Monday 31 March 2014

Small and wonderful things . . .

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"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.


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 It didn't look like it was going to be a very sunny day yesterday so we went to a film instead of driving up to Balla to take  a walk around the lake.  Normally we would not go to the movies on full price day.  Actually we hardly ever go to the movies at all because they are so expensive these days.   We usually wait for the dvd's to come out or for the films to come onto the telly, but yesterday we just went for it and splurged.

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We saw this guy in the film, Non-Stop, which isn't normally  the type of film we would pay a lot of money to see, once again we would probably rather watch it on the telly, but out of all the films playing, it was the only one that looked vaguely interesting and it was really good!  Not academy award winning, thought provoking good, but entertaining good and that's ok.  Plus . . . ahem . . . *cough*  . . . sigh . . . I quite like looking at Liam Neeson.   The first film I ever saw him in was Ethan Frome.  If you have never seen it, you should . . .  especially if you like period pieces.   It's a really good film.

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We splurged and bought a bag of these.  We normally never buy anything to eat or drink when we go to a movie out.  Their treats are super expensive and not worth it, but yesterday we thought what the heck . . . let's live dangerously and we bought a bag of wine gums to share.   I like wine gums.  My ex used to buy himself a roll of them every day pretty much.   For 22 years I never got to taste any wine gums except for the black ones because those were the ones he didn't like.  I like that I can now taste any flavour of them I want to taste.  Love is letting your partner have the first choice.  I am grateful to be in a relationship where I now have the option of first choice once in a while.  We share it out equally.  Sometimes he has the first choice too, but most of the time it doesn't matter who has the first choice because we are just happy to be together.

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After the film we decided to splurge again and have lupper . . . yes, that is the combination of lunch and supper.   We went to this Mexican place within walking distance of the cinema that we had been to before.  I know it was Sunday and you aren't supposed to do things like going to films and eating out on a Sunday, but I am sure we will be forgiven. ☺  In any case it was Mother's Day and nobody is going to make the mother cook on Mother's Day right?   Right.   It wasn't McDonalds and it wasn't cheap, but it wasn't the most expensive place we could have gone either.   Sadly it wasn't all that good either, but oh well . . . it made for a change.

Why can't the Brits get Mexican food right???

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Home to cuddles on the sofa with our furry little madam and re-runs of Call the Midwife.  We are beginning on season one again.   I love our furry little madam and I love Call the Midwife.   What more could a heart possibly hold . . .

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Toasted hot cross buns with cold butter, that's what.  They are in the shops over here, pretty much all year round these days, but I resist buying them until they are in "season."   That is until it is near to Easter.   A Hot Cross Bun is an Easter thing and so I only eat them at that time of year.   And I only ever buy the traditional ones . . . I don't go for chocolate ones, or apple ones . . . just the regular ones.  I am a traditionalist and I don't like messing with tradition.  So there.

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All in all it was a pretty good day, made even more so by getting to spend it with the man of my dreams.  Yes, I know . . . I am a lucky girl because I get to spend every day of my life with the man of my dreams . . .  but knowing that I am blessed to do so makes it even better.

"Who, being loved . . . is poor?"
~Oscar Wilde  

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There's a tasty repeat in The English Kitchen today because I was playing hookie yesterday.    Chicken and Ham Lasagne.

Please keep our dear friend Sheilagh in your prayers today as she has her gall bladder removed.   Praying it all goes well. 

  ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ 


May it be filled to overflowing with small and wonderful things!

Sunday 30 March 2014

Thoughts . . .

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"It is a sociological fact that women need women."
~Bonnie L Oscarson, General YW President  

Last evening something of great historical import happened.   It was the occasion of the first ever worldwide General LDS Women's Meeting, involving all women ages 8 and above.   I have only just begun to listen to the variety of talks given via the internet, (which you can do as well, by clicking here.) but I have already been fed spiritually in a magnficent way.  I love and am so grateful for the way we women are valued in our church. 

I love also . . . this quote by Sister Oscarson from her talk which she gave during this very special meeting.   Women do need women.    As soon as I heard her say it, I thought about all of you and how very kind you are and precious to me.   I am so thankful for all of your comments from yesterday.  They helped me to feel better when I really needed to feel better.

At one time or another we will all be or have been daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, friends . . . or at least a few of those things and I think only a daughter, sister, mother, wife,  friend can understand the way different things in our lives touch our hearts and break our hearts and fill our hearts and enrich our hearts . . .

