Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Thursday Poem

Young Woman Reading by a Window - Delphin Enjolras



A Song of a Young Lady
to Her Ancient Lover

Ancient person, for whom I
All the flattering youth defy,
Long be it ere thou grow old,
Aching, shaking, crazy, cold;
But still continue as thou art,
Ancient person of my heart.

On they withered lips and dry,
Which like barren furrows lie,
Brooding kisses I will pour
Shall thy youthful heat restore
(Such kind showers in autumn fall,
And a second spring recall);
Nor from thee will ever part,
Ancient person of my heart.

Thy nobler part, which but to name
In our sex would be counted shame,
By age's frozen grasp possessed,
From his ice shall be released,
And soothed by my reviving hand,
In former warmth and vigor stand.
All a lover's wish can reach
For thy joy my love shall teach,
And for thy pleasure shall improve
All that art can add to love.
Yet still I love thee without art,
Ancient person of my heart.

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
(1st April 1647 - 26th July 1680)

from the book: Poem for the Day One

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

I have made a start...


on the Looking to the Future plan by having a good clear up and sort out in our living room ~ which is not for the first time, as you will probably remember sweetie~pies!  I didn't even think to take any "before" photos so can't show you how bad it had become again but trust me when I say the room was in a terrible mess. 


I have decided to show you the house just as it is, warts-and-all, rather than trying to cut out the worst bits. 

This is where Adrian and I sit.  I must confess that my corner (where the white lamp is) hasn't looked this tidy for a very long time ~ even when I had "tidied" previously!


I have taken away most of the non-blue and white ornaments from the dresser.  I seem to have collected rather a lot of knick-knacks and doo-dads which are pink and flowery in recent years ~ and I must admit that I have rather gone off them! 

 My collection of Yoborobo plushies live here now, where Ethel-Maud happily keeps them in order :-)


A closer view of the Yoborobo family.


My sweet little Ethel~Maud with her new friend Quinton the lamb.


I don't know if you have ever seen photos of my sofa, my loves, but it is a very dark blue leather.  Although it was a hand-me-down from my parents, it has had very little use and is still in lovely condition.  It was an expensive purchase when Mum and Dad bought it and is a good solid piece of furniture.  I want to keep it in good condition so that it lasts for a good few years; it doesn't get much use here either, only really when we have visitors or the children are back home. 

I decided to put a loose cover over it for the summer to brighten up this part of the room.  The difference was amazing!  I also bought some new cushion covers which are in a pretty shade of duckegg-ish blue and sit very happily with my curtains. 

The sofa cover is a lovely colour but doesn't fit as well as I was expecting it to; I guess it's the shape of our sofa.   At some point I may try to make it more "fitted" ~ it would be worth experimenting with it before paying good money to have a loose cover made-to-measure!


I hadn't yet got round to showing you my new-to-me living room curtains, sweetie~pies, so here they are :-)  Aren't they lovely!  You just know that I couldn't I resist a pattern of blue and white vases with pretty pink and yellow flowers ;-)

I bought them, along with another pair, from a seller on ebay.  Both pairs came with pelmets and tie-backs, although I am not using either with the living room curtains.  This pair is lined and also has an inner blackout lining.  The other pair is lined AND padded!  The seller had had them made-to-measure for her previous home if I remember rightly.  I took a chance and put them in my washing-machine to freshen them up using a cold, handwash setting.  Thankfully nothing shrinked :-)

They are both beautifully made and I guess were very expensive when new.  I paid the princely sum of £59.99 for both pairs, which included postage!  To say I was pleased with my purchases would be something of an understatement, my loves LOL 


You may have noticed that the dolly population has decreased somewhat in the living room.  I'm going to go all dramatic on you now, sweetie~pies, and tell you how heartbreaking it's been for me to make the decision that some members of my dolly family just have to move on to fresh pastures *sob sob*

Mabel and Mildred here are both Rosebud dolls and I have such a soft spot for this particular manufacturer as my very first baby doll, Jane (who I still have of course!), is a Rosebud.  Two more Rosebuds who used to share the pretty basked with Mabel and Mildred are destined for Ebay after they have had a session in the dolly spa ~ sadly, they won't be the last of the dollies to go :-(  I do have to be realistic, though; I just don't have the space for lots and lots of dolls, so need to keep only the ones who really have embedded themselves into my doll-shaped heart. 


