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Friday 31 December 2010

New Year's Eve Traditions from around the World

As it's New Years Eve today, I thought I would share some traditions from around the world to see how other Countries celebrate bringing in the new year.

In Austria, New Year's Eve is called Sylvesterabend, the eve of Saint Sylvester (never heard of him!) and a punch made of cinnamon, sugar and red wine is prepared in his honour.  On New Year's Day, dinner is a special occasion when roast pork is eaten, as pigs symbolize good luck.  Often the table is decorated with little miniature pigs, made of marzipan.


In Brazil, as part of the celebrations there, crowds wearing white gather on the Brazilian beaches to offer gifts to the Goddess of the water, Yemanja, floating flowers and candles out to sea, in the hope she will bring them good luck.  As the lentil is believed to signify wealth, the locals then eat lentil soup or lentils and rice on the first day of the new year.
In Denmark it is a good sign to find a pile of broken dishes on your doorstep on the 1st day of January (must try that then!!).  Old dishes are saved throughout the year to throw at the doors of friends and neighbours on New Year's Eve.  Many broken dishes mean that you have many friends.  So there you are - I wish you many broken dishes this New Year's Eve!
In Germany it was the custom to predict the future on New Year's Eve by dropping molten lead into cold water to see what shape it made.  A heart or ring shape meant a wedding, a ship a journey, and a pig meant plenty of food in the year ahead.  Well, I must remember to molt some lead this evening then!  It is also the custom to leave a little food on the plate until after midnight on New Year's Eve, as a way of ensuring a well-stocked larder in the year ahead.
In Hungary, a scarecrow like effigy, stuffed with paper, and known as Jack Straw, is said to embody the evil and misfortune of the past year.  He is carried around the village, before being burnt on New Year's Eve.
The Japanese hang a rope  across the front of their houses to keep out evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck.  At midnight on the 31st December, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells exactly 108 times to drive out the sins of the previous year.
The Portugese pick and eat twelve grapes from a bunch as the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve.  This is done to ensure twelve happy months in the year ahead.  In Northern Portugal, children go carolling from home to home and are given treats and coins.  They sing old songs, which are said to bring good luck.

In Russia, when the Communist Party took power in 1917, they banned the open expression of religion and the celebration of Christmas.  In response, the people re-invented the New Year's Eve tradition to include a decorated tree, and introduced a character called Grandfather Frost, who looks very much like the western Santa Claus.  Today, Christmas is again celebrated, but New Year's Eve remains the bigger event, with feasting and the giving of gifts.
In Scotland, an old tradition that is still observed today, is that of the first footer.  The first person that sets foot in your home on New Year's Day decides the family's luck for the rest of the year.  The ideal guest brings a gift of bread or coal, to ensure there is no lack of food or warmth in the home for the rest of the year.


In Taiwan, children who have left home return for dinner on New Year's Eve.  For those unable to make the journey, a table setting is placed to symbolize their presence in spirit, if not in body.  To ensure the arrival of good health and good luck in the new year, floors may not be swept on New Year's Day, or the bins emptied, for the fear of casting riches out of the door.

I can still remember my dear mum saying that we should never wash clothes on New Year's Day, as, if we did, we would wash our friends away.  To this day, I make sure that the washing machine is never on on New Year's Day.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about these traditions from around the world, and I shall raise a glass to all of you when the clock strikes twelve here in England this evening.

Thursday 30 December 2010

The Mother's Book

I was reading a post a couple of days ago, written by my friend lyndylou over at The Giggle Fest.  The post was entitled "The Best Present - EVER!!!"

It reminded me of a present that my youngest daughter brought me a couple of years ago for Mothers Day.  It's called The Mother's Book by Elma Van Vlietm, and there is a banner across it, which states "The Only Gift Book You Hope To Get Back."
The author had been told that her beloved mum didn't have long to live, and she explained that the hardest part was thinking about how her future would be - a future without her mum.  Elma explains that she still had so many questions that she wanted to ask, about her mum, about herself when she was young, and how her mum had felt at particular moments in her life.

So that is why she decided to create The Mother's Book.  She realized the truth in the saying, "You don't know what you have, until it's gone." 

I am gradually working my way through the book, and filling it with photographs.  I have just flicked it open to a page which says "what are the fondest memories you have of your father?"