I will probably always feel this way, this sense of loss.   At the moment I cannot see it ever going away, but then again perhaps that is putting limitations on my Heavenly Father who has promised me that if I do all that I can for Him, He will do all that He can for me, and then some . . .

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and that I am loved with a perfect love that I may never understand completely, but I know I understand at least a portion of it . . . and that part is the knowledge I gained by being born a woman, because . . .

we women . . . we know how to love unconditionally don't we?   As a mother I know that there is nothing on this earth that my children could ever do that would ever prevent me from loving and caring about them.  Nothing.  As a daughter, I recognize that my mother and father did the very best that they knew how to do and whilst it was not always perfect (what is?) it was their best and borne out of their love for me.  As a sister . . . I, too, have learned to love unconditionally these fellow beings that I have been given to share my familial history with . . . something which I share with no other creatures on this planet.  As a wife, I have learned that although I may never understand men . . . I will always love them. . .  and I do so adore the ones in my life.  As a friend, I know that I will always be there for my friends and they for me, no matter what, no matter when . . . in any way possible, even if it is just as simple as a word of comfort . . .

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When I am down or feeling blue . . . I want the comfort of another woman's heart because I know that only another woman can understand the way I am feeling . . . and sometimes words are not even necessary . . . because we know . . . we just know.  And it is a beautiful and a wonderful thing, this sharing and meeting of minds and hearts.

I am grateful for it, and I am grateful for all of you.   Your hearts and love . . . for me, whom most of you have never even met . . . they uplift me and they mean everything to me and I thank you all from the bottom of my grateful heart.  I would not ever be without you.   We are all in this together.   Thank God.

Now go and listen to the talks from that meeting.   They are very . . . very good.   

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And . . . make this cake.

Have a great day.   We are going for a drive.  We don't go to church on Mothering Sunday.  Perhaps we should, but it breaks our heart and so we don't.  Sometimes you just got to do what you got to do and we are going for a drive.  The sun is shining.  Maybe we will walk around a lake.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Keeping it real . . .

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Sometimes I wake up in the morning totally lacking in motivation . . . like a thick damp fog is laying over me, keeping me down and I feel like I am lost.  It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I just wish that I could go back to bed again and wake up again, in a sunnier mood . . .

Those are the days when I don't want to do much of anything at all.   The days when I just want to lay around and wallow in self pity . . .  when I feel sad and lost and . . .  blue.

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Those are the days where I alternate between feeling invisible and feeling sad about that . . . and wanting to actually be invisible.  Days when I wish I could just jump on a plane or a train or a bus and just go . . . I don't know where, but just someplace other than here.   Someplace where the sun is shining and people are laughing and everything is a. o. k.

And when I have those thoughts I immediately feel ashamed, because I am not a person who doesn't have a lot to be grateful for.  I have relatively good health, and I have a husband who loves me . . . a roof over my head which keeps me dry and warm . . .  clothes upon my back and food to keep my belly warm . . .  good friends, the Gospel in my life.  At least one child who I know cares about me in a special way . . .  and possibly two others.  It is the two that don't that get me down . . .  and that is at the root of the matter really.

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If I look at the timing of feeling this way, I notice that it most often happens around special days and holidays and tomorrow is Mother's Day . . . well, here in the UK at least, and I know that to two of the five bairns I gave birth to I am a non-entity, and that makes me feel incredibly sad to the core.  It makes me doubt myself and who I am.   It makes me feel like I must have been the worst mother ever, even though I know I was not.   That feeling of loss is compounded and made worse with the knowledge that how I feel and my story is not in the least bit important to them.  I.   Just.   Don't.  Count.

That is how I felt for most of my life until I found the Gospel.  Like I just didn't count and that my feelings, my hopes, my dreams, my thoughts . . . just did not matter.  Now I know different and I shouldn't be feeling this way . . . but I do . . . and it makes me a bit angry with myself, because it is not something I can change.  You cannot make people love you or care for you, or care about you.  You cannot make people like you.   You cannot make people acknowledge you, or your feelings, or anything else.   It is up to them . . . and whenever you allow those negative thoughts into your life . . . you are letting the other side win.

