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Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 Almost Over ....

Hallo my dear bloggy friends. I must apologize for not getting round to visit you all recently, but the family are here until the 5th January, and I'm trying to be good and not spending all my time on the laptop!!
This evening, we are off to the Pantomime to see Dick Whittington. (Oh no you're not!! Oh yes we are!!).  First time I've been to a Pantomime for many a year, and I'm really looking forward to it.  I don't know if my bloggy friends in America (or elsewhere in the world) know what a Pantomime is, but it's great fun.  The leading man is usually played by a lady, there is a lot of slapping of thighs and wearing of  long, high boots, and shouts of "he's behind you"!!! The sort of thing that goes on in households all over England on a regular basis then.  Hee Hee!!

Over here in England, we had one of our wettest summers ever in 2012 and, judging by the amount of rain that is still pouring down, I suspect it could be the wettest year on record!

On a very wet day back in the summer of 2012, a cynical nation sat down to watch the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, held here in London.  We didn't have much expectation, but as we started to watch the spectacle we had the realization that, hey, this was actually going to be quite good!  For the next 17 days, most of us were rooted to our tv screens and felt part of every victory by Team GB, and my goodness, didn't they do us proud!! 

What with that and the Queen's Diamond Jubiloee, it really was a year to remember over here in dear old England!

It was around about the same time that a wife said to her husband that she was fed up with the daily stresses of her job, and that she was going to quit and write a novel.  The husband's heart sank, as she had a pretty good job, with a very nice salary coming into the home.  She had just finished writing her first book, and it was selling just a few hundred copies a week. 

Since that time, the wife's trilogy of books has sold over 40 million copies worldwide and it has, in fact, become Amazon's all-time best seller.  The books are, of course, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.  which have become a publishing phenomenon.  Now why didn't I come up  with an idea like that?!

My wish for all of you as we approach the new year, is that you will be blessed in 2013 with good health,  happiness, joy, contentment, and peace in your hearts.  I hope that our friendship will continue and I look forward to sharing your lives in the days and months ahead.

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day."
Edith L. Pierce.


 See you again in the new year!  Enjoy your New Years Eve celebrations whatever you might be doing, from partying, to just sitting cosily in your own homes, and I wish you everything that you would wish for yourselves.  Take care, and God bless.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Home again ....

Here I am then, home again, after spending a lovely few days just outside Paris with all my family.

Whatever you were doing, I do hope you enjoyed the celebrations.

I am thankful today that our journey home went smoothly, our home hadn't been broken into, and the house was not flooded, even though the garden is like a quagmire!! The rain has been mon stop, apparently, since we left! Thankfully, our journey home was in the dry.

Poor Alison, her hubby and the two little ones didn't fare quite so well on the journey home. They left the Channel Tunnel, only to find that their front lights on the car weren't working.

They had a fairly rough trip, and arrived home two hours after us. I'm thankful that they eventually arrived home safely. I think I've said before that they are not at all well off, but, for peace of mind, Alison paid £90 for breakdown cover.

When she phoned them up, they informed her that she was only covered whilst travelling abroad, but not in this country. I ask you! Unbelievable really.

We had car problems too, in that just after we arrived over there, hubby couldn't get the car started! Quite a performance, but we managed to get it towed to a repair garage. Something to do with the steering, which will cost £2,000!!

We actually changed the car only a few weeks before Christmas as we knew we had this long journey coming up . The car is 5 years old, and, fortunately, hubby took out a three year Warranty, which cost quite a bit . What's the betting that they will say what happened is not included in the Warranty?! Cynical?? Moi??!!

So we cadged a lift over with daughter number one and family, and hubby will go back with them on the 5th January, and then drive our car back the next day. What a palaver!!

The important thing is that we're all safe and sound . Everything else is just inconvenience!

I hope that all is well with all of you. I've missed catching up on your posts

I'm actually preparing this post on my iPhone, so I'm just hoping that it will work out ok! Left my charger for my laptop behind! DOH!!

Take care and hopefully I'll be in touch again soon.

Hugs from me coming to you.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Only Four More Sleeps ....

