Archive | June 2013

Millie in the flowers.


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Millie loves walking (stalking) in the garden at the cottage. She can easily hide amongst the flowers and she is so well camouflaged that she rarely gets seen when she lies down.  I couldn’t get her to turn round for this picture.  She was watching something that I couldn’t see, so here she is, back view only.

Millie has adapted very well to her new home.  It must seem so strange to her.  It is much cooler over here, but the cottage is very sunny and she just follows the sun around from room to room so she can bask in it without even going outside.

She has become very dominant over Patch, my other cat. I am not surprised about that, but it is a shame because Patch is always at the bottom of the heap. She is old (13) and just wants to be left alone to sleep and eat, but Millie still wants to play and she chases Patch and corners her. Millie doesn’t attack Patch and there have been no injuries, but Patch is so timid she always submits.  Sometimes I just wish she’d stand her ground and not move! Of course we humans must not interfere. Between the two of them they have established a routine. Patch even finds a sort of comfort in going out into the garden when Millie is around because Millie is the devil Patch knows. If there is a strange cat in the garden or if The Ghost is lurking in the undergrowth, then patch is quite happy for Millie to sort it out!

The two cats don’t argue over the food bowls.  They both get fed at the same time, twice a day and whoever gets to the dishes first, starts. The other one will sit and wait. So far they haven’t stood next to each other to eat.

They will sit together in the back room sometimes. I like to see that and if I am in there doing my crochet or knitting, they like to sit with me. Sometimes one will sit on my lap and I have to put my knitting down, but mostly they just sit and watch.  I like to listen to story tapes when I’m doing my handicraft and I do believe they like to listen too.

So all is peaceful chez moi – for the moment.

Since the weekend is for gardening, I’d like to share with you some of the flowers I’m enjoying at the moment.

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Enjoy your weekend people.

Visa approved – he’s on his way.


signpost to Tennessee

I’m delighted to tell you that my husband’s visa application was approved and he should be here in England with me within weeks. It was tortuous waiting but now we can relax and plan for the future.

L will find many things different over here but he’s willing to give it a try so we are optimistic.

So welcome husband. Come and be happy with me.

garden heartpicture from the internet.

Oma

Baby Sam update


Sam in bath 09-06-2013

Baby Sam is my second grandson. He was born on May 27th 2013 to the delight of all his family and especially me. Here he is having one of his first baths. Isn’t he cute.

On Friday he visited the cottage with his parents for the first time – quite an occasion and one of many to come. So far he has been asleep most of the times I have seen him. He does seem to be a very contented baby. I’m thinking he might have auburn, curly hair like his Dad.

Needless to say his mum and dad are very proud of him. Here is Dad having a cat-nap with his new son:

David and Sam June 2013 1

Isn’t that adorable? My heart swells with pride when I see my lovely family growing and thriving.

Now please read the Stop Press notice on the right-hand side. The news I receive tomorrow is going to change my life…

My English Garden in June – A Riot of Summer Colour


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We got off to a very slow start this summer. Everything is late and here at the cottage there has been some replanting. The gardener has had to replant his runner bean seeds because first they didn’t germinate properly – owing to the cold Spring and then when they did, something ate them under the ground.  Every morning we went out to look, but nothing! Finally we gave up and planted some new seeds. As I speak on 18th June the little plants are about 3 inches up.

My Morning Glory seeds germinated and then got water-logged and cold and died so I had to buy another packet of seeds and replant them. They have just germinated – watch this space.

However! despite all that the garden is a riot of colour as you can see here. Come take a look…

The poppies, daisies and acquilegias are all in full bloom.
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Here and there some lichnis growing fast (that’s the grey foliage in the bottom left hand corner of next picture).

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The bees are happy and that’s the main thing!  Happy gardening peeps.

How have you found the weather has affected your garden (if you have one) so far this year?

Growing old gracefully.


old lady coughs and sneezes

Last year I decided to let my hair grow out grey. It was a big decision for me because it is not just the hair thing, it is much more than that for a woman.  For a man it is so different. Men age gracefully automatically, just so long as they take care of their bodies and keep reasonably fit and stay very clean. For women these days, with all the beauty products available, it is more of a conscious decision.  It is almost like saying ‘I don’t want men to see me as a sex object anymore. I am me, I am older, see me as I really am. To be honest, I think going grey aged me ten years! That’s a lot isn’t it.

I wanted to see if people treated me differently and they do. I have become invisible. Some people treat me like their favourite auntie or granny, other people see me as an old nuisance, especially when I have my shopping trolley with me. I do get more respect from some quarters and less from others. What I am not anymore is a potential partner, not by sight anyway. My dazzling personality and winning smile!!! will still see me through when I get into conversation, but I don’t get those second looks anymore, not do I want them.

