Friday, 30 October 2009

The Fight Is On....

Ok, so I had to blog about my shock yesterday in my last post. People have been so kind with comments and email and sending me funny things. The bra was sent by Mickle from Mickle's Pickle and it was great of her and I had a laugh. Anyway thank you for all the support and kindness in comments on the post and email. It really means a lot.
I am now in fighting mood and getting myself into gear for whatever might be ahead.
This is the post that was supposed to go out this weekend, so here it is. Back to business.

Blogging Is Like A River...

Photo copyright: Maggie May

I have sensed that there has been a kind of apathy going round in Blogland lately. Everyone, myself included, has experienced a huge hole since David left.
Eddie Bluelights has made a great success of taking over his Sunday Roast and Hilary also with her Post Of The Week but there is still an unexplained void. Just makes you wonder how any one man could post so many photos and articles and keep the interest of hundreds of people, every day?

All this nostalgia has come to a head for me, after reading Saz's excellent post recently (Fat,Frumpy & Fifty) and she's none of the first two! It was entitled *What Is Your Sell By Date?*
It set me thinking. I wonder what my sell by date is? I don't mean that literally, thank you very much. I mean my blog shelf life.

I have lost several good blogging friends without warning and many others have tapered off writing altogether, only returning intermittently. Even sadder was when a couple of friends died.
Is it strange to think of people who I have never met, as friends? I think not. I feel that I have shared so much with other bloggers over the years and when they suddenly disappear, there is a feeling of sadness, bereavement even.

There is that saying, when one door closes another opens and there is much truth in that. There are many new and upcoming bloggers out there in cyberspace as well as all the established ones that I already know and value and those ones that I have yet to meet.

One of the comments in Saz's post was that (blog) life was like a river, flowing endlessly on........ I suppose gathering some new things and losing others as it swirls along, just like in real life. Another person said that she thought that a true friend thinks you are a good egg even if you are slightly cracked!
I liked both those replies!

In the end, we must decide who are we blogging for, other people or ourselves? It is good to have people appreciate our work, but as long as blogging gives us pleasure then that is the main thing.
I feel that my blog is therapy for me and combines my interest in photography with my love of writing. However, I think it is essential to visit others' blogs and leave comments. How can anyone have a one sided relationship? So please keep those comments coming in......... they are much appreciated and I will do my utmost to return to you.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Roses From America

I am at a loss as to what to say really. Behind the scenes I have been really worried because a couple of months ago I discovered a lump in my groin and after leaving it a few weeks hoping it would go away (as you do), I went to the doctor who thought it was a hernia and that I would need an operation.
Before that happened I was to have an ultra scan and see a Consultant in our local hospital. That happened last Saturday and I was told then that it definitely wasn't a hernia, so I was worried.
Today I was summoned to the hospital quite urgently and was told that they think I have a lymphoma (cancer) and they have booked me in for surgery on Monday. This is in order that they might look at the gland in order to see what they are dealing with.

I have told one or two people before this post and Jackie from Teacher's Pet, sent me these lovely cyber flowers from America which I thought was very kind of her. (I feel quite pleased that I managed to get them into this post unaided and everyone knows that I am a technophobe.)

Anyway........ I am very grateful for prayers from everyone who can spare them and please all of you keep on praying that something can be done for me.
I am not sure when the results of the operation will get back to me or when my treatment will start.
We already have enough to worry about in the family as my husband has been battling cancer for seven years and my sister in law too.
I have always had to be the strong one and help my family out and now this has come along and messed up everything. My lovely son, Sam has promised to help me through it for a few days while I have the operation and he has promised to get the decorations finished in my kitchen.
I am going to find it very hard telling my daughter the news, as she lost her husband last year and my grandsons lost their father. They are just beginning to get their lives back together again and now they have to cope with this too. Please pray for them too.

Sorry to be a damper but I am quite bowled over with the grief that my family are going to feel. Yes...... it is a kind of grief even though no one has died. You see I have been there before....... when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and my husband with his cancer. It is not the patient who suffers the most. It is their family. Somehow it seems to be worse for them.
This is not the post I was going to send out today.
I have several in my drafts folder but they can wait until next week.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

Liquorice Alsorts anyone?

Photo copyright: Maggie May

Sunday, 25 October 2009

To Autumn

Photos copyright: Maggie May

The clocks went back one hour last night so we are really entering winter time but as far as I am concerned it is Autumn. I hate the clocks going back one hour and would sooner leave things as they were, having really dark mornings but lighter evenings.

These photos are a selection from a recent walk. I am sometimes really pleased that my camera lives in my bag, so that I can snap the unexpected whenever I want.

I walked through an archway that divided some allotments and I think this arch had crab apples trained over it.

The girls were walking on ahead through the archway.
I encountered some lovely berries and brightly coloured plants.

