Friday 30 January 2009

The Right Time, The Right Place.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

It is really important to remember to take a camera with you on any walk, even if you are only an amateur photographer, like me.
I realized how important this piece of advice was recently, when I stumbled on this normally public piece of green that had been cordoned off by dozens of police men and women who where milling around.

The first thing that I did was to ask a policeman whether or not I could take a photo. They had no worries about that and told me to go ahead. Incidentally, aren't the policemen getting young these days? They only looked like teenagers. Thought I had better not push my luck and ask them to say "cheese". I knew they wouldn't agree to do that.

I had thought this was some sort of open day displaying the work of a police helicopter and had a feeling that the vehicle was getting ready for take off. I was not going to miss that.

I knew this was going to test my photographic skills. Would it just be a whir of helicopter blades blurring the image? I knew there wouldn't be a second chance, so I'd better get it right first time. I am a bit hit and miss with different ranges and I can't do anything too technical. I find my photos either go well or they don't and I have to learn by experience and try to remember what I did or didn't do.

Wahay! This isn't too bad so far. People will at least be able to see what it is supposed to be. You can see the police lady in the background, guarding the tape that was cordoning the area off.
The noise was really loud and the breeze was strong from the turbulence made by the spinning blades.

Soon the helicopter was up in the sky and disappeared from view. The cordons were removed and the police started to get into their vehicles. However, being a bit curious, I asked one of them what had happened and I was told that there had been a medical emergency and the patient had been transported to hospital. 
A real drama for some one and I hope the outcome was good for him/her.
As I started to put the camera away and carry on with my walk, a couple of tourists asked me if Royalty had been and gone and they seemed disappointed when I told them it was a medical emergency. However, I was fairly pleased that I had witnessed it.
The whole event took only minutes, so I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Ten minutes either way and I would have missed the drama.

Photo Story Friday is hosted by Cicely and Mama Geek

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

Sweet William

Where have you been all day, my Billy boy?

Sunday 25 January 2009

No Matter Which Bible You Might Choose.......

I don't know what you think about Bibles, whether you cherish them or whether you are not interested in them at all. The fact is, whether you believe in them or you don't, you might be interested in the trivia below, that has nothing to do with faith really.
A friend sent me a card containing the following information that I thought was fascinating. I decided that I would pass it on.

What is the shortest chapter in the Bible?

Answer: Psalm 117

What is the longest chapter in the Bible?

Answer: Psalm 119

Which chapter is in the centre of the Bible?

Answer: Psalm 118

Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118

Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalm 118

Add these numbers up and you get 1188

What is the centre verse in the Bible?

Answer: Psalm 118 verse 8 (1188)

Friday 23 January 2009

A Certain Time Of The Year.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

This photo is very poignant for me and as you know, I don't normally put photos of family faces on my blog, even darkened faces. 
It is the time of the year that makes me think of my Mother. She died almost to the day, in the year 2001 and most of us were able to get to the funeral, even though we were all scattered about the country and in my son's case the other side of the world.
However it was several years later when we all got together on one of Sam's visits from Japan that also coincided with Deb's visit from the east coast, following a family event, that we all decided to go to visit my mother and father's grave.
Sam and Kaiko, with Amber and Millie, Deb and Rick and Dean, my brother and wife and their daughter and son, stood by the gravestone for a while. We explained to the grand daughters and grandsons about my mother and father and some of the things they had done in their lives. We explained how we were all related. Amber and Millie had not been born in time for my mother to see them and my father had not seen any of the four grandchildren.

Some of us decided to link arms, and stand in this circle, and Sam crouched in the middle with the camera. Some said a prayer or two and some just needed to do the huddle without.
I am in the bottom right hand corner and going  anti clockwise is my daughter, husband, niece, sister in law, brother and nephew.
It made us all feel we belonged and seemed to bring the family closer together, for that day, at least!

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

Pork Shop!

This little piggy went to market!

Monday 19 January 2009

The Secret

This is the time of month to write a fictional story that Jeff B has set on Word In Edgeways on a given theme. If you would like to read the rules and see what the theme is all about, then please look him up. Maybe you would like to have a go and try your hand at writing a story. It is amazing how the discipline of writing on a given theme, makes it so much easier.

