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Sunday 24 June 2018

Sir, I salute you.

Marcia commented on my last post that she hoped I found some sunshine when I went to Wales.  Yes, Marcia I did.  About thirty minutes on Thursday.  But they were thirty wonderful minutes for I was travelling up Snowden.  

The railway up Snowden has cheap fares on the 9am departure so I was there by 8.15.  What I hadn't realised was that one ought to book on line.  The first train I could catch was at 10.30 so no bargain fares were to be had.  Before nine o'clock there was a sign up saying that all trains for that day were now fully booked!

My train was steam pushed - the engine follows the carriage up the hill and goes before it when coming down.  The journey is an hour each way with just thirty minutes at the summit station.  Part of the journey up was in brilliant sunshine but the cloud had re-descended by the time we got to the top.  The scenery is magnificent.

What was also magnificent was the sheer number of walkers making the journey to the summit on foot.  I'd expected there to be a few but it was as busy as a high street.

And most magnificent of all was this man walking up Snowden with a fridge on his back to raise money for Help for Heroes, the military charity.  Sir, I salute you.

Saturday 23 June 2018

A friend for Basil

Plas Newydd

It rains a lot in Wales.  A Very Lot.  On my first holiday there (when I was six) Mother had to buy me some new wellies.  However we saw waterfalls at their very best (or at least that's what the landlady said).

The Menai Straits from Plas Newydd

But lots of rain means well watered gardens so whilst I was in Wales this time I went to see a couple of the National Trust offerings.

Pladd Newydd (which overlooks the Menai Straits from the Angelsey side) was a bit "exciting" to see from a trundle truck as it is very sloping.  The views are spectacular.  I didn't go into the house  (many houses allow wheelchairs but not trundle trucks) but I enjoyed the wonderful  trees planted decades ago and now at their perfection.  

From Bodnant looking towards Snowdonia
The best garden I visited was Bodnant.  Here there are spectacular natural views combined with wonderful planting.

And whilst walking around I found a friend for Basil!

Friday 22 June 2018


I've been on my hols!  Someone whom I have met only briefly gave me a seven day self-catering break which she had booked for herself but couldn't use.  How kind is that!

For me the day before I go on my holidays is the most important day of the holiday.  That's the day I prepare for the break but even more I prepare for coming back from the break.  As I've said many times, I'm a lousy housekeeper but there's something about going on holiday which spurs me on to do something about the state of the house.

So off to North Wales I went last Friday and I stayed in a delightful barn conversion and just chilled.  I went out every day but sometimes only for two or three hours before I came back to the real business of this break - helping my soul and body to be in the same place.  Once I upload my photos to the pooter I'll write about some of the things I did but for today I am just enjoying being back in my lovely home.  

Thursday 14 June 2018

Tales of the Riverbank

Brigg is a small market town just a few miles from home and it's one of my favourite places to go for an hour or two.  When I was a girl traffic used to thunder through the town, but it now has much better roads and the historic heart of the town is now pedestrianised and very trundle-truck-friendly.

At the heart of the town is a dreamy river called the Ancholme.  Much of the Ancholme was canalised in the eighteenth century but there are still some "real" bits and both the canal and the river are lovely.  

There's a family of swans and cygnets, entirely at home under this busy road bridge.

Along from them ducks dabble under the pedestrian bridge.  Both places are good for rich pickings of food from passers by.

Today is a working day but at a weekend the river is home to a local rowing club.

Dog walkers, joggers and bird watchers use the tow path.

And even trundle truck users can enjoy getting out.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Brightwater gardens

Another day out - this time with Brigg Women's Institute.

It's great to visit a real twenty first century garden.  So many gardens we can visit are lovely but part of their loveliness is that they have been there for centuries and have developed over the years.  Brightwater Garden is less than twenty years old so comparatively new.  

Some parts are formally designed like this wonderful peony garden.  Unfortunately the peonies haven't enjoyed the changeable weather this year.

It's a delightful garden designed by owners who have a passion for wildlife so although it has its formal areas there are also swathes of wildflowers. 

