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Saturday 28 September 2019

Has Your Life Been Like This, Or Is It Just Me?!

Hi there everyone. Hope your weekend is going well.  

I was sitting, just ruminating about life yesterday, contemplating my navel, when I asked myself that very it an Aries trait, or just me?  Let me explain - I was looking back over the years of my life (and there are a lot of years for me to look over, let me tell you!), and I was thinking of all the things I had started, but yet never quite finished. 

I had never achieved that hole in one, never painted a masterpiece, never written that best selling novel, to name but a few of the hobbies I have tried over the years. 

I played golf (badly) for a while, but the trouble is, I was always thinking that I had to get back to pick up the girls from school, or what to get for the evening meal.  Not quite the concentration you need when trying to get a hole in one. Also, I used to get transfixed standing over the ball - get the grip right, address the ball, wiggle the bum, until my playing partner used to be shouting, "hit the b....y ball!

When starting a hobby, I think half the pleasure for me is getting all the accessories!  I had a very pretty golf bag, with fluffy covers for all the clubs. I had my golf shoes and visor cap. Oh yes, I looked quite the Pro, until I tried to hit the ball...

I was lucky enough to be given a very expensive digital SLR camera a couple of years ago, but never quite got the hang of shutter speeds, or how much light to let in, and, besides, my iPhone takes very good photos, although the bigger camera is much better for zoom shots, obviously.

I've lost count of the number of gym memberships I've started, or exercise equipment I've bought for home use. I guess I was never meant to have the body beautiful!

I had ALWAYS wanted to try water colour painting. How wonderful to just sit on a cliff overlooking the ocean and be able to capture the beauty of my surroundings.  Again, I had all the equipment, even an easel and a very nice travelling painting set. I was ready to go!  I actually took a few lessons with a friend. Trouble is, the tutor was obsessed with trees, and I just wanted to paint boats and the beach. So! Another one bit the dust. 

I tried learning German, but that didn't work either. There were so many things that I've tried, but I'm still looking for that special talent that we all have within us. (We do, don't we?!). I guess I just have no staying power, which I'm certainly not proud of. 

Please tell me I'm not the only one! Come to think of it, I've never tried Amateur Dramatics. Perhaps that's where my star will shine. Lights! Camera! Action! I'm ready for my close up!

See you later peeps. 

Monday 23 September 2019

Autumn Gently Creeps In ....

Today is the Autumn Equinox -  I came across this quote by Oscar Wilde this week, and I thought it was very appropriate right now ...

We have had a couple of gorgeous weeks here in ye merry olde England, with clear blue skies, and amazing sunsets. Is anyone else looking forward to Autumn 🍂, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness? I quite like to be all warm and cosy in the evenings, with the lamps switched on and scented candles flickering away. It can be quite a romantic time of the year if you think about it. Yes, even if you are on your own.  Play some of your favourite music or settle down and watch a favourite, soppy film.  One of my favourites is Beaches with Bette Midler, about female friendship. I'm usually crying buckets by the end!

Talking about Autumn....these two pics taken in my garden last year sum up the season very well, I think. There's always this wonderful light in Autumn, when everything  seems so crisp and clear. 

Going back to the Oscar Wilde quotation at the beginning of this Post,  there is another one of his that is a favourite of mine, and I actually have it on a little plaque here in the home ...

Most of my long term bloggy friends, know how much I love quotations, and I'm always looking out for new ones. Pinterest is a wonderful source for doing this. Sometimes you read a quote, and you just think, 'yes', that's exactly it!  

I'm sure most of us love taking photos, be it of our family, times spent with friends, our gardens, places we have visited, or just anything that takes our eye.  This quote fits the bill exactly, for we truly are capturing a moment in time and, of course, these days most of us carry our phones with us, so there is no excuse to miss a magic moment!

I'm hoping for a lovely, dry Autumn so that I can get out on some walks here in heavenly Devon, and really appreciate the beauty of the upcoming Season, with all the amazing colour yet to come. Isn't nature wonderful?! 

Well my friends, I'll leave you again for now with another little quote, and these are my wishes for you today.  Take care. 

Any images today that are not my own, are courtesy of

Sunday 22 September 2019

Opera In The Open Air

Verona Opera Festival

If you love opera and you also love Italy, you really have missed a stunning spectacle if you haven't yet been to see the Verona Opera Festival.  (Even if opera is not really your thing, you would not fail to be moved by the ancient setting of this particular Festival).  I went with a friend a few years ago, and we decided to do it in style, and opted for the best seats in the house (Poltronissime) where the Italians turn up in full evening dress for the men, and long, elegant gowns for the ladies.

Before entering the Arena di Verona, it is a good idea to eat at one of the many restaurants in the small streets surrounding the amphitheatre.  This way, you can really make the most of the charged atmosphere, whilst doing some serious people watching at the same time.  There are lots of gorgeous, designer shops for you to feast your eyes on (I particularly remember the Louis Vuitton shop, which was immediately opposite the ancient arene, containing a huge selection of wonderful handbags - all at wonderful prices, of course).

Once inside the arena, be prepared to be blown away by the sheer scale and magnificence of it all.  The arena sits 20,000 people, from the best seats which are on the floor of the arena, right up to the unreserved places on the upper (very upper!) stone galleries, where you are perched high on the topmost ramparts of the original Stadium, which was built in 30 A.D.
When one thinks of opera, The Royal Opera House at Convent Garden, the Sydney Opera House, and La Scala all spring readily to mind, but you will find that Verona combines a quite unique setting with productions and performances of a consistently high standard.  Where else could you be watching, on a hot summer night, a performance of Aida (as I was) at the start of the second Act, when immediately behind the stage, a huge, full moon rose majestically above the ancient arena walls and literally hung in the dark sky, surrounded by glittering stars, for the remainder of the performance.

