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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Carrots













29th September 


Today I want to talk about carrots. 

In our house it's  a veg that has many things going for it:
The humble carrot.
It's cheap, so we can have them often. 
It's healthy  -  adds another colour to any dish, helping to get to the 
magical five a day.





It can be disguised in lots of meals. For instance , shepherds pie, bolognese, stew, soups, salads and many more.
Buying carrots won't break the bank but I do want to get value for money, the same as I do with any purchase I make.
So, here is the thing.
Image result for picture of a carrot




1 kg "wonkey" carrots cost 35p
1 kg of supermarket own carrots 89p
330 gr ready peeled and sliced carrots 86p or £2.58

Now, there's nothing at all wrong with the wonkey carrots and they are probably and ironically the very same ones they cut and slice ready for us to use without getting our knives out.

For me it's not rocket science and I'm sure the same comment could be made on other products , it just seems to me that sometimes we waste money without thinking about it .
The ready to go carrots cost seven times more than the attractive wonkey variety. For me that is a significant saving. 
Do you have any similar stories? or are you a champion of the ready to go lobby?

Do have your say... 






27th September

A little story for writing group today: 


Broken Glass


I slump before the altar, tears wetting the stone floor at my knees. Well, I made it!  Slowly I ease my backpack from my sore shoulders and sit there for a few minutes, while others  wander round the Cathedral.  This moment marks the end of my ten day thanksgiving pilgrimage. At least that’s what I thought it would do. But as I reflect, I realise that this is just the beginning.

This journey has been, not ten days but more than five years. Back then, in another life, I was lost. An alcoholic, who drank away everything she had -  husband, children, house - I found myself in the company of other desperates sleeping in doorways in the city. Every morning I would place a paper cup on my scarf in front of me hoping to get enough change to help me through the day. People would pass by quickly, sometimes crossing the street, avoiding me, as if I were contagious.  Occasionally, some, while carefully averting their eyes, would drop in a coin.

However, one morning a man’s glance held mine and lingered for a second.  No words were spoken, but that look bedded deep in my soul, asking me why I was there, willing me to get up, to get better.  He put no money in my cup and was off down the road without so much as a turn of his head. I will never forget that look. And he will never know what he did for me.

That afternoon I went home to my husband, who, overjoyed to be able to help me get better, arranged doctor’s appointments and eventually left me in a rehab centre for six months.  Healing took time both for myself and my family, with lots of making amends. It wasn’t easy and I doubted they’d ever be able to forgive me or trust me again.  Together we came through and I am now five years sober. My family are always my first priority.  I also help others who are in the same place that I was. My life has a purpose again and I am so grateful.

I decided to do the Pilgrim’s Way in thanksgiving for getting my life back. I got a fresh start, something I didn’t even dare hope for. With my one man tent I walked from Winchester to Canterbury, taking in many things as if for the first time – a leaf fluttering in the sun, the morning dew with its fleeting presence,  taking in the  view from a hill as I stand breathless and much more.

Patches of colour dance on the floor around me.  I follow the shafts of light to the source, a stained glass window depicting some biblical scenes, made from many broken pieces of glass, now an inspiring picture. Much like my own story, my heart shattered, fragments of my past brought together finally,  made into something beautiful.





Below is a post that I wrote in September two years ago, called "I Love Living By The Sea" I thought I would write in response to it.

The large white house stood looking out to the sea.
 It was a bit of an oddity, nestled as it was between 
a block of flats seven storeys high and a care home home,
 both built at the turn of the century whereas with its slats 
and flat windows it was a more modern 
build dating from the sixties.
I would look out from the hall window, which was at least fourteen feet high 
and eight feet wide, and both to
 left and right as far as I could see the ocean spread before me.
 It would beckon us to come meet it . I miss that house,
 but only for the nearness to the sea.
 On many a morning, like the one I recount below
 we would walk the few feet down to the beach, 
sometimes with garden chair and cup of tea and maybe a book or two, 
to spend an hour in the quiet - well except for the varying sounds 
of the sea lapping the shore.
On some mornings we would get up extra early and
 walk the three and a half miles to Reculver and back.
It would take the whole morning and sometimes the best part
 of the day if we stopped at all on the way or at Reculver for a break.
On other , warmer days ,we would swim in the
 glass smooth water and pretend we were on holiday.
Image result for pictures of calm seas


Sunrise 

Sept 2014 :
A post that should of gone out in July:

A nice memory, especially as the summer is ending.

There are so many good things about living where we do.
So we were up early this morning and out for a walk at 7.00am.
there is the possibility of going for miles along the coast
with the view constantly changing , giving new delights.
The warm sea breeze brings many moments to mind
With each breath a memory captured , lived again.
But time has aged this old body and the legs aren't working so well.
So we curtail the long walk and turn for home.
Decide to sit on the beach with cup of tea
and enjoy the rest of the hour we've allotted ourselves .
The waves bring in the tide and plenty of seaweed.
the vast expanse calms our spirits,
 energises, refreshes.
Then he goes for a swim, while I look on
And think I should have worn my costume
and joined him.
Back for breakfast.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Rainy Saturday

24th September


A little capturing of one day in the week that we looked after five grandchildren.



