Sunday, 1 December 2013

Precious Sundays


Just stopping by to say a fond farewell to Storytelling Sunday. After three wonderful years of memorable yarns, it's creator has rung down the final curtain with a cracking tale that is the perfect reminder to us all to listen more carefully and take note of those small but oh, so important moments that happen every day. Write them down, record them in some way, so that they are never forgotten. Storytelling Sunday has given so many of us the opportunity to do just that and I will miss it greatly.

Thank you Sian for creating and inviting me to remember so many big and small occasions during the past couple of years during my participation. Sharing stories, feeling part of a group of lovely bloggers, has meant a lot to me.

The theme for Storytelling Sunday Three this past year has been Pick Your Precious. As this is the last one, I can think of nothing more precious than my family. These past few months have been enormously difficult ones and continue to be so. Life sometimes has a way of turning your world upside down and the things you enjoy the most have to take a back seat. I have felt the lack of blogging keenly but the living has had to be got through. Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans, sang John Lennon in a 'Beautiful Boy'. How true is this?

I recently celebrated my 68th birthday. My elder daughter took me out for afternoon tea with the grandchildren. How precious is this!


My younger daughter was too ill to travel, but I joined her and her husband in Kent a few days later and celebrated my son-in-law's birthday.

These are the people that mean the world to me. They are my precious.


So, a fond farewell Storytelling Sunday. Your stories will never be forgotten.

Hugs, Irene x

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Scavenger Hunt 2013


Rather like Shakespeare, I feel that this Summer's lease hath all too short a date. It passed so quickly while my time was occupied elsewhere. Having entered into Rinda's Scavenger Hunt last year - and loved it - I so wanted to join in this time round. Let's get going!

It's still the 21st September as I write this, so if Blogger is kind, I may yet get to post the photographs from the list. Here goes!

An open air market

Theatre in the Park

A Civic Building


A sunset

Someone taking a nap

unintentionally funny sign (makes me smile!)

A tower

Something out of place

An outside bench

An animal in a zoo

A cloud in the shape of a feather

A fence

A stained glass window taken outside

A fire engine

A windmill

A candle

Local coffee house

a fisherman

A dinosaur (or three)

Holding an artistic tool - doodle time!

I feel a real sense of achievement being able to join in. I will get round to putting them all into my Project Life album soon, which is how I presented them last year. Now to go and link them up...

My thanks to Rinda for organising this yearly event. It is such good fun and my grandchildren really enjoyed helping me look for several items this year.

I am looking forward to some time to visit other participants in the near future. I bet there are some amazing photographs. If you want to check these out, pop on over to Gallo Organico to follow the links.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Curious Collections


During a recent stay with my daughter and son-in-law in Kent, I had the opportunity to visit the Turner Contemporary in Margate to see the exhibition Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing. You can read more about it here. As a collector, I was fascinated by the diversity of the shown collections, everything from photographs to a collection of Rolodexes from the Center for Land Interpretation. I particularly enjoyed seeing five pen and ink studies by Leonardo da Vinci, a favourite being A cloudburst of material possessions in which household articles appeared to be raining down from the clouds. He drew this sometime between 1510-1513. The drawings were in amazing condition considering the paper used and their age. Can you imagine the journey they have been on? The tales they could tell?

In the foyer of the gallery were several sculptured pieces by the artist Juan Munoz: Conversation Piece III, 2001. They were arranged as though frozen in mid conversation. My daughter was greeted by one of the sculptures. 

Another delight of the exhibition was the opportunity to leave a message of curiosity and this wall of notes was a paper lover’s dream. It looks choreographed but people had just placed their messages randomly.

As we were leaving Margate, along the seafront I spotted a clock tower. I am rather late in publishing my Scavenger Hunt finds this year. The photographs are in my camera but several haven’t yet made it on to the blog and I must remedy that soon as the deadline is fast approaching... Here’s number 8, a tower, taken from the car as we drove by.

