20 October 2016


Isn't Autumn stunningly beautiful, a veritable feast of spectacular colour

Except for the conkers all this colour is from my garden

17 October 2016

Not Quite The End Of Summer

Well the winter duvet is back on the bed and the central heating is on low for the evenings and mornings. Autumn and winter clothes are hanging in the wardrobe and I have put some summer ones away, but not all of them because...... I will need some when I go to Australia!! yes I'm off to visit my darling daughter in Fremantle next month, I'm so excited. I haven't been in November before, February used to be my chosen time and I have been at Christmas.

Back down to earth for a while and I have been busy. I'm now a fully paid up member of the WI. We have a small group in the village and we meet once a month. So far neither jam or Jerusalem have been mentioned :-)

We also have a craft club in the village, which I attend. We have a good old natter whilst knitting, crocheting, sewing or making cards, and our host provides tea, coffee and biscuits. I might bake a cake for the next meeting.

And there is more! we have an art group as well. I went along back in 2012 and discovered I could draw quite well, but I couldn't paint. It's not a teaching group, they are all very good experienced artists, so the intention was to find a class and learn. Four years on and I haven't done it! However a couple of weeks ago the group arranged a workshop so off I went full of enthusiasm and produced this

It's in ink and watercolour. There is quite a lot wrong with it and I am contemplating doing it again, but on the whole I was very pleased with my effort, not bad for an absolute beginner. I am keen to join the group but it's the same day as when I volunteer at the Salvation Army's old folks lunch club, so I will have to do some shuffling around!

7 October 2016

A Good Read

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas 
An epic story of wartime, family secrets and forbidden love, set against the stunning exotic backdrop of 1940's Kashmir. Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime... It is the eve of 1941 and World War II is engulfing the globe. Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Deep in the exquisite heart of Kashmir lies the lakeside city of Srinagar where the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war. But the battles draw closer, and when the men are sent away to fight life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman. 
Years later, when Nerys's granddaughter Mair clears out her father's house, she finds an exquisite shawl. Wrapped in the folds of the shawl is a lock of child's curly hair. Mair is fascinated with her findings and decides to trace her grandparents' roots back to Kashmir.

I have a bit of a thing about India and I love anything colonial, so this book was a winner from the beginning. With stunning descriptions of landscape and lifestyle,  real and likeable characters, and an excellent story I couldn't put it down.

28 September 2016


I have discovered Netflix, when I say discovered I mean I have known about it for a while but have only just started watching. Over the last few weeks, in between reading, having a nightmare with an en-suite in my dolls house! (will be posting about that later), and my birthday celebrations, I have been binge watching and I've had a string of love affairs!

First there was Will in "The Good Wife", handsome, debonair, thoughtful, oh how I envied Alicia, played by Emmy award winner Julianna Margulies, she got to kiss him so many times. I first saw her in the excellent unmissable "ER" playing alongside another of my "on-screen" love affairs George Clooney as Dr Doug Ross, she got to kiss him many times too! Oh happy days, I never missed an episode of ER and was distraught when it ended. I've watched many re-runs and could watch it forever. It's not on Netflix though.

Then came "Suits" and the dashing, suave, cool Harvey, played by Gabriel Macht. Bit of a bad boy, but I always seemed to be drawn to the bad ones!

Next up was "Stranger Things", not something you would immediately associate with a love affair, but I found Chief Hopper played by David Harbour very attractive not just in looks but as the character as well. 

"Hustle" was my next binge watch. I didn't have a love affair with any of the characters, I just liked the programme.
I've watched every episode of  "Spooks", I love it. There are a couple that I would have a liaison with, Tom Quinn played by Matthew Mcfadyen is dishy, and the brooding Lucas North played by dashing Richard Armitage is gorgeous, but my one and only love has always been Harry Pearce played by Peter Firth, Harry is my man! There's just something about the character.

Unfortunately Grey's Anatomy isn't on Netflix, I had two heart-throbs in that, Dr Owen Hunt played by Kevin McKidd and Jackson Avery played by Jesse Williams, he has the most gorgeous blue eyes I have ever seen.

