Tuesday 30 December 2008

Words, words, words

I love words. (I love maps too, but that is another story!) Balustrade is one of them. Seems to fit the shape, which is not surprising, as it comes from an italian word (and before that, greek,) for pomegranate.
Now that is another word I like. And hubbub, and Cappadocia, and...... I could go on for a long, long time!
I may be weird, but I always think you are never alone with a dictionary!
A Happy New Year to you all!

Friday 26 December 2008


We had a wonderful time with my daughter, her husband and in-laws. All very easy to get on with, but this introvert is now "peopled out".
A delicious meal, and lots of fun, lots of presents, plenty of chatter, and news exchanged. Very quiet without the boys, who are in New York with their father.
Now it is a gorgeous bright day, sun shining, new bicycles being tried out in the park, dogs running around, and I am enjoying a quiet house and a browse round the world on the comuter!
(The picture is "Heaven" by Charles Andrade)

Tuesday 23 December 2008

In Excelsis Deo

Angels, from the realms of glory,
wing your flight o'er all the earth;
ye who sang creation's story,
now proclaim Messiah's birth:
Come and worship,
come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn King.
We used to sing: "Gloria, gloria, in excelsis Deo,
Gloria, Gloria, in excelsis Deo"
I prefer that!
A happy, blessed and peaceful Christmas to everyone who reads this.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Getting ready for Christmas

I'm now getting the feeling of Christmas and have started getting the tree out and the decorations up. Such as they are! Now there are only the two of us, we don't bother so much.

But when I was younger, it was quite a ceremony. Out would come the box with the paper chains and paper balls and bells in. Tears would be carefully mended, and the living room ended up with chains all round the edge and across the ceiling! Lovely! I don't know where my parents got the decorations from, they were several years old when we had them, I rather think they were given them by some neighbours. But whatever their origin, Christmas wouldn't have been Christmas without them! Even in the wartime, when we had to keep an ear cocked for the sirens.

Now we have a tree, and the Christmas cards up, and my little Nativity scene, which I love. Especially the llama, who looks rather surprised to be there!

The other nice thing about Christmas is, of course, food! Not if you are trying to lose weight, but there are lots of things we rather plump ladies (!) can eat. So I am looking forward very much to going to my daughter for Christmas Day. She is a wonderful cook, and also makes the rooms and the dinner table look so very decorative. Just like in the magazines, only better!

Sunday 14 December 2008


I love reflections. Usually nearly the same, but not quite. And looking at ourselves in a mirror is quite odd, as that is not how others see us. We will always be reversed. But then I never see myself as others see me, anyway!
But I do love the symmetry in nature. Leaflets that go neatly opposite each other, or alternately. Never one out of place. Petals fitting round the centre of flowers. And when we start looking through even a magnifying glass, let alone a microscope, life is simply amazing!
These trees in the photo are alders, and small finches and tits love the cones. If I am very lucky, a little flock of mixed finches and tits will be chattering through as I go pass, intent on their feeding, ignoring the galumphing world of humans!

Tuesday 9 December 2008


The sun is out, the birds are singing, and the ice is gradually thawing from the lake. The birds still sit around on it, looking hungry, and swoop in screeching hordes when anyone appears who looks remotely as though they have food for them!

Sometimes I feel a bit like the lake: All seems to be good around me, but inside I am icy, unable to feel anything much, either good or bad. I get lonely, and yet cannot bring myself to do anything about it, like go out to meetings where I know I can talk to people. Withdrawal is the name of the game.
But getting like that just leads to more misery, as I well know, so I am now making a big effort to SMILE and TALK to people!

Sunday 7 December 2008

Feeding the ducks

He stood alone by the lake,
an old man, in a coat
that had seen better days ten years ago.
Carefully crumbling bread
that might have done him some good,
he threw it to the cacophony
of ducks squabbling in the water.
"Come on my beauties" he said
"no pushing and shoving, now".
Gently he threw some to the shy ones
pattering on the edge of the mob.
Then turning away he called an old black dog
with a grey muzzle and arthritic legs.
"That's it for today" he said
"All the excitement's done now".
And together they walked slowly
towards the gate.

Friday 5 December 2008

Weeping Willows

I thought there would be nothing to photograph today, but then I found this beautiful weeping willow in all its winter glory! Praise God there is something to cheer us up on a grey day.

Thursday 4 December 2008

Its a cold, wet, rainy, slushy and slippery day here.

So I thought I'd post a sunny photo of our garden a couple of summers ago.

Plus something cheery from foreign parts!

Tuesday 2 December 2008

Winter's come!