This is what I have written, "My dad gave me so much love when I was growing up, and I will always remember how he came into the hospital to see me after you (my youngest daughter) were born.  (Your dad was in the Army, and couldn't get Leave to see me when you were born - he was serving in Northern Ireland at the time).  My dad wasn't very well at all at the time, but he said that he couldn't have me in the hospital with a new little baby all on my own."

That was so typical of the love had had for me.  He never let me down.

I remember, as a little girl, playing football with my  dad, and him trying to teach me to catch the ball, which always slipped right through my fingers.  "Butterfingers" he used to say!

He also painstakingly taught me handwriting.  My dad's handwriting was so beautiful."

From this, I think you will see that this was a lovely gift for both of us.  I will hand it over to my daughter, who will have all these memories to pass on to her little girl, and I will know that all my memories will never be forgotten.

How beautiful is that?


Be Kind to Each Other
Definition of Kindness : The quality of being warm-hearted and considerate and humane and  sympathetic.  To have a tendency to be forgiving.

Kindness is such a simple word and yet how much better the world would be if everyone always tried to be KIND. 

I am very blessed in that my two daughters are very kind and caring towards everyone they meet.  When my husband and I (along with my youngest daughter and her family) were with my eldest daughter at Christmas, she and her husband were kindness itself.  Nothing was too much trouble to make our stay really enjoyable.  It's quite a thing to suddenly have eight people suddenly descend on your normally peaceful family home, and to have every corner of the house invaded!

They were endlessly patient with the one and two year olds, trying to give their mum as much of a break as they could.  It was the first time that their little puppy had met the little ones, and I admit that I was a bit apprehensive about this, especially with the youngest still crawling, but little Alfred was SO good with them, and absolutely adored the one year old.  Likewise, she adored him, following him everywhere, even trying to get into his cage and bed with him!

Here is my daughter with Alfred.  It was a lovely photo of her and my son-in-law, but he doesn't want to appear either on facebook or my Blog, so, unfortunately, I've had to cut him out of the photo!!

Obviously, when you have to leave family behind again, it is always sad, but we phone each other regularly and text and e-mail, and will look forward to the next time when we can all be together again.

Going back to my Petey Award, one of the rules is that I have to mention the person who handed it to me three times, so I am now inviting you to visit my good friend Bouncin'Barb over at  I know you will not be disappointed when you read her posts.  She has been very supportive to me since I started blogging, and when you first start out on this blogging journey, you really appreciate it when someone like that comes along.

Including the post when I mentioned BB when she first nominated me for the Award, I think that this is the third time, but I am sure she will tell me if I have to do it once more.  Thank you Bouncin'Barb for your friendship.


Wednesday 29 December 2010

How could I have forgotten?!

How could I have forgotten to tell you that it my youngest granddaughter's first birthday today?!  Happy birthday little Ruby Violet.  She has been crawling since she was seven months old and walking round the furniture since she was eight months, so we really thought that she would have been walking for her first birthday, but not so!  She is standing unaided, but has yet to make those first tentative steps on her own.  My daughter and son-in-law in Paris were very much hoping that it was going to happen whilst we were over there with them!

You can't really see her very well, because Ruby is all wrapped up against the bitterly cold weather whilst we were in Paris.

This time last Christmas, we were all on tenterhooks, because we knew that the new arrival was due at any time, but our daughter was determined that she wasn't going to miss Christmas, so the little one arrived just four days after Christmas day.

Here is my other gorgeous granddaughter!

Home again.

The good news is that we are home again safe and sound, and the house was all intact.  You might think that's a funny thing to say, but, as we are surrounded by fields with no neighbours, it's always a bit of a worry when we go away for a while.

Thisisme is feeling very weary this morning as I type out this post, because we didn't arrive home until 2 a.m. after a journey of some eleven hours.  No snow this time, but extremely thick fog, so it was a difficult journey.  We were also stuck on one of the motorways for almost an hour, because of a bad accident earlier in the afternoon.  I hope that no-one was seriously hurt.

Coming back, on the radio, we heard about people in Ireland who haven't had any water for eleven days, due to all the burst pipes when the big thaw came.  So I have a lot to be grateful for and I think of all those less fortunate, especially at this time of the year.