And Then Came The Rain

For weeks there’d been gorgeous weather, temperatures comparable with the Mediteranean.                      Day after day waking up to a blue sky, early morning sunshine warming the earth of the new dawn.                                                                                                                                                          Day after day washing drying outside, with a slight breeze on occasions to help it along, with  the song of the robin in the background.                                                                                                                    Day after day lazy picnics on the beach and keeping cool swimming in the sea.                                                                                         
Then, on Saturday, black clouds descended over Blackberry Way, bringing wind and torrential rain to wash away the summer.  Five little faces pressed noses against patio windows and peered out.  Grandma and Grandad wondered how they were going to entertain them.  It was six thirty; they’d eaten scrambled eggs and were now asking what they could do. The grandparents thought about the cinema, but apart from the age range of the children making it difficult, there was the cost. It was money too that was inhibitive when they considered the swimming pool and the children’s play center.  

So that’s how five grandchildren in wellies and raincoats happened to be walking by the sea on that blustery day.  The parents having gone on holiday for a week had left the children with their, “more than capable” ,  grandparents.  It was now only day three and it wasn’t the children who were counting the sleeps till the return of mum and dad.  They watched the children running across the shingle, arms waving and shouting into the wind looking as if they might take off at any moment and soar into the dark sky.                                                                                                                                                           “Tastes like salty,” Lily- Mae laughed, licking her lips as sea spray wet their little faces.                             
Granddad had told them that they could walk along the edge of the sea in their wellies but they were not to get water inside them. Well, with waves crashing in and their excitement mounting it’s no surprise that they were soon all soaked to the skin.

“Hey, grandma, look,” Cohen pointed up to a group of kite surfers skimming on the high winds over the ocean.  Five open mouths stared up in their direction.  Walking further along the beach they spotted a lone a kite surfer preparing to go up.  For the best part of thirty minutes all five were mesmerised as they stood and watched him assembling his kite.                                                                                                                 

“What’s he doing?” asked Lily-Mae, over and over again.                                                                             “He’s making his kite so he can fly it, like those ones you see up there, look,” Grandad repeated patiently.They all cheered as the kite surfer finally took off and rather tentatively rose to join his companions in the clouds.

It wasn’t long before the children got cold and it was time to go home.
After a change of clothes, they all had a mug of hot chocolate and some hot, buttery toast ,while they sat around the table, writing  and drawing pictures about their adventure to show  mum and dad when they got home.

And Annie said,

“That was the most bestest day ever since you came to stay Grandma.”

Friday, September 23, 2016

Five


23rd September


My writing hands are itching to get words down, but the inspiration is a bit weak. Will keep trying. Going to try the poem a day through October though and just flexing my muscles a little to prepare.


 Five 


Three more sleeps, I will survive,
Come on baby sleep now.
Yet no matter how hard I strive,
There's always all to do.

It's not that I've forgotten the way,
To care for  children, no,
But  my old bones are weary today
Out of the habit and slow.

Cooking every day for seven not two,
And one that can't eat dairy
It takes all my time to organise it's true,
But clean plates remain.

Up at six to get them all ready,
One for big school, leaving at seven.
Oh, and is it the day to take  teddy?
Yes, it's here, found, thank heaven.

Back to the house baby and toddler,
what shall we do all day,
Let's clean out a cupboard or two
Let's put some clothes away.

And let's play dressing up, you be queen,
let's tell a story that's ours,
The best adventure there's ever been
It could take for hours.

And in the evening when all are ready for bed,
Let's read a story before you go,
Quiet going up be careful where you tread,
The baby is asleep, so be slow.

And when the week comes to and end,
And mum and dad come back,
Grandma and grandad retreat to their home
And immediately hit the sack...




Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's a Day For Hats

 
                                                                                                                                    
 11th September


It's a Day For Hats

Two little dogs appeared first, busy in their work of  following scents, nearly tripping us up on the bend. Their owners weren't far behind, a jolly pair, laughing, calling the dogs. "Ah, it's a day for hats", he stopped in front of us, giving us no choice but to join him in conversation. His observation was spot on. 

The four of us were all wearing hats of different sorts . And , what's more, thinking about it, weren't most people we saw also wearing hats. 

Not a lover of hats for myself I had put one on this particular morning because it was another  hot, sunny day and my lips had burnt too many times in the previous weeks . So my hat was wide rimmed and pulled down to protect as much of my face as possible. My husbands hat, only used to cover the ever growing bald patch on his head, was smaller. The couple, who were now settling in for a full blown get together, wore matching baseball caps.

But wearing hats was as far as the similarity went with regard to us and these two. Out for a stroll while the dogs had a run they  wore crocs, loose clothing - her , a dress, him, light shorts and matching shirt. They looked as if they might go home and open a bottle of prosecco with friends whilst enjoying a barbecue.
We , on the other hand looked as if we were on a long walking trek - walking boots, with proper thick socks hanging folded over the top, my husband carrying a rucksack and wearing long shorts reminiscent of the 1940's. And we both had good sunglasses, important if you're going to be out all day.
We were half way through a seven mile walk when they delayed us with idle chatter about the weather and the fact that we didn't have a dog, but we did like to walk. They found that the most strange thing,as if there would be no need to go for a walk if you didn't have a four legged friend to take.
Laughing to ourselves we left them and pressed on.