My dear blogging friends, I probably won't be posting again now before Christmas, so I just wanted to drop by to wish each and everyone of you a very happy, peaceful and blessed Christmas. 
It has been another year of wonderful friendship here in bloggyland, and for that I am truly grateful.  I know that people who don't actually blog themselves, sometimes find it difficult to understand just what friendships are made here.  To me, I count all of you a real blessing.
I feel that I know you and your families personally.  I know when you are happy, I know when you are sad.  I know when you have things to celebrate.  I know when you are feeling 'down'.  I know when the miracle of new babies arrive in your families, and all the other family celebrations that occur throughout each year.
Just imagine if we all met up - how wonderful would that be?!  There would be so much chatter, so much laughter, and I know that it would be just as if we'd known each other for ever!
There have been lots of celebrations this year, especially in my own country, but we all know that there have been the most terrible tragedies as well, and I shall light a candle for all those lost souls at Christmas.  BUT - we MUST look for the light, and look for the good.  If we do not do this, how on earth would we be able  to carry on. 
Happy Christmas To You All.

Hubby and I, along with my youngest daughter, her husband, and Eli and Ruby will be leaving early tomorrow morning for our drive to France.  (Well, actually, daughter and family will be leaving later today, as they prefer to travel through the night , as the children will be able to sleep).  We  will be returning on the 27th.  If any of you are travelling during the next few days, I wish you a safe journey.
I am getting quite excited now I must admit.  Christmas is always a special time of year, but having young children around makes it all the more magical.
"Let us keep Christmas beautiful without a thought of greed, that it might live forevermore To fill our every need, That it shall not be just a day, But last a lifetime through, The miracle of Christmastime That brings God close to you." - Anne Schulz.
"Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most." - Ruth Carter Stapleton.
"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" - Bob Hope.

"The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas" - W C Jones.
"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." - Calvin Coolidge.


Saturday, 15 December 2012

No Sunday Song Coming Up This Week ....

There will be no Sunday Christmas Song coming up this week my friends.  Somehow, with the terrible events of yesterday, it just didn't seem right.
I'm sure that all of us will have been profoundly affected by the awful tragedy of all those poor little children and adults that were killed whilst at school.  My heart is heavy as I write this post today.  It's just trying to make sense of it all.  I have my faith, and very much believe in God, but I must still ask, "Why",  "Why", "WHY".
I'm not going to get into any political issue here about gun laws, but, surely, surely, it is time for SOMETHING to be done.
I'm sure that all of us with children and grandchildren will be holding them dear in our hearts this morning.  A few days ago, I went to see little Eli in his Nativity Play, and when he came home with us for tea, he showed me some Christmas cards that his little friends had given him.
I'm sure that these poor children had also been looking forward to the magic of Christmas. I expect they  had a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in their school hall.  I'm sure they had been exchanging Christmas cards with their little friends.  They might even have been to see Father Christmas.  Their parents and family would have been wrapping their presents and looking forward to being together on Christmas Day.
I think, when we relate it to our own loved ones, the  situation becomes even more poignant.  What sort of Christmas will these poor families ever have again in the midst of this tragedy?
When we send our children off to school, we expect them to be safe.  I know that so many safety procedures have been put in place in view of other tragic events, but I guess if some crazy person wants to do something like this, nothing is going to stop them.
Let us hold them all in our hearts and prayers today and in the coming days.  That's all we can do really.
I did read one post about the children who had "died" at their Elementary School.  These innocent children didn't die.  They were brutally murdered.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Lovely Day Out ......

Hallo  again everyone.  Yesterday was another beautiful, cold, crisp, sunny day, so my friend and I decided to drive just over the border into Cornwall to visit a beautiful old house, called Cotehele, which is owned by The National Trust. 
As transformations go, few are more breathtaking than the decoration of the Great Hall at Cotehele, a National Trust property near Plymouth. Every December a huge garland, made almost entirely of dried flowers, is hung from the vast roof.  Apparently, over 30,000 flowers are used in the making of the swag.
Smelling of freshly cut hay it breathes life into the usually spartan medieval building. Beneath the brilliant display lies a length of ordinary rope that spends the rest of the year neatly coiled behind the office door of head gardener John Lanyon.
The 60ft garland is a year in the making. Seed is ordered the previous December and sown in early spring. Seedlings are pricked out into individual plant cells to minimise root disturbance, grown on and hardened off in frames before being planted in the cut flower garden from late April.
The flowers are cut and gathered as they appear, then strung upside-down in small bunches in the loft above the potting shed to dry.
It takes three people about a week to make the garland, using 40 barrow-loads of pittosporum - six bushes in all. Starting at the end of November, 12in-long sprigs of "pittos" are bunched together and fixed to the rope with metal ties.
 Gradually an enormous green caterpillar, about 2ft across and 60ft long, is brought to life. John then commandeers as many helpers as he can to lift it into position with the aid of ladders and scaffolding.
Decorating the garland is straightforward, though time-consuming. Flowers such as limonium, which makes up the bulk of the display, are pushed into the leafy framework. Next bracteantha, rhodanthe and gypsophila are added.
The long pink tassles of Psylliostachys suworowii look particularly effective dripping from the bottom of the swag, while the silver discs of honesty light up the top. Three days later the metamorphosis is complete.
The garland is seen as a major part of Cotehele's local appeal, and producing enough flowers for it is a huge responsibility, particularly given that many of its key components dislike the damp Cornish growing conditions.
"When I first started I used to find the whole process quite nerve-wracking," says John, who has been head gardener for five years. "But I now have a very good team that understands exactly why and what we are doing."
Each season the garland design and flowers change slightly and this year the predominant colour is pink. It is a triumph, and what better way to mark the end of one growing year and welcome in the next.  Here are a few photos that I took for you to have a peek at.

