Saturday, 5 February 2011

A Day Off....

It 'feels' like an age since I took a day off from work... but of course it is not as bad as that.. honest!

Over here in England, we are enjoying gale force winds - I hasten to add that these winds are nothing remotely like the force poor folk in Queensland, Australia have recently had to battle through. And after all those horrific floods too.

No, ours are just plain old ordinary gale force. Mildly irritating after a while... you know how strong wind rather sets the teeth on edge and generally makes everyone a bit tetchy.

I am amusing myself right now by looking out my window and watching my little hens. They are being blown hither and thither by the wind, their 'skirts' are being blown over their heads, they are even being blown head over heels when they have their beaks to the ground to peck at some delicious morsel or other. They remain determined. They have a studied nonchalance that belies the fact that they are totally powerless against the force of the wind.

They make me laugh.

You know how much I love my hens. They are little charmers that wriggle their little way into our hearts. Individual characters with individual voices. They have taught me so much over the past 3 or 4 years we've been 'keeping' hens. And they gladden my heart every time I look at them.

Whatever it is that gladdens your heart, I hope you have time to enjoy it this weekend. With love, Vxx

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Been a looooonnnnng time comin'...

Yes, it has indeed been a long time coming.. this post that is! Much has happened in our neck of the woods and we have, sadly, lost many good friends in the intervening period of time since I posted.
My darling Bear, for one, has departed, R's most lovely and wonderful father also. I've hated the thought of passing on bad news to you. So radio silence seemed the best and frankly, the easiest option.
But times move on and we are gently enjoying our lives again. And I hope to be able to annoy you in the future with some more posts from this side of the world. We have thought of you often and just as often, snuck in to see what you have been up to.. cheeky of us, I know.
Love to you all, Vxx

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Simple things...

I'm late, late for this post - I said I'd post this yesterday but I didn't reckon with 'Fridays' and all that Friday sometimes brings with it. So my apologies to Christina of the beautiful Soul Aperture and her celebration of the simple, everyday things in our lives.

Sunshine on my face ~ my dogs ~ the scent of honeysuckle in the early morning light ~ you ~ a clutch of newly laid eggs ~ a rose ~ the warmth of your hand in mine ~ the grasses waving in the gentle breeze ~ the waves lapping on the beach

I wish you a peaceful weekend in the company of all you love. Vxx

Thursday, 11 June 2009

It's raining, it's pouring....

For nearly a week now, we've had rain, rain and more of the jolly stuff... I know the ground was far too dry and the farmers were beginning to be a little depressed but I didn't think we needed quite this much rain. Thunder storms and lightning. Tropical rain. Deluging. Flooding. You name it, and it's doing it! It's even been cold enough to light the fire and click the button to start the central heating going.

The evening before the rain started, I had rather fortunately decided that I should take a few photos of some of the roses in the garden. Madame Alfred Carriere has chosen this year to put on her best display since being planted near our front door about 7 years ago. Gorgeous, shaggy blossoms with an intoxicating perfume. In the still evening air, the perfume is almost overwhelming.

Here she is again, but in close up.

And once more, even closer...

The next rose is 'Sceptr'd Isle' which is a David Austin rose. Simply perfect blooms with an extraordinary perfume - aromatic rather than sweet to my mind.

And this is Buff Beauty. The first is the early stage of the flower with it's egg-yolk yellow centre

and which slowly turns into this...

A quick view of a couple of clematis climbing over a trellis fence - The President and Broughton Castle. The latter has been an amazing plant as when I bought it, the poor thing was such a mess that the garden nursery decided to let me buy it for 50 pence only. I guess they didn't expect it to survive, but this is only its third season and it's growing so well!

Finally, here's a photo of our younger dog. She is never too keen on having her photo taken and I think you can probably see that from her expression!

I hope you are enjoying warm and sunny weather - please could you send a little over this way?!! With warm wishes, Vxx

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

New Hens...

It seems like an age ago that we collected our 'new' rescue hens. At the time, I hadn't even thought of names for all of them, so I asked for suggestions from you... and I'm pleased to say that the two 'nameless' ones now have names. Gretchen and Miss Marple are the lucky ones (the other two already had names of Betty and Ellen).

Here's a now rather oldish image of them enjoying their first time truly in the sun. I think it was taken late March this year and the ground was still too wet for them to enjoy a dust bath so they stretched out on the paving near the old tennis court and, I think, enjoyed their first taste of true freedom. You can see that they are still in pretty tatty condition. Ellen is at the front of the photo, Betty to the right behind her and Miss Marple is to the left of Betty.

