Just being ME

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dear Mum ...

Ten years have passed, and it only seems like yesterday.
I love you Mum, and really miss you.

A Twitter friend of mine sent me these thoughtful words and a big hug - Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear.



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bargain buy books ...

I found these two great hardback books shoved in a box outside the Mind charity shop today, both 49p each!

Eden by Tim Smit and Fast Flowers by Jane Packer.

Creativity by the bucket-load!

Jane Packer, florist and businesswoman, born 22 September 1959, died 9 November 2011



Roger Eliot Fry 1911

studies of Studland Bay ...

Studland Beach 1912 - Vanessa Bell Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf & Clive Bell at Studland Beach



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discovering Studland Beach and Nature Reserve in Dorset ...

Four glorious miles .. not to be missed!

Sea, sunshine and shadows .. sky-blue, sailboats and sand!

What more can you ask for, and in March!

Just us on this part of the beach .. oh how that will change come the school holidays!

A great area for wildlife, with sand-dunes, heath, and cliff-top walks to explore!

Studland played a vital role in the lead-up to D-Day, and the legacy of WW2 is still here today - NT.

What a view across the bay from Fort Henry, a concrete observation bunker.

Owned by the National Trust, there's a shop and places to eat at Knoll Beach .. and don't forget to display your car sticker in all car-parks for free parking!

Can't wait to go back!



Thinking of you, my lovely Mum on Mothers Day. I shall love you, and miss you forever and a day.



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down Bournemouth way ...

A welcome break if only for a day or so, to break up the monotony of work and to aid recovery of a persistent cold virus is just what was needed.

Having to get back for duty on Saturday we could only book for one night's accommodation which as it turned out was a bit of a bargain, £19 for the room, yes £19! which included buffet breakfast choices and a full English, kippers or scambled eggs with smoked salmon ..!

The hotel was modest, but the dual-aspect room overlooking the sea was perfect and passed all scrutiny with top marks.

Ideally situated on the clifftop adjacent to the superb sandy beaches of Bournemouth, with Boscombe Pier being just a short distance away, and just right for an early morning walk before that blowout breakfast!

The weather was cloudy but mild, and setting off just before sunrise was not particularly the best of light for taking photos, but when in the bleak of midwinter is it ever.

.. that doomed surf reef!

.. and a row of beach huts, stretching 'til infinity.

Only really meeting with a few joggers and dog-walkers, it's the best time of day to get out and about, with just the sound of the surf for company.

We intend to return sooner rather than later, and no doubt like on this trip we'll stop off along the way at Gunwharf Quays for a spot of retail therapy, with a pit-stop at McDonalds thrown in for good measure!



Christmas 2011 ...

Well that's it for another year .. the cards are down, and just the skeleton of the tree (and lights) remain. Christmas votives (most of them) and decorations have been packed away.

The cards will be recycled (most of them) although the sheep is staying .. as I love it too much!

.. as is this rib-tickling image of Wallace and Gromit, and the cute snow baby designed by Michele at Cowboys & Custard.

Christmas-time was spent with family and friends, and quiet moments to ourselves .. many mince pies were eaten, and glasses of mulled cider drunk .. there were lots of presents to open, crackers to pull, and jokes to tell.

How do snails keep their shells shiny .. they use snail varnish!
Why didn't the skeleton go to the New Year's Eve party .. 'cos he had no body to go with .. boom boom!

.. and as for seeing the New Year in, it was great!

The folk band The Shenanigans and the hog roast were just the ticket for New Year's Eve .. as they say eat, drink and be merry!

I'll chink my glass to wish all my good friends a great blogging year ahead.



The forecast for today .. blustery with rain!



Happy New Year ...

We've picked up the tickets for New Year's Eve.

We're seeing out the old year at The Fountain Inn, with drinks in one hand and a hog roast in the other!

Celebrated for its connections with Sir Laurence Olivier and Hilaire Belloc

click on pic to play

... and for its part in the Paul McCartney video Wonderful Christmastime!

Here's hoping 2012 is a great year for everyone!



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Boxing Day Dippers 2011 ...

Just sharing some pics I took at the traditional Boxing Day dip on Worthing Beach.

The tide was in, and the sea was choppy, but many braved the elements!

It's a great annual charity event ...

... guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

More pics are on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.300822456625939.67000.100000945627664&type=1



Just this afternoon I put flowers on Mum's plot for her birthday - she loved lilies.



They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


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two go down to the New Forest ...

... travelling back in time into another world. Strange, but that's exactly how it feels. Things are so different here, and yet the forest is only a short car journey away from us in West Sussex.

Now if horses were loose on our local B roads, the police would have the road cordoned off with diversions in place!

