Thursday, 31 March 2011

Count down

Bags half packed, girls furiously downloading music onto i-pods for the flight. Big J working and me just chilling....this is so, so rare. Chill is something I do not do a lot of.

Will it all hit me tomorrow?

Very good baby news....a little girl is on the way.....

I have added my favourite blogs to the front of my page. But people, if you would rather they are NOT there, do let me know.

Monday, 28 March 2011

More Tsunami appeal money

Em and her friends made cakes and biscuits and raised £31.00 at school today. Someone at work gave me a very generous donation as she was away on Friday and could not buy a cake. Between us we have raised £79.38. It is a drop in the ocean but it will be put to good use and it was only possible because people are so generous.



This is the name of a new book club, the inaugural meeting of which took place this evening at a regular watering hole. We have not yet been told what our first book will be, but it is very exciting. Have always wanted to join a book club.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Pinkie promise

After a shopping morning with the girls, we headed home to sort clothes for the trip down under.
Late in the afternoon, Han-Solo and I walked Poppy the neighbour's dog. Walks are always a good time to talk, and she made me pinkie promise not to mention something!

These are the photos from that walk.

and a freshly ploughed field. This is where, every year there is a ploughing competition and display. One day this field will be covered in homes.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Thursday, 24 March 2011


This is the name of the Japanese flag. It looks like a red sun.

And these??

Hope the girls raise loads.

Bake day II

4 dozen cup cakes and counting....doubling the mix means LOTS more.

2 dozen lemon and poppy seed

2 dozen choc fudge....and enough mix for another dozen at least.

Big bake

I am spending the day baking for a Japan Tsunami fund raiser at the school tomorrow. First batch of lemon and poppy seed cupcakes in the oven now.
Glorious day, washing on the line since early, and peace in the house.

Bosley very proudly showed us a mouse that he had caught and killed overnight. He left it just outside the French door on the patio for all to see. Worrying, it is not there now....let's hope he took it to the shed roof with him... the neighbour's shed. That's where the boy cats hang out.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Life is full

It is certainly not dull. What will it be like when I wake up one day and there is only my Big J left at home and the others have set off on their own lives?
It is a long way off yet and there is no rush to get there.

Firstly part of my full life this weekend was an amazing four hours with my cousin who came from Oxford to see me. We think it is about 38 years since we last met. There was so much to find out so we started with our own time lines to get us to where we are now. There are SO MANY similarities in our lives and our views of said lives. It was nicely uncanny. We ate and talked and managed to touch on some things, one being a reunion of first cousins in May. Some I have not met! I am really looking forward to it.

After she left I raced to the nearest village to help out my lovely friend G in her new letting agency. It was a launch weekend and some of us were on hand to chat, hand out drinks and food and wash up. I will be helping G with viewings when she is away. I love to do viewings.

On Saturday we shopped at the local veg stall and bought flowers for the house. Daffs and daisies and again I went to help G. It was a sunny day and gorgeous.

Later in the afternoon, my brother and his fiance and her bump arrived from London. Yes, the newbie on the way is theirs and although I will be auntie Lizzy, in fact I feel like granny. So young is the mother to be. We are all thrilled.

Having family here at weekends is fab. We cook big time and eat around the table and everyone chills and it is fun. Today we all (teenage girls too) walked to town past the smallholding and drank coffee in our local cafe before heading to a pub for lunch. Possibly the lowest point of the weekend, but hey!

Back to some gardening, a little tidying for me and for BJ, the first mow of the year. Love that cut grass smell.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Big Day

At this time (as I write) BJ, two daughters and I arrived in London from Hong Kong four years ago today.
There was snow on the ground and daffodils everywhere. We (the girls and I) were coming to a place we had never seen before, to a new life, to a new member of the family and I am very proud of how well we have done.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Hard to do

Today I asked for help at work. It is such a hard thing to do. Is asking for help an admission of incapability or a realistic take on a situation that needs redressing? The latter definately, but boy can it feel like the former. There are in theory two of us working 37.5 hours each a week to cover the job, but I have been on my own or had 12 hours a week help since last year. Today it struck me that while I love the job, I can't do it all by myself and look after all our sick people the way I want to. So I asked for and got some help from my immediate team. What angels!
Asking for help at home is the same. It always comes out like nagging - truth is we all need help at times, but asking for it can seem like a greater challenge that plodding on.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Moment of madness

I am a charity shop girl....all the way. Love 'em and have been using them since student days. In Australia they are called OP - SHOPS, from opportunity shop. Brilliant name. Some of my favourite things are reused and my girls got most of their toys and clothes from bazaars, flea markets etc when they were little.
There are however, some rare days when the urge to splurge takes hold and today was one of them. Nice new

BLUE SHOES (from Clarks and yes they look like mary janes, but they please me). I love coloured shoes, but have mostly black ones...mmmm. Also ended up with blue lacy tights and a long grey cardi, very pretty, but with a hole under the arm so at a huge discount...Tonight I am off to craft at my friends house and I will mend the hole there and wear it tomorrow and look lovely!!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Where did the week go?

Tuesday night is great, no work on Wednesdays. But I do love my job. I love working at the hospital and don't mind being so busy that when I look up sometimes it is about time to go home.
A major percentage of our patients have cancer. We race against deadlines to make sure they are treated 'on time'. They have huge concerns and many are under the care of the brilliant Cancer Nurse Specialist who I admire no end, and who is a cheerful, positive soul. Many, many are elderly and need transport and support to get in for their care. Many are frightened and some will simply refuse to have surgery, prefering to let things be and see what life still has to offer them, others look for alternative treatments and some are more scared of operations than of having cancer.
It may be the NHS, so maligned, but I firmly believe that our patients are why we are there and that it is our job to provide a service to all of them.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Permanent installation - a real accolade

Artist's sister work is likely to be a permanent installation at the British School at Rome. It is brilliant, but it is not possible to add a link here of the exhibition, yet.