They also have a wonderful Gallery beside the house, which is home to wonderful displays by local artists.  Again, here are a few photos.

“Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
William Morris
"Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you".


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Don't You Just Hate It......

Ding Dong Merrily on high, Diane is feeling happy!! (Sing it to the tune - it sounds much better!!).
Well my little bloggy friends, how are things where you are?  I do know that there are several of my friends out there that are having stressful times at the moment, and some who I really wish would feel much better healthwise.  That would be my main wish for all of you as the new year approaches, 2013, that you all have a healthy new year.  That surely is the main thing we could have in our lives (yes, I know that money helps as well!) as life can be pretty dreary if you are suffering and in pain for a lot of the time. 
Last evening I went out with a good friend of mine for a pre-Christmas meal, as we won't get chance to meet up now before I leave for France on the 22nd December.  Her birthday is on the 28th December, so I was feeling quite chuffed that I had everything all organized, and took along her Christmas and birthday pressies to give her.
Now then, and here's where the title of this post comes in, I was really pleased with the birthday present I had bought her, as I knew it would be just her.  Anyway, we were sat there eating our meal, and chatting away, when she put her handbag on the table.  My mouth dropped open in horror.  "Oh, that's a lovely bag", says I.  "When did you get that one?".  "Oh", she says, "I bought it yesterday."
Well, you have probably realized that the bag sitting on the table was the very same bag that I had lovingly wrapped up for her birthday earlier in the day.  "Oh bum," were words that were going through my mind!
She said that she would change it, but I felt really bad then, so I think I will have to brave the shops once more and look for something else for her.  Of course, if she hadn't brought that particular bag with her last night, I wouldn't have known about it!
Hey ho! You can't win them all.
Sending blessings and warm wishes your way my friends.  Take care.

Friday, 7 December 2012

How Are You All? ....

Goodness me, December seems to be flying along at a tremendous rate.  I hope you are all trying to keep relaxed and not  to get too stressed out with all the preparations!  Exciting though, isn't it?!
I was thinking this morning about an incident when Eleanor was about four years old.  On the Sunday before Christmas, they always had a Christmas Tree Service in the Church that I attended, and I thought it would be lovely to take Eleanor along. 
She hadn't been in Church before, and I explained that we had to be quiet, and that we would be placing baby Jesus in the Manger.  She was sat beside me, being as good as gold, when suddenly, a couple of pews back from us, a little baby started crying.
I will never forget how she looked at me with huge eyes, and said "is that baby Jesus, Grandma?!"  I explained this to the Vicar, and Eleanor had the honour of placing the baby in the Manager.  She was completely overawed by it all, but it is such a treasured memory for me!
Here are a few vintage Christmas card images, featuring Father Christmas, which I hope you will enjoy. 
See you again for my Christmas Sunday Song!

Sending hugs from my home to your home.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sunday CHRISTMAS Song! Mary's Boy Child....

Starting this week, as we are now in the month of December, I thought I would post a Christmas song each Sunday leading up to Christmas.


It's very difficult to realize that we are now in the month of December, the last month of 2012.  Eeeek!!  This past week, we have had some beautiful sunny days, with lovely crisp and cold mornings, which I love because they are so seasonal.  Much better than the dreary rain, that's for sure!!

 My facebook friends have seen this photo already, as I have posted it today, but I thought I would show it here as well for my bloggy friends who don't follow me on facebook.  Here is little Ruby trying to draw a Manger.  She did manage to get quite a lot of stars in the sky as you can see!
 "May this Advent season be a time for bringing hope, transformation and fulfillment into the Advent of our lives."