Of course I am keeping Julia, my beloved dolly daughter!  She now has a new friend to keep her company; baby Violet is also a Rosebud.  The two girls have moved from sitting on the sofa over to this chair on the other side of the room.  They have a good view out of the window now and can watch the world go by :-)

I know the living room would still be a minimalist's worst nightmare, my loves, but a lot of decluttering/downsizing has gone on in here!

I'm now working on The Shed *eeeeeeek*

Monday, 28 May 2012

Looking to the future...

image from FreeDigitalPhotos.net


In a previous post I mentioned that I had been rather busy recently, my loves, and promised to tell you what I have been up to.  Well, to cut a long-story-short, Adrian and I have decided to move when he retires ~ hopefully to Orkney.

We have been talking about moving for a few years now and our trip up there last month just reinforced what we had already been discussing and wanting to do.  Both of us are sick and tired of living where we do at present; sadly, this just isn't the same little town it was when we first moved here way back in 1983.  It is so crowded now, like much of the south-east/east anglia, and the traffic really is pretty awful along our road.  Unfortunately house prices are such that we simply can't afford to move to a different ~ i.e. "better" ~ part of town. 

At the moment, we are tied to living here because Adrian has to commute into London for work each day, plus his elderly housebound Mum lives nearby and is dependant on us for shopping, etc.  It would hardly be fair to up sticks and move away whilst she is still alive.  Adrian has about another 6 1/2 years before he can retire but our plan is that we will be looking to move then ~ depending on whether or not Mum-in-law is still with us.  I don't mean that to sound morbid or unkind; sadly, my loves, I am simply being realistic ~ she will be 89 this year, is not in good health and is getting more frail as the months go by.

On the one hand, 6 1/2 years sounds like a long time and I know it must feel like an absolute lifetime away to poor Adrian.  But I know that the next six years or so will fly by ~ just like the previous six have!  So that leaves us with "just" six years to get the house properly sorted out, tidied up, decorated, etc.  Frankly, sweetie~pies, I rather think we shall be needing all of those six years to get everything done ;-)

Of course, much of the "stuff" in the house belongs to your's truly and that is where I have begun to concentrate my downsizing/decluttering efforts ~ after all, we really can't do any decorating whilst the house looks like it should be featured on one of those hoarder tv programmes!  Mind you, I do feel that I should point out here at the beginning of this exercise that there is simply no way on God's good earth that I am ever going to become a minimalist.....but I am having to make some big decisions about all the things I have accumulated and if I am honest, my loves, some of the choices I have decided upon are already proving to be a teensy wee bit painful *sigh*

In the end, of course, it will all be so worthwhile but in the meantime, I rather think you can look forward to plenty of whining, whinging, tears and tantrums!

A Monthly Make for 2012: May


May has been a much more productive month, my loves ~ I have managed to crochet four offerings for the Monthly Make for 2012 challenge, so I am a very happy bunny :-)

It was my sister's birthday on the 12th and I bought her a lovely pair of earrings ~ which I was oh so very tempted to keep for myself but I was a good girl, sweetie~pies, and gave them to Amanda as I had originally intended ;-)  I made this little gift bag to present them in, using Lucy's (Attic 24) hexagon pattern.  I simply made two hexies and joined them together.  I then added Lucy's bobble-shell edging around five sides and made a flap on the sixth, which I also edged with bobble-shells.  Then it was simply a case of sewing on a pretty button and making a crocheted chain loop.