The Christmas Markets in Paris are wonderful places to browse and to enjoy a glass of mulled wine
Christmas lights along the Champs Elysees with the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the picture

I have an apology to make to Mynx from my last post.  Mynx was in the Winners' Circle for the Petey Award, and she has pointed out to me that I gave an incorrect link to her Blog.  So I must put that right immediately.  Please go and check her out at 

Because of travelling for most of the day yesterday, I am afraid that I am a bit slow on commenting on my friends' posts, but normal service has now been resumed and I shall be popping over to see you all shortly, complete with a steaming mug of coffee and a pain au chocolat!

Just one last thing.  They say that "God works in mysterious ways...." but I urge you to go and look at Bouncin'Barbs blog and read her post entitled "Meant to Be".  As my Followers will know, I passed on the Petey Award to Teresa over at In the Middle Side of Life.  Well, it turns out that Bouncin'Barb has been through the same thing that Teresa is struggling with right now.  They are now in touch with each other by e-mail, and I know that Teresa will find BB's support invaluable.  This really does seem like one of those things that happen in life that was surely meant to be. 

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Well I never!!

Imagine my surprise when I opened up my Blog this morning, to find that I had gained two new followers overnight. " How come",  I thought?!

Then, all was revealed, when I found out that  the Queen of Bloggers, Bouncin'Barb over at (This and That As I Bounce Thru' Life) had presented me with Petey, the Pet Rock Award!  As you can imagine, this came as a total but very welcome surprise.  Trust Bouncin'Barb to put a smile on my face!

Now the rules for this Award were made up by a man (thank you Bruce, at JADIP, )so it might take me a while to work them out, but here goes.  I am writing these rules, so that my recipient will know what they they have to do!!

"You can only give it to one Blogger in Arms" (BIA)

"You must recognize the Blogger who gave it to you in at least 3 successive blog posts."

"You can take up to 3 weeks to pass on the Award - but NOT more than 3 weeks."

"The recipient of the Award must NOT have more than 100 BIAs (Followers)."

"You must update the names with your own name before passing it on." (See below).

"You should give 3 reasons why you think  your recipient deserves this Award."

"You can choose NOT to accept this Award, but apparently, if you do this, Bruce will come after you!".

Let's try to stick to these rules please, as, after all, the whole point of the Award is to get our Blogs noticed and to gain new Followers (Friends).

Here is the Winners' Circle thus far :

Becca at
Mynx at
Bouncin'Barb at
Thisisme at

Phew! I do hope that the above covers everything I should have done.  I now have pleasure in handing over this Award to :

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life

1.  Quite simply, I always enjoy reading her Blog.
2.  She certainly deserves more Followers.
3.  (And this is really the main reason that I have chosen her).  She is a very brave lady who is coping at the moment with a very difficult situation at home, and I have nothing but admiration for her (as I keep telling her!).  It can't be easy, in fact it is very hard, and she is coping the best way she can, never knowing what the next day might bring.

Hope your Award will make you smile today, Teresa!

Monday 27 December 2010

Something a bit different ..

"Years end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."
(Hal Borland quotes)  This quote has nothing to do with what I'm going to write about today, but I thought it was rather appropriate as we near the end of another year.

Today, I am going to go away from the holiday season for a moment and write about a famous author that comes from Devon, my home county.  The author's name is Agatha Christie, (otherwise known as the queen of crime) and I'm sure you have all heard of her two most famous creations, i.e. Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

She was actually born in Torquay (otherwise known as the English Riviera), which is some 27 miles away from where I live. 

Although Agatha had amused herself as a child, acting out stories and make believe, it wasn't until one of her sisters challenged her to write a novel, that her writing career really began.  During the war, she became a voluntary nurse at The Red Cross Hospital in Torquay, and ended up working in the Dispensary, which she very much enjoyed, and she completed  the Examination of the Society of Apothacaries.  It was here that she acquired her knowledge of poisons which, of course, became such an important feature of her various books.

When her first book was published (The Mysterious Affair at Styles) , the murder by poison was so well described that Agatha received the unprecedented honour of a review in the Pharmaceutical Journal.

Agatha's happiness was complete when her only daughter (Rosalind) was born in 1919, but by the year 1926, her life was in tatters.  Her beloved mother had died and her husband left her for another woman. 

In fact, that same year, Agatha  Christie created her very own real-life mystery, when she disappeared for eleven days.  The time was 9.45 p.m. on the evening of the 3rd December, when, without warning, she simply disappeared after going upstairs to kiss her sleeping daughter. 