The Italians really do have a love and flair for the dramatic performance, and they are a very demanding audience, which always seems to bring out the very best in performers and musicians alike.  When the audience is particularly appreciative of a certain Aria, they will stamp their feet, cheer and clap and, even though they are in the middle of an Act, the performers will sing the Aria again, to even more spontaneous applause.
It really was a magical experience, and one that I will never forget!

Whilst in Verona, of course, we just had to see the balcony from Romeo and Juliet!

I hope you have enjoyed this second visit to Italy 🇮🇹 

(All images today courtesy of

Monday 16 September 2019

The Magic Of Italy ....

Many of my ‘older’ Followers may remember how much I love Italy, and Venice in particular.

Just look at the colours of Venice in these beautiful photos. When you visit Venice, and I have been there quite a few times, you can’t help but be inspired by the vibrant hues of this amazing City. Venice really is a feast for the eyes, with something to take your breath away every time you take a few steps!

I hope you don't mind today if I share some beautiful images of Italy with you.  I have been there quite a few times and visited Tuscany, San Gimignano, watched the magic of the opera at Verona in the ancient amphitheatre, Rome, Florence, Lake Garda, and Sicily (which is absolutely beautiful).  I would love to visit Lake Como (where George Clooney has a home!) and Lake Maggiore.  But there is still time ....

Obviously, the art in Italy is to die for, and there are some magnificent gardens to stroll around. 


The ancient Ponte Vecchio bridge across the River Arno, in Florence, where you will find the most amazing little jewellery shops.  This bridge was built in 1345. Can you even imagine that?! 

The magnificent  Duomo in Florence....

I think I had better stop right there!  I could go on forever expounding the magnificence (for it truly is magnificent!) of this beautiful Country. I hope that I have managed to give you a taste of Italy, albeit a very brief taste!  I love the romance of the Italian language, the food, and the utter splendour that awaits you, no matter which part of Italy you decide to visit. I must go again soon!  

(All images today courtesy of

Friday 13 September 2019

Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple? Read About The Devon Author Who Created These Well Loved Characters ...

Today I thought I would write about a famous author who 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.  Many famous actresses have played the part of Miss Marple in the television dramatisations, and I’m sure we all have our own favourite!  Many others have played her on the big screen of course.  

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, "Greenway" 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.  Here are a few photos of that beautiful property ...including the old fashioned bus that will drive you up the steep hill from the river, should you need it! 

Here we have a view of the boathouse at Greenway, taken from the River Dart ...

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about this famous crime writer today.  We are here at the end of another week, so I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend. 

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Remembering ......

Remembering ....

Who could ever forget watching this horrendous tragedy unfold on our television screens? I can certainly remember exactly where I was at that time.  The horror of it all - you literally couldn’t  believe what your eyes were seeing. Amazingly, it was eighteen years ago today.    It really was like watching something out of a horror movie - all the poor souls leaping from windows of their offices, and the brave men and women of the emergency services that entered those buildings, without even thinking of the danger to their own lives. They were just thinking of rescuing as many people as they could. 

On the eve of September 11th, 2001, people would be lying beside their loved ones for the last time. Millions of Americans went to bed, without knowing the horror that they would be waking up to. 

I think what I am trying to say, is that we never know what each day may hold, so we really must try to live this wonderful life that we have been given, to the fullest and truly rejoice in each and every day. 

We must tell our loved ones that we love them and how much they mean to us. 

My thoughts and prayers today go out to America, and we must continue to pray, in these still troubled times around the world, that good WILL prevail against evil....

Saturday 7 September 2019

My Hometown Of Plymouth - Britain's Ocean City

My hometown City of Plymouth is known as Britain's Ocean City. It is a vibrant waterfront city which is surrounded by water, and with the hills of Dartmoor close by.

The magnificent Plymouth Sound with the art-deco lido, where I learnt to swim, some sixty years ago. Seems like only yesterday 😂😂.

Today I thought I would take you on a tour of the historic Barbican, with its cobbled streets and Elizabethan buildings. To me, it has always seemed remarkable that these buildings are still standing after the continuous bombing, known as the Plymouth  Blitz, during the Second World War. The city suffered  a series of bombing raids, which flattened many parts of my home city. My parents were involved in one of those  raids. In March 1941, my dad was returning home on a short Leave from the Army.  As darkness fell, he turned the corner of the street where they lived, and the house was gone, reduced to a pile of rubble, and my poor mum was buried underneath. Neighbours were scrabbling at the bricks with their hands,  desperately trying to get to her. Fortunately, she survived,  but her back was badly damaged and she suffered for the rest of her life with severe back problems.  After the Blitz, very little of Plymouth remained, and the whole City had to be rebuilt. During the 59 bombing attacks, 1,172 civilians were killed and 4,448 were injured. King George the sixth is pictured  here visiting the devastated City. 

Image courtesy of Daily Mail archives. 

But now it's time to continue with the tour. I hope you will enjoy these photos, which were taken on a glorious Summer's day earlier this year. You can just double click on any of the photos if you want to make them larger. 










The quality of the following  photo isn't particularly good (I took it from Plymouth Hoe looking out to the Sound) but I thought the old with the new was pretty cool 😊.


I do feel very blessed living in this little corner of heavenly Devon!  On that note, I'll love you and leave you until the next time.