Sunday, 27 March 2011

Blossom & Blue skies

A thin layer of fading confetti petals has drifted down to the lawn as the blossoms have stayed longer than previous Springs, with little wind and virtually no rain I have woken to this sight each morning and watched it grow more glorious each day so thought it best to capture the moment before it fades. Enjoy… because this blossom tree festooned with blooms brings me a massive amount of joy.

Imagine waking up to this every morning... a little bit of heaven

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sharing Lunch:

Last night I met a lovely lady from Twitter at a Book launch and she paid me a huge compliment and told me how much she liked reading my blog so today I’m sharing my lunch with you.

My niece came over for lunch and we decided that Pasta & Risotto were off the menu on such a perfect Spring day, seamless blue sky, the cherry blossom a softest palest pink cotton candy, with table laid on the patio we would listen to sweet birds sing and background songs on the radio.

The Fajita box sell by date: Jan 2009! Oops, but what the heck we fancied spicing up our menu and cooked together. I did the preparation and clearing up and she cooks, so teamwork abounds.

It might be wise to mention that on occasion my coordination skills drift and fail me! And much to my nieces' surprise watching her aunt eat Fajita’s was probably best done in private and alone.

She had utilised all the SPICES, OMG, as my poorly wrapped Fajita dribbled its contents through my tightly clasped fingers, as my sinuses cleared better than any cold remedy I’ve ever taken, and my eyes watered so that I could barely see then I started to laugh at my own predicament. Not smart!

Eating became a struggle as the Fajita fell apart, missed my mouth, and the plate and hit the pristine white table cloth, spoiling it! As the spices caught the back of my throat I begin to giggle, not clever, then I start choking, and snorting - at best an unattractive noise.

I didn’t know what to do next, drop the Fajita? Blow my nose? Lick my fingers?

My elegant dining companion eyed me up over her sunglasses and coolly: ‘there’s an art to folding a Fajita!’ Now she tells me, in an imperious tone, if she was attempting to calm my giggles, it didn’t work.

Oh heck, did I provoke disapproval or maybe she’s just amused by my cack-handed eating habits? To think I taught this child to slurp soup! An act I'm not still not forgiven for yet by her parents…

For those of you who know me will understand that a swift change of costume was required after this fiasco of a meal and all I can say is thank goodness I didn’t choose to do this in a café with waiters and fellow diners.

So what did I learn today? I shall never eat Fajita’s in public, but hell I’m gonna crack how to fold a Fajita!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Book Review: ‘Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard’

This story has a lovely pace to it and draws the reader in taking the reader on journey that covers a complicated plot, to untangle a web of deceit set against a convincing backdrop of London, Dublin and Antwerp during the 1940’s and 1976.

Goddard cares about his characters and carefully embroiders detailed persona for: Eldritch Swan and his nephew, Stephen Swan (who never knew his uncle existed until now). Together they avoid an elusive enemy as they unravel a plot that sets fake Picasso and Irish politics and murder during troubled times.

The plot is convoluted but as a thriller Goddard excels at getting the historical feel right and war time Antwerp seems the most unfriendly place to be, a place to escape from urgently! And he adds an element of romance for young Stephen.

A cracking good read and must be highly recommended!

I won a prize today, Random House posted me a copy of Robert Goddards latest book: ‘Blood Count, so that was lovely and I thought it would be good practice to share my review with others to show my appreciation.

It’s surprising that winning a competition can make me feel joyous, well it did for me.

Monday, 14 March 2011

I Love Flying?

I love flying. I love going away and then I love coming home too. Because it makes me appreciate everything I have and do.

I can’t wait for the plane to taxi and take off, I get very excited! I’m the worst sort of big kid as I can be a bit of an embarrassment to my fellow travelling companions if I get hyper active.

On a recent trip my nieces sat either side of me, buckled in to their seats as they watched in astonishment and saw my growing excitement escalate in to a rather noisy departure. It was their first time flying and they were a tad anxious. So my over reaction came as quite a surprise as I stamped my feet and babbled eagerly at how great flying was but now that I come to write this I can see that I can be embarrassingly vocal when required. And on landing I was not much quieter either. I get such an adrenalin rush that any fears I had or they had previous to their first flight evaporated.

