Sunday, 27 December 2009

Images of Christmas

A lovely family Christmas! Fourteen of us sat down to a marvellous dinner cooked by our daughter, the house and table beautifully decorated. She had worked so hard to make it the resounding success it was!

We all had a hilarious time afterwards playing a game that I don't think anybody really understood but we drew, acted, guessed wildly and showed off our ignorance!

Our little great-granddaughter was there for part of the morning, and we all watched her as she tried to understand the mechanics of crawling, but couldn't quite work out how to get her other leg from underneath her. But it won't be long before she is all over the place and into everything!

Unfortunately my sister was taken ill on Boxing Day, and so we spent part of the morning down in the Hospital. She managed to rally a bit until she went home this morning (Sunday) with strcit instructions to go and see her own Doctor.

Now the snow has gone, and its cold and wet out there, not at all nice. Deinitely time for a good book tucked up indoors!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Snowy Christmas

I managed to get out into the Park on Monday. The snow looked really beautiful, the children were out with their sledges, and there were lots of excited dogs racing around. What is it with dogs and snow?

One excited dog! that is our back fence in the picture.

This was taken from a bedroom window, but it was hard to see all the sledgers because of the trees in the garden next door! But the hills at the back look lovely in the afternoon sun.

There was only a very small unforzen space in the lake. I thought the gulls looked very miffed!

Our garden seat looked as though it had been upholstered!

But its not so good for those driving around, or hoping to go somewhere for Christmas. I do hope my sister and brother-in-law manage to get here tomorrow.

If I don't blog again before Christmas, I hope you all have a great time!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Thematic Challenge - Abstract

Carmi's Photographic challenge this week is Abstract.

This is actually a photograph of the light shining through a green glass ball I have on my window sill. I found it, many, many years ago on a remote shore of a sea loch on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. It was one of our first camping trips, and we had driven across the Highlands and onto the ferry to the Isle of Skye. It was so very beautiful there, deserted shores, unfamiliar birds, and (for that bit, anyway) sunny skies.

I loved that glass ball, which was a float used by fishermen then to mark the position of their nets. I guarded it carefully for the rest of our holiday, and it has survived four house moves and still gives me pleasure as I think of that lovely, lonely shore.

I also love abstract photographs and paintings. Maybe I can feel the emotions they bring forth more easily than in a straighforward representation?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Roses in the darkness
The tight buds pointed under my fingers
Slowly their petals unfold
Softness around a well of fragrance.
I bury my face and drink deep
Of that heavenly perfume
Which unlooses memories
Of the days of long ago
When I could see their infinite shades.
The pure white of virginity
So easily marred by rain.
The pinks of young girlhood
Innocent, shyly modest.
There, golden hues
Of laughing womanhood,
And the rich red fullness
Of maturity and experience.
Now as I feel those silky petals
My fingers bruise their loveliness.
Their perfume lingers as I pass by
My roses in the darkness

© Gillian Peall

I wrote this poem some years ago - it was a challenge, we were given the title, and asked to write a poem. This is what sprung out from my mind! I sent it up to a sort of Knock Out competition on the Guardian website once, but it got knocked out!

I think I was maybe a bit subtle - not everyone realised I was writing about a blind person. Actually, I was imagining a blind man, elderly, having difficulty walking, but enjoying the smell of his roses. Not sure what that says about me!

I have always dreaded going blind. Books mean so much to me. I am fortunate in that I can still see very well, especially now I have had a cataract removed. I don't know how I would react to losing my sight.

But we never know how we would react to a sudden loss of a sense, or an ability. Would we sit and moan? Get angry? Try to blame someone? Or make the best of what we had left to us? Probably a combination of them all!

Gloomy sort of blog for a gloomy sort of day! Honestly, I'm quite cheerful really, but blogging and procrastinating about getting the Christmas decorations up!

Monday, 7 December 2009


I think it must have been all the rain we have been having, making puddles everywhere, that got me thinking about reflectionsr

Not just reflections in water, though they can set me off being quite profound!

When you look into a puddle
do you just look at the surface,
the scum, bits of paper, dirt?
Or do you look at the trees, the buildings?
Wonder at their wobbles
as the wind blows the surface?
Or do you look at the sky,
and ask about eternity?

No, I got to reflecting on my life. None of it seems to have been easy. Though not, of course, as hard as some have had. But it has been a struggle, never seeming to fit in, or deliver what was expected.

And now, just when the papers and magazines are full of advice as to "How to make the best of your life together now you are retired" sort of thing - you know, holidays in Spain, Africa, India, or Vietnam, Thailand and China. Be active, go walking, white water rafting, abseiling, parachute jumping! (For my friends across the pond, abseiling is called something different, only I can't think what it is, but it is descending rock faces with just a rope!)

But no-one tells you your plans can be halted, sliced off, just like that through sickness or disability.

