Tuesday 30 June 2009

Mallard on a Wall

Don't you just love the luminous colour on this mallard's neck? I just happened to have my new camera with me and I tried out the special setting for pets! Quite pleased with this one.

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. For more lovely pictures look her up!

Sunday 28 June 2009

Secret Places

Not long ago I was beside myself with worry because of the problem that I had with rodents of the largest variety, nesting in my roof cavities and the whole roof had to be taken off and rebuilt. We found five dead rats up there that had come in via a concealed hole that couldn't be seen from outside. It was a crafty way in from next door's side that nobody would have guessed was there. Once settled the squatters had chewed up insulation and nibbled through live wiring and could have caused a fire.
If you look at the first photo, you will see a new hole, discovered only last week, when the men were hacking off plaster from the inside walls. It was a grim discovery as two more dead rats were found in there, mummified. They had obviously fallen in this hole and had been in there a long time. One of them was quite a giant, the grandfather of all rats, I should think! You should have seen the teeth. I didn't take photos so you are spared seeing them. They were quickly bagged up and disposed of.

Not long ago, the back of the house looked like this, and my garden was taken over by the scaffolding and was in deep shade most of the time. It was disheartening to see the disaster that all this caused to my plants.
I am somewhat amazed at how blue the sky looked then because I can remember some bad downpours that flooded the kitchen, even though we had the scaffolding canopy over the top.

This was the strange position I found myself in when there was a new roof on top of the kitchen but the old ceiling was still in place. It had all been cleaned from above and two holes cut because of the roof windows being put in there. The men did the job slowly like this, so that I wouldn't have be roofless while it was being done, as security might have been difficult with so many of us coming and going all the time. It also prevented the mess from coming down into the kitchen, as it was all cleaned away from the top.

However after the men had cleaned and removed the ceiling, I was able to see just how much loftier and lighter it was going to be in there.
My kitchen is still a long way from being normal again and I will have to wait for new units.
The men only ever agreed to get rid of the rats, you see, not to do a major revamp inside!

The outside is now fairly, clean looking and the scaffolding has been removed. I like the cedar wood on top that my son put up. However we decided, round the problem corner in next door's garden, to use brickwork and thick rendering and I would like to know how anything could get in there now. This is not a challenge to any rat reading this blog though!

Looking from the bedroom window upstairs the new roof looks really secure, so I am extremely pleased I decided to *risk* letting the two men in my life take on this task. I say to both of them, " Jolly well done and thank you!"

Thursday 25 June 2009

Pero's Bridge

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Like Liverpool, Bristol was very much a part of the Slave Trade, (was it 400 years ago?) The city prospered because of the buying and selling of slaves and many of the beautiful buildings that are standing now were built with *blood money* from the profit of it. I don't know all the ins and outs of what went on, but can well imagine the horrors of it and most people are repulsed by that era, so Bristol decided to *apologize* for it's part in the evil practice by naming this new bridge after a slave who was documented as being sent here. His name was Pero and this is now called Pero's Bridge.
It certainly can't make up for the horrors that went on, but maybe the bridge can be a reminder of the past and what happens when one race feels superior to another.
The two great, heavy horns on the bridge are used to balance it when the bridge goes up to let a tall ship go through!

Thumbelina, from Secret Worlds chose me and five others to take part in a photographic meme.
The rules were, that you had to go to your photo files and open the sixth one and choose the sixth photo in it and publish it. Then choose six more people to do the challenge.

I looked in my sixth folder at my sixth photo and found personal photos that I didn't want published, so I altered things a bit and reversed the challenge.
I went to the last photo folder and opened the sixth folder from the end of that and counted six photos from the end of the sixth and came up with Pero's Bridge and I am quite pleased with it.

Over to you now. I am not very good at choosing people, so are there six of you out there who want to do this meme?

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek. For more lovely photos please look them up.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Water, Water Everywhere.....

This wall of water is quite refreshing to walk past on a hot, summery day. I wonder if you can see my reflection in it?

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. Look her up to see some spectacular photos.

Sunday 21 June 2009

Young Love

I wonder if it is possible to feel true love at seven years old?

John, who is seven, was writing a letter at the table where I was helping children with craft work in the after school club where I work. As he was sitting right next to me, I could plainly see what he was writing:-

Dear Kellie,
I do not love you,
From John.

As I always try to get any of the children to put themselves into the other person's shoes and show empathy, I suggested it might be kinder not to send the letter in the first place and then the girl wouldn't have to know that the boy didn't love her.
John responded by producing a letter from Kellie who had announced her love for him. He told me he didn't love her back. I asked him if he could write that he liked her? He shook his head. I decided that enough was enough and went on to do something else.

Some time later, I saw that John had finished his letter and he showed it to me.

Dear Kellie,
I do not love you.
From John.
I do like you and want you for my friend.

I felt quite touched by the fact that John had taken notice of what I had said and spared the girl's feelings.

