Friday 27 February 2009

Poet's Walk

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Let me take you to a favourite place, where Harry and I have walked many times, in many different kinds of weather. It is one of our favourite walks.

Clevedon in Somerset where the sea is a brownish colour, not because it is dirty but because of the mud in the Bristol Channel. At high tide the water reaches 8.9 metres or more and the tides are treacherous. There is no sand on the accessible beaches but lots of pebbles, stones and rocks.
There is a lovely coastal walk known as Poet's Walk, so called because of the links with various poets of the past. 
On occasions while walking in this place, we have seen sparrow hawks hovering motionless stalking their prey.

This is the path that leads to the scene in the first picture.
There is a little church on the left hand side that cannot be seen from this photo and in the cemetery are some very old gravestones.

Several poets came to Clevedon in the past. Coleridge stayed here in 1795 and Arthur Hallam was buried here in 1834. Hallam was Lord Tennyson's dearest friend and he wrote a poem for him, that I have written out below. Although Tennyson could not bear to visit his friend's grave for a long time, he did call while on his honeymoon in the year 1850, for a fleeting visit.

You can see the coast line of Wales on the horizon.

Break, break, break 
On thy cold grey stones O sea!
And I would thy my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O well for the fisherman's boy,
That he sings to his sister in play!
O well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay.

And the stately ships go on 
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of the vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break 
At the foot of thy crags, O sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek. Do pay them a visit.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

What! Knot fishing?

Netting ventured.... Knotting gained!

Sunday 22 February 2009

The Empty Silence.

I am almost afraid to say this, but my kitchen roof seems empty and strangely silent.
None of this makes any sense at all because Harry and Sam didn't find any rat runs when they were underpinning the end of the kitchen. The concrete they put in was well over a metre deep and shortly after they did that repair, the problem got really bad. The rats sounded like they were having a party. Thumping and running around and desperately scratching the ceiling and sounding as though they were coming through at any time.
I was furious with the men.
"It's worse than it ever was before," I shouted, "You have opened up a highway!"
I was so upset I threatened to leave and stay in a hotel or something. I had an offer to stay with a friend fairly locally and an offer to go to Canada! I tell you I was sorely tempted.

However, seeing that the menfolk were almost as upset as I was, I took pity on them and stuck things out.
As the time went by the noises got less and the smells started in earnest. Incense sticks were burnt one after another during day time. However, even the bad smell seems to be fading now, though I have got bundles of incense sticks to still use up. The woman in the shop where I bought them, must have been puzzled by the quantity I bought. Well I wasn't going to tell her about my problem, was I? You don't actually tell people things like that, do you?
Could it really be that the rats were trapped up in the ceiling, right from the start and had to die off?

It was some days later when we suddenly heard the silence. Does that make sense to you, hearing the silence? Well that's the way it seemed. We noticed the absence of scurrying and jumping about.
I am wary of saying this, as I know that rats are intelligent creatures. They might at this very moment be plotting a new way in! Maybe they are getting new recruits lined up ready for attack! I don't suppose they want to give in gracefully after having 6 years of free lodgings.

I am really scared that I might hear another noise up there in the ceiling. I would be so disappointed if that happened. The work is not even finished yet but is it really possible that the first lot of concrete did the trick? Or are they just waiting........ waiting to strike again when I least expect it?
I am just beginning to hope now, that they have really gone.... but only time will tell........
Keep hoping for me too.

Footnote:-  I wrote this post a few days ago and can you guess what happened a night ago while I was preparing the evening meal? Something scampered across the ceiling! My spirits plummeted. 
I decided to post this anyway because it gave me so much pleasure writing it and I'd like you to know just how much control these rats have on my moods.
Oh well..... back to the drawing board. Roof next!

Thursday 19 February 2009

Construction On The Beach

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Weston Super Mare, such a grand name isn't it? However, if you went there right now you might be disappointed. Not only has the pier been burnt down, but the sea defenses are under new construction. Much of the town is low lying and during high tides, shops and homes are in danger of flooding.