The whole point of our walk was to see how long the seven miles that we'd mapped out would take us, so any distractions were avoided if possible. 
This short trek was the start of our preparations to do the Camino Way Pilgrimage, which will be about 500 miles walking over 42 days -that was easy to write, lets see how easy the actual doing of it will be. 
Today's 7 miles took two hours, a reasonable pace, I think, at 3.5 mph.
We learnt:
 that we can easily keep the pace up and plan to gradually lengthen the distance over the next few months.
that we need some better, thicker socks.
that it's vital that you look after your feet.
that it's important to have enough water with you.
that it's not easy to walk on the beach and keep up a good pace.
that if you don't look people in the eye they won't disturb you.
that it's great to be outside.

We'll probably learn more as time goes on.

There was one chap who we had to spend some time with though. He was on the beach , not walking a dog, but walking a ferret. A young, furry creature, we found him fascinating, while we had our lunch of salmon sandwiches and coffee. 





 More to come...


.

Friday, September 9, 2016

What's been Happening


                                                                                                           9th September 2016


It's a long time since I spent quality time posting on my blog.
I have no excuses...
However, there has been a definite lack of inspiration on my part.
And...
Life during the summer has been a wonderful series of busy days having visitors and being visitors ourselves. Living in a seaside town, you are particularly popular in the summer months, usually from the end of April till the beginning of October.
We seem to have had a holiday for the whole summer as we have joined each group of visitors on their adventures.
And...
A new grandchild and a new great grandchild born in July within days of each other add to the ever growing dynasty that is our very special family.
It's been hectic, yes, but so enjoyable too.

Then there was that day when we buried my mum and dad's ashes. I think I'll have to leave that one for a while...

And...
Of course, no time left for writing , or even contemplating writing.

But, now with things being a little more quiet, I hope to get back into the swing of things and ramble away to my hearts content.

I think I have a motivation to help me along.
The month of October is Octpowrimo and the challenge is to write a poem a day for 31 days - similar to the challenge I took last year, in April 2015. I managed it then, could I do the same again???
Well, I am certainly going to try.

So, look out on my blog for posts every day in October.
Also, let me know if there is any subject that you would like me to write about , either in a poem or other.

I'm a little bit interested in Talents:

Talent needs practice... A concert pianist might be talented but he has had to spend many hours/days/years practicing and working on his pieces.
No, I don't think we are all concert pianists underneath , but...

We all have talents...
What are your talents and how are you putting them to good use.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Frozen


Here are a few pieces I wrote when emotions were very near the surface


8th Dec 2015

Spent, used up, hundreds of hours of work well done,
But, still  more moments filled with joy and fun.
Lines on forehead giving proof that you're wise,
Observed now, noticed by much younger eyes.
Battered and bruised, near your journeys end,
Now, mercy and forgiveness, your currency to spend.
All changes, yet in the depths of you you know,
That all stays the same where you're about to go


14th Nov 2015

FROZEN
Heart - frozen, hard,
Closed 
To the gentle 
Nudging 
Of a loved one,

Heart - frozen, hard,

Indifferent


To warm tears,

Kindnesses,
Soft words.
What will melt your 


Bitterness,

Your sorrow,
What , bring a life pulse,
A love beat,
Of joy,
To you,
What ???

           
              15th Nov 2015

             END OF LIFE
Bitterness oozes from the pores of the walls,
Drips onto my peace,
Leaving holes where it bores through.
Yet here I am,
Letting the poison deform,
Letting the poison destroy.
I've kept my distance over the years,
Kept her at arms length.
Built myself up with a strong heart
And managed to...
Forgive
I thought...
Now "end of Life" time
Calls me to give
To care.
To love.
So, I try..
I try not to let
Her meanness go too deep
I try not to let
Her bring me down
Into those open,
Festering
Wounds...
No...
No, now I am her peace..
I am her carer,
I show her my love,
His Love
    16th Nov 2015
Haunted

Hidden,  buried, 
Deep --
Under days of decades
Under rubble of ritual
Under fullness of family
But now, 
Back there, 
In a moment
Cold and clammy,
A wispy shiver.
The thought of it,
Revealed , but how??
Present, but why now?
Bury it again??
No, no..
Rise up, be brave...
Destroy it, kill it, 
Be free
Go...



After School

It wasn't the day for netball,
It wasn't the day for piano
It was the day that mum worked late
Heavy clouds unburdened
In grey sky
On this dark November evening
Steps counted, too slow on walk home.
Hands damp and chilled - search
Under geranium pot - flowers dead now,
For the key.
Soggy shoes, dripping coat-
An unpealing
Hang wet bag over bannisters.
How empty,
Lonely
The house feels.
Sigh, shiver, slump,
With hot chocolate,
In front of TV and
Wait
Look at Clock
Not long...