 Many plants are bee and butterfly friendly.

When I sat on this bench I did so with great care as I was sharing it with a bee!  There was the odd butterfly in evidence today but the weather wasn't at its most papilionem friendly - maybe as the year gets warmer.

Ellie the dog runs along this wall checking on visitors.

And even Basil the lawnmower runs free near the wildlife pond as he keeps himself very busy.

A lovely morning out although quite a lot of the garden isn't mobility scooter accessible. Sadly this is the last year that the garden will be open other than at snowdrop time.

Monday 4 June 2018

God's acre

I may be a bit weird but there are some country churchyards which I think are wonderful.  They are havens for wildlife and places of sanctuary.

Claxby is one such.  There are areas which although not manicured are neat and well maintained.  There's just a little rough space (and maybe a couple of water bottles!) around the gravestones.  

Other areas have been left for the wildflowers to grow.

And just by the door there is a small bed planted with bee-and-butterfly-friendly plants.

And there's even a bench so that anyone can sit and appreciate God's Acre.

Sunday 3 June 2018


Yesterday I was invited out for a very special lunch - a lunch to celebrate Mr and Mrs Jack's Golden Wedding.

They were married fifty years ago in this lovely church of which I later became vicar.  

Together they had two children and now have three grandchildren.  

They have enriched each other's lives and the lives of many others - including me!  Yesterday their family and a few friends gathered at a pub to celebrate with them.  

Jack dearly loves to make a speech so we knew we were going to be entertained yesterday.  I can't remember why part of the speech was made with a plunger on his head.

But I do know very well why I was presented with a hook.

I'm so glad that Mr and Mrs Jack found each other and married all those years ago.

And I am privileged to be one of their friends.

Note for new readers.  Jack is my gardener, handyman and friend and he appears frequently on this blog.    We have known each other over twenty years but for this last year he has been waiting for knee replacement surgery and then recovering from that surgery.  This link will tell you why Jack wanted to give me a hook. 

Saturday 2 June 2018

Pollyanna calling

Several recent commenters have mentioned that I seem to look on the happy side of life - and they are right.

I don't have some of the things which many people see as essential to happiness, notably good health and a family.  My health is distinctly "iffy" and my close family is somewhat limited although I'm richly provided with cousins, and I am in regular contact with many of them.  My closest relative is my only nephew who lives in Belgium so my contact with him is limited to phone calls and a couple of short visits each year.  There's also Auntie Hettie who lives here in Caistor and she's 93.

I had to retire seven years early because I had a mental breakdown. I had been carer for my mother as she faded away with dementia and later carer for my sister as she was overwhelmed by cancer.  Neither death was easy for me to cope with.  Part of my breakdown involved being unable to handle money sensibly so the money which I had hoped would give me a very comfortable retirement is considerably diminished.  I have recovered from the breakdown and am making strenuous efforts to increase my resources.  

So why am I telling you all this?

The clue is in the title for the post.  As I recovered from the breakdown I decided that I would look for the up-side of everything.  Sometimes I fail and I crawl under the duvet for a day or two, but for the most part I am able to "count my blessings".  I feel that there are a lot of very unhappy people in Blogland and I don't want to add to their number so this log reports the happy or humorous side of life and the duvet days don't often get mentioned.

This is not to criticise those who do use their blogs to tell of life in all its bloodiness.  Some are very unhappy, others are more honest than me and report their equivalent of duvet days.  I want to look for happiness and I hope that I can encourage others to do the same.

I'm expecting very "interesting" comments on this post.  Maybe I need to find my tin hat.  

Friday 1 June 2018

And so to June

A whole new month - how exciting!

I've mentioned Action for Happiness before.  It's a site I often visit because I think happiness is important.  Each month there is a different focus.   Last month it was Meaningful May, earlier there was Friendly February, Mindful March and Active April.  Now it is Joyful June - how lovely is that!!!

There's a calendar for June.

I've already made my decision to be thankful for good things every day this month.  I won't be doing all the actions but there are some great ideas here.  Anybody else up for it?