PG Wodehouse was a wise fellow – flowers are indeed happy things…


YESSSS the Gladioli have finally blossomed and in a beautiful purple…my favourite colour!

The colour in my garden is fabulous at the moment, I planted marigolds this year – never tried them before as always been put off by their magnetic draw for slugs, but I gave in this year and wow! The vibrancy of the yellow and orange is amazing…planted alongside a purple/green Coleus they are stunning.

I've a flower (to my shame I don't know what it is…if you do please let me know) in my garden which is passionately red and, with the shockingly pink Hydrangea and the dashing Dahlias now in full bloom, I do believe my garden is getting more and more pretty every day …yes, yes, I know I'm bias!!

I planted out my wheelbarrow last weekend, the ivy was already growing well and I found some lovely different alpines which I hope will fill the space and look good all year…

I try to mix up the planting so there's interesting contrast between each plant even in a small area. I think this has gone okay…time will tell and of course I'm not at all impatient for this to happen!!

In the meantime, the rain's pouring again so I've retreated inside for a cuppa and maybe a biscuit or two.

Happy happy days…

The Need to Know…

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I was watching Yes Prime Minister “The Tangle Web” the other night and it’s early scene ‘The Need to Know’ started me thinking…always a bit dangerous that!!

We live in a world where we seem to need to know everything…and wherever possible we need to know NOW, if you would be so kind, thank you very much.

But this is not a new phenomenon – far from it. The need to know more, to discover the world around us and understand it, is, I feel, a natural part of being human. From the dawn of time we’ve strived to discover new things and make sense of the universe around us. Newton pondered the mysteries of mathematics and science; Columbus explored the world seeking new lands and Attenborough (Sir David totally rocks IMO) continues to unlock the secrets of the natural world for our everlasting appreciation.

I bought an old book at a recent fayre – it’s called “Enquire Within Upon Everything”. It’s the 1893 ‘revised’ 88th edition by Houlston & Sons, Paternoster Square, London and its foreword states,

“Whether you wish to model a flower in wax; to study the rules of etiquette; to serve a relish for breakfast or supper; to plan a dinner for a large party or a small one; to cure a headache; to make a will; to get married; to bury a relative; whatever you may wish to do, make or to enjoy, provided your desire has relation to the necessities of domestic life, I hope you will not fail to ‘Enquire Within’”.

It’s brilliant! A snapshot of the late 19th century in Britain complete with adverts for Chlorodyne (some sort of cough medicine I think?) and Celandine ‘The Certain Cure for Corns’ – how delightful! This font of all knowledge helps me understand the niceties of how to appropriately address ‘persons of rank and distinction’ including royalty, the clergy and judges, as well as how to preserve fruit and vegetables and all the while explaining the ‘peculiar kind of medicine’ that is an enema!  It also includes marvellous sayings such as:

  • Honest loss is preferable to shameful gain
  • The best physicians are Dr Diet, Dr Quiet and Dr Merryman
  • Observation is the best teacher
  • To hope and strive is the way to thrive

Ahhhh, pearls of wisdom…every one of them!

I do so love a good encyclopaedia. I love a good book to pore over, discovering new facts and bits of trivia – I like the process of finding out just as much as the actual finding out. I say to my boys sometimes “look it up” when they ask a question (usually because I don’t know the answer but I’m pretending to be giving best parenting guidance for ‘independent learning’ skills – ssshhhush that’s our secret ok?) but, when I say that, I’m envisaging Encyclopaedia Britannica not Google, Bing or Yahoo…and the thing is, that what would have taken me half an hour patient searching and deducing from a book/s takes them 5 minutes if that! (Homework is definitely easier nowadays.)

And there, in a nutshell, you have it – the wonders of the technological world that we now live in. We are still discovering- we are still needing to know; it’s just that we don’t need as much patience any more before we find out what we need to know…

The beauty of the internet is that we can, with a few taps of our fingertips, find out all sorts of information in seconds. For example, I just typed one simple question into Google before I started writing this blog and knew, less than 2 seconds later that Egbert is considered the first King of England – in another 10 seconds I was enlightened with the knowledge that his dates were 827 – 839 and that good ol’ Egbert was the “first monarch to establish a stable and extensive rule over all of Anglo-Saxon England” and he was the grandad of Alfred the Great – how cool is that?!

We can use the internet to connect with people from all over the world, learn about issues and happenings from different viewpoints…take Twittersphere (oh I know it can be like stepping through a virtual minefield sometimes but generally it’s fun and interesting so I’ll take the rough with the smooth) and our very own WordPress of course…we connect with people we’ve previously never heard of, listen to their stories and share their hopes and dreams too – it can broaden our minds and educate us if we let it…how utterly joyful!

The internet really is an amazing source of knowledge and it’s hard to imagine a time without it; it’s a weird enough concept if you actually lived pre-internet but if you’ve never experienced life without the wonderful www. it’s practically impossible! I would sometime regale my students with the harsh realities of my university days – they would sit mouths gaping, minds agog as I explained to them how I had used books and journals, documentaries, newspapers and, wait for it, even microfiche (ye Gods I’m ancient aren’t I?!) to complete my degree…and here’s the kicker that they never could quite get their heads round…all withOUT the internet  – yep no Google, no Siri, no Wikipedia (hmmm maybe there’s a blessing or two there??), nope just the good old fashioned library.

Of course the downside to the internet is that there is SO much information, with many conflicting stories and so what do we believe to be true? Unchecked and unattributed articles could be correct or they could be leading us down a false trail…how do we know what’s accurate? Sometimes, when I’m surfing the www waves I feel very much like PM Jim Hacker, caught in the headlights of the oncoming Sir Humphrey – trying desperately to follow the thread but ultimately ending up in a mental tangle!

But hey, that’s part of the discovering adventure…and I love it!

I shall now leave you with this clip which first got me pondering…and as we join PM Hacker in bafflement may we all be assured that we can know what we need to know, when we need to know it, but not know when we don’t need to kno…yeah I’ll just stop there and say “enjoy!”

 

 

 

 

Patience? I don’t have time for that, unless you’re a plant…

I like things to be done now please, thank you everso much.

If I order something off the Internet I'd like it within the stated timeframe or I'm gonna get start getting annoyed (last time I ordered kinesiology tape for my knee it should have arrived in 6 days, it took 3 months – 3 months!!! I was climbing the walls…or I would have been if my knee had not been giving out on me!)

If I'm ordering takeout – it better be here within the hour or it's not only my tummy that'll be growling.

Oh and don't even get me started on queuing…I'm quite happy to queue, in fact I've had many an enjoyable conversation with some rather interesting people when I've been queuing, but I'm not going to be happy queuing just because the person I'm waiting to see is having a good old natter with their colleague – that will just bug the &@*$ out of me – AND if you try and cut in the queue…well, they'll hear my 'tut' in the outer Hebrides!!

I admit it, I'm 'high maintenance' in the patience department.

That's one of the wonders of gardening – it's teaching me patience. There's no deadline for a plant to grow by, no set number of days before a flower will bloom and no guarantee that they'll bloom at all actually – sometimes they just sit there and no matter what you do they say 'no, nope, non, nein, just not gonna happen my friend'.

So all I can do is plant, weed, prune, clip and potter about with the vague hope that Mother Nature will take pity on me and something will grow!

For 3 months I have patiently tended a small patch of dirt; I've planted two bulbs, watered and fed them and weeded the patch. I've watched with anticipation to see if these plants will grow and oh how the patience has paid off!! These Dahlias have bloomed the most beautiful flowers and there's more to come out…I am so thrilled it's untrue!


The Gladioli I planted around the same time have yet to blossom and although the Sweet Williams have grown massively and look a luscious green they have no flowers as yet – but I'm learning to wait…I just wish they'd hurry up!

Being cast as a skinny cow almost killed me, but you’ll never stop me loving musicals…

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My friend Becky is amazing; she’s one of life’s ‘doers’ – she seems to be able to organise herself in such a way that she has time to do a million different things all at once and she does them well. Me?? I can barely organise myself to go to work and fill up the car with fuel on the same day without some disaster happening! I admit to being a little jealous of her superpowers and even more envious of her latest adventures…she’s in a drama/musical society; they’ve just performed The Wizard of Oz and now she’s rehearsing for Starlight Express…my ALL TIME favourite show.

This started me thinking and remembering…

I was 9 yrs old and cast as a skinny cow in the school production of Joseph & the Technicolour Dreamcoat – but then along came a small episode of Bronchitis and well, that combined with already existing problematic Asthma meant that I found it all a bit tricky to cope with, and to cut a long story short I nearly died. To be honest this was, on reflection, a bit of an extreme reaction to being called a cow and I probably should have just been pleased that for once I was being called skinny…but hey I was young and who doesn’t get things wrong when their young?!!

I don’t remember much about the whole thing although I do remember ‘The Drink’ – as I recovered I remember being made to drink the most revolting liquid I have ever tasted even to this day (worse than the ‘slippery nipples’ my friends and I drank at Kitty O’Hanlon’s during our uni years – oh happy days, happy days!) – I have no idea what this drink was but it was a weird yellowy/green colour and it was HORRID…I reckon it would’ve rivalled Bellatrix Lestrange’s Polyjuice Potion as the most disgusting drink ever!

Anyways, the upside was I survived; the downside was I never got to be a cow, skinny or otherwise and I’ve never even seen the whole show either…this is one of my most disappointing life facts. BUT despite all of this, it didn’t stop me loving musicals – oh no! I love a good musical, in fact I probably love a bad one too…give me a catchy tune, some bizarre characters and a wildly improbable plot and I’m there singing and tip tapping along with the best (and worst).

When we were younger, our parents would take my sister and me to London every now and then. We’d spend the day with a little shopping on Oxford Street, dinner at Fatty Arbuckle’s and then off to a show – always so exciting!! My first show was Barnham – with Michael Crawford – as a young girl going to her first show this was jaw droppingly fantastic! Full of fun, humour and so so colourful – I loved it! I will never forget seeing the chandelier drop in The Phantom of the Opera and being haunted by the powerful songs of Les Miserables. I remember coming away from Miss Saigon feeling like someone had punched a hole through my heart – I cried on and off for a week.

One of my favourite experiences ever was when I was 11. My parents took me to see Starlight Express – I was totally blown away – people were trains for a start…how cool was that?! Then there were the actors, racing around the theatre – up and down tracks, whizzing by the audience on roller boots whilst singing AND dancing – totally and utterly absurdly wonderful! I remember getting the soundtrack and playing it on my little red tape recorder over and over and OVER! I must have driven my parents mad. When Becky told me she was rehearsing for this show I went home and immediately listened to the whole soundtrack again that very afternoon…it’s still fabulous!

Film musicals can be just as wonderful too – take for example Top Hat – ahhh the delights of Astaire & Rogers dancing Cheek to Cheek… a classic if ever there was one. Grease is most definitely the word, even my boys like that one (which is high praise) and I could cite The Sound of Music, Chicago, Singing in the Rain, the world of Disney and, Dammit Janet, I mustn’t forget The Rocky Horror Picture Show too…indeed the list is endless!

Some musicals are funny, some just pootle along in nonsensical wonderfulness and warm your cockles. Others are sincere and heart wrenching – Blood Brothers took me months to get over, in fact I really don’t think I can hear any of that soundtrack without getting goosebumps even 20+ years later. Whatever their style, for me a musical’s substance is all about enchanting escapism – the opportunity to fling out reality with a ‘Do-Re-Mi’.

So that’s where I’m off to now, I shall follow that yellow brick road all the way to a land of Pure Imagination. I’ve found my copy of The Slipper and The Rose so I am going to go have a jolly good singsong to the merry goings-on in the Kingdom of Euphrania and cheer on Cinderella as she wins Prince Edward’s heart…

…and one day, maybe if I’m very lucky, I’ll close my eyes, draw back my curtains and find that amazing technicolour dreamcoat…after all Any Dream Will Do.

Can you help me with my socks…

Trying to stay upbeat when you’ve a bad back (to the point that you cannot sit with crossed legs or bend over) is tricky…It’s not so much the pain that’s the problem as the ‘not being able to do all things you’d normally do without even thinking’.

Take for instance getting dressed…

After I’ve managed to decide what to wear (this can often take me hours – yeah I don’t know why either!) I come to the practical aspects…
Firstly underwear:

Bra? No problem – on and sorted in a trice – excellent!

Knickers? Hmmm not quite so easy – requires some complicated leg action – legs moving in a manner not usually seen unless I’m slightly inebriated on the dance floor – contortionists would be proud! But hey they’re on – hurrah! 

Hmmm not keen on any of my skirts and really not in a ‘dress’ mood as I’m off on the train (I’m looking for slouchy comfort here) so it’s going to be trousers and a shirt day…

Shirt? Fine, on and sorted – marvellous!

Trousers? Hmmm back to being a contortionist again but with a bit of jiggerypokery they are on!! YES! 

All I have to do now is choose which brogues to wear and I’m ready!

Oh hang on a minute, I need socks…

Right then…

okaaay…

Help??!! 

Two steps forward, one step back and Do Si Do your partner

progress

Well then, setting up this blog is slowly coming along-ish…

I’ve picked a ‘theme’ and found a colour set of purple, which is my favourite colour (hurrah!), with accents of lime green which pleases me. I seem to be drawn to lime green at the mo – it definitely brightens my mood. Not long ago I found the most beautiful materials in lime at our local scrapstore and I have made a cushion cover with some of it, teaming it with soft black velvet…niiice!! Also found some very nice kitchen accessories in lime the other day and suggested to my fella that we have that as the accent colour in our kitchen next time. “Perhaps not” was the reply…hmmm? What was I saying the other day about colours affecting people differently?! Oh well…I’ll have to work on him abit more I guess!

Back to the blog and I think I’ve worked out the ‘widgets’ and seem to have created some categories for my posts which is progress. Tagging seems to be reasonably simple to achieve and I even worked out how to embed a video in my last post – yep things are looking up.

However, I’m not yet sure how to create a gallery – does this happen automatically with pics that I include in my posts or do I need to create the gallery myself – I don’t know?? Something to find out…I’d like to join in the ‘word of the day’ thingy and I’d like to have a try at the ‘picture a week’ challenge too but those are still a little ahead of my skill set at the mo…but it will come – I’ve found a page to guide beginners so hopefully that’ll clear up those mysteries for me and soon I’ll be a blogging genius!

In the meantime, I shall carry on dancing to and fro in the corner…

 

 

Every colour of the rainbow and all the rest too…

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Isn’t colour just amazing? Black and white, red and green, pink and blue and everything between and beyond…just fabulous!

As humans we’re pretty obsessed with the concept – Picasso had his preoccupation with blue, Chanel had her little black dress and where would Wimbledon be without its purple and green theme?

Ferrari Red, The White House and Dorothy’s yellow brick road… just about every aspect of our lives is intrinsically linked to colour.

The right colour can lighten your mood, can energise and fill you with positivity; the wrong colour can irritate, bring you down and make you sad…and its different for everyone – my happy colours are yellow and purple, whilst my boys love red and blue; mustard yellow irritates my mother something chronic (I had a mustard coloured shirt when I was young and I swear I only got into trouble when I wore it – of course nothing WHATSOEVER to do with me being a pain in the posterior) and my Nan never wore black – the same colours affect different people differently and I just think ‘how amazing is that?!’

I love my garden, with its multitude of colours; this year my hydrangea is bigger and a brighter pink than ever before and the wildflowers my sister gave me are a riot of yellows, blues and purple – that’s even before the cosmos bloom! I am never happier than when surrounded by such a vibrancy of colours.

I therefore find it so hard to imagine a world without colour, or a world where colour doesn’t perhaps have the same energy. Recently, I came across a video that was doing the rounds on Facebook and realised that this is what many people who are colour blind experience.

The video has tinges of regret for those concerned that they had spent the past not seeing the true beauty of colours, but for me it is full of joy as they come to see the world in all its glorious technicolour and reminds those of us, who are lucky enough to already view the world this way, not to take it for granted.

So, I’ll say good evening all, I’m off to sit in my garden…