Friday, 26 May 2017

May Scavenger Photo Hunt



Well Hawthorn, you have made it difficult for us to choose which ones to select with your much longer list!  I know I for one prefer to not have to choose,  just do your selection!!  Makes it much harder, even with the greater selection.  But here goes with my eventual selection.....





1.  Piano


This is a picture of my father taken in the Broadcasting studios in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) in about 1948. Before the war he had his own band and played professionally for Tea Dances in hotels in Eastbourne.  (As a point of interest here he had very flat feet and was colour blind so was ineligible for the Air force or the Army so he, together with his whole band, was called up and became members of ENSA, the Entertainments National Service Association,  and travelled around army camps entertaining the soldiers).   

After the war we travelled overland through Africa down as far as Lusaka where he joined the Central Africa Broadcasting Corporation.  He also played at dinner dances in the largest hotel there as well as recording half hour programmes of 'Music for Sundown' broadcast on a Sunday evening.  He would buy sheet music of the latest musical shows and films and then put his own touch – 'adding the twiddly bits' he used to call it.  When this photograph was taken at Broadcasting  House he must have told me he was working on ‘Buttons and Bows’ which was from the 1948 film The Paleface, starring Bob Hope and Jane Russell.    I was only 6 at the time and misunderstood what he was doing and for many years I thought he composed it! Pity he didn't....think of the royalties!  




   



2 Group


A group of eager faced Brownies and Guides waiting to shake hands with Lady Olave Baden-Powell when she visited Lusaka as part of her tour of Northern and Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, Swaziland and Basutoland, all British colonies in those days.   (Modern day Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho). I remember how excited we were as all the packs gathered at the Lusaka Girls School in March l950 but although this was a very important day for all the Brownies my main memory of the event was trying to find the girl's toilet and having to ask one of the 'big girls' (presumably a girl guide) where they were!  


Lady Olave Baden-Powell with her daughter Chief Scout Betty Clay.  Our Brown Owl was Mrs Palmer and her daughter Ann with fabric hat is to her right and I am on her left wearing the regulation brown hat. 

   


3.           Silhouette 

 This was not one of my original choices but after seeing such a spectacular sunset a few  nights ago (the one mentioned in an earlier post by Hawthorn) I decided to use the silhouette of the trees over the road.  I do have a problem with photographing sunsets at certain times of the year.  I get such an excellent view of the vast skies outside our window but the sun often gives too much light which can mess up my photographs, especially such brilliant show as this one.  I was using my camera phone which I had only had a couple of days and have not tried out various settings yet.  In  hind sight I should have taken them with my proper camera. 




4.     Avocado


I love avocados but find the ones available here in the UK very small.  The Haas is minute and the  larger one is only a bit bigger.  Perhaps we have been spoilt.  In the Southern Hemisphere where we lived for so many years, they are huge.  When we were living outside Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second biggest city, we had an avocado tree just outside the kitchen door.  It had not had much of a crop the year we moved in and we were advised of a local tradition to improve yield.  One was to bang some large nails into the trunk - perhaps there was a lack of some mineral in the soil but the one that intrigued us was to take a big stick and beat it!  So B did just that.  Gave the trunk some huge wacks.  Not sure which of the two worked but all the time we lived at Khami it produced the largest avocados we have ever seen. We knew them as Custard Avocados which could only describe the creamiest fruit you  have ever tasted.  I had a Salter scale in those days, one of those with an oval shaped bowl and the fruit filled the dish almost completely.  From memory, I seem to think they weighed 3 lbs or more.  Below is a normal Haas, looks large but it is on a very small chopping board!!  Compare it to normal sized sprig of mint next to it.  







There, I knew I wasn't dreaming. I have just googled 'large avocados' and there they were on sale in a certain supermarket here in the UK described  as a rare supersize fruit weighing an average of 3 lbs and coming from just four trees grown by one of the world's biggest suppliers in South Africa.  (They have forgotten to count our tree in Zimbabwe ..but well that was 40 odd years ago! )  It is described as having a fantastic taste with a rich, juicy, buttery texture and creamy flavour.  Just as I remember it.   