She was very famous by then, and throughout her disappearance, the whole country buzzed with theories about what might have happened to her.  Such was the speculation, that the Home Secretary at the time put pressure on the Police to make faster progress.  They even called on the services of two famous crime writers, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creater of Sherlock Holmes and Dorothy L. Sayers, author of the Lord Peter Wimsey series.  

Agatha was eventually found safe and well, but in very strange circumstances.  Alone, and using an assumed name, she had been living at a spa hotel in Harrogate since the day after her disappearance, even though news of her case had reached as far as the front page of The New York Times.

There was a happy ending to her story, in that in 1928, she met and married Sir Max Mallowen, a renowed Archeologist.  With billions of her books being sold and translated into many languages, Agatha  Christie became the best selling English novelist of all time.  

Her home, "Greenaways" situated overlooking the picturesque River Dart here in Devon, is now owned by The National Trust and is visited by many thousands of people each year. 

Sunday 26 December 2010

364 days to Christmas!!

Hallo everyone.  Just a short little post today, hoping that you all had a very special day yesterday, and that Santa brought you lots of lovely things.  More importantly, I hope you spent the day with your loved ones and made some happy memories.

Our day was wonderful, although a bit manic at times, as you can imagine with the two youngest ones of the family (aged 2 and 1) getting very excited about opening their presents.  Fortunately, we weren't woken up to early, so that was good.  The two year old got very possessive of all his new things, but then wanted to play with all the little girl's new presents as well. 

It was especially wonderful for me, because I didn't have to do a single thing, apart from playing with the children.  My wonderful daughter and her husband worked very hard at making sure that everything was just right for us, and I wasn't even allowed to lay the table, so I say a very big "thank you" to them both.

I did get the Wii Fit game in my stocking so, hopefully, in the new year, I will be able to start out on a new fitness regime.

I will close for now, wishing you all warmest wishes and blessings for the remainder of this Christmas time.

Friday 24 December 2010

Getting too old for this!

Well dear blogging friends, the good news is that we made it to France and my little family is all here together.  My daughter, son-in-law and 13 year old granddaughter (not forgetting their little French Bulldog puppy, Alfred), and my younger daughter and her partner, her two step-sons, aged 19 and 13 and their two little ones, aged two and almost one!!  So, as you can see, it's going to be a bit manic in this household for the next few days.  But aren't I a lucky mum to have all my little family together at Christmas?!

My husband and I are really getting a bit too old for that type of journey though!!  We leapt out of bed at 5 a.m. yesterday, all excited,  and set off at 6 a.m.  We finally arrived at our destination in France at 9.30 p.m.  Yes, that's right 9.30 p.m.  Let's put it this way, I've had better days!!

In spite of the awful weather forecast, our journey up to Folkestone (6 hours away from our home in deepest Devon) went really well.  No snow at all, and hardly any traffic on the road.  We were feeling very pleased with ourselves!!

But (and there is always a' but' in my life!!) it all started to go downhill from there on.  The Eurotunnel train was running almost three hours late due to the amount of people travelling at this time of the year.  We then hit a snow storm after leaving the tunnel, so a two and a half hour journey took us almost five hours!!

Oh, did I tell you that my poor husband has developed cataracts and can hardly see when he is driving in the dark, especially when all the lights are coming towards him. ( Hopefully, he will have an appointment for his operation in the new year. )  So he was only able to drive at 60 miles per hour, instead of the usual 80.   I kept on saying to him that I would drive, but he was having none of it.

Let's just say that I have had better journeys!   Never mind, they were all waiting for us with champagne and a lovely meal when we eventually got here.  The outside of the house was all decorated with Christmas lights and looked really welcoming.  I didn't feel like taking a photo this evening when we arrived (!), but I will take one tomorrow so that you will be able to see it. 

I'm sorry that I haven't been able to comment on your Blogs today, but hope you will understand.  I will be out of action now for a couple of days but will look forward to catching up on all your news very soon.

Joyeaux Noel!! (See, I'm fluent in French already!!).

Thursday 23 December 2010

Snowy words


White Christmas : everything white :  seasonal : fluffy : beautiful : building a snowman : delight on childrens' faces. 


