Archive for May, 2011

Postaweek2011: Changing times.

It has been a while since I posted because life has just been so busy. I am working on some more illustrations, been babysitting two of my gorgeous grandchildren, working in the garden and trying to organised meals for H and I to keep our weight loss going. We have both lost just over a stone – that’s 14lbs to date. As well as everything else I have to do, all the exercise is taking its toll on my poor bones and a few sleepless nights knocked me for six, therefore I have been swapping the midnight bedtimes to try and catch up on some sleep. My time in the sun really helped and after everything I had tried, a day in the garden – nearly killing myself with pain – gave me the first good night’s sleep for ages. I did give in to painkillers though.

Before I share my scraggy garden I have to give a couple of examples of my wonderful, funny Harry. I will ignore the fact that he wakes at 4.30 am every weekday morning to two simultaneous alarms that compete with each other for rhythm and volume. Oh dear how awful, I hear you say. That, my friends, is the good bit! A sudden rendering, complete with dance, I might add, of ‘Oh what a beautiful morning’ followed by, ‘See you later my darling, you have a good day, I am off to meet my public, you go back to sleep.’  accompanied by a torch flashing to the rhythm of his singing, ( he doesn’t want to disturb me by switching on the light) and well, if I can get back to sleep an hour later I am lucky. So tiredness crept up on me.

Bedtimes are as equally amusing and tonight I had to laugh. He allowed me to take his picture, little does he know what I am doing with it hehehe. As I entered the bedroom after him I caught him in his PJs with a sun hat on and a penny whistle waiting there to make me laugh as I walked in… It worked! Bless him.


I think you need to hide my dearest….  Our life is many laughs and I am not complaining in the least. Everybody loves Harry and I think I am a very lucky lady to have found such a great, funny guy this late in life. There you are Harry, not FB but when I told you I’d publish it…… xxx

Right, now to my little plot of bug infested land. I wrote some time ago that I had a problem with bugs and slugs and, unknown to me, caterpillars. A friend said they didn’t hatch until june/July but my earlier post with Maica proved that they did indeed overwinter and survive to hatch the following year. As I cleared the weeds the other day I jumped when my hand touched something extremely hairy underneath them. Altogether I found three of the sweetest and hairiest caterpillars I have seen. I tried to photograph them but boy, were they fast. I did get some pictures though.

Before I show my garden here is another Harry caper – giving the fish a drink???? >

Now for the caterpillars:   Isn’t he a hairy little fellow? I have discovered that the Tiger Moth has declined by 89% over the last thirty years… hmm they need to look in my garden! 

The next picture shows how relentless I have been with my bug catching – well snails in particular – Homes to let anyone? The Monkey peas seem to like them anyway.

Much as I love the caterpillars there are only two flowers in the whole garden that haven’t been eaten, the violas and the pansies, all my Primula have gone,  at least I know why now…..

Here are the two surviving flowers, one of them has been chewed though. 

Despite having only two surviving plants and a dislike of bugs there are a few that I like to see around the garden. The following  three pictures are of three different colour damsel flies and a ladybird.         The Green damsel fly seems to have moved to the end and my text has sort of changed colour and is underlined, things are moving around and I have no clue how to change it all.


OOh it has all gone back to normal again.

I will try to post some more tomorrow because there are several lovely pictures of  a rose that my son and daughter in law bought me for Mother’s day a couple of years ago that is just so amazing. It changes colour  from yellow to orange to red and during these phases has the most vibrant colours, to the point that one stage looks like it is a fire from a brazier, white-hot in the middle to red on the outside. I did notice a green-fly on the petals though. Time to try a different bug spray!

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Todays topic was to choose another blog that you enjoy and write about it. I have to choose Piglet in Portugal. Not only for the wonderful writing and photographs of Portugal, nor the story of resettlement in another country and its problems and thoughts, all of which, I might add are a really interesting and informative read, but today, Carole blogs about meeting her new grand-daughter, her first, for the very first time.