Second daughter and I went to the coin laundry tonight! (To wash a large duvet.) She had been asking how laundries work, so off we went. Pity we washed the wrong duvet and have to now make another trip! Oh well, at least everything will be clean.....and she will be well familiar with the process.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


We have heard from many people over the last few days. We are lucky to have so many friends. We have also been watching a lot of the Japanese news, and it is heartrending. How does one pick up the pieces from such a disaster? And bad as it is, they are yet another nation picking up pieces, there have been so many of late. I want to DO something to help.

This afternoon we visited a local Japanese woman who has three lovely children, mainly to pass on some of the books that the girls loved but are now ready to pass down. (Japanese books are very hard to come by here, they are ridiculously expensive). Fortunately she too had family south of the area.

On a brighter note, we talked to Australia's loveliest family last night on Skype to plan some of our activities for the trip that is now only THREE weeks away....

Today we walked in the morning, went to our usual cafe for breakfast and to read the papers. I read Home (all those wonderful properties) and BJ reads sport! We met the owner of a smallholding when we walked past his plot. He has 3 geese, 70 chickens and two sheep and has been farming it for 41 years. It was once used to hold pigs before the road was built. He no longer lambs his sheep, but did at one time. He said we can go down and see the place when the weather gets warmer. (We were looking down into the area from the roadside). He is living the of the dreams!

We then went a bit mad and after giving away a pile of Japanese books, sorted some for the charity shop and some for the loft. I dismantled a book case and we moved some furniture in No 2 daughter's room. It is looking better and better.

We then sorted out all the stashed away bedding that has been in the loft for toooooo looooong. Phew! High fives all round after a very productive day. More time for me to crochet tonight.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

News from Japan

We were able to speak to Japanese grandmother and the girl's dad last night. They are fine in Yokohama, although the ceiling in girl's dad office fell in and the staff were evacuated. He then had to walk home as there were no trains running. That took a few hours. Auntie and her family are fine, and my dearest girlfriend is also fine. With them safe, time to think about those who lost everything.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Indoor sun

The last few days have been tough, despite the sun, the garden, bees and beds. Tonight I bought these orange tulips to cheer us up and Second daughter and I added some of the tete-a-tetes from the garden. The pot is one BJ bought when he lived in Poland. It is my favourite of all his Polish pieces.
Han-Solo is playing in a jazz concert with some Swedish students tonight, that will be nice too.

Bed of Heaven

We took possession of our new bed yesterday. The Bed of Heaven. It is like sleeping on a cloud. I love the plain lines and colour of it, such a pity the show room photo is against a white background. BJ's sister is a master bed woman and she recommended the mattress. Now the dream is to have the room to match the bed. The furniture does, but we need to work on the walls and carpets and I need to get moving on some of the WIPs that lurk around the house to cover said bed. This shot is courtesy of Furniture Village

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Raised bed ...1

Here it, is. Still a bit empty, soil wise, but I planted two elephant garlic bulbs this morning and there is a raspberry cane in it that is being nutured; a cutting to replace one lost cane. And the rhubarb. I love the stuff, I grew it Japan, but this one!! It dithers all spring and there is nothing to eat and then in summer goes mad, shoots up and of course is too fibrous to do anything tasty with...But it has been there for year. Maybe it needs a new spot.

First Bumble Bee

This morning the sun has been shining, warming the soil and helping things grow. I have assembled the last part of my "raised bed" for vegetables and now have to fill it with soil. I have long wished for raised beds and this is a home made version, easy, inexpensive and experimental.
One highlight of the morning was the first bumble bee in the front garden.
We love these bees, all bees are nice, but the bumble bee seems more serene and solitary and beautiful.
The image here is courtesy of the BCC.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Little touches

My dear other half worked from home today and planted two cactii in their white pots to put on the Chinese TV cabinet. I was touched. They are small still, but we chose them for their brilliant shapes. One looks like a hot air balloon and the other a bit like clouds.
The way the spikes grow in their geometric pattern is beautiful. This pic is not very clear, but I love that it sits with the serene black face and the fine porcelain incense burner that my Japanese sister in law gave me.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Work complete and work in progress

A friend I have been stitching and knitting and quilting and hooking together on and off for over a year now. This is her lastest completed work:

I have been battling on with my Attic24 inspired crochet hexagons and here are some of them....
As I have mentioned before, colour choices are hard for me, so this time I set a goal of using yarn that I already had in colours that I like and the plan was to work with them only. So far, so good. I am now loathe to add any other shades and think that this will work as it is.

Continuing with Rome

Falling behind a bit as so much is going on here.
To continue with Rome; the city has amazing trees. Cedar, but cut back into a fantastic umbrella shape. As seen here (below) at the Vatican City. For centuries the trees have been pruned like this. One only has to look at old paintings to see them as they are today.
and here is the Borhgese Gardens:
Second daughter and I did a series of 'looking up into trees':
One spends a lot of time looking up in Rome. In the Sistine Chapel, our necks ached as we identified those most famous scenes, God putting the spark of life into Adam's finger and The Last Supper. I liked the Delphic Sibyl:

The Pantheon was another place, so beautiful and calm in side.
The ocular in the Pantheon allows light, rain and snow in. The floor slopes to allow run off. The sun's light walks up or down the dome depending on the time of day.
There were helpful signs all over the city. This one tickled the girl's no end.
"No Levitating"
It actually means no lying down, both odd things to do in a historic temple!
In my last Rome installment I will show some of my sister's work. Her exhibition is at the end of this week and we are all hoping it is a roaring success.