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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Friday outing

On Friday I had a day out meeting up with a couple of friends from where I used to work.  I wonder if you will be able to guess from these photos where we went?

This is a lovely peaceful garden...

.. which is part of a museum.

It is a really tranquil place and whilst wandering round the museum itself and these lovely gardens outside we were able to imagine we were somewhere quite different.

and yet as you will see - it is aurrounded by the noise and bustle of trains and planes and buses and traffic!

with a station right next to it and planes flying overhead!  (I don't remember it being quite so cloudy whilst we were there and in fact the sun was shining for much of our day!)

But with all those wonderful old trees and the beautiful garden absorbing all the 21st century noise we could imagine we were back in the 18th century when these almshouses were built..

As you might be able see from this lovely gateway we were visiting the Geffrye Museum in London!  Entrance is free and if it is unknown to you I certainly recommend a visit - it is a lovely place and the restaurant is excellent too!  We did enjoy catching up over our lunch (roasted vegetables served with bubble and squeak patty and a drink) before we explored the museum and the gardens at our leisure. 

After we had finished at the Geffrye Museum we got a bus (bus passes are so useful!) to the South Bank where there was a "beach" maybe not quite up to the same standard as the Paris Plage perhaps but a fun idea which the children we saw there seemed to enjoy!

Loved this little arrangement of derelict boat and seaside planting.

This interesting mosaic was on the side of one of the many beach huts along the South Bank and depicts the Thames and is made up of bits and pieces found along the foreshore of the river - fascinating stuff!

This fabulous creature is the urban fox and is made from straw!  The sculpture is supposed to represent the link between the city and the countryside to be found in London is very apt for this particular post don't you think!  He is part of an exhibition currently at the Royal Festival Hall celebrating the Festival of Britain back in 1951 which was also very interesting and which I want to go back and see again as time ran out before we had seen it all and we had to make our way to Waterloo to go our separate ways.  I love London - there is always something interesting to see or do and I always come away wanting to see more and planning my next visit.  As you know I love where I live and wouldn't want to live in London (unless I could afford some quiet square somewhere!) but I have always felt a pull to visit it.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A new slant on Bedding Plants!

Thank you all for your kind comments on my previous post about living in France - it seems to have attracted more comments than usual for some reason -  I seem to have touched a nerve.
Is anyone else having problems with seeing who their followers are?  According to my dashboard a couple dropped off (don't know who or why) a while back and recently a couple more have added my blog to their lists but I have no way of knowing who these people are as the section headed Followers continues to be blank!.  So if you are a new follower - welcome and thanks for joining me in my ramblings about life in general!

This is a roundabout near where I live and I thought it would amuse you and maybe bring a whole new meaning to the term "bedding plants"!

Roundabouts in the UK are often sponsored by a local firm who in return for their sponsorship are entitled to place a small board by way of advertising on their sponsored roundabout.  This particular roundabout is sponsored by a firm who sell solid wood furniture.  Certainly gets the attention doesn't it? 

On my walk to take the above pictures I noticed this which made me realise that beauty is to be found in the most unlikely places as this is the lid of a dog poo bin!!  Isn't that lichen something though?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Home is where the heart is!

When people hear that we used to live in France they nearly always ask "Whatever made you decide to come back?".  People seem think that it must have been so much nicer than here.

Yes it was lovely - we had a super house in a big garden and the people were all very welcoming.  We had lots of friends and a busy social life BUT....

It wasn't where I wanted to be - I felt that I would never be other than an immigrant, my roots were not there and it held no history for us.

Just because it was France didn't mean we had wonderful weather all the time either and in fact the climate was very similar to here except that when it was hot it was hotter, when it was cold it was colder and when it rained it rained more heavily.  The thunder storms were a force to be reckoned with and losing one's electricity or the computer modem was a regular occurence whereas in UK our storms are normally much less ferocious.

On my trips back to visit friends in the UK I never refered to where I lived in France as "home" and however much I felt I should it just never really seemed like home to me for after all home is where the heart is and my heart had never really left England! 

I think I always felt that it was not a "forever" move and more of an interlude in my life and I doubt if I would have had the courage to go if I felt there had been no coming back.

Now that I have come home (notice how easily that word tripped off my fingers!) and am living where I used to live before my marriage all those years ago I have a real sense of belonging.  Even though my husband never lived in this area he used to visit me here and after we were married we continued to come on a regular basis to see my mother so he knows the area too and we can say "Do you remember when..."

Living as I do now with scenes such as these practically on my doorstep the question I ask myself is not how could I come back but how could I ever have left!!

I didn't know how much my country means to me until I left it behind and how much I loved it.  Now of course I miss the friends we made in France but I never miss France itself.

