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Monday 29 March 2010

Spring Fun Monday!

The lovely Janis of Life according to Jan and Jer set this week's challenge which is all about Spring.

Here is what I want you to do.....
Take a photo of whatever represents Spring to You....and tell us why.

England in the a rolling progression of favourite flowers.

The faithful hellebores which brightened Winter's gloomy days, continue in abundance in our garden. They've been with us since before Christmas and are still flowering now.

Followed by the humble snowdrop auguring Spring's arrival.

February, when camellias are in bud, promising a blaze of colour in March.

March when flowers progress on apace, farewell snowdrops...

Time to welcome crocuses yellows, purples and white in that order.

This year I was lucky one warm, fine sunny day to find honeybees busy amongst the crocuses. Take a look at the top of the page and you'll see what I mean...

March heading towards April now the narcissi and daffodils take centre stage. Purple crocuses fade so too the whites and yellows. Now we have an abundance of yellow shades.

Camellias are in bloom stately in red, white and pink.

Then, and this really means Spring, the first bluebells appear on stage.

Yellow daffs nodding in the breeze, described so well by William Wordsworth in his famous poem.

White hellebores fading...

Stately camellia...fragile, beautiful, but rain and wind soon destroy their transient beauty.

Such joy and delight to see the splendour of Spring flowers in colourful diversity.
Dark, dull, dire days of winter are behind us, Spring has to be seen to be believed.
Flowers promising finer days to come...time to look forward to when my rose garden is in bloom and climbing roses waft their heady scent into warm evening.

Thank you Jan, for setting today's topic.

I hope I've given a hint at the joys of an English Spring.

Wednesday 24 March 2010


Went for yet another set of blood tests. Waited until I felt like going there.
We passed the site of the old hospital which had been a wonderful Victorian edifice. In the few months since I discovered it had closed events moved on apace.
The old hospital is no more. In its place another hospital is being created.
The former was red brick typically Victorian. The latter is springing up like a jack-in-a-box, a steel girder framework,breeze block construction.
One rejoiced in the name
Sir Alfred Jones Memorial Hospital and was a Victorian endowment, a mark of philanthropy.
It's brash up-start newcomer will doubtless have a more utilitarian name, and have cost £££££millions!

Meanwhile a local clinic has taken over part of the role of the defunct hospital.

I arrive 'armed' with a book to pass the time. Took a ticket from the machine and settled back in a chair to wait my turn. Some 20+ numbers later it was my turn.

The room was set out to accommodate 3 people at a time.
Phlebotomy nurses expect to perform using the patient's left arm. But, for me it's the right that 'works' best. Also, I remembered to tell them they need a smaller needle. Yes veins can be seen, but are difficult to skewer.
The nurse was a trainee, and she did a good job. Apart from releasing the tourniquet too soon. But, it turned out to be the right thing to do. Her trainer/supervisor replaced it for her and between them managed to fill three separate vials to be sent for testing.
Okay, so it was painful but most importantly
No Bruising!!!
I've come across plenty of nurses who've treated me like a pin cushion, struggled to find a vein and left me with arms so bruised I had to wear long sleeves for the next 10 days.

Friday 19 March 2010

glorious sunshine

This week the weather has been kind to us. Lots of bright sunshine, no rain. Perfect opportunity to try my hand at photography.
One day was particularly sunny and warm without a lazy wind to chill the air.

By afternoon the crocuses were a blaze of colour and 'alive' with honeybees.

Now my blog has photos to mark the event.

What a lovely hint of Spring!
Some mark the 21st of March (equinox) as the 'first day of Spring'.
The more prosaic Met Office in the UK counts 1st March as the start of Spring. For them, the seasons run in three-monthly cycles.
March thro' May - Spring
June thro' August - Summer
September thro' November - Autumn
December thro' February - Winter

Mother Nature has other ideas and does her own thing!

Monday 15 March 2010

Writing and life Faye's Fun Monday

So your assignment for March 15 is to share your memories of school lunches. What kind of school did you attend--public, private, parochial? Did you bring lunch from home or buy in the school cafeteria? What did your lunch look like? Who prepared it? Who did you have lunch with? Was this a happy part of the school day? What did you do during lunch time other than eat your PB & J sandwich?

The lovely Faye of Summit Musings
has set today's topic

Another welcome opportunity to take a trip down Memory Lane

Junior School from age 5 to 11

Meals were cooked ‘centrally’ at the local Secondary School and delivered daily.

They were the standard ‘meat and two veg’ popular in those days; with steamed pudding of some kind for afters.

In my last year I was chosen to be a ‘waitress’ for the teachers who had their meals delivered on a tray to the staffroom. Before I could have my own meal I had to them theirs. Then after the first course, take away their crockery and bring back the puddings. All had to be accomplished with spilling or dropping anything and you had to balance the tray on your knee to knock at the staffroom door each time.

Can’t imagine any of today’s youngsters doing that!

Grammar school

Here they had their own kitchens so everything was prepared on the premises. Whereas junior school was a small place, Grammar school felt huge by comparison.

