Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of growing enormous pumpkins. On Saturday Larry and I went to the annual Pirton Village Pumpkin show to see this year's exhibits. We weren't disappointed. The giant pumpkins were every bit as big as last year's and the one that one it, not shown here, was the biggest ever.  More about that later.

There were also other giant vegetables. See below a huge beetroot, a wonderful display of colourful gourds and an enormous marrow.

The show is held every year in the Village Hall, which is an ideal place. Tables for the exhibits are set out around the hall and although the huge pumpkins are there, it is the children's entries that draw the largest crowds.

See some of the children's exhibits below:

 I love the pink elephant below:

It was hard to get close enough to the exhibits to take photographs properly because of the crush of people.  Everybody wanted to take time and look at each one individually, because so much work has gone into each one.

We bought three pots of preserves, which we will no doubt enjoy in the next few weeks and went home well satisfied with the smell of the barbecue in our noses as we left!

Friday, 16 September 2016

A trip to the seaside

Larry and I have been to the seaside, dipping our toes in the briny water and breathing in that lovely salty air. It did us good! I don't know about you, but a few days away is so invigorating, I don't know why we don't do it more often!

What you see above is the North Sea on a misty morning in Kessingland on the east coast of England. It could well be the most easterly point of Britain now because the sea has been depositing more and more sand on this shore and could well be usurping Lowestoft as our most eastery point. There are many places on the east coast which have suffered from erosion recently, but not this one. It took us a good ten minutes to walk down to this point from the promenade.  Maran grass has been planted to hold and fix the sandy shores and it has become a very popular place for dog walkers.

I have been coming to this beach for many years, since the early 80's in fact and in those days the sea came right up to the promenade at night when the tide was in. Now you can't even hear the sea from the promenade.

This is the view looking back to the houses and pubs, which used to be right near the sea-line.

It began to drizzle with rain after a while so we headed back to The Sailors' Home pub, but when we got there, it was still closed for cleaning purposes, so we headed further into the village to find a coffee shop.

This is an old picture of Beach Road, in past times, but it has still retained its character and doesn't look much different now.

We had coffee and a welcome sit down in a pretty little cafe at the end of Beach Road and then caught the bus back to Lowestoft.

I just love this place!

Monday, 22 August 2016

'Parting is such sweet sorrow'

No, I'm not going anywhere. I've just been thinking about the parting cup. That is the last cup we share with friends for one reason or another. This is one of my favourite songs, written by Bob Dylan a long time ago. Do read it slowly and take in the words. It always brings a tear to my eye.

Restless Farewell – Bob Dylan

Oh all the money that in my whole life I did spend
Be it mine right or wrongfully

I let it slip gladly past the hands of my friends
To tie up the time most forcefully
But the bottles are done
We’ve killed each one
And the table’s full and overflowed
And the corner signSays it’s closing time
So I’ll bid farewell and be down the road

Oh ev’ry girl that ever I’ve touched
I did not do it harmfully
And ev’ry girl that ever I’ve hurt
I did not do it knowin’ly
But to remain as friends
And make amends
You need the time and stay behind
And since my feet are now fast
And point away from the past
I’ll bid farewell and be down the line

Oh ev’ry foe that ever I faced
The cause was there before we came
And ev’ry cause that ever I fought
I fought it full without regret or shame
But the dark does die
As the curtain is drawn and somebody’s eyes
Must meet the dawn
And if I see the day
I’d only have to stay
So I’ll bid farewell in the night and be gone

Oh, ev’ry thought that’s strung a knot in my mind
I might go insane if it couldn’t be sprung
But it’s not to stand naked under unknowin’ eyes
It’s for myself and my friends my stories are sung
But the time ain’t tall, yet on time you depend
And no word is possessed by no special friend
And though the line is cut
It ain’t quite the end
I’ll just bid farewell till we meet again

Oh a false clock tries to tick out my time
To disgrace, distract, and bother me
And the dirt of gossip blows into my face
And the dust of rumors covers me
But if the arrow is straight
And the point is slick
It can pierce through dust no matter how thick
So I’ll make my stand
And remain as I am
And bid farewell and not give a damn

It is adapted from an old Scottish traditional song called 'The Parting Glass' which was sung at the end of a gathering of friends before Robbie Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne. The song is also popular in Ireland and amongst Irish communities.