I am reminded of John Keats poem, To Autumn.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage trees
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Wooden Dolls

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Kelli

I received my first Kokeshi doll (the large black one at the back of the group) as a present, when my son Sam was living in Japan. They are traditional dolls that originate in Kokeshi and they are made locally out of wood. Each doll has a pedigree and a name that means something.

Harry and I eventually went to Japan and after a lovely holiday staying with the family, I bought a few more dolls to add to the collection. My original one had looked quite lonely on its own. These dolls were being sold all over the place in Japan.

From then on, whenever my son came back to visit, he bought one or two Kokeshi dolls and my collection grew!
When I first started collecting these dolls, they were virtually unheard of where I live but I am surprised to see that many local shops now sell them. The Orient has certainly arrived in my city in a big way!

I have always been interested in Babushka dolls ............ Russian dolls that fit one inside another. When I was little I had come across a set when I visited someone's house and it seemed fascinating to find one doll inside another doll, inside another and so on until the tiniest one emerged. They were really exotic and unheard of in my locality.
These dolls have also stormed our city and there seems to be no need to go to Russia to get a set of them now. Most of mine came from charity shops, though some have a doll or two missing from inside!

Have you got a collection of anything that you want to share?

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Bristol Harbour Festival

Photos are copyright: Maggie May

During the summer holiday, Bristol always has a Harbour Festival when thousands of people come down to the lovely water front and take part in the festivities on offer. Stalls from different European Countries, many visiting small boats as well as staged rescue acts from the helicopter and dingy, sometimes involving dogs who haul people out of the water. All good fun and interesting to see.
The festival went on for a whole weekend and culminated in a grand firework display.

Bristol is very proud of The Matthew that is always moored along our water front. This is a replica of the ship that John Cabot used to cross the Atlantic in 1497 to America. The newer version has visited America and survived the Atlantic but it does have an engine and radio for back up.
One thing that always strikes me is how small this ship is and how tiny it must be in that huge ocean, battling over huge waves with sails puffed out in the wind.

The ship in the picture below is the SS Great Britain. This was the first propellor driven iron ship to ever cross an ocean. She travelled to America and Australia and was later found abandoned in The Falkland Islands, was rescued and brought back to Bristol where she had been launched in the very beginning.
It took years to restore her to her former glory and she is now in dry dock and is a popular ship to visit.
I must admit that I love visiting the water front regularly, but especially during The Harbour Festival when flags are flying everywhere I look.

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. Look her up for some great photos from all over the world.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

My Garden In Autumn

Photos copyright: Maggie May

This is my little garden in Autumn. Nothing much in flower except Sedum Spectabilis, Autumn Joy. And what a joy it is too, cheering up an otherwise drab scene. This has been a treasure and I'm so glad that I got it. The last of the butterflies and bees have come to visit. The Japanese Anemonies are nearly over. Nothing much else will flower now but but I have a few confused plants wondering what happened to the sudden lengthened summer that we had earlier. A carnation is still producing flowers and also lavender and ceanothus.
Now the weather is still sunny but quite cold, going from one extreme to another.
I think my little Japanese maple has expired but I will give it the benefit of the doubt until next Spring. It might have succumbed to all the building work earlier on or it might not have liked the unexpected month of sunshine that we have just had, when all it really wanted to do was to drop it's leaves and sleep.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Sleeping Daddy

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Carissa

Photo copyright:Maggie May

This is what happens in our house when a Daddy tries to have forty winks. Those naughty granddaughters stuff toy cats down his ears.
There is no peace for the wicked.

I recently posted here about a 65th Birthday celebration with Eddie Bluelights and my son, Sam, thinking that people would twigg that we were all related to each other (as I was sure that people didn't know) and I was quite amazed that this passed right over most people's heads and that they really did think that we met up by accident in a pub when we were at other individual 65th Birthday celebrations.
It was meant to be a conundrum.
Each of us left a clue on each of our posts that went out at identical times with identical pictures.
Quite funny, really, when you think of it. How amazing would that be to meet up by chance while enjoying other people's 65th Birthday meals ?
We had fun doing this as a team.
I wonder if there is anyone else who doesn't know what we are talking about?
Forgive us if you don't.

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily.

Monday, 12 October 2009

The Sixty Fifth Birthday

I was recently invited, along with my family to a sixty fifth birthday meal in a lovely pub/restaurant not too far away. It was good to all get together and laugh and joke as well as catch up on all the news and eat good food that we hadn't had to prepare ourselves. Notice I am not mentioning drinks here?

Well it wasn't long before I heard even noisier laughing and noticed Eddie Bluelights was there!
I told you I'd had a bad day. (Didn't I?) Was it an illusion or not? Could it really be him? Photos started snapping all around me and I could do nothing to stop these bloggers from taking my picture. Full frontal as well. I had thought of suing them, but whats the use.

Photos copyright: Maggie May

Presents were opened and out plopped a black tee shirt that someone's son had bought for the Birthday Boy. This is the front of it.