Yes..... it is possible to love someone and experience a broken heart at seven years old because it happened to me!
I used to meet Michael every summer holiday and play together everyday until he had to go back to school. He stayed with his Nan in the house next door to ours, but he lived in Liverpool which was twelve miles away and that seemed more like a hundred in those days. I lived for those summer holidays when we could be together again. We roamed around the countryside all day long and the days seemed to be always sunny and there were fields, wood stacks and hay ricks to play on.
Then, the inevitable thing happened....... my father's work was transferred to the south and I never saw Michael again. I grieved for several years.
Yes...... it is possible to have a deep love at seven years old...... a very innocent kind of deep love.

Thursday 18 June 2009

Blaise Castle

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Blaise Castle is a lovely place to visit. There are adventure playgrounds for children from toddler age up until thirteen. There is a large open space of grass to play on with woods behind.
A museum stands to one side of the grass and a cafe is close by, everything that you could wish for to provide a good day out for children.

This is the lane that goes through the woods to eventually reveal another grassy area.

At the top of the grassy place is a castle with a little door, that is locked. You will see that this castle was built in 1766 and restored in 1982, so it is very old. However the castle was built on an iron age site, so there was always some sort of building and activity in this area.

Here is the castle in all it's glory. What a marvellous sight. For anyone who doesn't know it is there, it must be a magical moment when coming out of the woods and seeing that unexpected surprise. It is easy to imagine the people that might have lived in a place like this, in days long gone.

However, I don't think that this castle was ever used as a habitat or used as a fortress, but more as an ornamental building, to enhance the beauty of the surroundings. It certainly is in a very lovely place.

You can see the top of the blue door that I showed earlier, at the bottom of this picture.

I went for the day earlier in this year, with my son and daughter and all the grandchildren and there was something for all of them to do. While they were in the adventure playground we adults could read a book or do a puzzle or just people watch. The children didn't like the thought of walking, but once they got started, they really enjoyed it. A brilliant day out.

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek. Why not give them a visit?

Tuesday 16 June 2009

The Walkway

Last week I entered a picture that was of the entrance to this walkway. It divides the boating pool which is on the near side from the sea and can only be accessed when the tide is low.
If you would like to be reminded of last weeks picture click here. I named the picture *refections* because I liked the way the chains reflected in the water. Several people asked me why the path was wet, but now they will see that it was left over from when the tide went out.

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. Why not look her up and share in the lovely photos?

Monday 15 June 2009

The Girl With the Blue Hair

It is time for the June challenge of the fictional storytelling meme for Portrait of Words that Jeff B has set. This month the photos that were to be used as prompts for the story are, a young girl with blue hair, a yellow bike, Chinese food and a waiting room.

The waiting room seemed sparsely furnished with just a chair and a small, round table. Agnes sank down into the chair gratefully and was glad to rest her weary legs that had given her so much problem lately with her arthritis.
She was not really a well woman and she thought that she must be mad to be turning her life around at her age because in ten years time, she would be drawing her pension.

She had always been close to Mimi, especially when Mimi was younger and had spent weekends with her aunt! Mimi the girl who was always changing her hairstyle and colour. Mimi, the happy child who loved music and dancing, who was clever at school and had had the chance of a brilliant future. Mimi who was now orphaned when she was barely 15, due to a terrible accident. Mimi who had nobody else and who might even have to go into care.
How could Agnes let that happen? However, she had to admit that Mimi might not want to come and live with a lady who she would think of as very old and slightly disabled. However, Agnes had given the matter great thought and had decided to offer Mimi a home. She was now waiting for the solicitor to agree to this but only if Mimi wanted to. As no will had been left, there was no named benefactor. In fact there wasn't anyone else in the whole world remotely connected to Mimi.
Agnes did think that there was a distinct possibility that Social Services would consider her to be too old to have a teenager under her care, especially as she couldn't move about very quickly.

The solicitor told Agnes that Mimi wanted to meet her again and that Social Services really preferred to keep families together, especially as this was an older child and there would be help available for them both. Everything depended on the meeting which was to be within a few days.

Agnes drove to the appointed place and managed to park outside the building. She noticed there was a yellow girl's bike leaning against the wall and she wondered if it belonged to Mimi.
She began to feel quite nervous and realized how badly she wanted to have her niece under her care, no matter how difficult this might be. After all, this was her baby sister's child and the two of them had been hurt by their recent loss. Maybe they could help each other?
She waited in the room where she was told to sit and noticed how very different it was from the solicitor's office. This room was as cluttered as the other one had been bare.

A door opened and the girl with the long blue hair walked towards her. It was Mimi alright. Apart from her new hair colouring she was the same girl who she had always loved, who she had taught to cook and who she had shopped with and shared so many other things.
They both hugged each other for a long time and there were tears running down both their faces.