If I ever win the lottery I’m heading off to California, to find clear blue skies to learn to fly a two seater aeroplane and a helicopter, I can’t wait!

Do you have any travelling rituals that you must observe to have a great holiday or trip?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Clearing the Attic

Every now & then I feel compelled to de-clutter my home, usually, when I begin to notice that I have too much stuff!

Many moons ago I decided to empty the previous occupants junk from my attic. A simple task on a spring day. I enlisted the help of my son and his friend, Thomas, both were strong, aged around twelve or thirteen at the time.

The ladder in place I secured my entry into the attic space and started to pass things down to the boys until I got to an old and rather large rug. My son removed the ladder so that I could lower down this particular item.

The boys left happy, fooling around carrying the carpet, pretending to be removal men, as I heard the front door click and close.

I sat, feet dangling out of the opening looking at the floor seven or eight feet below me, waiting for their return.

‘Mum, open the door,’ my son yells.

All I could hear was Thomas, who shrieked with laughter, knowing my son's best friend as I did, he was probably rolling around on the grass, simultaneously clutching his sides as his body was seized with hysteria.

‘You took the ladder away.’

More hysterical laughter.

‘But how…’

‘Well short of calling the fire brigade. No, please don’t do that!’ I shouted, worried I'd not be heard. ‘I suggest you clamber over the back garden walls and pray the back door is open.’

I heard Thomas chuckle all the way down the road and he never stopped tittering as they scampered and climbed over various neighbours fences, about six in total. (It’s surprising how much more clearly I could hear in the roof than in the house!)

How can I fail to smile at the innocence of this memory? A haphazard mixture of fun and silliness.

I’ll tell you the other ‘Fireman’ story next… oh now as I recall, there’s more than one firemen story….

And yes they came to my rescue in unexpected circumstances!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

You've Lost that Loving Feeling?

I used to work part time as a barmaid in a busy, popular pub (public house). It was hard work but good fun yet the time passed quickly most evenings. On one particular Saturday evening I was late for work and James, my landlord, said not to worry because usually it was quiet early on, however that was before two coach loads of rugby fans piled into the pub, ‘merry’ and keen for a few more beers!

When I finally arrived James was swamped, doing his best to serve the massed crowd, the place was mad! Buzzing with the drinkers in high junks but once I got behind the bar all eyes focused on me, it was a pretty terrific ratio: about 70 guys and 1 gal!

And thank goodness I’m made an effort that night as I’d worn my favourite dress and had a decent suntan back then! The sort where all the seams meet and I didn’t look half baked,(lol at self) or lobster pink!

The guys broke into a rousing chorus and serenaded me as I served them. I shall never forget how it sounded or how I felt as l heard: “you’ve lost that loving feeling,” with a full set of baritone and tenor voices dropping down deep for the chorus and a few of them even went down on bended knee at the appropriate point in the song!

The Righteous Brothers:
The King:

And ‘cos it’s such a great song I’ve included links here you can choose between Elvis or the Righteous Brothers.

Happy memories that bring a smile are the best ones, don’t you think?

I know I wouldn't mind going back and hearing that chorus just one more time...

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

If Life hands you Lemons…make Pancakes!

Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day here but in my house it can be Pancake Day any day of the week because I love them!

Pancakes are quick, simple to make and as I love teaching kids to cook, they are ideal for a bit of fun but often when I start with pancakes: I’m frequently met with cries of, ‘I can’t do that, I don’t know how to toss a pancake.’

‘It’s easy,’ I reassure them and this is my trick. I set them an impossible but intersting task: I encourage every child to aim for the ceiling. I promise each child that if they can stick their pancake to my kitchen ceiling they will win a prize.

To date no prize has been awarded or claimed but I’m still hopeful of giving it, one day.

And you should see how wide they smile when that pancakes flips over and lands back in the pan, even if it scrunches up. They grow inches in stature within seconds and failure ceases to be an option.

