Sunday, August 31, 2014

Let's go down town.

This is the walk I do 3 or 4 times a week - and back up the hill  which is why I don't bother with gyms.

 Out of the drive and turn right down Western Lane.
 There is an alternate ginnel on the left but I usually stick to the lane
 Down past the two houses that were built in our grounds - before us
On down hoping no large vans come down the lane.

 You can just see the main road at the bottom but main roads and traffic are to be avoided at all costs
 So we turn left at the lamp post down Park's Lane

 At the end we turn Right down Watery Lane
 Through the ginnel to the Queen's Head
Go between the Queen's Head and the Italian restaurant 

Past the old laundry which no longer does dry cleaning

I have yet to discover what the tall pillar at the end is for.

 Along Market House Lane with its floral display
 at the end of which is the main thoroughfare - the Parade.
 a busy Saturday morning
 Now the Parade morphs into The Avenue.
Can you smell the sea?  We are getting closer.

 This part requires concentration - the pavement is positively wavy - near the sea of course.
 Not much further
 There's Gail's my hairdresser next to the Wheel House

Here is my good friend Gail helpfully giving my coat to another customer. That's Laura in the centre- my taxi driver's daughter.
Hair done - walk all the way back for a bite of lunch then next door but one for Jackie's 90th Birthday Party.  Sadly I was the only one of our original quartet able to be there but there were loads of friends and neighbours - some I hadn't seen for a few years.  The food was non stop and delicious and Jackie seemed really happy.

Jackie second from the left with old members of Townswomen's Guild.  It was good to see them again

Jackie doing the honours with her fantastic daughter Jane who works in our local hospital,  cares for her mother and an invalid husband and does endless work for charities.
Happy birthday darling Jackie.  and the cake was scrummy:)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weird and wonderful

A present from Karen which at first was a mass of snail bitten leaves but is now about to sprout an exotic flower.  You knew it is a canna.
I have never ever seen a fruit on a camellia.  Have you?  What can you tell me?

Who knew that these monsters rising from the depths would morph into these beauties that smell of pear drops?  Nerines if you're asking

Mick my precious handy man has just scraped out the guttering on the front of the house so hopefully the waterfall will vanish.  He's about to be 65.  Help!

Monday, August 18, 2014

It Rose again - apologies to Rog.

Staying with the Hertfordshire family recently I was saddened to see a dying rose swamped with ants.
The working colleagues of my DIL had bought her a beautiful rose bush to commemorate MTL.
In spite of regular watering, when I was down it seemed the end was nigh.

DIL provided  some really delicious manure and - with their permission - I chopped it back quite ruthlessly and dug out all the straggly weeds and put a curse on the ants.  Over the next few days it was lovingly watered - gently at first and then quite forcefully with vocal encouragement - always vital as HRH would be  the first to aver.

A few prayers were said also and suggestions for future care.  Now look at it!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Misfit

It was Joey's Post that made me remember it

When Margaret was visiting the other week on a blisteringly hot day we decided to drift down to the town and try out the new Costas.  There are tables outside with an excellent view down the Avenue and shaded.  Even so we plumped for hats - mine an old straw and Margaret's denim.
It turned out to be a most pleasant way to have a gossip, catch up,  watch the passers - by with lots of additional holiday makers and test the iced lemon tea.
 Later Margaret went up the hill to visit a neighbour who I didn't know.
The friend said she had spotted us at Costas.

'Did your friend have on a white layered skirt,' she asked?
'Yes,' she was told, 'why?'

'Well you just looked as if you didn't belong.'

What did she mean?  Neither of us were flashing the flesh; we were comfortably dressed and thus able to keep cool in heat wave.  Any idea?

Sunday, August 03, 2014

August Garden

The Myrtle is late - but amazing this year.
'Knowest thou the land where the lemon trees bloom?  In the dark foliage the golden oranges gleam, a soft wind blows from the blue heavens, the myrtle is still and the laurel stands high'
My favourite tub because it has come up smiling with no succour - from last year.

' The bride hath paced into the hall, red as a rose is she.'
Hibiscus.  My ship mate Dylan says he has two - the same pinky mauve shade. 

