Saturday 17 July 2021

A Beautiful Day In Wadhurst

 My sister and I were so lucky to have such beautiful weather yesterday. We spent the morning at Bewl Water and had a lovely long walk around the water's edge. When I say around, we walked for just over two hours, walking for an hour then turning round to walk back. The walk around the water is 12 miles and I would love to walk the whole walk one day. I'm going to try and build up my fitness to this level over the year and walk the whole route. I enjoy a challenge, the only problem is at the moment I have a bit of a niggling pain in one heel and ankle, that I'm not quite sure what it is. It isn't constant and when I am walking it is a bit better, it's when I stop it hurts and I end up having to take painkillers which I hate doing. I'm trying to decide whether it is worth going to the doctors or it may just go as things often do. 

After our walk we drove into Wadhurst to have a pub lunch. We sat in the garden with Cassie who just loves being out all on her own with us. Youngest son says she has "little dog status" as she is so easy to take places the other two can't go as easily. We had such a delicious lunch sitting in the sunshine and the lovely young waitress brought Cassie a bowl of water and two dog biscuits on a tray! I couldn't fault it, I really must take the time to write a review as I feel often only the people who have had bad experiences, fuelled by anger, seem to make the effort. You can see how much she enjoyed herself!

After we had eaten our lunch we went for a walk around Wadhurst which is a really pretty little village. The only fault I could find was that in very narrow streets there as quite a lot of traffic but I suppose that is everywhere at the moment. We even found an independent book shop to browse around who welcomed Cassie which was a added bonus to the afternoon.  We walked around the beautiful graveyard in the local church, that had the most perfect views towards Bewl Water, certainly a very pretty final resting place.

We sat for a while on a carved bench in the church porch. It was ever so moving the inscription read "In Loving Memory Of Annora Violet Watson Smyth Of This Parish Born October 23 1901 Died April 29 1912. These Seats Her Own Wish. Given By Her Mother" There were two identical seats on either side of the porch with the carving of a little girls face on the sides. Little Annora, immortalised for ever in the pretty village she lived her short life in. It was a beautiful place to sit for a rest and end such a nice day. 

It's another sunny day today and the weather forecast is for very hot later. Tom is on and early and when he gets in after a short sleep we are going to go to the caravan for a few days. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and enjoys this sunny weather if you are lucky enough to be able to enjoy it. Back soon. xx

Friday 16 July 2021

Happily Plodding Or High Flying

 Scarlett was so full of her two days at school when she came yesterday. A few of her friends from nursery are starting with her so it has made her more confident. Typically of Scarlett she has entered into it all with such enthusiasm. "Hands up!" has become her favourite expression "Hand's up who wants tomatoes at lunch, hand's up who want's to go for a walk!" I had to join in of course and even Cassie was expected to hold up her paw before we went for a walk! Eldest daughter is so beautifully organised and has written out a date list of every day I will have to pick her up from school right through to next March, when her partner is being transferred to a new job so his shift patterns will change. I'm going to have a few dummy runs during the school holidays to get the timing just right. It has taken me back to when my children started school and even when I started school. It all seems so much more relaxed and easy going. I keep thinking how lucky Scarlett is but I can't help but have these nagging worries in the back of my mind. 

Even primary schools now have resident psychologists, I know a very nice family, who work so hard to give their children the best life yet both of the children are seeing a psychologist regularly for "low self esteem." The news loves to give us statistics all the time about how many percent of children now have mental health problems and how much up that is from previous years. If it all seems so much more happy and relaxed than in my days of starting school why has this happened? I was terribly shy at school, maybe today I would have been sent to a psychologist for having "low self esteem". Has the modern world really changed children so much or is it just experts are so quick to put labels on people now.

I have lots of old school photos in my collection, the top two are the 1950s to the two photos at the bottom from around 1910.