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And I get angry with myself for allowing other people to have this power over me and my feelings.    And when I let that toe hold of negativity grab me, it starts to bleed into other areas . . . and I begin to doubt my talents, and who I am . . .  and I feel very discouraged.    And I am not looking for pats on the back, or for people to say "there . . . there."  I am not really looking for anything.  I am just venting . . . giving a voice to my feelings in the hopes that once I have put them out there they will go away.

Another thing which is making me feel sad is my mother is forgetting me.  I do not talk to her every day now that my sister is living with her, only about twice a week . . . but when I do, I have to remind her often who she is talking to.   She will be telling me a story about me and I have to say  . . .  mom, this is me.   That is me you are talking about.  And then about 2 minutes later it happens all over again . . . and I am taken back to a year ago when I sat on the sofa at her house while she sat in her rocking chair, slack mouthed and sleeping . . . and I felt like she was disappearing in front of my eyes and I was losing her . . .  and there was nothing I could do about it.   In truth this is probably what is bothering me more than anything.  I feel helpless against it.

Intellectually . . . I know I am not a bad person.  I am good and I am kind.    I would give anyone anything I had if they needed it more than I did . . .  and more often than not, just because they asked for it, or even if they didn't just because I wanted to give something to them.  I am loving.  I am forgiving.  I care about others often more than I care about myself. 

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But I am human.  And sometimes I just feel like bleeding all over the page.  And it's not pretty.  And it doesn't make you smile or feel good inside either.  And I am sorry for that, because I really don't want to make anyone feel sad or for anyone to feel sorry for me.  This is not meant as a pity grab.

Don't worry . . . I'll feel better soon.   I always do.  This is just a minor blip in this great adventure we call life.  I just wanted to share it with you because I don't want any of my readers to think I lead a charmed and perfect life . . .  or that I am always happy and that nothing ever bothers me.  I get down from time to time.  This is called keeping it real.  It's called being human.  I hope you'll forgive me.

But that's a silly question.  Of course you will.  I have the best friends in the world.

Now THAT makes me smile. 

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Easter Basket Sugar Cookies in The English Kitchen today.

Friday 28 March 2014

Friday Finds

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  A few of the wow moments, or things I discover each week that tickle my fancy.  I hope that they may inspire or tickle yours too!A few of the wow moments, or things I discover each week that tickle my fancy.  I hope that they may inspire or tickle yours too!

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Oh my word, from Averie Cooks . . .  a Coconut Cream Pie Smoothie.  Creamy, smooth and tasting like one of my favourite pies.   Will life ever be the same???   Oh, and she also has a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread Smoothies.  Be still my heart!

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Something fun to do with the children and grandchildren this summer.  Water Gun Painting.  Who knows what masterpieces you could create!  I am betting the kids would really enjoy this.  I found it on Somewhat Simple.

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A new and exciting way to play hopscotch!  I loved playing hopscotch when I was a girl.  I think I was rather good at it, but that could be selective memory, lol.   In any case this looks like it would even appeal to boys!  Found on Matty Angel.  It would make a great party game for the kiddos too!

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Things every son needs to hear. This is an excellent article I found on We are THAT Family.  How did regular people get to be so smart?  It took me 58 years to get as smart as I am now and I'm not all the way there yet!  Seriously good advice in this article . . .  for the boys in your life.  And the girls too.  I think it's advice anyone could use and apply to their own lives.

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Page by page instructions for every lego set since 1965.  On   It's amazing what you can find online these days!  I don't know how we could ever cope without it. Oh, I know, in reality our lives would just go on, but boy . . . I would sure miss it.  Anything I want to find something out, and I mean anything . . . I google it!  Yes.  I am one of THOSE people!

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This is another one of those "Why didn't I think of that!" ideas.   You know how when you are teaching the kids how to read and doing reading homework, etc. and you are trying to get them to follow line upon line in their readers?   Well, a big googly eye on the end of a popsicle stick helps them to focus even better!  I know!  GENIUS!  Found on Cincy Nanny.

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Now this is a totally brilliant idea.  (You just knew somehow I would bring it back to food didn't you?)  A healthy snack drawer.  Yes, a drawer in the refrigerator that is filled with portion sized healthy snacks  Again . . . GENIUS!  It is so tempting when you are starving to grab a packet of crisps or a few cookies.  How much better to grab a packet of melon chunks, or berries, etc.   Found this one on  The Vintage Modern Wife.

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Now this is handy.  How to replace a broken or cracked i-phone screen.   Found on C.R.A.F.T.  I don't have one of these, but I know plenty of people do and when you break one of those screens, it can cost mega bucks to replace it.   This supposedly costs $10.  What a fab saving!

