Sunday, 18 December 2016

A Peaceful, Happy Christmas

Well, we're nearly there now. Christmas cards sent, presents bought and wrapped. Most of the Christmas carol services and concerts are over and only a couple of activities left before Christmas Day.
I've had a lovely time so far but will appreciate some time to myself before the Christmas visitors. arrive.
 The weather seems very unseasonal and warmish but it hardly gets fully light and is inclined to be rainy. It could be a lot worse. though, remembering other Christmas times from my past.

I'd just like to wish all my readers a very peaceful Happy Christmas.

Monday, 28 November 2016

In The Space of a Few Days.....

In the space of a few days, I have started to enjoy Advent and am well on the way with plans for Christmas.
Since my last post, I have quite got into the the spirit of it all and was asked last Sunday, to light the first Advent candle in Church. I'm also going to sing at a few different venues with one very large choir that I belong to and a smaller group in our church.
This week I'm going to meet a friend who has come over for a short while from USA, as she and her husband are staying in a Bristol Hotel and we'll have a pub lunch along with other friends (we've done this for a few years now). I've known her since we were 10 years old at school together. She travels all over the place to catch up with her many friends in England. She's been married to an American and has lived in USA for years.

These two adorable kittens belong to my granddaughters. They are 4 months old. The grey one is a tom and the black one is his sister.
They've just been neutered and spayed but seem to be racing around as usual so can't be in any discomfort.
It's good that I can go and play with them when ever I like but don't have the responsibility of looking after them with my unpredictable health problems and circumstances.
Although they have quite a few toys, the one thing that gets them really excited is a rolled up piece of paper that they toss about and chase at full speed round the house, causing mayhem all around them.
Now they've learnt how to jump on the table, it will be interesting to see how my son gets on with the Christmas catering. I've been invited along with my daughter and grandsons.
We are fully prepared to *muck in* as son put it but hope that doesn't mean cooking the whole thing!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Mixed Feelings About Christmas.

It's that time of the year again when I suddenly realise that Christmas is just round the corner and the panic starts to seep through.
Today is Black Friday. Well we didn't have that until recently when it started to spread here from America and I, for one won't be part of it. 
I'm pleased to hear that so far, the big stores are not packed with people all fighting with each other as though their lives depended on getting a so called bargain that probably isn't genuinely a bargain at all. Some of the stores are empty of shoppers, put off by some of the scrabbles that amounted to violence during previous years.

I got out the Christmas cards this morning and looked at my list from last year. As usual I had to strike off several names of people who have died since last year. It's one of the depressing sides of ageing....people starting to pop off all around you.

On the positive side, there are all the activities and concerts that schools put on for our grandchildren. There are the choir practices for the carols at concerts and church that will be looming up. Christmas arrangements to be made with our families about who is going where and how we'll cope with the catering.
Surprises to think of.
How to go about decorating the house for Christmas this year...... if I decide to bother, though I probably will.
I like to think of the true meaning of Christmas but we've all got sidetracked with commercialism.

Of course for me, there's one very important person missing, but life has to go on. I always buy myself a present from him and can almost hear him saying, "Go on, treat yourself". He was a generous man. This will be my second Christmas.......

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Eleventh Hour of The Eleventh Day of The Eleventh Month.

This spectacular display of model soldiers in shrouds was lined up outside College Green, near Bristol Cathedral today and will be there for several days.
A Somerset artist, Rob Heard, modelled these soldiers individually meaning that each one is unique and then he hand wrapped them in silk shrouds. This took him two years to complete.
Just under 20,000 men were ticked from a list of soldier conscripts and volunteers who fell on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, World War 1.

It is mind blowing to think this number of men were slaughtered on the first day of the Somme. Many more would follow.

We must never forget the great sacrifice that was made then and in all the wars since, so that you and I could have our freedom.

A very humbling thought.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Scary Changes

First it was Brexit and now Trump!
Over here, it has been likened to *Brexit on Steroids!*
People on this side of the Ocean are really shocked and dismayed. Some American Nationals on local Radio were crying while some were overjoyed.
While I completely agree with democracy, and we must have that at all costs, I really hope that our fears are unfounded and that it will all work out well.
In the meantime, I will miss the Obama family and the way they conducted themselves in an upright way with grace and dignity.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

A Pink-fleshed Apple and Bloggers Who Are Not Blogging!