Icy roads : travel delays : broken bones : elderly people trapped in their homes.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Happy Christmas One & All. Ho Ho Ho!!

To all my dear blogging friends out there in blogging land, I wish you all a very"Happy Christmas" filled with love, peace and joy. 

 Carols to sing, food to eat, drink to be drunk, and making sure we remember the true spirit of Christmas.  I shall raise a glass to you all on Saturday, for you have almost become like family to me. 

I don't know if you have seen anything about England on your news but, believe me, it has almost been at a standstill for the past few days.  There was a huge article on the front page of the newspaper, with a banner headline stating "NOT OUR FINEST HOUR!", as planes were grounded in all the airports, thousands of Christmas holidays ruined, roads ungritted, drivers stranded for hours, and all because it snowed! 

You will probably have gathered that we do like to discuss the weather in this country.  Seriously, though, it really has got beyond a joke.

If my prayers are answered, early tomorrow morning our little family will be driving to the East of the United Kingdom in a bid to catch the Eurotunnel train to Calais and from there we shall be driving on down to Paris, so please keep everything crossed for us,  my little bloggies!

We are due back again on the 29th December but, fear not, my little laptop is going to be sneaked in with the luggage!

My warmest wishes to you all.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Christmas is Coming, and the Goose is getting Fat ...

Although turkey is now the favoured bird to have for Christmas lunch here in England, it never used to be so.  When I was much younger, the traditional choice for Christmas lunch would have been the goose.  It was only in the 70's and 80's that people turned to turkey,  because they had become so cheap.

I have very happy memories of going to the local market with my dad on Christmas Eve and picking out the bird for our Christmas lunch.  I suppose here that I should apologize to all my vegetarian followers!

Many geese are still sold at Michaelmas, the 29th September.  Traditionally, this holy day, coinciding with the end of harvest and the autumn equinox, was celebrated with the eating of a goose.

There has been a real resurgence of interest in the Michaelmas goose, but even more marked is the rise in enthusiasm for having goose as a Christmas bird, rather than turkey.

Roast potates cooked in goose fat are absolutely scrumptious and, because geese  have more fat than a turkey, they are self-basting. 

I was wondering about my American blogging friends - as you have had the turkey for Thanksgiving, do you also have it again at Christmas?

Monday 20 December 2010

Allergic - but to what?!

Before I write this post, I should point out that I am anaphylactic.  I had never even heard of this word before three years ago, when I suffered my first attack.  I was visiting my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in Paris. 

 We had had a lovely time at the Church Summer Fete and started to walk back home.  I should point out that it was that very hot summer and temperatures were in the 90's.  Anyway, whilst I was walking along, I started to feel really ill and ended up collapsing in the road.  Fortunately we were quite near to the house, and my son-in-law was able to carry me into the house and they phoned for the ambulance.

As you can imagine, it was quite frightening for my family as they just didn't know what was going on.  First of all, they thought that I had suffered a stroke.  Anyway, I was whisked along to the nearest hospital with the blue lights of the ambulance flashing.

The next thing I knew, my daughter was looking down at me, telling me that I had nearly died.  I found that very difficult to believe, as I had never really been ill before that.

I am sure that some of my blogging friends might suffer from the same condition, but it is very worrying for me, in that I do not know just what it is that I am allergic to.  As soon as I returned to England, I had to attend the local Hospital to have all these different allergy tests, but they couldn't come up with a positive result.

Since that time, I have suffered from about three attacks each year, and I had my latest one on Saturday afternoon.  I hate needles and, at first, the thought of having to inject myself with the Epi-pen was quite frightening, but now, you are just so anxious to get some relief, that you do it without thinking.

The attack on Saturday was particularly bad and lasted much longer than usual.  At first, my hands start to swell, then my tongue.  Then I feel my head getting bigger and my eyes swelling, so that I end up looking something like the elephant man - NOT a pretty sight!  Then my skin starts itching, which gets so bad that I feel that the blood is literally boiling just under my skin, and I have to scratch until it bleeds and, finally, my throat starts to close over. 

That is the really frightening bit, because you are literally trying to gasp for air and it is very easy to really start to panic.  The thing with anaphylaxis is that, once you have had your first attack, your body can become allergic to things that, in the past, you have eaten with no problem whatsoever.

I try not to let it worry me too much, and do eat all sorts of things, but there's always that niggling doubt at the back of my mind as to whether it will start off another attack.