Here is my story:-

Vera looked at the letter that she'd received the day before and quickly shoved it back in her bag. Could the contents be true? She guessed not. It was probably one big con.

Vera had always had a feeling that there was something missing in her life. She'd had this feeling as long as she could remember and now she was fifty-two, so she just accepted it as part of her personality, though why she felt like this, she didn't know except that she had never married or had children.

When her mother had died, several years before, she had continued renting Hydrangea Cottage. She had lived there all her life and her mother had struggled to bring her up  because she had been widowed before Vera had been born.
Hydrangea Cottage was very small and was situated in Church Street near the Post Office. There was no garden at the back, but on opposite sides of the front door, in identical tiny plots of earth, there were two pink hydrangea bushes that flowered all through the summer. Across the road was the Church with the cemetery at the side of it. All Vera's ancestors were buried there and the names on the gravestones went back generations. Vera felt she had roots here in the historical town of Creswick that attracted many visitors during the holiday season. The town had quaint cobbled streets and lovely listed buildings in the town centre and to add to the attractiveness, it was also a seaside town on the south coast of England.
Walking from Church Road eventually led into the High Street with a good variety of shops and further up the hill, in the most prominent place, was the Grand Hotel. Nestling around it were small restaurants and pubs. At night time it was all attractively lit by old fashioned lamps. The most unusual thing to be seen in this area was the horse drawn stage coach and an impressive looking driver perched on top. The visitors were really glad of the lift up from the seafront and just as many paid to go down the hill as well. There were two similar coaches and when one went down the hill, the other started back up and when the two coaches passed each other, they doffed their hats. Living in Creswick was like living in a time warp of a bygone age.

Working in the Grand Hotel had been an enjoyable part of Vera's life. Sometimes she waited on tables and sometimes worked behind the bar. In the summertime she worked very hard and long hours. However during the winter months she had to turn her hand to anything and if it hadn't been for the rich, elderly lady residents, who liked to stay all year round, the hotel would not survive these lean months. Christmas and the New Year were always busy and that did give the hotel a little boost in the way of income.

Always busy, Vera had never met anyone she wanted to settle down with and now she suddenly found herself middle aged ........ too late for children. She did regret this. As she got older, Vera felt her life speeding up and the days seemed to go by much more quickly. She likened it to being on a carousel (and she had loved these as a child) and being unable to get off because it was spinning faster and faster and her life seemed to be following the same patterns day by day. She'd often thought of a carousel and reckoned that it was a good analogy of her present life. She had to admit it ....... she was lonely.

Vera sighed at the sudden change in her mood and then she remembered with a jolt, the letter. It was from a man claiming to be a relative, but incorporated into the letter was a solicitor's address and phone number. She had phoned for a meeting after the solicitor had confirmed that yes, he had news for her.

What the solicitor told her, nearly finished off Vera altogether. Her carousel stopped and time stood still. Gradually the solicitor disclosed there had been a secret in the family and Vera quickly deduced that her life had been based on a lie.
The mother she had known, was not her mother at all, but her aunt. Her real mother had given birth to twins out of wedlock. It was usual in those days to have the babies adopted in such circumstances, but the twins mother could not agree to it. Both she and her sister ran away, their mother taking the boy, Ray and the aunt taking Vera.
They had both come from a completely different part of England. Her aunt had chosen Creswick and had taken a new name from out of the cemetery. None of the relatives there had anything to do with either twin. Vera felt her world was falling apart. Their natural mother had done a similar thing with Ray and chosen a new name and a new place to live. Both of the sisters had made a success of their lives and had somehow managed to survive and prosper against all odds.

Ray was a widower by now and had only recently discovered that he had a twin sister after their mother had died.
Vera had talked to him on the phone for hours and they had immediately gelled together as though they had always known each other. Ray had grown up children and small grandchildren who were all eager to meet up with Vera and he said he wanted her to be part of all their lives.

Immediately that feeling of loss slipped from Vera's shoulders. She had a family. There would be much visiting and lots of catching up to do. Things started to look good.

Friday 16 January 2009

Do You Believe In Miracles?

