Month: June 2011

Love Forty

Ah, the dulcet sounds of ice plinking into the glasses of lemon barley water, the gentle laughter as the net cord judge gets hit on the ear and the solid sound of a ball on the wooden rim of the racket.

Okay what decade am I in?

(Here I am at about 12 years old.)

Well those memories Definitely come from the past.  The good old days I could say. The days when I fell in hate before I fell in love with the two weeks of Wimbledon. If we were lucky enough to have a sunny fortnight I’d come home from school to half drawn living room curtains, they were shielding the glare from the TV screen, and my Mum sat down in the middle of the afternoon,  something she didn’t do any other time than the two weeks of the tennis.

Yes, they were the good old days. As I got older I learnt to appreciate and love the sport. I was the only girl in my class who knew the rules of the game when we played it one summer on the tarmac courts – although I still thought it was Juice! As in orange squash……

I loathed Borg because he always won and later Navratilova, because she always won. (That particular trait has stayed with me to this day. If a sportsperson wins everything I hate them. What’s wrong with routing for the underdog anyway?)

I also loved Connors and Chris Evert. She was a real lady in my young opinion. And talking of Chris Evert I actually stood next to her when Greg Norman, her then husband, tee’d off in the British Open 2008 at Royal Birkdale. I regretted not asking for her autograph. But hey, I have the memory and she was still a beautiful lady.

I digress as usual. When I was about 14 I persuaded my Mum to take me to London for a few days and we went to queue to tickets at the All England Club. We made it onto No. 1 Court and watched Steffi Graff among others. We then stumbled onto centre court at about 6pm and watched the great McNamara and McNamee play a doubles match. It was great to actually be there and one of these days I’m going back.

But for now I’ll watch it on the TV. Ladies quarter finals today. Right where are the strawberries?

Organising Photographs and thoughts about scrapbooking

I am taking an online course at Big Picture Classes called ‘Finding Photo Freedom’. It is designed to help you sort out all those pictures, both old\new prints and digital images, with a view to making the whole process of scrapbooking said pictures easier.  It’s week three. And I totally get her ideas for making this hobby easier and more stress free.

I had a bit of a sulk mid week though because I decided to take all the pictures out of the regular albums I set up a few years back and organise them into chronological order. But after removing the photos from the sleeves of the albums and setting them all out on the dining room table, I discovered that I had no idea when or even where some of these pics were taken!

In my excitement to get them into the albums I’d removed the original photos from their envelopes but hadn’t marked in the album the date or even which envelope the prints had come from. So now instead of just sorting them into a better system I have to track down when and where first. I suppose it will be a job well done if I get it sorted out though. And then I can get back on track with the class material.

The process of sorting out these pictures has made me ponder, not for the first time, why I actually scrapbook.

In the ‘scrapbook’ world out there you find that the majority of scrapbookers have kids. The foundations of this hobby as it has morphed into what I perceive ‘scrapbooking’ is today, is most definitely firmly fixed in America. Oh, I know people worldwide have used big old paper type books to record memories in the form of photos and ephemera for generations, but the term scrapbooker is definately different today than what is once was.  

When I ordered my very first scrapbook kit from QVC – oh yes, that’s where the idea of scrapbooking first grabbed my attention – my plan was to make a family history album. The idea that I could combine two of my loves in life – paper products and photographs – was a thrilling and I dug straight in.  

That was about 7 years ago. That album is almost finished! I loved doing it at the time but don’t especially like it now. I tentatively moved on to make the odd scrapbook page and then mini albums for family and friends. I don’t think most people get it. Get what this business of scrapbooking is all about. My family and friends I mean. They ooh and ah when I show them a page but I always feel like I’m forcing my hobby on them. Maybe that’s just what hobbies are all about. In some ways I’m trying to get them interested and have often thought about arranging a crop at my house for my Mum, Sister, Nieces  etc to come and have some scrapbook fun. But I’ve never taken the plunge.

Anyway, at first it was only about the photo. I looked at magazines around at the time and just made the picture look pretty using all manner of embellishments. I have lots of pages where there is no story to tell only a date – and some don’t even have that! Then a couple of years ago some of the blog posts Ali wrote finally hit home and I began to think about stories as well as making pretty pages.

This resonated with me. The idea of being a storyteller, leaving behind that legacy, a pile of books that recorded the stories of mine and my families lives. Just writing that down makes me feel good!

And as I’ve been sorting the photographs out for the class I have stumbled on lots and lots of stories yet to tell. I still find it difficult to find words sometimes to do a story justice but I intend to keep plugging away at telling them and accepting that struggling to get words down is a good thing in the end.

