Happy Easter and Sammy update.


Sammy Smith aged 10 mths


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.


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

photo 4

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.

photo 5 photo 3 (1) photo 2 (1) photo 1 (1) photo 1 photo 2 photo (7)

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



A Walk in the Bluebell Wood – bliss.



Click on the title of the poem to hear the words while you look at the pictures 🙂

The BlueBell Wood

We walked within an ancient wood
Beside the Heart-of-England way
Where oak and beech and hazel stood,
Their leaves the pale shades of May.

By bole and bough, still black with rain,
The sunlight filtered where it would
Across a glowing, radiant stain—
We stood within a bluebell wood!

And stood and stood, both lost for words,
As all around the woodland rang
And echoed with the cries of birds
Who sang and sang and sang and sang…

My mind has marked that afternoon
To hoard against life’s stone and sling;
Should I go late, or I go soon,
The bluebells glow— the birds still sing.
Poem Published in the following books: Tales from The Woods




This the beautiful bluebell wood near my cottage. Yesterday morning, Larry and I went for a walk there enjoying the birdsong and the lovely scent of the bluebells. Come share with me our walk…

IMG_1583 IMG_1584 IMG_1585 IMG_1586 IMG_1588 IMG_1589 IMG_1590 IMG_1591 IMG_1592 IMG_1593 IMG_1594 IMG_1596 IMG_1597 IMG_1598 IMG_1599 IMG_1600 IMG_1601 IMG_1603 IMG_1604 IMG_1607 IMG_1609 IMG_1611 IMG_1612 IMG_1613 IMG_1614 IMG_1615 IMG_1616

A Walk Along The Canal Side – bliss.

photo 2 (2)

A walk along the canal side is always going to bring joy. Last Thursday, the weather turned bright and cheerful, so we set off to walk beside the water to enliven our spirit and enjoy the softness of feeling that being beside water always brings. Come with me as I walk and listen to the sounds of Spring.

photo 1 (3)

The is the Grand Union Canal.

photo 2 (3) photo 3 (3) photo 4 (1) photo 1 (4) photo 3 (6) photo 1 (7)

The Bluebell Wood


These cherry trees, full of blossom, simply shout ‘Spring’ don’t they; although it does look a bit like snow. If it wasn’t for the buttercups and daisies, I would be a tad suspicious…

This is my local park, not five minutes from my cottage and beyond is the wood where I love to wander. Last time I took you there, we had just received a heavy fall of snow.  If you want to be reminded, click here.

However if you’d rather stay with Spring, come look at the beautiful bluebells, almost out completely in these pictures.






I even managed to find a few white ones.






and just when you were getting dreamy, here we are back in the park again.


When The Bluebells Bloom

There is so much beauty in Nature but as lovely a thing as I’ve seen
Is in May when the bluebells are blooming on the ditch along the old bohreen
The wild hyacinths of Mother Nature so lovely and bell like and blue
When the bohreen is lit by bright sunlight they sparkle in the morning dew.

Of the beautiful bluebells of Nature the memory with me remain
On the damp and shady ditch of the bohreem they bloom in the wind and the rain
Surrounded by Nature’s leafy greenery where nesting birds whistle and sing
In fancy I can visualize the beauty of the Northern Spring.

In May when the bluebells are blooming birds whistle on the hedgerows and trees
And the wildflowers blooming amongst the long grass are dancing in the freshening breeze
And the hawthorns are heavily laden in their fragile blossoms of white
Than the natural beauty of Nature there’s not a more beautiful sight.

When the bluebells bloom by the bohreen the little brown lark upwards fly
And pleasant the sound of his carolling this tiny speck in the Spring sky
And though I now live far from the bohreen in distance almost a World away
I fancy I hear the birds singing in the leafy woodlands of May.

Francis Duggan

Wooden Shoes


A row of wooden shoes with Spring flowers inside… what a lovely way to welcome Spring. My Dutch grandfather (Opa) wore clogs like these. He took a size 13! and when he didn’t need them anymore my mother hung one on the wall and left the other on the hearth to welcome Santa Claus.