I always carry my Epi-pen with me, along with a supply of anti-histamine tablets, so that I am prepared at all times. 

On a much brighter note, I seem to have gained NINE new followers in the last few days, which is rather lovely.  I would like to say a big welcome to all my new followers and do hope that you will enjoy visiting my Blog. 

Sunday 19 December 2010


I joined The Lady Bloggers Tea Party over this weekend, and I was introduced to some lovely Blogs.

I just felt that I had to recommend this one to you, as the post I read yesterday was just so funny, and I know that my blogging friends will love it!  I recommend that you read her post, "Tis the Season to be jolly" posted on Thursday.

I guarantee that it will bring a smile to your face!!

Oh, and she lives in 'my' country as well!  Enjoy.


I was reading Donna's blog, over at Mystical Journeys 

The following words are an excerpt from the chapter entitled The End of Imagination, from this book
"There are other worlds.
Other kinds of dreams.
Dreams in which failure is feasible.
Sometimes even worth striving for.
 Worlds in which recognition
 is not the only barometer of brilliance
or human worth.
There are plenty of warriors
that I know and love,
 people far more valuable than myself,
 who go to war each day,
knowing in advance that they will fail.
True, they're less successful
 in the most vulgar
 sense of the word,
but by no means less fulfilled.

The only dream worth having...
is to dream that you will live
while you're alive
 and die
 only when you're dead.
 To love.
To be loved.
 To never forget your own insignificance.
To never get used to the unspeakable
 and the vulgar disparity
 of life around you.
To seek joy in the saddest places.
 To pursue beauty to its lair.
 To never simplify what is complicated
 or complicate what is simple.
 To respect strength,
never power.
 Above all, to watch.
 To try and understand.
To never look away.
 And never, never, to forget"

by Arundhati Roy
I love the line "to seek joy in the saddest places", and I thank Donna for giving her permission to let me pass these words on to you.

Saturday 18 December 2010

Another weekend

My daughter in Paris isn't feeling very happy at the moment, as she was due to fly in to Devon this morning, but, because of the snow, the airport has been closed.  She was looking forward so much  to going out this evening with a group of really close girlfriends, as one of them is celebrating her 40th birthday today. 

AND - she had ordered all her Christmas presents for everyone who lives over here on-line, and the boxes are filling my dining room at this very moment.  Obviously, the plan was that she was going to wrap all the pressies and then deliver them to everyone this weekend.  So we are going to have to speak on the phone in a little while and go through everything together, so that I can do the wrapping for her.

I believe my pressies are there as well, so she has asked her sister (who lives closeby to me) to wrap mine, although I'm not sure that she will be able to get down here because of the snow. 

So my thoughts today are with all those whose travel plans have been disrupted by the severe weather conditions. 

Here are a few photos of our snowy garden, taken earlier this morning. 

Friday 17 December 2010

Girl Power /contd...

I should have said in my last post that this came from another blogging friend over at

I actually found it when visiting

Girl Power ....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Urgently Needed: Girl Power...


Okay, urgent post folks!! Some of our blogging friends are going through some pretty tough times. The gorgeous Jane from My Pear Tree House has a very steep hill to climb. And needs our support. I have a proposal. It involves girl power and the moon.... Interested? I thought you might be..

  • What if each night you look at the moon for, say, 15 seconds and send positive thoughts to Jane and to others who you know are going through harsh times?... 
  • What if you post this concept on your blog or speak to your friends?...
  • What if your followers blog this concept and speak to their friends?... 
  • What if hundreds of women look at the moon each night and send off their thoughts?
  • What if women needing support received these hundreds of thoughts?...
  • You see, we all have the same moon, don't we?..
  • Girl power. 
  • Can we do it? 15 seconds a day? Pay it forward?
  • I say we can. It can only help. It can connect us all. It can be global..
  • So what do you say?...
  • Start blogging the concept girls or make a pact with your friends

Do it now. And get a shifty on......


Costume Drama

I don't know if the series of Downton Abbey was aired in other countries, but if you do get a chance to see it, I would strongly recommend it.  I love these programmes that take you back to a much gentler age and I love to see the interaction between the "upstairs" part of the house and the "below stairs".

All the characters in Downton Abbey were brilliant, but Dame Maggy Smith absolutely shone in every scene that she appeared.  In fact, it looked as if she was having the time of her life whilst filming it!

