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

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

'Tis the season...

Actually, it's well into the season. You might be forgiven for wondering if this little creature is some form of particularly well-moustached mouse ...

From 2009_05_11

...when in fact it is just a little Dunnock collecting 'Bear hair' (from my dear dog, Bear) in order to do a little home renovation/refurbishing..

From 2009_05_11

Just how these little things manage to collect so much into their little beaks is a mystery - or maybe a miracle

From 2009_05_11

But I love to watch them wandering around the garden collecting straw, grasses or fur to do their mid-season work. How industrious they are and how 'house proud' they are !

From 2009_05_11

Still, a bird has to know just when enough is enough and head back with the collection for re-lining the nest.

From 2009_05_11

I hope you'r enjoying a sunshine filled day. With warm wishes, Vxx

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Thank You...

It's been sometime since I last posted - and goodness how a few things have changed on Blogger! Seems I have to spend a bit of time re-learning how to load images etc!

These photos of some flowers in my garden are to say Thank You for all the wonderfully kind comments I have received since my last post (which I've deleted...)

This first image is specifically for my friends in Iowa (Russell and Bailey) as I had promised to do a blog on the lilacs in my garden but never quite got around to it... sorry guys and I hope you'll forgive me!


This next flower is commonly known as Bleeding Heart but more correctly as a Dicentra...


And finally, a Clematis that flowers in late winter just outside the window where I type here for this blog... the view is taken from directly underneath the flower heads so as to be able to see into the little blossoms rather than just from the side as normal...


I'll be spending a bit of time catching up with your blog over the next few days or so.  With warm wishes, Vxx

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Thank you...

Firstly, this post is very late in coming as it seems like ages ago that Spencer from Bellamere Cottage so kindly gave me these awards. I've been having the strangest problems trying to load the images onto my blog but happily that mostly seems to be resolved now -I'm still having trouble with a couple of the images but if I wait for that to sort itself out then I might be waiting a long time. Too long for politeness, that's for sure! Spencer does know that about this so I hope that she will still forgive for the inordinate amount of time it has taken me.

Secondly, I am absolutely delighted to have received these awards so Thank You Spencer for your kindness and generosity in giving them to me. Actually in truth it must be said that I very much doubt that I deserve them at all, so it just goes to show what a lovely person Spencer is! I love her great sense of humour, and even though she has only just started out in Blogland, Spencer is already making a multitude of friends because of her pretty blog and her charming posts - she seems to bubble over with happiness even when she is going through a sad time. So if you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Spencer then please visit her blog and introduce yourself to her.

And finally, the Friendship award which asks me to pass this onto 8 more blogging friends.

The Friendship Award also comes with the following message:-
"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated." It adds:-
"Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I have to say that it is the Friendship Award that strikes a chord with me because of the friendships I have made from blogging. So many wonderful people scattered around the globe who have touched my heart and who I feel are my friends. Thank you all and thank you once again to Spencer.

I do understand that many people in Blogland are very, very busy and maybe don't even care to receive these awards so please don't feel obligated to go through all the steps here - just know that I think YOU are special and that I'm grateful to know you. If you want to take up the awards and name a further 8 people then that's great. Just copy and paste the images and post them (well, try to...!)on your site and link to the other 8 people's blogs. I'd like to be able to pass the award onto each and everyone of my blogging friends, so please, please feel free to pick up any, or all, of these awards and post them onto your site. I'm well aware that this is probably breaking the 'Rules' but how can there be rules with friendship?

Anyway, here's my list:-

Meggie from the wonderful Life's Free Treats - my first blogging friend with a fabulous, thought provoking, insightful blog -

Deedee who is also quite new to blogging but has quite a following of enthusiastic fans - look at her blog and you'll see why! -

Jack, my good friend with a such a wonderful sense for a good post - he's not feeling too well right now so please visit him and cheer him up -

June is simply Wonderful! That's really all I have to say because that describes her perfectly - excepting that she is also the kindest, most gentle person around blogland -

Pondside, my dear friend from Vancouver Island - beautifully written and thoughtful posts, all judiciously mixed with such a sense of humour and love of life -

Russell from Iowa with a fantastic blog - well, let's face it, it's really the gorgeous Bailey, his dog, with the fantastic blog (sorry Russell!) -

Tracy from Norway who has befriended me and has such a beautiful blog - she is extraordinarily talented and makes exquisite jewellery and knitted items for her fabulous Artfire and Etsy shops -

and now someone with a wonderful eye for a sublime photograph/image. Maureen posts regularly and has some wonderful studies from around her famous home city -

I can't finish this post on Friendship without mentioning my friend Marie from Dreaming of Wild Roses ( we have so much in common and I'm so grateful to have met her. Marie is going through an immensely busy time right now, with no extra time for all these awards entail, but I wanted to take this opportunity of acknowledging a special friendship. Hugs to you, my friend.

