Wednesday, 20 November 2013

What's Going On? Roses in November?

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

The weather continues to be fairly mixed. One day being mild and sunny and another cold, wet and windy. We never really know what to expect.
When I was a child, the winters were hard, cold and snowy and without central heating, or double glazing, I can remember it was really freezing, even inside. We had a small electric fire to get dressed by, while my mother raked out the ashes of yesterday's coal fire and laid another one for the day. We wore layers of clothing and we often got long drawn out coughs, colds, tonsillitis, as well as all the children's diseases that went around in cycles. Some of them such as Measles and Scarlet Fever were killers. However, we survived.
A good memory, from my point of view, was being pulled along on a home made wooden sledge by my Mum or Dad. It might have been a nightmare for them taking me to school in thick snow and ice but I considered it fun.
Those were the days when we knew the seasons and the weather followed a definite pattern.

It is now getting on for December, the Christmas month, the shortest day soon upon us. Today, I'm looking out of the window and the sun is shining. The heating is off and because I'm wearing my *thermals* I'm not really cold at all. Out in the garden I can see a rose bush covered in flowers, a bit tatty by any standard, but quite recognisable as clusters of roses. Don't you think that is remarkable, roses blooming in the heart of the winter in England?
My Pelargoniums that are only hardy if brought indoors are still flowering in their pots outside.
Is Global Warming the cause of this?
The terrible typhoon that has happened in the Philippines is supposed to have been caused by the shift in the weather patterns as well as all the other disasters that have happened in various places round the world.
So I suppose that it's swings and roundabouts, what weather you get, depending on where you live.
There are warnings of really bad weather to come here, so I'm stocking up a cupboard of basic foods in case we can't get out. Salt is at the ready for the pavements.

I wrap up warm and get my jigsaws out if the weather is bad.
The kitten jigsaw was in a big box of 10 different ones that I bought in a charity shop. I'm glad that they seem to be individually wrapped. With second hand puzzles you can never be too sure of what state they might be in.
Imagine trying to sort over 6,000 pieces into 10 separate puzzles.
I recently was told by the doctor in the cancer clinic that we attend, that doing jigsaws helps the brain to get into a meditative state that is very benficial. 
After I have completed one, I don't like to smash it up straight away, like my sister in law does, so I take a photo of the ones I've really enjoyed doing and this one fits that criteria. That way, I don't feel that I've *lost*  what has become a friend during the time its taken to complete it and can recycle the original.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Unexpected Blue Skies

Photo copyright: Maggie May

As today was unexpectedly sunny and fairly warm, I thought it might be a good idea for Harry and me to jump on a bus using our free bus passes and visit a place that we haven't been to in years.

Off we went to Bristol Bus Station, where a bus going to Portishead, which is a town that lies along the Bristol Channel, was about to pull out. The sea front in this location, is muddy and dangerous and this is the part of the town that we both knew from our motoring days but it is a fairly busy shipping channel and it can be interesting watching large and small vessels of all kinds sailing past and the walk along the sea front is pleasant. 
However, we didn't get as far as the sea front because the bus took us on a meandering route through little villages and windy roads and we really didn't know where we were and we found ourselves heading back into the high street that we'd passed earlier. I had thought we might end up going back to Bristol if we didn't make up our minds where to disembark.
An elderly lady passenger, who was obviously local to Portishead told us not to try to go to the sea as there was nothing there and certainly no toilets available. She told us to get off the bus at a certain place near the high street and gave us useful information as to where we could get a pot of tea and more importantly, visit a toilet. 
We found a large supermarket, where we were able to do both these things. (Strange how a toilet stop seems to be more important than anything, in our age group). Anyway the lady had told us to go to the Marina, which in her opinion, was much nicer than the sea front and following her instructions we ended up in a really lovely part of Portishead that we'd never been to before, where attractive homes overlooked The Marina. There were many small boats moored there and on the other side of the water, there were new houses and flats being built too. It obviously seemed a desirable location to live.

Strolling along the length of the Marina made a lovely walk and we managed to travel the whole distance where the Marina finished and just past the lock gates, our path led to the sea after all and we watched as two tug boats chugged by.
I was surprised that Harry wanted to walk as far as he did as it was a long way to the end and back again. As we walked, we encountered a group of swans and one of them came very close, thinking we had something to offer in the food line but all our sandwiches had been eaten by then.

By the time we got back to the bus stop, we'd walked a fair distance but we both agreed that we'd had a lovely day, which had been quite unplanned.
Who would have thought that we'd experience bright blue skies in November in England? 
Don't you think that unexpected outings are more enjoyable?

Monday, 4 November 2013


Photo Copyright: Maggie May

I had never heard of Byrhtnoth until I went to Maldon in Essex while having a few days break on the east coast and we came across his statue overlooking the Blackwater Estuary. If you want to read how this man in his sixties tried to ward off a Viking invasion on the town of Maldon, then click the link.

After a stormy weekend, the weather decided to behave itself and Harry and I were able to visit several places in Essex while we were staying there for a few days with our daughter and grandsons.
It was a really lovely break for me as it was the first time that I'd had a holiday for three years because somehow or other we'd had illness every time we tried to go away before then and of course the rabbits did complicate things too.

In dry weather, we visited a stately home and did a few walks in the lovely grounds and also the nearby town and visited a market place where we browsed and bought a few items. We also went to see the film Philomena  starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan which was a real tear jerker but I thoroughly recommend going to see it. Based on truth, it was a story that had to be told. Quite shocking that things like that seemed to frequently go on.
Has anyone else been to see the film? If so what did you think of it?
I bet no one had ever heard of Byrhtnoth?