I'm currently watching the second season of Fargo and Patrick Wilson is very handsome as Minnesota State Trooper Lou Solverson. Ted Danson looks good too. It has some gruesome scenes, and, like the first season I find myself laughing at most inappropriate moments, like during the chopping up of a dead body to feed it through an industrial mincer, and fingers go flying off in all directions! Sometimes I think I ought to worry about myself, but does anyone else do the same? Do you find mirth in the gruesome? Perhaps its the way in which it is written. I think Noah Hawley is a very skillful screenwriter. 

18 September 2016

Buster's Diary

Our walks are slightly better now that the weather is a little cooler, SL is still wearing shorts though, well knee length ones, she doesn't want to scare the horses! Despite going out earlier it was getting uncomfortably hot by the time we were on our way back. 

Whenever we did this particular route Rufus would collapse in the shade of a tree and refuse to move.

There he is, at the top of the black arrow. SL and I would get further round this bend before he decided to catch up with us!

The crops have been gathered

acorns are appearing

and these, we don't know what they are.

One of our walks takes us along this lane

keeping an eye out for the ducks

across a field and through this opening, which SL says always feels as if she's in Narnia, 
walking through a wardrobe, wondering what's on the other side

cool and shady is on the other side.  

and then opens out above a fishing lake. 

Guess what? Rufus and I have discovered a liking for blackberries

When SL was helping a fellow dog walker pick some I started eating them straight from the branches. 

Rufus wasn't sure at first, SL was picking them for him 

but after watching me he soon got the hang of it.

One day last week Rufus had an encounter with something. He had gone through the stile, I was just going through when he ran off barking, then he yelped. I chased after him and SL followed, but she didn't see another animal.   

There was a cut in the corner of his mouth. SL thought it might have been a stoat, we also have mink in the area. She heard later from a reliable source that a domestic cat had been seen in remote areas. Whatever it was it must have had sharp teeth to inflict such a deep wound, and probably had to stand up on its rear legs to reach his mouth.

And finally 


Rufus having fun in a puddle. 

Part of this field has become very waterlogged after the farmer did some work in a field above it. 

Then he decided to lie down to cool off! 

Look at the state of him.

Needless to say he had to be hosed down when we got home!
We avoid this field now!

Hope you've enjoyed my latest diary entry.

Have a good week

10 September 2016

A Good Read

Red Lotus by Pai Kit Fai

Full of Chinese villains, English heroes and brave virtuous women, this is a sprawling family saga of three generations of women. 

Yip Mann, an elderly spice farmer, purchases fifteen-year-old Pai-Ling, as his concubine in the hope of producing sons. Pai-Ling has lotus feet and is beautiful but to Yip Mann’s dismay she delivers a worthless daughter. Yip Mann snatches the new born baby and goes to bury her in the paddy fields where he has buried his previous daughters. In a desperate bid to save her daughter Pai Ling throws herself out of the window and falls to her death. As Yipp Mann approaches the paddy fields a fox fairy appears, being superstitious and illiterate he is scared of the dreaded fox fairy and sees it as a sign to let the baby live. She is named Li-Xia – Beautiful One – by her father, not because of any fondness for her but because he thinks the name, along with her lotus feet, will fetch a higher price in the market when she is sold. But Li-Xia has inherited the fighting spirit of her rebellious mother, and with a little help from the compassionate Number Three wife of her father she escapes the crippling bandages. She knows from a young age that her feet will be her freedom. Against great odds she teaches herself to read her mother’s diary.

Sold off to a silk merchant, after many adventures and defiances she is saved from near death by a young English sea captain. Though they find great love and happiness together, it is short lived. Li-Xia becomes the victim of dynastic rivalry and a hostile society. She dies giving birth to her daughter Su Sing (Little Star). Su Sing’s journey takes her from the remote mountain refuges of interior China to the pre-world war I Macao and Hong Kong. Until the age of twelve she is raised by an elderly Taoist Sage Master To, who is master of the White Crane. He names her Red Lotus and teaches her everything he knows. After he is killed she begins a quest to find the father she never knew and to reclaim her birthright.