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There is only one thing I hate in the house more than spiders and almost as much as wasps (read really hate!)  and that is flies.   They are dirty and disgusting and I hate the thoughts of them landing or crawling on anything, HATE!!  Apparently they hate pine-sol.   Mix it with water, 50/50 and put it into a spray bottle.  Use this  combination to wipe counters etc.   It will drive them away.   Good to know!

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For those of you on your own or with smaller families, this is good to know.  How to make HALF a recipe!  I am always cutting recipes in half.   Todd isn't a great lover of leftovers and so I try to make as small a version of things that I can.   (He is however not totally opposed to leftover cake, just so you know!  As long as it's not chocolate or lemon.)  I am going to print this out and stick it on my refrigerator. 

Here's a tip for you.  For years and years we kept paying for insurance on our sky box.  We never had to use it and so when I lost my job and we had to move etc. we decided we would cancel it.   And so we did.  Yesterday morning our Sky television stopped working. And so we thought oh heck . . . this is going to cost a bomb.  Todd called them up and all we had to do was re-instate our sky box/dish insurance for six months and they are sending an engineer out for free.  Well, technically it's not free, because over the six months we will be paying £65, but it's a lot cheaper than it would have been if we had had to pay for the engineer without insurance.  Afterwards I said to Todd . . . hmmm . . .  just think of all those years we paid for insurance and got nothing for it.   We could have saved a mitt full of money just by waiting for it to crack up and having them sell us the insurance when we needed it! 

We don't have a working television antennae on our house.  (The previous tennant stole the wire from it when they moved house.   Bad people.   They also skipped out owing our landlord about 6 months rent.)  So we had no television all yesterday and probably most of today too.   The engineer is supposed to call between 12 and 5.  How much you want to bet it will be a lot closer to 5 when he gets here than 12?  I know!  Hoping we have it re-enstated by the end of today!  I don't want to miss Coronation Street!  (Yes I am also one of THOSE people! lol)

And that's it for this week.   Ten good to know things and ideas that I didn't know before.  And I am thinking you probably didn't either!

A thought to carry with you through this day . . .

 ═══ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ═══
"Go out into the world today
and love the people you meet.
Let your presence bring new light
in the hearts of people.

 ~ Mother Teresa
*✻ღϠ₡ღ *✻ღϠ₡ღ *✻ღϠ₡ღ

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Country Baked Chicken.  So moist and tender and with a delicious gravy that is perfect for spooning over mashed potatoes.  This is a winner!

Have a FABULOUS Friday people!   God bless til tomorrow!

Thursday 27 March 2014

Lessons Walt taught me . . .

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When I was a little girl I loved the films and cartoons of Walt Disney.   Sunday evenings was always Disney night in our house.  We ate it up as a family and if a Disney film was playing at the Cinema you could be sure I'd be one of the first in line to see it.   It was the same when I grew up and had children of my own.  Some of the later stuff has been a bit questionable at times . . . but as a whole Disney is still what I would consider family material.

For the most part they are wholesome and clean, without any bad language, gratuitous sex and horrible violence.  They usually have cute and loveable characters and catchy music and songs.  They are timeless and ageless . . . you enjoy them as a child and you enjoy them as an adult.  If you are looking for a lesson to be taught or to be learnt, you can usually find one in a Disney film.

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I think one of the first lessons I learned as a child was in Bambi when Thumper's mother asked him what his father had taught him that morning  . . .

"If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all."

That taught me that  it was better to keep my mouth shut than to say anything that might hurt, discourage, demean, or destroy . . . some things are better left unsaid.

“Coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.” 
~Jeffrey R Holland

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Although it may seem for a while like the bad guy is going to win, good always triumphes over evil.  The nice guy does not always finish last.  Just keep doing what you know to be right and to be true and in the end truth, honesty and goodness will prevail.  The bad guy never wins in the long run.

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A job worth doing is a job worth doing right.  Taking shortcuts, trying to get away with a job only half done, or using shortcuts that may make it go faster, but let you down in the long run . . .  these things are just not worth it if your integrity or someone else's safety is at stake.  

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Outward appearances are often quite deceiving.  Never judge a book by it's cover.  Some things look really good on the outside, but are rotten to the core.  Other's look quite plain, but hold true gems at their heart. Learn to be discerning. Never take anything at it's face value.