I've just been to visit my son who shared an apple with me and the flesh was pinky red. It tasted halfway between being sweet and also being sour. At times it tasted either way, but was very good. He was pleased that he got two apples from a small tree that I bought him for his Birthday last June.

I was inspired to write about the lack of Blogging going on right now by Addy, one of my Blogging friends, (and I can't for the life of me get the link in my post as the way to do it has all changed since I last did one.) She may be found in my side bar under the name of Alcoholic Daze! Maybe this is why people are not Blogging so much these days.... everything is getting too difficult.
I know Google + has prevented me from commenting on some people's blogs as I really don't want to change over and some have even got different systems that also prevent me from commenting. It used to be so easy!

I started to write a blog in 2008 when my granddaughters lived with me. There was plenty of material to write about in those days because the children kept me busy with lots of amusing little episodes to share.
However, as children grow older, privacy must be respected and they really don't like being written about now, even when disguised heavily.
I suppose in those early days, I put in three posts a week and made some good blogging friends.
They were virtual of course, because we never really get to know a person this way, but never the less, when people I felt close to stopped writing over the years, I really missed them. Some of them have died, which is even worse.
There were others that came and went but generally people are not writing very much these days.

So what has happened to everyone?
is Blogging going out of fashion?

Monday, 26 September 2016

Good Things Happen

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

We're now definitely experiencing the beginning of the Autumn/Fall. 
There is that cold nip in the air early morning and early evening and the nights drawing in. The sky looks very grey. I'm staving off putting the heating on, though, as it isn't October yet. It seems more acceptable to turn it on in October unless there's a late heatwave.

I'm quite pleased that I've got through my first year of bereavement unscathed. I've done quite a few things that I set out to do in the house..... had the outside painted, the kitchen damp problem hopefully righted, faulty window hinges replaced, changed phones..... all things that people do everyday without thinking, but a bit daunting when having to arrange it all by myself when not used to it. I've kept the garden up together put different curtains and fittings up that didn't require me to drill in to anything. I'm really pleased about that.
It's good to know I can manage.
I've also rejoined the community choir I used to belong to before having to resign so that I could look after Harry. Rejoining involves giving up a bit of time for practice and performances that they do. However it's all optional and I can do as much or as little as I need to do.
I've been on several holidays and made a couple of new friends here at home.
My youngest grandson has just gone off to university which has made the family very proud of him. My daughter, older grandson and I went with him this last weekend to settle him into his new lodgings which seem very suitable and the other students and their parents were very nice people.
So things seem to be working out, thankfully.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Busy, Busy!


I've been keeping very busy with knitting.  It has helped me to keep my mind off thinking about the anniversary of Harry's death which has just gone.
Now I've come round full circle..... a whole year of Birthdays, Anniversary's etc without him.

I seem to have knitted a few baby things for various people over the last few weeks.

This one was for my great niece who has just celebrated her 1st Birthday and the turquoise one is for a neighbour's new born son but I have two more to do in that style and maybe the same colour for other baby boys.

I'm also knitting twiddle muffs for patients with dementia at our local hospital. Apparently, they love to fiddle with things and inside the muff there are various things incorporated in the knitting to twiddle with.
So all in all, I seem to be quite busy.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

My Visit to Northern Ireland

I've just come back from a lovely holiday in Northern Ireland.
It's the first holiday that I've had off the mainland for years and it's thanks to my daughter that we flew out there and hired a car and travelled a bit.

These pictures were taken from The Giant's Causeway ..... an amazing place to go. It has a unique rock formation not found anywhere else. It was caused by lava flow and the ice age apparently.
Anyway, it was my favourite place during that visit and I was pleased that I was able to walk around a bit, even though it isn't easy terrain.
I would recommend a visit there.

Monday, 18 July 2016

The End Of An Era

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

I really don't know what to write about but I know that I need to update my blog.
With all the news and the state of the world today, I feel a bit like a dried out cactus or succulent! Finding something positive to say.......

