Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Boys are back in Town

Tomorrow my # 1 son and grandson arrrive. Somehow I don't think The Wedding will be on the agenda but I'm not grumbling. Meanwhile here are this week's blooms

Pittisporum has this tiny blossom - new to me

Weigelia at the back of the house blooms later.


Could this be an Escallonia? I have three of them.

Weigelia - south facing and blooming

This I tend to disdain but it's a good blue.

I've tried to look this up but failed.

Margaret's husband gave me this little purple flower which was special.

Stocks - such a fragrance.

I'm cross with this clematis - it was meant to lighten a dark corner and it has shot off next door!
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Second time around

Two roads diverged in the middle of my life,

I heard a wise man say

I took the road less travelled by

And that’s made the difference every night and day.

Larry Norman (with apologies to Robert Frost.)

Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.

Paul Tournier

The soul is healed by being with children.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Sadness is a wall between two gardens.

Kahlil Gibran

We routinely disqualify testimony that would plead for extenuation. That is, we are so persuaded of the rightness of our judgement as to invalidate evidence that does not con firm us in it. Nothing that deserves to be called truth could ever be arrived at by such means.

Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam

No matter what God’s power may be, the first aspect of God is never that of absolute Master, the Almighty. It is that of the God who puts himself on a human level and limits himself.

Jacques Ellul Anarchy and Christianity

Let’s pray that the human race never escapes Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.

C.S. Lewis

Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.

Author Unknown

Even if we find another Eden, we should not be fit to enjoy it perfectly not stay in it for ever.

Henry Van Dyke

New world- big horizon

Open your eyes and see it’s true

New world- across the frightening

Waves of blue.

David Wilcox

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

Albert Einstein

Oh my soul…be prepared for him

who knows how to ask questions.


Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully

as when they do it from a religious conviction.

Blaise Pascal

Once abolish the God and the government becomes the God

G.K. Chesterton

Falsehood has an infinity of combinations,

but truth has only one mode of being.

Jean Jacques Rousseau

God is a verb.

Buckminster Fuller

You can kiss your family good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you

Frederick Buechner - Telling the Truth

An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children.

He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.


Earth has no sorrow that

Heaven cannot heal.

Author Unknown.

Faith never knows where it is being led,

But it knows and loves the One who is leading.

Oswald Chambers

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Waiting for delivery of three new books I decide to re-read The Shack by William Paul Young to see how it stood up to a second reading. This time I noted the quotes with a relevance to each chapter they headed. As they seemed fitting for an Easter weekend I decided to share them with you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter

My mother's acer - just out.

Another of Mum's gifts. It was meant to be 5'

Muguet de bois from our French son It has a special significance in France. Remind me:)

We have had a week of warm sunny weather , but you see the mist at the edges. Now there is tak of smog

Isn't this worth waiting for - even with all the leaves it sheds in the autumn.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This got lost in transit. See copy below.
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Hands off the Sandhills!

This is the children's Convalescent Home in Lytham St Annes - now no more. I went here , aged sixteen, to work with children and babies who were having a respite from their hazardous life in the slums of Manchester.
For three weeks they were loved and cared for and allowed to run wild on the sandhills by the sea. They were deloused and fed good nourishing food
Probationers and children alike lived life to the full under the watchful eyes of Matron, and a few tears were shed each time the children left, to be replaced bythe next batch. We never knew what they were going back to.

Below, this is on the sandhills between the Home and the sea. The nurse on the front right was a Jewish girl who, with her brother, escaped the Holocaust. She was one of the kindest people I ever met and when , on night duty, I committed the unforgiveable sin of letting the boiler out she got out of bed, came down to the cellar , now reeking of fumes, and with great dollops of floor polish got the beast blazing away before Matron found out. We probationers were doing pre- training until we were 171/2 and old enough to start our State training at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. Out of the five of us I was the only one to go to RMCH where I stayed to take my finals aged 21.

