Monday 28 February 2011

How to Keep Warm at the Beach

It's been an action packed weekend.  I'm just amazed at the energy of my 7 year old granddaughter.  After swimming 20 lengths of the pool this morning and diving to fetch items thrown to the bottom of the deep end umpteen times, she still had to be coerced out of the water with a promise of spare ribs and chips for lunch.  Yesterday I was weary just from browsing shops, but she still wanted to go to the beach.  We did that on Saturday as well.  It has been really cold, with biting winds and we had to keep moving or freeze.  You can see how she kept warm in the picture.

Monday 21 February 2011

Earth Art at Kingston Lacey

As we wandered around the grounds of this stately home looking at the snowdrops, we came across a sign saying, "Earth Art".  We weren't sure what it was referring to, but soon we came across some examples.

I thought this one looked a bit like a dancing bear.

These reminded me of dancers in a ballet.

While this one could be a bird about to fly off this tree stump.

What do they remind you of?

Wednesday 16 February 2011

New Poem

I've created a new poem, Nature's Kaleidoscope.

It has been snapped up by Marc for his Folding Mirror blog, so you need to head over there if you'd like to check it out.  He's found a rather better image for it than mine as well.

Seeing the verses on the screen, I'm not sure about the last line now.  It may have to change.  What do you think?

Monday 14 February 2011

Christmas Past, Birthdays Coming

With Christmas in the dim and distant past, I've been thinking about presents for all our grandchildren's birthdays for this coming year. I even have one great grandson. It wouldn't do to forget any of them. Including the children of my stepdaughters, there are getting to be so many now that it needs a bit of forward planning.

My youngest granddaughter has recently been moved from her small bedroom to a larger one that has been done over for her. Of course it's mostly pink and I bet she still needs more places to put things and keep the room tidy.

I found lots of children's storage solutions at Vertbaudet . I particularly like the sets of woven boxes, both the pink and multicoloured ones, but I expect she's like the pink best. That children's storage page could be the answer for my great-grandson too. He's quite a bit younger, but not too young to start to learn about putting things away.

Our other two granddaughters are older but I could still find items that would suit them. And of course the grandsons are all gathering belongings that have to be tidied away.

Be great if I could get all of it from one children's storage site all at once, and not have to worry about it for the rest of the year.

Friday 11 February 2011

Feeding the Birds

I often throw breadcrumbs out onto the terrace outside our dining area. We love to watch the birds that come and feed from it through the French doors beside our dining table. Mostly they are blackbirds and sparrows, occasionally a robin or a thrush. And they take no notice of us sitting so near but behind glass, only flying off if we get up and walk towards them.

Our neighbours hang out birdfeeders with more apporpriate food for the tits and finches and we can also see those flitting around in the trees over the hedge. I enjoy seeing the goldfinches best of all. Yesterday several of them were chased off by a small flock of starlings who came to visit. I had thought that after they got a resident cat, the birds were staying away, but a good few have been back in recent days.

We hope to be able to make our own garden more bird friendly in time. At the moment it's looking very bleak, despite all the time we lavished on it last year. We failed to think any further than the planting for spring and summer, and I'm not very proud of it at the moment.

Along with many others, I had been concerned about the effect on the birds and other wildlife of the oil spills last year. Today I visited The Joy of Bird Watching and Living a Simple Life and read a post about how people had been trying to keep some of the migrating birds away from the affected coastline. It's great that there are people employed, and those who volunteer, who are coming up with ideas and making them work. It's worth a read, so do hop over there and take a look.

Pic by Marine Photobank ar Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Financial Things

I've been thinking for a while that if I get some well paying writing work, I'll join Kiva which I found through the blogging community.  Today I took the plunge and have lent a few dollars to the La Segunda Rosa Group of Mexico. They are sheep farmers and needed money to feed their growing herd.

There are plenty of other deserving causes at Kiva and what happens is that your loan is eventually repaid so you can have your money back.  But I expect I'll do what most lenders do and have it transferred to another borrower.