We're now having a mini heat wave in my area which makes a really lovely change. Not sure how long it will last but enjoying it today.
This week the schools will be breaking up for the summer and my role as a breakfast provider for my granddaughter will come to an end after doing it for years. I can't believe that seven years has gone by from the time that the youngest started in Reception class but I was doing my grannie bit long before then. Now I must fill the gap with something else!
What do other grannies do with their time, when their grandchildren flee the nest?

One other thing..... I'm now dropping using the Maggie signature that I've used for years (that I quite liked) because apparently it compromises my security. (It obviously wasn't even my real signature). Oh well the end of another era!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Living In A Topsy Turvy World

Our country seems to be in complete turmoil lately, not only because of the awful political situation, which has left us reeling, but because the weather is also letting us down. June turned out to be one of the wettest on record and its gone very cold.

I guess I'm learning to take a day at a time and accept the pleasures that today brings rather than worrying about the future..... after all, there's nothing that I can do about it anyway.
Seems that we're now living in a very topsy turvy world and if I was reading about all the recent happenings that have gone on in Westminster in a book, I'd have thought that it was a very far fetched story.

Meanwhile, we must press on and hope it all works for good. Takes a bit of imagination though.......

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Empty Chair

This will be a sad week as Harry would have been 77years old.  It is a strange feeling that a bit of him lives on in his identical twin who will now be a year older than Harry. His twin was half an hour younger than him, when he was alive.

I had my daughter and one of my grandsons round to stay for a few days last week and was taken to the crematorium where Harry's plaque is on a little wall in front of a lawn where his ashes were put. We stayed for a while in the tranquil place and put flowers in a glass vase.

My daughter took me to a garden centre where I bought a small insect house (that is supposed to encourage lone bees to lay their larva for the next year.) I treated myself to it and thought that it would make a kind of memorial to Harry and I hung it on the garden wall where I can see it from the kitchen window. 
Not sure if he was even remotely interested in insects but I could almost hear him saying, "Go on, treat yourself."
One thing I do know, though was that he really did love that Ceanothus shrub at the bottom of the garden. The sweet, heady smell of it permeates the garden and even reaches the kitchen. The bees are heavily attracted to it.

Both my children have been very kind and attentive lately and have taken me out and shared meals with me and I've seen the granddaughters a lot recently, too. So I have much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

What Kind Of City Is This?

Today I went to Bristol's M Shed, one of our smaller museums, where a large model city was on display. It was too large to get a full picture of it so I've had to zoom into different things.

You might ask what is so special about this model?
It is all knitted and crocheted by dozens of different people and the lady who displayed it was standing by the side of the display, busy knitting. It is a work in progress apparently. 
The whole city is called BRISWOOL.
I do lots of knitting but this would have taken me years to make.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Living The Impossible Dream?

I've just been to see a collection of pictures drawn and coloured by Syrian refugee children who're still in camps, many after being there for several years.
The collection is at present being held in John Wesley's Chapel in the heart of Bristol.
There are photos of each child standing in front of their tent with their age and how long they've been there and their dreams printed below.

Some of the children just want an education and are hoping to be lawyers, teachers, artists and other things that are really possible for children who are in countries that are at peace, but will be difficult for them in their present situation.
Some just want a bike like any other child of their age.
Quite a few just wanted to be able to go home and get on with their lives. 
The picture I've chosen was drawn by a child who had dreams and hopes of peace.

I was moved by this visit and was very close to tears by the time I left.
They're just young children who want to live in a fair world and get on with things. It's so easy when most of our children have so much, not to take things for granted.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Spring Has Sprung

I'm so glad that I planted tulips out on the patio as it brightens my mood when I look out of the window.
We're experiencing much better weather now and I think I can safely say that Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods.
I've had a whole mixture of things happen since the last time that I wrote on my blog.

I've been to visit my daughter who lives nearer to London, thanks to a friend who took me by car. and collected me again a few days later. That was very enjoyable.