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Inside each of us is the potential to be, to do, to become, to achieve something great.  Most of us never reach our full potentials . . . either because of a lack of confidence, or out of fear . . . because we don't know who we really are.   The ugly duckling felt ugly  when he was comparing himself to a bunch of ducks that were looking down on him . . . he didn't know he was really a swan, one of the most graceful and beautiful of birds.  Realizing who he really was . . . was life changing.   Never let your fears and misgivings limit your potential.  You have nothing to fear . . . except fear itself.

“With all my capacity I encourage you to discover who you really are. I invite you to look beyond the daily routine of life. I urge you to discern through the Spirit your divinely given capacities. I exhort you to prayerfully make worthy choices that will lead you to realize your full potential.”
~Elder Richard G Scott     

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Patience is a virtue.  Dreams can come true.  As long as we keep moving forward, believing and trusting in all that we know to be true and to be good, doing our best, having faith and trust . . . and acting on that . . . all will be well.  Prayers will be answered in God's own timing.  Maybe not always in the ways we have envisioned them to be . . . and maybe we won't always like the answers we get . . .  but with patience and time . . .  and a little bit of faith,  we will see the silver lining.  This I know to be true.

“Patience, that heavenly virtue, had brought to humble Saints its heaven-sent reward.”
~President Thomas S Monson  

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Anyone is capable of changing.   Never hold a person's past against them.  If someone has truly repented of their wrong doings . . . and has turned their life around for the better, that is who we should celebrate.  None of us should have to carry our misdeeds and failures with us into the future like albatrosses hung around our necks.  Take the lessons learnt and move forward.  Leave the past in the past where it belongs.

“I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.” 
~Jeffrey R Holland

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At the end of the day these are the things matter most . . . faith, hope, love, family, friendship, loyalty, honor, integrity, virtue, honesty . . .  anything else is just a pale imitation.

What was your favourite Disney film when you were a child and why?  I really want to know!

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

The world is full of vibrant color.
Don’t let it lose an ounce of its luster.
Assume this day is going to be good, and it will.
God made it so.
~Max Lucado  

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There's a real treat in The English Kitchen today . . . Oatmeal Cookie Dough Butter.   Delicious and good for you too!


Have a great day!


Wednesday 26 March 2014

Wednesday words of whimsey . . .

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Down winding lanes, beneath the dark branches overhead where black rooks crowd and caw,  their eerie voices echoing through the air . . . we walk.  Gold light filters down through the blackened branches . . .  the  sun peering down at us through a cloud streaked pale blue sky . . .

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We pass the lynchgate of a church and meet a bridge.   Lovely is the old grey bridge that takes the burden of this road.  It's rhythmic arches flow gently, bearing their load with the grace that a thousand years has lent to it . . .  Across the way anglers stand in deep recesses, rods in hand . . . patiently waiting for that first tug on the line.  Silent figures in a scene of undisturbed beauty . . .

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Every stone of span and pier has been touched with a mellowed beauty.  Lords and ladies, ploughmen and peddlars, Roundheads, Kings and Cavaliers . . .  which feet have touched these hallowed stones.   Could all have crossed this ancient bridge upon the road of history?   Could they have stood where I now watch the river going down to meet the sea?  I am filled with the awesomeness of a history I may never know . . . but feel in my bones.

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We linger for a moment drinking it in, pondering it's significance and then we continue on slipping down the hill.   Past small cottages, with corners snug and neat.   Through a gateway into fields, now beginning to stripe with the green of growing wheat . . .  and still others turning golden from the rapeseed which grows line upon line upon line . . .

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We pause . . .  poised against the wind . . . watching the Welsh hills growing grey with rain.  Tis time to turn back . . . along the dark edges of the woodland, up the road . . . and home again.  Home sweet home . . .
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
Which seek thro' the world, is ne'er met elsewhere.
Home! Home!
Sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home
There's no place like home!
~John Howard Payne

Pull up a chair . . . I'll put the kettle on.

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Another bit of whimsey here this morning.   Oh my mind does take some fantastic journies . . .

A thought to carry with you through today . . . 


Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.
~Auguste Rodin  

........♥ღϠ₡ღ Sending Love To Everyone ღϠ₡ღ♥........

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . a delicious Cauliflower Chowder.

May your Wednesday be a wonderful one!  Dang, this week is going past rather quickly!