Monday, 26 June 2017

Small and Wonderful Things . . .

 


"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard

A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.

 

Warm and sunny days.  (Not too warm though.) I love the longer days, shorter nights, dry and warm and filled with sunshine.  Somehow the world just seems to be a better place on a sunny day. Am I alone in feeling this way?   I dunno . . . 



A day at the seaside. Walking along the beachfront.  Ice creams on the pier. Children's laughter. Gulls crying. Punch and Judy. Donkey rides. Finding shells. Fish and chips. Sand castles. Rock candy and candy floss. Carousels.

Its all good.
...


Ice cold Lemonade.  Iced Tea. I make Iced Herbal Tea. Its all good! Someone recently gave me a recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Syrup, which sounds really good! Tis the season for enjoying these things!


Picnics in the park.  Its crowded. Its hot. Its filled with gaeity and noise. The very air is full of  a feeling of celebration.  I love it! Even if your picnic consists of nothing more than a shared store-bought sandwich and a tin of fizzy drink you picked up on the way.  Impromptu or planned. Its all good.


Fledglings. So fun to watch  . . .


Bumble bees.  We had three of them get in the house yesterday, or maybe it was the same one three times.   In any case we were able to get it out each time and nobody got hurt, not even the bee . . .


Butterflies.  We so seldom see them these days, but these have become frequent visitors to our garden whenever the temps climb. Peacock Butterflies.  I love them.


They are quite simply beautiful  . . .


As are the roses.  All of our roses are in full bloom. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they smell heavenly. I must remember to collect some petals. I want to make some rosewater this year.



The batchelor buttons, daisies and calendula . . .  also stunning in their simplicity. The garden in June/July/August just can't be beat for beauty . . .

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's Heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on Earth. 
~Dorothy Francis Gurney


Sunday nights with Poldark . . .  season 3 is now airing and we are enjoying it immensely.

We must visit Cornwall.
Its another area
of shocking
beauty
...


This Island is filled with them. I am so blessed to live here.

Image result for And then we all had tea

The work continues.  Time to look for a new project methinks  . . . 

Image result for And then we all had tea

My Sunday conversations with mum . . .  I love and cherish them. Her foot is really sore at the moment.  I think she said it was her left one. She had gotten my postcard from Scotland. I love my mom so much and miss her. I wish I could see her when we talk, but she hates modern technology . . . we were always very close.

My life is filled with abundance,
My cup overflows.
...

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

.° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.° ˛°. . 
˛I love getting older, my understanding deepens.
I can see what connects.
I can weave stories of experience and apply them.
I can integrate the lessons.
Things simply become more & more fascinating.
Beauty reveals itself in thousands of forms.
~Victoria Ericson    .° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •

The older I get, the more true this becomes.




In the English Kitchen today . . .  Aspagarus & Courgette Rice.  Deliciously healthy.  Made with brown rice.


And even tastier with an egg on top.  This was supper yesterday and it was delicious.  Find the recipe HERE.

Have a great Monday/week. May it be filled to overflowing with small and wonderful things!  Don't forget along the way  . . .

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And I do too!


 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sunday this and that . . .

 

 First of all this morning I want to apologise if in my post yesterday I came across as feeling sorry for myself or complaining too much about my own health issues. I did not mean to do that. As one reader pointed out, this holiday was all about Todd having a break, which he did and we are both very grateful for that. My deepest apologies to anyone I might have offended.


 My daughter posted a photo of Cameron on his Birthday yesterday. He is such a little cutie pie.  Its hard to believe he is four years old already!  Wasn't it just yesterday that he was born???

Speaking of Grandsons.  Todd has never known much about his grandchildren.  He had three sons and a step-daughter.  All of his sons have passed away. One in infancy, one in his forties and the youngest one a year ago.  It is only the middle one that had children, and his step-daughter.  He has had no contact with any of them, which is pretty sad, but life has a funny way of turning out completely opposite to what you had planned sometimes.  Yesterday out of the blue he was contacted on FB by one of his grandsons.  He found out that he has two grandsons and one granddaughter, and this grandson seems to want to have a relationship with his grandfather.  Its early days yet, but we were both very surprised, and somewhat pleased.

Okay, maybe really pleased, and even 
a bit shocked and definitely
surprised
...

We proceed forward with caution. I really hope that he isn't hurt again, so I am praying to that end. I love my husband and I hate it when he gets hurt.


