Most of my photos look better enlarged - just click on the photo to do this

Monday, 31 December 2012

Goodbye my friend

The post Christmas blues arrived early this year as even though the world didn't end on Friday 21st as forecast it was a sad day for me.  I took little Bambi to the vet for a scan following recurrent bouts of cystitis and fully expected to collect her later in the day.  However the vet called to say that the cause of her problem was most likely a "diffuse tumour" of the bladder and there was nothing that could be done it would only get worse so did I want her to put Bambi down whilst she was still sedated or to have her home and have to put her through the stress of another trip to the surgery later.  How can you make a decision like that?

I wanted her back of course but maybe for her sake it would be better to do it now.  A few minutes later I called the vet to say "Do it" and then was filled with remorse, guilt and of course incredible sadness.  I miss her terribly - Tom has always been more affectionate than Bambi, and so easier perhaps to love, but for company Bambi was my girl as she was always where I was.  Now there is no little cat waiting just inside the front door when I return home, no little cat sitting on the chair next to mine at the kitchen table (her favourite place) no little cat at my feet the moment I open a tin of tuna, no gooseberry green eyes beseeching me to pick her up for a cuddle (she mellowed as she got older and realised that being fussed was actually quite good), my heart is broken and although I do know (having been in this dark place before) that time the great healer will work its magic and I will be able to think of Bambi without this terrible weight of sadness just now I want to lie low so forgive me if I haven't been around lately to comment on your posts.  Christmas passed in a bit of a blur here I am afraid and the only good thing is that I have lost several pounds in weight everything tasting like cardboard to me just now!

The year 2012 has been a strange year here chez Marigold and I am hoping that 2013 will be a better year filled with good things for us all - so my best wishes to you all for a very happy new year.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

An idea for you

The other day a friend gave me two of these little packages, one each for Mr M and me, along with a Christmas card.  Inside each were some Quality Street chocolates.  I thought what a simple and effective idea this was and wondered if you might be interested to see how they were made as they'd look great at each place setting for Christmas dinner, on the tree or as little gift packages.  You could even add names and use them to mark the places couldn't you?  And of course they needn't only be for Christmas I can see I might be making some at Easter too.

Having already eaten my sweets (there were 3 of them not half a pound!)  I am hoping Mr M will hurry up and eat his too so I can have his package as I want to use them to give a couple of little tree decorations I have just made - one for my yoga teacher who likes crazy patchwork and one for a yoga friend at this week's class as it is the last one this year.  Of course I could make my own but you know what I am like for recycling and reusing things!

 How simple is it to make?  Just a rectangle of card scored and with holes punched as shown and ....

 .... then pulled into shape with a ribbon threaded through the holes.

I must go and clear up the mess in my sewing room now - how can making two tiny crazy patchwork tree decorations cause so much mess?  I guess it is because I need so many bits and pieces, fabrics which go together plus ribbons and yarns etc.  Must be neater!!!

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my recent "outing" posts.  Funny that so many of you liked the photo of Stonehenge in the mist so much.  As one of my friends said "you could have been staked out for days trying to get that picture" and there was I speeding past on the bus so no chance to go back if it hadn't turned out!! 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Another side to the capital

I had a day out yesterday and once again I was truly lucky with the weather.  Want to come with me?

I left home early and caught the coach - the sun was not long up and beginning to bathe the countryside in its light.  Do try enlarging some or all of the photos as they are so much better and clearer then.

The sky was blue and criss crossed with the trails of aircraft - I was glad I was on terra firma and wouldn't have wanted to be going anywhere warm and sunny on this wonderful crisp frosty morning.  The scenery had the colour bleached out of it and the shades were faded and subtle with every twig and blade of grass frosted and the sun an orange ball.

 It wasn't long however before we hit one of the patches of freezing fog which had been forecast - I was glad I wasn't driving.  Can you guess where I was headed fom the above photo?

