Monday, 31 March 2008

Oh I do like to be ....

Looking at the calendar this morning a distant bell rang in my head..31st March.. had I missed a birthday...or was it a dental appointment conveniently forgotten... ??? No neither of these...After spotting my ginger jar of paint brushes on the window sill ... I remembered then that Louise had organised another Blogger's Craft Challenge and today is the day that all participants are to submit their entry for this crafty participation. Louise has a wonderful blog called Beachy's Cape Cod Cupboard.. it is packed full of inspiring creations, enticing photographs and burnished with Louise's warmth and charm. This is the third challenge that BCCC has organised and I so enjoyed the last so how did I manage to forget this one.. till the last minute??
The evocative photograph titled 'Whitby ~ 1935'...was supplied for all bloggers to alter in their own way.. so having downloaded the photograph I then printed it onto a linen cloth with the words..'I do like to be beside the seaside' to reflect the atmosphere of the group of happy people on the beach.
With glue brush in hand and my boxes of buttons, beads and bits and bobs.. I put together this embellished canvas.. is my version of 'Whitby ~ 1935'

It was the most enjoyable hour I have had for a long time.. making something for my own amusement.
Please go and have a look at all the other participants.. it is wonderful to see how everyone has interpreted this challenge..

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Up and down the garden path...

I have fallen in love with my garden all over again..
This love affair of mine I am ashamed to say is rather fickle. These starry- eyed, rose -tinted feelings for my humble little patch..start about now..and last till the dying embers of autumn when the colours gradually drain from the garden and I turn my back on gardening pursuits for another few months.
Yesterday afternoon I donned my scruffy old gardening gear and reluctantly stepped outside to do battle once again with the persistent weeds..the bindweed in particular as it has started it's relentless strangle on the borders and if left to rampage it will smother everything worthwhile.
It did not take me long to warm, in more ways than one .. to my task and I had a really satisfying two hours digging up weeds, planting my new Potentilla plants ..Monarch's Velvet. .and my bargain basement Clematis.. £1.79 from out nearest Morrisons supermarket! I chose the large hybrid group this time as I normally favour the Montana's and I bought a Ernest Markham and Hagley Hybrid.. At that incredibly cheap price it will not be heartbreaking if they do not flourish.. though having said that.. I hate to lose any plant in the garden and like dear 'Charlie' .. I talk to my plants ( sometimes in threatening tones) to encourage them to grow.

Even the wild garlic at the end of our garden looked lush and attractive. I had a delicious bowl of soup made from the leaves of this plant the other day.. certainly keeps the devil away!
This morning I couldn't wait to get out there again and see if anything had grown in the night.. yes I can be totally obsessive about my precious garden..
I sat on the bench in the welcoming sun eating my bowl of porridge and listening to an irate wren who I thought was not too happy to see me.. until I realised that my gardening assistant had arrived..hence the twittering bird.
This garden assistant is very good at digging and leaving his own fertiliser.... not something I welcome!
It was a lovely start to the day to sit in the sun and soak up the atmosphere of a real Spring morning. Not wishing to fast forward my life... I can't wait for the month of May when the garden is at it's best..just you wait and see.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Easter Greetings


Thank you so much all of you for sharing your sweetie memories with me.. I loved reading about your sweet-toothed fancies and I detected that you enjoyed remembering your favourite confections too.
Since I wrote the post I have thought of many more tasty treats that I indulged in.. Everlasting Toffee Strip (it didn't last long though) Dairy Maid Chocolate Caramels, Boxes of Fruit Pastels,
Toffee Swirls, Aztec bars, Callard & Bowser Licquorice Toffee & Butterscotch ... oh dear.. the list goes on and is just more indicative of a misspent youth and pocket money !

I would just like to wish you all a fabulous weekend where you may well be consuming vast amounts of chocolate in the form of eggs.... My only advice to you is..... ENJOY!!!!

Happy Easter to you all .. with love Xx

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Land of Hope & Greenwood....

Sweet memories are very evocative and memories of sweets very nostalgic for me..
I have vivid snapshots of my childhood defined by the sugary treats that I thrived upon.
Our sweetie consumption was largely confined to Saturdays when my father would return from work at lunchtime and bring with him a paper bag with the best selection of chocolate confectionery of the time.. The choice varied from Crunchies, to Mars Bars, Milky Ways to Maltesers.. we tried them all and soon had our favourites which would become the weekly ambrosia..

When I became a child of independent means.. i.e I had pocket money to squander.. I would hot foot it to the local sweetshop after school each day.. this mecca of sugar being situated just around the corner from my school... fatal! Ironically the dentist surgery was located next door to the sweetshop!
The name of the shop as I remember was called..The Candy Box.. and had a pink and white striped awning.. we are going back a few years ..