Be back soon. 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Planning a fun weekend


This weekend will be my eldest grand-daughter's 7th birthday. I can hardly believe that seven years have elapsed since that incredible day when she was born at my home. My daughter elected to have a home birth and I had the privilege to witness the birth together with her husband and two midwives. It was such a special time being with my daughter as she gave birth to hers. 

In September 2006, my daughter and her husband were living with me prior to moving into their new home and now, seven years on, we are all living together again. I am in my lovely granny annexe and they are in the main house. This arrangement is working out so well. We each have our privacy and really enjoy the times we are all together. And, I get to spend as much time as I want with my three grandchildren - lucky granny!

The children's new school term started yesterday; my eldest grand-daughter's third year and the first for my grandson. He was a little apprehensive as he left for school but had a really happy day. I tried to get a photograph before they left the house but couldn't get the children to stand still, hence the blur. This is the best I could do for the family album. At least it is some kind of a record for this momentous day...

And now, back to that birthday. I have been rather busy making decorations for the birthday party with the aid of my eldest grand-daughter and my younger daughter and son-in-law. The party has a fun theme. Can you guess from these photographs what we have been making?

For these decorations, we used pages from the numerous catalogues that find their way to my door. 

And lots of scrapbooking paper for these.

Next week, I will post some more photographs of them in situ

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Show me the Way

Hello to you all

The suggested theme for this month's Storytelling Sunday is a small story; it can be about a lucky charm or a talisman. This theme is very apt, for I had already chosen a precious item about which to write. Here it is.

It is hand-carved and measures a mere 1 1/2 x 1 inch. I love that it is so beautifully pieced together, the small heart fitting neatly into it's chosen spot, the smoothness of the wood in my hand. This compass has been my travelling talisman for a great number of years. How many more journeys will we make together? I am hoping for a few! 

If you enjoy a good story be it short, long, small or tall, then do pop on over to Sian's blog, From High in the Sky. You will be glad that you did.  

Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Around here


During this busy summer, I have spent quite a lot of time with the grandchildren. I am grateful for this precious opportunity for in a week's time, my grandson will be off to 'big' school with his elder sister. I can hardly believe it! Here he is on Graduation Day at his nursery.

A digital Project Life page using template B, Clementine paper and journalling card

While he was at Nursery part-time, I got to spend the occasional day with him; just the two of us. We had some lovely jaunts and plenty of time spent in the garden.

Lots of ball games with his sister too

While our baby looked on

She is desperate to walk and be able to join in the fun. 

Must get back to stitching on those name tags for my grandson's new school uniform. It's going to be an interesting time when he has to wear it as he has an aversion to buttons... but that's another story.

Enjoy the rest of the week. It's flying by!

Monday, 26 August 2013

August Simply a Moment

It is 2:20 pm on the 15 August and I am at our local hospital waiting for some blood tests to be carried out. In my heart, I am hoping that after today's tests, I will be informed that I will not need them for another year.

In my head is another story. I am thinking back to exactly a year ago today, 15 August 2012, and how much I was looking forward to a friend's visit. Our friendship spans 38 years and throughout that time we have shared much joy and sometimes sadness; we have watched each other grow through motherhood and latterly, my becoming a grandmother. 

During her visit, I confided in her about a personal matter that was troubling me. I remember being a little shocked by her immediate response but felt I needed time to reflect on her reaction. Her support on the matter was not how I had expected it to be, especially because she had been through a similar experience herself. The rest of the visit passed most pleasurably and she thoroughly enjoyed seeing all my family. I dropped her off at our local railway station and we parted, as always, the best of friends.

Moving on through this year, we continued to email and speak on the telephone whenever possible. She still stood firm on her viewpoint and I didn't let it affect our friendship... that is, until... during our last conversation in June she said something so hurtful and painful to me that we haven't spoken since. She has not apologised to me and as time has elapsed, I guess she never will. 

As I am sitting here, I am thinking about loss. The loss of a friendship that means so much to me. The difficulty this division has made to our mutual friends. I am hoping that by writing this down the hurt in my heart will lessen. There doesn't seem any possible way back now. Forgiveness is one thing, but I don't seem able to forget. It's a new sensation for me. Throughout my life, I have been able to accept that sometimes that's the way life is and moved on accordingly. I wish I could forget.

