There’s always been an Ann….

Once upon a very-long-ago-time, I had a friend called Ann who helped me through a particularly turbulent time of my adolescence— because of her, I found that clouds really do have silver linings —- in a period when I could have been filled with despair, she lifted me and helped me to skip through adversities—

Right now, when circumstances could have me feeling that I’m stuck fast in quicksand, I find that there are a whole bevy of ‘Anns’ who cup my chin and save me from sinking—-

With much love and heartfelt thanks — xxxx

 

 

The Hospital Visit…

What’s a gal to do to get some sympathy around here—-?

Isn’t there a time — like when you’ve been casually shopping in Bath, are heading back to the train station and have an accident involving a bus which results in you being winched up to a hovering helicopter and transferred to the Operating Theatre of a Bristol hospital for emergency surgery — when it’s perfectly justifiable to lie in a bed recovering and feeling sorry for yourself?

—but with the friends she’s got, there’s simply no chance—-

Visiting time yesterday had her being presented with this form of advice in a Rehabilitation Pack:

(click on the image to reveal its confidential information—)

The contents of the pack, which had been delivered under the wrap of a plain-brown-paper-bag, were soon examined and utilised in a photo-shoot:

Of course, we know that our dear friend comes to this page occassionally so please forgive me for broadcasting your prescription on here but I couldn’t resist—

Get Well wishes come in many guises — this is one of them— ๐Ÿ˜‰ xxxx

Only Believe…

All it takes is a closed door to set imagination on a whirling flight of fancy—-

One day, a few months ago, firmly fixed into the gnarled bark of an ancient Lime tree and partly sheltered by a stray sprig of sprouting Laurel, a little door appeared—-

Within days, one of the children using the footpath route alongside the parkland must have noticed it as they walked home from the village primary school, perhaps as they veered from the tarmac-ed path with their friends, enticed by the carpet of bronze and amber Autumn leaves inviting them to scuff their feet through Nature’s scrunchy fallen produce—

News of such magical occurrences travels fast and it has since become a three-thirty custom to see crowds of little ones, school bags slung across their shoulders, examining the tree trunk, tapping on the door, cocking their heads as they listen for sounds of fairies going about their business inside the tree’s chambers, while Mums wait patiently with prams—

Evidence that the fairy folk have chosen this site as their dwelling place has been apparent with the occassional sighting of their pretty dresses, freshly washed, fluttering on a clothes line in the breeze; tinkling bells adorning the Laurel’s dainty branches through the festive period; sprinklings of tiny glimmering stars at the tree trunk’s base.

Observing the children’s delight as they engross themselves in the mysteries of another kingdom, is pure enchantment—

Imagine then, my dismay yesterday morning as I watched a young girl, a little later than her comrades on the school-run, pull away from her mother so that she could check on the fairies’ activity and whose expression demonstrated that all was not well —- the door had disappeared—-!

She moved on to the next tree and circled its trunk, seeming to think she had made a mistake and checked the wrong tree—- but, no, she had been right, so back to Fairy Hollow and her foot struck something on the ground—

She stooped and picked it up— half a door!

It had been rent asunder and left lying as if a piece of trash —

She let it fall from her hand, her slumped posture an indication of her bitter disappointment—

I almost heard the Bubble burst—!

Back to Mum, then, to continue the few minutes’ heavy-hearted journey to school—

What to do—?

My initial thought was that I needed to get hold of some Police ticker tape and bind it around the tree with a bold ‘Crime Scene’ notice to attract the attention of the culprit who prised the little icon from its mooring—

In the meantime, I retrieved the fragments—

—-just in time—

—-a group of toddlers were now running towards the tree on their way to Nursery and their reaction was the same as the little schoolgirl’s—they checked the next tree in case they had the wrong address—-

Now I knew that my idea of sealing off the site with a cautionary notice would be the wrong thing to do—

I had to use the children’s imagination to my advantage—- so, off to source a replacement replica, install it and wait for half-past-three—-

All fairy tales have happy endings— the first child to come along the path after school, diverting to the location, was the one who witnessed the broken door—- The only words to describe her reaction now are ‘sheer glee’! Jumping up and down, arms flailing wildly, a beaming smile—-

Methinks she may have passed on the details of the dismal sight that morning to her friends who soon joined her and shared her excitement—-

More knuckles tapping on the door, more ears to the trunk just listening—

Oh, the simple pleasures of life which become real adventures when one only believes—– ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Advent-urers’ Night Out…

