Thursday 30 July 2009

The Unexpected Beauty

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Photos the copyright of Maggie May.

Not long ago, I was walking along a very dismal path. To my right, there was a car park with a dividing chain linked fence. To my left were ugly buildings spattered with graffiti. I had to walk through this stretch in order to get to the much better place that I was visiting.

I suddenly spied a stretch of wild poppies that had seeded themselves all along the chain link fence. They seemed hardly noticeable at first but when I looked down and zoomed my camera into their midst, I suddenly realized that nestled amongst this ugliness, these poppies provided some real beauty.

Life is like that. Good things are always nestling against bad things and sometimes you really have to search hard for the beauty in a situation. It is always there though if you look hard enough.

Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his spendour was dressed like one of these. Luke 12 v 27. NIV

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek. Look them up for some great pictures that tell a story.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Bird On Lily Pad

This photo is the copyright of Maggie May.

I thought I had just taken a picture of a pond with pretty lilies, but can you see a little sparrow about to have a bath?
A little bonus that I discovered afterwards. You may have to strain your eyes!

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. For more photos of watery things, why not look her up?

Sunday 26 July 2009

Millie's Clothes

Photos are copyright of Maggie May.

Both Millie and Amber have some lovely clothes and both of the girls have been given a free choice as to what they should wear each morning. Amber usually matches her clothes up very nicely, but Millie (being younger and more inexperienced in the ways of fashion) has some really weird ideas about what to wear. I have been told to let her pick out her outfits and not to influence her in any way and this is what I usually comply with.
The same thing happens with hair styles. She says what style she wants and I fix it for her. However before Nursery, she often adds things. Huge hairbands and lots of unusual objects and combs. One day, I thought she had gone too far as she had her head wrapped up in a scarf just the way women from the Muslim faith do and as there are children and mothers who go to the Nursery who might get offended......... I thought it best to change the headdress into a pirate style instead.
I had tried to explain that the first choice could cause offense, but she is only four! She spent a good while crying and said, "But I want to be a Buslim...... I don't want to be a pirate. I think I distracted her by the time we left for Nursery and the scarf was hidden away.

Another day, I noticed that Millie had the same clothes on as she had worn the day before. "Oh, you forgot to change your clothes," I remarked and quick as a flash she told me she had two sets of clothes for every design that she possessed. Her face was quite serious and she looked me straight in the eye. She will always be able to stand up for herself, I think.

On another occasion, I had taken Millie out shopping before Nursery and I thought that the tights clashed a bit with the dress, but never mind, she could wear what she liked. However, I did notice that the dress seemed to be a bit bulky and when I asked her what she had under it, she flashed it up and showed a frilly pink tiered skirt underneath. "I like it," She insisted and she had obviously been unable to choose between two outfits and had decided to wear both.

I sometimes go into the classroom to hand her over and say, "I had nothing to do with the clothes she is wearing or the hair-stye today."
Everyone laughs and one of the assistants sometimes remarks, "Did Millie choose her outfit again?" And that is before I have even mentioned the word *clothes.*

I am going to seriously miss them while they are in Japan for a whole month and I hope that the computer doesn't play up either now that my technical support has gone missing.
If you are reading this from Japan, Sam, keep your fingers crossed for me!

Thursday 23 July 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

These photos are the copyright of Maggie May.

I am not saying that this photo is good, but a Passiflora Caerulea, (Passion Flower), is a good plant to have climbing up a trellis. The flowers only last a day, but they are prolific and eventually turn into an orange fruit. I don't think they are good for us to eat, though the slugs love them.
There is a legend attached to this plant that is quite interesting to read. You can find out more here.

I'm not saying this is a really bad photo but it was rather dark in the doorway when I took these unusual sculptures on my way into the covered market and it was not something that I was expecting to see. A skeleton and a crocodile made of metal was too much for me to miss and I whisked out my camera.
I wish I had realized that it would turn out too dark at the time I took the photo as I am sure there would have been a night setting.
Both the crocodile and the skeleton have the reputation of being bad! In children's books anyway.