Sadly that is not me in the picture, just some pretty girl in the shop advertisement which I snipped off Images on Google. After typing the above I realise that perhaps neither of our methods used above worked, it must have been a large variety all along and we just made sure it had lots of water!!  




5. Chocolate Cup Cake 


Take your choice, there are at least a dozen there, actually a bakers' dozen, I have just recounted, the rest are lemon buns.  Each year I would bake my daughter-in-law 3 dozen iced cupcakes for her to take to the office on her birthday.  I am no expert but had lovely fun decorating them with butter icing.  Sadly she and our son have now moved to Scotland, a bit far for me to make them for her this year!! 












6.        Weave  


After years of resisting it, I finally learnt to crochet in about 2009.  I had never been interested as most crochet articles in my days in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) were either doilies or toilet roll covers!  So why bother!! 

Hawthorn did not knit or crochet other than the little she had learnt as a school girl. But then suddenly she started crocheting;  her sister-in-law taught her one holiday on a beach in Northumberland.  



I looked with envy at the work she was producing so decided......anything she can do..........I may not do better but at least I can try. So between H, daughter-in-law and other Knit and (K)natter friends I finally managed it.  The first large article I made was this huge blanket.  Looking at the photograph I can see uneven tension and other errors.  But I was not happy with the stripes, too obvious, so Hawthorn suggested I weave (there is the word I was waiting to use) cream wool through the holes in the work using a large darning needle. You can see where I had started it.  I had made it with carpet wool which was heavy enough to start with but with the extra cream wool it became very cumbersome and not very cuddly or sniggly at all.  So it, together with my next similar effort,  ended up with son and daughter-in-law's Labradors.  They loved them, they weren't fussy!! 




7.  Bush


Now here is a word that means different things depending where you live.  Here in the UK it is a plant, a shrub in the garden like a rose bush but to us that have grown up in southern Africa it has a totally different meaning.  Here  you would go for a walk in the countryside, wandering around in woods or forests, across green fields but to me a walk in the countryside is a walk 'in the bush'.  That conjurers up memories of walking in long African grass, more often brown than green or sitting quietly in the car in the Kruger National Park (KNP) watching lion, buffalo, giraffe or the smaller creatures like some of the varied bird life walking through the bush.  In fact just writing about the bush and searching through our many photographs  makes me feel quite 'bush happy' bringing back memories.  These photographs and the one below had been taken with a very ordinary camera, no fancy zoom lens.  The lions had just appeared out of the bush and were about to cross the road ahead of us and the elephants were just browsing by the side of the road.









8.  Long


Yet another African story and again in the KNP.  Hawthorn and G (Himself) came out from the UK to stay with us and we booked a few days in a rest camp in the Kruger.  The advantage of staying rather than doing a day visit was that you could get up early, grab a cup of coffee and get out into the park just as the camp gates open at 5 am, an hour before the main gates for the day visitors.  We had done just that and were driving back towards the camp for breakfast when a leguaan or monitor lizard at least 1 metre long crossed the road in front of us and disappeared into the long grass at the edge of the road. We had stopped and I was peering out the car window watching where he had gone trying to see him again when I realised I was looking between two large, light coloured straight 'poles'.  I suddenly realised these were not poles but the legs of a giraffe just beyond where the leguaan had disappeared and I was staring under his belly. Wow, he was enormous with the longest legs that went up and up.  When you remember that when a giraffe gives birth standing up as they do, the new born baby drops 2 metres or more to the ground, it gives you some idea of how tall they are.  