For most of the summer there were cranes on the sea front and I took some great pictures of them. It was very interesting to watch these giants picking up large, heavy equipment.

There was a kind of beauty in all this heavy machinery and I was snapping away quite happily, much to the amusement of my long suffering husband. He ought not to be surprised by now that I always take my camera and a notebook and pen with me when ever I have a day out. There is usually some very good blog material on such a trip.

Don't you just love this crane and the rust tinged chain?

This photo reminds me of Little and Large! Remember the comedians?
When these alterations are completed by the end of the year, Weston will be a great place to visit. The pier will take a little while longer to rebuild but there are plans for a really good building to replace the old one.
It is amazing when we go back after a long time and see the way that the work is coming on and what seems like pointless digging and heaving about, suddenly becomes part of a new structure that looks really good. While visiting we have stood for ages just watching all the men at work. This seemed more interesting than anything else, at the time.
Can't wait for it all to be finished. I dare say I will be posting photos...........

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

Watch The Birdy!

Bird's eye view!

Monday 16 February 2009

The Return To Whispering Wood

Once again Jeff B has set a challenge to write a story about a given theme. I personally do not use the photos that have been provided but if you'd like to see them them, please go to to his new blog at Portrait Of Words and check out the rules. You might like to have a go. It is good fun!

Kirsty and Donna ordered a lager and a packet of peanuts each and settled into a quiet corner of the pub.
Several years had gone by since they last met up, though they exchanged email occasionally, but now they had decided to see each other, it was as though they'd never been apart.

As children, they had been inseparable and had remained best friends in the same class for years until eventually further education split them up and they found themselves in different parts of the country. New interests and friends, pressures from their studies, as well as boyfriends, helped them to drift apart.

After filling in each other's account of the years apart and they'd caught up with all the news, the question then cropped up, "What had been happening in the woods all those years ago?"
Both Donna and Kirsty confessed that they had often thought about the occurrence and it turned out that both of them felt guilty about leaving the child.
"We were only children ourselves," Donna remarked. "Twelve wasn't it?"
"Yes, we were twelve," Kirsty confirmed. "It was a family holiday and we used to play in those woods all day long. Remember that derelict cottage? We spent ages playing in the ruins. It was probably quite dangerous."

After ordering more lager, the friends exchanged more memories and concerns about that holiday twelve years before.
The girls had named that place The Whispering Wood on account of the leaves rustling in a whispering kind of manner.
One day, while they were playing near the ruined cottage, Kirsty had been aware of a child watching them. At first she thought she had imagined it and tossed her red curls out of her eyes and squinted into the shaft of light that shone strongly through the trees. Both girls saw the boy, who was younger than they were, with the tangled mop of black hair and the raggedy clothes.
He looked as though he was crying and he beckoned to them to follow. Donna and Kirsty quickly ran towards him but no matter how fast they went, the boy always seemed to be ahead of them. He had kept beckoning for them to follow. There were now no paths in this part of the woods and the tree trunks were becoming thicker and everything was darker. Both girls realized that they were lost and were suddenly very scared.

"I don't know why," Donna remembered, "But everything was really eerie in that part of the wood and it felt positively evil there."
"Do you remember how we looked for the boy?" Kirsty reflected."He just seemed to disappear into thin air."
"It was the crying that got to me," Donna remembered, "And I wish we hadn't run off like that. What do you think happened to him?"

When the boy had vanished from sight and the wailing had started, both girls had panicked and fled, not knowing which direction to take. In their haste to get away, they almost crashed into an old, rusted vehicle that was practically covered in shrubs and undergrowth. The girls both scratched their arms pulling away some of the branches to see what it was. Their efforts had revealed a rusty wrecked camper van and all the seats inside were charred and burnt. It was a complete burnt out wreck that had obviously been someone's home or maybe had been used for travelling. By the look of it, it had been hidden in this state for years.

