Sunday, 1 March 2015

My English Garden - 1st March 2015

At last we're out of February and into March. I'm ready for some warmer weather. My shed is looking forward to a new year although already I've had a disaster in there! The beautiful medium sized geraniums I put in there at the start of the winter have all died! They got some sort of fungus on them and soon had to be chucked out. I do hope it wasn't anything in the shed although I don't see how it could be because the shed was brand new. Still the fact remains that the geraniums are no more I am sad at their passing. Now I have several very large plants indoors and all the baby cuttings have taken. It just goes to show that we shouldn't be greedy. I need to be glad of the ones I still have and not mourn too much for the ones that are no more.

In the next week or so I shall be looking out for frogs coming to the pond, which was also new last year. Over the years I have found that the favourite day for frogs to arrive is March 5th. I don't know why but I have the date in my diary.

This is the little pond where our natural fish lives.  He/she is two years old now. I can't believe that it was two years ago that I went fishing with Dylan and brought the fish home. I only expected it to live for a few days, but here we are two years on and it's doing fine and really big. We also have a lot of pond snails in there and they are doing their job of keeping the sides clean and the water clear. As you can see it is possible to look right down into the water. We have had ice on the top, strong winds and snow but still our little fish survives. I think it might be a minnow. This Spring I'm hoping to find him/her a friend but Dylan is not keen to go fishing because he remembers that last time we went he got stuck in the mud!

Bulbs are coming up in the borders and on the patio. We nearly have one daffodil out.

I'll leave you today with some Spring primulas. Have a great Sunday.


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Toast by the fire.

We have had some nice Spring days this week, but there is always a chill wind and once it gets dark, the heating goes up and the fire is lit.

There is nothing nicer than toast done on an open fire, dripping with butter and slathered with honey when the wind is blowing outside and sleet blows sideways.

I have seen the news where the eastern half of the United States is suffering extreme conditions and my heart goes out to those people who are without warmth and light. May it soon come back for you folks.


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Whatever you're doing today I hope it is a day filled with romance and love.

So from my computer to yous... Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New Grandson - Oliver B. Jones

Here is our adorable new baby grandson, Oliver B. Jones. Isn't he sweet. I've spent the last few months knitting some items for him. Here they are below.

Oliver weighed 8lbs 12ozs at birth and he was born on 9th February, 2015. Welcome to the family little one.

It could be a while before we get to see him because he will be living in North Carolina with his mum and dad. Fortunately these days, we have Facebook, Facetime and Skype so we can keep in touch. Last night we were able to watch the little fella in his cot - so new, just day two of his life. So precious, these first few days. Mum and Dad looked a little tired, but that is only to be expected.

Needless to say, we are delighted and I couldn't wait to tell you all about it.


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Selling the software

Although I like to live a cottage life as much as possible, there are many times these days when my computer takes priority. It's great for winter afternoons for example, when it is too cold to go in the garden and you've seen all the films on TV before!

When I was in America Larry bought me CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5 and I was just getting to grips with it when I moved over here. We brought the computer over with us, the one I was using, but with the difference in voltage here in England, it was no good. It ran too slow and had other anomalies so we got rid of it. It was a shame to see it go because it had a very large screen, which was great for doing graphics. Here I have a Sony laptop, but the screen is quite small and I soon discovered that it was no good for CorelDRAW. Two of my sons are Graphic Designers and they didn't have a good word to say about CorelDRAW, but when I was working for the Catering Partnership, I had to do quite a lot with CorelD... and I got used to it. I had no intentions of buying Adobe Photoshop at my time of life either. It's so expensive.

Within a short space of time I found I no longer wanted to use CorelDRAW with such a small screen so we bought a new one. It was a Dell. I didn't realise when we bought it that it would be incompatible with my Sony laptop. It was! Try as we might we couldn't get it to work so it had to go back to the manufacturer. We bought the screen through Amazon and they didn't want it back. They wanted us to return it to the manufacturer, but the manufacturer phoned us and tried to get us to keep it. They didn't want it back either! No good, it wouldn't work so eventually we persuaded them to take it back, complaining that they should have checked with us to make sure the screen was compatible with what we had here. We did get a refund, but it put me off buying a new screen.

Larry suggested getting a new Apple computer, one of those all-in-one's with a big screen and all the gubbins inside but I have used Windows for so long I was reluctant. I decided to wait until this laptop is too old. Then I will definitely go over to Apple. If I was young, I would start off with Apple. I'm sure a lot of people would agree.

So I have put my copy of CorelDRAW up for sale on Ebay and by tomorrow I should know if it's been sold. We have lost a lot of money on it but I hate to have something I cannot use and never will be able to use so it's going, going, gone, I hope. I am hoping it will give someone else the pleasure which escaped me this time.

Have you got any 'white elephants' in your house?