Now, back to sorting photos.


We love to visit gardens. We go with expectant anticipation. Anticipation of inspiration. And almost always we are not disappointed. Take last Tuesday for example. We went to the RHS garden at Harlow Carr, Harrogate.

We were graced with a beautiful sunny day and two hours of  joyful exploration of this amazing garden.  

These alliums were all ready to burst open and fill the border with a sparkling display. We were particularly taken with a couple of fencing ideas. They had used willow to weave a living fence, it really was great and we are definitely going to try it out. I even tried to source some when we got home but it’s the wrong time of year for these types of ‘cuttings’. I say cuttings but really they are thin branches that are harvested and all you do is plant them and they grow! Amazing. So in autumn I’ll be ordering some.

It’s good to get out and look at gardens, any garden not just horticultural gods of gardens like Harlow Carr. We must keep broadening our horizons. The only problem is that after every visit we end up changing something which means that the garden is never really finished…. but really that’s what gardening is all about.

The Friday Face

All those blankets make me think of the story about Princess and the pea! He is a delicate soul after all…..NOT.

One year

I can’t believe it has been a year. A year since he went to that beach in the sky.

Here he is in one of his favorite places at the cottage we got to in Northumberland sat next to Gav.

And on my 40th birthday walking on the beach at Filey.

He loved a beach that pooch of ours.

Time has flown by and I’m amazed that it’s been a year since one of the worst days of my 44 years. I’m sure to non pet owners that must seem a huge overstatement but I can assure you it isn’t.

Sleep well my dearest Lewis, we may have that Buddy now, but you will always be our first love. x

Ten down

Boy oh boy I seem to have slowed right down in the reading stakes.

This one took a while but it was worth it.

Completely different to today’s crime\mystery stories but the subject matter was close to my heart as my Nana used to be a cook in judges lodgings! So I understood all about the assizes. It was the one recommended by PD James on the My Life in Books TV programme earlier this year.

I’m trying to read two books at once right now. PS I Love You by Cecilia Ahern that I bought from Barter Books and Neuromancer by William Gibson. Gav has asked me to read the latter and explain it to him! Ha, fat chance I was completely confused by chapter four. Apparently this sci-fi book written in 1984, is right up there with 1984 and Brave New World. I have no clue as although I like sci-fi movies and tv programmes I don’t read books in this genre. I remember giving up on 1984 about fifteen years ago.

But I’ll plug away and let you know when they are all done and added to the old list. To keep on target I have to get to 13 by the end of June so I better get busy.

The Friday Face

Here’s another of the collection of toys. Meet Dr Dreads. He started off life as a rope toy and Gav bought him because he seemed indestructable. Mmm…. After a few strands had been chewed loose we called him Dr Shreds but now he really is much monre of a dreads than a shreds!

We need to get out more.

Sir Bobbly Sock

A little background. Gav has this knack of making up names for everything in our lives. Sometimes it’s just the initials of things like BGM – Buddy’s gone mental, or GP for the general public at the park on weekends. (I could say more on this but some of them aren’t very PC!)

Just after Buddy came home to us we gave him a couple of unpaired odd socks to play with, tied together they made a great chew\tug toy.

Enter ‘Claude in the City’ a wonderful children’s book written by Alex T. Smith that I bought for my niece a couple of months ago. It was on Richard and Judy’s kids book list. Claude’s best friend is Sir Bobbly Sock and in author Alex’s words – ‘he is both a sock and quite bobbly.’ I tell you this book is brilliant.

When my husband listened to the story of Claude he decided that Buddy’s socks were definitely worthy of a name and they became Sir Bobbly Sock. The amazing thing is that Buddy knows which of his toys is Sir Bobbly Sock and when asked he bring the socks! Amazing, yes?

Here is Sir in mid tug of war.

Poor old Sir Bobbly Sock lost a limb the other day. I think we may have to find a couple of new odd socks to give Bud to play with and send Sir off to a sock drawer in the sky.

But of course any new sock chew toy would just be Bobbly Sock Junior; he’ll have to serve some time before the knighthood…..

Garden in early June

There is something about June. Finally you feel that the temperatures will be okay to plant out those tender things. The days are so long you go to bed in daylight and the first bursts of spring have dulled down a bit but only to be replaced with abundance.

So I thought it would be good to capture the garden in that abundance.

Messy and beautiful all at the same time. Our creation and ever evolving.

The Friday Face