And this is the back of it. Don't you think it was an ideal present to give to a blogger who can't keep away from his computer for one minute? Eddie's wife hates the thought of anyone encouraging this hobby. She much preferred the words on the back of the tee shirt and seemed to be most unimpressed with the front, as she thinks that she is flogging a dead horse with her complaints. I think Harry had great empathy with her about that too. Maybe they should get together and leave the bloggers in peace. Only joking, if she is reading this!

We soon all started to laugh the place down for some reason. Hard not to when the Birthday Boy is such a comedian.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Hilary's Posts Of The Week

I hope that everyone will go over to Hilary's Blog at Smitten Image on Wednesdays when she will be posting what she considers to be the best reads of the week. No one could replace David Mcmahon from Authorblog's Post Of The Day because that involved so much work and I can't think of anyone who could devote that amount of time to search through the many blogs for ten winners a day.
However it will be really great for Hilary to take over the next best thing with her weekly top posts. I think a bit of healthy competition is good for us all and also is a great way to meet new bloggers.
So thank you to Hilary, much appreciated.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Squirrels and Sand

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Angie

Photos are copyright of Maggie May

We started back at school following the summer holidays, on a Thursday and during the following week, there were two inset days that fell on the Thursday and Friday. This meant no school for the children and non for me on the first of the two days.
The childrens' dad had an offer of a few weeks work, so Granddad and I decided to take the girls to Weston Super Mare on the bus.

I think it must have seemed a long drawn out journey for them as they are used to going in the car everywhere much more quickly. However they were quite excited about going on the top deck of a bus and being able to see over all the hedge rows.
It was a beautiful day and we took a picnic and spent a long time making sand castles and paddling. The water was warm and shoals of little fish came into the very shallow water of the safe paddling area that has just been reconstructed for children. Within a short time seagulls began swooping down and eating the fish.

We made a lovely building and a moat but while we were eating lunch, some children jumped on it so this is all that was left, much to the annoyance of the girls.

The following day, I had to go into work for the first half of the day, for training. We asked Amber and Millie what they would like to do in the afternoon after I got back and they asked to go to Brandon Hill to feed the squirrels. This is a very lovely spot, high on a hill in Bristol. This beautiful part of the city is in the central area near the University and museum.
Granddad and I are obviously feeling our age when we climb up the very steep hills. Come to think of it, Bristol is all hills! Anyway, there are lots of seats to sit on while we catch our breath.

The squirrels were very tame and came out in threes and fours, taking the peanuts that we had brought, though this proved to be very difficult when the pigeons arrived. It was then a competition as to who could get a nut to a squirrel and not a pigeon.

This picture was very weird because the squirrel was shrieking in a very loud and strange voice. I had never come across that sound before, so whether it was a mating cry or a cry of anguish, I do not know. It was like a bad distress call. Maybe some reader would know?

At the time of the trip, Bristol had several dozen pianos left in unusual places around the city and this one was on a hill with a view for miles around, behind it. The girl who was playing fairly well gave permission for me to snap her from the back.
The pianos were part of a project to promote music and give ordinary folk a chance to play in public. In some areas one or two pianos had been vandalised but on the whole this was a very popular idea and most of them were left alone.
Of course the girls had to have a go too.

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily. Why not drop in and some some really good photo stories.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Topsham Harbour

Photo copyright: Maggie May

I recently went with my family to Topsham in Devon and this is a little harbour that I came across.
The weather was lovely and the company was great.
What more could anyone want?

Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy. Why not look her up and see some really great pictures from all over the world?

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Arachnophobia Anyone?

Photo copyright: Maggie May

There has recently been an announcement on the news, here in Britain, that there are going to be very many more spiders about than normal. This, apparently, is because of the Indian Summer that we have been experiencing for the last month. It has been fairly warm and sunny without much rain for several weeks, although it does get quite cool in the early mornings and the evenings.
I wouldn't say that I had arachnophobia, a severe fear of spiders but I really don't like them.
So OK, their webs look lovely with the sun light shining on them and if there are little drops of dew on the web, so much the better. They are also very good at keeping flies and garden pests at bay. So why are they disliked and avoided?
I think it is the sheer speed at which these creatures run that makes me want to get out of the way. The thought of one on my body is really awful. They are creepy.
At the After School Club where I work, I put on an act of bravery and catch the spiders and throw them out of a door. I usually get a mug, catch the spider in it and put a stiff card over the top and release them outside. My boss, if she catches me, tells me to throw the mug in the bin, even though I think that is such a waste because everyone knows that the mug would wash clean. Its not as though I caught a rat or a cockroach. That would be an entirely different matter.

I read somewhere that the average person swallows thirty spiders in their lifetime, while they are asleep. The thought of that is appalling, especially if you are a vegetarian, as I am. A few years ago, I did wake up one night and felt something on my face. Immediately I snatched it off and threw it down. It was a spider. What if I hadn't wakened up in time to throw it off?

So what is it about spiders that you don't like? Or maybe you do like them.