I hope you are enjoying a sunny and happy weekend! With warm wishes, Vxx

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Blue, White and some Vintage...

A posy of blue and white flowers from the garden. Simply because they are there for the picking now - such a treat after the winter.

Another view -

An old platter that was my Mother's. It's from our days in Malaysia and I love both this and the one to follow dearly.

Some enamel work on the back of a spoon...

A few of my favourite things around the home - hope you like them too! Warm wishes to you, Vxx

Monday, 13 April 2009

Scenes from the Weekend... Part 4

We enjoyed a very pleasant evening at The Queen's Head... There were only a few people around this time, either chatting to friends, having a meal, reading newspapers or just relaxing at the end of their weekends. It was nice to catch up with a few of our friends and find out about the things that they had been doing over the course of the weekend - Sarah and Mark had been gliding, and Roger and Maureen had been busy in the garden and windsurfing.

Here's an image of the main fireplace at the Queen's...

This is one view from the table we sat at to eat our meal. There probably aren't too many pubs even in this country with the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom on the wall... England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are each represented on this Coat of Arms. If you look at the top right hand image in the collage, then you can probably get a better impression...

And here's the other view from our table, looking through into the bar area itself. Roger and Maureen are seated to the left.

And here's the view from the other side of the bar, with Jerry doing his stuff behind the bar - he's an excellent bar manager. We're standing and chatting to Sarah and Mark who had just come in as we were finishing our meals...

They decided to eat also so we sat down with them whilst they enjoyed their meal. Here's a close up view of the beer engines behind the bar, taken from the table just near the fireplace.

and a final view of that wonderful fireplace with the wood burning down at the end of a very pleasant evening.

Thanks for joining us and I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did. Warm wishes, Vxx

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Scenes from the weekend... Part 3

Right Jack and Pondside have you everything you'll need... wallet, handbag, coat or sweater? Okay, jump in my car and let's head off to the Queen's Head. Our table is booked for 7.30pm but we'll leave about 7pm so that the light is still good enough to show you some of the sights along the way. Seat belts on - it's the law over here. Comfy? Off we go!

We pull out of our drive and head to the right, south, and to the village of Hawkedon. It's England so that's pronounced with 3 syllables as in Haw - k' - d'n...

We go past Stonecross Green which of course you already know about and head out into the open countryside. Unfortunately for everyone else, we are heading into the sun so the images have come out a little dark but hopefully you'll be able to see fairly well... This is looking towards the next village, Rede (as in Reed) which is quite charming although you won't get to see it all as we turn left at the junction into the village and leave it behind us.

The road's quite a winding one and we cross over this little bridge...

now you can see Rede church ahead of us...

and here we are at the little junction on the outskirts of Rede... of course, you could always catch the bus to the pub if you wanted to?...

Having turned left, we're heading in a south westerly direction. Before you know it, we're sort of on the 'outskirts' of Hawkedon. We're just going past the Hawkedon Veterinary Surgery where we have a major financial interest due to all the times we've visited over the years. When we first had to come here it was with our younger dog. She was just a puppy and it was an emergency visit (aren't they always...), Sally the vet looked at our puppy and said to me, 'Here, hold this...' and thrust her 6 week old baby daughter into my arms whilst she got on with the serious stuff... those were the days when the surgery was in a tiny little 'Portacabin' arrangement... so, as you see a major financial investment here... But I still think that they do a fantastic job and wouldn't consider taking my pets anywhere else...

On the crest of the hill and now you see in the distance the village of Hawkedon...

down the hill and you see the village sign...

Perfect! Not too many people here but enough to mean that we have to park the car here on the road, just outside...

Here's a photo of the outside of the pub - maybe you can show your families back home where we went for a meal, a drink and a chat...

The Queen's Head in the village of Hawkedon, Suffolk, England.

Grab your coats, it's cold now - let's go inside and see if there's anyone we know there and we'll introduce you...