Sometimes heaven is right under our noses if only we realised. Perhaps what is needed when we think we want something new is not something different but a different point of view instead.

Am I sorry we went?  No!  Not at all because I have made a few really good friends who I would otherwise never have had the priviledge to get to know, I have learned how different our two cultures and customs are but also how similar in many ways and now at least when we sit in our rocking chairs (metaphorically speaking) by the fire we shall never say "I wonder if we might have liked it"!  We gave it our best shot - we integrated well ,in fact I made many really good French friends - we go back to visit and the cafe owner and the lady in the market rush out to kiss us (well me they just shake hands with my husband of course!) BUT... Home is definitely where the heart is!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


As promised some photos of our visit last Friday to Hestercombe.  Our visit to Forde Abbey last year with the same friends on a beautiful sunny June day was always going to be a hard act to follow and the fact that Friday was showery in the morning and downright wet in the afternoon made this visit less interesting than it might otherwise have been but nothing daunted - we are after all English and don't let a bit of rain put us off - we set off to walk the woodland walk...

It wasn't raining all the time as you can see here....

...but here we had to stand beneath a tree for a while watching the raindrops bouncing off the lake!

Those wealthy landowners really knew where to build their houses didn't they?  What a view this would be on a sunny day.

Clouds rolling in now and we made haste across this field to the shelter of the cafe!  Good lunch of soup and home made bread and we were ready to see the formal gardens - this time it wasn't showers but continuous rain!

You can see how dry it had been though by the brown grass.  Sadly many of the plants were past their best and sodden in the rain so it wouldn't be fair to judge the garden on this one visit.

 This was very pretty and I imagine in better weather the rest of the garden would appear more exciting too.

I loved these steps with their little decoration of ferns - but you can see how wet it was can't you?

Last but by no means least a big THANK YOU for all your kind wishes for Thomas - he was signed off at the vet's yesterday and though he will continue to need plenty of TLC and a bit more fattening up he had his first outing yesterday afternoon and seemed to enjoy a little potter in the sunshine - he is an old lad now being 15+ years old - so it will take a while to get him back to normal I dare say.

Hopefully his fur will not take too long to grow back and already has a velvety feel!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

That was the week that was!

Cliff top - West Bay (keep away from the edge!)

What a week we have had - good times and bad times all mixed!  I haven't been to visit your blogs as often as usual so apologies if I have neglected you!

Cliff path - West Bay

Last Sunday we had to take Thomas to the vet as he was very unwell and being sick etc and I didn't know if it would wait till Monday.  Sunday rates of course - but he's worth it!

Decent into the hamlet of Eype remember this little house form an earlier post seen from the other direction here?
To cut a long story short he ended up back there on Tuesday and stayed there for a couple of days.  At first diabetes was considered then his glucose levels dropped to normal and a tumour was thought a possibility but an ultrasound scan found nothing.  He was on a drip as he was so dehydrated and not eating - he is home again now looking a little the worse for wear with bald patches where he had the drip and blood tests and a bare tummy from the ultrasound scan but he is beginning to pick up and now he is eating better is less like a bag of bones I am happy to say - phew!

Meanwhile I was preparing for a visit by our French friends who arrived on Tuesday afternoon - after the trip to the vet we set off for the airport to collect them.

They are such easy guests and fit in like family, are easy to please and very appreciative of everything (they can come again!)  They had a dog which died recently after a long and happy life so my friend understood what I was feeling when the calls were going back and forth to the vet's!  She also made a fuss of him when he came home and spoke gently to him in French - "Comme tu es mignon" and so on and he lapped it all up and really took to her!

We were lucky with the weather on Wednesday and were able to go to West Bay for an outing . We did a walk along the cliffs before lunch - we introduced them to English fish and chips eaten from the bag in the open air and luckily although the wind was chilly the sun was bright and warm.  Followed the fish and chips with a cup of tea in Sladers Yard sitting in the sunshine sheltered from the wind before setting off to Abbotsbury.

The cost of visiting the gardens there was higher than any of us wished to pay especially as it is not an English garden but a sub tropical one and our friends are keen to take back to France ideas from English gardens so we pottered round the plant centre in the sunshine and had a look in the shop before continuing to Chesil Beach which I hadn't visited for many years.

Chesil Beach is part of the World Heritage Site known as the Jurrasic Coast and is an 18 mile long strip of land consisting of 180 billion pebbles - I am not sure who actually counted them and there are a few less now that we have picked up one or two to bring home!!!  Isn't this view amazing?

The remainder of their stay was lacking in sunshine although we did manage an outing to Hestercombe on Friday - I'll show you the photos of that later for those who are interested.  Our visitors went on to London yesterday morning and we are missing having their company, I am still thinking in French some of the time!