A few years ago I wrote about my visits to Holland when I was a child. Based on what I experienced there, I wove a story about what it would be like to lose your name, something which happened quite often during the War, for one reason or another. Here is the start of the book:

Muisjes – 1 (Muisjes are little mice)

My grandmother’s house was a large, square building of some age.  It had a door in the middle and seven windows visible at the front, three up and four down.  It looked like the sort of house a child would draw and in fact I drew it myself many times.

mother's house

The house was situated at the end of the High Street, next to the church and near the sea.  It was very elegant.  The High Street I mention is in a seaside resort called Noordwijk in the bulb-growing region of Holland, near Leiden. These days it is very exclusive with many impressive looking hotels overlooking the sea and accommodating prime ministers from all around the world but when I was a child, Noordwijk was a small fishing village.


My grandfather, Opa, had a business smoking herrings.  The business was at the back of the house.  Sheds stretched all the way down the left hand side of the large yard and on the right hand side was a large hay barn. The sheds where the fish were smoked were long affairs and outside each one was a huge vat containing the waste, fish heads and such like.  Seagulls proliferated, swooping down in great numbers to eat the scraps and frighten the cats, of which there were many.  Opa employed quite a few workers.  They were all strong men, tall and fair with brown sea-wind weathered faces who wore large aprons.  Their hands were tough enough to put into the icy water in the vats without wincing.

Fish Business Noordwijk

Entering the front door there was a dark hall, which led to a large kitchen, stretching right across the back of the house.  To either side of the hall were the two living rooms.  I only remember one of them clearly and that was because I spent many hours in it.  There was a bed in the wall and I used to snuggle up in there in the evenings and listen to the conversations, all in Dutch, of course.  The bed in the wall was like a recessed cupboard, half way up the wall and without doors. It was really cosy.  In there I could sit with a cat or two and it was private.  Sometimes the adults got quite animated as they refilled their glasses with Bessengenever or Bols advocaat.  My grandmother, who I called Oma, used to tuck me up under one of her old blankets and give me a kiss, telling me to go to sleep when I was ready.  Naturally, I tried to stay awake as long as possible.

My mother, who was Dutch, was always animated when she talked.  She relished the chance to get back to speaking her native language after so many months in England.  There were many visitors; brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, people I had never seen before and many never to be seen again.

There was no central heating in those days so a bright fire burned in the grate.  The flames flickered and danced up the chimney, crackling in the grate when the coals shifted.

My grandfather always led the conversation.  In order to trade with different countries, he  taught himself Esperanto and he was fluent in English too.  He knew all the principal rivers in the world by heart and carried in his pocket a small book of jokes and anecdotes to amuse us children.’

You can purchase the story on Amazon in the Kindle Store here… if you want to read the rest of it.


If you ever get the chance, you should go to Noordwijk – it’s beautiful. Here are some more modern pictures as it is now.


While I’m waiting for the snow to clear in my English cottage garden, here is a picture from a previous year. These red tulips are underneath that snow somewhere!


While I was looking through my pictures this afternoon, I came across this Easter picture, which my youngest son David made for me. I’ve always loved it and since it is Easter time soon, I’ll share it with you. Here it is:

Easter Card JPEG

I just love children’s pictures that they have done all themselves, don’ t you? David is getting very excited because his and Michelle’s baby is due in 8 weeks time. It’s their first baby and my second grand-baby. I can’t wait to meet the little person.


Time for Frogs and Decorating

Frog 35

It will soon be time for frogs.  Can you see the little one in the middle of this picture? He’s just alighting on the lily pad.

It’s also time for Spring cleaning and here in the cottage – decorating. It’s time to do the dining room and give it a little spruce up.  I took the curtains to the dry cleaners today and was horrified to find that I had to pay £22 to have them cleaned and wait ten days as well! Things have changed since my youth! It’s still cheaper than buying new but only just, I feel. They are long curtains, not quite reaching to the floor and a lovely warm shade of red, just right for winter nights. I’m sure they will look a whole lot better when they come back…

So this morning J got up bright and early and started painting the ceiling in the dining room.  It looks a lot brighter already, but with the window open to let out the fumes, it soon got cold so after lunch we disappeared into the back of the cottage and closed the door on the morning room to watch ‘The Lady Vanishes’, a new production, which was quite enjoyable although not as good as the original nor the remake with Elliott Gould.

Unfortunately, once you start decorating, all sorts of other things seem to look wrong. The lampshades need changing, the carpet needs cleaning and we need a new bookcase because my grandson is heavy footed and I’m afraid the one we’ve got may fall on top of him. To prevent that happening for the moment, we’ve put the dining table in front of it, but that is only a temporary measure.

…so we rested this afternoon and much tea was drunk. Tomorrow we start again.

Here’s another frog picture:

Frog 1