 Those wretched pigeons.  This blue plant has really gone forth and multiplied- and cracked the pottery tub.
 I never tire of these Japanese anenomes
 Sweet smelling stocks.
 'If thou hast not a capon, feed on an onion.'
J. Ray English Proverbs

'Unkempt about those hedges blows an English unofficial rose.'
Rupert Brooke

'What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'

Progress report: up to page 246 - just 58 more to go before starting the final edit when the real work begins.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Four Firm Friends.


“We could have a picnic.”

Since 1985 Margaret, Jackie, Joy and I had been friends.  Margaret was born in the West Country and relocated to Minehead in 1984.  Joy was already here.  I came in 1985 and Jackie a year later.  I can’t remember how it happened but Margaret was the catalyst that drew us all together and we became firm friends.  At least once a month we would have a jaunt, taking it in turns to organise the outing which would remain a secret until we arrived.

 Margaret reminded me that I always preferred to visit a country Inn for lunch rather than take a picnic but eventually Margaret got her wish and we were told to come armed with our packed lunch.

This is how Margaret remembers it:

M: Pat what have you brought in your picnic.

P: I don’t know; Alastair made it.

 According to M I then brought out napkins, a series of dainty little goodies, four wine glasses and a chilled bottle of wine.  I have no recollection of this but it is true I was very, very spoilt.

 Things are rather different these days.  It was a sadness to us all when Margaret and her husband left for Cheltenham to be near their daughters but we have been in close touch for the last four years and – in the words of Monica “She’s my best friend.”

 Jackie is about to be 90 and is very well cared for by her daughter with whom she lives.  Joy is now a widow and quite frail especially since a fall in the garden which has prompted assisted living – at least for the time being.

Our problem was how we could get us all together whilst Margaret was visiting me and her suggestion of a picnic didn’t seem a brilliant idea.  As usual Margaret made light of any difficulties and a plan was formed.

 Jackie’s daughter Jane would drive her up to Joy’s house complete with her picnic.  The door would be open so we could all gain access.  Margaret and I would walk up the hill with our own picnic and would prepare Joy’s when we got there.

Then we started getting cancellations and doubts and fears but M and I were adamant it was going to come to pass and if Joy wasn’t happy after a few minutes we would retire gracefully.

At first it was quite muted as we reacquainted ourselves as a group.  I was quite peckish so made Joy salmon sandwiches garnished with lettuce and tomato – enough for have to have for lunch and later.  Wisely Joy kept the wine in the fridge and M and I had already decided - with the various medicaments we would have our tipple later in the day.  We had – between us - to get Jackie safely home - down one lane and up another. Gradually we fell into our usual – everybody talking at once, some of us getting the wrong end of the stick, mishearing, reminiscing and having a good time.

Two hours later when we thought perhaps it was time to go Joy perked up and wanted us all to go upstairs to see the suit she had bought with her daughter for her daughter’s second wedding.  We followed Joy up on her stair lift – keeping a hand on Jackie and then we had to back down a bit whilst Joy dismantled the stair lift so we could get by.

We admired the suit, compared it with the suit she and I had bought together for her grand-daughter’s wedding and Margaret and I made the bed - being hypercritical of each other’s hospital corners. (Margaret was once a Norland Nanny)  We were given a tour of the upstairs – my second in a week and at some stage we went to inspect the back garden and take nuts for the birds.

This was a bit nerve wracking as the garden is steep and we had to keep an eye on Jackie and Joy.  Then it really was time to go.  There were hugs and kisses and a few tears all round.  Joy has her son’s visit next week to look forward to and Jackie’s daughter is giving a party for her 90th soon.

We got Jackie safely home – by this time some of us weren’t quite sure who we were and decided we would have a night on the town whilst we still could.

Showered and changed we ambled down the lovely tree- lined Avenue in the fantastic weather we have had for a week now - with a delicious warm sea breeze to  the newish Stones pub, and had a very pleasant veggie meal in their garden.  It was such a balmy evening we took a long rambling walk home remembering various houses and people we had known, reflecting how Minehead had changed over the years but was still the quiet, sleepy, laid back town we had always known.

Who knows what the future holds but what a blessing to still have at least three friends for life.

Please see pics below.

Four Firm Friends

 Margaret's favourite spot
 Flowers for my guest.
 L to R Jackie, Pat and Joy
 Stand up straight girls! Jackie seated , Margaret and Joy
 Joy's Passion flower
 Joy's garden
 Margaret, feeding the birds
Jackie please stay right there.