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

It wasn't long ago that I wrote a post The Empty Box explaining that I had been presented by our city council with a voucher that was worth a good deal of money because of my long service working for them.
I had bought a gold bracelet, worth far more than I would ever be able to afford normally.
I explained my horror of finding it gone from my wrist and not knowing where or when I had lost it. I wrote about the possibilities of who would have found it and what they might be thinking. 
I told about all the hard work I had done in the special school where I had worked for years lifting heavy children and spoiling my back. Of all the s**t I had cleaned up over the years and then all the crates of sandwich boxes that I had lifted, causing further back injury and all the freezing days I have worked in the playground all for nothing! I wrote that I doubted that I would ever get the bracelet back and that I had come to the conclusion that it was only a material thing that was not worth fretting over. I had never had it before and hadn't got it now. I was resigned to that fact. It had been lost for over four months before I felt I could post about it. 

Well. Do you believe in miracles?
Just before Christmas, I searched a small top drawer in a chest in my bedroom. I was actually looking for something else. I saw a small flash of gold. I pulled out my bracelet. I was dumbfounded. The bracelet was fastened, so I must have taken it off. I definitely knew that I wouldn't have put it in that drawer though. I usually either kept the bracelet on or kept it in its box in a locked cabinet. 
After careful reflection, I realized that I had on occasion put it on top of that chest of drawers while I had a shower. The drawer must have been partly open and something must have knocked it into the drawer. The most likely explanation must be that my dressing gown that is kept on a hook on the door very near to the chest, must have been taken down, swooshing against the top of the chest of drawers and knocking the bracelet inside, unknown to me. The drawer must have been shut later and the bracelet forgotten about. Either that or.......... I must be going stark raving mad!

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.

Sunday 11 January 2009

Thinkin' of Ditchin' the Kitchen!

This kitchen looks an ordinary type of kitchen. A bit on the small side but adequate. However it holds a horrible secret.
Those of you who have known me a long time will know that secret. However those of you who have only recently started reading my blog will not.
Funny how I can tell this secret so easily to you all through a blog, but how difficult it is to tell friends in the flesh. I just can't. Only a trusted one or two know..........
If you really want to find out, new readers click here for part one and here for part two.

I watched the recent programme on TV,  Swarm....... Nature's Incredible Invasions. I really wished that I hadn't, as last week, there was a huge swarm of mice of immeasurable proportions. Apparently, just one pair of mice can produce three thousand by the end of the year and that is mice, not their larger cousins. 
When I recently wrote a true account of my childhood The Tale of the Two Bad Girls I received a comment pointing out that my profile stated that I had a pet rat and the writer indicated that I may still have a preference for rodents from a young age. Oh how I wish it was a pet rat!

Well, after the on going problem we have, I have recently made up my mind. I want the kitchen pulled down and rebuilt with new, deep foundations put in. I want a concrete dividing wall put up between my house and my neighbour's and I want it to be totally rodent proof.
Well what I want and what I get are two different things! That would cost an extortionate amount! In fact I have heard that I could buy a house for that amount in the Shetland Isles! Not that I am thinking of moving there!

I have recently had experts look at the kitchen and I am told that I need to put in deeper foundations (underpinning). Well my husband used to do that sort of work for a building company until he got to retiring age. He has the expertise but has not the strength to do all that digging.
The quote the firm gave me for underpinning was still very expensive, especially as the roof might also need altering later on.

My son, Sam, thinks he is strong enough to dig the holes out and fill with concrete and now the two of them are thinking of working together on the project. It will be a darned sight cheaper cutting out the middle men and paying Sam for the work. I am wondering whether to let them go ahead with this idea or whether they would kill each other after a day or two of working together! They are both quite opinionated and have been known to have disagreements! 
Mmhhh! requires some thought, but I am tempted. What do you think?

Footnote:- In case any of you are thinking that you will not drop round for tea ever again..... there have never been any rodents in the kitchen..... just the roof space and the cavities, which is more than enough!

Friday 9 January 2009

The Balloon Ride

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I was travelling on the bus in Bath, when I saw this hot air ballon. Fortunately, I had my camera on me and after a few attempts I managed to get a reasonable picture of it. Of course it was taken through the glass window but I didn't think it was too bad a shot.

