Sunday, 28 July 2013

Butterflies are Back

They said that they were endangered but after the last few weeks of sunny weather our garden is once again full of flutter.

I photographed these three within ten minutes of each other and I almost added a Small Tortoiseshell to the collection but it was too quick for me.

A Peacock Butterfly soaking up the sun

A Gatekeeper on the window sill

A Small White fluttering its wings

What kind of butterflies are fluttering though your garden right now?

Thursday, 25 July 2013

I'm Hippie Shaking

Anyone who has visited my blog more than once will know how much I love nostalgia so where better for me to be today than over at the lovely Pauline Barclay's blog Scribbles!

Pauline's latest book, Storm Clouds Gathering, is set in the 1960s and so she's running a series of Hippie Shake features where guests are asked to remember what life was like in the 1960s. I didn't need asking twice!

So please pop over and visit us at The Hippie Shake with Rosalind Adam.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Cruising the Inner Hebrides + a Tweet Meet

Perhaps cruising is a tad pretentious. We were aboard a small converted fishing boat, ten passengers and four crew members. This is our boat called the Glen Massen.

Friends and family kept texting me with news of a heat wave in the UK but this did not materialise in the Inner Hebrides. Here is the view from our boat for much of the week.

We had rain and rough seas too. On one day the sea was so choppy the crew had to tie everything down. It was certainly an adventure! The holiday was made extra special by the amazing crew. I'll never know how Chef managed to conjure up three immaculately cooked meals each day in such a tiny galley kitchen [yes three! I have put on weight!] and he took great care to cater for my many food requests/fads.

The only way to get ashore was on a tender. This was great fun and when there were just a few of us on board the Engineer drove it as if it was a motor boat. You can just see the top of my head on the far side of the tender.

The sun emerged for the last day and, what a difference it made. In the words of our Captain, "These are the kind of views we should have been seeing all week."

And then on the way home we made a small detour and visited Anne Mackle [@cassam101] and her warm Scottish welcome made up for all those chilly days on the boat. This is us in her lovely garden.

The tour was organised by The Majestic Line and I can thoroughly recommend it. We were taken such good care of and the week was good fun in spite of the weather.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

An Insignificant Nut

Parts of a motorbike are spread across a kitchen floor and are talking [humour me]

Wheel: (Spoken in decisive terms) Front wheel reporting for duty, Sir!

Gear Cog: Gears all present and correct, Sir!

Brake Cable: Brake cable ready for reassembling, Sir!

Nut: (Whispered apologetically) Very small, insignificant rear right crank flange wing nut under the dresser, sitting on a comfortable pile of fluff, sir.

The others haven’t even noticed I’ve gone. Front wheel is so full of himself. I don't suppose he even knows that I exist. You'd think that he'd be such a rounded fellow too. Gears are far too busy connecting with each other to notice a nut like myself. And as for brake cable, he acts as if he was the most important part of the bike. He doesn't even make it go. He makes it stop. How boring is that? None of them ever notice me. (Sigh)

I rather like sitting on this pile of fluff. It's magic! Yes, magic and what’s more I’m going to make a magic wish. (Coughs to clear throat) Dear magic fluff, I wish I wasn't a very small insignificant rear right crank flange wing nut.

Oil-covered Man: (A loud angry voice) Has anyone seen a nut? I’ve got to find that nut! My motorbike won’t go without it!

Nut: Crikey, magic fluff is powerful stuff! It would appear that I am now a vitally important rear right crank flange wing nut. What fun.

There is a moral to this story but I thought I’d let you work that one out for yourselves ;-)

Monday, 8 July 2013

What University did to me

As is always the way when searching, I was really looking for something else, a photograph to illustrate a blog post that I'm writing for Pauline Barclay's The Hippie Shake feature on her blog, Scribbles. Instead I found my old Student Union cards from my days as a History Student at the University of Leicester.

I was a mature student with two children at primary school, so you wouldn't expect the experience to contribute to my maturing process as it does for youngsters straight from school and yet the photographs seem to suggest otherwise...

This was me in my first year of University:

This was me in my second year of University:

And this was me in my third year:

My life changed significantly over those three years.

What were the major transition years in your life?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

When it's appropriate to blog in-depth thoughts...

...and when it’s not appropriate.

2013 was my third year of taking part in the A to Z. The first year, as a relatively new blogger, I found it exciting. I would go as far as to say exhilarating. I learnt a lot about the etiquette of blogging and met many bloggers, some are still blogging friends. The second year continued to help in my explorations around Blogland and I met more lovely Bloggers, made more blogging friends. This third year didn’t work quite so well for me and I think that the blame lies with my choice of topic.

For those who didn’t follow my A to Z posts, I selected snippets of song lyrics and briefly discussed deeper issues that they raised. I was forgetting how manic A to Z Aprils are. My blog posts were well visited and well received but the main enjoyment and discussions were about the songs and their memories rather than any deeper meaning.

But all is not lost! 

Those issues are worth having a little more time invested in them. So over the next few months I will be dropping in the occasional 'lyric snippets in a little more depth' post so we can really get our blogging teeth into the issues raised. A to Z, I now realise, is not a time for depth.

I'm talking here about a whole range of issues, from mental illness to the environment to caring for each other to war and more. One theme that was common to all of my song lyric posts was the memories that songs can evoke. I’m doing a bit of a DJ link here because it’s not only songs that have this power. Flowers can be a wonderful memory prompt too. 

Last year I blogged about the way that my Mum always recited the A. A. Milne poem Delphiniums Blue and Geraniums Red  as she dragged me along to school [and, no, that wasn’t when I was 15. It was when I was 5!] Delphiniums always bring back lovely memories of Mum and I took this photo today of one of the best delphinium heads our garden has ever produced.

I still miss you, Mum.

If you're interested in the theme of flowers evoking memories then do visit Alex Gutteridge writes... This blog post called Grandma's Garden is well worth a read.