I love to reminisce about the pretty pastel discs filled with sherbert..otherwise known as flying saucers, the Jamboree bags with the virtually inedible toffees but there was always the anticipation of the plastic toy within..fruit Salad and black Jacks..powdery toffee bon bons, refresher fizzy strips, sherbert fountains, dib dabs, vivid pink shrimps, dolly mixtures, jelly babies. licorice allsorts, jelly beans, smarties ..these were food of the gods to a sweet toothed eight year old and I spent many precious thruppeny bits ( often my bus fare ) on these wonderful confections. It is amazing that I was a skinny child and kept most of my teeth!

All these memories came flooding back recently when I stumbled across the charming and sublime on line store of Hope & Greenwood.. an emporium of nostalgia all wrapped up in wonderful vintage style ...
I browsed through this delightful site .. salivating at the memory of all my childhood favourites..
I am sure that some of you will be familiar with this company but if you have not had the pleasure of seeing their wonderful site please take a look inside.. I can guarantee you will be tempted by at least one of their sugary delights..

Do you have a sweet tooth and what are your favourites ?

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Mud, Sweat and tears....

Woke up to the steady drip drip of rain coming down the chimney and coming to rest in the bedroom fireplace grate..
This did not bode well for the long awaited (dreaded ) event that was taking place in a matter of a few hours..

Leaving the house two hours later to take the short stroll into town we were even more aware of the soggy state outside and the unforgiving north easterly wind...

As we went on our journey we soon encountered scantily clad men and women all heading in the same direction... My goosebumps coming out in sympathy at all the mottled pink legs on display.

Arriving at our destination.. a sea of heads greeted us.. and many more scantily clad bodies..

My beloved kissed me goodbye and took off yet more clothes to join the masses in readiness for the start...

And they're off... Bath Half Marathon 2008 had begun to rapturous applause and cheers..

Now all I had to do was find a nice warm refuge for the next two hours before I returned to greet my beloved as he staggered over the finishing line..

and he did... joyful, triumphant and just a little bit achey ... My HERO !!

Now please can you give up these masochistic mad pursuits... my nerves can't take it anymore!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Meme and merci..

I was tagged last week by this dear lass
Apologies for the wait in getting around to this Meme Tracy.. and a million thankyou's for your wondrous gifts..!
I really did enjoy this one as it combines many elements that are close to my heart... film, food and travel.
Most of the latter I do from my armchair these days but a girl can dream can't she..!?

It was very difficult to narrow the choices down to four in each category but here goes..

Meme 13.03.08

Four Movies I'd would watch over and over…

The Railway Children…
Far from the Madding Crowd..
Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources

Can’t I have one more please…? Make that 10 !

Four Places I have lived…

Crowthorne Berkshire
Henley Oxon
Bath Somerset
Cornwall…part time.

Four shows I watch..

This is difficult as I have to prise the remote control from my boys to see MY programmes..

Gardener's World … love Monty.
Masterchef.. alas no more.
Escape to the Country.. in my dreams.
The Antiques Road Show.. for many many years

Four places I have been…

Ithaca.. idyllic Greek Island.
New York New York.. so good they named it twice!
St Tropez… when I was a wee lass.. very hip!
Dartmoor Devon. still my favourite haunt.

Four people who email me…

My bro in France.
Good blogging friends who shall remain anonymous!
My cat.. only joking.. he would if he could!
My agent with work… now and again!

Four things I love to eat… now this one is v difficult as I live to eat!

Nuts… roasted, salted, chopped, toasted.. you name it!
Pad Thai Noodles.. oh heaven!
Chocolate .. when it isn’t Lent.. Hurry up Easter!
Sushi..without chopsticks

Four places I’d rather be…

In Devon.. getting blown around on the moor
Wisley RHS gardens… have wanted to return since I was a child
Tuscany.. on that hill top I found last summer
In bed…. Snoozing and dreaming.

Four things to look forward to this year…

A regular income!
Easter hols with my boys and chocolate!
Taking part in the Brighton Open House events in November
A week in Devon …. Bliss!

Now I know I am meant to tag four people and I always feel a little uneasy foisting a tag upon my poor unsuspecting victims so I will leave this one open to anyone who would like to take part..feel free to share your passions with the rest of us.. please!

P.s You might be wondering what relevance the photograph has to this post.. well this was the hill in Tuscany that I fell in love with last summer...

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

A Day in the Life...

Just another day here in Blogdom...

Tear oneself away from my warm nest....

Have a bath with my duck.....

Breakfast for one...
Feed the ravenous Pickles...
Put boots on.. oh and some other clothes possibly!
Make a shopping list... and try to memorise!
Fetch shopping basket ....
Choose coat and scarf...

Take coat off and think about shopping later...
Then sit down for five minutes to blog....!!!!!

Just a typical day really....

Oh and just a bit of work thrown in to ease the conscience...

