night, I noticed a growing trend in the tiny house market and neighborhood renovations. Some folks are taking the idea of our Grandmas garden shed and turning them into houses. I was surprised to find out how many varieties of small house living that is out there: You can choose from Portable Cedar cabins, Victorian, Modern, Urban Industrial and the list goes on. I was surprised at how much living space went into one of these mini houses. I am amazed at every nook and cranny is used in these tiny spaces. you really can design your mini home to fit your interests. They can be built as elaborate or modest fit to your budget.

I think the young people are deciding to buy a more permanent tiny home rather than rent. They can build their portable house to fit their individual needs. Some young adults are into sports and have the need to travel so this is a perfect option for them. Instead of renovating an existing home, some couples are downsizing to a smaller home or mini home options. While some families are choosing to stay in their forever homes and  renovating, others are deciding it is time to downsize. Our Grandparents had the family home and then the vacation cabin on the lake. When the kids went off to college and the parents retired, they often time sold the family home and lived in vacation home by the lake. I am one who chose to update my home with a fresh coat of paint inside and out and had a metal roof put on last year. My late husband and I bought our together home thirty years ago, I raised my young son here until he moved out at age 19. After my son passed away from a tragic car accident in 2007, I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I love setting in his room remembering not so long ago when he painted his bedroom the most hideous green color you ever saw. It puts a smile on my face while I am getting dressed in the morning and putting on my pajamas at night. 

I am impressed at the number of home renovation shows are on now. Long forgotten Cities are getting a new start with the help of designers and sold to young families who otherwise could not afford to own a nice home.   One of my favorite shows was one that showcased curb appeal.The Host  could not make over the whole neighborhood, so they chose three homes to boost curb appeal with the thought the rest of the neighbors would want to add fresh landscaping as well. The host showed an example of just a couple changes can bring big impact. I have a couple favorite neighborhoods I like driving around to get fresh ideas for my small house. New plantings,a couple more trees in the back yard and I am set for another summer outside on the patio drinking my cold coffee. Life is good indeed!

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Happy Easter

April 15, 2017 at 8:58 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

Happy Easter everyone. With all the holidays so commercialized, I wanted to include a gentle reminder of what today represents. Growing up and even raising our children, many attend or host the annual egg hunt followed by a nice brunch.  Many will attend the sunrise service tomorrow morning at o dark thirty. Pastor Bob saying (6:30 a.m.) followed by brunch with family and friends. It is amazing to see up to ten churches all come together to celebrate Christ. You see friends who you may have lost contact with or for some the annual service to attend either way it is cool.

I was a single parent for many years raising my young son after my husband died from his disease. I always went to church on Easter Sunday with my son because I did not want Levi to believe Easter was just candy and a cute bunny. Driving home from church one Easter morning, I asked Levi what he learned in class today. He was so cute sitting in the front seat,looking out the window as to find the right words for his story. He told me” Jesus lived a long time ago,he was a brave man. He made the blind to walk, and the deaf to see. I guess that Pilate  wanted everyone to pay the hospital bills huh mom”. It was hard because you could not laugh and hurt his feelings but that was good.

Last week, I was looking into finding more care for my mom. I hung up the phone frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. A thought entered into my mind take a break and attend a small group for caregivers at my local church. I just had on my scrubs ready for work, and did not know a Seder dinner was in progress when I arrived. I almost left, not wanting to interrupt the festivities. The secretary told me I was most welcome and she showed to a table in the back where I met some delightful people. I had a very nice afternoon where I could relax and enjoy spending time getting to know some new friends; Many I found out were going through some of the same difficult circumstances I am walking through now. I am thankful to God for the time I still have with mom even if some days are difficult or heart breaking.

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My Fondest Easter Memory

April 12, 2017 at 8:04 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Middle age, Mothers, positive thinking) (, , , )

 

Easter has always been special for me. My family spent Easter weekend with my grandparents in an upscale trailer park. I always admired my grandmas front yard-it was beautifully landscaped. In my opinion, she had the nicest house on the block. My brother and I played for hours running around the trailer playing tag or hide and seek. My cousins would come the night before Easter and decorate the eggs. After the egg hunt, the family went swimming at the beach. I always thought it was neat to live two blocks from the ocean. I remember how foggy it would be and watching the fog burn off by mid morning. We probably went swimming with the sharks and didn’t even know it. There was a big seal population close by.

I remember how special it was the family taking time to gather even for the afternoon, spending time together. it was a simpler time then one without electronic devices to entertain you. I remember listening to the adults talking about a vacation they were taking this year or my older cousin talking about the Beatles newest song. I do not remember the telephone ringing very often. I was impressed because families spent time together and while the kids played in the front yard, the ladies sat on the porch watching us and laughing at our antics. Many cartwheel contests were won and lost. It didn’t take much to occupy he kids back then. I am glad I grew up in a time before cell phones and I pods and such. For one, my grandparents would have been like the commercial and make you keep your devices in the car or leave them at home. I think I learned so much from my family through the gatherings, how much they loved each other and spending time together.

I can truly say I am thankful for my upbringing. I was taught manners, not just please and thank you, be appreciative that many hands prepared the meal and not be picky about what is served. I was taught how to interact with adults at the table,taught not to be rude and interrupt, and most of all to be grateful to belong to a family. We had a lot of love at the Leigh and walker family gatherings. I am glad I did not grow up before my time,we had time to kids,we played outside, we drank from the hose(yes,we did), and we did not grow up too fast. I still get a kick out of remembering my family had a pay phone in the kitchen. Our friends always brought with them a dime just in case. My dad was one of the fun dads, he let the friends use the dime.

What special memory do you have of a family gathering at Easter? I would love to hear about one of your memories.

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