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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Times past

Yesterday I read a post on projectforty which spoke about Things gone by which made me think of my own list of things.  Who remembers Spangles?  Or sweets being rationed?  I was 8 when I won a prize in a fancy dress competition as "Off the Ration" with my dress covered with sweetie papers!! then there were licquorice comfits at 3d for 2 ounces in a little paper bag twisted at the corners, toffee which the shop keeper broke with a hammer,sherbert dips which had a licquorice straw through which to suck it and which choked you if you sucked too hard.....

Toothpaste coming in a tablet in a tin like this one - horrid taste but there was a choice of blue, green or red tin!!

Liberty bodices with their horrid rubbery buttons - what was their purpose I wonder?  And navy knickers - the add in the photo says that they wear like iron - who'd want knickers that wore like iron - not me!!

Waists - we all had one back then!  Notice how tiny the waists always look in 50's fashion pictures made all the more so by the full skirts which brings me on to full net petticoats (mine was pink!)

Junket - I seem to remember it being a regular dessert and when I discovered some vegetarian rennet in Waitrose  recently I bought a bottle and made some - it was delicious and just as I remember it especially served with a few raspberries!

Then there were milk jellies, spotted Dick, tapioca (glad that died out I must admit!) stewed fruit, treacle tart ........ and so on.

Other things I would add to my list include:

Steam trains with heavy leather straps to open the windows and smuts all over you at the end of the journey!
Fountain pens - no biros permitted at school so if you didn't have a fountain pen it was a dip pen and the inkwell usually filled with blotting paper by some boy to make pellets to be shot with a ruler!
Chilblains - treated with a Snowfire tablet (apparently still available but now in a stick form)
Telephone boxes with buttons A and B
School milk - horrid when tepid during summer and in winter frozen solid
Pixie hoods and scarves tied across the chest and pinned in place - people seemed to be so afraid of children's chests getting cold but never gave a thought to our legs in short socks!
Postal orders for 2/6 for your birthday - that would be 12 and a half pence these days!
Knitted bathing costumes!

I could go on and on but perhaps you've had enough by now!

Sweet peas are doing well though now very short in the stem - no prizes would be won by these little dears but they smell divine.

To those of you who think we are lucky to have badgers to visit our garden this is what we have been greeted with outside our backdoor every morning this week - good job we are not keen on striped lawns eh?!!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Living in the Slow Lane

If you haven't already seen this post  do pop over and have a look.  It made me think about how many of us life our lives at such a pace we never really enjoy the NOW!  It is something I have spoken about before but I am still trying to achieve.

 I went with a lady from my yoga class to hear a talk by a Buddist monk recently and I realised how impatient I am since he was so calm and seemed in no hurry to begin his lecture and I found myself thinking "Oh get on with it "!!  However when he did begin to speak he suggested that before we listened to the lecture we should all take 5 minutes to just be.  We were told to shut our eyes and just watch our breath in and out not trying to alter it nor to make judgements about it but just concentrating on it and on any sounds which we could hear.  It was a very long 5 minutes but it certainly did put me in a more receptive frame of mind!

One of his suggestions was that we might take just 10 minutes every day to sit calmly not doing anything - just being and although I was full of good intentions - after all how difficult can it be to sit still for 10 minutes?! - it's is often bedtime and I haven't done it!

It's not as though I achieve great things with all my dashing about and always being ahead of myself thinking of the next thing whilst doing the current one either.  I am sure if I took more time to really think about what I am doing NOW and less about what I am going to do LATER I would enjoy life more and quite possibly achieve more into the bargain!!
I don't know if I have shared this little prayer with you before if so my apologies but it says it all really and was given to me years ago by my mother who knew me only too well!

Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give me,
Amidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music
Of the singing streams
That live in my memory.

Help me to know
The magical power of sleep,
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations
Of slowing down
To look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend
Or make a new one;
To pat a stray dog;
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life
Than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life's enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my greater destiny.

Wilferd A. Peterson
 Pomona - thanks for the suggestion I have read both Peace is Every Step and The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh and found them inspirational.

Thank you all for you kind comments on my previous posts - all much appreciated by both me and Thomas! 

Friday, 15 July 2011

Summer's Day outing

Apparently yesterday there was an earthquake in the English Channel and the tremors could be felt in Portsmouth and the rain was falling in the south East but here in Somerset we had one of the best days this year with blue skies and warm sunshine so we decided to go off for an outing.  We intended to go to the Challice Gardens at Glastonbury but we decided after all to visit Wedmore a pretty little town we have been through several times on our way to the airport at Bristol and always thought we'd like to look around.

It is indeed a pretty little town - pity about the traffic though! - and we enjoyed a wander round and a look at the little independent shops.  There was a fishmonger/greengrocer, a butcher (called Baker!), a delicatesen cum cafe, several little shops selling gifts and things for the home and so on and a papershop/bakers where we bought some sandwiches made to our specifications whilst we waited which we ate sitting outside the shop on a bench in the sunshine along with a cup of coffee.

