Thursday, 20 June 2013

Picnic days . . .

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"Among the delights of summer were picnics in the woods."
~Georg Brandes

I love picnics. They're one of my favourite thing to do in the summer months.  Over here in the UK, you learn very early on that you make hay whilst the sun shines because it may be very short lived and one of the best ways to do that is to go on a picnic.  We are a nation of picnickers!

It can be as complicated or as simple as you want.   Sometimes it involves nothing more than a basket containing some fruit, a loaf of fresh bread, some sweet butter, a wedge of good farmhouse cheddar, a bottle of piccalilli and a thermos of something cold to drink . . . there's not a lot of work involved in putting that together . . .

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One of my favourite picnics was taken with a bunch of girl friends.  We assigned each other a part of the picnic to prepare ahead of time and on the day we drove to the top of Beachy Head down in Eastbourne and picnicked up on the cliffs.   We dined on "Sit" sandwiches, Victoria sponge, grapes and apples . . . fizzy lemonade and ice creams from the ice cream van, whilst gazing out at the grande expanse of water and sky which lay before us . . .  we sorted out all of the worlds problems, with a few giggles thrown in now and then for good measure. 

I had not long been over here when one sunny day Todd and I took ourselves off in the car to Wales, Llangollen to be exact.   We decided to picnic outside the town and we found a small little place just outside the populated area . . . a clearing in the woods where there were a few picnic tables.  It was secluded and green, and we could hear the whistle of the steam train from the distance as it passed through the trees.   After we had eaten our sandwiches we took ourselves off for a walk down a gravel road and found ourselves in a seemingly ancient churchyard, perusing the headstones and wondering about all those who lay there . . . all churchyards over here seem ancient to me . . . it is one of this country's great charms.

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Another picnic was spent on the banks of a river as we watched it racing past . . . streaming rivulets  of white water bashing itself on the rocks in front of us as we dined on cheese and pickle sandwiches, fruit cake and  little bottles of re-constituted squash that I had frozen previously . . . then partially thawed and slushy . . .  most refreshing when consumed beneath the warm summer sun . . .

"a waterside supper with riparian entertainments"

We seldom talk much on these outdoor feasts . . . both content to simply be . . . sometimes questions are asked . . . answers rarely given, both lost in thought, our words a mere trickle.   Other times our conversation spurts like water over a dam . . . but silence is a golden thing.

There can be great communication in silence, as we sit there drinking . . . eating . . . watching peacefully, gazing at the blue skies, hearing the insects buzz, in the green of the woods as sunlight dapples itself down upon our heads through the leaves . . . beneath a cloudless June sky.  We need do nothing at all . . . simply being is all we can do at the moment, all we must do . . . enjoying the here and the now . . .

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Most of the year we busy ourselves with all the things that need doing . . . the dog needs bathing, the garden needs grooming . . . dust has gathered over all of the furniture overnight and the sunlight does show it up . . . we DO busy ourselves too much sometimes,  I think.   Now and again, we need some time to fill up the well of our spirit so that we can draw from it again . . . a time to sit and watch the butterflies and admire the opening roses, a time of restoration and there is no better way to do that than to go . . .
on a picnic.

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Guess who won a new bicycle at the local bicycle rodeo again this year?   Yep, Jonathan.  That makes two years in a row now!  He's one very lucky little grandson!

I wonder if he is any good at picking lottery tickets???

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This little guy had himself snipped yesterday.  By all accounts though it hasn't slowed him down one little bit.   He is one cute rambunctious puppy is Baxter!  We love him to bits!   Well, Todd hasn't actually met him yet . . . so I am using the royal "we" I guess!

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Something else I did for my art course yesterday.  I spent a good part of the day working on it.  We were supposed to incorporate words into our work.   How do you think I did? 

Bad news at the dentist yesterday.  I need to have a tooth pulled.   The dentist was amazed that it wasn't causing me any pain actually.   There is a huge hole in one of my molars, beneath the gum line.  He wouldn't have known about it but for the fact he did x-rays yesterday.  The way it is placed, he says it would be impossible to fill.   I did have a toothache there before I went to Canada, but thought it was an earache and when I went to the doctors I did have an earache so I was given anti-biotics for that.   The pain went off then.   The dentist says the tooth probably died . . . 

The sun was shining brilliantly when I first started writing this morning . . . and now it seems to have disappeared.  It is rather cool too . . . not sure what the day will bring.  When the sun was shining I thought it was a picnic kind of a day.  It may still turn out that way.  We will have to see!

In the meantime here is a thought for today . . .

"Remember the best, friendly words, kindly deeds.
Remember the roses and not the weeds.
Remember the pleasure, forget the pain . . .
Then only sweet memories will remain."
~Patience Strong


Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Torte!

Have a wonderful Thursday!  (No baby yet and today is my daughter's due date!)


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