Here is Sinaed O'Connor's beautiful version:

As we get older, we can't help but wonder if this or that will be the last time we ever do that thing or see that person. Life creeps up on us and suddenly there is more sand in the bottle of the hourglass than there is at the top! This isn't necessarily a bad thing because we have stored up so many memories over the years and we are able to dip into them whenever we feel like it! They come to us unexpectedly sometimes and give us pleasure in the remembering.

So what do you do to remember? Do you just sit and think or maybe look through old photo albums? Perhaps meeting up with an old friend who has shared the same memories as you opens the channels of memory. I do all of that and more. Music, smells, all those things bring back those lovely times of the past, which are all the better in the looking back!

Walking along the canal path at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England, recently, I came upon this interesting looking plant, which was new to me. It was growing abundantly along the side of the canal, separated from the path and reminded me of a small orchid.

When I got home, I looked it up and this is what I found:

'Indian Balsam

Impatiens glandulifera

Introduced as a garden plant from the Himalayas in 1839, and naturalised along waterways and in waste places, this tall, stout-stemmed species grows 100-200 cm high.  It is hairless and the stems reddish. There is no mistaking the rather orchid-like, mave, dangling flowers.

Flower: purplish pink, 2-5.4 cm, petals 5, forming a broad, lower lip and hood; sepals 3, lower forming a mauve, spurred bag.

Flower arrangement: long-stalked racemes arising from leaf-axils.

Flowering time: July - October.

Leaf: opposite or in threes, 5-18 cm long, elliptic, toothed; reddish glands along basal margins.

Fruit: capsule, club-shaped, opening by 5 valves, which spring into coils, shooting out seeds.'

Information from 'Illustrated Guide to Wild Flowers' by Stephen Blackmore

The Indian Balsam flowers were just behind me as I stood admiring the lock keeper's cottage below.

You can see more of my walk along the towpath here.


Friday, 29 July 2016

Where women work

Do you like to see where other people live and work? I know I do, so today I'm sharing with you my little workspace. This is my study, if you will. This is where I have my computer, files, books etc. and I love it. This is where I am when I write to you. This used to be my dining room, but we needed the room where all this stuff was before so everything had to be rearranged. It took some doing and it's a bit of a squash but now everything is to hand and so far I haven't lost anything.

My cottage is small, but it has many rooms and corners. I like it that way. Larry and I are not minimalists, as you can see!

I took the pictures from each aspect. The door you see below leads off to the kitchen (left) and the toilet (right).

Now, I would like to see where you are when you write or spend time on your computer? What is your den like?


Friday, 22 July 2016

Sammy update July 2016

This is my grandson Sammy. He's three now and a very fun-loving little boy. He has been to the seaside recently and here you can see him enjoying himself in the sand.

Mummy had some me-time too.

With Daddy exploring the shoreline! When I look at this picture below, I think that to a child, all is well so long as you hold tight to Daddy or Mummy's hand. The whole ocean is spread out before you, but no need to worry about the roar of the waves or those strange looking creatures that you find on the sand.  All will be well. Just keep your parent in sight. Doesn't he look small in this one!

Here is Sammy having fun in a tent with his cousins.  He's the one in the middle.

and back on the sand to build sand-castles.

It's hard to run on the sand especially with Daddy chasing you!

Isn't he just gorgeous!

Dylan update with Ruby

This is my first photo with my new grand-daughter, Ruby Skye, and her older brother Dylan. I am a very proud Oma indeed.  They came to visit with me this morning and we had coffee in the garden and fun with the grandchildren. Ruby is one month old already. I can't believe how the time has flown during this last month.

Dylan broke up from school yesterday for a six week break. This is his first school year and he came home with a very good school report the other day. In England the children break up for the summer around about the 21st July and go back on or near the 5th September.

Dylan loves his little sister so much.  It is wonderful to see the two of them together and watch Ruby's eyes focusing on her brother while she smiles.  She already knows his voice and enjoys his presence.

Dylan has been rewarded for his wonderful year at school with a new bicycle and he is so proud and delighted with it. He rode it round here this morning to show it off.

He is riding it uphill on stabilizers and it was a little hard to get it going at first, but he will soon get the hang of it.  Happy memories!