Saturday, 30 January 2016

Woolpit, Suffolk

The January blahs. I haven't been inspired to post anything blogwise for a few days. The weather is cold, the sky is grey, and there is a sprinkling of snow on the ground. Only a sprinkling, thank heavens, we missed the big snow that hit Washington, and New York, and the East coast.

So my winter mind is going back to last summer's European trip. Instead of heading back to Canada with the choral group at the end of the concert tour, my friend and I flew to England to stay with my cousin for a week. And the sun was shining. Some of that summer sunshine is preserved in these photos.

Valerian valeriana officinalis has been known as a medicinal herb since the time of ancient Greece and Rome. It has been used as a remedy for insomnia, cough, convulsions, plague, and those that are "bruised with falls".
Rosa canina, commonly known as the dog-rose. The fruit, known as rose hips, are full of Vitamin C and are used to make rose hip syrup,
 Red corn poppies. Papaver rhoeas. They are everywhere in the fields in June. Usually referred to by the farmers as a weed, but I love them. They mean England to me.

My cousin's house... part of it dating from the 1700s, then an addition in the 1800s, and another addition in the 1900s.

Purple Clematis and red climbing roses decorating the old wash house wall.... love the green mossy look to the gate.

A well cared for shrubbery in the village. Monty Python would be proud!
(If you don't get the reference, Google Monty Python + Shrubbery)

The village square viewed from  the window of the teashop where we stopped for morning coffee and "elevenses".

Sunday, 17 January 2016


The Group of Artists that my friend V and I belong to has been invited to exhibit art work at a local gallery during February, so we have been asked to provide up to four paintings each.  I found three that I thought weren't too bad, so took them to the nice Korean man in the Art Supplies Shop and chose some frames. He put them together for me and voila! It's amazing what a difference the right frame can make.

MEADOW  acrylic, image 12" x 16", frame 14" x 18"

YELLOW DOOR ON SECOND STREET   acrylic, image 16" x 20", frame 19" x 23"

HIDDEN VILLAGE  acrylic, image 12" x 16", frame 18.5" x 23"
Now comes the hard part.... putting a price on them. This is the first time that my art friend and I have actually shown our work to anyone other than family and friends, and I'm pretty nervous about hanging paintings in a public gallery.  We have been given a spreadsheet showing pricing guidelines according to size and framing, but I can't imagine anyone actually spending money any of these. But they'll look nice on my walls at home.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

January so far....

2016 already? Weren't we in the throes of frantic preparation for the horrors of Y2K just a couple of years ago? Or do I say that every year? Hmmm... Must be getting old.

So far January has been pretty good. Mild weather up till just after Christmas then the temperature plunged. We welcomed the New Year in Mayoral style.... see previous post. Today it's been snowing, but the sun is managing to break through.

Ice hockey practice has started again for grandies Isaac and Callum. My only girl grandie Emma started dance lessons! She looks so sweet in her pink tights. Grandie Max is happy to watch from the sidelines at the moment, but the time will come when he will want to be in an organised activity too. They are all growing up. As they should.

My Art Group has started up again after the Christmas break. We meet to paint, draw, create, and chat every Thursday in a nearby Community Hall. Next week we have a guest artist giving a workshop in watercolour paints, which I have never used, so I'll post whatever I create, good or bad.... stay tuned!

I've been baking bread. First was this:

Ooops, looks like a creature from Outer Space. Must have put the dough balls too close together! Then this:

Mmmm... nothing like fresh bread for breakfast with some home made raspberry jam.

I went to a Zentangle demo put on by the Epilepsy Association. Apparently Zentangle (which is concentrated structured doodling) is very useful to relax epilepsy patients if they feel an attack is imminent.

Drawing Zentangles can also alleviate pain, grief, stress, good for Alzheimers patients too.... and it's fun! Here's my result.

Great for wasting time.... but being creative is never time wasted, is it!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Mayor of All I See - UPDATED

We went to the Mayor's New Year Party in the park to welcome 2016. It's an annual tradition.... free hot chocolate and hot dogs, music, bonfires, a fire-eater for entertaining the kids (and adults), face painting, horse and wagon rides, and fireworks.
Did I mention ice sculptures?  This magnificent ice throne was adorned with a black velvet cushion to provide insulation for the tender nether regions. My grandies all sat in state to have their pictures taken, so why not me too?

And the Mayor decorated me with his Chain of Office, just because he can!

UPDATED January 7:   Front page in the local paper! Fame at last.... see below.......

photo borrowed from

Sunday, 3 January 2016


I've been a volunteer at our local theatre ever since it opened about ten years ago. I take tickets, show patrons to their seats, hand out programmes, tidy up after everyone's gone home. Consequently, my reward is the ability to see some terrific movies, concerts and shows.

Yesterday it was Vitaly - World Class Illusionist. Illusions? Magic? C'm's not real, is it? But this illusionist is truly World Class. Vitaly Beckman was born in Belarus, and now lives in Vancouver. He's doing two shows here.... last night's astonishing show was totally sold out, and for good reason. He got a well deserved standing ovation.

Vitaly can make people disappear from ordinary photographs and appear on another. He can levitate an apple, and then take a bite out of it. He has a paintbrush that paints by itself. His drawings magically turn into the real thing. He does illegal things with the photos on drivers licences.  He did all this only eight feet from the front row of the enthralled audience. And he's funny, personable and full of character.

Take a look:

Friday, 1 January 2016

Pages and Words 2015

CW Books: Diverse Poetry by Diverse PoetsI've enjoyed reading ever since I was a small child. My mum told me I could read whole books at age 3, but that seems a bit fantastic to me. I visit the local library every couple of weeks and always come home with 3 or 4 books, mostly fiction. 
I haven't tried e-books yet, although my DIL likes them. I like the feel of a real book, the action of turning the pages, the bookmark keeping my place as I turn out the light and settle for the night.
As in the five previous years, I've made a note of books read during the year. I recommend all of these books, except the ones I could not finish!
Canadian authors in Blue. British authors in Red. American authors in Green. Australian and New Zealand authors in Purple.
One Good Turn - Kate Atkinson
The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker
Burial Rites - Hannah Kent
Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier
Longbourn - Jo Baker
Sweetland - Michael Crummey
The Day the Falls Stood Still - Cathy Marie Buchanan
The Orenda - Joseph Boyden (really loved this book!)
Jasper Jones - Craig Silvey
The Catastrophist - Ronan Bennett (did not finish)
Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell
The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden - Jonas Jonasson
The Night Guest - Fiona McFarlane
The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton
Blackout - Connie Willis (did not finish, may try again)
Euphoria - Lily King
The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert
One Good Turn - Kate Atkinson (second time this year)
Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
The Hundred Foot Journey - Richard C Morais
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
The Truth Teller - Katharine Govier (got as far as page 10)
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden
The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell (anything by David Mitchell is OK with me)
I'm Not Scared - Niccolo Ammaniti
A God in Ruins - Kate Atkinson
The Dream Lover - Elizabeth Berg
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell (for the second time)
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
The Automobile Club of Egypt - Alaa al Aswany
I'm sure I must have read books in October, but perhaps I forgot to make a note!
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce
No Relation - Terry Fallis
Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
Chapman's Odyssey - Paul Bailey
Still Alice - Lisa Genova
Will and Tom - Matthew Plampin
Where my Heart used to Beat - Sebastian Faulkes
The Son of a Certain Woman - Wayne Johnston

The Library is closed today... New Years Day.... but I'll be heading there tomorrow to start my 2016 reading list. I'm wishing Good Health, Good Times, and Good Books in 2016 to everyone in Blogland.