Yes I was on my way to London and here we are passing Stonehenge whose huge stones loomed out of the fog - the sheep unconcerned by the history of the place were busily munching the frozen grass.  Further on the only touches of colour were some pheasants pecking at the frozen soil or was it perhaps that I knew they were colourful rather than actually seeing their red and green plumage.

As you can see by the time I got to London the fog had been left behind and I met my friend outside the Albert Hall and we made our way across the road to where the Albert Memorial stood with its gold work glistening in the sunshine - just look at that sky!

We were headed to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park which you can see across the Serpentine in this photo.

It wasn't quite what we had expected being a huge fairground with lots of scary rides and loud music together with many stalls selling food and drinks and some selling other items like wooly hats, hand warmers, jewellery and so on and not quite the tasteful Christmas Market I had envisaged!  However the colours of this ride against the vivid blue sky appealed to me if not the actual ride!

 We had wanted to see the Ice Sculptures and these didn't disappoint but we didn't linger too long in what was essentially a refrigerator!

 Then it was time to warm up with some lunch and we made our way to the cafe/restaurant which overlooks the Serpentine and were lucky enough to get a window seat overlooking this view.  A few hardy souls braved the temperatures to sit outside - perhaps they were smokers.

We ventured out onto the terrace after lunch just long enough to take a photo or two.  There were a huge number of birds of all kinds including Canada geese and swans along the edges of the lake.

 We decided that we'd walk round the lake enjoying the sunshine and catching up on all our gossip.  So we set off to walk round the Serpentine and Long Water which is actually in Kensington Gardens adjoining Hyde Park.  I have no idea of the distance but we were walking for about 2 hours.

 Loved this little house ....

... isn't it pretty?  Apparently it was built in 1911 to house the park keeper.

 This one could be anywhere out in the country couldn't it?  You can see why the green spaces and parks are often called the green lungs of the Capital.   London has a huge acreage of green spaces where you can be away from the noise and grime of the city in just a few minutes and can quite forget you are in the middle of a busy metropolis.

 This rather strange sculpture is The Arch by Henry Moore and had been removed in 1996 as it was structurally unsound but was replaced earlier this year.

 Could be Stourhead or somewhere couldn't it?

 Only the buildings shining in the sunshine in the background to indicate that we are not far from the hustle and bustle of London's busy streets.

The frost hadn't melted at all in places where the sun hadn't reached - it was very cold and now the sun was  going down it became colder still.  I love the golden orange colour the setting sun gives to everything though it also speaks of chill and I can't help wondering about the old chap (probably no older than I am!) we had passed on our walk, sitting on a seat with his bicycle alongside laden with dozens of plastic carrier bags, and where he might have spent the night! 

We were not tempted to paddle our feet in the water nor even our fingers as suggested at the Princess Diana memorial fountain as by now it was really freezing and our thoughts turned to something warmer.

We had enjoyed our walk and it was a part of London with which neither my friend nor I were familiar so it made for an interesting ramble but by now we were pleased to have arrived back at the Albert Hall where we decided to have tea and cake (it was my friend's birthday after all!) again we had a window seat and overlooked this view.  The architecture of these buildings is beautiful and the workmanship which went into the stone carvings amazing - I wonder if in years to come people will marvel at the craftmanship involved in our modern buildings.  The buildings on the left are The Albert Hall Mansions built by Norman Shaw in 1879 and they started a fashion for red brick.  The buildings in front are the Royal College of Music.

Having warmed up from our walk and enjoyed an hour of conversation over a very civilised pot of tea in pleasant surroundings it was time to wend our separate ways home so we parted promising to do Plan B - our plan should the weather have been wet and involving an exhibition at the Natural History Museum - before too long.  I hope you are not too cold nor footsore now and that you enjoyed our walk?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Rain - what rain?!

 Today I met up with the friend I had planned to meet last Tuesday when I did my walk in the rain into town.  What a difference in the weather!  I drove to Dorchester enjoying the sunshine and the views where we met in the car park and then took the bus into Weymouth using our bus passes.