Imagine my embarrassment—

“Don’t forget to wear something Christmassy!” was the brief before we set off for a trip on the train from Bishops Lydeard station last evening—

Bedecked, then, in a loud-red, knitted minidress with ‘Mrs. Claus’ embroidered on its front; purse, pen and mobile phone tucked into the seasonal accessory of a handbag crafted from felt in the shape of a snowman, I met up with seven friends on the platform—

It was draughty in the Waiting Room so we followed the group of fellow passengers across the tracks to the Railway Museum —- and walked straight into the clutches of 1929 —-

I looked around at the assembled crowd — many of the women were gowned ย in sparkling, Charlton-styled evening dress, feather boas draped across their slight shoulders, their hair adornments obviously being the origin of the word ‘fascinators’; their beaus in smart dinner suits, white ties and trilbys; then there were ladies of aristocracy in elegant fur trimmed coats and hats, some accompanied by he-who-could-afford-to-keep-them-in-such-comfortable-and-well-groomed fashion, others who, from the batting of their eyelids, seemed to be travelling alone but would welcome male company should it be offered—

Oh, for a cloak, to wrap around my dress which shouted “Fifteen quid in The Range, Christmas 2016!” but I had chosen to cover it with a see-through, plastic-but-with-lace-effect jacket which did nothing to hide the garment — even the blush on the snowman’s cheeks seemed to deepen the longer I gazed around the room—

Hurrah! A distraction — All eyes, which had surely been focused on my faux pas, were averted as a Detective Inspector came into our midst—

“There has been a serious incident at Thymely station,” he informed us. “Tragically, a lady, Mary Unbright, has been found to have died in the station’s Buffet—and we have reason to believe she was murdered!”

There was a united gasp of astonishment from his audience—

“We also believe the three suspects will be travelling on the 19.00hrs train to Minehead — I shall be boarding but would be grateful if you could help in anyway that this crime may be solved. Just keep your eyes and ears open to any conversations you may overhear in your carriages—”

He must have sensed the unspoken feelings of the group of around a hundred for he then went on to divulge some confidential information—

“The characters, Bea White who we think delivered a sprig of mistletoe to the table occupied by the deceased and an employee of her husband, Mr. Chris Tingle, together with the bereaved sister, May Yordayze are all people of particular interest in our enquiries —-”

He didn’t need to spell out descriptions as, conveniently, he was able to point out each suspect as they passed amongst us on their way to catch the evening Steam Train—

Well—once we had clambered aboard, our chatter filled with the shocking news, and were seated at our table, we really needed that glass of wine that the steward kindly brought us —- dishes of dainty little canapes had also been served and, as we nibbled, we also wondered how we could possibly bring the nature of good citizenship to the fore and assist the Detective Inspector in his mission—

A nudge from my companion and a whispered “There’s Chris Tingle—!” followed by “Ooooh! and there’s Bea White!” had us furtively straining to listen in to their conversation— Hmmmmmmmmm!——–

No sooner had they swayed their way in rhythmn to the chuggity, chugg motion of the train to the next compartment, than the poshly spoken but dressed in the colour of mourning, May Yordayze walked through (on the way to the W.C. we presumed.) As we sort of returned her smile with an imitation of the same, she paused to speak with us but then had to move on as the steward was bringing plates of our chosen meal; a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for me —- yummmm—- perfectly cooked and delicious! —- yet, as I tucked in and reflected on what May had told us— another ‘Hmmmmmmmmmm!’

After much shared pondering, a jolt and a whistle alerted us to the fact that we had reached the destination of the seaside town of Minehead. We stepped onto the illuminated platform on this dark December night and took in the charming view of North Hill with its twinkling lights of cottages set on the steep contour — The accompanying tune of Jingle Bells playing through the station’s speakers gave the scene the full flavour of Yuletide—

All too soon it was time to use the return part of our ticket so back to the tinsel-trimmed carriage to further discuss our suspicions as to who-dunnit—

Now the stewards were busy bringing bowls of Christmas pudding with hot custard or generous slices of Strawberry Cheesecake to the diners—- more appreciation of the fare served to us—-

Thoughts then, back to Mistletoe —- could it have been ——- ??????