Anyway, seeing this hot air balloon reminded me of the time when my husband, Harry and his twin brother, Larry, were about to be 65. My sister in law, Rhoda had decided it would be a good idea to treat Larry to a hot air balloon ride and my son Sam and daughter Deb decided to treat their father too, so that the twins could go together.
We had thought that it would be a fairly simple operation and that they would be able to just take off after the tickets had been paid for.
How wrong we were. We were told that the weather had to be just right and that the twins had to be prepared to come when summoned at short notice.
Unfortunately, they could only do that on a Saturday or Sunday evening, as Harry was still working, and they were put in a long queue and their Birthdays came and went!
The summer of that year was not really good and weather conditions were either too windy or too rainy. The company didn't want to run the risk of them crashing into the sea or being knocked into a power line. There is not much margin for error if the weather is wrong or suddenly turns bad.

Anyway, after waiting weeks and weeks for the flight, we had the phone call saying that the flight was imminent and the four of us quickly managed to get to the given site in time for a Sunday evening flight.
We all watched while the hot air was pumped into the balloon shell and the pilot told the twins to get in. Not an easy task to climb into the wicker basket, as they are not particularly tall. There were two other people going with them. No, Rhoda and I preferred to stay on terra firma. 
The balloon shot up fairly quickly and after lots of waving they took off towards some trees. It looked like they were going to go directly into them, but they managed to skim over the treetops. The weather was almost windless and the balloon hovered over the city and did not seem to go very far at all.
After what seemed like only a few minutes, the balloon started descending slowly and we wondered where it would come down. We had been told that they would be brought back to the starting place, so Rhoda and I just waited.

Apparently they had hovered over the city and seen some amazing sights and for some reason had landed in a park in a rather rough area. The balloon was mobbed by teenagers and the twins were a bit worried they would be mugged or something. However the balloon and the twins were packed safely into the land rover and brought back. They had a fantastic time but were a bit disappointed that they didn't get a longer journey. No two trips are ever the same apparently.

This photo and this story have been produced for Photostory Friday, hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Friday 2 January 2009

The Tale Of The Two Bad Girls!

Memory Lane

There were once two rather naughty girls. 
When my friend Bella and I were around eleven years old, we were into secrets in a big way. We both decided that we wanted a secret pet even though we both already had a cat each and my family already had a spaniel dog. However, we wanted to keep a pet that no one else knew about. We decided on a couple of mice!

We planned our venture down to the last detail. I had a cardboard box and I made some air holes in it. I smuggled a piece of my brother's railway line out of his room and tied it into the box to make a little staircase for the mice to exercise on. We then put in a small dish of water and some seed for them to eat.

We collected our pocket money and went quite a long way to a pet shop taking a jam jar with us. It must have been a Saturday.
The man in the pet shop told us that there were two mice left. There was a white one, which I really wanted, and a brown one. Bella bagged the white one and I disappointedly accepted the brown one.
The pet shop man told us they were a shilling each! (five pence in todays money). He didn't ask us if we knew anything about keeping mice or if our parents had agreed. Nor did he say what sex the mice were.
He put the mice in the jam jar and off we set to Bella's home where the box was already in place in the spare bedroom.
We popped the new pets into their cardboard box and I left for home as Bella had to go down for tea.

The following Monday, my friend informed me that her mother was furious with me and was going to ring my mother that morning. Her cat had suddenly decided to frantically want to go into the spare bedroom and Bella's mother couldn't understand why and went to investigate.
The cat unfortunately killed my brown mouse and the white one had got into a chest of drawers and had peed on the clean bed linen and had started to chew things up. My friend's mother was really annoyed because they were expecting guests from America and they had got the room clean and now everything had to be washed from out of the chest of drawers.
I knew my mother would go over the top with punishing me. She always did, so I went home in great fear. I had thought of running away.
When I got home I was pounced on and my mother didn't let up from ranting and raving for hours.
All Bella got was a short lecture and she had to pay for a wooden mouse house with a glass front, from pocket money for the white mouse, which cost 12/6d. (About 61p) which was a lot of money to find in those days, for a child.

I felt sorry for myself for days afterwards because I hadn't wanted the brown mouse in the first place and now the cat had eaten it and it had cost me a shilling.  On top of this, Bella's mother told my Mum that I was a bad influence and I got into far more trouble than she did.

Bella eventually married an American man and has been living in USA for years. We still keep in touch though and occasionally laugh about the antics that we got up to as children.