 We had a cup of coffee in Marks and Spencer before setting off to walk along the beach which was all but deserted.  No ice cream vendors, no Punch and Judy and no donkeys today.  It was wonderful to be out in the fresh air and sunshine although it wasn't warm enough for a paddle or even to sit on the beach.

 We walked along chatting and catching up with the gossip all the while keeping our eyes on the pebbles in search of any tiny treasures.

We were headed towards Bowleaze Cove a little over 2 miles away.

We finished up at the long white building you can see in the above photo which turned out to be The Riveria Hotel which back in my Weymouth college days nearly 50 years ago was a holiday camp and owned by Pontins I believe.  We discovered that it was open for business and that the bar served sandwiches and light meals so we had our lunch there.

Just look at that sky - hard to believe we were suffering torrential rain earlier in the week isn't it?

I loved the patterns on the concrete supports here  - do click on the photo to enlarge it and see what I mean.

We wended our way back after lunch and by now it was probably about 2.30pm and the sun was lower in the sky - days are so much shorter this time of year and we both wanted to get back before darkness fell.

 See how the light is now golden and there is a sense of evening already.  There is an urgency about days out this time of year a feeling that one must make hay whilst the sun shines and the number of daylight hours in which to enjoy time outdoors being reduced one had better get a move on!  We duly caught the bus back to the cars at Dorchester.  The scenery looked so different on the drive home and whereas this morning everything was bright in the sunshine on my return drive the distant hills were drawn in charcoal and the sky was a water colour of lemon, rose and blue streaked with deeper mauve which it was difficult to differentiate from the hills (well it was whilst driving and needing to look where I was going!) - the sheep looked whiter in the fields and cropped the grass seeming unconcerned about the coming night or even the falling temperatures (only2.5 degrees by then) but perhaps wearing woolen coats they had sufficient to keep them warm.  The Old man's beard draped over the hedgerows like rather grubby duvets would hopefully provide some warmth for any small creatures in the hedgerow and the birds were making their way across the darkening sky presumably to their roosts.  How lucky was I to be heading home to a warm house where I have a cosy bed for later!  I was home and with the kettle on as darkness fell at 4.30pm

Some of the little treasures I found in my pocket along with a load of damp sand!  I particularly like the shell which has a look of carved ivory don't you think?  I also found a few bits of sea glass something I don't think I have found before.

Thank you to all those who left such lovely comments on my previous post.  Sadly Cas I have to admit the shawlette isn't finished in fact it is once again a ball of yarn as having managed to knit a shallow triangle as required I actually thought it looked a bit like a dishcloth round my neck after all so unravelled it and the ball has joined my ever increasing yarn stash!!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Is it safe to look over the battlements?

 This is the view from the bedroom window this morning - might not look much to those of you living in sunnier climes but to us here in Somerset this is wonderful!

 After the torrential rain and strong winds of last night it was good to be able to go out in the garden and to see the sun shining on the bare branches of the trees.

 See there is even blue in the sky this morning!

 Hiding beneath the fallen leaves are a few brave primroses peeking through - is Spring around the corner perhaps?

A couple of cheery marigolds still blooming too as if to say "All is well after all!"

And outside the back door some pretty little cyclamen - is there a lesson here that "In the depth of winter within us lies an invincible summer" (with apologies to Camus for altering his words).

My thoughts go out to those who have suffered in the floods - for us it has only been disruption of plans and not the heart breaking mess of water in the house; for some not for the first time recently either.

 On a personal level I have been lucky and enjoyed a day out with friends in Salisbury on Friday between the rainy days we were lucky enough to pick a dry bright one but the floods seen from the train were awful though with the trees reflected in the lakes which should have been fields actually quite beautiful in their way though I am sure the farmers and animals didn't see it like that!  I was a bit late in getting the camera out so missed most of what I wanted to photograph here!

This "boy" seems to be enjoying watching the water swirl below him in Salisbury doesn't he?

I gather we must batten down the hatches again later today so I must make the most of the morning.  Hope that those of you in flooded areas are OK and managing to keep dry.

PS - Spoke too soon just an hour after posting this and it's raining again!!