Thursday, 28 June 2012

Weeding Out

I can hardly believe it, but I've spent the last week or so taming our garden, otherwise known as The Jungle.  I took a photo of it, but it was just a mass of tall green plants everywhere, and besides, Gorgeous Husband accidentally deleted it from the camera anyway.

I have to admit, I'm a bit of a "fits and starts" type of gardener.  I get really stuck in doing it for a while, and then, one day, without warning, I can't be bothered.  Which is why the garden hasn't been touched by human hands for about 18 months or so.  Nature, however, has been one busy girl!

I have hacked away vegetation, and we've taken 38 bin bags of "garden waste" to the tip.  I can't believe it myself.  It was full of bindweed, stinging nettles, ivy,  thorny brambles and some weed that sticks to you when you touch it.  Don't know its name, but it's main positive feature is that it pulls up easily and doesn't sting you.

                                              Strawberry motif wellies from Charlie's £9.99

These are my new strawberry garden wellies.  I wore the last pair of wellies out, and also killed off a pair of gardening gloves.  When I said it was a big job, I mean, it was a BIG JOB!  I started the gardening job with a manicure of 10 nicely shaped nails, and finished it with....the same 10!  It must be due to the gardening gloves and all the layers of nail polish making them like iron.

All this weeding out has made me think of other things that maybe I should "weed out" as well.  I have been divesting myself of clothes and shoes, and even managed to get rid of some magazines.  (Those are my drug of choice... I should join Magazines Anonymous.) 

One thing that has been perculating around in my brain as I have my nose in the dirt (literally) is I am wondering if I might be ready to get rid of some relationships as well.  Some that don't really "go" anywhere and haven't been what I would call "satisfying" for some time.  Does that mean they are ready for the bin bag?  Or am I just too sentimental for that?  It seems to be a time of sifting and sorting.

Another view next to my greeny-white grass. (Not a weed, I actually planted them.)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Bo Peep Has a Day Out

Here I am in my Bo Peep outfit, in the picture gallery at Attingham Park in Shropshire.  You could be forgiven for wondering where my sheep are.  (They're outside somewhere.  Not much of a shepherdess, am I?)

Gorgeous Husband was doing his duty as my Official Photographer, and the two of us were wandering about the stately home, looking like we owned the place, and imagining that we did.  I would need an army of servants, I can tell you, as there is no way I could handle all that housekeeping!

The dress is my own that I made, charity shop gloves and bag, and the Bo Peep bonnet was borrowed from the volunteers' dressing up box.  Normally I wear black feathers in my hair, but I stole them to  dress up a hat and haven't got round to taking them off. 

Gorgeous Husband knows a lot about the history of the house, as he is a costumed tour guide and takes small groups on tours.  I am totally the decorative accessory, and basically don't say much of anything, other than murmuring, "yes my dear," when appropriate.  Sometimes I say, "ooh, scandalous!" when he talks about the family's bankruptcy, but that's about it for my acting abilities.

For those who are interested in the period of the dress, it is Regency, which was 1811 to 1820.  A typical "white nightie" dress of that period.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Queen for a Quarter Hour or so....

                                                       Guarded by lions

Am I in sunny Italy?  No, believe it or not, it's Chester, and a dreary day at that!  Gorgeous Husband and I went to Chester on the train one day last month, just for a bit of an outing.  Even though it is only an hour's journey, it always makes me think of being on holiday.  It sparks memories of me being in England as a tourist and being all agog at the architecture and history of the place.  So, although it is   close enough for me to be "jaded" I still get a remmant of that original feeling, and put my "North American eyes" in when I look around.

We discovered this gorgeous sculpture garden totally by accident.  It is behind the Queen Hotel , situated directly across from the train station.  It is gorgeous inside, with a strong feeling of still being in Victorian times, and the British Empire at its height.  Opulant and grand and beautifully furnished. It was built in Victorian times and is named in honor of Queen Victoria.

 As we looked out the windows to the rear courtyard, we discovered this fabulous sculpture garden, which was like getting a small win on a scratch card.  All the times we had been visiting, and never even knew it was there!

A patriotic plastic bag.

We visited just before the Queen's Jubilee weekend, so I was able to get this great plastic Union Jack bag for only £2 from the street vendor.  I wish I had bought my umbrella from him too, but got that later at a much higher price.  Looking back, maybe I should have loaded up on the tea towels and other tat he was selling.... no, perhaps not!

Chester Jubilee Clock  (good spot for meeting people)

This is Chester's Jubilee clock, which they built in 1897 (as you can see) for Queen Victoria being on the throne 60 years.  Those Victorians liked to do things in a grand style!  (No expense spared from the look of it.)

Anyone for tea?

Also by chance, Gorgeous Husband and I discovered a little antique shop on the town walls that we had never seen before and we got this great photo.  Either you think it is delightfully cute, or that is the height of twee.  I love it, but don't need to own it.  A photo is good enough, thanks.

Also, many thanks for all your comments on my last post about the clearing out of my shoe collection.  It makes my day to see that people read this!!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Farewell My Darlings

First of all, let me say thanks so much to everyone who commented on my posts about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  It was lovely to be able to share it with my pals in the cyber-community, and it feels great to know that people are reading my blog and enjoying it.  Hugs and kisses! 