I became a grandmother over eighteen years ago and now have fourteen grandchildren, number fifteen due in ten weeks, and I just have to say that all the struggles over the years seem to all become nothing when you see this tiny new person who comes into your life and changes things completely, whether it is your first or one of many. Carole writes in today’s blog of a frantic journey, not just to get to the hospital over 2000 kilometers away in time to meet Lily-May on the day of her birth but also to travel from rural to city. Their journey was more than just a fight with traffic but a journey into a new era, a journey to meet a new person in this world that is going to change their life forever.

I would recommend Piglet in Portugal’s blog for the wonderful journey you will have through pictures and extremely well written blog, of the life of an ex pat in Portugal. Carole discusses all the pros and cons of moving abroad as well as embracing life with all its differences in another country in an eloquent style, you will not fail to be captivated with her writing, just as I am.

I wish Carole, and her family, many congratulations on the safe arrival of her first grandchild, Lily-May. Looking forward to hearing all about their life as grandparents. x

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Postaday2011: making mistakes

There is so much I could say on making a mistake and when I think back on all the decisions in my life I can honestly say I have made my share of bad ones. But have I? I am aware of all the right decisions as they shine out with positive vibes and the consequences have all led to other things. I sometimes think my life has been charmed or at least I have an absolutely amazing guardian angel who gets it right every time!

Each decision I have ever has had two sides to it. Even though it was the right decision for me then someone else had to hurt. On the other hand, had I not made those decisions then I would be hurting. Sometimes we have to choose, those choices are the most difficult in the world.

At one stage in my life I was at the point of suicide, I am ashamed to say that now, but it was just the kindness of someone I knew who sat with me over a cup of tea that got me to take control of my life. That I wasn’t responsible for anyone else’s happiness if they weren’t prepared to meet half way. I made my decision, there was a lot of pain, a lot of bad stuff happened but on looking back to then and examining where I am now, I know it was all part of a pathway I had to travel. I needed those lessons to give me strength for other challenges in my life. My children were hurt back then, but we learned to talk.

Today, they are all fantastic people and all succesful in the pathways they have chosen for themselves. They are also children to be proud of. None of them have been in trouble, they respect the world around them , people and other’s property, nature and each other and well as myself. They all have great interests, hobbies or employment that they excel in and are really good people to be with.  Considering I have 8 children, from different marriages, I think we did ok and I am certainly very proud of each one of them.

Some of my decisions I have regretted initially but it is only on reflection and comparison to my life today that I realise it had to be. I am glad I made those decisions and am proud of myself for making the necessary adjustments to make my life work. It has all been worthwhile to be right where I am at this moment in time.

My secrets are: never hold a grudge; make the best of what you have instead of wishing for something more; forgive easily; never stop loving; never be afraid to say ‘I made a mistake’ and ‘let’s talk’; never be too proud to apologise; if life isn’t working – change it, it’s nobody else’s problem but yours; eliminate the word ‘hate’ from your vocabulary; Love – totally and utterly unconditionally; forgive yourself; smile a lot; be thankful for everything you have and always remember we are all on a different journey, it’s just great if sometimes we cross another’s path and decide to stay, if it doesn’t work out there are always other friends passing through.

So for me, I don’t think there are mistakes, if it happens – it is meant to be, for whatever reason. We might regret a decision at the time but that’s not saying it was a mistake, maybe it just takes a bit of adjustment before we realise that actually, life is great because of… not in spite of. So there are no mistakes, merely new adventures and experiences that will open new worlds and each one of us are responsible for ourselves.

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Postaday 2011: Back to painting

Time seems to be whizzing past just lately and I don’t seem to achieve everything I want to. I have in the back of my head that housework is less important than loads of other things I would rather be painting. For instance, the two paintings I started, the identical ones in different mediums, have been sitting in my studio for weeks now. The oil painting is dry and so I can carry on but I have been doing… yes… that’s right, housework! We are still slowly de-cluttering and it takes me so long.  Not throwing the stuff out but making the decision that an object has outlived it’s usefulness or no longer fits the look I want.

Of course I have to start my day with my cup of lemon water and 20 minutes ‘dancercise’.  Good old Reggae music…I need to plan my days much better to fit everything in because I intend to stick to my exercise routine for as long as I can. The knee isn’t holding up too great at the moment so I have to watch how I move but often it warms up after a while and improves. I’m not taking this time for granted and really give it all I can,  once I have lost the weight I can have my knee sorted. What a wonderful motivator – being able to walk without pain.