One night the night nurse found an empty bed in the boy's ward and all of us were dispatched with lanterns to search the sandhills. The convent next door rang its bell and the nuns in their gowns slithered with us, up and down the sandhills frantically calling Tommy's name.

At last the bell rang the signal for us to return and there was Matron - still chalk white - but a smile on her face. Little Tommy had got up to go to the loo in the night and got back into an empty bed in the girl's ward. No-one had thought to count the children. Sandhills have always been special to me and evoke such memories.

Decades later I dicovered the sandhills at Instow where we go in June. What triggered this post - familiar to my old faithfuls, was reading that residents in St Annes want to have the sandhills removed because it spoils their view. I'll leave it to you to comment as I don't want to get my BP up.
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

This afternoon’s blooms.

The first post with accompanying copy wasn’t successful. The second – without the copy - was so I shall add copy now. Mustn’t grumble!

From the top – bluebells – for Kim. I wish they were a deeper blue. I’m sure his

Scottish ones will be.

The first iris - already fragrant.

Columbine – so pretty and always reminds me of the Bard and how close he was to nature.

The deep purple lilac – too high for me to reach.

A curtain of vanilla scented clematis – an annual delight.

These fantastic tulips were a surprise – I must have planted then last year.

Such a relief to have Picasa back – almost

There is definitely an imp who fiddles with my script. Don't think I haven't noticed!
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Six Months Hard

He was wearing the most beautiful pink tie and I was not surprised to hear he had bought it on the Pont de Vecchio in Florence. He had been on holiday with his wife who was pregnant and they wondered how they would be able to have holidays like this with a little one. Now they had they a little one they couldn’t envisage a holiday without her.

Our surgeon had all the results on his desk and they were all clear. What now we wondered? Apparently the government, in their wisdom, say not to bother with follow ups after the age of eighty. I remembered being miffed that women don’t have mammograms and smear tests offered after the age of seventy. Not that the government or ageist or anything.

What, I wondered, was the usual result after the treatment we have had? The stats are 40% remain completely clear. Follow ups would involve four monthly blood tests and annual scans so it seemed to me a no-brainer. Obviously the sooner anything is detected the sooner it is nipped in the bud.

I believe in France anyone over the age of fifty has their stools checked every two years to detect any signs of bowel cancer. Seems a good plan to me.

So the last chemo pill is taken today DV, and we can start thinking about a break in a cottage. Actually I have thought of little else this last week or so and have found a beauty, in a spot we know and like. There is only one week free in the period suitable for us so time is of the essence.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Still Wednesday

See below a measure of success in that four pictures posted together but words were - apparently - forbidden.
It's the garden yesterday - a magnolia carpet, a camellia carpet, a lime green variety which I like - I'll leave you to name it - and:
'There's rosemary - that's for remembrance.' Will the Shake as dear Hoss christened him. Hoss, (Old Horsetail Snake see my 'resting' side bar) for those of you who didn't have the pleasure, was an old timer from Oregon, sadly no longer with us but remembered with affection.

This week is dragging its feet, possibly because tomorrow we see the surgeon. I got it wrong : I thought he was doing a procedure but it is just a consultation. A couple of weeks ago the oncologist dismissed us and we hope for the same tomorrow - within reason. Everything has been put on hold until after Thursday.

Last October we cancelled our holiday - as a safeguard, which means it's about a year since we had a break. Goodness knows we are fortunate having a leisurely life and living in a beautiful area but I'm a simple soul and have always lived by the mantra : work hard and then get your reward, which to my mind has always been a holiday. They have been many and varied from doing a rock climbing course in North Wales to traveling round the world.

These days our horizons have shrunk, airports eschewed and are content with a trip to a cottage over the border. The one we have had most often recently is booked up till October but I have my eye on a couple which might be possible in May/June- as long as it fits in with family visits. Not much longer to wait now.
Is it still only Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On the left the house mouse.