TV Producers seem to be so young these days and they seem to think that all we want to watch is reality tv.  They seemed to be amazed that eleven million people were tuning in every week to watch Downton Abbey.

Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not against reality shows, and love the X-Factor (especially the hilarious auditions) and I shall be glued to the television this weekend to watch the final of Strictly Come Dancing (I think it is called Dancing with the Stars in other places), but it is so good to sit down and watch a real drama programme.

My cup is now overflowing, because there is a re-make of Upstairs Downstairs being shown at Christmas.  I well remember avidly following the original series in the 70's, with Hudson the Butler and Mrs Bridges the Cook.  The latest chapter in the saga spans January to December 1936 - the momentous year of three kings in this country - ending with the Abdication Crisis when King Edward stood down to be with the woman he loved (Wallis Simpson) .

This type of genre does seem to be making a comeback at the moment.  Only last year, we had Cranford with Dame Judi Dench. This series was set in the 1840's in the village of Cranford and had a very strong female cast, as the story focused primarily on the town's single and widowed female, middle-class inhabitants, who were comfortable with their traditional way of life and placed great store on propriety and maintaining an appearance of gentility.

Why, why, why?

Why, whenever I go out, do I worry if I'm going to get a parking space.

Why do I think that the garden should look perfect all the time.

Why do I want to please everyone all of the time.

Why can't I say "no".

Why do I always think that everyone else is better than me.

Why do I always think that I'm not very clever.

Why do I feel guilty if I sit down during the day to just read a book.

Why can't I have lovely, straight hair.

Why can't I be more patient.

Why don't I enjoy New Years Eve.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Safe Journeys

I know from reading my friends' blogs, that some of you are now having a break from writing your posts until the new year. 

I know, also, that many of you will be travelling to spend your Christmas with family and friends.  No doubt some of you will just have to travel a few miles, whilst others will be making quite a long journey.

The weather forecast here in England is for very bad weather coming in again (they have threatened us with bitterly cold winds, snow, ice and rain.  I think they've about got it all covered there).

My prayer for all of you is that the weather will be kind and that you will reach your destinations safely, unharmed, and ready to enjoy the celebrations surrounded by the love of your family.

I know, also, that some of you will not be with family this Christmas and I pray that you will all be able to meet up again very soon in 2011.

Forthcoming Winter Solstice


At the request of Rabbit over on The Long Journey to the Middle  I am passing this on to all my blogging friends :

December 21st Prayer for Peace

Winter Solstice occurs at 6:30pm eastern time on December 21st. 

The Northern hemisphere is at it's darkest point in space and from that time onwards the days begin to get longer and the light gets stronger and stronger.

Let us all join together in whatever form of Prayer resonates with you at this time for at least 10 minutes and offer a prayer of peace and gratitude. 

Studies have shown time and time again that when groups of people gather together and focus their hearts on such a goal that the effects on society are measurable and profound. The more people who participate, the larger the impact. 

Our world is beset by so many troubles. We have so much potential to do good, especially when we raise our hearts together!

So at 6:30 pm Eastern time (3:30 pm Pacific) let's all do a little bit of what we can do together by setting aside just 10 minutes to offer a prayer for Peace and all that peace entails.

Please pass this along.  Reblog. Tweet. Facebook it.  This is such a great opportunity for a moment to put something worthwhile and positive out into the Universe.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Look at this!

Well, today I thought it was time to introduce you to my genuine 1962 Juke Box!!

I bought this lovely machine around ten years ago and, as you can imagine, being a child of the 60's, I love it!  It has one hundred old 45's on it, ranging from Elvis, to Cliff Richard, Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Connie Francis, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, The Four Tops, The Supremes, to name but a few.  The good thing about the juke box is that, being surrounded by fields, I can play it as loud as I like (and I do!  Usually I'm bopping away whilst listening to the music.  Nothing like a good bop to cheer you up!!).  When you listen to the records, they are as good to listen to as when they were first released over forty years ago.  Not something you can say about the modern CD's!

In 1962/63, I was  at the local coffee bar, listening to all these records, and usually sitting there all evening with a single bottle of Coca-Cola, in those lovely shaped bottles.