I think that Henri Nouwen, a Dutch Clergyman, explains friendship more succinctly 

'When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender heart.' 

Although I am rather late joining in with Simply a Moment, I am grateful to Alexa over at Trimming the Sails to have this monthly opportunity to record this very personal Moment.  

Saturday, 10 August 2013

More Scavenging


While we were at the Eden Project that I mentioned here, I was able to capture a couple more photographs for the 2013 Scavenger Hunt.

Number 13 - a fence

Two of my three grandchildren loved standing on the platform that overlooked the whole Eden site. There were even peepholes in the surrounding fencing that allowed them different viewpoints. 

My other offering from that day is

Number 10 - a bench that is outside

This was the storyteller's bench upon which to sit while listening to stories. It contained carpets and lots of cushions for children to sit upon. 

There was another exciting seat at the Eden Project that doesn't qualify as either a bench or being outside but I am sure you would want to see it as it's quite magnificent.

Here it is

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and happy hunting.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Time to Scavenge

Last year was the first time I participated in Rinda's yearly Scavenger Hunt. I enjoyed it enormously and have looked forward with anticipation to this year's Hunt. I find that having a list of things to photograph ensures that I look more closely at what I am seeing through my camera lens, and that makes it all the more pleasurable.

This is my offering for Number 12 on the list: A cloud in the shape of something. We were asked to describe what we saw when taking the photograph. I offer up a feather

What do you see?

You can check out how to join in here. There is still plenty of time. The Hunt concludes on September 21. 

Until the next time, have a good week.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sharing Storytelling Sunday

Time for me to get back on the blogging saddle. I have missed you all. It's Storytelling Sunday so no better time than this to hop on board.

Several things have occupied me since my last post. Family health issues; the ongoing internet saga; trips to Cornwall and Kent, to name but a few. For instance, had I been on line, recording my Simply a Moment on the 15 July would definitely have been of sitting in a consultant's office receiving the brilliant news that my youngest daughter did not have a tumour on her spine. She does still have considerable health problems, but we are all so very grateful that the spinal problem is not quite so serious.

When my eldest daughter asked if I would like to join her and the family for a week's holiday in Cornwall, I leapt at the chance. She and my son-in-law rented a farmhouse owned by an artist. The artist lived nearby in another property and she also had a huge barn where she held painting workshops. It was an idyllic location for relaxation and afforded me time to reflect on the past six months and the opportunity to look forward to finding time for a more creative future.

The white single storey building was my bedroom and it amused me that I am now an annexe girl both at home and away...

You could be forgiven for wondering what all this has to do with Storytelling Sunday. While in Cornwall, we visited the Eden Project. It wasn't our first time there but it was the first time I had seen it in all its summer splendour. Our previous visits had been during springtime.

While we were walking around, I spotted this notice board

and this rather magnificent storyteller's chair. My 6 year old granddaughter loves to make-up stories and was happy to test out the chair's magical properties. She came up with the following story. This month's Storytelling Sunday belongs to her. The Story is called The Amazing Pebble.

Once there was a girl called Strawberry. She was a pretty girl and when she put on her shoes they were too tight. So her mum took her to the shoe shop and bought her some shiny shoes. When she put on her new shoes there was a big POP! Out came a pebble. It was dazzling. She picked up the pebble and held it in her hands and there was a flash of light... And she turned straight into a dog and within a minute she had some puppies. One was parachuting and the other three were running around like maniacs. The puppies said hello and good bye and wagged their tails. Someone bought them. They lived happily ever after. And as for the pebble it vanished and was never seen again.

And that's my precious for Storytelling Sunday. It warms my heart how much my granddaughter loves reading and storytelling. If you would like to read more stories or, even better, join in, head over to Sian's blog at From High in the Sky. I promise you won't be disappointed.

