Wednesday, 11 March 2015

From a Sunny Bench

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

One really sunny day, last week, I decided to walk through the local park and weave my way round all the paths, eventually sitting down on a handy bench in the sun. It was good to feel the warmth on my face and it wasn't long before I started to watch the people around me.
The park had been planted up with spring bulbs under the trees and it was good to see swathes of colours brightening up the rather muddy bits of the park. Later on, during the spring and summer, there are usually areas of wild flowers randomly sown, as well as more formal rose beds, that are now devoid of leaves because they've been heavily pruned.

There were a good few people walking their dogs and most of them were let off their leads for a good romp round. They obviously loved to scamper about and looked really exuberant, which was good to see. Most of the owners were extremely responsible and threw an object out onto more open grassy areas and it was interesting to watch the way these pets went about retrieving the balls or sticks and some times toys. Some dogs ran out into the far distance, picked up the ball and brought it back to the waiting owner. Obviously this was a wonderful way of exercising a dog without having to walk very far. Some animals picked up the ball and then dropped it again, turning round and going back to the owner without it. It was their way of saying, "I've found it, now go and pick it up for me again." The obedient owners did just that.
Some of the dogs while off the lead, did walk through the flowers but I noticed they were walking quite daintily through them causing the minimum of damage.
However, I was a bit gobsmacked by a few owners who let their dogs off the lead and threw a ball right through the flowers and rose beds letting their animal trample the plants down as they focused on the ball. One or two of these owners appeared not to even notice the flowers and threw the ball into them over and over again.
There were plenty of grassed over wide open places where they could have thrown a ball.

The more responsible owners could be seen carrying little bags of dog mess ready to dispose of in the bins provided.  However, some were so busy talking and had their backs to the dogs making it impossible to see whether they'd made a mess or not. Judging by the little droppings that have to be watched out for when walking on the grass, this is a regular occurrence. 
It is a great pity that a few have to spoil it for the rest of the responsible citizens who use the park. 
Maybe I should have taken my book and then I wouldn't have noticed any of it. 
I am an animal lover and think dogs should be allowed off their leads under supervision but I like to see flowers and well kept grass too. A compromise is called for as well as good sense, don't you think?

Friday, 27 February 2015

Maggie's Favourites

There's nothing like a good book to completely take you over for a while.
Since I've been sleeping on my own these last few months on account of Harry having to sleep in his bedsit downstairs, I've found one of the advantages of being by myself is that I can read for as long as I like and can switch the light off when I like. If I wake up and can't get back to sleep, I can put the light on again and read until I'm sleepy. No one will nag me about it and it's my own fault is I stay up too late and feel tired when I get up the next day.
I also read in the day time too, especially through the cowboy films that Harry has on TV during the afternoons.
During good weather, I take a book out with me to a park or open space and also to appointments.
I've recently enjoyed:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry :- Rachel Joyce
The Secret Keeper :- Kate Morton
A Street Cat Named Bob :- James Bowen
The Forgotten Garden:- Kate Morton
Little Mercies:- Heather Gudenkauf
Starting Now:- Debbie Macomber
The Weight of Silence:- Heather Gudenkauf
The Snow Child :- Eowyn Ivey
The Horse Whisperer :- Nicholas Evans
Just Take My heart :- Mary Higgins Clark
Sold :- Zana Muhsen
Cellar Girl :- Josephina Rivera
Stalked :- Kate Brennan
The Last Runaway :- Tracy Chevalier

I must admit that *enjoyed* sometimes meant that I couldn't put the book down rather than having received contentment from it. Some of the above books are true stories that may be gruesome in content at times but have been compelling to read and took a lot of courage to write. I admire anyone who can turn their life around from a bad situation and often use it for good.

Has  any one read anything from my list. What is your favourite book?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Bits and Pieces

Two more 1000 piece jigsaws have helped to keep me amused during winter weather. I usually have one on the go in the front lounge where I often hide away when Harry is watching football or films that I don't like in the back room, which now is his bedsit.
He is still waiting to hear from the hospital about his shunt. Nothing gets done very fast over here.

Very soon, I shall be busy making the garden tidy as the weather steadily improves. Already the days are lengthening and it is still light at five pm now, which is much better than it was around Christmas when it started to get dark at 3.30. 
My snowdrops did emerge a couple of weeks after I complained that they seemed to have disappeared.  Nature sees to it that they come up at the right time so I needn't have worried.
The jigsaws will most likely be stored away now that there will be so many other things to do. All the year through, I usually have a good book on the go and have got into the habit of reading in bed till I fall asleep. One of the advantages of being on my own. I can do what I like.