9.  Green


Today, the hottest day this year, B and I went to Bolton Abbey, near Skipton, Yorkshire for a walk along the river and picnic lunch.  We go each year about this time as my mother's ashes were scattered there some years ago and I know how much she loved sitting by the river where we had our lunch today.  It was lovely and cool walking along under the towering trees. There were still plenty of bluebells about and huge banks of wild garlic were in full bloom, When I checked over my photographs I saw this one and thought 'how cool and green that looks' so it had to be my choice for this topic. 







    10  Sharp 

Well, what can I say about this display I saw in a second hand shop in Colne, Lancashire but .....Ouch!!  







PS   Hawthorn, the long list was not so bad after all.  I kept changing my mind about which topics I would choose as I found more suitable photographs.  


Friday, 28 April 2017

April's Scavenger Photo Hunt

Here we go again.......frantic search for pictures to fit the headings.  I have had it done mentally ever since the new list was put up by Hawthorn and now suddenly the deadline is tomorrow and I have not done anything more than think about it!!



1  New


For many years we have had a compost bin that was given secondhand to Hawthorn in 2004.  It was made up of plastic panels that slid into each other to form two small or one large round bin.   Over the years panels have broken and this year become very brittle and not able to stand up to the heavy winds and had developed a decided list windward!  I tried to replace it with something similar but to no avail.  I eventually realised I would have to find something completely different and chose a slatted wooden compost bin (with a 15 year guarantee against rot, which considering our great age I did not know whether to feel good about that or not as I would be 90!!)   The old plastic bin is to the right of the photograph as I still needed to shift the non rotted  contents into the new bin and all the lovely brown compost into bags ready for use around the garden.  

I must add that the construction of this wooden bin led to some interesting conversations between myself and B as, like all men, he does not follow instructions.  Just by enlarging the photograph on the web page I could see how it all slotted together but............well, you know, I am sure.  Anyway as the article came without instructions other than where to download them from their web page I did just that to prove my point!! 







2  Recently finished


I have changed around the order of words so as to continue with my theme of compost bins!  Our eldest grandson very kindly came across for the day to help us transfer all the non rotted vegetation into the new bin, carefully layering it with soil from last years' flower pots and filling sacks of lovely well rotted compost and in return for his hard work we fed him an enormous pizza, tomato soup and an unending supply of hot cross buns, hot chocolate and orange juice.

The slats came as a flat pack but unfortunately three slats had their ends broken off.  We carried on assembling it but I immediately contacted the seller who apologised and said they would send a replacement.   To our surprise 'replacement' meant a whole new bin, not just three slats, so now as the original one works in its broken state we have two for the price of one!  That is what I call a bargain!



NB   This should  be under new as well as those ladies size stainless steel spade and fork were an early birthday present.



3  Rust


Each year we drive from Lancashire to beautiful Northumberland** to stay in a farm cottage for a week.  When Anthony Gormley's Angel of the North near Gateshead comes into view we start to feel we are nearly there.  The giant art installation is known as Rusty Rita by the locals, hence my link to this category.   The first time we passed it we turned off to get a closer look. It is huge.  See how it dwarfs B as he walks up the hill towards it. If you look more closely you will see a few people standing at the base. 

** My banner picture is taken on Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland. 





I have just enlarged my original picture and read again the amazing details on this information board then looked up more details on a web page.  I thought it would be more interesting if I copied and pasted the details here as I found them fascinating and thought you might too.


