Monday 26 March 2012

Rosemary I Love You

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Rosmarinus Officinalis, otherwise commonly known as Rosemary, is every lamb lover's favourite herb. The two are meant to go well together. Well, I don't eat or cook lamb but I love the fragrance of this versatile herb and it livens up any pasta dish.
My two rabbits also love eating it for a special treat.

The plant is in flower right now and I think it looks rather pretty growing in a pot and being a Mediterranean plant, used to warmer climes, it stands a bit of neglect in the hotter months of summer when I don't always remember to water it.

During the last winter, two shrubs have died very mysteriously, both against the same wall facing south. One was a Tamarisk tree and the other was a Ceanothus. I had had the Tamarisk tree for years and the Ceanothus had also been with us some time and survived really cold weather. I think the possible thing that finished them off this winter was the fact that it had been very mild for months and most shrubs mistakenly started budding thinking that it was Spring and then we had a run of very frosty, severely cold weather. Its my belief that this proved too much for them.
Anyway, this morning my son, Sam, cut down the shrubs and chopped the remains up into tiny pieces.

I've been thinking of planting rosemary and a bay tree in their place.
Any suggestions for your idea of replacements would be gratefully received.
I really think that Spring is here to stay now and I keep going out in the garden to tidy up and to sit and reflect.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Eavesdropping On The Bus

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

It is nearly a year since I went off on my own ........ just catching a bus from our bus station and going off to our local sea side using my bus pass.

Last Saturday, I felt the need to do this and whilst feeling a bit guilty about leaving Harry behind and wondering if he would be alright, I made the decision and left home at 9.30 am.
The bus journey takes about one hour on the fast bus but much longer on the meandering one that I caught, as it visits lonely estates and villages and winds along country roads on the way. I sat upstairs on the top deck of the bus, known as a double decker, for those of you who don't have this type of vehicle.
The surrounding countryside can be seen much better than from a car. I like to see over the hedgerows and I do enjoy looking into peoples' gardens and farms. I can see so much more from a bus.
The bus journey itself is always quite interesting as I love to *people watch* and as if on cue, a large family got on the bus and sat in front of me on the opposite side. It soon became apparent that they were speaking two languages. The first being German or Austrian....... I can't tell which is which and the second English. The two boys and two girls spoke mostly in the Germanic language but the parents answered sometimes in English and sometimes in their native tongue but the children seemed to respond to either. Although both parents spoke excellent English, I did feel that the woman was English. This seems to be the natural way to ensure that the family are bilingual. It takes input from both parents all the time.
Eventually they got off the bus long before I did and they all headed off to a wooded area, obviously going for a long walk in the country.

Harry and I haven't been to many places since we had to have so much treatment for our illnesses and last time I visited, Weston Super Mare was still in turmoil with workmen everywhere while they finished putting in the superior sea defences and new walkways. The whole of the town seemed to be upside down for several years, so I was quite pleasantly surprised that it was all finished and not a workman, tractor or bulldozer anywhere in sight and it all looked very new and agreeable as well as safer for the people who live there.

Harry is responding to the new cancer drug and feels much better but the brain disorder, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, is affecting his memory, moods and often walking, making things hard for him and everyone else. He has recently had to give up driving and we managed to sell the car over the weekend to some friends.
Anyway, Harry is not well enough to travel so far as my journey but can go to the city centre on the bus by himself and go out for walks now he is feeling a bit better. He just needs to be reminded to take his keys and things like that and I do worry in case he forgets important things to do with the safety of him and the house. So I can never really relax and spend the time thinking of possible things that could happen to him.

Anyway, I managed to go for a very long walk along the seafront as far as the eye could see and beyond. I sat down and watched the people go by while I ate my sandwiches. I was most surprised to see a young couple walking by with a shopping bag and I noticed a little nose peeping out from it, sniffing the air. Very curious, I was trying to decide what animal could be in there, when it popped its head out completely and I was able to recognise it as a ferret! It had a stainless steel lead attached to the bag and harness. I was thinking about my little rabbits at home in their safe surroundings.

The day was warmish though I needed hat, scarf and gloves. At times there were bursts of sunshine that I basked in and the air seemed much fresher than the city.
After several hours, I walked back to get my bus home. That bus was much quicker and busier than the first bus that I caught out and I just found myself listening in to a conversation between two women whose age I thought was quite young, but I wasn't rude enough to turn round and look. However, when I got off the bus, they overtook me and I found they were very elderly ladies.
Aren't I just the nosiest person around?
However there is always some blog material to be found by watching and listening and I did enjoy my trip and it gave me an enormous amount of pleasure and Harry was fine. I will do this more often now, I think.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Too Beautiful To Chop

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

There is nothing more Spring like than a tree in full blossom and it lifted my heart to see this tree on the edge of one of Bristol's fine parks while out walking the other day.
I stopped to take a photo.
When I actually entered the park and saw the tree from the other side, I spied a notice that had been stuck on the tree trunk and on reading it, my heart sank because it is due to be chopped down. There had been some fungus found at the base of the tree trunk. The tree was not going to be replaced because it didn't fit in with the park planning, whatever that meant.