Today I have been asked to do some more art work for another book. What a perfect excuse to leave the housework and get out my brushes. Each time I do a cover it is a bigger challenge. I love using my imagination to picture the characters and place them in their setting, each one seems to get better. This isn’t an excuse for not writing my blog but they will be much shorter unless I do plan my time better. I am sure somewhere along my life I must have learnt time management. I used to teach it but was hopeless at it myself, haha… that doesn’t seem right. My trouble is that I am a fantastic procrastinator and a very busy lady at the moment.

All this is so exciting and I have no intention of failing, I have one more day before I weigh myself again for the week. I know I have lost at least 4 pounds so far in five days, so I need to keep everything up. After my exercise, my art will take a priority for the moment, along with my gorgeous grandchildren… Looks like some late night coming up!

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Postaday2011: Dieting update

It has been just over a week and a half since I started my diet in earnest and so far it has been a success. Not easy to stick to but I have the added advantage that I am not very fond of sweet things. Mind you I think cheese, crisps and such savoury delights as fried chicken are just as difficult to avoid, I did it though. Nothing has passed my lips that wasn’t healthy, mainly vegetable and fruit in origin and only low fat meats. To date I have lost 7lbs and I am proud of myself, it’s just a pity that I am the only one to notice it at the moment. You know those  things like being able to bend down and pick things up easier, can walk up the stairs without puffing so much, being able to stand straight and not see my belly beyond my bust. You know, the little stuff that only I know.

I say I have dieted it away but actually I have also started on an exercise routine. I started with ten  minutes a morning. I put on a disk of reggae music, don’t you just have to dance when you hear that beat? And I just moved about a bit to the rythm. By the end of the first week I had a good rhythm going and was more energetic, so much so that now I am doing 20 minutes a morning with weights. Well, only half a kilo in each hand but still better than nothing.

I am not sure it is doing my badly affected arthritic knee and hips any good and I am having to take painkillers at night but my shoulders and elbows have improved and no longer grate or hurt quite so much. I know I need surgery for my knee but unless I lose the weight it isn’t going to happen so I am in a catch 22 situation. I either sit back and do nothing or exercise and help my weight loss and fitness in preparation for it. Obviously, I don’t do anything that would put myself at risk of accident or extreme pain so my ‘dancing’ involves moving as much as I can.

I use various stretching exercises and basically put them to music, sometimes I have to dance without moving my feet, other times I can dance freely and walk easily. Not up to jogging but a reggae walk on the spot is manageable. I have graduated to the weights because I could, simply that! It all helps to burn the calories at the end of the day.

The best bit of it all is that Harry is doing it with me and we went out and bought some cheap T shirts, H bought a pair of joggers too. As part of the encouragement I am starting a diary, weight loss, exercise etc, it also includes those awful before pics in our underwear, ( for our eyes only, haha) and measurements along the way. I noticed there wasn’t a lot of difference in our waist sizes so I tried on the jogging pants. They fitted! First time I have been able to pinch any of Harry’s clothes and I am delighted. He went and bought another pair for himself but I have now officially a set of gym wear!

I know I am going to do well but at some point I am going to need more motivation so I am seeing the weight nurse tomorrow and am joining a slimming class to give me support. So far I am pleased with my loss, Harry has lost 5 lbs too, and am loving the fun exercise routine, pity about the extra pain. I am hoping that in time it will lessen and everything will become easier but at the moment I feel good and am so very determined to make this a lifetime thing. I just long for a time when I am in less pain and have had my knee sorted, then look out world, I shall be back out there!

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Postaday2011: Baking with Maica

I had today all planned. My fifteen minutes of exercise and then as the house was clean, a day of gardening but , as they say… The best laid plans of mice and men ….. everything went haywire for me. I was just about to embark upon my daily exercise ‘dance’ routine… well fifteen minutes of the only exercising and, sort of , dancing that an arthritic nearly sixty year old can do, when my daughter arrived with Maica, my gorgeous three year old grand daughter.