Jottings down of our speculations—- scribbled conclusions—-

Oh, here comes the Detective Inspector—-

“I’ll take your notes, if you don’t mind— they may help—-”

Off he went with our jumbled notions—-

For the first time on our journey, we wiped the condensation from the window—a peer into the darkness had us noticing the place-name-sign of the little station of Creech Heathfield—

“We’re nearly home—”

As we alighted at Bishops Lydeard, the railway staff directed us back to the Museum where, we were told, the Inspector would like to speak to us—

Still intrigued, we followed the instructions—

Notebook in hand, Detective Inspector Archie Bauls addressed us—-

The case had been solved! The culprit was immediately apprehended and will, as I write, have been taken into custody—

All that remains is for me to thank Art Deco Productions for the chance to be a part of this Murder Mystery —- sheer moment-by-moment entertainment —- and to all the voluntary staff of our West Somerset Railway for their dedicated, attentive and excellent service —- and to my fellow passengers that, although totally improperly dressed, my embarrassment only needed to be fleeting as simply no one seemed to mind—– ๐Ÿ˜‰

A most lovely evening—–

 

Spoiler Alert…!

door

Yesterday, a friend spoke to me of her concerns that I haven’t written on my blog for a while—

Having presented my excuses, I decided that I should put her mind at rest and update my journal—

Never mind the debatable issues of Brexit and U.S. Elections — in my household there are more serious matters to consider—

A kind gesture from another friend last week had me wondering just what lies behind closed doors. Although I was tempted to take a peek, I knew this would be contravening the rules of etiquette so I resisted — until yesterday —

Sheer curiosity, coupled with the date, had me gently unlatching the door with ‘1’ marked as its address—

The sweet greeting that awaited was a real treat and left me yearning to revisit the site and find out what secrets are hidden behind the twenty-three neighbouring doors —

—and then I saw it! Hence the title of this post — ‘Spoiler Alert’!

There, emblazoned on a corner, was the message “Mini Reindeer for Christmas Eve”—

Tsk!

— although, maybe, just maybe, in this season of surprises, it’s a ploy and there’s a diamond or golden trinket behind its cardboard portal —

After all, try as I might, I cannot imagine how a reindeer, miniature or otherwise, could be included in the contents of my Maltesers Advent Calendar—

— especially in view of the fact that so much fuss is being made about traces of animal product in the new ยฃ5 notes— ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx

 

 

The little light…

coffee table, cake and candle

Who could have known that the little light of the candle two weeks ago was not only giving a glimmer of hope after a sorrowful fortnight but was also to serve as that same fuel for the two weeks ahead in which history would repeat itself—–?

—-and that’s it — in life’s darkest moments, there is an oasis in the company of friends who care — a place where we can take refreshment and have our spirits lifted as we travel life’s journey and be strengthened to deal with the unexpected scenarios which awaitย around any given corner—- xx

A Right Royal gift…

img_0091

I knew it was a bit special as soon as I saw it, so I bagged it at the local hospital’s Fete yesterday—

A beautifully crafted cot quilt — an ideal gift for the latest addition to the family; our new great-grandson, exactly one-week-old today—! ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I ran my hand across the smooth poly-cotton surface and compared the texture to the snug feel of the brushed cotton underlayer of the coverlet, the lady at the stall made my intended purchase even more desirable by telling me that she used Prince Charles’ shirt material to make it—

My mental image of the future King of England discovering that his garments now bore square-shaped holes was soon dispelled, however, when she went on to say that she orders bolts of material from the manufacturers of his shirts—

—- so, if it’s fit for Royalty, it’s just perfect for the little one I have in mind— ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx

Summer Holiday…

North Wales -- August 2016 008

Think of a beautiful island…

The language could have been a barrier had it not been that the road signs also bore English translation and most of the people we met also spoke in our mother tongue—

A five hour journey had brought us to our destination with its spectacular scenery — mountains, forests, moorland, lakes, beaches, verdant countryside —

Lush—!