Recently, I did my annual wardrobe swap-over, changing from one major season (winter, supposedly the cold season) to summer (supposedly warm, but in reality, could just be slightly warmer than winter.) When I did this at the end of May when we finally had some good weather, Gorgeous Husband said, (when I packed away my winter coats), "Are you sure that's wise?  Maybe you're rushing things."

Anyway, in the swap-over, I have discovered the following:

I have too many clothes.  (How I hate to say this!)
I really do have too many clothes.
I will have to get rid of some.
I really don't want to.

Now, don't call me Imelda, but these are destined for the charity shop and/or other homes. Unfortunately, it's not as though I now have no shoes.  I just have less. But not a lot less! The only reason these are leaving is because they are little biters, and I finally value my feet more than my shoes.

My problem with clothes/shoes is that I never tire of them.  And since I wear what I like, as opposed to what is the latest fashion thing, I'm inclined to love things to death. 

Does anyone else have this problem?  Or do you just have better storage space?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

More Jubilee Images

Many thanks for all your comments on the Queen's Jubilee, which has so dominated the news here in the UK for the past week or so.  I forgot to mention about the Queen lighting the last of 4,200 beacons ignited in her honour throughout the country.  You can see the ceremony (if you're interested) by googling beacon (June 5).   I've read reports of communities coming together to light their beacons on the highest vantage point, and then sponteniously breaking into God Save the Queen.  (I love that!)

Anyway, I thought I would add some more Jubilee photos, and then get off the subject.  Not everyone is as big an Anglophile as me! That's it for celebrations til her next big milestone.

Two lovely young girls in matching tiaras and spankly Union Jack dresses

Shop window with cardboard cutout of Queen Elizabeth

Cake from local cake shop (totally edible!) Yum!

Me about to join the street party

Our Jubilee socks, Gorgeous Husband in blue, me in red  (2 for £1 at Poundland!)

Have more trivia and images, maybe will post more of them later, if people are interested.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Diamond Jubilee Weekend

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend is just closing, and what a celebration it has been!  It has truly been a "something-for-everyone" event, whether you were part of the crowds in London, or attended one of the thousands of community events, both large and small, or just watched it on television.  Children painted portraits of the Queen, shops have had patriotic window displays, there have been church fetes, carnivals, street parties, bell ringing, horse trials, concerts, decorative bunting, too many tributes and festivities to count them all!

The events in London were British pagentry at its best, full of pomp and circumstance, yet also full of small personal tributes as the TV commentators interviewed individuals in the crowds who all expressed their heartfelt enthusasm and respect for the Queen.  It has been a fabulously uplifting experience, and one that the country as a whole has been in dire need of.  We have all had a massive injection of national pride, traditional values and a coming together of communities across the country. 

Sunday church service to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee

Sunday, June 3, Gorgeous Husband and I attended the combined benefice church service commemorating the Jubilee, which was lovely.  A packed church!  (There's something you don't see everyday.) We sang such patriotic hymns as, "I Vow to Thee My Country" and the national anthem: "God Save the Queen." (I always feel a bit emotional at that.  Must be the immigrant in me.)  Of course, the weather was miserable, so I was glad of having the Union Jack umbrella.  I don't have much in the red/white/blue colour combination, so everything I had got worn.

The order of service

It was a cold and miserable Sunday (you'd think it was November) so we were pleased to be able to watch the flotilla of boats on the Thames from the armchair comfort of seeing it on TV.  Not as much atmosphere, but so much warmer!  The Queen and Prince Philip were on their feet for almost the whole 4 1/2 hours, waving to the crowds and enjoying the wide variety of sailing craft involved in the event.  It really did, literally, rain on her parade, but she really is made of stern stuff.  For a woman of 86, her stamina is incredible.  In fact, the three words that were used to describe everything were: "amazing". "remarkable" and "extraordinary".  Over and over again.  Maybe because they were so fitting.

Congratulations Your Majesty.  You are an inspiring example of duty and service to your people.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Olympic Flame Comes to Town

Here I am, waiting (along with 39,999 other people in our town) for the Olympic Flame to pass by.  What a lot of excitement for the briefest of glimpses.  Still... it was fabulous, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see it pass by.  The fellow at the edge of the photo kept sort of edging ahead of me, but I did manage to wiggle past him each time.

I shot some pictures of the Flame, but it was just a blur of people's heads.  I did get what I thought was a great shot, only to discover when I checked the image that someone lifted their arms in a joyous, clapping salute, just as the shutter snapped.  Great photo of clapping hands!

You can check images of the Olympic Flame on the Shropshire Star website (google (May 30, 2012) to actually see some decent pictures.

One interesting fact about the Flame (courtesty of Gorgeous Husband, who reads up about these things) is that the base of the torch has 8,000 small holes which represents the 8,000 runners involved in the Flame's journey, and the 8,000 miles it will cover.  I thought that was a touching detail.

It's lovely the way it has brought people together in the spirit of celebration, particularly as not many of us will actually get to London to see the Games.

Please note the Olympic rings necklace.  Not intentional!

These two girls decided to share one England T shirt, while flag waving and Flame-spotting.  Great fun!