Not having been pre warned I wasn’t prepared and said to my daughter that I promised her we would make teddy bear bread, a recipe Maica had seen in her cookery book. My plans for the garden were on hold. Don’t worry said my daughter I will explain to her that you need to go in the garden and do some work. I couldn’t do that! I had made a promise to her that we would bake pan, Spanish for bread, the next time she came and had to keep that promise. After all children need to know they can trust what grown ups say, especially grandparents.

We made biscuits while we were waiting for the first rising to complete. Maica loved cutting out the shapes and was so excited when they came out of the oven. Soon the bread dough was ready and Maica loved the feel of the dough, warm and soft. She helped to knead it down before she built little teddy bears from the balls of dough I gave her. ‘Mama bear, Papa bear and baby bear. Just like in Goldilocks.’ she said.

   The picture is very small because we took them on my daughters camera but I am sure you can see on Maica’s face just how proud she was of her pan teddy bears. She also wanted to show off her biscuits. She cut many shapes, flowers, stars, birds, fish, horses, elephants, circles, you name it, we made them. I had to tell her mummy that when we made the horse, the head was loose but we put it on the tray anyway and when it was cooked it had mended. Here is a little picture of one of her biscuits. A star biscuit. Before she took them home she insisted she left a flala (flower) biscuit for Grampy Harry.

Before Mummy came, Auntie Tabby and millie decided it would be great to go to park behind where Grandma lived so off we trouped. Maica had so much fun with Auntie Tabby chasing her and racing her up the steps and down the slide, being pushed on the swing and playing on the seesaw. Bet she will sleep well tonight. Grandma sat on the seat most of the time watching with pride and looking after Millie. Millie loved it all too, she adores Maica. So today, was a busy day for me and Maica but exhausted as I am, it was a great one. Here’s to girl power!


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Postaday2011: A marathon holiday

It has been such a great holiday, with four bank holidays in two weeks, many peple strategically booked their three days off smack in the middle and got eleven days off losing only those three statutory days. The bank / public holidays were Good Friday, Easter Monday, The Royal Wedding and May day s0 taking in the weekends that is a really good holiday. My own has been busy, busy, busy. I have had visitors and Harry at home.

We are continuing our decluttering, which, even though no one would notice, seems to make the house just feel better. Still a long way to go but we are on a roll here. This weekend we took huge bags to the charity shop and are still fighting how to get all the recycle stuff into the bins so they will be taken without question… still working on that one. I think I might just have to catch the refuse collectors and talk nicely to them..

A little while ago H thought he might like to take up wood turning as a hobby once he retires in a couple of years or so, he went out and bought a lathe and chisels and several other bits, he was also given some wood and books, and subscribed to a magazine. Needless to say he discovered it wasn’t for him and so all the equipment was going to the charity shop when we learned that my uncle was restocking his workshop with the same… It was such a pleasure to give the stuff away to someone who really apreciated it. On top of that I got to spend a few hours with my aunt who, as 15 months older than me, I had grown up with. How nice it was to look at old photo’s that reminded me of my younger years and remember my grandmother too.

We naturally took some photos and here is a picture of myself, with my aunt, Uncle, my daughter Tabby and her daughter Millie.

It was such a wonderful conclusion to a great holiday, well not so much for me because I am at home all the time anyway, but for Harry, to have such a long break was really nice. There is something special about the times he is at home. We do more together and because he doesnt have to get up at 4.30am, we can lie in and enjoy a restful day doing just what we want. I don’t reckon he bargained for 15 minutes of physical exercise every morning before breakfast though..

On the topic of hobbies, I have plenty and am actually very busy but H has none, he has thought of photography and bought a bigger camera for that very purpose but most interestingly he and his former lodger, and now my daughter’s husband, have got together, following one of my previous entries, and have decided to get a boat between them to sail on the local pond. Warship? Torpedo boat? who kows but the last I heard a fishing boat was favourite…. watch this space!

Before I conclude this post I have to add the most wonderful picture of our little Millie that Harry took so maybe photography will be a good hobby for hm too. See what you think.

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