A separate dining room (instead of using the school hall) with tables of 8 from different age groups, plus 1 sixth former. From each table two people were nominated to fetch and carry. The sixth formers played ‘mother’ by dishing out the food.

By the time I was in the VIth form the school had expanded. The original dining room was too small so the school hall had to be used as well. If you had a P.E. lesson just before lunch you had to set out the tables and chairs ready for the diners. Afterwards we had to clear up and pack away.

By now the idea of a cooked dinner was less appealing so we got permission to have our own table and brought in packed lunches. Oh the fun we had as people began experimenting with the fad diets of the time.


Here we had a refectory and it was self-service Monday to Friday there was a range of dishes. Saturday tended to be left-overs and Sunday was always salad even in Winter. We soon got into the habit of avoiding eating in at the weekends. Sometimes my room-mate and I cooked for ourselves in the communal kitchen but more often we'd visit the chip shop.

Thank you Faye for the inspiration (smile) hope you'll be pleased to know I've ordered a copy of the book you mentioned which should arrive some day this week.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Tilly-mint and her garden

One of our neighbours has serious health probs and has been in hospital for a while undergoing various tests. Before she left she made plans for her garden. Over the past week we've been blessed with good weather, sunny, dry but cold. D has been doing some serious pruning of fruit trees in our garden and planted new ones.

Next, he's turning his attentions to Tilly-mint's garden. Transplanting established azaleas to create a new bed for vegetables.
Then he's hoping to collect the rose bushes she ordered before her extended hospital stay.

Well, he did better than that, he negociated a discount on her purchases!

Tilly-mint will be out of hospital soon it'll be lovely to see her reaction to her refubished garden.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Intelligence does not equal commonsense

Years ago I came across someone that was 'super' intelligent. So far above ordinary mortals that to have a conversation with him was difficult.
He'd been one of the boffins who developed RADAR in WWII.
Given chance he'd talk about his various record-breaking acheivements. Only one problem...he very soon lost his audience...
For some their eyes glazed over and they took refuge in thoughts elsewhere. Others, myself included, struggled to understand, losing their way along a convoluted intellectual path.

Yet, his first wife was such a practical down-to-earth soul, his anchor to reality.

Moving on a few years the guy left/divorced wife1 for wife2 and that's where I lost track of them both.

Yet, still I remember that special evening when he attempted to tell his dinner guests about Chain Home and RADAR.

Saturday 6 March 2010

My OH's 65 today!
Usually there'd be a card from Mike (Cornwall) but sadly we lost Mike last June.

I couldn't help telling our new neighbour about today...

What a lovely surprise for OH as a gardening themed card arrived from NN. *smile*

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Gattina hosts Fun Monday

Gattina Fun Monday friend of 'Writer's Cramps' has come up with a splendid topic...
When I came back from my weekly grocery shopping last week, I had an idea for Fun Monday on March 8th. I want to know how do you do your grocery shopping, every day, once a week, once a months, in different shops or in one big supermarket.
A picture of your favourite store and maybe of your trolley would be nice. I think it is interesting to know how we shop in different countries !

I was thinking only the other day how the way I shop has changed over the years. As a youngster, n here the memory will date me *smile*... Being sent to the corner shop at the bottom of our cobbled street. Or on a Friday visiting the chip shop for 6 penn'orth of fish and chips (pennyworth 6d). Throughout childhood shopping was done daily or so it seemed. Forever going 'up street' for...something(s)
Home town's a very hilly place, great exercise as to go anywhere you have to traverse hill slopes of varying steepness.
Money was £ s d (pounds shillings and pence). Pence were farthings, halfpennies, pennies, threepence and sixpences. Then there were shillings, two shilling pieces, half-crowns and 'ten-bob' notes. A totally different language and maths! Imagine having to account for everything you bought down to the last farthing!!!

What a contrast with today!
In my yesterdays all shopping was done on foot, little and often. Now it's two mornings a week, always by car and includes a major supermarket plus two German ones (Aldi and Lidl). Rarely do I venture out shopping alone as 'himself' insists tis his 'job' to 'organise' me. *smile*

He's a right one for bargains; over the 10 years I carried on working after he retired (early) he took over the shopping. So, shopping trips 'have' to have a list to start off with.

Shopping bags?
Gone are plastic bags today in favour of Hessian and cotton ones.

Each of the 3 shops has certain foods we buy mostly from them.
Aldi for fruit and veg; Lidl for biscuits, crisps, ice-cream, milk, fruit juices, pop (do you call it soda?) And both of them for their special offers. This week, Lidl has gardening offers, so fertilisers are on the shopping list. Asda (Walmart) for eggs, odd items and some non-food items. Other things we buy (occasionally) in bulk such as a sack of potatoes from our local farm. We've even been known to return from Cornwall with a sack of local spuds *grin*.
About every 2-3 months we take a trip to CostCo to buy various meats.

Every so often we go into the city to an area known locally as 'Chinatown'.
is a 'world food shop'
They quite literally stock foodstuffs, herbs and spices from far and wide. This is my favourite as it is full of surprises.

From counting in £ s d to £ p, walking thro' the town to visit numerous small shops, to travelling miles to shops stocking the mundane and the extraordinary. How life has changed!