If anyone had told me I would be disabled, I would have said, "Oh no, I've taken care of my body and health, that won't happen to me!"

Ha! These things strike the nicest people!

But there we are, funny sort of reflections I've been having. But I have lots of interests, a wonderful family, and some great blog friends. Would never have had time to blog if I'd been white water rafting all the time! ;)

So? Well, my life has made me what I am. I've done the best with what I was given, and am still open, I hope, to new ideas and experiences.

Now then, where did I put my writing pad and a nice sharp pencil......?
I have something stirring in my mind!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Water, more water and ice!

Today was a gloriously bright, frosty morning when I went out with the faithful hound. Even the lake had ice on it, and the ducks looked a bit miffed!

Yesterday was another story! Like the days we've been having it was water, water everywhere, and the little stream did its best to get down the waterfalls round the fallen leaves.

However, I did manage a better photo of the heron!

Puddles made lovely reflections.

But there was a lot of water where it wasn't welcome! The powers that be are doing something drastic to the Children's playground, only I don't think they will be moving for a while. Mud-bound seems to be the word for it!

The reflections in our little pond at the end of our garden are rather nice, too.

And just to prove that I do go on holidays sometimes, this is the sea shore on the Menai Straits on Anglesey, in Wales.

I am determined we are going on holiday next year. It is our Golden Wedding Year, and I think we should celebrate in style! I've been looking at short cruises, round the British Isles, but then I keep thinking, it does get a bit rough, even in summer......

But its fun planning!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Birds and bits and bobs

Most of the autumn leaves have gone now, but the cotoneaster (variety unknown, it just appeared!) has made a valiant effort to brighten up the garden! This photo was taken from our back door, and it has really done a great job of cheering me up! There were a lot of berries, but the birds scoffed the lot!

The cotoneaster horizontalis, in the front gardeen is a brilliant scarlet this year. There are a lot of berries ready for the blackbirds later.

Even the hydrangea has put on a bit of a show this year. I don't remember it turning such a pretty colour in previous years.

In the park, the heron is back. I tried to photograph him standing in the water, with a lovely reflection, but he took one look at me and flew off, to land on the railings. Its not a brilliat picture, but it does prove he is there!

The numbers of Canada geese are building up, together with the mallards, and the hybrid ducks there which always make me think of a little pure white duck who appeared one year, to the delight of the drakes.......

Now the trees are bare, I can see their beautiful shapes, and also spot where the nests were built! I think this must have been a magpie's nest, as it is so untidy! Its not really big enough for a crow, though it might have been, as the high winds could have blown stuff away. I will watch the spot carefully next spring, in case they, whoever they were, use it again!

Haven't been very mobile just lately, but hope to get out a bit more soon!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Sit up straight at the back, there!

A quick trip to our local Garden Centre for some winter pansies for my patio pots (well, I decided I must get out more!) gave me a lot of amusement.

When I saw all the little plants standing in rows with their labels sticking up I was reminded of the classrooms at my high school, long, long ago! All our desks were in nice straight rows, and slouching was definitely not allowed!

But these little plants were obviously the teacher's favourites!

Bit of lolling around here, don't you think?

No trouble at all with these stalwarts. Probably the older ones designated prefects, to keep the lower classes in order!

It was great fun at the Garden Centre - they were getting out their Christmas displays, and I was greatly taken with these jolly Santas.

Though I do think its a great shame that Christmas has been taken over by 'Santa' and there is nothing to show that it is a celebration of Jesus' birth. Many children nowadays probably hardly know the lovely Christmas stories. I know the shops want to appeal to all, but does the real meaning of the word 'Christmas' have to be erased altogether?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Out again!

Now that the leaves are coming off the trees, we can see the hills beyond the valley. I do love being able to look at the hillls - they are so beautiful, especially when the sun is on them, or when they are snowy. At night I can see the street lights across the valley, which is somehow magical! The photo is taken from the bedroom, through glass, so not of my best!

There are nearly always two crows sitting in the birch tree. They tend to look rather ominous, and are terrors at breeding time, when they eat nestlings, and duckling on the lake, if they can.

The stream in the park feeds the lake. It has been culverted now, but my friend can remember taking her children when small to play on its grassy banks. Knowing how much damage can be done to grass and mud banks, being culverted is probably a good thing, but it doesn't look so pretty!

There are always fishermen using the lake in the season, and it is very popular - on the side you can see you can sometimes find it hard to reach the water for rods, cans of bait, tents, etc.! The lake is also a favourite place for small children to come and feed the ducks from the two concrete 'piers'. Wintertime isn't quite so favourite a time for them, so the ducks look hungry, and often there are 'visitors' to the lake. We have seen grey herons, and gooseanders (loons) visit regularly in the winter. We've seen our first ones this winter already!

The hungry ducks! I love the way the light reflects off the water.

