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Happy Birthday Larry


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The cottage is buzzing with birthdays! Larry has just turned 70 years. Amazing that he’s lived that long…? no just kidding. Happy Birthday darling and many happy returns.

No, I didn’t stay up to see the New Year in, but I did hear the fireworks, which started here at about 10 p.m. They didn’t keep me awake either.

Happy New Year to all my followers.  I hope 2015 is a good one for you. Any plans for the New Year?

Oma

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and family.


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Feels odd being here in England on Thanksgiving! I am English but with an American husband and time spent living in Tennessee, I have one foot in each country. I think it’s a lovely tradition and I wish we did more of it over here. Our roots here go back thousands of years and it’s hard to know, remember or even think of our origins. However we do have so much to be thankful for. My list is endless, it really is and today, such a special day, I am thankful for my family and friends and that includes all you bloggy followers.

I am making a pumpkin pie for Larry, although he doesn’t know it yet.  It must feel so strange for him being here today, his second year living in England away from his family and all things familiar. We’re going to have a turkey dinner out somewhere nice later on.

So Happy Thanksgiving one and all from my pen to your computer.

Oma x

Steam Train passes through Leagrave Station


Last week we went to our local railway station for an important event. Dylan and his dad came too. We were going to watch a steam train come through and it did, on time and at speed! Here it is:

 

 

At the end you can see Larry ducking to get out of the picture.

Dylan had never seen a steam train live before.  He wasn’t sure what he was going to see. He asked his dad if it was going to be like Thomas (the tank engine). Isn’t that so sweet? At the event, he was frightened, which is not surprising, after all he has only just turned four. He is used to seeing the electric trains go through but this was something different and it did go very fast.

It was a first for Larry too. He had never seen a real steam engine in action either and he found it very exhilarating.

The last steam engine to pull a passenger train in England was in 1968. It was the Oliver Cromwell and it went from Liverpool to Carlisle.  Is it really that long ago?

Do you have any memories of travelling on a steam train?

Oma

 

Tiggywinkles Wild Animal Hospital, Aylesbury, England.


 

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A few days ago Larry, Jim and I went to visit the Tiggywinkles Wild Animal Hospital near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. That’s about 18 miles west of where we live. The hospital is set in the countryside and cares for wild animals who have been injured in some way. A lot are injured on the roads but there are also lots of natural casualties. The ultimate aim of the hospital is to release the animals back into the wild, but this is not always possible, sadly. If they cannot be released, then they will spend the rest of their natural lives in the beautiful grounds of the hospital. The first picture is of a Red Kite bird of prey (red tailed hawk if you are American!). Larry has helped me out with a lot of these sorts of words and descriptions being American himself. I also learnt a lot while I was living over there. It was quite sad to see how many of these beautiful birds were remaining in captivity but at least they are safe and they have a very large area to fly around in. They look wonderful as you can see from the picture.

Caring for wild animals is quite unlike caring for domestic creatures and requires a lot of skill. Tiggywinkles is a charity which relies on donations and benefactors and is always pleased to receive a gift.

Quite a few of the animals are nocturnal so we didn’t see all of them, e.g. the badgers and foxes but they are there just curled up in their burrows and forms etc. If we went back at night I’m sure we would be aware of a lot more, although I doubt if we would see much!

Interestingly there were lots of gulls that couldn’t fly and three legged deer and others.

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In the beginning, Tiggywinkles was set up to care for injured hedgehogs. Hedgehogs used to be very common in England, but over the last thirty years their numbers have reduced so much that now it is a delight to see one let alone have them living happily in the garden. Here at the cottage we used to have lots of them but for the last few years we have had none. Here is a video showing baby hedgehogs. I’m sure you’ll agree that they are just delightful.

Tiggywinkles was named after a Beatrix Potter character called Mrs. Tiggywinkles. Here is a video of her if you are unfamiliar:

If you would like to know more about Tiggywinkles Wild Animal Hospital, you can click here and go to their website. Please do. I’m sure you will enjoy seeing all the good work they do.

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Please let me know if the videos worked?

Oma

 

Fibre-East Festival, 27th July 2014.


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These delightful black piggies were part of my day last Sunday, when Larry and I went to the Fibre-East Festival at Redborne Upper School in Ampthill. There is a farm on the school where the pupils can learn animal husbandry. The animals were extremely well kept and happy and the pig-house even had piped music installed to keep the pigs entertained.

 

There was a farm shop, where I bought some fresh eggs and some honey and in the freezer there were all sorts of home produced meats.

Here are some pictures of the fibre festival itself. Larry and I had a wonderful time looking around and it has inspired him to take up weaving!

There was have-a-go spinning for beginners:

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There were weaving looms galore.

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Lots and lots of yarn. Here I am checking out some wonderful, purple art yarn.

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Bales of roving in all natural colours and livid ones too.

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Hand-made drum carders:

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I was interested in those but they were very expensive.

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Just look at these gorgeous colours:

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and of course there were sheep!

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and a sheep shearing demonstration:

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and the fleece was for sale too. I didn’t buy one. I am still working on the one I’ve got!

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Have a great weekend, whatever you do!

Oma

 

The Kaffe Fassett Knitwear and Quilt Exhibition – Bath, England.


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I’ve just been enjoying a trip to Bath. On one of the days we visited the Kaffe Fassett exhibition, which was, to me, spectacular. This post is heavy on pics but I simply could not choose what to leave out so please enjoy the feast…

This is the entrance hall, which was very pink like everything else in the exhibition – a riot of colour.

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With pictures like these, who needs words? If these pictures have wetted your appetite for more, click here and you can read some more about this interesting designer.

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?