I look at all those little faces and wonder if life was really easier and less stressful or was it just a different kind of stress. We talk in our small group of old school friends all the time about it wondering why we all seemed so much happier as children than children today. In days before league tables, targets and constant testing. we just seemed to have fun, or are we just looking back at life in a rosy nostalgic way. I don't have the answers and probably I may be "overthinking" I'm sure an expert would tell me so. I've always been a bit of a happy plodder in life, never a high flyer and I think that was always my personality even in childhood. I'm just glad I was born in a time when that was acceptable to be. 

It's a lovely sunny day today and I am going with my sister to our caravan for the day and having a walk around the local area. We are only taking Cassie so at least she is nicely trimmed for our long walk and pub lunch. Have a lovely day everyone and I hope the sun shines for you. xx

Thursday 15 July 2021

Grooming Dogs And Special Friends

 I was busy all day yesterday, working, weeding and washing. Oh and walking, there is always a dog to walk! There seems to be so much to do all the time, I don't really mind as I do love to be busy but I can't help but miss that feeling at the caravan when we have nothing to do. I often set to cleaning it and polishing dogs nose marks off the windows but the hole van takes half an hour. There is a lot to be said for downsizing! In the afternoon I started a job I hadn't been looking forward to and if Cassie had an inkling of it she wouldn't have been looking forward to it either.

Last weekend when we were at the caravan I decided she must have another trim. It was so muddy when we were out walking and as she is so low to the ground she got covered. It was so hard to get the mud off her legs when we got back to the caravan with limited water and I had to brush the dried mud off later which she absolutely hated. Cassie always hated the groomers. I took her a few times and she did look lovely but the woman was very off with me and told me she had been very naughty, and wouldn't stand still. She developed a fear of my Mum's fan oven hating the noise as they used a hot air drying cage. I decided enough was enough, what was the point of scaring her like this. I bought some clippers and I trim her myself. She still doesn't like it much and she often looks a bit rough around the edges, but she is happy which is the most important thing.

It really reminded me of an incident that happened with my Mum in the 1970s. We had a lovely little Yorkshire Terrier, just like Cassie, called Dougal, who we got on my 11th birthday. In those days Yorkshire Terriers weren't really trimmed, they had long flowing hair and walked along like Dougal in the Magic Roundabout which is why we called him his name. We were watching an episode of The Generation Game and Bruce Forsyth brought his little Yorkie on at the end. It had had a short clip and looked lovely, My Mum was so taken with it she phoned the BBC to ask where he had got it clipped. A few hours later a man from the BBC phoned back and said "Mr Forsyth say's to tell you his Yorkie was trimmed at ..." and gave an address in London. Can you imagine that happening now! My Mum and Dad duly took him to be clipped and next to the groomers was a restaurant. They decided to have lunch there while he was being trimmed. After this every time they took Dougal they would go in for lunch. Years after Dougal was dead and gone they would still go to the restaurant all the time and built up a lifelong friendship with the head waiter and his family until his death a few years ago. He was such a special friend to them. Isn't life funny, I often think this, one chance phone call led to such a long friendship. I was going to post a photo of trimmed Cassie, but she is still sulking a bit and won't look at the camera so here is a photo of Dougal, one of the most special little dogs I have ever been lucky enough to have in my life.

Scarlett is here today so we will busy all day but have lots of nice things planned to do. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Bravery And Gardening For Life

 It turned into a lovely day yesterday, warm, sunny and thankfully dry. I went into the garden to feed the birds in the morning and there, they were two fox cubs sitting together in the flower bed! They both looked very pleased with themselves and quite happy in the sunshine, probably feeling just like me, relieved that the heavy rain has gone. The other sight that met me when I went to the aviary was little Todd the pigeon happily swinging on the cockatiel's swing in the sunshine. He's lost his fluffy look now and his face is looking more adult. He manages fine now, feeding and drinking in fact when I fill up the food bowls he's first in. It's decision time I think.