Now I admit to this being a really ugly photo. No doubt about it!
You might well ask what Maggie May was doing with her foot on a banana skin in the first place. Had she gone really nuts this time?
My daughter told me that a banana skin rubbed on a verruca several times a day, would get rid of it without needing to go to the chemist or the doctor. I am not sure what the result is really, as I only ever tried it the first time. The smell was not too appealing and the skin did go a bit mushy. The banana skin, that is!
I will focus on doing this regularly and let you know the result. In the mean time, the verruca hasn't got any worse, in fact it has shrunk a bit! Maybe it isn't a verruca, who knows!

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek. Look them up for some really good photo stories.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Jet Stream.....

This photo is copyright of Maggie May.

I have walked past this fountain on many occasions. It is one of two identical ones outside the Bristol City Council House. However, I have never taken too much notice of either of them.
This visit though, I had my camera with me and immediately thought of Watery Wednesday.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the tiny jets of water that had been snapped in time, forever.

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. For beautiful photos from all over the world, do look her up.

Sunday 19 July 2009

The Grandchildren

Photos are copyright of Maggie May.

Not long ago, my four grandchildren got together for the weekend and it is always lovely for the cousins to meet up.
One evening, I went with my son and my daughter, my husband and the four children for a pub meal and the children were happy to play in the enclosed grounds after eating.
Dean, Amber and Millie always get on so well and can often be seen with their heads together playing some game or other. Dean has infinite patience with his younger cousins.

However, Rick, who has autism, quite often wants to do his own thing and leaves the others to their own devices, often preferring to kick the wood bark and run around and release his energy. Sometimes this can get out of hand.

I think I knew there was something different about him when he was three years old and I noticed at his Birthday parties that he always seemed to be in a corner by himself, playing with his wrapping paper, while his guests played together with his toys.
It appeared that he was shy and it must have been put down to that. By the time he got to ten or eleven, it was pointed out at school that he was falling behind with his work and going off into a little reverie, when he wasn't interested in the subject, which was quite often. He also seemed to genuinely have little inkling about other people's feelings and didn't show much empathy towards others if they got hurt and his social skills seemed to be lagging behind too. He always liked to play with younger people rather than his own peers.
By the age of twelve, he was diagnosed with high functioning autistic spectrum disorder. My daughter is now joining organizations and getting advice on funding for him as well as visits to the Educational Psychologist. I just wish that it had been diagnosed earlier.

Sometimes he does play well with his brother and smaller cousins, so he is not always solitary and he does have some close friends at school who like and accept him.

Whatever has happened, my first born, fair haired grandson will always be loved by us. He is unique, as all these children are. He is a very special child, like the other three.
I just hope that he will not slip through the net at school though and that Deb will manage to get the very best for him.
Through no fault of my daughter's, there is a big delay in trying to get an official statement for school, so that Rick would get extra help automatically every school year and there is no guarantee that this will be granted.
Sometimes it is like trying to get blood out of a stone with the authorities that we have to go through even though Deb seems to be jumping through hoops!

I found that Crystal Jigsaw's post *Alternative Wiring* about her daughter's autism was very helpful and it is always useful to read about other peoples experiences.
Every child with this condition is different and we are also trying to cope with a child who has been hurt by the illness and the death of his father and also with the hormones that are beginning to rage round his body.

Why, oh why didn't I speak of my suspicions earlier! There was a lot going on in the boys' lives for a good few years and I suppose Rick's condition was not as significant as his difficult home situation was at the time. There was always the chance that he was reacting to those situations and that there was nothing else wrong with him.
Nothing can put the clocks back, but now that we know about his condition, Rick is responding to extra private tuition in the subjects that he found difficult and his weekly trips to the local Autism group that helps him with socializing. He certainly responds to one to one tuition better than being in a large group. It is no use though, to always be thinking if only...... We have to live in the here and now and hope that things will work out well for him.

Thursday 16 July 2009

Rest A While

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

These photos are copyright of Maggie May.

I often describe going to my local seaside resort and this is where we sometimes end up having a sandwich while we look out to sea. If we are lucky, the sea is right in, if not it looks miles away and leaves stretches of muddy sand.
We like being here anyway, wherever the sea is.

We quite enjoy sitting in this lovely place. On a good day, it is sunny, if not it is sheltered.
We can't really lose however the weather turns out to be. Except for rain.
Thats the one thing that would upset the apple cart.