Below the field mouse:

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O' what a panic's in my breastie!
Robert Burns
The second is more like my recollection because the face was so clear.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feelings can change overnight

This is a quiet, peaceful neighbourhood. Rarely at night does one hear a car door slam. Sometimes the pigeons will start a barney on one of the chimney stacks and later the owl emits the odd shriek. The dachshunds up the lane go to bed early and save their yapping for the daylight hours. A blood curdling scream before the 10 o’clock news is bound to cause an exchange of glances over the pince-nez.

I was nearest to the scream - so it frightened me. MTL was reading in bed, I was watching Mamma Mia - (I thought Colin Firth camped the part up outrageously and lost the kudos gained by his Mr Darcy; fortunately he has since redeemed himself) and went into the kitchen for my evening two fingers of Kit-Kat. It was dark; I switched the light on, saw a movement and screamed.

The thing stopped dead in its tracks, looked right at me and scarpered out of sight. Had it been in the garden I would have cooed over its prettiness and rushed for my camera. But it was a MOUSE –(please God a field mouse) in my KITCHEN – where crumbs are mopped up before they have time to settle in, where the tops are dettol-ed daily and cupboards frequently disinfected.

By the time MTL came down – at my request - there was no sign of the little blighter. I vacuumed the floor and the adjoining room and went to bed early – all of a flutter, thankful to have my protector beside me.

This morning I saw the tawny cat belonging to our neighbour; the one MTL convinced me I had ‘done in’on April 1st. He’s quite a pretty, fluffy cat and always stops what he is doing to give me a long, appraising look. I think we are going to be friends.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This is a a photo just taken - up loaded to My Pictures and then down loaded to blogger.
It is SO slow and just one at a time. There must be a better way.


Now how did I do it?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Wise words

In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility.

William Shakespeare

I not only use all the brains I have, but all that I can borrow.

Woodrow Wilson

Jealously is all the fun you think they had.

Erica Yong

I think it is good that books still exist, but they do make me sleepy

Frank Zappa

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

Noel Coward

He who is not aware of his ignorance will only be misled by his knowledge.

Richard Whatley

Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.

Peter Ustinov

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts.

Rita Mae Brown

At the worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.

Dame Rose Macaulay

Times have not become more violent. They have just become more televised.

Marilyn Manson

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.

Bob Hope

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.

Bob Marley

No sword bites so fiercely as an evil tongue.

Sir Philip Sidney

There is no such thing as ‘fun for the whole family’.

Jerry Seinfeld

You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?

Steven Wright

No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.

H.G. Wells

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sexual Tension in the Forties

Kim’s comment on the photo below of five young people, taken in the Lake District in 1947 got me thinking of how it was then. We had met the day before, sitting at a communal table in a tea place in the Langdales. When they saw us looking at bus time tables they offered us a lift in their car back to our B&B in Ambleside. Sheila and I were going to a dance that evening and they said they would come too.

James and I sort of gravitated to each other but it was all very repressed with just the ‘accidental’ touching of hands and the odd brush against each other. There was a sizzling under current and it was intoxicating just to talk to these knowledgeable, older men – just out of the army and about to go up to Oxford. James was shocked when he learned I was just seventeen.

The next day was their last and they drove us to Coniston. The day passed quite quickly and then in the evening we were thrilled – all of us - to see Sir Malcolm Campbell about to test his Blue bird on the lake. We had been berated for skimming – throwing flat stones - to skim along the lake. The lake was like a mill pond but it was decided it was too dangerous for a Bluebird test. Eventually both Sir Malcolm and his son Donald – who I met whilst modelling – were both killed whilst testing.

On the photograph James and I look quite intimate but that would be a sudden embrace with the camera as an excuse. So different from now – one spent a lot of time just yearning, but not sure what for. It was four years later after marriage that I began to understand. I don’t think I was the exception.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Fingers crossed. Picasa has just up-dated. Will this post?