Winter has come, and it snowed quite hard last night, though it is all melting now. The dog adored it, and raced around, getting soaked in the process.

I loved the way the snow had blown against the trees, making an interesting pattern.

I was touched too, by the concern showed by one elderly gentleman, that I didn't slip as I walked with my crutches. He pointed out that I was quite isolated in the Park, which was true. Where were all the dog walkers this morning?

But it wasn't as slippery as it looked, and I survived. But its good to know that people care. Even if they are as old as I am!

But getting back home, I loved the snow hats on the hedge we cut down (in the fond hope it would sprout out again!)

Sunday 30 November 2008

Foggy Thoughts

Like a lot of the country, we had fog yesterday. All day. It was very cold, and the dog got lost!

But the fog changed all the usual ways I look at the park. Distances were deceptive, perspectives altered. Trees that normally looked quite innocent loomed up at me in the fog. My imagination got going.......

Just supposing those trees were actually moving, slowly, a bit at a time, at night? Gradually the woods moved nearer the town, the roots pushing up the earth a bit every morning, like giant moles. Over a week or so, they reached the fences at the bottom of the gardens. First the fences shifted slightlhy, then bulged, then the weaker slats gave way, then the whole fence was down, and the huge trees stood menacingly at the edge of the lawn. Next it would be twigs rapping on the windows, tap, tap, tap at first, later more insistent. Then a fat branch knocked, and the glass shattered, the branches reached in. More glass shattered. The walls bulged, a brick fell, then another..............

Friday 28 November 2008

Small things

Its hard finding colour in the garden these days. All the glorious autumn leaves have dropped now, forming a rather squelchy mess. Even the weeds look brown and discouraged. But in the unaccustomed sunlight, I wandered around with my camera, and managed to find some real beauty. Just shows what you can find if you go slowly, rather than rushing around, thinking these's nothing there.

Perhaps we should all slow down. On http://www.mousenotebook.blogspot.com/ there's a very thought-provoking post on going slowly.

Monday 24 November 2008


They drowned the village
demolished the Hall, and used the stone
to build the dam, which flooded the valley.
It brought water to the townsfolk,
who now walk in the quiet woods
exploring the ruins of the once grand Hall
and exclaiming at what was formerly so magnificent.

But they walk on the hearts of the young girls,
who scrubbed and polished, swept and dusted,
fetched and carried and curtseyed
for fear of losing their jobs.
The graves on the mount behind the ruins
are those of the rich and powerful,
remembered in stone forever.
The rest, who only mattered to their families,
are now lost beneath the waters
and no one remembers.
Ruins of Errwood Hall, Goyt Valley, Derbyshire

Saturday 22 November 2008

Lights in the darkness

Now that the trees are leafless I can see the lights of the town across the valley. Lines of sodium street lights climb up the hill, and disappear into the darkness at the top. When the wind blows the lights seem to flicker and dance behind the swaying trees. On calm nights , or in our dark mornings, I can see the headlights of cars as they stream down the main road into the town. They dodge and disappear as they wind round the many S-bends on the road, until I can just see them on the last stretch into town.

Further up, beyond the town, lights sometimes shine from the farmhouses on the side of the hills, and right on top of the ridge, to the south, are the headlights of one or two cars driving alaong the small country road.I love watching the lights, imagining other lives, weaving fantasies, or just musing.
The picture is of a sunrise over Morecombe Bay, at the edge of the Lake District.

Wednesday 19 November 2008


There can be some lovely reflections in the lake in our Park. Usually I exclaim at the still ones, each tree, each bush, reflected perfectly in the water. A different, upside-down world. But I also like the reflections where the wind just ruffles the surface. A wind of change, indeed. There is that rather wobbly look about everything, as though a giant hand was gripping hold and shaking it backwards and forwards. And maybe I should give my life a shake up - do I want to be doing exactly the same things next year, and the year after? A perfect reflection of my life now? And the answer - No, no, a thousand times no! If I thought the rest of my years would be more of the same, I'd curl up somewhere and quietly expire!

Now then, how can I change my life to get a bit of zip into it? Answers on a postcard, please!

Sunday 16 November 2008

Sunday afternoon

Spent a beautiful afternoon cutting down old perennials and bits of shrubs and generally tidying up in the garden. Filled our "green" recycling bin which the council collects next week, and put the soft stuff in our compost bin. Well, we do try!

Then took the dog out, and the low sun in the park made the fallen beech leaves really glow - a lovely deep russet red. We are so lucky to have the park right at our back garden, though in the summer you have to watch out for flying golf balls (there is a small golf course behind our fence!) and young teenagers can get a bit silly and noisy! But generally, we tend to regard it as part of our "estate"!!