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek. I think it would be worthwhile to pay them a visit.

Monday 13 July 2009

Severn Bridge

Photos are copyright of Maggie May.

We went to Severn Beach, near Bristol armed with cameras and thought we would get some really good photos. However, although the day started off with reasonable weather, by the time we got to it, there was a misty fog all over the sea, that obscured most of the detail. I decided to take a picture anyway.

The bridge crosses the River Severn, a treacherous span of water with ferocious tides and stretches out to Wales on the other side. Although the picture is not terribly clear and you cannot see the other side because the bridge is three miles long, this is the quickest way to get to Wales.
This bridge is known as The Second Severn Crossing as it is the second bridge to be built. The first one is still in operation though it is obviously much older and is about half a mile away from this one. On windy days the older bridge has to be closed down. It is possible on a clear day, to see both bridges and that is quite a spectacle.
I will have to try and get a picture of the two, if the opportunity arises.

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. Why not look at the other entries?

Sunday 12 July 2009

The Trying Journey.

This photo is copyright of Maggie May.

I found a good seat on the bus and looked forward to being on my own for the hour long journey to the sea. I had a delicious feeling of a pleasant day ahead, with the possibility of writing post or two while I travelled. One of the last days of the half term school holidays, the lull before the storm because I was having all the grandchildren for a sleep over and a weekend with my daughter and son. I could recharge my batteries before they came, especially following my roof alterations and the tensions that had been building up with the rat hunt.

However, my peace was to be shattered. What was that noise?
Two very large women climbed onto the bus followed by their sons, who I estimated to be aged 4 or 5 years of age. One of the women and her boy made a very noisy couple as they walked in my direction down the bus. The mother shouted to him, "You got your DS?" and she flopped into the seat directly behind me. This particular mother and son were the noisiest of the two families and the peace of the whole bus was shattered as she shouted out commands to the boy.

"Sit back, put your feet down. Get out your DS. What game do you want? No not that one. That's me brain training one."
She went on to say. "Try this one. You got to take exams on this one. Yes, you have to....... do you understand you got to?"
The child was immediately put off this game and wanted another. He started to fidget around my back and I felt his fingers on my shoulders.
"If you pick your nose, you'll get a wart on the end of your finger." She announced. I shuddered at the thought of the yucky fingers on my back, but reminded myself that I was quite used to children and I blanked it out.

From time to time the woman behind me talked loudly to her friend across the isle. I noticed the friend's son was fairly well behaved and sat quietly with his DS , sometimes nodding off.
The bus, being delayed by the traffic, stopped for some time beside a colourful poster on a board outside.
"What's that picture mean, mummy?" said the boy behind me.
"It's a picture," She said.
"But what does it mean?" He insisted.
She answered three times that it was a picture before the boy gave up and I felt quite sad for him.
His mother ranted on. "Sit back, feet down or I'll put you off the bus."
"Stop doing that, you're hurting mummy. I'm going to smack you." SLAP! I expected a reaction but he didn't flinch. He must be used to it, I reckoned.

"When you get to the beach, you can have chips with your sandwiches.
The child protested that he didn't want to eat on the beach.
"Well you got to," was the reply. "We will have ice cream too." More protesting.
"Well you got to try it. Yes, you got to."
"Can we go to the shops? the boy asked.
"You will go to the shops when I want to and not when you want to," She replied. "You will not throw sand. Sit back, feet down."
"Don't do that, you are hurting mummy." Slap!
And so it went on.

Well I mentally started writing a post so I suppose something positive came out of the tiresome journey, but the loud voices and the mother's behaviour did grate on my nerves a bit. It was almost painful having her shout so near to my ears. Yet I couldn't bring myself to move. It would look so obvious and it was a single decker bus with no where else to move to.

When we finally reached our destination, the boy got off the bus with the others and started to cry. "I'm bored," he said. Already, I thought?
I turned away and looked for a bench to sit on and made notes so that I wouldn't forget the conversation that everyone on the bus must have shared.

I looked around me. The sun was shining and the day stretched before me. I could do what I liked, go where I liked and be answerable to no one.
A sudden wave of contentment coursed through my veins as I forgot about the trying journey and the boy.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Punch and Judy

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Photo copyright of Maggie May.