"Do you really want to come and live with me, Mimi? I'm not as spritely as I used to be, but I can offer you stability and love."
"I really want to come and live with you Auntie, I really do. Can I come straight away?"
The Officer in charge smiled and said it would be OK. They would be calling regularly to check how things were going.
Mimi ran to get her case.
"Just a few things for overnight,"She said. "I will collect the rest of my gear later and I must take my bike!"
She went on to ask, "Do you think we could buy something Chinese for our meal tonight as a kind of celebration?"
Agnes only ever ate *meat and three veg*, but she smiled and said, "Of course we can."

This was to be the beginning of a new era for both of them but Agnes found herself feeling younger and more vibrant already. She felt needed again and they both had to learn to find some peace to start to heal the great shock that they'd both had. She had lost her beloved sister, but Mimi had lost both her parents only a short time ago.
Agnes hoped that they would both manage. It might not be easy, but she knew she would manage.
She looked at her niece and felt so proud of her. Proud of the way she was getting on with her life. Proud of the way she trusted her with her future. This gave Agnes courage.
The tears started welling up again.

Sunday 14 June 2009

New Pet?

I am used to things happening in my garden. Foxes have left eggs in pots and in gravel. I have had scaffolding covering up most of it for weeks and plants have struggled with being under deep shade.
There has been builder's rubble left all over the place and scaffolders have been very insensitive towards any living thing, throwing heavy equipment on precious shrubs and flowers. So it was with heavy heart this morning when I looked for something in flower, something that hadn't been damaged and I realized there doesn't seem to be anything. The birds have been scared away.
The only thing that is left intact and that hasn't been affected in any way is the cat in the pot!

Thursday 11 June 2009

The Carousel

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I had walked past this carousel several times with out thinking much about it. I didn't have any grandchildren tugging at me and asking for a ride, in fact I had barely noticed it. Suddenly it dawned that I could practice with my new digital camera!
This carousel was turning as fast as it could go. My camera had a setting for *moving objects* and I was aiming for the small part of the ride that had no people on the horses. Not an easy task, but one that would have been impossible with my older camera.
I was amazed to see that the photo hardly looked as though the carousel was moving at all.
Not sure if that is good or bad but it wasn't blurred.

This one was taken using macro and by now, the horse was stationary. Looks inviting, doesn't it? However, I resisted the temptation, remembering my vertigo!

For this picture, I stood back a bit, using a general setting after the merry go round had stopped. I can't help but think it almost seems almost like cheating to have these different settings and I have yet to try to capture a lovely butterfly close up or a fluttering bird.
However, so far I have been very pleased with the results of photos taken with my new camera.
What do others think?
Please remember that I am a technophobe as a rule, so don't blind me with science!

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek. Why not look them up and see some great photos?

Tuesday 9 June 2009


As I have said before, there is no shortage of watery places where I live!

Sunday 7 June 2009

Slowly But Surely

This is the reason for my kitchen roof being torn apart in the first place! New readers please get more information here.
Have you noticed I have changed something in my blog profile?

The roof work seems to be going on for ever and the plants are struggling to survive the dense shade under the scaffolding.

Things are progressing though, and the end is in sight now. The new roof windows will provide more light in the kitchen.

This is what it looked like before the windows were put in. I am working through the photos in reverse order. Workmen's equipment can make a good study, I think.

The light and shade of the building materials can catch the eye with the sun suddenly shining on it and there are little shafts of light where you least expect to see any.

I was up the ladder at every opportunity with my camera keeping track of what was going on.

The birds have been scared away from their favourite tree where they used to spend time sheltering inside the dense branches. I am so looking forward to hearing them chatter again after this is over.
Since the work started, I have had things from the kitchen packed in boxes on the floor and there is all sorts of clutter to keep stepping over. I am at present in agony with my back problem. It seems one thing gets cleared up only for another problem to set in.

The picture below shows how things looked when the first lot of scaffolders had left.
I will be glad to get my garden back and get rid of it. Maybe in a week or so...........

Thursday 4 June 2009


PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Our visit to Minehead really follows my recent post about Dunster Castle, as we went there directly after wards.
Minehead in Somerset, is on the Bristol Channel, just before it opens up into the Atlantic Ocean and starts getting really rough.

Minehead takes me back to when our children were young and we had several family holidays there. A small rather old fashioned town with it's own steam trains and a holiday camp.

The sea goes out quite a long way, all along the Bristol Channel coastline, but the tides are high, rapid and treacherous. Not good for bathing, but the children enjoy the sand.

After Minehead, we visited the lovely little town of Watchet very nearby. This is the lovely little harbour with it's own light house.

I love to see the little boats taking refuge there.

Now here is the *Ancient Mariner* himself, holding his albatross. Do you remember the poem by Coleridge?
If not, go here.

And this man...... well I really do not know who he is, but he seemed a friendly sailor. I even had a photograph taken of me sitting on his knee, but you are not seeing that one! Too cheeky!

As usual, the ordinary things in life seem to grab my granddaughter's attention and this little cat was no exception!

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek. Look them up for more photos and stories.