This is my old school-Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School. I posted from 'My Pictures' in a very roundabout way. So presumably if I put new pictures there instead of on Picasa - whicn still isn't working - I should be able to publish - one at a time. Marfvellous!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Early Start

Up at six with a sudden glimmer of how to get round the Picasa problem. I used to post photos on my blog quite happily before I’d ever heard of blessed Picasa. Could I remember how to do it? Whatever - it didn’t work and I almost got registered with Snapfish (don’t ask) but chickened out before the final click. The good news is that # 1son and grandson are coming later this month and my grand-daughter – a computer whiz is coming next month. Yippee!

Last week was busy: the Reunion with the girls in Taunton was great fun and well worth the bone-shaker bus journey. Two of the girls have mobiles and also are now on line. ‘Be sure to charge your mobile,’ I reminded Margaret. We finally found her in Debenhams – she had dutifully charged it – just didn’t bother to switch on. I do understand, as I only grew out of that reluctance to use the battery when MTL was in hospital. My landlady gave me excellent advice:

‘Keep it on all day and recharge it every night.’ In that situation it worked a treat.

Same problem with e-mails: ‘Check your in-box,’ I beg them. The other day I got six e-mails from one of them with the sixth one – finally- completing the one line message.

We had coffee at Debenhams and then drifted round looking for somewhere nice for lunch. An expensive one looked a bit lifeless and we ended in the County Stores which has been done over upstairs, but still has a nice old-fashioned feel. The drill is the birthday girl is treated to lunch and she gets the wine. It was a long lunch and people kept stopping at the table to ask if it was someone’s birthday. In the end everyone was so relaxed they were not only pointing out the birthday girl but telling her age. Thanks guys! I felt like the prize exhibit.

We had a sweet waitress – Maisie, who kept stopping for a chat. She was small, blonde and attractive and told us she was 75. At one stage she was standing chatting with a laden tray which slowly tilted and deposited some of the left-overs on the ground. Nobody seemed perturbed and I had a vision of Julie Walters playing the ancient waitress spilling the soup.

At one stage Margaret in a fit of bonhomie handed Maisie a tip as she had been looking after us so well. We all did the same – not to be outdone - and Maisie confessed she wasn’t actually our waitress but seemed very pleased and asked when did we think we would come again. By now we were all walking on air, I bought some pretty handkerchiefs in the store – we ambled round the shops and slowly wended our way to the station where Margaret’s train and our bus departed from.

I suppose it is worse for Margaret – she has three people to miss but Margaret leaves a very large hole. With hugs and a few tears – but they were happy ones - we said ‘here’s to the next time.’

On Thursday I saw the physio back from her holiday in New Zealand and after a talk and a treatment we decided that with a 70% improvement on my neck I would be discharged, keep up the exercises and know what to do should it get troublesome again. Very satisfactory. On Friday C came for the last chemo. It was her birthday and fortunately I had got a little present and card as a thank you. She was impressed that the oncologist had said he didn’t want to see us again medically. Hopefully after we see the surgeon on the 14th we can breathe freely again.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Not another dam thing!

Struggling to understand instructions on one of those forums trying to sort the Picasa problem (hundreds of us suddenly find we can no longer post photos to our blogs) I heard MTL calling.

Pat: Did you say something?

MTL: Have you seen the dead cat?

Pat: WHAT!!!!!

MTL: A dead cat - outside the garage door.

Pat: Not the tawny one?

MTL: Yes.

Oh God – everybody knows I’m not a cat lover – although I do admire them and like to watch them – from a distance and not in my garden. This one poos in front of the house, threatens the birds and only the other day left a dead mouse as a peace offering by the back porch. I could barely look its sister in the eye yesterday when I spotted the field mouse nibbling the fat balls. I’ve moaned about that cat so much everybody is going to think I did it in and its owner is Roy a favourite neighbour. It belonged to his late mother.

Pat: I shall have to tell Roy.

MTL: Have you looked at the calendar?

Pat: I know C comes today for the last chemo.

MTL: But have you looked at the calendar?

Slowly the penny dropped.

Some people have too much time on their hands!