What’s even more amusing is as that each pancake that misses the pan and lands on the floor is never discarded. I’ve never seen a child hesitate in retrieving the dropped pancake and put it straight back in the pan and continue flipping it, spoiled or not!

Anyway a little bit of dirt …

Friday, 4 March 2011

Defrosting the Fridge

This is one of those ‘happy memories’ that brings me joy.

I can’t help laughing at myself, even as I write. I was younger, slimmer, and blonder. The fridge freezer needed to go to the dump. And don’t ask why but I took a hammer and a chisel and started whacking the hell out of the massed frozen ice!

I think I fancied myself as a stone mason as I had sculpted three statues and that’s the best reason I can come up with now, besides it seemed like a jolly good idea at the time, until a violent whoosh of gas parted my hair, leaving a cold damp trail across my scalp.

I ducked! Luckily, I covered my mouth and didn’t breathe any of the noxious substance. The gas kept pumping into the kitchen. I switched off the fridge & closed the kitchen door. Then I rang my local fire station. Not the 999 emergency number! To ask what I should do…

As I hung up I heard the first wailing siren, quickly followed by a second anxious warning bell. I stood still in the hallway and gulped, oh hell I hope there not coming here.

With hindsight I would have worn a different outfit, something flattering because I wore: paint covered baggy short shorts, a grungy t-shirt, some old pumps and no make up as twelve burly firemen tumbled into my tiny house to inspect the fridge that had been unfairly attacked with vicious implements.

Soon after this the third fire engine from my nearest town turned up! Nobody could move for tenders in our street. Another six handsome strapping men piled out into my tiny packed house and I could not move for a sea of hunky firemen, quite possibly not looking my most desirable.

The damaged fridge freezer was removed effortlessly by these gorgeous guys as I tried vainly to blend with the wallpaper in my kitchen, a little floral number that looked like a meadow, but it was hard because the firemen were genuinely concerned for my health, as they asked: 'do you realise that what you did was dangerous?'

Apparently I had endangered myself! And possibly the neighbourhood…

Two of the younger, good-looking firemen introduced themselves, they recognised me from work! Oh shazbat.

The shame walking on to the shop floor at work the next day, I glowed crimson and I’m sure they smiled as I blushed.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A Baby's Laughter (gives me the greatest Joy)

There is one sound guaranteed to stop me in my tracks and make me smile and that’s when I hear a baby laugh.

Happy babies are very special, they give out a radiance that many of us can’t possibly emulate because we have been through the mill of life (terrible cliché I know) but stick with me for now.

Nothing brings me more happiness than listening to a tot play a range of raucous noises from burbling to gargling and then shouting to screaming as the child realises that it has control over sound and pitch and volume and as their tiny voice grows into something quite extraordinary.

There is an innocence, a prefect delight in hearing this laughter and I have to look and watch as any small child plays its vocal chords.

Four laughing babies:

I believe if I could bottle the essence of that sound, innocence: ‘A Baby’s laugh’ and sell it, then I’m sure Id’ make a fortune.

Next time you hear a baby laugh, pause and enjoy the moment.

Cherish that clarity of sound and lock it away for future memory to draw on in a moment of need.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

What brings you Joy?

I love this time of year especially on a sunny morning when I can feel, ‘that spring is in the air,’ because I'm filled with renewed desires and hopes for the warmer months ahead.

And very little brings me more heartfelt joy than, an abundance of flowers: snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, and tulips as they burst open and bloom. And then there’s birdsong as the birds shape their vocal chords and flaunt their feathers.

So I’ve decided I’m going to share with you, ‘what brings joy to my life.’

I will tell you tales, true stories that I hope with make you smile, even make you laugh out loud, a big fat belly laugh and perhaps I’ll win you over, you’ll see things in my life that you can empathise with, even share with others as my memories trigger your memories.

Well that’s my wish for March even if it is a tad ambitious.

Join me & find out what makes me smile, conceivably maybe what makes me tick… and if you’re feeling brave share a happy memory or two here, as I’d love to hear from you too.