As there had been no further sight or sound of the boy, the girls left the vehicle and ran on, still feeling unsettled and uneasy. They had eventually seen a path that led back to the cottage but they had not stopped there, but had run straight back to the house were they were staying.
Neither girl had mentioned anything about this incident to anyone, not even to their parents. They both felt they had done wrong by leaving the crying child and knew they shouldn't have gone so far into the thicker wooded area. They hadn't ever gone back to the cottage and soon the holiday had ended and they had returned home.
Donna came up with an idea. "Let's go back to Whispering Wood. We could go up next weekend. I'll drive you if you like."
Kirsty thought about it for a while and agreed, "Yeah........ why not?"

True to her word, Donna picked up Kirsty and travelled the thirty or so miles to Whispering Wood that had provided them with such pleasure and then such fear during their childhood holiday.
Things looked slightly different, but they recognized the clearing where the derelict cottage had been. They were surprised that it had been replaced by a large modern bungalow. It was very grand, so they walked over to take a look. No one was around, so they peeped through windows and found the whole place to be empty.
"How amazing that such a grand building has no one living in it." Both women agreed. 
They decided to go into the deeper part of the wood to look for the burnt out caravanette, but they had no idea how to get there.

While they were walking they noticed an old man leaning on a stick, watching them with interest. He nodded when they got closer and although she thought he looked a bit eccentric, Donna decided that he looked approachable, so she asked him if he knew anything about the new building where the derelict cottage used to be.
"A lot of money was wasted building that," He retorted, "No one ever wants to stay long and its empty more often than its not. You see, these woods are haunted by a child, who screams and wails and keeps appearing and disappearing. Its unnerving, you see and people can't stand it for long."
The man went on to explain that there had been a murder in the woods, years ago. A couple of travellers had been trapped in a camper van and there was a child in there with his grandfather. They were burnt to death. The child had been heard screaming on a number of occasions and he had also been seen by several people, a scruffy boy with black tangled hair.

Kirsty and Donna were horrified by what they'd learned and they spent a while talking to the man. Eventually, the two women thanked him for the information and turned to go.
Donna immediately turned back to wave goodbye, only to find there was nobody there. It was as though the old man had vanished into thin air, just as the boy had done, twelve years before.
It was only then that they realized that the man who had talked to them, must have been the ghost of the murdered grandfather, just as the boy had been a ghost.
They felt history was repeating its self as they turned and ran away from the woods.

Friday 13 February 2009

Brave Snowdrops

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Just when everything looks bleak and dark, I notice the little snowdrops pushing up their delicate but obviously strong shoots with buds opening, in the most hostile of places. It never ceases to amaze me the way they keep appearing year after year.
This winter we have had more severe weather than normal, with lots of frost and some snow.

I have been feeling pretty fed up with the kitchen excavations and the way things have been going wrong.
At first, I was filled with hope that we would get to the bottom of my rodent problem. I kept thinking that the men would find a rat run and be able to put it right. Son hurt his arm and we had to spend a good deal of money on a CCTV technician who searched a strange pipe under the kitchen. We were excited that maybe there was a crack in it that could be repaired and that would be the end of the problem. What did we find? Nothing. The pipe was disused and blocked off and no cracks or sign of any thing unusual at all.
We are back to square one. The underpinning has to be finished and now it looks as though we will have to dig up the floor and take off the roof to find where the pests are coming in. Only we will have to wait for Spring. In the meantime the rats ( who are probably laughing their heads off) are partying like mad in the roof space and the poisoning continues and the incense sticks are burning almost continually.