 This chap was enjoying the sun outside a delightful little gallery - I didn't buy anything but I could easily have done so had I had the cash!

 This was also outside the gallery.

 Pretty houses at every turn..

 Now why couldn't my hollyhocks have been content to be this size I wonder!

 After lunch we set off for Wells - England's smallest city and not far from Wedmore.   We had a wander up the main street towards the cathedral and the Bishop's Palace.  This is the moat round the Palace - all very tranquil now but I am guessing that if they needed a moat and crenellated ramparts at the time it was built 800 years ago that it wasn't always so peaceful!  I gather they had permission to pour boiling oil and molten lead from the ramparts on top of any marauders who might be attempting to climb the walls - not very Christian was it?!!

 Nothing like that happening yesterday though of course and all was very peaceful.  The cathedral looking serene in the sunshine from the gardens inside the palace.

This was one of the windows in what had been the Great Hall - only one wall left standing now along with a couple of towers which served to illustrate the immense size of the building when it was built 800 years ago.

 Lovely clematis clambering up the wall....  Oops I have just realised it should have been turned through 90 degrees - as I will ruin the whole post if I mess about now I will just leave it and wonder if you would have noticed!

Hydrangeas everywhere with some beautiful big blooms but nearly all pink.

Under this tranquil pool lie the four wells which gives Wells its name and the calm surface belies the great quantity of water which surges up - the average flow being about 40 gallons a second and the overflow fills the moat. 

This cute little building is the well house the original being built in 1451 by Bishop Beckynton and was perhaps his greatest gift to the people of Wells as it provided them with a supply of fresh water from the stone conduit in the market place which was fed by a run of 255 meters of lead piping.  It was rebuilt in the Victorian period and the dog on top is a Talbot which was apparently a favourite hunting dog of the Bishop - so now you know eh?!

 This is the high street with channels of spring water running along both sides.  Take care where you are putting your feet if you don't want a shoe full!

We'd had a great day out but sadly on our return I received a call from the vet with the results of a blood test Thomas had had on Monday - it seems he has a weak heart and needs to go on medication.  This had been picked up by the vet we saw earlier in the week when both cats went for their yearly check and vaccincations and poor Tom has yet another bald patch - this time under his chin so he looks like a scraggy plucked chicken when he lifts his head and you can see his skin!  It is difficult to imagine life without him after 15 plus years but I guess the time will come when I must.  This photo is very unusal since it shows both Tom (on the right) and Bambi sharing a resting place something they never normally do - do you think Bambi knows she has to be kinder to her brother now and wallop him a little less often?!  Bambi too has her problems as she has harvest mites (no not harvest mice!) in her ears and I am annointing her with some noxious stuff along with giving her her arthritis medicine - it's not only humans for whom "getting old is not for wimps" is it?!

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my previous posts I really do appreciate them all and hope to be able to catch up with you all soon.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sunny Sunday morning

This is the view from my bedroom window this morning - aren't I lucky?

And this if I lean slightly to the right - see all those lovely rosebay willowherb so pretty with their pink flowers but less appealing later when their fluffy seeds drift everywhere!

I took a stroll round the "estate" to see what was coming along - these are a few of the marigolds I planted in our new raised bed - they seemed to like it so much they went mad and although I removed every other one they were still taking over the bed and the poor tomatoes were being suffocated so a few more had to go sadly.  Thank you Lesley I have so many of these wonderful sunny bright flowers in my garden now and they remind me of you!

I love this little clump of campanula growing round the drainpipe - Nature will beautify the most mundane of places given half a chance won't she?

And this is the hollyhock I showed you a while back - it is reaching for the sky and is far too large for it's position sadly.  I wonder if I can get it to grow a bit smaller next year?!!

Its flowers are an amazing deep dark colour - aren't they lovely?  I think I might get some tall enough to see from my bedroom soon!

Here is our front path - do come and have a cup of tea with me and see it for yourself!

There are rosehips already in the hedge - oh dear does this mean autumn is on its way?  Do hope not as we are only just beginning summer here!

But there are still flowers in bloom so maybe summer will last a little longer!

This lovely lavender is growing alongside the front drive and is usually full of bees - lovely isn't it?

And my sweet peas are in bloom too and we have a small posy on the table every day now.  I have just had a cup of coffee outside at the little table by the back door and heard church bells in the distance and it was one of those moments when all's well with the world - one for that mental scrapbook of memories to bring out on a dull day if you know what I mean?  Hope that you too are having a nice day wherever you are.

Not sure what has happened to Blogger but I can't seem to get the text left justified in places nor the photos centred so will just have to go with the flow and leave them as they are or I might be here all day and I need to get the lunch on the go soon or it will be teatime not mid-day we eat.