*

*

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Team Work

We made it through the holidays without any cat-astrophes, just the odd hiss here and there.
Tom-Tilly insists on 'rushing' Oliver the minute he walks through the door, she just wants to play, but Oliver being an older cat, won't have any part of it.
To my surprise they do seem to have developed a buddy system between the two of them, one leads, the other follows.
Oliver went looking for that proverbial Partridge in a Pear Tree, with of course Tom-Tilly following close behind.




Friday, December 12, 2014

Under The Weather


I've gone and picked up some kind of delurgy, fever, chills, aches and pains, even my hair hurts.
Sod's  Law has a way of appearing, most often when we least expect it.
I'm off to the doctor tomorrow, hopefully he will root through his trusty medicine bag, and produce a potion, putting me to rights.
In the meantime I should heed my own words......
 
 

 
I don't 'do sick' very bravely.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

What The Dickens

 

Several years ago, our small town, was graced by a visit from Gerald Charles Dickens, great-great grandson of the author 'A Christmas Carol '.

It was the highlight of the town's Victorian Christmas Festival, a seventy -five minute on stage performance and one-man show of a descendant of the beloved author Charles Dickens.

Gerald Dickens performed the dramatization with just a chair, a hat stand, a candle, his top hat, and a walking stick for props. The rest of the show was brought to life with his voice, facial expression, mannerisms, and energy.
Since the story is so well known, Dickens said he didn't have to worry too much about explaining the plot.

Everyone loved the story, and a closeness and camaraderie developed in the audience as we watched a talented storyteller enact his great-great grandfather's story with love and passion.
Fortunately for me, the audience struggled to understand the actor's Cockney accent. It created dead silence voids, where an appropriate applauding should have followed a punch line.
Mr. Dickens had been making note of this, and asked if I would accompany him on stage and help the audience participation, with a few prompting gestures.
*Gulp*
Would I accompany him on stage ?

Needless to say it was the best Christmas gift I could have received, and dare say, everyone in this town, is still talking about it to this very day.......
I know I am
*Wink*.

 
 
"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
A Christmas Carol ~Charles Dickens, Ebeneezer Scrooge,

 
 
"To Josephine
 my Warrington friend".

~ Gerald Charles

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

And The Rains Came

We have been deluged with rain today.
Cold, wind-driven rain, the ground is soaked, the creeks are overflowing their banks.
Winter is in the air....


 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Being Thankful

Tom-Tilly has not taken her eyes off Oliver since he returned home, even as he sleeps at the Thanksgiving table, she's not letting him out of her sight.
It's so sweet.
 



We have so much to be thankful for on this day, we hope you share a wonderful meal and spend time with those you love.
Many blessings my dear friends.


Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.

~Author Unknown

A Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours !

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Joy

Our boy has returned home, a little worse for the wear, but we had to share the happy news !
Thank you for all of your kind comments and well-wishes.
Your support encouraged us not to give up.
A Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.
We most certainly have a reason for celebrating.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sad Days

Our beautiful ginger Oliver cat has been missing for three days now.
We are busy putting up posters and knocking on neighborhood doors.
I can only hope he has gone walkabout, and will return soon.
Our hearts are heavy.
 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Discoveries

Tom Tilly has just discovered that sleeping and playing in a brown paper sack, is much more fun than playing with plastic balls.
 
 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Turkey Talk

I happened upon this Johnson Brothers Barnyard King plate at one of the local antique shops several years ago.
One plate all by itself, I could only imagine what an entire dinner service would have looked like.



I'm going to display it for the Thanksgiving season, the colors on this picture do not do the piece justice, they are all hand engraved and made in England.

Barnyard King, what could be a more fitting name.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lest We Forget




 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields ~ Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

Dedicated to all the brave men and women whose unselfish sacrifices and bravery shall never be forgotten.
Thank You.