I am aware that there are so many terrible things going on in the World. The fires in Australia, the crisis in the Middle East and the fact that two of my blogging friends have died and left people who will miss them, not least their relatives.
I realize I am letting rats make me depressed.
I am annoyed when my husband and son tell me how lucky I am. Is it lucky to have rats? 
I do know what they mean though, but it doesn't help one bit to be told this everyday. I think of all the people I know who don't have this problem. They are the lucky ones.

So I go back to the snowdrops that have pushed their delicate heads through that hostile earth. I look at them and realize that I must face my challenge too, but it is getting harder as the time goes on.

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Oodles Of Noodles.

'In out in out shake it all about.'

Sunday 8 February 2009

The Things Children Say........

Working with children and having access to grandchildren sometimes causes me to smile. Its the things they say.

Millie, my youngest Grandchild, suddenly asked me, "Granny, what is your bottom like?"
Somewhat taken aback, I quickly composed myself by saying, "Much the same as yours, only bigger."
A sudden look of mischief spread across her face and she lunged towards me in glee.
I can almost read her mind at times and as I ran away from her, I screamed, "But you're not looking!"


I was wondering what to get for the evening meal not long ago and I just happened to say in front of Millie, "I wonder what to get for granddad's dinner?"

"Fruit," she suggested.

"I think he needs something more than that to get his teeth stuck into," I replied.

"What teeth," she said. 

Now as far as I remember he has never taken out his teeth in front of either of the girls. Is it feminine intuition starting at an early age? Admittedly she is a bit older than she was in this photograph, but is only just four years old!


At Church this morning our Minister was trying to illustrate a point by asking the children in the congregation, "What did you learn at school last week?"
A bright young boy of about seven years old replied, "We learned that the school was closed." (Because of snow.)

Friday 6 February 2009

Was I Too Hasty?

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Was I too hasty in my last post, telling everyone how well the underpinning was going? I think so. You see, we turned the corner and immediately the problems started to happen.
Several fat pipes started to go under the kitchen that we didn't know about. Is this where the rodents are getting in? We will now have to get a firm to check these pipes with CCTV.

Next problem the snow starts to come down faster making it impossible to work. The forecast is snow off and on all week, this doesn't look good. No concreting can be done today and I have a gaping hole under the kitchen.

Sam, my son, has hurt his arm. It has been painful ever since he started digging. He had to go to the minor injury A&E at the local hospital and found that he has damaged a tendon. It will need a weeks rest.
So now I have strange pipes running under the kitchen (over a hundred years old), who knows what state they are in, a gaping hole under the kitchen, a son with a hurt arm, snow and a husband who is not strong enough to do things by himself.
Can things get any worse........ no don't tell me the kitchen could cave in! I need to go out and have a little scream.

That is better. In the mean time I can look at part of my undisturbed garden and wait for the birds to come back. They have been frightened off.

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.

Sunday 1 February 2009

Would You Let A Rat Get The Better Of You?

I'd like to take you through my back garden gate and give you a little tour of the way the garden is at present. You will not be pleased with what you see.

I recently posted about my kitchen problems and the fact that my son and husband were about to start excavating the foundations of the kitchen. There was slight subsidence and of course we have had an on going problem with rats getting into a small roof space above our kitchen where we cannot get to them.

An expert suggested underpinning. He thought there was a good chance of discovering a rat run. The expense was tremendous and my husband and son (both in the construction industry) suggested that they could do the work themselves at a fraction of the price. Do you remember that I was worried that they might kill each other, working together?
Well, so far they have both worked side by side really well. No arguments and peace throughout the whole property. I am very impressed. They have worked really hard.
So far they have almost finished underpinning the end of the kitchen. They have discovered the reason for the slight subsidence ( that has nothing to do with rodents) and have put that right.

However, I am disappointed that we haven't found an obvious point of entry yet for the pesky rats..... but there might be something just around the corner.....
I am definitely in the mood to get this thing sorted out. If it takes a new roof and digging up the kitchen floor, so be it.
Would you let a rat get the better of you?

This was a picture of the same little corner before the digging started. Sigh........