I'm not quite sure whether those of you from overseas will know just what a Punch and Judy show is.
It seems that this puppet show is a British thing and is a tradition that goes way back to the middle ages.
They are usually to be found on a beach in a seaside town, but this one was on a green patch in a park.

If you want to find out just exactly what a Punch and Judy show is, then go here.

Traditionally Punch and Judy are a married couple and the male, Punch is dressed as a jester and has a hooked nose. Judy is his long suffering wife, who is often at the receiving end of a rolling pin. There is a baby that also gets thrown around, and also a crocodile and a string of sausages in the story, not forgetting the Policeman with his truncheon, who tries hard to keep Punch from hurting his family.
Sounds really bizarre when put down in writing and it is certainly not politically correct. However, children of many generations have enjoyed this puppet show and still seem to, judging by the captive audience watching this one.
I stumbled on this show quite by accident and the crowd of children sitting in a circle watching the puppets was in complete awe. Some things never change.
I just had to take a photo of the show.

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek. Why not look them up?

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Bitter Sweet Memories

Photo is the copyright of Maggie May.

This photo was taken while walking along a canal with my daughter and grandsons, on the east coast of England. We walked for miles along the side of the canal and had a very pleasant time. It was taken in the Autumn of last year, not long after the children had lost their dad. It has bitter sweet memories for me, but it is a lovely stretch of waterway.

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. Look at the great photos over there, if you have time.

Sunday 5 July 2009

How Does The Garden Grow?

All photos are the copy right of Maggie May.

'Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does the garden grow?'

'With silver bells and cockle shells
and pretty maids all in a row.'

That's how the old nursery rhyme goes anyway and you may well be wondering what is growing in my garden after the shock of the scaffolders earlier on.

A pot of Pelargoniums ( commonly known falsely as a geranium.)

Passiflora caerulea known as the common Passion Flower.

Species Geranium....... Johnson's Blue.

Clematis...... unknown name.

Another Clematis that I'm not sure of the name either.
Incidentally, I wonder how you pronounce this word? Clem - ate- is or Clem- attis?

So all in all, my garden does seem to have some lovely living things in it and once it is all tidied up, should look more like it used to, which is more than I can say about the kitchen at the moment!

Thursday 2 July 2009


PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Graffiti........ You either love it or you hate it. Looking at this scene by the waterfront I'm not sure what I think but I feel that if a wall doesn't belong to you, then you shouldn't paint on it.
The City of Bristol has its share of people leaving their stamp on blank walls and buildings, some of it very ugly and rubbishy, though in some areas there are designated places for people to use for graffiti and this seems to work well.

However, there is graffiti and graffiti...........
Recently, I found myself queuing for forty five minutes outside Bristol City Museum to see Banksy's work! Yes...... forty five minutes!
For those who haven't ever heard of him but would like to learn more, go here.
Is it really possible, though, that people have never heard of Banksy, because he is very popular in the West Country. His work is worth thousands of pounds. He is tolerated, his work is unique and Bristol is very proud of this man. No one knows who he is. He keeps himself anonymous. People reckon that he must be around forty years old, but only a few trusted people know exactly who he is!

Well, after queuing for all that time and talking to many people from other lands who had come all the way to see his work, I got into the museum, feeling very tired.
Banksy makes a statement! This is the first thing that caught my eye, a burnt out ice cream van.

At first I thought, "Oh my Goodness, he has defaced all the statues!" However, I soon realized that they wouldn't have allowed him to do that. He skillfully made replicas. I expect the originals are some where safely hidden away.

This statue was supposed to be a Roman goddess or something but Banksy had made it into a person begging on the streets.
Many things caught my eye, in particular a cage with what looked like a leopard sitting on a log, with tail swishing back and forth. However, when I went to look at it front view, it turned out to be a fur coat!
Another cage held a nest and baby birds calling to their mother. However, when I went to investigate, I noticed a cctv camera on a branch and two baby ones in a nest calling out! This seemed so typical of Banksy to to turn everything around and get people thinking.
I think I will have to go back again and take more photos.
It was all a bit too much to take in on the first visit.
As I said before, you either love this kind of thing or you hate it!
What do you think?

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek. Good idea to look them up.