 I was thinking this morning about how badly my hand writing has deteorated. Largely due to the fact that I seldom do any writing anymore, but basically just type everything. I had started working on that and on calligraphy, which I think makes a person's handwriting automatically better.  I need to sort out my craft room and get back at it. How many things are not getting written because I am waiting for a better time to write them, a better style of handwriting, etc. There is no time like the present to get started.  When I was in Grade Five my teacher told my mother that she refused to correct any more of my work as my handwriting was deplorable.  My mother got me exercise books and I was made to practice, practice, practice . . .  the MacLean method. It worked, until the onset of the typewriter/word processor!


Flowers that my sister picked from the garden.  Peonies and delphinium. so pretty.   I expect this will soon be a painting.  She is doing great with her artwork. When we were girls she always used to draw horses.  She loved horses and she was really good at drawing them.  Clearly she is also very good at painting as well. 

 

Here is one that she did that turned out really nice. I love it.  Funny how she has discovered her artist's mojo just as I am losing mine!  I despair I will ever get it back . . .


I discovered this at the grocery shops before we went on holiday.  I finally cooked it yesterday.  Its a bit different than the North American kind.  For one there is elbow macaroni, and I think the cheese sauce is cheesier and not so yellow.  But overall it was quite good.  We had it for supper with fish and vegetables.  I know  . . . not the healthiest meal, but it filled the gap.  I didn't really feel much like cooking.  We all have days like that. I would buy this again.


 In the past I have bought this, by the case, from Amazon. It was quite similar to the Kraft Dinner I was used to having in Canada.  Its Scottish I believe!  I quite like it!

ME {----- still a kid at heart ...
The heart wants what the heart wants.

By the way, I noticed last time I was in Morrisons (a grocery chain over here in the UK) that they have an American section, with Lucky Charms, Mike & Ikes, Snyder's Pretzels, etc. None of it is cheap, but if you really had a craving, I suppose it wouldn't matter.  They even had Snapple and tinned Pumpkin.  I bought some pumpkin and thought about buying the Lucky Charms, but could not quite bring myself to spend £5 ($6.40) for a medium sized box of sugared cereal that I didn't ought to be eating anyways . . .

Can you believe it has been two years since I did this?  I know!  Time flies!  Still liking the pink hair.

Oh, do you know what I saw the other day?  Rainbow hair! 

 

Now THAT I really like!  Oh to be 20 years younger so
I could carry it off
...

I have also seen the rainbow colours a LOT brighter, but I would never be brave enough to do that.  The closest I have ever come was to have Mauve highlights done in my hair, which was quite nice actually.

Our Eileen wants to grow her hair long now.  She says the Step Mom says she shouldn't because her hair is too thin.  I agree she has very thin fly away hair, but also I think it is her hair and if she wants it long then she should have it long. She is planning on coming over now for a whole month in August of 2018.  Fingers crossed she makes it. I am a bit nervous about her husband coming with her.  Oh, I know that she is nervous about travelling alone, but I don't really know Tim all that well, and  I don't think he is a very nice person at times. Sometimes he is not very nice to her.  I don't think I could keep my mouth shut  if he started in on her when they were here.  She told me the other day that he had called her a "not very nice" name, and then she told me what it was, and it really wasn't very nice.  She said he makes her feel afraid sometimes, and that when she gets afraid she gets angry.  It is difficult to be so far away when things like this happen.  I don't know what to do.  I told her she needs to tell her dad because he is close enough to do or say something.  But she is also glad that she has me to talk to, and I am grateful that she feels like she can talk to me. Sometimes being able to talk about things is all you need.


They had blazing hot weather here while we were away.  I am not sorry I missed it.  Me and blazing hot weather are not very symbiotic! I hate "Too Hot To Sleep" weather.  But its been great for the berries!

And with that I best leave you for the day with a thought, and once again, my apologies.  It is not all about me. 

Its a picture one today. Too good
not to share.



 Love me some Mother Teresa. Love the handwriting.

Spiritual Enlightenment

 

 In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Bakewell Tart Muffins.  So good!


Have a blessed Sabbath.  Don't forget  . . .

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and I do too!


 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

What I did on my Summer Holiday . . .

 

I think it had probably been a good five years since Todd and I had been anywhere on a holiday together, so we were really looking forward to getting away together this summer on a brief break thanks to the McMillan Cancer Trust who awarded Todd a grant for a respite holiday. We were so very grateful for this opportunity and neither of us had really been to Scotland and so we took ourselves on a coach holiday up to the beautiful highlands!  We have done coach trips in the past and we thought this was one way of holidaying where Todd would not have to drive. They are also all-inclusive, which is even better, with your breakfast and suppers being included in the price along with the travel and hotel, etc.  All you need to pay for is any extras, lunches, additional excursions, etc.  I had also won a cash award from a recipe I had submitted to My Favourite Recipes and so this meant that even our optional extras would be covered.  Win/win all around!  Yes, we are blessed.


