30 May 2015

Weather or Season

Do you dress for the weather or the season? 
In a week that has seen me wearing sun screen and sandals followed by
a coat and hat it's difficult to know what to have hanging in the wardrobe.

I have two seasons of clothes - autumn/winter and spring/summer. Spring/summer clothes are out now and the autumn/winter ones are packed away. Then the reverse happens about September time. However despite this ritual I dress for the weather because here in the UK in May we often experience heatwaves and frost in one week! And because I'm a bit of a wimp about a slight drop in temperature I'm never far from a cardi! So although my winter outfits are packed away they are still within reach!

I'm off to Spain for a week soon, I should be able to dress for the season over there!

24 May 2015

Around The Garden

I love my garden and May is one of my favourite months.
Most days especially at this time of year I like to walk around to see what's growing.
Last year's perennials putting in an appearance
a reduced bargain from last year
something a bird has deposited
or the wind has blown in
or even better
something I thought was dead. 
Come and join me to see what's going on 

This was reduced, I can't remember what it is though, 
I think the label is in a drawer in the shed!

Mr Happy. I'm not normally a gnome person,
but I couldn't resist this and others from the pound shop

Bleeding Heart
I love a bargain and a challenge. 
They were practically giving this away because it looked dead. 
I didn't think it would survive but I nurtured it and so far it has rewarded me with 3 years of lovely blooms. It's such a sad name for a pretty plant. 
It has a sad story attached to it. Legend tells how a young Japanese man tried to win the love of a young lady by giving her a pair of rabbits (the first two petals of the flower), a pair of slippers (the next two petals), and a pair of earrings (the last two petals). She rejected his affections, and, heart-broken he plunged his sword into his heart 
(the middle part of the flower). 

That's Mr Jolly on the right.

 Mr Pink sinking into the soil  

Mr Bashful hiding behind some bluebells

Bluebells and Hydrangea

I feel I know what this is but I can't recall its name!

This has spread from my neighbour's garden, another one has
spread from my neighbour's garden on the other side as well!

A lone pansy leftover from last year

pretty yellow poppies wind blown or birds

Pretty blossom on the cherry tree. I only manage to harvest a few, the birds get most of them!

I have no idea what this is, I like it and it was reduced.

These strawberries were little runners from the main plants on my
allotment last year. I had given many away and these were left over. 
I didn't want to throw them away but I neglected them over winter
and then all of a sudden they picked up again.
There were 12 in total and I have since given them away.

Foxglove and bronze fennel competing for space. 
The fennel will have to go. 
I like them and adore the smell but they are way too invasive.

Geum Mrs Bradshaw

My half price David Austen climbing rose is not looking very good at the moment

Azalea, a gift from a friend


Hostas from a coffee morning sale
Looking good so far
I gather up the snails and put them in my wheelie bin

My young wisteria has been in bud like this for ages. Hope it blooms soon.

This just started growing, I don't know what it is but it's very pretty

This cotinus was another reduced bargain but it's growing horizontal instead of vertical.

As you can see my garden is a collection of allsorts. Each year I think I will try to be more structured but it just doesn't happen. Things just grow and I don't like pulling them out!

I hope you have enjoyed your trip.
How does your garden grow?

20 May 2015

Reasons To Be Cheerful

New Life

Glorious Blooms

Warm (occasionally hot) sunshine - in-between the showers!
Spending more time outdoors

Drying the washing outside

14 May 2015

It's A Dog's Life

Rufus's diary

Tuesday: Tearing across the fields like we do, winding Buster up to chase me knowing that he can never catch me because I can turn on a sixpence, then ouch that was painful, caught my foot on something, need to slow down a bit. Back home and it's bleeding profusely and I have to hold the leg off the ground. After cleaning and inspection I have cut the soft area between two of my pads, it's very sore. Must have a rest. Is it dinner time yet?

Wednesday: My foot is very painful and I'm hopping around on three legs. Licking it isn't a good idea as it keeps it moist and bleeding. I'm leaving little trails of blood all over the place, thankfully we've got wooden floors so it's easy to clean it up. Anyway the upshot of this is now I have a dressing on my foot and they say it will heal in no time. Why is it always me that gets injured? Buster runs around a lot as well. I'm feeling very sorry for myself so I'm going to rest in the lovely sunshine. Wonder how .... long it ....is.....till......dinner........time......zzzzzzzzzz

Thursday: I'm a hardy dog and used to injuries, I have a bad foot but three other good legs to hop around on, so all is well. They're not taking me out for walks though, they think I should rest, so I will make the most of more sunshine. Wish it was dinner time.

Friday: I'm ok, I want to go, look I'm managing perfectly well on three legs, why can't they hear me.....It's doggie club day, Buster and me go to the park, meet lots of other dogs, sniff bottoms, run around like mad, get some treats and have a great time. Buster is going but not me, they think I still need to rest. I really am feeling hard done by, and its a long wait till dinner time :-(

It's over a week now since I hurt my paw. The wound has healed really well but every now and again I hold the leg off the ground and hop on three. They think I damaged tendons or muscle as well because the area is still a bit swollen and ever so slightly bruised, but I am managing all right with short walks and I will soon be back to tearing around the fields again. Not long to dinner time :-)

12 May 2015

A Good Read

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Born in a village in heartland India, the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram is taken out of school and put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coals and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape.
The White Tiger is a tale of two Indias. Balram’s journey from the darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success is utterly amoral, brilliantly irreverent, deeply endearing and altogether unforgettable.
Adiga sets out to show us the underbelly of India. We see this through the eyes of Balram, born into the "darkness" of rural India, but entered the light that is Delhi via a job as driver to Mr Ashok, the son of a rich landlord. Now, though, Balram has escaped servitude and is himself a rich businessman. What's more, his unlikely journey involved a murder.
The result is an Indian novel that explodes the clich├ęs. Welcome, instead, to an India where Microsoft call-centre workers tread the same pavement as beggars who burn street rubbish for warmth.
Balram's story is told via seven letters to the Chinese prime minister, who, Balram has decided, must be told the truth about India before a forthcoming state visit. So he begins: he tells of Delhi's servants, who live in rotting basements below the glass apartment blocks that are home to their employers. He tells of how Ashok's family bribe government ministers, and how national elections are rigged. Ashok, trendy and liberal, is forever expressing guilt over Balram's treatment, but his fine words never come to anything. It's a thrilling journey through a rising global power; where the brutality of the modern city is compounded by that of age-old tradition. "In the old days there were one thousand castes and destinies in India," says Balram. "These days there are two castes: Men with Big Bellies, and Men with Small Bellies." Soon enough, of course, Balram must tell us just how, exactly, he got his Big Belly. Tired of a life of servitude, he takes the violent action that secures his place among Delhi's rich.
I loved this story, it’s a real page turner, quirky, sarcastic, poignant, and often hilarious. the characters were robust and believable. A thoroughly good read.

10 May 2015

Legal London And The Demise of The Templars

The Templar's success attracted the envy and concern of many other orders and eventually led to their downfall. Their two most powerful rivals were the Knights Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights. King Philip of France also had concerns about the Templars, both for financial reasons, and nervousness about an independent army that was able to move freely through all borders. 
At dawn on the 13th October 1307 scores of French Templars were simultaneously arrested by agents of King Philip. They were tortured into admitting heresy and were put to death. 
Despite the fact that the confessions had been produced under duress, they caused a scandal in Paris, with mobs calling for action against the blaspheming Order. In response to this public pressure, along with more bullying from King Philip, Pope Clement issued the Papal bull Pastoralis Praeeminentiaewhich instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets. 
In 1312, after the Council of Vienneand under extreme pressure from Philip, Pope Clement issued an edict officially dissolving the Order. Many kings and nobles who had supported the Knights up until that time finally acquiesced and dissolved the Templars in accordance with the Papal command.
So widely was the injustice of Philip's rage against the Templars felt that the "Curse of the Templars" became legend. It is reputed that whilst burning at the stake, the Grand Master Jacques de Molay uttered the statement "Within one year God will summon both Clement and Philip to His Judgement for these actions". Both did die within the predicted year, which served to heighten the scandal surrounding the suppression of the Order.
The Templars were also persecuted in England, as the crown was deeply in debt to them. Their lands were forfeited and taken. King Edward II took control of the Church and gave the site to the Knights Hospitallers, who were the forerunners of the St John Ambulance Service. Many Templars were killed, some fled to Scotland. The buildings were then handed to two law colleges which eventually became the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple. 

Middle Temple 
The Lamb and Flag is a religious symbol known as "Agnus Dei" or Lamb of God. It is the adopted emblem of the Middle Temple and can be seen in many places around the Inn, There is a theory that the holy lamb was chosen as the emblem because it had originally been used by the Knights Templar whose arms were two knights mounted on one horse with a trotting Agnus Dei. It is believed that it dates back to the 17th Century. Historical accounts of the building describe a lamb and flag "carved in wood and always kept well gilded". Although the building was completely destroyed by bombing in 1941, it is clear from photographs taken in the aftermath that the lamb itself survived intact. The first production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was performed in Middle Temple in 1602.

After a disruptive early period the Inner Temple was almost entirely destroyed in the Peasants' Revolt but it survived and flourished, becoming the second largest Inn during the Elizabethan period, and further expanded during the reigns of James I and Charles I with 1,700 students admitted between 1600 and 1640. Legal education was suspended during the First English Civil War's outbreak and the Inns almost shut down.
Following the English Restoration the Inner Templars welcomed Charles II back to London with a lavish banquet. After a period of slow decline in the 18th century, the following 100 years saw a restoration of the Temple's fortunes, with buildings constructed or restored, such as the Hall and the Library. Much of this work was destroyed during The Blitz when the Hall, Temple, Temple Church , and many sets of chambers were devastated. Rebuilding was completed in 1959, and today the Temple is a flourishing and active Inn of Court, with over 8,000 members.                                                                                                                               Bomb damage

This late 12th century Temple Church is one of the few remaining round churches in England. Unfortunately it’s currently under renovation so it wasn’t possible to go inside which was disappointing as I believe there are nine full size effigies of the Templar Knights. Their churches were round in honour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

Chapel undercroft. 
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was not unusual for  unmarried girls to leave their newborn babies here. The Inn would adopt the babies and often gave them the name Lincoln.

The inscription, dated 1693, reads “This wall is built upon the ground of Lincolnes Inne no windor es are to be brocken out without leave” (That's not me miss-spelling, but the old English language of the day!). It refers to the need for keeping windows shut, because of the smells from the nearby Boghouse privies

This lovely little 'hut' was built in 1852 for Mr. Temple the head gardener at Lincoln's Inn. It was restored in 1998 and the concrete roof was replaced with lead. I think it’s the smallest listed building in the country. I've seen photos with tubs of pretty flowers around it, perhaps they plant them up for summer.

Wildy & Sons Law Booksellers & Publishers

Ede & Ravenscroft, the oldest tailor and robe maker in London, established in 1689

oh oh found myself in Carey Street! This phrase originates from the London street where the UK bankruptcy court used to be located. The court moved to Carey Street in the 1840s but the phrase didn't emerge as a synonym for bankrupt until much later.

This ornate, Victorian Gothic building, with a high-ceilinged great hall and law courts, was opened in 1882. Unfortunately photography wasn't allowed inside.

This lovely little shop is the original one founded by Thomas Twining In 1706. It is the oldest shop in the City of Westminster, trading on the same site with the same family and selling the same tea and coffee products. It also has a small museum.

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