  • It is believed to be the largest angel sculpture in the world
  • It is one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world - seen by more than one person every second, 90,000 every day or 33 million every year
  • It is one of the most famous artworks in the region - almost two thirds of people in the North East had already heard of the Angel of the North before it was built
  • Its 54 metre (175 foot) wingspan is bigger than a Boeing 757 or 767 jet and almost the same as a Jumbo jet
  • It is 20 metres (65 feet) high - the height of a five storey building or four double decker buses
  • It weighs 200 tonnes - the body 100 tonnes and the wings 50 tonnes each
  • There is enough steel in it to make 16 double decker buses or four Chieftain tanks
  • It will last for more than 100 years
  • It will withstand winds of more than 100 miles per hour
  • Below the sculpture, massive concrete piles 20 metres deep anchor it to the solid rock beneath
  • It is made of weather resistant Cor-ten steel, containing a small amount of copper, which forms a patina on the surface that mellows with age
  • Huge sections of the Angel - up to six metres wide and 25 metres long - were transported to the site by lorry with a police escort
  • The total cost of The Angel of the North was £800,000
  • There is unique species of daffodil named the Angel of the North due to its orange, rusty hue and lofty height. The Angel of the North daffodil has been verified and registered with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)



4  Boxes


I looked around the house to see which box I could use but could not decide so have arranged  them all together for a group box photograph.  They all have different stories to tell.  The two wooden ones in the back and two in front were given to me by my son and fav daughter-in-law collected on their travels. The Jak the cat tin and the lovely Papier-mâché box were given to me by Hawthorn and the round one with the lid was made by B while playing around on his lathe.  The little glass one my mother used to store stamps in, both new ones in the days when you still had to lick them and used ones that she used to collect for B.  Today I see it has an  odd selection of bits, a McMillan Daffodil, a spare needle for my knitting machine and odd washer or two and a brass thimble that says Use Humber Soap around the side.  But best of all is the old wooden box in the centre made by my father-in-law as a young man in the late 20's to hold his cuff links.  The workmanship is perfect. No nails  or screws, all minute wooden dowels and small piano hinges on the back with a  little brass lock. 








5  Ingredients


Here I must make a confession.  I very seldom take photographs of my cooking so I  have cheated and pinched this from Images on Google.  Very naughty I know and I apologise.

With so many recipes to chose from I have selected a traditional South African pudding or teatime treat - Melk Tert, which translates as Milk Tart.  It is quite different to the English custard tart and much easier to make as it does not have to set in the oven, you make it like custard, in a saucepan.  You can be good and make a short pastry pre baked case but I cheat and buy them ready made from the supermarket.  




MELK  TERT   (Makes 2 x 8"  tarts)

4 rounded tablespoons flour                          l cup sugar
4 level tablespoons cornflour                        3 eggs
l litre milk                                                       3 tablespoons butter
Cinnamon sticks (Optional)                           Pinch salt.  
Ground cinnamon                                          2 Baked pastry shells

Sift and mix together dry ingredients. Add eggs, beating well. Add a little milk and mix till smooth. Boil together remaining milk, salt, cinnamon sticks (or pinch of cinnamon) and butter. Add hot milk to flour mixture and return to saucepan and cook slowly till thick. Pour into baked pastry shell and sprinkle with cinnamon. 



6 and 9   Something beginning with .....D and R (I know, its cheating!)


I think I will be forgiven for using this photograph of a very young Hawthorn as I need it to illustrate my story.  I was stumped for a while on what to use for the letters 'D' and 'R' that would be different until B reminded me of Damn Rabbit - I actually can't remember his original name.  We had raised him from a very tiny baby, almost hairless and blind, as his mother had kicked him out of the cage. He was fed with a dolls' baby bottle and lived in the house.  But he had one very bad habit.  Living in a rather hot part of the world and as B worked just down the road, he came home for lunch and then had 40 winks on our bed before returning to work. The rabbit sometimes used to sneak into our bedroom and jump onto our bed and snuggle up to him.  The only problem was that on occasions B would be rudely awoken from his nap by a warm, damp feeling. Yes, you guessed it, it was the rabbit having a wee!!  B would hurl him off the bed yelling loudly....That Damn Rabbit has done it again....or actually something rather stronger. So he became known as That Damn Rabbit!!  (or TDR for short)






In the photograph Hawthorn is holding  TDR, Barney her little dog who met an untimely death when we moved into the city where he did not know busy traffic and her cat Sam** who lived to the grand old age of 15, a good age in a country where many cats were killed by snakes.