My sister was delighted with her gift and I was very pleased with how it all turned out :-)


Another of Lucy's tutorials.  I stuffed my wreath with soft toy filling and added leaves to all the little flowers.  I made this for my friend Olive "just because".  She is such an encouraging lady and has helped me a lot ~ I am very glad that we are friends :-) 


Here is Lucy's hexagon pattern again, this time made into a scented sachet as part of a gift for a friend's upcoming birthday.  I had previously bought some little muslin bags and I filled one with dried lavender ~ which smells absolutely heavenly, my loves! ~ and popped it inbetween two little blue hexagons.  I joined them together and again finished off with the bobble shell edging ~ I really like this edging, I must confess LOL


This time I used a pattern from The Royal Sisters blog ;-)

I made one of these a little while ago for Beverly and I was very taken with the pattern at the time.  I finally got round to making a couple for myself!

The green-striped one is for my bedside cabinet and the multi-coloured one is for the living room :-)

I made all of this month's Monthly Makes using yarn I already had.  I have lots of balls of part-used yarn so I am trying to use them up! 


Start the week with a quote...

image from The Graphics Fairy




What is right is often forgotten by
what is convenient

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Prayer for World Peace

Dove of Peace ~ Giclee print



We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Thursday Poem


Young Woman Reading by a Window - Delphin Enjolras


Death, Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me.
From Rest and Sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow;
Rest of their bones and souls' delivery.
Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke.  Why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall he no more: Death, thou shalt die.

John Donne
(c. June 1572 - 31st March 1631)

from the book: Poem for the Day One

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wednesday Weigh-in


Starting weight: 22st 7.5lbs (315.5 pounds)

This week: 22st 1.5lbs (309.5 pounds)
= no change

Total loss: 6lbs
 
I have been somewhat remiss with my weigh-in posts, my loves, but I have been rather busy ~ I shall tell you all about it in another post ;-)
 
Anyhoo, as you can see my weight has stayed the same since I last posted on the 25th April ~ gosh, that's almost a month gone by with no updates!  To tell the truth, I am pleased and pleasantly surprised to find that I have maintained the status quo since I really haven't been thinking about dieting, healthy eating, etc ~ my brain has been far too busy thinking about other things LOL   

Monday, 21 May 2012

Start the week with a quote...

image from The Graphics Fairy




God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Prayer for World Peace

Dove of Peace ~ Giclee print




We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Thursday Poem


Young Woman Reading by a Window - Delphin Enjolras


The Rose Family - Song II

O lesson well and wisely taught
Stay with me to the last,
That all my life may better be
For the trial that is past.
O vanity, mislead no more!
Sleep, like passions, long!
Wake, happy heart, and dance again
To the music of my song!

O summer days, flit fast away,
And bring the blithesome hour
When we three wanderers shall meet
Safe in our household flower!
O dear mamma, lament no more!
Smile on us as we come,
Your grief has been our punishment,
Your love has led us home.

Louisa May Alcott
(29th November 1832 - 6th March 1888)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Prayer for World Peace

Dove of Peace ~ Giclee print



We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Thursday Poem



The Rose Family - Song 1

O flower at my window
Why blossom you so fair,
With your green and purple cup
Upturned to sun and air?
'I bloom, blithesome Bessie,
To cheer your childish heart;
The world is full of labor,
And this shall be my part.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O robin in the tree-top,
With sunshine on your breast,
Why brood you so patiently
Above your hidden nest?
'I brood, blithesome Bessie,
And sing my humble song,
That the world may have more music
From my little ones erelong.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O balmy wind of summer,
O silver-singing brook,
Why rustle through the branches?
Why shimmer in your nook?
'I flutter, blithesome Bessie,
Like a blessing far and wide;
I scatter bloom and verdue
Where'er my footsteps glide.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O brook and breeze and blossom,
And robin on the tree,
You make a joy of duty,
A pride of industry;
Teach me to work as blithely,
With a willing hand and heart:
The world is full of labor,
And I must do my part.
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