This was a quick selfie I snapped on the coach right after pick-up.  We had to be at the pick-up point by 8:30 am on the day we left.  Not too hard, except we neither one of us slept much the night before. Too excited I suppose.  That often happens!  We were really excited to be on our way and thought we would maybe doze on the coach. No way, we were both too excited to sleep and neither one of us wanted to miss anything! One of the ideas behind Todd not having to drive was Todd being able to enjoy the scenery!

We had four more pick-ups  . . .  Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Wigan and Warrington . . .  after which we well and truly got on the road. The coach was full by that point!  We had a cheeky chappie for a driver named Paul.  He was so nice and so funny, and so very knowledgeable!  He kept us in stitches and well informed about everything!


There was one brief toilet stop halfway up to the Scottish border, but our first major stop was going to be right across the border in a little town called Gretna Green. This would be for lunch. Todd and I had been to Gretna Green before and we were both looking forward to seeing it again.  We were not there for long, only about 45 minutes.  Just long enough to use the loo and have a quick lunch and boo around.


Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings. It is in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk and was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh.We had driven up to visit it the last time we were in Cumbria on holiday so a good 7 or more years ago now!  We did enjoy the brief stop and opportunity to stretch our legs.  My knee was still very poorly, but I had bought myself a brace which I was hoping would help.  It did, a bit.


Down the motorway we went until we started to hit the Highlands and the Trossachs National Park, where our coach began to wind its way up hillsides and glens.  The scenery was absolutely stunning. I cannot even begin to describe it.  Breathtaking perhaps might start to do it justice.  It was very overcast and misty by then, and most of the hilltops were shrouded in cloud and mist, but we were both falling totally in love with Scotland.


Our destination was the Ben Doran Hotel, situated in Upper Tyndrum in the Trossachs, and we arrived there about 5:30 PM, so a long drive, but steeped in history and scenery. Not boring in the least.  One thing that they do on coaches now is make you use hand disinfectant before getting on and off the coaches, and in the hotel as you enter, as you enter and leave the dining room, etc.  I guess this is to prevent illness. (Didn't stop me from coming down with a massive cold however, which I am still battling.)  We had an hour and a half rest before dinner was going to be served, so just long enough to freshen up and take in our surroundings.


This was the view from our room.  So just gorgeous.  The room itself was nothing spectacular.  Just a room with a double bed and an ensuite, but clean and comfortable.  We are so used to sleeping in Twin Beds that we found the double bed a bit awkward and it made for a few sleepless nights as we are used to each of us having our own space and covers, lol.  But eventually we were so tired and exhausted we could have slept on a sidewalk!


We looked out the window at one point and Benjamin Bunny had come out to greet us.  So cute.

The food at the hotel was fantastic.  Each night there was a different menu with several entrees to choose from, as well as a choice of starters and desserts.  I enjoyed Chicken with a peppercorn sauce, a turkey dinner, roast lamb, roast beef, fried haddock and some really scrumptious starters and desserts.   Breakfast each morning began with oatmeal in the Scottish manner with salt added, toast, rolls, fruit juices and a choice of a big Scottish breakfast which usually included bacon, sausage, beans, mushrooms, tomato, eggs . . . you could have your eggs done any way you wanted them.  I would have liked to be able to have a muffin some days or a croissant, but really it was nothing to complain about. 

  

Each night after dinner there was entertainment provided in the lounge/bar area.   We didn't take it in on the first night as we were too tired, but we did go on two other nights and greatly enjoyed it.  This man was particularly good. I can't remember what his name was, but he reminded me a lot of Billy Connelly and he was funny and a great singer and had everyone joining in.


Each day we were up bright and early and then taken off on excursions to see some of the sights and scenery of Scotland and the highlands.  This was the Kelpies. The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland. They were designed by the artist Andy Scott at a multi-million pound cost and are ginormous! They are composed of sheets of metal and almost glitter in the sunlight.  We were fascinated to say the least!  After them, we were taken into Edinburgh.  What a beautiful city!  We both said we would like to go back and visit it one day.  We took a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia.


To be honest there was a lot of walking involved and by that point my knee had taken all it could take, so I ended up sitting on a bench and just listening to the recorded tour while Todd walked through it.  I literally was crippled up and could barely walk.  It was like that the whole time we were up there.  I was so annoyed with myself.  We both felt however that the cost of going onto the Royal Yacht was exorbitant (£16 each) and not worth it.  That was one excursion we wish that we had skipped for the price.  It was crowded and there were too many stairs.