Thursday 13 November 2008


It was a full moon last night. For the first part of the evening it tried hard to kick the clouds out of the way, and shone through the trees. but rain and cloud beat it in the end. But it was still there!
I love moonlight. Silver and black instead of the colours we are used to. Shadows that seem to very black, melting slowly into shapes that are strange. Everyday things take on different shapes. The grass seems to take on a sparkle, trees are a lace-like curtain for the clouds.
It would seem a form of witchcraft to our ancestors to know that man has walked on the moon. Sometimes it seems impossible to me, although the Harvest Moon, is so close I want to bring it down from the sky!

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Skeleton Trees (2)

The brisk winds have stripped some of the trees (although the glorious beeches are still holding their leaves, as are the larches, and some of the brilliant trees-I-don't-know-the-name-of because they are ornamental "park" trees.

But my favourite "Lady Ash", bangles and scarves a-blowing, ditzy to the last, and the "Career-Girl" Horse Chestnut beside her, branches all correct, and ready to blast her co-workers!

OK, I get a bit fanciful when my thoughts, dream and who I am is held in! Just don't ring for the men in white coats - I function quite well, really!

Sunday 9 November 2008

Telling Tales

I've been sorting out some bits and bobs of jewellery for a Bring and Buy Sale. I doubt anything I have has a monetary value, but everything reminds me of someone, or somewhere.

The ancient Viking set in Scottish stones was bought on the Isle of Iona, over 40 years ago. We had gone camping in Scotland, and managed to get very wet! Iona was beautiful, there was a calm and peaceful atmosphere there that I have rarely encountered again. The little shell bear was given to me by some friends who visited Canada, and is greatlhy treasured.

The three crosses all have stories behind them. The silver one, which I wear often, I bought at a Monastery on Crete, the time we had a very nasty accident on our scooter. My husband spent three days in a Greek Hospital, but I was thankfully not injured, and brought fruit and yoghurts for him to eat. The cross was bought in a spirit of thankfulness. The flowery cross I found at an Antique Fair. It is most unusual, but the woman running the stall could not tell me anything about except whe was told in was Italian. The green-y polished stone cross belonged to my sisters Mother-in-law, of whom I was very fond, and I was so pleased when my Brother-in-law gave it to me after her death.

The red wooden beads I am wearing now. They were bought in Austria, our first holiday abroad about 37 years ago. Some of the necklasces have been given to me, some have been bought at flea markets, as have most of the other brooches.

Its going to be quite hard to let some go for the bring and Buy Sale!

Saturday 8 November 2008

Sue brought me a wonderful bunch of flowers for my birthday. The Gerberers really glow, and make the hall so welcoming. Like glowing lights in windows they are calling"Enjoy us! Enjoy life!" Beacons of what? Hope? Love? Both of these?

They are beautiful, anyway. Thank you, Sue

Thursday 6 November 2008

Still leaves

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Utter quietness

It was so quiet in the Park just now. A cloudy, very slightly misty morning, and absolutely nothing stirred. No wind, no dog walkers, no sirens screaming along the main roads. It felt as if I held my breath and stood very still, I could go somewhere else, through time and place.

But you are never alone with a dog, so the spell was broken. But then I found a golden leaf sticking to the middle of my walking boot. It looked like one of those very old fashioned buckles people used to wear on their shoes in the 16th (?) century. And I got wondering who had walked that spot before me. Not as a Park, of course, but the land was farmland for centuries (the old farmhouse is still there, modernised, but parts still visible). Men must have ploughed it, or gathered cattle and sheep. Could I hear their footsteps if I listened? Could I sense their emotions?

I would dearly love to be able to go back in time and see how people really lived, outside of the history book accounts of how others thought they lived!

Tuesday 4 November 2008


The birds haven't found these tiny apples yet, though they don't seem to like them much at this time of year. A few hard frosts soften them, and then little beaks and small teeth can get past the skins.

A short walk this morning, as I overdid it working in the garden yesterday, cutting down old sunflowers (no, not the sort with seed for the birds!) and my back and legs are extremely painful. But they will recover with a bit of rest and TLC.

Monday 3 November 2008

Golden treasure

I do love trees, especially at this time of the year. Comes of having an autumn birthday I suppose (today, actually!) The fir trees in the Park are now showing their glorious golden needles, which look wonderful against a blue sky, contrasted with the black branches.

Come the Spring, though, I am only too glad to find the tiny green buds sprouting from those black branches, and memories of wet cold winter beginning to vanish. But change invigorates me, and I think I would be a very dull person if life jogged along on a dull, even keel all the time!