With the Snowdonia National Park just a stone’s throw (or little car journey—) away, last week was spent exploring a charming and characterful region of North Wales, courtesy of our hosts—

Tuesday 23rd August…

North Wales -- August 2016 066

Each day was blessed with blue skies and sunshine and on day one we were driven through the little towns of Denbigh and Betws-Y-Coed to the vast lake, Llyn Brenig, where we strolled its banks and shingled shoreline and enjoyed a hearty picnic lunch before travelling on through the Dee Valley to the beautiful market town of Llangollen, then up to the heather-clad moors and down the famous Horseshoe Pass, taking in the breathtakingly majestic views — A visit to the 17th Century Rug Chapel with its magnificent decor and back, via Ruthin, to our accommodation where the pool offered us welcome relief from the warmth of the afternoon sunshine — An evening meal taken al fresco brought the close to a lovely day—

North Wales -- August 2016 086

Wednesday 24th August…

North Wales -- August 2016 030

An early start the next morning and we were given a guided tour of Snowdonia — With my camera at the ready, I soon realised that no amount of clicking could truly capture the beauty of the stunning landscape; the lofty grandeur of the mountains with their rivulets of falling water was an awesome sight and had me overawed at the wonders of Nature — On, then, to Criccieth beach via Caernarfon and Porthmadog and another lunchtime feast which had been prepared for us was relished as we sat looking out to sea— (and watching the antics in the road-side parking bays as a young Mum blocked the last available space for some time by cunningly manoeuvering her toddler’s buggy into it — It transpired that the whole exercise had been to ‘save’ the space for her friend who pulled her vehicle into it half-an-hour or so later — ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) ย A quick stop at the supermarket for provisions on our way back to our home-for-the-week where the patio doubled up as our open-air dining room for a barbequed meal as dusk fell —

Criccieth

Thursday 25th August…

2015-07-05 Trip to the Trossachs via Chester and Hawes 005

Last year we spent a few pleasant days in Chester on our way to Scotland. The charming atmosphere of the City had us hoping to return one day — little did we know at the time that an opportunity would arise this year for us to do just that— Today, a trip down that Memory Lane had been scheduled into the agenda! First stop had to be the unforgettable Albion Inn with its respectful theme dedicated to all those who served in the 1914 – 18 World War — Unfortunately it was closed when we got there (which just means we shall have to go back again another day!) so we took the shortcut through the gateway to the Roman Gardens and then down to The Groves to sit on the promenade at the side of the River Dee. From here we walked a part of the City Walls, pausing now and again to observe the hustle and bustle in the streets below or to take photos of the grand Tudor-styled buildings with their whitewashed walls, glossy black beams and leaded light windows — Stepping down to the boardwalk of The Rows, we gazed at the displays in the shop windows and then found our way to Chester’s Cathedral. A moment there to just sit quietly and reflect before once again strolling the streets and alleys where we were tempted by a Restaurant’s invitation to lunch — Another well filled day in kind weather so no matter that heavy showers of rain fell that evening—

North Wales -- August 2016 056

Friday 26th August…

Denbigh castle

With our companions otherwise engaged today, we did some sightseeing on our own— The first challenge was to find our way out of the maze of lanes in the middle of which our tranquil holiday destination lay— Eventually we hit the main road (—well—it was ย a ‘B’ road but actually had road markings so — ;)) and spent some time around the main towns in the district — Denbigh, Mold and Ruthin— The local pub, renowned for its cuisine, was the arranged venue for our evening meal and an easy stroll across a couple of fields had us soon ensconsed in its cosiness and well-satisfying our appetites—

The Golden Lion

Saturday 27th August…

A Denbighshire lane

Sometimes it’s just nice to appreciate what’s right on the doorstep, so to speak, and today we decided to further pursue the puzzle of the maze of lanes on foot — At leisurely pace, we strolled alongside the flora and fauna of the hedgerows, aware of the freshness of air in this part of the country, the peace and quiet, the only sounds being that of birdsong— An invitation to join our friends for a home-cooked meal that evening was the finale to a wonderful, relaxed holiday in this corner of our beautiful island—

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Sunday 28th August…

New Severn Bridge

—-and homeward bound—- It’s always a bit sad to say “Goodbye” but the journey back to Somerset through the Wye Valley, across the gateway to England (the ‘new’ bridge across the Severn Estuary) was a picturesque outing in itself, perfectly rounding off a week of meeting new people, making new friends and discovering a new area of this green and pleasant land—

With a big ‘Thank you’ to those who made it that way— xx

The language of flowers…

IMG_20160801_165658

When anyone’s been feeling as though they’re under a bit of a cloud, nothing speaks as loudly, as softly, as the vibrancy, the gentleness, of the sweet and fragrant blooms of flowers —

This particular bouquet of cheer, I found on my doorstep yesterday —

There was no card to tell me who had made such a kind gesture — but sometimes there is no need for words —

—- their petals say it all —-

(Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx)