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My English Garden in May – Beautiful Clematis


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It’s just so nice to see flowers blooming after our long, wet winter. Here on the wall is a beautiful clematis, which gives us much pleasure.

And here a honeysuckle, just waiting to open up…

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Life feels good at the moment and here at the cottage we are all three enjoying our retirement.  There is time, at last, to do the things we want to do. Life moves slowly. We have learned to adapt and it’s good.

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Oma

 

Happy Easter and Sammy update.


 

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My little grandson, Sammy, is growing fast.  He is nearly one year old already. Can you believe it? For Easter we bought him some small, white chocolate Easter bunnies and a gorgeous book about Peter Rabbit. He came round to visit this morning with his Daddy and we had the pleasure of watching him open the parcel. Too soon for chocolate today but he may be allowed a little tomorrow.

News! Sammy is crawling and gets about the room crab-like and quite fast.

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Down at the garden centre, business is booming.  Feast your eyes on these delights:-

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The shops are full of Easter Eggs.  Which one is your favourite? This year mine is an Aero egg, full of bubbles and I’m looking forward to eating some of it tomorrow.

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Have a wonderful Easter Day tomorrow from all of us at the cottage 🙂

Oma

 

The Generation Gap


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We are continuing with the awful, rainy weather here in England and the cottage garden is getting more than its share of water this Spring. In addition an evil wind has blown in and caused much sorrow to me and my family in the form of a family squabble, which I never expected to be part of. It is partly caused by the generation gap and again I came to realise that my path in life is leading me away from the action and down to the river. I think it must be quite nice to sail away on the tide in a small boat just allowing the current to take you where it will, knowing that you won’t be coming back.

I find myself spending a lot of time day-dreaming these days; remembering back to times gone by – better times in my opinion. My mind takes me back to a time when duty was more important and self-centred thoughts were not allowed.

Perhaps the winds of truth will blow soon from a different direction.

Oma

My memoirs – J and I, our first home.


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I’ve been ill with the flu all week – horrid. It was a week when I discovered Larry didn’t know how to peel potatoes and Jim didn’t know how to load the washing machine! Oh well, perhaps I’ll feel better next week.

While I was lying in bed feeling awful, I got to thinking about my next post on here. What should I write about? It seemed some time since I wrote a post for my memoirs, mainly because I’ve been caught up in Larry’s posts about his finding on life over here in the U.K. I

I am writing these memoirs for my boys. Perhaps they will like reading them one day. This one is particularly significant and I hardly known where to start. It is about young love and discovery. It also touches on ‘becoming invisible as we get older’ because I am 62 year’s old now; but I wasn’t always old. I wasn’t always an Oma. I was a young lady – that’s me in the picture with my first husband J. We weren’t married yet. When you look at this picture, see me as the young lady I was, not the old lady I’ve become. I’m still here. I just look different and I think differently about life, based on my experiences. I digress…

It is May 1970. I am 18 years old and J is 21. We  are preparing for our wedding in August. We have know each other for four years already and we are planning to get married to the day that we met, i.e. August 15th. For me it is a happy day, a very special day. J and I met on August 15th, 1966 and we married four years later. The marriage was to last for 36 years and we are still great friends to this day.

We saved to get a deposit for the flat (apartment) you see in the picture. It cost apx  £3,200 and our deposit was £1,000. Neither of us earned very much money because we were so young and J was still studying for his degree as a research chemist. He wouldn’t complete the course until three years later, although he already had an H.N.C (Higher National Certificate) in Chemistry. So in those early days I was earning more than he was,just!, as a Sales Administrator at Electrolux. In those days it was only the husband’s salary which counted for the mortgage and then only 2 1/2 times, nothing like it is nowadays. We were lucky to get a mortgage at all. Despite saving diligently in the Halifax Building Society for 3 years, we were still turned down. They said they didn’t lend money on flats and we couldn’t afford a house. Then J’s father took matters into his own hands. He went down to the Building Society and ‘threatened’ to take his own savings out and put them somewhere else if they didn’t give his son a mortgage! Nowadays that probably wouldn’t cut any ice, but then it did. He had significant savings and they listened. Our mortgage was granted (thanks dad) and we got on the first rung of the ladder.

The flat was new, brand new and I can’t tell you how excited I was to get it. My mum promised to buy us some curtains so that they were all the same. They were bright orange and one of the walls was purple. All very 70’s and high fashion at the time. Later on one of my hamsters would chew a big hole in one of those expensive curtains, but I’ll keep that story for another time.

Our flat was on the ground floor, at the front of the building. There was a bus-stop right outside, which was very convenient. I could walk to work and J could get the bus. Bit by bit we bought carpet and furniture and made a cosy home.

In the picture I am wearing a mini-skirt dress. It was made of crimplene, a very fashionable material at the time. I think it was a pale green colour.

Here are some interesting facts about May 1970 in the U.K.