From Hens clematis and pear trees

Here's Gretchen - she's very sweet and probably can't quite believe that a) she can stretch out rather than being cramped in her cage and b) she's free to do whatever she wants... I've rather cropped her jaunty little tail feather which looks like a feather sticking out of a 'Robin Hood' type cap!

Back when these photos were taken, the new girls were still being kept away from the other hens as I was very concerned about the strong territorial instincts of the existing hens. The two groups are now being permitted to mix together during the daytime but they are still not very keen on each other. I guess before too much longer I will put the four new ones in with the others at night and hopefully that should sort the problem out. Why haven't I done it before now, I hear you ask. Well, because the older ones try to keep the weaker ones away from the food and so they become even weaker...

Miss Marple (above) was very badly damaged on arrival. Very, very bruised and she still holds her right wing in a rather peculiar fashion, although she is now able to use it quite well. She is such a character! As soon as she sees either of us, she comes running full tilt towards us, chattering away and weaving herself through and around our feet. She's so tiny that utmost care has to be taken not to hurt her whilst we try to walk with this little thing scurrying along between our feet...

There is no doubt in my mind that these little creatures very definitely know that they have been given a new and different life.

This photo above shows you that they were still in quite poor condition, feather wise. They are slowly improving and growing new feathers to cover their little pink tummies. They are becoming so much stronger and I know it won't be too much longer before they fully integrated with the other girls.

I hope you are enjoying warm weather and sunshine! With warm wishes to you, Vxx

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Sverige nationaldag

... and just as you were getting over the party from yesterday's celebrations for Danish National Day, they hit you with...

Swedish National Day! Oh no; another party!

Here are a few photos from our last trip to Sweden - we travelled to the island of Orust to visit the Hallberg Rassy yard during their Open Weekend... BIG mistake! We stayed at the iconic Handelsman Flink Hotel for a couple of nights and rather wished we'd booked for longer. This is one view from outside our room which was very comfortable, spotlessly clean - we enjoyed sitting outside to drink in the views (and a beer each...).

I also wished that we'd booked into the little cottage right on the waterfront - you can see it just above the hire car - it looked absolutely divine.

From My Scans

Here's another view across the sound to Orust - how lovely it all was.

From My Scans

Here's yours truly, enjoying the sunshine and one of those beers I was talking about earlier. Not my favourite drink I have to admit - which is not something I can say about Champagne :) ... Sadly the colour has scanned very badly - it was far more restrained than it is in these photos.

From My Scans

On our last day visiting the yard, we had organised a couple of test sails. The last one was on the Hallberg 54 (a BIG, BIG mistake...) and Magnus Rassy himself kindly took us out for this one. My husband Richard is at the helm, and you can see the big smile on Magnus' face as my husband gave us an absolutely cracking sail back towards the yard and marina... Magnus is delighted because Richard is catching the HR48 which had started out before us. Richard is smiling because the guy at the helm of the HR48 has sailed in the Olympics... (and made all the more special because the HR48 was under full sail whilst we were only under staysail... yes, I'm proud of him!)

From My Scans

I guess that you can see from the last couple of posts that we love both Denmark and Sweden. Both countries are stunningly beautiful and the people could not be more charming and friendly. Perhaps one day we will turn that love into a home. As to the yacht, well that is definitely on our list of 'must haves'! And then we'll be able to visit another country that we love very much - Finland.

We have yet to visit Norway but I suspect that it too will become a firm favourite with us.

Anyway, here's to Sweden, the Swedish people and their National Day!

With warm wishes to you, Vxx

Friday, 5 June 2009

National days

Here in the UK we don't really celebrate any 'national days' which is a shame! Today is National Day in Denmark. We love Denmark and the Danes! A couple of summers ago my husband and I chartered a yacht from a company based in Kerteminde on the island of Fyn and sailed around that island, with small detours, for two weeks. It was fabulous! Actually, there were three of us on board... Fizz was there. Here he is in Årøsund looking after the boat while we popped ashore for a walk:

We had meant to spend the night in the lovely town of Haderslev but, having sailed 6 miles up the stunningly beautiful river to the town harbour, it was full! So, 6 miles back again to the entrance, turn right for a few miles and into Årøsund. That's one of the (many) wonderful things about sailing in this area: you are never far away from somwhere nice.
So, very best wishes to all our Danish friends on their day!
Warm wishes! Veronica. xxx