** Sam was named after Sam the Sham (remember him?) as his mother was Siamese and his father obviously a passing black rascall whom he took after until he opened him mouth and he spoke pure Siamese cat!

Writing about TDR has bought back a long forgotten memory.  RTV - Rhodesia Television was in its infancy with only two stations broadcasting, one in Salisbury (Harare) and the other in Bulawayo. They had a children's 5 o'clock club which Hawthorn and her brother belonged to and when it was their birthday they were invited to go to the broadcast on that day. I had a cunning plan! Only some cards were read out each time so I got my parents in Capetown to send an enormous birthday card which did attract attention.  Little H was called up and her card read to her.  It had been signed from Mummy, Daddy, Granny and Grandpa and all the many cats and dogs, ending with TDR. The presenter  Sally Donaldson asked little H who was TDR and was told it was That Damn Rabbit.  She was naturally asked to explain which she dutifully did, in her clear voice; my rabbit wee wees on my daddy and he gets cross and shouts That Damn Rabbit!  We went from proud parents sitting with others in the viewing room to very embarrassed parents, shrinking down in our chairs.  That will teach me to have a Cunning Plan!! 



7  Mechanical


We came across this beauty whilst in the Science and Technology Museum in Manchester.  It is the 'Pender', Tank Locomotive No 3 and is a Bayer, Peacock Locomotive and was used on the Douglas to Peel line on the Isle of Man.  It has a cut away view of the engine which was fascinating. 





8  Something seasonal


My garden is at last rousing itself from it's winter stupor (or is that a description of me?) and bursting into flower again.  Each year these primulas faithfully come into flower.  I had been given a sack full that had been destined for the council compost tip as they were being dug up to be replaced by summer flowers by the council gardeners. I always think they are rewarding me for rescuing them.








10  My own choice


At this time of the year the squirrels are raising their young in their dray.  When they are big enough the mother brings them to our feeding table.  She keeps her young around her till they are able to defend themselves then chases away the males.  The females stay longer and in fact sometime oust their mother and keep their patch - and supply of peanuts!   We are seeing the present mother squirrel when she comes for food and water.  It is obvious that she is feeding babies.   We had Emma for years, each time raising her  young and sending them away till eventually she was the one evicted.  She would come back occasionally to see us till she stopped coming altogether.  She became very bold, asking for nuts by coming to the Goat Willow tree at the side of the lounge or even coming up the passage and into our flat.  When the babies were weaned and teething she would bring them to the Goat Willow tree to chew on the bark for its soothing effect.  Sadly, as the tree was actually growing in the school grounds next door and was damaging the fence, the council came and cut it down. 

Here is Emma feeding from B's hand.  She even sat on his lap eating nuts he gave her. 












Friday, 24 March 2017

March's Scavenger Photo Hunt






Another month, another interesting and challenging list of topics. Thanks Hawthorn, you really made us think.

1.Flowers

I have many pictures of flowers in my garden but I think my favourite is this one of my peony flowers many years ago. They make me think of Degas' paintings of ballet dancers. All flouncy and delicate.


2. Baking or cooking

I don't take many pictures of my baking but I did have this one of a chocolate cake in a mug that I had made together with our grandsons a few years ago. It is so easy and successful but I will admit that I have not done one since. But for those of you who have never tried it and have children to amuse in school holidays, here is the recipe:

Ingredients
Prep : 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins

1 mug
4 tablespoons self-raising flour
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons oil
3 drops vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chocolate chips (optional)

Method

Mix together flour, sugar and cocoa in a mug. Crack in the egg, then add the milk, vanilla, oil and chocolate chips. Stir well. Place mug with contents into the microwave and cook on high for three minutes. Allow to cool a little before running a plastic knife around the mug to release the cake.