Later in the week on Radio Bristol, I heard that the Council were suggesting that some of the city's parks could be sold and the money used for the local communities. As this park was mentioned by name as one of the parks that could be sold, I was appalled by this. No matter how much money the local community had to spend, once the park is sold, then it can never again be purchased. How short sighted and with no thought for the future generations of children and adults who would not be able to enjoy the beauty, space and childrens' play area as we have all done. To say nothing of the cafe and paddling pool and the chance to have picnics in a lovely setting without leaving the city.
Has this generation lost sight of the benefit of walking in beautiful places? Is it really all about money? Can giving up a green space be justified for cramming tiny houses and flats in a small space, at prices that nobody can afford anyway?
Is a bit of fungus so dangerous that a beautiful tree has to be cut down? Can't it be treated before such drastic action is taken?
What is wrong with the Council who isn't thinking beyond the end of their nose?
What gets up your nose because this has certainly got up mine?

Saturday 10 March 2012

Comfortable Feelings

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Do you ever get a comfortable feeling right from the start of a relationship?
That is how I feel about my son's fairly new girl friend.
We are all comfortable around her. She is similar to us and has the same kind of interests. She is a people person and makes everyone feel special.

Although this relationship has *taken off* quite fast and amazed everybody involved, nobody has been hurt by it. She has two children by a long ago union that finished ages ago. My two grand children adore her and her two children. They are all friendly with each other and one huge attraction is her dogs.
In a recent post, I described them as Choodles..... but I have been informed that they are in fact, Cavapoos. That is a cross between King Charles Cavalier spaniels and Miniature Poodles.
Anyway, by default, we have inherited these dogs as well as two extra *grandchildren*.
It is not at all unusual to be asked if I'd like to go for a walk over the Common with them while they exercise the dogs and I have just had my oldest granddaughter and Sandy's daughter stay the night with us and they have got on really well and have been no trouble at all.
I like the way Sandy has included me in pub lunches and walks and things. I have never had this happen before and I must admit I am enjoying it immensely.
After all the turmoil that everyone has been through over the last few years, this is like a breath of fresh air.
I have been described as pessimistic....... but I am so hoping that the bubble will not burst.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Meeting Suburbia

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

I felt that I *knew* Suburbia from her blog, Moments from Suburbia pretty well as we'd been blogging and emailing each other for a good few years.
When I first started blogging, I kept the city where I lived a secret for a long time until those little widgets on people's statistics told them I was from Bristol. Then I started to openly talk about living in this fine city and I realised that Suburbia and I lived quite close.

Anyway, this week Sam, my son, who is *known* from his early blogging days, to Suburbia, arranged to meet up in a cafe that was fairly near to us all.
Sam and I arrived first and when Suburbia entered the cafe with that lovely posy of Spring flowers in my photo, I just knew it was her.
The two hours that we talked at a little round table, sharing a pot of tea, went extraordinarily fast and we seemed to be able to chat about all sorts of things quite easily.
It was my first experience of meeting a blogging friend so I did not know how it would be and I can honestly say that I was very pleased to have met up with Suburbia as she is such a lovely person.

In my last post, I mentioned that I did two hours of ironing for Sam in exchange for a promise to alter my rabbits hutch in return. A form of bartering.
I wasn't sure if Sam would keep me waiting a long time or not but I did manage to get him to agree to Monday.
The hutch went across an ideal place in the dining room but it didn't get much light in there as the window was behind it. So I asked Sam if he could cut a small window in the back of the hutch so that the light could shine through and the bunnies wouldn't be in a dimly lit hutch all the time.
I bought some perspex in anticipation. Sam said that he could do the job but he thought that it was completely unnecessary because he reminded me that rabbits live in burrows without lighting.
I can remember seeing little rabbits sunbathing in the open, so I didn't agree.

Anyway, true to his promise, Sam called round on Monday armed with all the tools needed for the job. Of course there were snags in doing the job and it turned out to be a much bigger undertaking than he'd first imagined.
However, the bunnies now have a double glazed window in the back of their hutch and the light makes it a much better place to be. They can see where they're going now.
I'm waiting to see them stretch out in their newly lit landing.
Where do you think they spend all their time, though? In the dark underneath their top storey.
Well, they do take a while to get used to new things.
Sam might well be saying, I told you so.

Friday 2 March 2012


Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Today, I went to my son's house to do a pile of ironing. Am I mad you might well ask? Sam very much believes in bartering like in the days of old. I'll give you two hens, if you cut my hair. That kind of thing.
He has promised to alter my rabbit hutch next week, so I will nag him if it doesn't get done on the day he has suggested.
Sandy, Sam's girlfriend, has two small dogs and when she visited his house recently, the dogs ran off down the open garden and got totally lost and ended up barking outside someone elses' back door way down the road.

Being a carpenter, Sam has just put up this fence and gate quite easily and very quickly so that they will not annoy neighbours again when they next visit.
The land is still quite rough as yet, but Sam hopes to re-grass it and have a herb garden near the house and a car port on the outside of the small fence. It will all take time and money but there isn't really any rush.

I will have to try and get a photo of the dogs. They are rather unusual. They are both a cross between a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and a Poodle, commonly known as Choodles. The female has got straight hair and looks more like a spaniel but the male came out looking like an Afro haired dog, springy, long wavy fur that doesn't shed so much. He looks like a miniature Old English Sheepdog and is a bouncy, energetic dog but the female is rather shy.

We are experiencing Spring like weather and things are much more pleasant.
Sam and I are shortly going to be meeting a local blogger for the first time...... who I've *known* for a few years now. It is quite exciting and I will let you know how we get on. Sam has a blog too but has put it on hold for now as he says he is too busy to continue with it. I haven't ever met anyone from blogging before but I have had telephone conversations with two bloggers who live a long way away and they sound just like *real* friends.

Have you ever met a blogger local to you and has anyone ever bartered anything?