On the way to my Dad's house I noticed that the mural had been finished at the station. I love the way our large fox population in the area is celebrated. I know many people don't like foxes but in our area of London people seem to love them, our local butcher tells me he does a roaring trade with people buying off cuts of meat to give to them, no wonder they all look so healthy, 

My sister and I got all the jobs done that we needed to for him and we still had plenty of time to sit and chat and catch up. I had taken a book about First World War Victoria Cross winners of mine to lend to him, so can read about our newly discovered distant cousin Geoffrey Vickers. I had been reading it while I was sitting on the train and I felt completely humbled by the bravery of these young men. I can't imagine what it must be like at such a young age, being put in such terrible situations and then showing such courage. I think it will be a really interesting read for my Dad who is so interested in military history. 

Dad's garden was looking absolutely lovely. He is out in it so much at this time of the year, cutting back, dead heading the roses and generally making it look so pretty. It keeps him going and gives pleasure to a lot of people. I remember reading once that "Gardeners Live Forever." I know no one lives forever but I do think gardening can give an old person a real reason to keep going. My Dad always wants to see how a particular plant or flower will do each season. It is a constant in life when so many other things at the moment seem completely out of our control.

Talking of gardening that is what I must try and catch up with today, we have been spending so much time at the caravan and with all this rain everything is getting very wild. Definitely some hard work needed. Have a lovely day everyone what ever your plans. xx

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Rain And Floods

It was rather a dull day yesterday. I worked and caught up with lots I had to do, the dogs slept and slept, exhausted after their weekend. While I worked the fox cub slept on the path in the garden too. Youngest son has built such a rapport with it while we have been away, it comes and sits by the fence and he opens his window and chats to it.

When I went out to feed the birds, it had moved to the side of the garden and was sitting watching me. I put some dog biscuits down for it and it sat munching on them while I was round and about. When I walked up to the aviary I was really surprised to see another cub sitting looking at me. It was about the same size as the cub that was in the garden eating the biscuits. I have never seen two cubs together this year, I really wonder if it could be a sibling I have just not seen or maybe a cub from another nearby pair of foxes. It was quite an exciting discovery.

While I was out in the garden the sky was getting darker and darker and I could hear plops of rain starting on the aviary roof. I had to dash in as it was getting heavier and within a few minutes it was absolutely pouring. It poured and poured, thunder and lightning, it was relentless. For the first time I was worried we were going to flood. There was a small river running down the path by our back door that was getting deeper and deeper. Since our neighbours have had their extension built the water really rises on our terrace with no where to drain to in heavy rain, it is quite a worry. 

I had some shopping to do at our local shops and I waited and waited but in the end decided I would just have to get on with it. All the shops were in chaos. Every shop I went in was mopping up from flood water that had come in through the back doors and one had water pouring in through the roof as well. I felt really sorry for them all. As the woman who works in the chemist said to me "This is all we need on a Monday!" I think the problem is our little area is on quite a steep hill and it just seems to rush downwards to the shops, the more houses and extensions that are built and the more front gardens that are paved over just seem to be making the problem worse and worse. 

At least the forecast is better today, but I hate to complain when I see the terribly high temperatures and wild fires some people in the world are having to deal with. I'm off to see my Dad today, hopefully I won't get soaked again, but I'm definitely not forgetting my umbrella. Have a lovely day everyone what ever the weather. xx

Monday 12 July 2021

Relaxation And Disappointment

 We had a really lovely few days at the caravan, we arrived in glorious sunshine and left in glorious sunshine. A few of the bits in the middle were a bit wet but we've adapted now to managing so it's not really a problem. The traffic was so clear on Friday we got there in no time and after setting up ate our lunch outside with just the sounds of the birds and the sheep in a nearby field. I think the hens were thrilled to see us back and actually ran across to greet us!

We took the dogs to a local park in Lamberhurst for a walk in the afternoon. We had seen it as we had driven by on previous stays and it always looks so nice and peaceful. It was a really nice walk, not to arduous, just a few circles round and the dogs had burned off so much energy, they were tired for the whole evening.