We stayed at the Forest Park Hotel in Brockenhurst, and we got a room upgrade 'cos we didn't want to be over the bar. It's a comfortable hotel with no fancy trimmings ... you get what you pay for.

The room was lovely and bright facing south, and very floral, but although clean the bathroom was in need of an update. Can't complain, 'cos we got a good deal in three nights for the price of two, £68 pounds for the room per night which included a good choice of breakfast.

Our bikes came with us, note my new white Specialized one. I'm definitely liking it, as it helps me keep up the pace with John on his Gary Fisher! We were relatively lucky with the weather, and only got rained on the once.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this very puffed-out Robin on one of our rides. I felt a right clown though 'cos I was talking to it in a silly voice, not aware of a chap sitting in his van with his driver-side window down!

To be honest I expected to see more wildlife down here, and apart from the usual suspect birds, saw just one squirrel and a deer, which was unfortunately roadkill along the side of a verge.

One thing you're in no danger of missing in the New Forest is trees. The first photo is of a giant sequoia, one of the largest specimens in Great Britain. It's situated in Rhinefield Ornamental Drive and is part of the Tall Trees Trail, which is a pleasant walk for adults and kids alike.

Can you see what I see in this trunk of another old tree?

Brockenhurst is a great place to stay if you want to be at the starting point of many cycle routes. The whole of the National Park is well kitted out for keen cyclists, and being out of school holidays we practically had it all to ourselves.

I really wasn't expecting to see these cows stopping traffic on the road into Burley. They were hilarious, and in no hurry to budge!

We stopped here for a much needed drink, and waited a good half an hour for our coffee. Such a leisurely pace of life, and a stark reminder of just how manic our everyday lives can sometimes be.

Of course there are many beautiful New Forest ponies to be seen roaming around too. They don't need a wide berth, but not a good idea to pet or feed them, and keep to a 40-mph limit on all unfenced roads.

Remember, it's their forest so look after them!


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August 7th ...

Don't forget the Big Butterfly Count and my garden blog giveaway, both end on Sunday.

Look right, over there, up the top! The links are on my sidebar.

I'll be picking out a giveaway winner at 6 pm, so good luck!


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Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth ...

I'm feeling just a tad worn down with this tooth of mine.

Just to say it's been an ongoing saga, which has so far lasted months 'n months 'n months.

... oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth!

Anyway I'm now on antibiotics, so they just better do the trick?

For now anyway.

I'm not thick skinned, and was sad to notice I lost a follower today.


Crocodile, as seen a few years back on our maiden voyage to Australia.

Don't forget remaining followers - you're more than welcome to join in with the book giveaway on my garden blog.

The more entries there are, the more fun I will have picking out a winner!


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exclamation ...

I've developed excrutiating toothache! It's in the tooth I'm in the middle of having root treatment on.

My next appointment is in five weeks time ...s
he's on holiday!

I'm very tempted to yank the tooth out myself!

Thank goodness for Ibuprofen ... I
t's the only cure I got.

One 400mg tablet gives me adequate relief for 6 hours.
Thank you Stewart Adams.

Can you believe this man never saw an extra penny for this breakthrough cure!

Edited to add:

Thanks everyone for your compassion and advice. Juggling around work hours, I've managed to get an appointment for this Thursday afternoon.

Since writing this post, I am now getting spammed with adverts for new dentures!


... blue sky and a much anticipated day outside in the garden.

Have a great weekend!


... everyone loves a GIVEAWAY!

The one on my
garden blog is open to everyone.


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another baking day ...

As rain has mainly stopped play outside today, I've been doing a spot of baking.

Sticky Lemon and Lime Cake

equal 5oz amounts of soft margarine or butter, caster sugar and SR flour
3 eggs
half a teaspoon of baking powder and 2oz ground almonds
zest and juice from one lemon and one lime

This is a recipe for cupcakes, but works equally well as one big single cake, baked in a 16.5 cm fluted cake tin liner.

Using proper eggs, from proper hens, bought from a proper stall along the roadside.

I really like how they are all different shades, and of a good size too.

I can't get over the size of some supermarket eggs these days - even the Size 1s seem small to me?

I do like citrus fruits.

In fact I sometimes find myself buying them when I really don't need them?

Anyway, these two came from a large bag of mixed lemons and limes from Sainsburys for just £2.00, which I thought was a bit of a bargain.

It is, if you don't end up throwing them away!

The zest needs to go in the cake mix ...

and the juice needs to be heated with 2oz caster sugar until syrupy, for the drizzle.

I do like quick and easy, not always having the time to faff with complicated recipes ...

and good time management leaves more time to scrape the whisk, and lick the bowl!