Just being ME


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25/04/2009



l s lowry ...

I admire the works of L S Lowry.

The other day I discovered a great collection of The Medici Society greetings cards in WH Smith, and brought A Country Road and At the Seaside home with me, with the idea of framing.

I am torn between living in the country ...



... or by the sea.


24/04/2009


my photos

yet another blog giveaway prize and friends ...

Have you been Skipping in the Meadow yet! A few weeks back I was so excited to learn that I had won the sweet little knitted bird above, made with different threads of wool and ribbon, in Sumea's giveaway, and he was a runners up prize! He flew, as the crow flies, from Somerset, and I have to say I was itching for him to arrive.

I kid thee not, knitted birds cannot fly, but he did arrive wrapped up in colourful tissue paper tied with ribbon, with a little purple flower for company, along with a lavender scented, pretty cherub card pictured below, which contained silver, sparkly confetti shapes.



Another card I was so very pleased to receive over Easter was the pretty badge card above from Michele at Cowboys and Custard.

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I am long overdue in thanking Michele also, for this treasure of a little mermaid mirror she sent me a few months back. It reminds me of the Mabel Lucie Attwell clip I use as my blog profile picture.
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A huge thank you to bloggy friends.
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Louise x
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19/04/2009


my photos

blog giveaway prize ...

I've won another giveaway, and this time it has travelled all the way from Portugal, and was sent to me by Meri, a very talented lady, who blogs at Agulhas da Méri, a blog written in both English and Portuguese.

Along with the package came a lovely note written on bark effect paper.



The giveaway prize included a collection of four generous size pieces of cotton fabric, and one huge piece of linen, all made in Portugal ... and



Rakam, a beautiful magazine filled with lots of bright ideas along with patterns and templates. For now, I can only marvel at the photography and the skill of these crafters, but one day soon I hope to have more time to learn a craft or two myself. Until then these will be stashed neatly away in a large crafting box I am putting together.



Included with the giveaway were two gifts made especially for me by Meri, a beautiful doiley and a heart brooch with flowers.



Each little parcel being separately wrapped in tissue paper of different colours and pretty bows. Thanks so much Meri, I appreciate your friendship and loyalty.

Louise x


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10/04/2009


my photos

the downs link stage one

run common - bramley - st martha's hill

The Downs Link bridleway was established in 1984 to link together the North Downs and the South Downs Way. The trail crosses the Low Weald and mostly follows two former railway lines. Much of the track is owned and jointly managed by West Sussex/Surrey County Councils and Waverley Borough Council.



We cycle alongside former navigable stretches of the Wey & Arun Canal, which closed in 1871, through Run Common. The Wey & Arun Canal Trust aim to restore London's lost route to the sea, back to navigation.



Under a railway bridge along leafy woodland paths where I spot a grey squirrel rummaging in the undergrowth.



Through replica crossing gates into the grounds of the old station. Click on Cranleigh Railway Info for nostalgic photos from the archives.



So the story goes, the enamel sign was returned to the station in the mid 1990s, after being used for many years as a shelf in a greenhouse in Worthing!



When the station building was finally demolished, the corner holding the postbox was left.



A replica waiting room has been built alongside a restored platform edge.



The last train pulled out of Bramley & Wonersh station on its way to Horsham, on the 12th of June 1965.



Blackheath village traces its roots back to 1833, before which there is no record of a rate paying inhabitant. There is a monastery nearby.



Pine with needles and roots underfoot, along with birch and oak, define the landscape in this area.



85% of Surrey heathland has been lost since 1752, and the careful removal of trees is helping to restore this. The acidic, sandy soil is perfect growing conditions for heather and gorse.



During World War Two, the Canadian army were based on the common, which excluded villagers and livestock from the heath.



No doubt this stage is the most enduring, only the superfit can cycle the steep hill up towards St Marthas. My bike was pushed for me on this stage, with me lagging behind with hands on waist!



A 59 kilometre (37 mile) route which is open to walkers, horse riders and cyclists. By reaching this plaque we have now completed each stage of the Downs Link.



Looking down on a beautiful Weald & Downland landscape where on a clear day eight counties can be seen. The woodland here comprises of oak, holly, hawthorn and hazel, and in Spring, bluebells.