This has been made possible by some of the sub-contracted articles I'm expecting payment for this month and next, and possibly ongoing, which would be great.  It has also meant I can move into the next phase of my home improvements and yesterday I got what seems to be a good deal on having my front guttering, sofits and facia replaced. But it's going to cost me a lot more than my Kiva loan.

Monday 7 February 2011

100 Stories for Queensland

I'm in it!  My story, The Prize Conger, has been selected for this charity book.  I'm so pleased to be able to contribute something to those poor people hit by the terrible floods and then the dreadful cyclone.

The book is due to be released on Tuesday March 8th and 100% of the profits will go to the Queensland Premier's Flood Appeal.  You can find out more about the publication here.

This is a picture of Brisbane and its river in happier times.

Friday 4 February 2011

A New Dog?

The picture is of Ted, the delightful little dog who came to stay along with my granddaughter last October.  We all thought he was a great dog to have around.  Now my daughter tells me that a friend who has one of these sweet little King Charles Cavalier spaniels has to find a new home for it.  She's going to suggest me.  I'm so excited.

In case they agree, all I have to do is persuade my other half that we really, really need a dog.  Each time I mention it, he says it will be too much like hard work for us wrinklies.

We've been dog owners before and we still miss, Sam, our wonderful staffie, whose cancer was sadly diagnosed too late for him to be healed.  I think we really need another  dog to get us out of the house regularly, let alone all the love and affection we'll get from it.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Taking the Bus

This bus pic is by
Les Chatfield from Brighton, England

Something's badly wrong at Entrecard right now. None of the drops I made on Sunday registered, nor the ones I've just done. Fortunately the time was not wasted because I do my EC drops while I do Adgitize clicks. I sent EC a message this morning about their scanner not recognising the widget on my pages. I wonder how many of those they've received. The one good thing is that if you click on an EC widget, you still get to the site so at least we can all still get some benefit that way.

Yesterday I was oblivious of all this as I did nothing online except check my emails and send a couple. I took the rest of the day off and had a bus ride to Dorchester with my hubby, using our free senior passes. The bus takes about three times as long as a car trip, but it goes around lots of little Dorset villages that we know of but haven't yet been to, and we enjoyed seeing them from our vantage point at the front of the top deck. I took note of the fact that the Martyr Museum at Tolpuddle was very close to Athelhampton House & Garden, two places that are on my list to visit sometime soon.

In Dorchester, we strolled a round and checked out the shops, then met up with friends for lunch in the Kings Arms, the splendid looking hotel in the middle of the high street. It was built in the early 18th century but has recently had a bit of a face lift. The food was good and the company great, and when we paid the bill, the manager came over to thank us for our custom and invite us to use the car park when we come again. As long as we buy a cup of coffee, we are welcome to leave the car there for a few hours. That made us feel welcome and comfy, and it was a really good marketing ploy. There's plenty of competition for meals in the town, and many of them would be cheaper, though not better value, I reckon.

Anyway we finally and reluctantly moved out of the cosy bar area, which had two log fires burning, and back into the cold of the street, and we went our separate ways. But we were in for a cold and anxious time, because our bus didn't turn up. It was the last one which would take us all the way home, as well as the schoolchildren from the surrounding villages, so it was a bit of a mystery. When it was nearly half an hour overdue, hubby phoned the bus company, to be told that they'd had a breakdown but put on another bus which was due to arrive any time. As he finished the call, it came around the corner to our stop, having already been to the school.

We got on the bus and the driver apologised for our wait and asked us where we wanted to go. We took our seats and enjoyed listening to the light hearted banter of the schoolchildren, whose numbers steadily lessened as we stopped at Puddletown, Tolpuddle, Alfpuddle and Briantspuddle. Eventually we arrived at Bere Regis and the last of them alighted, at which point the driver came upstairs to tell us he was now taking the bus out of service and would take us directly to our home bus stop before returning to Dorchester. Apparently there was another bus about to start there and do the rest of the route. So our bus became a rather large free taxi for the two of us.

When we did get off the bus, I thanked the driver and apologised for making him drive so far. But he wasn't a bit put out “Not at all,” he said with a lovely smile. “I apologise to you for making you wait so long.” I had been thinking I wouldn't be repeating the bus riding experience, but that made me think again.

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