Friday, 29 May 2015

Special treats

What a fantastic few days I had this week. Those of you who read last Friday's post may remember my hubby was arranging a 'surprise' for our anniversary. When I wrote that post I had no idea what we were doing or where we were going - it was all very mysterious. I was told I would be staying away overnight so my first dilemma was what to pack? What would I need? Luckily eldest daughter ( who was in on things!) helped me there.

First thing Tuesday morning I was stood in the hallway with my bags packed. Normally it is me who organises things. I felt a little out of control! I thought we were driving somewhere until daughter got in car with us! We were dropped at the train station and wished a good trip. Okay ....

We were headed for London and would actually be away two nights. (Mental scan of suitcase contents!).

Some five hours later we arrived in London and caught a taxi. I did not hear husband's instructions to driver, so I am still clueless as to our destination.

Like most folks I guess, I have a bucket list of things I would like to do. Many, I'm sure, will end up being just nice things to dream about, but occasionally we get the chance to tick off some of those dreams. Turns out I was about to be making one big tick on my bucket list.

A short taxi ride later and we pull up outside The Ritz! Afternoon tea at The Ritz has been on my wish list for years. I wasn't disappointed. That place is gorgeous. So glad daughter suggested the dress I was wearing to travel in!

The tea was wonderfully charming. We spent as long as we possibly could over it. Is it possible to overdose on pretty little cakes? I think it is because I couldn't eat a thing for the rest of the day. I did not feel it was the place to whip out my camera, sort of didn't seem right to spoil the mood, so you will have to take my word for it. Imagine, floral cake stands, silver teapots, piano music and waiters in tailcoats .... Truly a treat to remember.

But we were in London, so plenty of other exciting things to do and see. A trip to the theatre to see Warhorse and a glimpse of the Queen in her state carriage on the way to the re-opening of parliament. We were in the right place at the right time for that one.

On the second evening we managed to tick something off my husband's bucket list too. He has always enjoyed listening to jazz music and so he had arranged a trip to Ronnie Scott's Jazz club. Another great experience and I am so glad we got to do something he has always wanted to do too.

Back at home now and reality. I'm in a bit of a daze. The trip must have taken him months to organise but it is something we will both look back on with very fond memories for a long time.

Happy weekend

Thanks to Lexa and her co-hosts
L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge

Katie @ TheCyborgMom

Friday, 22 May 2015

Celebrate the small things

I ran out of time and energy to post last week - apologies to anyone who visited expecting to read a post. However, I do have several things to be thankful for, so without further ado, this week I am happy to celebrate:

* A Bank Holiday weekend and the start of a week's half-term holiday (UK). Looking forward to extra time to do some writing and spend some time with family. Not quite so appealing is the list of household chores to be done, but hey that's life!

* Youngest daughter is home in a few days for the summer break from university. Whilst the eldest has just finished her Advertising degree and considering what comes next. Honestly, I do not know where that three years went. Seems like only last week I was saying she was about to start!

*In a few days hubby and I will be celebrating our 30th (Pearl) Wedding Anniversary. Once again, it hardly seems possible that all those years have gone by. I was young when I got married, but I think we are proof it can work. Not sure how we are celebrating but I understand there is a surprise planned for next week. Exciting ....

Thanks to our lovely host Lexa and her team of co-hosts

 L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge

Katie @ TheCyborgMom

Friday, 8 May 2015

Anyone for croquet?

Another week zipped by and time to think about the small things that have put a smile on our faces over the last seven days.

I am not celebrating the fact I had a throat infection last weekend which made me feel a little rough, but I am celebrating the fact it didn't last too long and I am feeling much better now.

It was hubby's birthday recently and I bought him a croquet set. It is something he has been wanting for a while now, so it was well received. We managed to invite a few folks around on Monday and had a rather jolly game between the rain showers. It was fun and enjoyed by all. I think it is definitely going to become a firm favourite to play around here. Anyone else ever played?