Thursday 30 October 2008

Skeleton trees

The leaves are dropping fast now, in this brisk north wind. I love seeing the "skeletons" of the trees and in my fanciful moods, imagine them as people. Ash trees are graceful, ditzy women, with lots of scarves, necklaces and bangles and floaty clothes. Oaks are very masculine, tough, muscular, rather macho. Horse Chestnuts are smart career women, with not a hair out of place, sharp-suited, with powerful personalities. Birch trees, when young, are teenage girls, graceful, slim, beautiful, danging through life. Older birth trees are still graceful, but life has lined them. Hawthorns are really muddled, messed-up people, struggling through life, finding it tough, but still with something to offer as their fruit ripens.

And perhaps I'd better stop there, or you will be calling for the ambulance to take me away! ;)

Monday 27 October 2008


The little Rowan tree in our garden, which I raised from a tiny seedling, has developed the most wonderful leaf colours this autumn. The top of the leaf is a dusky purple, while the underside is scarlet. It was so difficult to photograph this, as the wind was blowing the leaves around, but I managed to capture the beautiful colours (even if some of them are not in focus!)

Similarly the ornamental cherries in the Park behind us. Before the wind tears the leaves off, they are subtle shades of soft yellow, orange and light green. There doesn't seem to be the big vistas of autumnal colours this year, but I've changed my focus, and found the colours are in the small things.

Friday 24 October 2008


We have the builders in at the moment. Well, not in the house, but backwards and forwards to the back garen where they are taking down the old wood-panelled fence that was vandalised and unstable, and putting up chain-link fencing. They have cut down the pathetic privet hedge that was there to about 18ins off the ground in the fond hope it will spring forth and cover up the chain-link stuff. Eventually. But what with having to provide various odd bits of equipment, and cups of tea every hour on the hour, cement dust and bits of privet everywhere, I don't know whether I am coming or going!

Still, I think they have nearly finished, so apart from a clean and tidy up, peace looks like returning.......... (for a while, anyway)

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Picking up the moonlight

Having to get up at 5.0 am this morning (to go to the bathroom, as one does) the moon was shining brightly through the curtains. As I wriggled out of bed, I stooped to pick a tissue up off the floor. Couldn't get hold of it! Took a few seconds, in my bleary state to realise I was trying to pick up the moonlight on the floor!

Put it down to old age!

Monday 20 October 2008

Beech tree roots

Autumn (Fall)

Is it my imagination, or are the autumn colours just not as good as we expect? Maybe its the wet summer, but in the park here the leaves are falling off the sycamore and beech trees without any change of colour.

We used to live on the Chilterns, and the beech trees there were wonderful in their autumnal glory. I loved walking in the woods, seeing the light filtered through the orange and yellow leaves. Then, when all the leaves had fallen, I could "shoosh" my feet through the dry leaves. (A childhood habit that has regrettably lasted well into the age of maturity!)

But back to Cheshire and 2008. Individual trees are putting on a magnificent show. I have a Moutain Ash (Rown) tree I raised from a seedling I found in the garden. Its leaves are a glowing scarlet. Many of the trees in the park are specially planted, of course, for their beauty, but I am ignorant as to their names. Some, which from the shape of the leaves must be a sort of Maple, are bright yellow in spring - the leaves, that is, and then bright yellow again in autumn. Now, after all this wind, they are just yellow pools underneath bare branches.

Sunday 19 October 2008


I was persuaded, fairly easily, by my daughter that having one's own blog was a Good Thing. Haven't quite got the hang of organising the look of it yet, but working on it!

Today, the wind is blowing all the leaves off the trees. At this time of the year I rather like the leaves falling, as it means I can see the hills across the valley. (By the end of the winter I am tired of skeleton silhouettes, and long for the fresh green leaves to appear!) The hills in question are the beginnings of the Peak District, a National Park whioch is really in two bits, the southern part, the White Peak - limestone country, and impressive gorges, rivers and white drystone walls, and the nmorthern part, the Dark Peak - millstone grit and wild uplands, bogs, curlews and solitude. I love them both.

Alas, I cannot walk now unaided, and although I manage to get around with two crutches when outside, there is a limit to how far I can go. But I am working hard on being able to walk better, and maybe tackle some of the paths with just one stick!

However, I am pleased to say that my mind is still in good working order! I enjoy all sorts of sedentary activities, am learning to crochet, and in between sitting at the computer, reading books and getting muddled with wool, I love cooking, hate cleaning, and enjoy taking our dog, a cocker spaniel, out in the adjoining Park.