Saturday 27 July 2013

Horse Power

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Today, the weather turned from a dry heatwave to rain but Amber, my granddaughter didn't mind because she was doing her favourite thing...... horse riding. Although I always knew that her passion was in horse riding lessons, I had never attended one with her before.  It was a good tonic for me to watch her on her trusted steed because her pleasure was obvious from the very start.
Although I suspect that many young girls love horses too, this one cannot wait until she is twelve so that she can come in regularly and muck out the horses and help with leading them in and out of the ring, saddling them up or whatever else needs to be done in the smooth running of the horsey world. There seemed to be a team of such girls helping out at the stables and they appeared to be pretty dedicated too.

Horse riding is something that I never did as a child. In fact, it would have been a very unusual thing to do in that era so close after World War Two with all the hardships we had to endure and the only time any of us got to do anything remotely like it was an annual visit to the sea with ride on a donkey thrown in for good measure.
Although I wasn't by any means a rich child, I suppose I was better off than quite a few but the standards are so different today and children seem to have so much more materially than any of us did, with trips abroad being the normal thing for most families and all the technical apparatus that they seem to have in a normal household. However, I had so much more freedom compared to children these days. We roamed the countryside and did some rather dangerous things by ourselves. I didn't think I missed out on material things then and looking back, I am glad I was born when I was because I don't think there was the same pressure that children face today. Life seemed to be lived at a more leisurely pace and children seemed to stay children for much longer.
I wonder if others are glad to have been born when they were?

Thursday 18 July 2013

Rabbit Droppings To The Rescue

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

It's official now. Six days of 30+C (that's up in the 80F range) and no rain means its a heatwave. Although the farmers and gardeners are struggling and I dare say that we will be threatened with a hose pipe ban if it goes on too long, it makes a welcome change from the cold and damp that we had previously. When I think about the wet Summer we had last year and our late Spring this year, it seems incredible.
British homes, as a general rule, don't have air conditioning so that we do tend to swelter when it gets like this. Electric fans are a must though when relaxing in a chair. However, it is always a treat to go into a supermarket where there is air conditioning and cool down before the trek home in the heat and of course its good to have a cool shower.

The Clematis, roses and all the other plants in my garden are all doing well. I have been throwing rabbit droppings on the soil around the roots of many shrubs that were looking tired and that seems to have given them a new lease of life. As far as I'm concerned, one can never have too many rabbit droppings.

Harry has finished his 10th chemo which he's tolerated with stoical determination. I'm hoping that he will have a bit of respite from his cancer now and that he will be able to enjoy and take part in Sam and Sandy's wedding that is now only a month away. They have found a very picturesque place to have the reception that will make a good backdrop for photos and the grounds will provide a lovely play area for the 20 or so children who will be attending.

It is nearly the end of term now and we have both been to see the children in their school musicals. Millie played a villager in The Pied Piper Of Hamelin which was a delight to watch and she spoke her lines very clearly and confidently.
Amber was an orphan in Oliver and I must say that they are a very talented group of children and the singing was extremely good.
So now we are nearing the end of the early breakfasts and keeping an eye on the clock in order to move on to the next activity and I daresay that it will take a bit of getting used to having time on our hands. However, there are books to be read and endless sunshine....... What more can anyone ask?

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Spot The Gromit

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

All over Bristol there are colourful Gromits hiding in secret paces and this is just one of them.
Surely there isn't anyone alive who has never heard of Wallace and Gromit?
Bristolians' are very proud of these characters, who appear in animated films, because they originated here in this city.

This project is all in aid of charity and the Bristol Children's Hospital will benefit from the proceeds of the kind people who sponsored and painted them and the eventual auctioning of these beautiful creations.
Last year we had gorillas everywhere and it is such fun for families to go on The Trail to find them.

Would you believe that two of the Gromits were vandalised on the very same day that they were put on show and are being repaired right now.
Who would do such a thing and why?

Tuesday 2 July 2013

The Scent Of Roses

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Just now, there are so many different flowers giving off such sweet fragrances.......roses, honeysuckle, and alyssum to name a few. Not so long ago it was wallflowers and violas giving off their lovely scent. 

As I pass different gardens when out walking and I smell the sweet aroma of a variety of flowers, I am taken back to my childhood experiences of them. I can remember always finding plants attractive and on one occasion when I was only about five years old I crept up a neighbour's path and thought I would pick some flowers to take home. We didn't have any like that in our garden and they smelled so beautiful. Suddenly, there was a rap at the window and the irate neighbour shook her fist at me. I ran, terrified that I would be punished and I realised that I had committed an offence.

Smells can evoke such powerful memories. Some beautiful and some not so pleasant, like the strong smell of disinfectant in hospitals and the scent of boiled cabbage at nursery that fills me with horror even to this day. Probably because I had my nose held while it was poked down my throat at nursery school while I was gagging and struggling. It wouldn't be allowed to happen today, thankfully. 
I hate the smell of pineapple because when I'd had my tonsils out at twelve years old, this was also poked down my throat in hospital because I didn't want to eat it as the juice stung my throat horribly.

I can remember that I loved the smell of wallflowers and to this day when I smell them, I'm taken back to a very young child marvelling at a neighbours flower bed before I had to run away.
The smell of roses takes me back to when I was a tiny child, at a June fair, dressed in crepe paper dress and throwing rose petals from a wicker basket in front of the May Queen, who we all thought was really beautiful.
What smells bring back vivid memories for you?