As I wandered round, desperately trying to perfect my technique and correct swing, it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and her, rather strange, game of croquet. I must say I had some sympathy for young Alice! (Please note: no hedgehogs, flamingoes or other creatures were harmed in our game! Although there may have been some bruised egos flying around!)
"The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up into her face with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing...."   From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
I was delighted to see a Greater Spotted Woodpecker in the garden for the first time this week. We have a Green Woodpecker who visits sometimes, but it is lovely to know another species is close by too. Sadly I didn't have a camera to hand when I saw it, but hopefully it will pay another visit soon.

And finally ....

Happy Flora Day Helston. 

Thanks to our lovely host Lexa and her team of co-hosts

 L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge

Katie @ TheCyborgMom

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group (May)

Thanks to Alex and this month's fab co-hosts
Eva Solar, Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp

The first Wednesday of the month can mean only one thing - time for another posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  The place where writers can express their doubts or concerns without fear of ridicule. It is the 'one stop shop' for a confidence boast, and who doesn't need that from time to time!

Recently I've been thinking about how my writing life co-exists with my non-writing life. Some days I feel like two separate people. In my head and heart I am a writer, yet that is not how I earn a living, so do I have the right to call myself a writer?

Sometimes it feels like having a dirty secret, something to be embarrassed about even. I mean, who am I to think I can write something good enough to be published? So I keep my writing hidden from most people. Quite honestly I don't want the extra pressure or to field the avalanche of inevitable questions that would arise from voicing my dreams to all around me, so I keep it locked away. And that can be hard, because it feels like I am stifling my true self.

If I ran marathons, played in a sports team or was a member of the local amateur dramatics society, would I feel as reserved about talking about my interests and aspirations?

If  When (I'm being positive here!) I realise my publishing ambitions, I know I will feel differently. It will be affirmation and I will feel worthy of the title of author. Then I will have to be taken more seriously. I expect they won't be able to shut me up! But until that day I keep my secret.

Maybe it is just fear holding me back, a form of self preservation. I wonder if it is just me who experiences this limbo state, or is it more common? I suspect the latter, but would be interested to hear how others cope.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Celebrate the small things

How can it be May already? I am sure I am not alone in thinking the year has flown by so far!

Regular visitors may have noticed I haven't posted in a couple of weeks. It wasn't planned, but I seem to have had an unofficial blog break! So many of you were involved in A-Z during April that I decided to step back and watch from a far. 

So what am I celebrating this week? Firstly, making it to Friday in one piece! It has been busy at work, and I must confess I am quite tired. Hurrah for it being a Bank Holiday weekend in England so an extra day off on Monday.

The bluebells are starting to appear in the local area. I love to see them carpeting the woods. Such a wonderful colour and an important flower in our particular town. Next week the town celebrates Flora Day. Shops are decorated with greenery, bluebells and yellow gorse to mark the official arrival of spring. 
The picture above shows a Spanish bluebell. These, slightly paler blooms,have flowers all up the stem giving them an upright appearance. They are somewhat of a threat to the native bluebell whose flowers are all to one side of the stem, giving them their characteristic droopy appearance.  

However, not all associations with bluebells are joyful  ...

Also known as 'fairy flowers or thimbles,' the bluebell was said to be used by the fairies to trap passing children (they would have to be quite small I think!). Some legends suggest that it is unlucky to pick a bluebell or bring it into your house. As they are a protected species they should not be picked anyway. The blooms do not last long when cut so it is much better to leave them in the woods for all to enjoy. I believe special permission is granted for Flora Day to allow a certain amount to be picked.

Another legend states that wearing a wreath made of bluebells will compel the wearer to tell the truth. Or, try turning the flower inside out without tearing it and you will find your true love!

Happy weekend

Thanks to Lexa and her co-hosts
L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge

Katie @ TheCyborgMom