Cottage Love







The cottage homes of England
   By thousands on her plains,
They are smiling o'er the silvery brooks,
   And round the hamlet-fanes.
Thro' glowing orchards forth they peep,
   Each from its nook of leaves,
And fearless there the lowly sleep,
   As the bird beneath the eaves

~ Felicia Hermans  1793 -1835
 
 
 
Lilliput Lane : Double Cottage.
Part of the BLAISE HAMLET COLLECTION : http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blaise-hamlet/


 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Long Gone

I spent time cleaning around the garden today, the sun warmed my face, and two special kitties were my constant companions.
We had our first hard freeze of the season a few nights earlier, and so any flowers still in bloom, had now died.
It's always a sad time viewing the empty window boxes, and flower pots, which were so full of color, a few days earlier.








The Morning Glory vines were still full of blooms, but sadly their lives were cut short.
How they made me smile each day.

Sleepover



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pieces Of The Past

 
 
  "Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."
 
  ~ Camille Pissarro

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Autumn's First Freeze


 
"When everything that ticked has stopped,
And space stares, all around,
Or grisly frosts, first autumn morns,
Repeal the beating ground."


Emily Dickinson, Time and Eternity

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

All Better

Tom-Tilly is all healed from her spay.
Full of energy, and  endlessly chasing leaves around the garden .



Monday, October 27, 2014

A Daily Ritual

Time to change the teapot from the Summer Pansies back to the Blue Willow design.
I confess to being a tea addict, it's the first thing that passes my lips in a morning and the last thing at night.

I got the addiction honestly, and put it down to all those times we English children were offered milky tea in our bottles as we were growing up.
Yes, they start us at an early age.




 
 
"Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company."

~ Author Unknown

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Cosy Cottage

If you make your tea using a teapot, chances are you own a tea cosy.



A tea cosy is a cover for a teapot traditionally made of cloth or wool which is used to insulate the tea, keeping it warm while it brews.
Cloth tea cosies often have padded inserts, which can be removed and washed separately.
They are often available in matching sets with other items such as tablecloths, oven gloves and aprons.
Although the history of the tea cosy may begin when tea was introduced to Britain in the 1660s, the first documented use of a tea cosy in Britain was in 1867.
The quaint little cottage cosy, was given to me by my parents, on one of my visits home.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Simple Day

 
 
Some days it's good to do nothing.
No deadlines to meet, no chores to complete, no lists to check twice.
A day to lounge in the comfort of your pajamas and woolly socks, to gaze out of the window and watch the falling leaves drift slowly to the ground.
A day for sipping cups of tea and curling up in a comfy chair with a portly feline at your side.
A simple day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How I'll Miss You When You're Gone







Sixty days and counting, still blooming your little hearts out.
How you've made me smile each morning .....

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Just A Little House



 
An Old Woman Of The Roads.
 
O, TO have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house—a house of my own—
Out of the wind's and the rain's way.

~Padraic Colum 1881 - 1972

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Changes.

Our home will be void of it's Halloween porch decorations this season.
We are in the middle of some overdue renovation, all the porch-rails have been taken down, and columns stripped of paint, there is much work to do, and all as the weather has turned colder.
Oliver is not pleased, since the front-porch is where he sits atop his wicker stool, and keeps vigil against any intruders.
Change is not one of our strong points.


   

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Autumn Splendor



“Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile.”
 
-William Cullen Bryant
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Moon-Shiners

The nights are drawing in fast, darkness falling around 7pm each evening.
I love to light candles on the porch, and sit and enjoy the cool night air.
My latest craft project has been the creation of these Mason Jar lights. You can purchase the lid-lights at most craft stores, or online, mine were left over from my granddaughter's wedding decorations.
 
The lids fit a regular Mason Jar opening, and charges the solar battery throughout the day.
The jars can be filled with glass beads or decorations, and when darkness falls they add charm and coziness to your outdoor space.
Hang them on fence posts or walkways if you need path-light ideas.
 