Today, I'm going to a Memorial Service of a friend from church who died rather suddenly. Another friend has had a severe stroke and yet another is just about to experience a 6hr operation on her face. All these things happening to people I know and like, makes me feel vulnerable. (Who will it be!) I guess I'm in the kind of age group when these things happen.

In the meantime, I keep active to the best of my ability and try to be sensible as to what I eat and what I try to do. I seem to enjoy life on the whole. See friends, enjoy our knitting group, where we often knit for various charities. I read and potter in the garden, not at the same time! 
Church plays an important part of my life and I'm also thinking of rejoining the community choir that I had to leave when Harry got so ill.

What steps do you take to make sure you stay fit and well?

Friday, 1 April 2016

Once Upon A Time.............

There was a little yellow door in this tree, suddenly appearing around Christmas time...... a little fairy door. The local children brought gifts of tinsel and tiny Christmas decorations and took obvious delight in opening and shutting the little yellow door. Then in the New Year, disaster struck and the children were really disappointed to see that the door had been removed along with all the decorations.
What wicked person would destroy a fairy dwelling like that?

However, within a couple of weeks the fairies had moved back in the tree, only this time, there were three little doors and a window. Three little patches of lawn with rabbits grazing on them also appeared.
The little doors not only appeal to children as I have seen little old ladies opening these doors and taking delight in going back to their childhood fascination with fairy things.
I really hope that the fairies can be left in peace this time and not be evicted like before. 
Who knows, they might go on building up and up into a huge multi-storey dwelling place.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Easter Week Already

Copyright: Maggie May

I have this Celtic cross on a dividing wall of my garden and I can see it from the window while I wash up. This Easter, the Campanula isn't out yet but I thought the photo I had taken previously would be a fitting one to put on my blog over the Easter period.

The weather has been very up and down..... going from cold, wet and miserable to sunny and mild and then back again.
I do like this time of the year, with the nights and days exactly 12hours apart. The promise of warmer weather and better things.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

A Different Sort of Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day in England and I spent it in a rather unusual way.
Not so much in the morning because I went to church as usual and all the females received a chocolate in the shape of a heart. In fact all the males received one too, which was unusual.

After I made some lunch, I decided to sew badges onto bags for the Brownies in the local pack where I help out once a week. Why choose Mother's Day to do it, as it would take several hours? The day outside seemed a bit dreary and rather cold.
 I really celebrated Mother's Day on Saturday because I'd gone out with a friend by bus to the nearby town of Portishead, where they have a pretty Marina with little boats lined along the canal and it all looks a bit continental and has some lovely walks around it. There is a lock at the far end and boats can head out to the sea when the tide is right. There seems to be a 40ft tide so that makes it inaccessible most of the time.
We'd wrapped up very warm as it was sunny but extremely cold. I really enjoyed the day and came home healthily tired. I noticed the post had been when I entered the house and my daughter had sent a lovely card. She'd already given me a present when I last saw her that was too big and heavy to send by post and I'd been very pleased with it.
My son rang up and asked me to meet him for a pub meal further up our High Street, so I perked myself up and off I set to meet him and the three girls for a Mother's Day treat. They gave me a card that everyone had signed and we had a very enjoyable meal together. 
I'd thoroughly enjoyed my day.
So that is why on Sunday, I decided to have a quiet day sewing for the Brownies. I found it relaxing while I listened to the radio.
Sometimes the best things don't cost a lot.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

The storms go on. We've been hit by yet another one (unnamed this time) with sudden gusts blowing things over and making a mess. I don't think I've ever known a February like it.
I was wakened frequently last night by the windows being buffeted and we're double glazed.
When the children were really small and we first moved into this house, the single glazed windows really rattled in windy weather like this and I can remember having to stuff rolled up newspaper between the gaps in the ancient sash windows. Not that it made much difference.

It's a pity that the weather is letting us down, as Bristol has been having lighted window trails round the city, where people have decorated a lit window or two with all sorts of things from beautiful summer scenes to gruesome things and a whole range of things in between. The windows are beautifully lit up at night and its been lovely to walk round and see them...... except for the weather, that is.
It really isn't very inviting outside right now and it's a challenge to go far.
Spring must surely be on it's way. The nights are lighter though..... there's usually a silver lining in the cloud and the lighter nights are certainly that.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Where's My Recycling Gone?

