Thursday, 27 August 2009

Past and Present

Yesterday was my lovely daughter's 40th birthday. She lives in Stratford on Avon and we went to see her last Sunday as we knew we wouldn't be seeing her on her big day. She was spending the day with friends as well as going out in the evening, so she was definitely celebrating. Later today she will arrive with her little girl and on Saturday morning we are all off to the Isle of Wight for a week's holiday. However, on Sunday we wanted to visit and take her birthday present and birthday cake.

During the course of sorting out various boxes with our imminent move in mind, I came across a suitcase full of memorabilia of my son's and daughter's young and baby days. You know the sort of thing - baby shoes, first teddy, Cub and Brownie uniforms, school reports etc. Knowing that my daughter's 40th birthday was looming I decided to pack up most of her "bits and pieces" and put them into a "keepsake" box to give to her on her birthday. I wrapped them all separately, placed a large plain piece of paper over them and stuck a label on reading "PAST". I then wrapped up her birthday present (a lovely Radley handbag) and stuck a label on that reading "PRESENT" and put that in as well. I then wrapped the whole box up in gift wrap and left with her on Sunday to be opened on Wednesday morning. She was very intrigued, as was our grand-daughter who asked what her mummy's present was.

"Whisper to me, I won't tell her" she said

"Promise you won't tell" I replied and I hesitated because you know what 5 year olds are like!

"I promise I won't tell" says she.

And so we left them on Sunday and when we rang her on Wednesday to wish her a happy birthday she had already opened the box and was very thrilled with what she found inside - all of it! The conversation went something like this:

Daughter - "I can't believe you have kept all these things all this time, but then I can believe it because I am doing the same thing. I love my bag - it's gorgeous. I put it to one side while I looked through the box".

Me - "Did Imogen tell you what it was"?

Daughter - "she said "aren't you going to open your present - it's a handbag" "!

So, bless her, she had kept it a secret for 3 days and had also kept secret what she had bought (with daddy) - she did well I think.

Among my keepsakes I also found a letter my daughter had written to Father Christmas one year, so I put it into a separate envelope and wrote on the outside "Now that you are 40 we think you are old enough to know about this - but DO NOT let Imogen see it". When we spoke on the phone she had not yet opened it but about half an hour later she rang me - "do you mean he's not real" she whispered down the phone. It made us both laugh. She had wondered what on earth was in the envelope and had taken the first quiet opportunity to open it. She said and she was going to show her friends when they came later in the day - "I suppose they're old enough to take it" she said!

For her birthday cake I made a gift bag with a "Jimmy Choo" label on it and made a sugar shoe to place beside it. Again, she was very pleased with it!

We are looking forward to seeing them later and then it will be all systems go to get ourselves organised for Saturday morning.

So, I will be away from blogging for just over a week and will try to catch up a bit on our return from Isle of Wight. With so much to do at the moment I will have little time to devote to blogging but I will try to keep in touch.

Anne x

Monday, 24 August 2009

ABC Wednesday - the letter F

F is for

a Flock of sheep in a field

a Friendly Frog

and some ferns with their foliage of



For more ABC Wednesday images - please click here

Busy, Busy

We have had a very busy weekend.

On Friday afternoon, at 3.15 pm precisely, we got the call we had been waiting for. Contracts had just been exchanged on the sale of our house and the purchase of our new home! Finally! At long last! It seems to have taken forever to get to this stage. We put the house up for sale on 8 March 2008 and finally received an acceptable offer on 6 May 2009. We are now set to complete the transaction on 10 September.

Now it is "all systems go". We are off on holiday this coming Saturday, for one week, so for now it's busy, busy, busy. I will do my best to keep up with the blogging world and give more details as we go along.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

ABC Wednesday - The Letter E

E is for Echidna

Apparently their young are called "puggles" - how sweet!

I took this photograph at Cleland Park in South Australia but I was fortunate enough one evening, on a walk with my son in Kuitpo Forest to see one in the wild. My son had heard a noise and motioned to me to stay quiet but to follow him and there it was, trundling along through the undergrowth, oblivious of our presence. We left him to it. more details about echidnas here,

I always feel privileged when I see animals in their natural habitat and was thrilled, though slightly irritated with myself as it was one of the few occasions that I hadn't bothered to carry my camera!

For more letter E subjects - click here.

Monday, 17 August 2009

The Tale of a Cat - Fluff

I have loved cats for as long as I can remember. Many people prefer dogs. I like dogs and particularly admire working dogs but it is cats that give me a glow of pleasure when I see them and make me smile. I love their grace and agility, their own special way of communication, their purr. Watching a cat washing its face, with particular attention to its ears, is wonderful and so relaxing. They can be predictable and unpredictable, give an air of superiority one minute then overwhelmingly curious about the slightest movement the next. Sometimes playful and loving, other times haughty but always, seemingly, all-knowing!

Cats were a part of my life for quite a number of years, sadly no more. All wonderful characters, they brought me and my family a lot of affection, fun and amusement.

One of my first books when I was a small child of about 1 or 2, was "Curly Kitten". I still have it. Such a pretty little book with some sweet verses about the day to day adventures of a kitten. I wonder if that is where my love of cats stems from.

I have seen some of my cats grow from tiny kitten, all curiosity and playfulness, to elderly and arthritic geriatrics. Some have lived with me for only a relatively short while, others a full life but all have been loving, each in its own special way, and, at times I believe, we have needed and helped each other. All have been very much loved and I wept tears of farewell for all of them. Here I will tell some of their stories - beginning with Fluff.