The next day we were taken to LochNess.  There was a piper in the parking lot where the coach dropped us off.  We had fish and chips . . .  to be honest my knee was giving me so much problem at that point, I told Todd to not let me hold him back. I could tell that he was getting frustrated with my pace and so was I.  I told him to go on and see whatever he could in the town and I would wander as I could wander, which eventually he did, walking down to the locks and seeing the lake, etc. I managed to get down to the river . . . and a small bridge.  


 This is a photo I took from the bridge. It was really pretty there and I watched swallows flying and swooping and eating insects en flight.  It looked like there had been an older bridge at some point as there were still the pylon fittings in situe.  I really felt bad that my knee was causing us so many problems. I really did.  It was annoying, but I still got to enjoy the scenery which was so beautiful. 


The next day we went to Loch Lomond, which was stunning and one of the largest lakes in the Highlands. We took a cruise on the lake.  I felt bad again as I had to stay on the ground floor of the boat because (again) the stairs and Todd felt obliged to stay with me.  

  

This was Stirling Castle.  And we saw the William Wallace Monument from the coach and again the scenery was stunning. 

  

We drove through Rannoch Moor which is one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. The area is a vast stretch of land composed of blanket bog, lochans, rivers, and rocky outcrops which makes it a very challenging environment which still supports varieties of flora and fauna. A wealth of plants, insect, bird and animal life can be seen here ranging from curlews and grouse to roe and red deer.  We both were in awe of the scenery.  Words cannot adequately describe all that we saw.

On that day, on our way back to the hotel, we spied (through out coach window) about 6 stags making their way through a Glen down below the highway.   We were treated to beautiful vistas of mountains and glens wherever we looked.  Simply amazing scenery. We would love to go again on our own and take it in at a more leisurely pace as there were things we would have loved to stop and see, but because you are on a coach and it is moving, you cannot.  On that day we also went to Fort William.  I thought we might see a fort, but we didn't.  Just a shopping mall.  There  might have been more to see off the coach, but again, my knee.  I stayed on the coach and Todd went for a wander.

And I was getting a sore throat.


The next day was a trip to Oban and a cruise to the Isle of Mull.  By then my head/chest cold had taken hold and I was thinking about all the steps on the cruise ship and so I told Todd to go on his own and enjoy it while I rested in our room.  He didn't really want to do that, but I made him go and in the end he said it was a wise choice because there would have been too much walking involved and stairs and I could not have coped. To be honest, by then I could barely walk at all and I was hacking and coughing.  Todd thoroughly enjoyed it and I felt good about that.  To me, this holiday was all about him getting away and having a break of what he had been through over the past six months and I really didn't want my disabilities to prevent him from doing that.  I wanted him to have a good time and to see whatever he could.  Who knows when we will be able to afford to go on something like this again!  (Hopefully my book will do well and my knee will get better and we can think about maybe another holiday next year.  Fingers crossed!) 

The next day we were on our way home again and I was so happy to get home and sleep in my own bed that  night.  We were both exhausted and in bed by 8:30.  We both slept the sleep of the dead, even despite my cold.  Travel is exhausting.  And travel when you are sick is even more exhausting.  But we did enjoy the break.  I was really sorry that I had come down ill and that my knee was putting a bit of a damper on things, I really was.

We have been home two days now and my cold is still clinging on. So much for the antiseptic handwash.  Didn't keep me from getting ill at any rate!  I only hope that I can keep Todd from coming down with it! I have an appointment to go back to the Doctor about my knee on Monday and I am seeing a different Doctor this time. Hopefully I will get something done about it. This has been going on long enough.  Its really making me feel down.  I hope that I don't have to live like this for the rest of my life.  I really don't want that. I can barely walk at all now.


Little Mitzie was so glad to see us when Tina
dropped her off on Thursday.  Excited
doesn't begin to cover
it!

She must have spent an hour talking to us, telling us about her whole week.  It was so cute and of course we have been enjoying lots of cuddles ever since!  If you are looking for a lovely place to visit that is filled with spectacular scenery, I really recommend the Scottish Highlands.   It is stunning. Simply stunning.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . . 

 .° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.° ˛°. . 
˛ Pray when you feel like worrying,
Give thanks when you feel like complaining.
Keep going when you feel like quitting.
 
 
 

 
 
In The English Kitchen today  . . .  a Lighter Strawberry Shortcake. Only 157 calories per serving, which isn't too bad for a dessert!

Have a great Saturday.  I have a grocery order being delivered this morning.  I cannot walk around the shops, so delivery was my only choice. I don't trust Todd to do the shopping.  Despite  having a list, he would bring back all the wrong things. LOL  He is so NOT a shopper!  Don't forget!

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And I do too!