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...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Scenes from the weekend... Part 2

Palm Sunday morning; gorgeous blue sky and some real warmth in the air. This morning we're off to our local community centre where a few members of the village cricket team are gathering to do some preparatory work for the coming season. The pitch has to be marked out, the grass mowed and rolled. The practice nets need to be checked and mended. The grass where last year's Guy Fawkes bonfire was situated also needs some work to it before it can be played on.

It's not a 'serious' team but they enjoy quite a few social matches and we all chip in to do our bit. I don't play but my husband does and I thought it a perfect opportunity to snap a few photos for my blog!

The first thing we saw when we drove into the carpark was this hot air balloon - not sure if it had a 'learner driver' at the controls but it seemed to be having some problems with sufficient lift. By the time we'd parked and I'd managed to grab my camera and scramble out of the car, it had gained some height...

only for it to skew off to the side a little when it then lost all height and dropped into the field... that it wasn't supposed to land in! It dragged along for probably 100 metres or so and then started to climb once more... no doubt the basket removed quite a lot of the crop as it dragged along the ground!

Fortunately, it regained good height and headed off to wherever these things head off to... but I rather suspect that the passengers got a little more excitement than they bargained for.

The guys got stuck into the area of grass that needed to be repaired from the bonfire. Although new turf had been laid here, the heavy winter rains had done a bit of damage to the soil levels and it needed to be levelled out a little to make it safe for all.

I thought I'd leave them all to it and take the opportunity to see what was hiding in the 'outfield' or the rough grass. Maybe head over to one of the benches whilst I watched them all working - what a treat! When I reached the first bench, I decided that there wasn't quite enough sun to enjoy so started to walk on by. And that was when I noticed that it was not actually the nice quiet little spot I'd originally thought it might be...

It's one of those compressed air bird scarer guns and it was only about 30 or so feet away from the bench! Mind you, I guess it would be pretty peaceful after you'd had your heart attack.

A sweet little violet blossoming in the shelter under some trees and below a photo of some leaf bursting through on a horse chestnut tree... and clearly an angel had brushed by this branch.

Meanwhile, the guys were starting to get a little serious with their work, so I decided to wander back and take a some photos of their efforts. Discussions were held about the correct area to mow - or was that about the correct way to mow the area?

Some manpower went into the cutting and the rolling...

then more cutting whilst some fertiliser was spread over the cut grass...

and the batting practice nets were mended...

But clearly they enjoyed themselves and a lot of fun was had by all.

Time to have a little chat about this and that before we all headed back to our homes, lunch and whatever other plans we had in place for the rest of the day.... for us, a little more work in the garden, a lazy lunch in the sun and then later on we were heading off to the Queen's Head for a nice, relaxed evening meal. Hope you can join us! Warm wishes, Vxx

Monday, 6 April 2009

Scenes from the weekend... Part 1

The Saturday before Easter and the weather is superb today. Whilst the air temperature is not exactly on the cosy side, the sunshine is wonderful and, if you can get out of the cool breeze that's blowing, then there is definite warmth in the sun! We had an exciting morning visiting one of the local supermarkets (I know, I know) and then headed off to an agricultural supplier to get some more grit and various bits and bobs for the new hens. More of them later. Then back home and a few chores around the home before heading into the garden... lots and lots of chores to be done there at this time of the year.

In tune with Easter, a bunch of (mostly!) yellow flowers, some from the supermarket visit earlier this morning whilst the daffodils are from our garden. Just in an old white jug and placed in the hall...

I love these two green crystal bowls you can see here - they are old but I don't know how old they are. However, I think the etching is charming. I expect that they are the type of bowls that would have been placed on a dining table, ready for the dregs a wine glass to be emptied into when a new wine was to be served...

In keeping with the yellow theme, some freesias with their delicious perfume wafting through the kitchen. Fortunately, you can't really define the dead ceanothus through the window - it didn't survive this last winter even with the protection of the house close to it, so this weekend it's going to go!

More on the theme of yellow - this time some self sown cowslips in the garden underneath one of the pear trees. There are masses in this area of the grass but these are the first to show their faces.

Just behind the cowslips are these deep blue grape hyacinths or muscari - these are pretty little things and as with the cowslips we seem to have thousands scattered around the garden. Even my bulb digging hens don't seem to be able to destroy these. Thank goodness!

And some white hyacinths just by the old well in front of the house. The bulbs are planted in the grass so happily my little darlings are not able to scratch these pretty flowers out of the ground.

The grass had its first cut for the season. This area of 'lawn' has been ravaged by a mole (and the hens) so we have some serious work cut out for us in order to firstly deal with dear little Moley, and then to get the lawn into shape again. Irritatingly, the ride-on mower decided that it is still on winter holidays, so refused to start. An acre or so of unkempt winter grass is a pain to cut with an normal mower!

Reward for effort!! The sun is now well over the yardarm (it's about 6.15pm) and so I made a cool, refreshing gin and tonic for each of us. Delicious!

A few more things to be done outside, tools to be cleaned and put away, the hens to be bedded down for the night and safely secured in their runs. By now, it's cold outside, the light is going from the day and it's time to light a fire in the wood burning stove in the Snug. Time also to turn some lights on inside the house and to think about preparing the evening meal.

If you were coming to share a meal with us tonight, you'd see this view of our front door...

before being welcomed into our little entrance hall where we like to have lots of candles burning, no matter what the season or weather...

perhaps you'd care for a glass of chilled white wine before your meal?

I hope you enjoyed your Saturday as much as we enjoyed ours! Warm wishes, Vxx

Saturday, 4 April 2009


Sometime ago, I mentioned the remains of an old stone cross just down the hill from our home. I've been waiting for some sunshine to take a photo but eventually I decided that if I wait for the sun, then maybe I won't be able to take the photo to include the daffodils that flower around the old stone base. The cross itself was removed centuries ago, probably when Henry VIII sacked the Abbey... there is a strong rumour that the cross was buried in what was then a field but is now the grounds of one of the local homes...there is an even stronger rumour that it was recently dug up and then hastily re-buried...

stonecross blog 2009

The stone cross has now lent its name to the hamlet of homes that surround it... Stonecross Green...

stonecross blog 2009

Here, the road leads further to the south of our home. If you read my post about the Queen's Head pub, then all you have to do is follow this road and in about 5 minutes, you would be at the pub...

stonecross blog 2009

I was parked in Robin and Becky's drive so if you pull out of their drive and head along the road to the north of the cross, past Herringbone Cottage (sorry you can't see the absolutely stunning herringbone pattern brickwork to the front of the house... another time perhaps!), round the bend in the road, cross the bridge and then continue up the hill, we're the first house on the left. Pull in the drive, park your car and welcome to our home!

Have a great weekend! Warm wishes, V xx