So, we had chosen our home, booked the church for our wedding and the venue for the wedding reception. My dress was chosen as were the dresses for the two bridesmaids. We were almost there…

What were you doing in May 1970?

Dylan update – Dylan has a new house!


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This is my little grandson, Dylan. He has some big news. A week before Christmas he moved into a new house! Here at the cottage, it was very exciting news because the move had been on/off, on/off, on/off, all through December. There was a small snag concerning the Land Registry and that held everything up. (Isn’t there always a small snag!!!). Anyway, in the end all was well and they moved in on a fairly nice day without too much wind and cold.

It took till lunchtime to get the van loaded at the old house and then til tea-time to get into the new one. By then everyone was tired. Dylan came to the cottage for the day while everything was going on and Larry was ‘on loan’ to help with the move. My son and his wife coped admirably and even seemed to enjoy it.

The next day the priority became putting up the Christmas decorations. The other grandparents did a lot of that, so that by the end of day 1, the house looked like Christmas had arrived and the family were very happily ensconced in their new abode. I don’t have pictures yet, but suffice to say it is bigger than the last house and Dylan has a very nice, new bedroom to put all his new toys in.

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Christmas is now over, in the main; although because I love it so much, I refuse to stop celebrating in my own quiet way. This afternoon I intend to sit down and watch ‘Holiday Inn’ because I really enjoy that film. I have a new, digitally coloured version, which is excellent.

When I woke up this morning, there was a hard frost all over the ground. Larry had never seen such a thick frost before. It looked like snow to him. No doubt he will mention it in his next missive, which I must encourage him to write.

So now I must get back to the kitchen. We have roast lamb for dinner today. It is already smelling wonderful…

Are you ready yet?


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Well, we’re nearly there aren’t we! Not long now. my Christmas cards are posted, the tree is decorated, the cake made and this afternoon I shall decorate it.

p.m. I’ve half-decorated the cake! I put the marzipan on it, but decided to leave the icing till tomorrow because I don’t trust the cat to leave it alone. In the cottage here, Millie likes dairy produce so I know she will love the butter icing I’m going to put on top. If I cover it over, she will remove the cling film and I don’t have a tin big enough to hide the cake in. Oh my, the lengths we have to go to when we have a pet.

Thank goodness for Millie because I am still missing Patch very much. I now have her picture in my bedroom so I can still say goodnight and good morning, but I badly miss her soft little paws and the sweet expressions she had for me when I came down in the morning. I suppose I miss Patch most because I didn’t say goodbye. I thought I’d be bringing her home minus a tooth so it was a shock to leave her at the vet’s and know that I would never see her again.

Christmas is very much a time for missing people, isn’t it! I think back to when I was a child and the lovely Christmases we had at home. There were only three of us – I have no siblings and the dog, of course. There was a fire-place in the main bedroom, which my dad lit on special days. Looking back that seems very dangerous to me now, but at the time, it was normal. We had a fireplace in all the rooms, but it was too expensive to keep them all lit all the time and unnecessary too, of course.

I had a sack with presents in it and Father Christmas left it at the foot of my bed. When I woke on Christmas morning, I took the sack into my parents’ bedroom and opened the presents with them. My dad liked to have morning tea in bed with cakes! So with the fire glowing and tea and cakes to enjoy, I could open my presents with glee. My favourite was always a Rupert annual. I’ve always loved reading and the the illustrations in the Rupert Annuals are superb. To this day I still enjoy looking at them and reading them to my grandson.

So now, back to my kitchen. What are you doing this afternoon?

Oma

So much to be thankful for!


photo (5)This picture is the very first one taken where I am with both my grandsons and their daddies. Needless to say I am very proud of it. Dylan, on the left, wasn’t feeling well that day so he looks miserable and Sam was tired because it was near his bedtime; so neither of them were very happy, but I was because it marks a moment in history for me. I am a very lucky Oma indeed. Shown are two of my three sons. The eldest one was not present and doesn’t have any children but I felt he was worthy of a mention!

‘Deep streams usually run smoothly and quietly. They have the same rocks and obstacles to overcome as their noisy, shallow counterparts, but they are so full that they can rise above those difficulties so a casual observer would never know they were there.

Whether our lives are turbulent and noisy, or smooth and graceful doesn’t depend on how many or how few problems they contain. It depends on how full they are.’

From The Friendship Book – 2013

Family life does not always run smoothly. I have experience of that like everybody else, but it is how we handle these turbulent times that matters isn’t it.

I have much to be thankful for. I really do. At this time of year as we pass through Thanksgiving and look forward to Christmas, I am more aware of it than usual.

I wish you all, my blogging pals, a peaceful week as you prepare for your Christmas festivities.

With love from the cottage and Oma x

Autumn Flowers


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It was my birthday on Saturday and I have to say I consider myself very lucky to have a birthday in this, the most beautiful month of the year. I haven’t received my birthday present yet. It’s coming on 21st of the month – a new computer! Aren’t I lucky? The one I have been using for the last three years is soooooooooooo slow now, that it is almost unusable so I’m ditching it. Unfortunately that means I will soon be using Windows 8, which I don’t care for at all, but there it is. I need to upgrade. I’ll let you know how I’m getting on soon. Meanwhile, if any of you have any tips about using Windows 8, I would be very glad to hear them.