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Changes in Blogger

There have been lots of changes in Blogger since I first started using it in 2009.  Some of them were unacceptable to me, like the invasive comments of anonymous commenters and I couldn't find a way of stopping them arriving. I asked Blogger, but like so many other websites these days, it seems they are not that interested in communicating with their bloggers. Nothing was done and some of those comments are still on my older posts unless I sit there for ages and delete them all individually. What worried me most was the future posts. How could I stop being pestered by these people, hell bent on trying to sell me all sorts of things I didn't want or just muscling in on my space to get their products across. They use ever more crafty ways to get on here.

I moved to Wordpress and for a while that seemed to solve the problem. I no longer worried about those anonymous annoyances, but Wordpress is different to Blogger and I missed my friends. My most loyal followers on here stayed with me when I moved and for that I was and am grateful, but recently I have felt more and more like returning here.

Coming back I find some differences.

A lot of the blogs that I used to follow are no longer active and I can't find a way of deleting them.

The 'Follow Me' gadget is no longer available, neither is the 'Follow' tab at the very top of the page and many people seem to have moved over to Google + or Network Blogs or whatever took their fancy. I dabbled with Google + and it is quite fun, something like a cross between Blogger and Facebook. If you look on my sidebar you will see a gadget that you can use if you want to follow me on there. If you do, you will get my blog posts and also posts I put just on Google +. Everything seems to be linked these days, doesn't it!

People no longer seem to want to comment much. Perhaps it is because everyone is using I-pads these days and it is not so easy to type anything on one of those things. I am on my Laptop as I write this and enjoying using the keyboard instead of my magic wand on the I-pad. It is much easier to write on here.

So changes abound, some for the better, some not so good.

For the better I find that some of my 'old favourites' are still here and blogging regularly and that makes me happy. I have tried to keep up with my old friends whilst blogging on Wordpress, but it seems a bit difficult to comment on blogs here when people don't take the trouble to look elsewhere occasionally.

It is easier to upload pictures on Blogger. At some stage I will run out of space and need to upgrade and I will do that when the time comes because I find that my blogging world has become important to me.

Wordpress seems to cater more for the professional person. I know that is a generalisation, but true nevertheless. I used to like the templates on Blogger for cottagey people like me, but there don't seem to be many over them over there.

So here I am back and hoping to pick up the pieces of where I left off.

What do you think about the changes? Have I missed anything out? Am I missing anything vital?


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Snow is forecast...


There has been a lot of hoo-haa in the news about the snow storm in America and now over here in England, we are told we will be getting some snow too. For most people, this is bad news, but for some it is very exciting. I'm talking children now.

In her book 'Village Affairs' Miss Read is describing how her class of Infants react to snow in Fairacre...

'Cruel weather,' said Mr. Willet. 'My greens look fair shrammed. What with the weather, and the pigeons, and all them other birds, I sometimes wonder why I bothers to grow them.  If I had my way I'd stick to root crops, but my old woman says we must have a bit of winter greens, so I doos my best.  'Tis a thankless task though, when the winter's like this.'
'As long as we don't get snow,' I said.

Mr. Willet looked surprised.  'You'll get that aplenty, my dear, and afore the week's out too.'
As usual, he was right.

It began during the dinner hour, while the children were tearing about digesting, I hoped, steak and kidney pie and pink blancmange.  Hilary was on playground duty, and I was cutting up painting paper for the afternoon sessions, when the classroom door burst open to reveal a knot of panting children, proudly displaying the spatters of snow on their clothes.
'Snowing, miss! Ennit lovely? It's snowing! And it's laying too.'

They were much too excited to have understood the different uses of the verbs 'to lie' and 'to lay', and anyway I have almost given up hope of any success in that direction.

I contented myself with telling them to let Miss Norman know that they must all come in to school.

They clanged over the door scraper with enough noise for a mechanized army, and I went to the window to see the worst.

The snowflakes were coming down in great flurries, whirling and turning until the eyes of the beholder were dazzled.  The icy playground was white already and the branches of the elm trees would soon carry an edging of snow several inches deep.  Across the playground, sitting inside the window of my dining-room, I could see Tibby watching the twirling flakes as interestedly as I was doing.

The snow hissed against the glass, but that sibilant sound was soon drowned in the stamping of feet in the lobby and the excited voices of the children.  I could see we were in for a boisterous afternoon.  Wind is bad enough for raising children's spirits to manic level.  Snow is even more potent a force.

I judged it best to give out the paints and paper as soon as the register had been called, for it was quite apparent that my voice could never compete with the drama that was going on outside the windows.

'You can paint a snow scene,' I said, working on the principle that if you can't beat your rival, you join him.

'What like?' said Ernest.

Our Fairacre children are chary of anything involving the imagination.  If I had told them to paint the tasteful arrangement of dried flowers and leaves, concocted by Amy and kept on my desk, they would have set to without a word.  But to be asked to create a picture from nothing, as it were, filled them with dismay.'

Did that passage from Miss Read's book stir any memories of your own childhood in snowtime?