 




Saturday, September 27, 2014

Summertime Blues

The temperatures fell into the fifties last night.
Sweater-grabbing crisp air, the likes of which has not been seen since early Spring.
Sweet.
 

 
The last of the Summer flowers are giving us one final show. The wild roses, fragrant and prolific.


The Morning Glories, taking over the fence.


The Clematis vine, giving once last smile

Friday, September 26, 2014

Watching



Oliver sits beside me in the old rocking chair when I'm idling away the hours on the computer.
I'm sure he wonders what the fascination is, especially since there are no treats; not even in sight.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Time For A Change

I've been thumbing through wallpaper patterns, in the hopes of re-wallpapering the guest bathroom.
Book upon book of gorgeous prints, a person could get lost in flipping through the pages.
I keep returning to a design by Waverly (one of my most favorite manufacturers), Emma's garden, a timeless and pretty design, with a traditional English flair.
What do you think ?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Soup's On

When the leaves are beginning to change, and the temperatures start to fall, my thoughts turn to comfort food.
My favorite soup is homemade mushroom soup, earthy-goodness, silky smooth and comforting on cool Autumn nights.
Serve with a crusty loaf of French bread, light a candle or two and enjoy.




Cream of Mushroom Soup.

6Tbsp. butter
1 med. onion
3/4 lb. mushrooms
3 Tbsp. flour.
1 clove of garlic ( very finely chopped )
1 tbsp. fresh thyme chopped or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
dash of nutmeg
1 Knorr Swiss vegetable cube
3 cups of chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 large bay leaf
fresh ground pepper to taste.
fresh parsley or chives for garnish

               ********

Melt the butter and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook until onion is transparent at medium.
Add mushrooms and continue to cook for about 5 min.
Add the flour and the vegetable cube and stir in. Immediately add the chicken broth and water, incorporating slowly.
Add bay leaf and pepper, cover and bring to a boil.
Add Worcestershire sauce , thyme and dash of nutmeg.
Turn heat down immediately and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and add cream.
If desired, top with fresh croutons or crackers.
Garnish with parsley or chives.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In The Bag

Somebody has been a very, busy little kitty today.
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Simple Days


 
"Don't let yourself get so busy that you miss those little but important extras in life ~
the beauty of a day...
the smile of a friend...
the serenity of a quiet moment alone.
For it is often life's smallest pleasures and gentlest joys that make the biggest and most lasting difference."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Saintly View

Despite the heat of late August, the morning glories are happily blooming away.
Everything else in the garden has withered and surrendered, or so it seems.
I'm patiently waiting for the cooler, albeit shorter days of Autumn, to appear.
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer's Gold



"Oh, the summer night
Has a smile of light
And she sits on a sapphire throne."

- Barry Cornwall

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Childhood Memories

Windsor Tea Kettle


Why is it that small things we remember growing up, seems to have such an influence on our taste, as adults ?

My grandma Ciss used a tea kettle on her stove to boil water.
It was a sturdy kettle made from chrome-plated copper, and built with a raised element at the bottom in order to conduct the heat more efficiently from her gas stove.
When the water was at boiling level, it whistled, to let you know it was ready.

It lasted a lifetime, or so it seemed to me.

As soon as I set up housekeeping, I always wished for one of those kettles.
I shopped specialty catalogues endlessly, until one day, I came across the very same kettle, in the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Collection. "Imported from England" caught my eye.

My choice was the one made from solid copper, lined with tin, without the element, and more suitable for use with an electric stove top.
It was shipped with a lifetime warranty, and a lovely little keepsake card, telling how it was handcrafted, and the name of the original craftsman, whose talent it took to create it.

It gets used everyday, reminding me of all the times my grandma served pots of tea to family and friends alike.
The local "bobbies" (policemen), walking the neighborhood beat, were a staple around her kitchen table.

I can hear them now, shouting through the front door letterbox......."Put'the kettle on Ciss".