This is a beautifully written moving story, very sad in places and occasionally a tad twee. Nevertheless it's a compelling read, I was absorbed by the fates of the women, and China's turbulent history. I thoroughly enjoyed it

5 September 2016

Dolls House No. 2


Off the shelf dolls houses usually have pre-drilled holes in the ceilings of each room, anything else has to be done the best way possible. Drilling holes in the backs of the rooms is straightforward but I wanted to put downlights in the kitchen and bathroom, not straightforward. A standard size drill just won't fit into a dolls house size room! You can buy small hand drills but I'm not sure how effective they are. A builder friend and all round good guy loaned me this neat device. 

A flexible shaft extension

One end fits into the end of the drill

and the drill bit fits into the other end

"voila" the bendy cable fits into any small space

Allowing me to drill holes for the down lights in the kitchen and bathroom.
I then bought some small eyelets from Hobbycraft, job done.
The wiring wasn't quite so simple!!

I used  grain of wheat bulbs, ready made wiring fitted with a tiny bulb. (The writing isn't anything to do with the lighting, it's for the flooring). The lights that go through the holes nearest the back, and the ones that go through the middle holes have wires that are long enough to fit the bulbs into the eyelets and reach from the eyelets, across the floor, through a hole to the back and into a socket,

but the wires for the lights for the front of the room weren't long enough so I had to do some joining. 

Because it was such a fiddly job I used this lid to keep my tools and the tiny wires in
so that each time I dropped something I could see where it fell!

I joined each wire separately and then taped the two firmly together

Now I have my downlights in the kitchen and bathroom.

29 August 2016

A Good Read

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger 

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her American nieces, twins Julia and Valentina. The girls had never met their English aunt, they only knew that their mother was a twin, and Elspeth was her sister. Julia and Valentina are fairly normal teenagers with an abnormally intense attachment to one another, and very little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cosy home in the suburbs of Chicago. 

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery, and soon get to know some of the other residents: Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. 

As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbours, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including, perhaps their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind. 

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story about love and identity, secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life -even after death. 
I thoroughly enjoyed it, well written, good characters and a good story. I thought Valentina’s talk of suicide was somewhat contrived but nevertheless the plot worked.

19 August 2016

All Sorts

brrrr I've just changed into a long sleeved t-shirt having suddenly felt a little chilly. I have been sitting reading for a while though, inactivity usually lowers my body temperature, need a sandwich and a cup of coffee to warm me up. Sandwich and coffee prepared and already I'm feeling warmer.

I made an effort to get up early this morning to take the dogs out because my car was being collected sometime after 9am for a recall inspection. We had the best of the weather as it has been raining gently ever since. I was hoping to do some gardening today but I'm pleased with the rain as my garden has been looking very dry, the lawn even has a few chasms in it - only small ones! I hope it clears up as I have two plants that have been in their pots for weeks, they are screaming to be in the garden as their roots need to expand beyond the confines of the pots.

I regularly wear jewellery - rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, but I've never been a huge fan of charm bracelets, I have a gold coloured chunky one that I wear in winter and the rest are just smallish wrist adornments. Two of my friends have Pandora charm bracelets, one a silver one with loads of charms on it, and the other a simple band with just 3 rose gold clips on it. For a while now I have wanted to own one, it's not that they're out of my price range just something I never got round to buying, until yesterday. We have a brand new Pandora shop in town, so no excuses now, off I went and bought this.

ok, so its not Cartier or Faberge but I love it, and I will love it even more when it has some pretty patterned charms on it. Pandora gift vouchers will now be on on my pressie lists :-)

I feel very sad about the demise of Bhs and all those people, who, in a few weeks will be out of work. Our store looked forlorn, huge signs advertising closing down bargains, the windows full of rubbish. I went in but then thought no, I'm not going to put any more money into, in my opinion, that odious little mans already ample offshore bank account. He must be the most reviled man in the country at the moment.

Does anyone have a foolproof cure for chocolate addiction?  This is my current favourite. 

I know, I should employ willpower and self control. I don't like Oreo biscuits but when it comes to this, I just devour it like a thing possessed. Over the years I have hoped that maybe I would be sick from chocolate binging and that would end my addiction, but I guess I will just have to cope with it.

My car is back and all is good.

The rain has stopped, the ground is nice and soft, perfect for re-homing my plants.

Thank you for reading, take care and have a good weekend.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...