There are also doves and pigeons. The white ones are doves, more or less living in the park now, though I believe they used at one time to belong to a man who bred them. They seem to get on with life on their own now! The darker ones are feral pigeons, not so graceful, very greedy, and always keen to eat the duck bread! They love sitting on the roof of the old bandstand.

The larches this year are not so orange as they were last year, and the needles are falling rapidly, but they still look lovely against the sky.

After the recent high winds and lashing rains, we have had a bit of quiet weather, and my camera has been out with me. Hopefully, when circumstances permit, we will get out into the real country! You must be getting bored with pictures of our park!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Out with my camera!

We had a bit of sun earlier this week, and I managed to get out in the park with my new camera! As you can see, the dog didn't take too kindly to me stopping and taking photographs!

However, I persevered, and really just took anything, testing it out. The leaves are making lovely patterns on the grass, though I don't think the park maintenance men would agree! They have to come along and blow them all into a big heap, and then put them into a trailer, taking them to wherever leaves are taken to! Council compost heap, I think!

The gull on the railings obligingly stood there while I tested the zoom feature. I did get closer, but he turned his head away!

Wet leaves can make a good picture, but I got tired of the wet, and wet leaves, and so went indoors.

This is a green glass float that I found on the shores of a loch on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Amazingly it hadn't broken and I climbed down to fetch it, and guarded it throughout the rest of our camping holiday. It must have been 47 or 48 years ago that we went there. It was really beautiful, but foul weather!

The basket is one of a pair I bought from the fair trade company, Traidcraft. I originally bought them as wastepaper baskets for Christmas presents, but fell in love with them and kept them. Its bigger brother lives on the half-landing, looking just right in the corner. And yes, it is sitting on the window sill, I needed the light!

Hoping for some better weather so that we can get further afield next time!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A blog without photographs? Can't be done yet, so I have found a picture - Ships leaving the harbour - by one of my favourite artists, Paul Klee, who was at Bauhaus in Germany during its short life. I have always liked the Art Deco period, especially as I was actually born during this time, and things my parents owned were typical of this period. Where are they now? (the items, not my parents, they are now dead) I wish I knew, some of the china and glassware would be quite valuable now.

I have at last got a new computer, mine having been declared 'kaput' by the Computer Man handily at the end of the road. Mr. G has nobly donated his computer (much newer, bigger and more bells and whistles than my old one) and is using his laptop for his own computing. At the moment this computer is full of his own photographs, documents etc. so I am waiting patiently until I can upload photos from my new camera.

Ah, my new camera! I took several shots, trying it out, all seems fine, but we have had days of rain, and I got tired of photographing wet leaves, and now its bright again, I am crippled with my old back problem. Just hoping its the result of shifting desks, etc. yesterday, and not too permanent. But further than the patio outside, and that is painful, I cannot go!

But there is nothing wrong with my typing fingers, so here I am again, ready to read your blogs - will have to find them again, my 'favourites' list has gone - and hoping you are all having a good weekend!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Keep watching!

I know these photos are of Wisley again, but I haven't any new ones yet! Mr G has given me a lovely new camera for my birthday, so hopefully soon you will see sparkling new photos here!

However, my computer is creaking at the joints and keeps throwing hissy fits so that the screen suddenly turns pink, and until I can get it sorted I am unwilling to upload new software and photos.

So when I get it all reliable again, watch this space!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Outlook is Yellow.......

No, I'm not jaundiced! But leaves and trees all seem to be shades of yellow at the moment. Above is the view from our back door into the garden, looking over the Park towards the hills. We can only really see the hills when the leaves are off the trees in winter, but I noticed this morning seeing a couple of lights twinkling on the hillside, as so many of the leaves came down when we had some very high winds.

We have a few maples in the Park, their leaves are a gorgeous colour now.

Our little Rowan tree, which I proudly announce I grew from a seedling I found in the garden, turns a gorgeous shade of red, but drops its leaves very quickly.

One of the loveliest flowers out now are the Mahonias. Ours grow in a rather unfriendly space by the shed, but come out every year without fail. As the flowers fade, the blue tits come and eat something there - its not berries as they haven't formed yet, and they are not eating flowers!

One of our shrubs on our patio has made a bright blaze of orange, right outside my kitchen window. I think its a Golden Spirea, but whatever it is, its great!

The sunflowers are over now, but their leaves are turning a very pretty shade of pale yellow. They will all have to come up this winter, as they are very keen on taking over the garden! They have taken over the bed they were supposed to share with day lilies, and are now eyeing the lawn! It will be a dreadful job digging them up, as they are like the dreaded Ground Elder - every little bit of root enthusiastically grows into a new sunflower plant! I don't think Mr.G or I will be able to do this, in fact I know we won't, so help will be sought!

I suppose really those dratted sunflowers are like anything we know we ought to get rid of - habits, weight, obsessions or addictions. Leave even the tiniest bit behind and before you can turn round they are all over you again.