Now having got this category sorted in my mind, Brian and I went out to lunch at Winfields, a lovely camping and hiking shop with a fantastic selection of ladies shoes and men's casual and working clothes in Haslington (I am in no way affiliated to this store, just a happy customer). It also has a lovely tearoom and a large display of vintage motorbikes that keeps Brian happy. Unless we are planning to go out for a proper meal, our usual order is Soup of the Day with a roll for me and scone, jam and cream for Brian with a pot of tea. The soup was chunky vegetable soup - a favourite of mine - but when it turned up it was chunky alright. So chunky it was piled up higher than the rim of the bowl! I had never had soup that was higher than the soup bowl! It as only when I had finished it I realised I should have taken a photograph. I had been more concerned photographing the little hearts under the cup on the saucer for next year's Heartathon.  I was so disappointed with myself that I decided to make some at home and and photograph that.

Here is the result and ....



 ......the recipe

One packet of prepared Soup Vegetables from the supermarket.

Add water and stock cube as directed and simmer for 30 minutes till vegetables are soft, then pile high in a soup bowl, as high as you can!!

(Or be good and peel and dice as many root vegetables as you have in the fridge).

3. Reading

I love reading and should read more than I do but I watch television too late and fall asleep too quickly to get very far each night and I don't like to read during the day. I loved all Alexander McCall Smith's No.1 Detective Agency Series as they all were so true to the African way of life which we know well having lived there since I was five until we left in 2000. My daughter-in-law introduced me to Bill Bryson and I have been hooked on all his books since (well with one exception of '1982'. Just could not get into it). But his 'Notes on a Small Island' and the follow up 'The Road to Little Dribbling' were particularly good. They are a laugh aloud stuff and it usually takes a lot for me to more than crack a smile when reading.


4.Comfortable

I took this picture of a Klipspringer (rock jumper) in the Kruger National Park, South Africa some years ago. It was quite content to stay whilst I photographed from the car window. They are only 17-24 inches high (43 - 60 cm) and have the unusual habit of walking on their toes and like it's name suggests, spring from rock to rock with ease. They are nocturnal and rest during the day so we were lucky to find this little chap. He definitely looks comfortable in the sunshine observing the passing tourist traffic.


5. Favourite Colour

This category has given me the most problems. Favourite colour ... of what?

I could say the beautiful blue African sky or the purple of Jacaranda trees in flower especially in Pretoria, South Africa or lining the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe even if the downside is 'Jacaranda eye', itchy red eyes for the whole of the flowering season in October. The falling flowers provide a purple carpet underneath.



How about the bright white of freshly fallen snow or spring green grass and trees or the beautiful sunsets we see out of our lounge window. But each time I am drawn back to blues and greens, even if I do wear 50 shades of purple and mauve!!












Then there are the fascinating colours of wine bottles in Sainsbury's supermarket - it must be the way the light in that store shines on the wines from around the world; pale Rosé through to deep reds. I always choose to cut through to the tills that way.










How about the beautiful autumnal colours as the trees change their hue each autumn. This picture was taken along the River Wharf as it flows through Bolton Abbey grounds.

I love the word autumnal - I wonder if the Americans have a similar adjective. Fall does not describe the colours to me)









It was when I was looking for a certain photograph taken at Bowness-on-Windermere,  Cumbria when we were waiting for the ferry to cross back that I realised I knew my favourite colour. It is in the beautiful soft scarf given to me by Hawthorn and her family for one birthday and in a silk scarf  bought for a couple of pounds from a charity shop whilst on holiday in Northumberland.



They reflect the colours in this photograph beautifully. What do you think?

The 'watery' one is my 'go to' scarf nearly every time.


(Quite coincidentally, I have used that scarf to stand my piled high soup on for that earlier picture and favourite mug lower down).

6. Candle

I am not one who has lots of candles around. I have emergency candles in the drawer and long ones for the dinner table and some chapel candles that come out at Christmas but otherwise none. But what I do have are two lovely tea light candle holders that Hawthorn has given us over the years. They are on the book case shelf. I'm afraid the candles don't show as it was either the candles or the writing but they are in there, I assure you.