Having come to the conclusion we may not visit this area again, we took the final steep incline up to St Martha's church, which sits on the top of the hill. Dating back to the twelfth century, this church became a ruin after the dissolution of the monasteries, and was restored during the nineteenth century.



On the way up we passed a couple of walkers, who had great pleasure in letting us know there is free tea and cakes on offer. No time to sit on this bench!
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We parked up the bikes and headed towards the gathering crowd, the friends of the church, who were holding their annual Easter Fun Day. We left a small donation towards the restoration fund, and with cup of tea and chocolate buttercream slab cake in hand, we sat for a short while before making tracks back to Bramley Station.

After having cycled this stage in drizzly rain and poor visibility, which makes for very difficult cycling and muddy conditions underfoot, it was an enormous relief to see our van parked up, waiting to bring us back home, and dry!

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05/04/2009


my photos

port isaac in cornwall and mum ...

I love this photo of my mum, looking rather impish, thoroughly enjoying a treat of an ice-cream cornet! This would have been taken in the latter years of the 1940s when cream was still generally unobtainable. Ice-creams would have been based on substitutes, particularly evaporated milk, which was obtainable on a points system, or a mix of this and 'cream' made in a cream-making machine. Walls advertised ice-cream during the second world war with a 'Keep Cool, Keep Calm' campaign!

Today I spent some time looking through old family photos again! My mum passed away on a day very much like today, a beautiful, warm and sunny day, on the 5th of April 2002, so to have these memories of her in these photos, is so important to me.



Here, my mum is pictured with my uncle, granny and grandad in June 1958, on a beach in Wales. Over the years, many a holiday was spent together on the coast, often staying in the West Country.

I discovered a set of photos taken in Port Isaac in Cornwall, I'd imagine again taken in the late 1950s? These may be of some interest to anyone who originates from this area.



This one looking down from Tregarock Hill, having a Spring theme with the little lamb in the foreground, being quite interested in the camera lens!



This one looking down Fore Street. Enlarge the photo and you will see an ice-cream sign selling Walls!

I remember as a child, when staying in Port Isaac back in the 1970s, a kleptomaniac jackdaw followed us along streets like this, taking many a swoop down on me. It was after the shiny buckles on my shoes, for its ever expanding collection!



No information written on the back of this one! I do like the crookedness of these adjoined properties.



The Harbour, which reminds me of the TV series Doc Martin!



Chapel Street. I wonder whether the chapel was, or still is, at the top or the bottom of the hill?



The Harbour wall and small area of sandy beach.

I wish I had had these photos with me on a return visit to Port Isaac just a couple of years back. The next time we go, I shall take these photos along, to compare what, if anything at all, has changed?

For those of you who know Cornwall well, I would be so interested to hear of any information you may have of this area?



03/04/2009


my photos

baking days ...

We can manage without cakes, but without cakes we cannot manage!

Today I did a spot of baking. Usually being short of time, most of the cakes I make are based on a plain sponge mix, a tried and tested method, making necessary adjustments for the flavouring, coffee essence, lemon zest, cocoa powder etc.



These Spring flower cakes use a plain sponge mix, baked in muffin cases and topped with yellow buttercream icing. So quick and easy to make for Easter.



This lovely moist lemon cake once baked, is pricked with a fork and infused with a mix of lemon juice and icing sugar. This recipe was given to me by a friend, along with a suggestion to fill it with lemon curd if desired!



Recipes

Spring flower cakes -bake in 160oC pre-heated oven until golden and springy to the touch - makes 12!

sponge
6oz caster sugar
6oz soft margarine
3 eggs
6oz self raising flour
a few drops of vanilla essence

topping
3oz soft margarine
7oz icing sugar
a few drops yellow food colouring (optional)
a few drops of water for consistency

muffin cases
sugar flowers

Lemon cake - bake in 160oC oven from cold until golden and springy to the touch - makes lots of slices!

sponge
6oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
4oz soft margarine
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons milk
grated rind of one lemon

topping
juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons icing sugar

I baked these cakes at the same time, together in the oven.