Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


Imagination

There is a dish to hold the sea,
A brazier to contain the sun,
A compass for the galaxy,
A voice to wake the dead and done!

That minister of ministers,
Imagination, gathers up
The undiscovered Universe,
Like jewels in a jasper cup.

Its flame can mingle north and south;
Its accent with the thunder strive;
The ruddy sentence of its mouth
Can make the ancient dead alive.

The mart of power, the fount of will,
The form and mold of every star,
The source and bound of good and ill,
The key of all the things that are,

Imagination, new and strange
In every age, can turn the year;
Can shift the poles and lightly change
The mood of men, the world's career.

John Davidson
(11th April 1857 - 23rd March 1909)

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1



A husband is a bachelor whose luck finally failed!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

So many blankets...

well, it made me chuckle anyway!


...and none of them finished, my loves!

I was full of good intentions to make three Spice of Life blankets to give as Christmas gifts but with all that's been going on, that idea sadly bit the dust.  I also got started on a large crocheted blanket for mother-in-law's bed, which has taken quite some time to work through.  Still, I am definitely on the home stretch with it now, so once it is completely finished I am going to return to the Spice of Life blankets ~ I'm thinking I can put them aside when they are done, ready for Christmas 2016 ;-)

You may remember the A Make-a-Month 2016 post I did back in November.  Well, I am still going ahead with the project as it will give me something definite to focus on throughout the year.  My butterfly mind gets itself tangled up in knots, and side-tracked by this new idea and that new idea ~ consequently, nothing gets finished and often I don't even get started on anything!  I think the project will also tie-in nicely with my simple goals for the coming year, not to mention getting my creative mojo up and running once more.  The three Spice of Life blankets are long-term, pick-up-and-put-down projects, whereas the Make-a-Month will be smaller, quicker things to make.

I haven't got any further with the Spice of Life blankets than they were in this post, where I told you that I didn't have the heart to frog blankets one and two.  Well, the more I think about those blankets and the more I look at them, the more I think that I really will have to gird my loins and frog the pair of them!  I know that I won't be happy with the end result if I carry on, even if I switch to a larger hook for the remaining patterned sections.  Actually, they may well look even worse if I do that!  I should have MIL's bed cover finished shortly, then it will be on with frogging blanket number one and deciding what January's Make-a-Month project will be :-) 

Monday, 28 December 2015

2016 is fast approaching....






....and it will soon be time for the usual "another year, another fresh start" scenario.

Sadly, my annual New Year Resolutions can be summed up pretty much as in the picture above.....and not just since 2012!  I rather think I set myself up for failure from the word go, as my goals tend to be somewhat ambitious and all-encompassing.  I am very much an all-or-nothing type of person ~ unfortunately with the emphasis more on the "nothing" side of the equation!  You would find it hard to believe if you could see the state of my home (and myself, come to that), but I have come to the conclusion that I am a very frustrated perfectionist.  And since it feels impossible to impose any level of perfection to either myself or my home, I ignore all those little things that I could do to make myself feel better about both me and the house.  For years now I have simply been telling myself (and other folk) that I am a "terrible slut" when it comes to housework.  It is a very unpleasant way to describe myself, and over the many years I have been repeating it, it has become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

My goals for 2016 are very simple.  I think it is time for a change in my attitude towards life ~ time to practise the art of seeing the glass half full rather than half empty, and starting to appreciate all the wonderful things I have in my life.  Time to stop the endless hours of procrastination every day, time to actually start doing something ~ anything! ~ with my life before it really is far too late.  And those simple, practical, goals need to be undertaken slowly and methodically.  No more diving headlong into a task, biting off way more than I can possibly chew, then feeling too exhausted and demoralised to do anything else for weeks afterwards.  And my butterfly mind, constantly flitting from one new thing to yet another, needs to be held in check ~ it is after all just another form of procrastination.

So 2016, my loves, will see me stepping gently and slowly onto a new path.  I can't stop my mind from thinking of lots of new ideas but I can work my way through them in an orderly fashion, one thing at a time, finishing what I am starting before jumping into something new!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Feeling a lot like Sunday...


It's felt very much like a Sunday for the last three days now and I'm somewhat disorientated LOL  Thank goodness that today really is Sunday ~ perhaps the week will start to feel normal again now!

So how was your Christmas my loves?  I do hope you've all had a really lovely time and aren't feeling too exhausted by all the preparations that seem to go into the "big day".  I confess that this year I made full and extensive use of Tesco's Finest range of ready made food ;-)  I simply didn't feel well enough to cook from scratch, although I did manage to put together our traditional stuffed turkey breast joint and had already made the Larkin family Christmas puddings a few weeks earlier.  Oh yes, I did peel fresh carrots as well LOL  (Actually, it was a bit of an odd, deja vu, moment when I was preparing the turkey, as I had also made it when Beverly was home at the end of October.  She rarely gets home for Christmas as the weather is so unpredictable for travelling down from Orkney at this time of year, so I asked her if she would like "Christmas dinner" whilst she was home!)

The ready made veggies were all very nice and I even bought a carton of custard to have with the Christmas pudding.  I usually like to make as much from scratch as possible but the ready mades saved the day this year!

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Still here...


I hadn't realised just how many weeks it had been since I had done any "proper" blogging.  The little extras I put in on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, along with the Sunday prayer, are usually done in advance and scheduled for their appropriate days.  I guess my lack of blog content is the reason I have recently "lost" a couple of followers.  Silly, really, to feel disappointed when someone decides not to visit anymore but only to be expected with my recent blogging form.

Life, as it says above, has rather got in the way lately and I've felt unable to summon up the energy or enthusiasm for chatty posts.  In fact, I was seriously considering just closing the blog altogether.   Energy and enthusiasm are still rather lacking hereabouts, to be honest, but I've decided it's time to pull up my big girl panties and get blogging....even if I just waffle on and bore you all silly!  You will have to excuse me, my loves, whilst I get back into the swing of things!

Things have been somewhat difficult here in recent weeks.  Mother-in-law, who is 92, had a couple more falls in quick succession, the second of which saw her taken into hospital.  Luckily she hasn't broken any bones but a number of health issues were diagnosed, including a serious heart problem and some kind of mass on one of her kidneys, both of which due to her age and frailty can only be "managed" with medication.  The heart condition is what has been making her dizzy and causing her to have the falls.  She has had some mini strokes and has bowel difficulties.  She was in hospital for about three weeks and was then discharged into an elderly person's care home ~ she is unable to manage on her own anymore and the level of her care needs are now more than can be catered for in the sheltered housing complex she was previously living in.

There have been many meetings with various local authority officials due to the change in MIL's circumstances but it does seem that we have more or less got most things sorted out now.  Unfortunately, we have been unable to get her into a care home in the town in which we live, as there are currently no vacancies.  It's a sad fact but true to say that we are literally waiting for someone to pass away.  So since she was discharged from hospital, she has been living in a care home some miles from here.  It isn't particularly easy to get to, as it is either a bus journey from the railway station or a 40-45 minutes walk.  Not ideal but the best that can be done for the time being.

Things have become further complicated by the fact that she now seems to be developing dementia.  Adrian and his sister have been told that it may well be that her confusion is being caused by a urine infection that she appears to have, but she seems to be getting worse despite having been on antibiotics for almost a week now.  If her state of mind doesn't improve soon, Adrian is going to discuss whether his Mum should have her mental health assessed.

As you can no doubt imagine, life has been very stressful for all of us but especially for Adrian and his sister.

And to add to the misery, we have all been poorly as well.  Beverly has had 'flu, which she is still recovering from.  Both my parents have had heavy colds, and Mum lost her voice for a couple of days.  Poor Adrian had a nasty bout of vertigo, which saw him signed off sick from work for a week.  He got over that only to come down with the same heavy cold as my parents, which Sam has had as well.  Finally I, too, fell victim to the dratted cold and sore throat, and have felt decidedly unwell since Monday.  No time is good to come down with coughs, colds and sore throats but it seems even worse somehow at a time like Christmas.      

So that, my loves, is my sorry tale.  Hopefully we will all start to feel better soon, which will make the stress of MIL's ill health a little easier to bear.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


A Visit from St Nicholas


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; 

And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap, 

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap, 

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, 

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. 

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow 

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, 

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, 

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, 

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. 

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, 

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; 

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! 

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! 

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! 

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all! ” 

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; 

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, 

With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too. 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof 

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around, 

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. 

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, 

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; 

A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. 

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! 

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! 

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow 

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; 

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, 

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; 

He had a broad face and a little round belly, 

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly. 

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; 

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, 

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; 

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, 

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose, 

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle, 

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.” 


Clement Clarke Moore

(15th July 1779 - 10th July 1863)


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1

Spectacular achievement is always preceded by spectacular preparation



Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Friday, 18 December 2015

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


Night

The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies,
When love is done.

Francis William Bourdillon
(22nd March 1852 - 30th January 1921)

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


It's always funny until someone gets hurt.  Then it's just hilarious

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Friday, 11 December 2015

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


The Old Man's Comforts
and how he gained them

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
The few locks which are left you are grey;
You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason, I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigour at first,
That I never might need them at last.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And pleasures with youth pass away;
And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason, I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth could not last;
I thought of the future, whatever I did,
That I might never grieve for the past.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And life must be hastening away;
You are cheerful, and love to converse upon death,
Now tell me the reason, I pray.

I am cheerful, young man, Father William replied,
Let the cause of thy attention engage;
In the days of my youth I remember'd my God!
And He hath not forgotten my age.

Robert Southey
(12th August 1774 - 21st March 1843) 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


Quality is a fashion that never grows out of date

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Friday, 4 December 2015

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


from Lessons of the War
to Alan Mitchell
Viri duellis nupet idoneus
Et militavi non sine gloria
Naming of Parts

Today we have naming of parts.  Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning.  And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing.  But today,
Today we naming of parts.  Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel.  And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings.  And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got.  The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb.  And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger.  You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb.  The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt.  The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see.  We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring.  And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is prefectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have naming of parts.

Henry Reed
(22nd February 1914 - 8th December 1986)

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may also be losing your soul