Louisa May Alcott
(29th November 1832 - 6th March 1888)

Monday, 7 May 2012

Start the week with a quote...

image from The Graphics Fairy




Yield to all and you will soon have nothing
to yield

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Prayer for World Peace

Dove of Peace ~ Giclee print



We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Thursday Poem




The Rainy Day
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(27th February 1807 - 24th March 1882)


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Holiday to Orkney: Part Three


The third and final instalment of my Orkney photos, my loves!


I believe this is the Town Hall in Kirkwall.  Another wonderful facade for a dolls' house! 

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall.  The Cathedral was founded in 1137 and is in wonderful condition. 





I truly believe that St Magnus Cathedral is one of the most wonderful buildings I have ever visited.  It exudes a feeling of warmth and tranquility, and is beautifully kept.
 

Ruins of The Bishop's Palace, Kirkwall.




Ruins of The Earl's Palace, Kirkwall.


Magnificent War Memorial beside the Cathedral.


Fabulous Cathedral door.



I'm afraid that this close-up of the amazing ironwork on the Cathedral door is not the right way up! 


Beverly, Niamh and your's truly on the steps of the Cathedral.


And to finish off the holiday photos, a picture of Niamh posing quite beautifully in her cheerful pink raincoat and snazzy boots! 


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Holiday to Orkney ~ Part Two


Because of the difficulties I was having with my back, we had a very quiet holiday, doing not-very-much at all.  I confess that I found the journey from our home down here in the south-east all the way up to Orkney was very tiring and stressful, so I wasn't even up to being able to walk about much for the first day or so. 

But after that we went out every day, even if only to walk into Kirkwall town centre and back from the holiday cottage.  My mobility greatly improved day-by-day during the course of the week, my loves, and the return journey back home was so much less tiring and stressful, and very much more comfortable :-)


We managed to get over to Stromness, a 30 minute bus ride from Kirkwall, for a few hours on the Thursday.  The walkway in the photo above leads from the ferry terminal to the ferry ~ well, it would do had there been a ferry in port at the time LOL


This is The Stromness Hotel, where Adrian stayed when he came up to see Beverly last year.  He has been a couple of times already but this was my first visit to Orkney.

I really liked the facade of the hotel ~ wouldn't it make a fabulous dolls' house front sweetie~pies!


It must be wonderful to be able to look out of your window to see this fantastic view!  Having said that, even though I confess that I totally fell in love with the look and "feel" of Stromness, I don't think I would be quite so keen to actually live in one of these houses purely on the grounds of maintenance ~ most of them actually jut out into the sea.  They must really bear the brunt of the bad weather and heavy sea conditions.


This pretty little cat was happily dozing on top of a car, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine.  Despite torrential rain the previous day, we were very lucky in Stromness.  It only rained once whilst we were there, and it didn't matter at all since we were in a rather lovely cafe having lunch at the time :-)


Another view through the houses to the sea.


I loved it so much in Stromness.  I could have just stayed there, to be honest.  Perhaps one day we will be able to up sticks and move up there.....


The stone buildings are just lovely.


You can see what I mean about the houses being right out into the sea!


A beautiful scene...


I would love to live here in this part of the town!


A very friendly local chap asked if we would like him to take our photo.  Now, had someone down south done likewise my first thought would have been "not likely, mate ~ you just want to nick my camera"!  This man was so sweet and chatty, he told us quite a bit about himself and the local area.

In fact, in the space of about 20 minutes we had been approached by a couple of other local chaps as well, who just wanted to point out things of interest!  One fellow told us about the actor Robert Shaw and pointed out the house where he had lived as a child.  The other chap told us about the blue plaques on lots of the buildings.  Now how nice is that! 

Sweetie~pies, I really fell in love with Stromness...