I hope you all have a good day !

Monday, 10 March 2008

Fierce winds and fronds... oh and a tabby!

In a state of anxiety about his 6 foot tree beloved cut off all the fronds yesterday as a storm had been predicted later in the day and tree ferns are not fond of a bashing.
Having scalped the tree fern he put the fronds onto the terrace and went indoors to fetch a garden sack to dispose of them.

Beloved picks up a frond from the top of the pile to place in refuse sack and has minor cardiac arrest..

Curious tabby has made a nest amongst the fronds and is reluctant to relinquish his new jungle bed...

Well.. did you survive the storm last night ?
We had quite a bashing but no damage that I can see other than a few bent daffs in the garden and an upturned rabbit ornament.
I hope you all fared well. I think it's bark was worse than it's bite, well here at least..

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The kindness of Strangers...

Behind every blog facade there is a person.. a real person living out their life day after day... and life happens... good times, bad times, happy and sad times.. the rhythm goes on.
This week was a one of those 'sad times' or at least it started out that way....
as the week wore on the clouds lifted and so did my spirits..then on Friday out of the blue I received a parcel.. what could this be I pondered as the postie handed me the intriguing package?
Then another followed yesterday... a mystery indeed as it certainly was not my birthday and my ebay addiction has been on hold for a while so I really wasn't expecting any brown paper parcels..
The first parcel contained the most wonderful selection of my favourite things and I am ashamed to admit that I swooped onto the packet of Jelly Babies, within the pretty little drawstring bag, and had them for breakfast.. well most of them!

I smuggled my favourite Green & Black's chocolate into my Easter chocolate store.. oh boy.. I can't wait for this chocolate fast to end!

All these carefully chosen contents so dear to my heart..
and given with great thought and kindness and I am so very grateful to Kim .
My second delightful gift .. contained a dear little limited edition print of a Pickles look- a- Susie McCaffrey ...and now sits upon my bedroom mantelpiece.

This gorgeous package was given by the lovely Louise. I am really touched by the thoughfulness of these two lovely ladies for their tokens of friendship.. their gestures of goodwill only go to reinforce my gratitude and affection for all my blog friends and visitors....the kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze and touch my heart! Thank YOU!

Now before I depart.. I have a Meme invitation from a dear lass all the way from up there, in the wild and woolly wastes of Scotland and I have failed to complete this so far... promises that I will.. within the next few days...

Don't forget to batten down the hatches tonight.. we are in for a rough ride I fear according the weather man!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Quote of the day...

We have a small library of books in our smallest room ...
One of my favourites is called 'Wrinklies' Wit & Wisdom' which holds many witty asides from the famous and the anonymous about getting on a bit!

Today this one appealed to me as I peered nervously into the bathroom mirror to see how many wrinkles had arrived in the night.

"The best anti-ageing cream is ice cream. What other food makes you feel like your're 8 years old again?" Anon

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Blooming Marvellous...

Has it occurred to you, as it did to me today... this time last year.. well.. give or take a few weeks, we were basking in a heatwave? Hardly seems credible as I have just bounded back indoors to avoid hypothermia after taking some snap happy pics of the garden.
I am taking the VERY bold decision to publish a photo of my garden in it's present state, bare bones and skimpy clothing and all.. which isn't very much at the moment. It is not a thing of beauty and being both house proud and garden proud I would normally shudder at the thought of you seeing my garden looking anything less than Wisley standards.

My usual household neurosis has turned it's attention to the garden and I am close to measuring the plants with a tape measure each day to see if they have grown a millimetre in the last 24 hours.
Impatient.. moi? Well yes .. horribly so.. when it comes to watching plants grow . I am like a petulant child these days.. I want all the toys in the shop and I want them now ...... please!
I have a few splashes of colour and lots of promise but not the big showy firework display of colour that comes in May and June each year... that is when the garden shows off and is bold, brash and happening!!!
Still.. be thankful for small mercies.. the daffodils are still shining brightly, the tete a tetes are sitting pretty
Not to mention the frogs..

The hellebores are top of the class with their exquisite flowers.
Here's one a made earlier..

The tulips and the alliums are waiting in the wings and my clematis Montana has romped along the fence and will hopefully be united with the new clematis (Rouge Cardinal) that I planted at the other end of the fence last week.
This flowering Rosemary has done me proud this winter with a pretty shower of delicate blue flowers.

So watch this space and remember the bare patches.. I will return with the painted canvas in a few weeks ..then you can play.. spot the difference. For now I will be pawing over my stack of gardening books permanently parked next to the bed.

It has come to my mind that you may not like the music I have placed on my blog recently. I would love to know if it turns you off or turns you on to reading my blog posts .. Please let me know your thoughts on this. My music taste is eclectic to say the least and not everyone's cup of tea! Talking of which.. must put the kettle on..