There is an airfield near where we are staying and we have become really used to the sound of the light aircraft going over. I think it is a lovely sound, a bit nostalgic like the sound of a steam train. While we were walking one flew over and did a perfect loop the loop in the air. I was disappointed I didn't manage to catch it on my phone as it added a really exciting moment to our walk.

It was so warm and sunny we sat and ate our evening meal outside. Tom and I commented how in tune with nature you quickly become when all the modern noises and devices are taken away. I start to recognise the sounds of different birds and even notice the smell of different flowers in the hedge People talk about sensory overload and I'm sure when you live a modern life in a town you suffer from it without realising. Even though we had a lot of rain on Saturday, to just sit and enjoy the sounds with the windows slightly open was so relaxing. It makes me realise how normally we are always in a rush, it is very sad.

Yesterday morning we walked to Bewl Water, even though it was busier on a Sunday than other visits we had a wonderful walk. There were lots of people out in boats fishing or just enjoying the water, the dogs love it there. Layla of course was filthy, I don't know why it is if she sees a muddy puddle she has to run right through it, the other two dogs look on in horror!

We drove home after lunch full of so much excitement for the evening. Well of course we all know how that ended. All I will say is that England have been fantastic this tournament, they should be so proud of how well they have done and I'm sure next year the country will be going into the World Cup with such high hopes again. It will be the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and we have been promised so many celebrations and holidays for that, can you imagine if England won the World Cup too. What a summer that could be. 

This morning poor Tom was up waiting for the staff bus to pick him up in the pouring rain at 4am. He looked about as miserable standing there as next door's England flags sadly flapping in the wet. Their children had put them up so excitedly I felt ever so sorry thinking how disappointed they must be. Oh well there's always next time! I have so much to catch up with today and it's raining, I think I'll just put the music on and get on with it, nothing like a trip back to the 1970s to lift my spirits. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Friday 9 July 2021

Lidl's Centre Aisle And That Perfect Garage

 We had a really fun day with Scarlett yesterday. We went to Lidl to get some food to take to the caravan this weekend and she loved it. Isn't it strange she went around the shop in amazement and at one point I heard her say "Look at that isn't it wonderful!" It did make me smile, simple new experiences are such fun for little ones and I think there was something about the mix of food and that enticing centre aisle of goodies in Lidl which she just loved. It's not just Scarlett though, Tom would spend ages browsing that tempting centre aisle and he keeps saying "This is such a bargain!" I always say "It's only a bargain if we need it!" Tool boxes, drills, packs of nuts and screws he could spend an hour going through them all. I remember my Mum used to laugh when she got back from Lidl with my Dad, without fail he had bought some "bargain" he didn't need. He always had some sort of gadget to give to me or the children, we still have an enormous telescope under our bed that is still in the box. I would love to use it but we are surrounded by trees and are far too close to other houses to set up a telescope in our bedroom window! Only the other day my sister and I had to get something out of the shed in his garden and we were climbing over discarded electrical items, you can't get into the back of his garage for electrical extension leads. If Tom didn't have me keeping an eye on him our shed would be the same and I suppose it's just as well we don't have a garage. "If we move house we must have a garage." Tom always says. I'm sure it would soon be full of as much rubbish as our loft. When we are out walking the dogs sometimes we see garages with their doors open and with screws and tools in perfect order on the walls. "That's how I would have a garage" Tom says as we pass. Somehow I'm not too sure. It would be the case of me saying "Shut the garage door! I don't want all the neighbours seeing what a mess it is!" This is Tom's idea of a perfect garage. I doubt it would be the reality! Does anyone have a garage like this!

We're off to the caravan this morning for a few days but will be back in plenty of time to watch the match on Sunday. We can't risk not getting a reception on the TV for that one! Have a lovely day and weekend everyone. Back soon. xx
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