We've had to endure Storm Gertrude, Storm Henry and worst of all, Storm Imogen. This last one hit the South West hard and blew my bins over, completely sucking away all my carefully separated waste from the collection box. So I apologise if any of you have my waste on your property. It's no where to be seen in my location and as far as I know, flew out to sea. 
Who names these storms, I wonder?
There were several discarded umbrellas on the High Street that had blown inside out and it was difficult to stand against the wind at times and the rain came down like stair rods (as we say in England).
I braved the storm to go and meet a friend in town. I think we both needed a medal as we could hardly stand up against it, but we both decided that we could be waiting for ever if we waited for the weather to turn.

Anyway, the spring flowers continue to peep out of the snow. These aren't mine, by the way but are just typical of what is to come in a couple of weeks time.
All is peaceful today and we've had sunshine that forced me to put on my new varifocal sunglasses when I went out walking. What a wonderful invention these are.

Today is the first day of Lent. I'm not giving up anything this year but intend to give an extra 15 minutes reflection/prayer time instead and see if that is any better than breaking *no chocolate* intentions.
Does any one give up anything for Lent or maybe try to put something back?

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Brewing Storms and Technology

I've just been out to look at my garden and there are definitely spring bulbs peeking through, which is heartening to see. 
According to the weather forecast, tonight we're due for a storm but it will be at it's worst in Northern England, Wales and Scotland so we might escape it here in the West. Today was sunny and dry. Everything has gone crazy weatherise. 
My American friend in Washington DC, rang me a few days ago and told me how they were under 2 feet of snow and that everything had come to a complete standstill.
Nothing surprises us anymore and yet we still talk about the weather, don't we? Britain is renowned for it.

This week I had an eye test and a new pair of varifocal glasses which have made a good difference to my far sight and I also visited my Oncologist who told me that my recent CT scan showed improvement in my hip fracture and no other worrying problems were noted.
My son had an amazing dental filling that was made to measure by computer. 
We're certainly gaining by all this technology. None of it would have been possible when my parents were alive.
I don't think I'd go back to the *old days*, would you?

Friday, 15 January 2016


After weeks and weeks of rain, it's now turning very cold even though the sun shines quite often. 
Although I'm hoping it won't snow and get icy, purely because of the practical problems of getting around without falling, I always think that once we get towards the end of January, it's not going to be long till the Spring, my favourite season. Already we have bulbs peeping through the soil..... tulips and daffodils.... months early. I think Nature is quite confused.
I try to keep the bird feeders topped up as occasionally I get flocks of sparrows visiting and then nothing happens for some time and I wonder where they've gone.
It's good that the days are slowly getting longer and the evenings are noticeably lighter.

I've soon got back into my routine of being back on my own after all the company I had over Christmas. It's surprising how soon that happens even though I felt quite weepy when I first arrived home after my holiday with my daughter and then she went home.

Winter seems to be a time of waiting. Waiting for warmer weather and I'm waiting for the results of a CT scan, waiting for the chance to visit the sea again, waiting for ideas about which way my life should go now. It's a time of expectancy with hints of hope and promise.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

New Years Resolutions?

I've had two weeks of none stop company. It's been lovely.
My daughter spent a week with me over Christmas and then on the 29th, we went back to her house on the east coast. It's more or less across England in a straight line. I live on the West side and she lives on the East. It's about 178 miles. 
I was brought back home yesterday and after an over night stay, daughter's left for home again. I'm sure by tomorrow I will have adjusted to my own company but now it seems very quiet.

I have survived our Wedding Anniversary, Christmas and now the New Year without Harry, so I only have the Birthdays to face this year. However, it's all much more complicated than that. Grief can hit you in the most unexpected places and times ....... but I've had a good time over the holidays and we went visiting different towns around her home area and the weather was kind to us, unlike it was  here. I've been told it has rained constantly over the holidays here in the West of England.

My New Years Resolution? To just get on with life and try to live it to the full. I have to cut down on food as well, as we've done nothing but eat over the holidays.
What about you, have you made any new Years Resolutions?