That is the turning point: I do not want the second looks. I have had a few lapses over the last year. I have hovered for a while around the hair dye aisle in the local Supermarket. I have gazed longingly at the jazzy new nail polish colours further down but I have resisted so far. I have tried to buy more conservative clothes and ended up with a wardrobe with three types of clothes in it. I still have work suits in there because they were expensive and I can’t bear to part with them yet. I have classic type clothes that won’t date and I have the sort of clothes that I really like wearing, which are largely Indian in style, with lots of long dresses with sequins and swirls. So I hover between them all. I rarely wear the suits, although they do come in handy for my visits to town. I wear the classic clothes to meet my friends and go to church etc. but when I am on my own – I paint my nails red and wear my Indian dresses.

Since letting my ‘hair go grey’ I have been much more careful with the way that I speak. I don’t swear any more! I never did swear much but now I leave it along. I don’t think it goes well with my new image.

I have certain role models – people who I admire from films or TV. I try to copy their style as the metamorphosis develops. Here lies a problem because my role models are so diverse. Ideally I would like to look like Sophia Loren. I realise that some people reading this will not have heard of her! Those that have will know exactly what I mean.

Sophia Loren

Then again I like Miss Marple’s style, do you know the version in which Geraldine McKewan stars? She is so sweet and so dainty. Yes, I’d like to be like that.

Miss Marple

See what I mean? It’s a bit of a problem. If I am to be a butterfly changing back into a caterpillar, then I want that caterpillar to be a pretty one – one that people look at and say, ‘that’s a pretty caterpillar.’ Perhaps they will avoid treading on it then!

Now I’m off to Sainsbury’s with my shopping trolley (that’s a bag on wheels) ready to do battle with the crowds but with a big smile on my face.

I’m getting there slowly…

My Memoirs – 3, Growing up in the 1950’s.


I was born in 1951 so all my childhood took place in the 1950’s. My father had returned from the war a changed man who no doubt found it difficult to fit into civilian life again and my mother had coped on her own as best she could. Then I came along. I think I was a mistake because I’ve heard it said a few times when I should not have been eavesdropping!

This is my Christening photo.

Stella Christening 1951

My mother always wanted a large family. She had three brothers of her own and, as the second eldest, took a bit part in caring for them because that’s what women did in those days – care for their men. She told me on numerous occasions how she was always mending their trousers or darning socks to say nothing of the washing and ironing involved. So she was used to lots of people around her all the time.

My father, on the other hand, was the youngest of three, the baby, mostly brought up by his much older sister – my Auntie Connie, who was thirteen years his senior. He went to the Grammar School in Dunstable, now Ashton and did well, hoping to become a chemist eventually. His dreams didn’t materialise, unfortunately for him, because his parents were not that supportive and he left school to work in various places in his home town.

My parents lived in rooms when I was tiny and my father worked two jobs to make ends meet. We didn’t have a house until I was about three years old. Of course I was too young to remember any of this. I only have one memory of being tiny and that was of riding in my pram with shopping all around me. I could have been two years old because children remained in their prams much longer in those days.

My mother didn’t like living in rooms. It must have been very difficult with a baby, sharing a bathroom and kitchen with people one didn’t know. My father would have been out most of the time, working so it must have been lonely too, especially for a Dutch lady whose family lived overseas.

The worst thing for my mother,as a foreigner in England, was her Dutch accent. Having an accent which sounded German so soon after the war had ended was a burden she had to bear. A lot of people thought she was German and gave her suspicious looks or ignored her all together. In addition she was not the first choice of wife by my grandparents, who would have preferred that my father had married someone from his home town.

Looking at my mother’s face in the picture above, I feel very sorry for her. She had just gone through five years of war and now found herself in a foreign country full of animosity to foreigners, without her close family and very much on her own. Despite all that she looks radiantly happy and full of hope, doesn’t she?

What are your earliest memories of childhood? How far back can you go with clear memories?

A New Project just started – knitting


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I started my newest knitting project the other day.  It is going to be a cape as shown in ‘Jane Austen Knits’. I think it looks really pretty and I knew I had just the yarn for the base of it.

Here is the pattern:

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As you can see the base is a thick brown worsted yarn – just right for warmth and the overlay is a fluffy mohair in a gorgeous lacey pattern. The handspun yarn I made myself last October is just right for the base:

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But I’m not sure about the colour of the lacey top layer. I think I may choose a light beige to do that.  What do you think?

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