Gosh, we were so innocent in those days, but happy memories indeed.  Somehow, I'm not sure that the music that we hear these days will still be played in forty years time.  I used to do a paper round, when I earned ten shillings a week (50p nowadays), and I saved my money up for months until in the end I had half towards a Dansette Record Player (my mum and dad paid the other half!).  Those record players were fantastic. 

What I really liked about them was that you could pile a stack of records on the machine and they would just play automatically.   AND, if you had a really favourite record, you could just leave the arm up and that record would play over and over (and over!) again.  I must have driven my mum and dad mad!  The other good thing was that they had a handle, so you could carry it from room to room.  Brilliant!

Please see this link to read all about the Dansette Record Players

Monday 13 December 2010

Easy, peasy!!

My good friend Jumble Mash, over at invited another good friend of mine, Bouncin'Barb over at to write a guest blog for her a couple of days ago.

Well now, this set me thinking..... (not always a good idea!)... I have 30 followers at present, so if I asked every one of them to write a guest blog for me, that would give me a whole month off blogging!  Cunning, eh?!

Don't panic, I won't put you through that - not this year anyway.

A few nice quotations

"The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything."
Theodore Roosvelt.

"To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people just exist, that's all."
Oscar Wilde.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

"You can never cross the ocean, unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
Christopher Columbus.

"Begin doing what you want to do now.  We are not living in eternity.  We have only this moment sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake.  Let us use it before it is too late."
Marie Beynon Ray.

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us."
Helen Keller.

"A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed."
Henrik Ibsen.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Old Friends

I was sat enjoying a cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant yesterday morning.  It was a lovely clear day and, for some reason, my mind started to wander and I found myself feeling really sentimental and nostalgic.  I suppose it's because Christmas will soon be with us once again, and we find ourselves remembering friends and loved ones who are no longer with us.

Every day, when I wake up, I say "thank you" for all my blessings.  For my lovely and loving family, for the gift of friendship, for my health, and my home, and I pray for all those less fortunate than myself.

I've lost three really good friends over recent years, (with others having serious illnesses, but, fortunately, they are now well again) and it really does make you look around and appreciate all the wonder there is in God's world.

My first friend, Diane, developed breast cancer when she was only 42.  She fought that very bravely and I shall always remember her wonderful smile.  Unfortunately, she then developed a brain tumour and passed away when she was only 47.

I had worked with my second friend, Pat, for fifteen years and we were good friends outside work as well.  Her passing was a real shock.  I was going on holiday abroad for a week and actually phoned Pat from the airport and we had a long chat.  She did say that she had had a terrible headache the night before, but that was all.  Anyway, when I arrived back from holiday, there was a message on my answering machine from her brother, saying that she had died the day after speaking to me, after suffering a massive stroke.  You can imagine how that hit me at the time. 

My third friend, Doreen, I have already written a post about in October.  We had been on a wonderful holiday to Dubrovnik less than a year before she died, and she was so healthy and relaxed on that holiday, that it was frightening to see how quickly a person could literally diminish in front of one's eyes.

Gosh, I'm sorry.  This post has been a bit maudlin, hasn't it?  Anyway, I'm sure that, on Christmas Day, we will all raise a glass to "absent friends".

70 and 30!

I've just realized that this will be the 70th post that I have written since starting my Blog back in October, and I have now gained 30 followers, and made some lovely new friends.

I think one of the main things  I have learnt in the short time    I have been blogging, is just how much support and encouragement bloggers give to each other.   They are there to laugh with you and cry with you, always seeming to come up with just the right words that are needed at any particular time.

Certainly, my new blogging friends have been very encouraging to me in my new venture, and I thank them for that!

Earlier this year, along with a friend, I went on a coach trip to London.  On the Saturday evening we enjoyed a visit to the Royal Albert Hall, to see a special anniversary performance of Swan Lake by the Royal Ballet.  The ballet was performed 'in the round' which was so much better than on a normal stage.  


On the Sunday, we paid a visit to The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.  Throughout its history, Kew has made important contributions to increasing the understanding of the plant kingdom with many benefits to mankind.  To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the gardens themselves, as I suppose I was expecting more formal gardens, with lots of roses and cottage garden plants.  I now know that Kew is more of an scientific institution.  Although I was very impressed by the lily pads in the Tropical House!

    The house in the photo was very interesting, and it was just like stepping back into the time of Jane Austen, with all the guides dressed in period dress.