7. Hat

I am not a hat person and my hair is so thick I seldom wear a warm woollen one though I do have them for really cold days. So my 'hat' entry is more of a fun picture. The last two years when Andy (now Sir Andy) Murray got into the Wimbledon Tennis finals, the Daily Mail published a silly paper hat with instructions of how to fold it. My father used to make them for me like this, either as a pirate's hat or a smaller version as a boat to sail in the river. So here I am wearing my 'Andy' hat - no guess whom I was supporting!!


8. Walk

Many years ago, when grandsons were little and took 'little' steps, Brian and I tagged along on Hawthorn and family's walks. But as their steps got bigger and bigger and the walks longer we knew we would hold them back and gracefully stayed home. So now walks are more of an amble along somewhere easier, flatter and gentler on old bones. Our favourite walks are along Northumberland beaches. They go on and on forever. We take a picnic and stop for a brew when we find a decent set of rocks to sit on.


9. Favourite Mug

I have quite a few mugs, many of which I love but always use this cat mug. It is fine china, just the right size for a cup of weak coffee for me (a quarter of a level teaspoon of coffee powder please) as it reminds me of our dear old cat Jak. There were originally a pair of them and came in this box. I have had them for quite a few years since Hawthorn and her family gave them to me one Christmas - or was it a birthday - not sure as I have had them so long. Sadly there is only one left but it is the only mug I use each day. The box is on my desk in front of me and is so useful.



10 My Own Choice

I thought I had this one sorted, text written already but I could not find the relevant photograph. I had it in my hands a few days ago but I am in the middle of sorting hundreds and hundreds of photographs - trying to downsize, so to speak, so my search had been put on hold for a while. While this happened, Brian and I were standing in the kitchen this morning about to get our breakfast. We have one of those stick on the window bird feeders used only by the tits in our garden, whether blue, great or coal tit, they all use it and this time of the year we fill it twice a day.

But now we have another critter coming to our bird feeder. Is it a bird, no it is a squirrel!! We have had this feeder for a few years now and this is the first time this has happened.


Picture taken on my camera phone and no zooming used at all. We can't have our family of squirrels feeding here, there are three females who come to feed daily from the bird table. So sadly we will have to cut back the branch of the tree which is about to flower. The birds sit on it whilst plucking up courage to dash nervously into the feeder, that is when they can't see us.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

14 February 2019 - Heartathon



Valentines Day - our special day since I met up again with my husband on my 18th birthday. We had known each other since our school days in today's Zambia - my boyfriend was a friend of his and his girlfriend was a friend of mine and we all belonged to one happy crowd of what today would be called teenagers.  He left school and moved to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to join the British South Africa Police and my parents were transferred to Salisbury (Harare) just as I was leaving school two years later.  I attended the local polytechnic to do a secretarial course.  Come my 18th birthday I had quite a few girl friends but knew very few boys.  I remembered that he and two friends had joined the police so no problem my mother sent invitations to them c/o police headquarters.  He tells me that his Officer in Charge called him in to his office to say orders from HQ - he had a birthday party he had to attend!!  Only my mother would do it that way!!  The other two school friends were stationed in other parts of the country. 

He rang to confirm he would be coming and I asked him to bring more police friends with him.  Come the evening of the party he arrived, alone. I did not even let him in, I just asked where his promised friends were and sent him back to his police station the other side of the city to come back with more guys!!  Amazingly he did, we went on our first date the next day........and the rest is history. So now, 57 Valentine's Days later, we have been married for 55 years this year.









I bought this card after we had been married about 6 or so years.  We then started a tradition of using the same card each year, with a single heart representing each year.  I did add extra hearts at the time to make the record correct.  So each February it comes out with a lovely bunch of red roses and a we have special dinner that night.