Fluff the cat was the first pet I remember; unfortunately I don't remember a lot. I was probably 5 or 6 years old when he came to live with us. White with ginger patches, a long haired Tom cat who must have detested his name. Perhaps it was because of his name that he was a bruiser - a bit like "A boy named Sue"! He was very affectionate with us though, my Mum and Dad and me. I used to like to sit on the floor with my books open in front of me and he would come to sit on my books. I still wonder why cats like to do that!

Being a "real" Tom he had his lady friends and one day came home with a young kitten in tow. According to my parents the youngster must have been his offspring because it was the image of him. Had he brought the kitten to meet us? - it is a lovely thought - we only ever saw it that one time.

Although Fluff was very loving to us he did not much like visitors to the house and one evening when a friend came to call, rushed to the door and stood there growling so that our friend decided to wait on the doorstep and would not venture inside.

When I was about 12 years old we moved house and went to live in another village about 10 miles away. We kept Fluff in, hoping that he would soon settle but one day he managed to escape and we never saw him again. There was farm land all around us and we liked to think, indeed we hoped, that he spent the rest of his days somewhere on a farm, hunting and keeping lady cats company. We searched and searched the area and asked our former neighbour to keep an eye out for him just in case he tried to return to our old house, but sadly we had seen the last of him. Dear Fluff, we still think of you fondly.

Today's Flowers

A bee enjoying our bottlebrush!

and a butterfly on the buddleia

Thanks to the team of this lovely meme. To see more beautiful flowers from around the world - click here

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Sky Watch Friday

Weston Super Mare has it's own "eye" for the summer - a big wheel - and last week OH and I decided to go on it and have a good look at the surrounding views. Fortunately we picked a lovely morning.

We had a "pod" to ourselves and our trip meant we went around, slowly, about 5 times. I took a few photos but as they had to be through the pod windows they are not very clear.

If you click on each picture you will get a little more detail.

This is the Welsh coast and you can see Flat Holm (the island with the lighthouse) in the Bristol Channel.

Next is Steep Holm, also in the Bristol Channel but a little further along. The word "Holm" is derived from a Scandinavian word meaning "island in an estuary".

In the next picture you may be able to make out a tourist camping area, with Brean Down to the right of it. A Victorian Fort was built on Brean Down around 1865 and is still there. I believe that Barnes Wallis' "bouncing bomb" was tested off there during World War II.

For more sky pictures from around the world - click here.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

ABC Wednesday - the letter D

D is for -

Daisies in the grass

Ducklings in for a swim

Donkeys having a picnic lunch on the beach

Digitalis or foxgloves


I haven't seen many dragonflies this year but last summer, looking at our garden pond one morning I discovered this dragonfly. I believe it had just broken from its larval casing. It was in the same position for several hours and later I found the discarded case in the pond. Apparently dragonfly nymphs live in the water for a long period of time, possibly years, feeding voraciously, eventually crawling out and the dragonfly emerges. (more facts here) If I have assumed this incorrectly then I apologise and would like to know more.

Grateful thanks to the ABC Wednesday team and for more "D" choices - please click here.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Today's Flowers

I have taken part in Today's Flowers before but not for a while. However this week it is their 1st anniversary so felt I should like to join in again. Thank you to the team for such a lovely meme.

To see other beautiful flower pictures - click here.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Secret World

Quite close to where we live there is an wildlife rescue centre called Secret World. They take in injured, orphaned and abandoned wild animals, relying on donations to keep it all running. Secret World, now a registered charity, has been operating for many years and it's founder Pauline Kidner does wonderful work, not only looking after the sick and injured animals, ensuring, as far as possible, that each patient is rehabilitated back to the wild but also giving talks and generally attempting to raise funds for the centre. Secret World has many supporters, locally and further afield, some from the world of show business, which helps to keep the centre's profile as high as possible.

I have recently discovered that Pauline keeps a blog of the animals in her care, with photographs of the many and varied creatures that pass through the centre, including badgers, baby deer, bats, hedgehogs, ducks etc. There are web-cams too which enable viewers to see what is happening in some of the pens.

I recommend you to have a look, it is delightful, though sometimes moving, and there are some wonderful photos and stories.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

SkyWatch Friday

On Monday OH and I drove to Bristol intending to see the Banksy Exhibition at the Bristol Museum, which opened at 10 am. We found a parking space and as we approached the Museum a clock was striking 10. We knew there would be a queue as it is such a popular exhibition so we walked to find the end of the queue and we walked and walked, finally finding a notice which read "2 hours wait from here" and then walked some more! We reckoned that we would have to wait at least 2 1/2 hours so gave up there and then, resolving to go back in a couple of weeks, a little earlier in the day. I cannot stand for very long at all, 2 1/2 hours is out of the question.

I took this photo as we drove back over the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

This next one I downloaded from the internet (see more here) and you can read about the Bridge here.

and a little later I took this of a plane on its way to Bristol Airport, so not a completely wasted journey.

For more pictures of skies around the world, click here.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

ABC Wednesday - The Letter C

I love cookery books and have over 40. Here are some of my favourites, well used and worn, these are the ones I usually look through first when I am searching for something new to try.

I also have quite a collection of books on cake decoration as that is another hobby of mine.

Below are some of the celebration cakes that I have been asked for over the years.

Christening cakes

Celebration Cakes for Couples (wedding cakes)

this was for a Christmas Wedding

And some Christmas cakes

These are my favourites to do as they are fun, I'm not usually under any pressure and they are either gifts for family and friends or a donation as a raffle prize.

To look at more "C" contributions - click here.