29 September 2015

Another Year Older

I wasn’t going to do a post about my birthday but I had such a good day that I couldn’t let it go without a mention. My lovely darling eldest daughter took me out to Saffron Waldon for a lovely day of shopping, lunch at a Tiptree restaurant (one of my favourite places for lunch) 



and a cream tea in the afternoon.  





Back home a beautiful bouquet of flowers had arrived from my darling youngest daughter in Australia. I’m a lucky mum and grandmother, my grandson got me some gorgeous body lotion, hand cream and Green & Blacks chocs - he knows me well :-) 




Saffron Walden is a pretty market town in Essex. It retains a rural atmosphere and appearance and has some fine buildings dating from the medieval period.



My birthday wasn’t confined to just one day, the following day I went out with some friends for an Indian meal, and yesterday I had an overnight stay meeting up with some friends that I started working with 25 years ago!! We get together twice a year. 
Back down to earth now with lawns to mow and a garden and allotment to tidy up and..... a dentist’s appointment, I can feel my heart beating faster and the anxiety creeping in just at the mention of it……..



26 September 2015

The Palace

I am a Royalist and ever since Buckingham Palace opened its doors to the public I have wanted to visit. I don't know why its taken so long. I think we often concentrate on preparing long journeys and faraway holidays thinking that we have plenty of time for local trips. On Wednesday I finally got there. 


OOTD was M&S jeggings, black thin long sleeve t-shirt underneath my lovely sale bargain John Rocha lightweight cardigan/jacket, black ankle boots and charity shop scarf. I pitched it just about right because we did spend a bit of time outside and although it was a gloriously sunny day, at this time of the year it is usually lovely and warm in the sun but windy and chilly in the shade.



Whilst we were waiting for the coach I took a few shots of this heron on the village pond. I've seen it there a few times when passing and wondered if it has taken over from Godfrey as the pond patriarch.


Originally the palace was built in 1703 as a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham and was known as Buckingham House. In 1761 it was acquired (I love that word, so many stately buildings were "acquired" in those days!) by King George III as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became know as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged by forming three wings around a central courtyard and Buckingham Palace became the official royal palace of the British monarchy on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the famous balcony on which the royal family greet crowds outside.



There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to describe the magnificence of the interior of the palace. The unsurpassed collections of paintings, porcelain, jewelled and gold cabinets, bronze and stone statues and carvings, chandeliers, sumptuous furnishings, its all breathtaking. You can explore the collection at https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/ 

Unfortunately photography isn't allowed in the palace but whilst browsing in the shop I had a brainwave!! I bought a pack of postcards and photographed them - genius!! :-) I hope I'm not infringing some copyright or artistic license - not so genius. So if you read about a lady of a certain age being thrown into the tower for infringing HM property you'll know who it is!!.......


The Green Drawing Room and The Music Room


The Picture Gallery and The State Dining Room
At the time of our visit there wasn't a table in the Picture Gallery 
but there was a beautifully laid out table in the dining room.


 

The Grand Staircase and The Throne Room



The White Drawing Room and The Blue Drawing Room

We were able to take some photos outside later at the cafe and in parts of the grounds. I was disappointed at not being able to see the herbaceous borders, I could only admire them from a distance. Some work was being done just outside the Queen's private wing during her absence so visitors weren't allowed in that area because of health and safety, even though the borders were well away from the building.





Time for refreshments, the coffee was weak but the profiteroles were delicious.

It's my birthday today, my lovely daughter is taking me out for a day of shopping, lunch and a cream tea.

Hope you have a good weekend.


21 September 2015

A Good Read


White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Focuses on the later lives of two wartime friends— Bangladeshi Samad Iqbal and Englishman Archie Jones, and their families.
London in the 1970's, cultures start to mix and cross with different experiences. Archie is contemplating suicide until he meets Clara, who is fleeing an oppressive Jehovah's Witness mother. Meanwhile Samad has arrived in England to meet with his old war-time friend Archie and to complete his arranged marriage. The two couples have different experiences of multi-cultural Britain which differs from their children, as the story follows the two generations across the years.
Excellent, I loved this story, funny, poignant, brilliant characters, a thoroughly good read.

20 September 2015

Rufus' Diary

It's been bit of an eventful week here at chez O&P

Poor little Buster, those horrible harvest mites are giving him a hard time. 
The Frontline spray that SL used on his legs was effective but she didn't think about spraying his chest.



She bought some of this cream, it smells absolutely foul but it seems to help sooth his skin.

Scary Lady has been to the dentist and has a follow up appointment in two weeks time, she doesn't like going to the dentist, she will probably tell you about it later.

I had a funny turn the other morning. After running around and rubbing my face on the ground I started sort of coughing or wheezing, SL thought I was going to be sick, but then thought maybe I had inhaled some tiny wheat grains and for a moment thought I was choking. I then sat down and SL had to put me on the lead to get me to walk. I didn't do any more running around, I walked back home and soon felt fine.

The week ended well with our Friday morning walk with the other dogs at the park. We have a great time, we run around, sniff bottoms and chase each other.







and then we get some lovely tasty treats.

Hope you have a good/fun/happy weekend





14 September 2015

Ode To Autumn

Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness by John Keats 1795-1821

Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er brimm'd their clammy cells.


I love hot weather, not direct heat, I can't sit in direct sunshine but I love the feeling of surround warmth and I will mourn the passing of summer. However all seasons have their own merit and for me this poem, in its entirety, sums
up the onset of the beautiful season of autumn.  


As I walk the dogs I notice the mellow fruitfulness all around. 



Elderberries




Sloes



I think these are rose hips




My favourites, blackberries. I shall be picking these when they are ready, for apple and blackberry pie, mmmm




7 September 2015

Weeds

I hate them. I can keep control of them in my garden but on my allotment it's a full time job, as I'm pulling out or digging over one lot I can almost see more growing. I often I feel like buying a flame thrower to completely obliterate them. 
Out in the countryside though it's completely different, they are a different species and quite often they can look almost pretty and graceful.















When I was a little girl, probably about 8 or 9 myself and friends would play out every day of the summer holidays. Most of the time it was down the rec, in the playing field, or just outside in the street, possible in those days because there were very few cars. Occasionally we ventured further afield into the countryside in search of adventure.
Our favourite haunt was somewhere called the turbs, I can't remember why it was called that but I can remember a den we built and the day we got caught scrumping apples from a farmer's field, I was more afraid of my father's anger than the policeman who gave us a good talking to - we never did it again.


Anyway the point of this trip down memory lane is that on those outings into the countryside there were lots of these pink weeds growing everywhere, although at the time I didn't know they were weeds, I thought they were pretty and I would pick arms full of them to take back to my mum.


My dear mum never told me they were weeds, she thanked me and put them in a vase of water and set them on the sideboard, and there they stayed until they died, then I would pick some more for her.






2 September 2015

Sixes and Sevens

Sixes and Sevens: A state of confusion and disorder

That's me at the moment, all over the place, I sit down to compose a post, the phone rings and I need to deal with something. The rain has stopped, the garden has dried out so I mow the lawn before the rain returns. I suddenly remember I've run out of a few provisions and I need to go to the supermarket. And every time we have a lot of rain we lose our internet connection!! It's taken ages to complete this post.
When I was working I was good at prioritising and I do apply that to home life, but then all of a sudden my brain short circuits, an electrical malfunction occurs and I lose the plot! Instead of finishing one thing before moving on to the next I'm trying to do a dozen things but not doing any of them very well!  


Swimming on Friday with my grandson followed by a bit of shopping



Cooking and gardening on Saturday


I did some batch cooking of one of my favourite dishes. It's a sort of made up one, I call it sausage and rice mix (catchy title eh!). It's very tasty and ideal for lunch. I don't weigh anything as it's a great way to use up any left overs in the fridge. 
For four of these 13cm dishes I boil 200g of brown rice. I use Fry Light to fry Skinny Pig low fat but tasty sausages, onions, peppers, grated or diced sweet potato, courgettes or anything else you fancy. When cool I divide it between the dishes and add sultanas, apple, tomatoes, spring onions and beetroot (I adore beetroot and Morrison's do a juniper and black pepper flavour one - gorgeous). I also add a few spicy (but not hot) piquant peppers. It keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge.


And a dog show On Sunday. Thank goodness it was Sunday because although it was a dull day it did stay dry, unlike the bank holiday Monday.


our two, Buster and Rufus


I do like watching sheep dog trials, they are such clever dogs.





They're equally as good with geese


More clever dogs, police dogs demonstrating what they do.



I don't know if this little lady had just had pups or is overweight


What a cute little carrier. This lovely little dog had just had a cataract operation and the other eye needed doing so her owner used this carrier so that she didn't get stressed with not being able to see clearly.





I don't like this kind of muzzle, is it a muzzle? I don't get them, they look very uncomfortable and don't stop the dog fully opening its mouth. What is their purpose?




Lots of lovely dogs, all shapes and sizes and breeds



So cute



These two were loving the water


And of course food

Thank you for reading my post, I hope you have enjoyed it.




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