Our lives seem to go round in a a circle of seasons just like the weather outside, though I doubt very much whether I will be shedding any clothes just yet as it is still a bit chilly. 
There is a saying in Britain, *Don't cast a clout till May is out.* Not sure if that means the month of May or when the first flower of the May bursts forth, which will happen a little bit earlier.
It's supposed to be unlucky to bring the May flower into the house, another of our sayings.
I wonder where these sayings came from and what they really meant.
Off to Google that now.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Winter Wonderland

Since I last posted, the weather has turned cold and much of Britain has had snow. Our city had a few half hearted flurries but the white stuff didn't *pitch*, as we say in our part of the world, and soon melted.
In our area this weekend, there is a celebration of Winter Wonderland, lighted windows. It is a trail of shop windows that will be brightly lit and beautifully decorated and many residential homes are also displaying such windows and people are encouraged to walk round the large area of this trail and see the lovely displays. Quite a good thing to do on a cold winters evening, wrap up warm and look at something lovely instead of watching the condensed horror of the world's latest goings on, on the TV News. As it's Saturday night, there is also fish and chips to collect from our local shop.
Does your area do anything special to lift the heart on a cold winter's evening?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Taking Things For Granted

Until now, we've had a very mild winter and we've watched the *standstill* on TV, that has happened in parts of the USA, hoping that we won't get the tail end of the snowy blizzard that appears to be sweeping across North West America. It seems quite scary.

I've looked in all the places in the garden where I used to have snow drops and cannot see any shooting up at all. Normally by now there would have been signs of them though its still quite early. The whole garden looks bare and it's hard to find anything of interest to take photos of. Maybe the whole place needs a makeover.

Speaking of makeovers, I had my hair cut really short today as it's easier to manage that way. I also had my thick, bushy eyebrows *threaded* and believe me, that can be a painful experience but they do look better. How it's done with just a thread in the hand, beats me.
Anyway, I'm now sorted out for a little while.

Harry is still waiting to hear from the hospital and in the meantime he is getting weaker. He gets very down hearted not being able to get out of the house at all....... well we both do, though I can go out for short spells. Makes me realise just how much we take for granted and until we lose something, such as the ability to walk and we just don't know how lucky we are beforehand.
I suppose that applies to everything in life, doesn't it?

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Saturday Nights

I can remember when Saturday nights were, if not exiting then really enjoyable when Harry and I used to go dancing, out for a long stroll, visiting friends or maybe entertaining them here or maybe going to the cinema.
Nowadays, things have really slowed down and our pleasures have narrowed drastically.
Saturday night is now fish and chip night! I traipse along, armed with my padded bag to keep things warm, to our local fish & chip bar, that has won prizes for their wonderful take away cuisine, coming within the top few of all the fish and chip bars in the whole of the South West of England. I'm not surprised by this as their fish and chips are really delicious and don't seem to be dripping in fat the way many other places seem to produce theirs. Harry always insists on having the slices of lemon that they provide and that really compliments a wonderful, tasty Saturday night treat!
How about you?

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Cabin Fever?

After a wet start this morning, it has turned sunny and I was really looking forward to going out as it is my afternoon off when Harry's helper comes to sit with him for a few hours.
However, he rang in sick today so I won't be going out for any length of time after all. This will be the third week of not having the helper, as Christmas Day and New Years Day both happened to be on a Thursday when he wasn't working.
When it's teaming with rain I don't seem to worry. It seems cosy in the house. I get on with my jigsaws, books and other hobbies. However, as soon as the sun starts to shine, I feel really pent up and wish I could get out, stretch my legs and feel the sun on my face.
Well why can't I do that anyway, you may ask?
The simple answer is that Harry has no sense of danger. He acts rather like a naughty child when I'm gone and puts himself in dangerous situations where he would need help to make himself safer. He begs and pleads and assures me that he won't do it again. However, he can't seem to learn by unwise consequences of his actions, so I guess it will always be like this. I can't trust him enough to leave him on his own for more than an hour and even then, he gets into some dangerous situations.

We'er still waiting for the hospital to get in touch with us about his forthcoming tests and possible operation for a shunt but it doesn't seem to be going to happen any time soon.
That's the way it is with our National Health over here. No good getting in a stew about it.
Trouble is, our body clocks are ticking by.......

In the meantime I must be content with my hobbies and try not to get irritable and impatient.