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Here in the cottage garden, I have started bringing in the summer geraniums. They will not over-winter outside if we get any frost and I don’t want to lose any so one by one I am bringing them in until April. It sounds a long time doesn’t it, but there it is.  I took some cuttings from the bigger plants, as usual, and the little babies are doing really well on the window ledge in the front room.

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Preparations for winter continue. I need to get a new hot water bottle. I use one so much, I wear them out every two years. Here’s a tip: never keep your hot water bottle too long because the rubber inside can become perished. If you live in England, always buy a good one. It’s not worth risking getting burned. I don’t feel ready for an electric blanket yet. I’ll consider that when the hot water bottle doesn’t work anymore.

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Today we went to Specsavers. Larry needed a hearing test. This comes free on the National Health Service over here. He was referred there by the doctor we have. The test took an hour to do and he walked out of the shop with two new hearing aids and much improved hearing. It didn’t cost anything and it was all over very quickly and efficiently. He was very impressed and once again, I can say how very proud I am of our National Health Service here in England.

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So, next stop is the hospital on Thursday, when L has to have something on his neck looked at. I’ll let you know about that afterwards. The older we get, the more we need the doctor etc. it seems!

So enjoy the Autumn with me and wish me luck with my new computer when it gets here. I think there will be lots of cursing and swearing until I get used to it.

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Bristol Harbour


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The Matthew in Bristol Harbour

Larry and I have had one trip away since he came over to England in July. That was to visit my eldest son and his partner, who live in Bristol. One of the most interesting things about Bristol is the harbour – see below.

‘Bristol Harbour was the original Port of Bristol, but as ships and their cargo have increased in size, it has now largely been replaced by docks at Avonmouth and Portbury. These are located 3 miles (5 km) downstream at the mouth of the River Avon.

The harbour is now a tourist attraction with museums, galleries, exhibitions, bars and nightclubs. Former workshops and warehouseshave now largely been converted or replaced by cultural venues, such as the Arnolfini art gallery, Watershed media and arts centreM Shed museum and the At-Bristol science exhibition centre, as well as a number of fashionable apartment buildings. The Bristol Harbour Railway, operated by M Shed, runs between the museum and the Create Centre on some weekends and bank holidays. Historic boats are permanently berthed in the harbour. These include Isambard Kingdom Brunel‘s SS Great Britain, which was the first iron-hulled andpropeller-driven ocean liner.

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S.S. Great Britain in Bristol Harbour – Autumn 2013

[1] and a replica of the Matthew in which John Cabot sailed to North America in 1497. The historic vessels of M Shed museum, which include the steam tug Mayflower, firefloat Pyronaut and motor tug John King, are periodically operated.

The Bristol Ferry Boat Company[2] and Number Seven Boat Trips[3] operate ferry services in the harbour, serving landing stages close to most of the harbour-side attractions. The latter company also operates a Bristol City Council supported commuter service.[4] The Bristol Packet boats offer regular harbour tours with commentaries and river cruises on the Tower Belle up the River Avon to ConhamHanham and Bath and downstream to Avonmouth.[5]In late July each year, the Bristol Harbour Festival is held, resulting in an influx of boats, including tall shipsRoyal Navy vessels and lifeboats.[6]‘ from Wikipaedia

We had a really great time on a pleasure boat in Bristol Harbour: This is our view from the inside:

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After we had sampled the delights of Bristol harbour, we chilled out in a wonderful coffee bar near the city centre.

Larry is learning our cafe culture. It goes slowly. He was not in his comfort zone in here.

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In true American fashion, he wanted a map of the city and a plan for the day. I, on the other hand, was very happy to amble through the day, alighting like a butterfly, on one interesting place after the other. I think he got quite frustrated with me!

We had a great time visiting my son and his partner and all their animals:

Rob and Kelly August 2012…and hope to return there again soon.

Oma

A Patchwork Quilt for Baby Sam


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I have just completed this patchwork quilt for baby Sam (my second grandson). It will be for his Christmas present.

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It was difficult to find the time to work on it recently, what with all the business at the cottage since the end of July. However, I have finished it and I am quite pleased with it. There is no ‘Jo-annes’ near me so I have to rely on small shops and the internet to get the supplies that I need and I was held up with the finishing of it until my favourite sewing machine got here from America.

The quilt has a jungle theme, which I chose to match with Sam’s bedroom.

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I do hope he likes it. He’s a bit young to appreciate it now of couse, but in time he may come to like the pictures and the bright colours.

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…and of course, no jungle is complete without an elephant, so the elephant may go with it (if I can bear to part with it).

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Meanwhile, the elephant is having a sleep while he waits for Christmas.

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Now if I can just find a box big enough to pack them both?

Oma