I will be back later in the week with some of my 2013 Scavenger Hunt finds but in the meantime, happy storytelling.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Out Hunting

Hello, hello

Have you observed in this technological age that anything involving a telephone company and a broadband company is like dealing with Luddites? Since my move into the annexe and the family's move into the main house, my son-in-law has probably spent more hours on the telephone to these companies than he would wish to record. It should be the easiest thing. We want a telephone line and broadband; they want our money and business. I was thinking that I might have to resort to using pigeons to send out my messages... when enter elder daughter on horseback (sorry, getting carried away!) bearing a gift from John Lewis of a mobile wireless modem. This useful gift is a life-saver while the telephone company and the broadband company decide whose turn it is to flick the switch to connect us. The modem is not the cheapest way to get on-line but I am assured that the broadband company will reimburse us by way of apology as they really, really want our business.

Don't these people know that it is time for Rinda's 2013 Scavenger Hunt; Alexa's Simply a Moment and before you know it, Storytelling Sunday3 over at Sian's place? Not forgetting the number of blog posts I haven't commented on recently and if that means Yours, please accept my apologies.

You may have noticed that I slipped in a photograph of bees after my rant. I hope it has held your attention long enough to read on.

This past weekend was quite eventful. The neighbours who live the other side of a large hedge at the bottom of our garden keep bees. It isn't the first time that their bees have swarmed into the garden. They usually hang off a tree but this time fastened themselves onto a post that holds up the vine attached to the house. Luckily, we were indoors but doors and windows had to rapidly be closed as the bees buzzed and fretted while being disorientated. We rang our neighbours only to hear they were away. After further inquiry, another bee-keeper was found who said that he would be happy to come and collect them. It was the start of the weekend, we didn't want to be 'trapped' indoors the whole time until our neighbours returned and, more importantly, the son-in-law and myself are allergic to bee stings. We gratefully accepted his offer.

The grandchildren were enthralled. It so happened that their parents were off to the Races that evening and I was babysitting. We spent a happy hour watching the bee-man and bee-lady using a smoker to quieten the bees down and then remove the nest onto a sheet they had spread on the lawn. My six year old granddaughter could not have been more thrilled when the bee-lady arrived wearing pink apparel, leopard skin boots and mauve marigolds. Not our usual Friday night entertainment but definitely one of excitement.

I am going to offer up the photograph of the bees for Number 9 on the Scavenger Hunt List: A photo with someone or something that is clearly out of place or doesn't belong.  

Until the next time, thanks for joining me.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Cherished possession

Over the years, I have had many collections. Books and fabric immediately spring to mind but there have been smaller items too. For instance, when I lived in Asia, I would purchase a small box from whichever country I was visiting to remind me of that happy visit. This collection got very out of hand as people observed that I liked boxes and I was overwhelmed with gifts of them from all parts of the globe.

Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to inherit a glass paperweight. I had always admired it as it sat atop a pile of correspondence on a relative's desk. By this time, there were quite a few paperweights in my collection, mainly made of cast iron that I loved for their intricate carvings and the memory of the ones that were used in the legal offices where I began my career. I only had to look at them to be immediately transported back to high desks, ink wells, and stacks of handwritten Wills and Divorce Petitions underneath heavy paperweights. This probably sounds very Dickensian and it was! 

I never tire of how this glass apple-shaped paperweight reflects the light and the amazing images it can portray. As it sits on my desk, the wood of the desk seems captured in the top half of the apple and if placed on a window ledge, gives a wholly unexpected view of the garden. It sits quite comfortably in the hand, though rather heavy, is not of any intrinsic value but to me so very precious. When I had my recent cull of possessions, I couldn't bear to part with it for it reminds me not only of a relative I loved, but also stirs within me some very treasured memories.

If you would like to read some more Precious stories, why don't you pop on over to visit Sian at From High in the Sky for Storytelling Sunday 3, Pick Your Precious? You may even have a story that you would like to share. You will be made most welcome.

Apologies too if you have popped in here recently. I have been laid low with a nasty viral infection from which I am only now surfacing. It seems you have all been super busy in my absence and I have a lot of catching up to do. There seems to have been a swap of Very Small Things that the amazing Sian organised. How could I have missed that ...

Enjoy what remains of the weekend.