Monday, 18 June 2012

Friends, Sunny Sundays & Long Walks

The weather was kind to us this weekend - it was lovely to see the sun again, but it was much lovelier to see good friends, to sit, eat, chat & laugh. A few hours in good company can lift even the most depressed spirit & the old saying *laughter is the best medicine* really is true.

On Saturday evening, we played charades. Yep, the old fashioned parlour game :o) In these days of hand held games consoles & techie type stuff that I have no idea about, we actually played charades. And it was FUN :o) Well. I certainly had fun & judging by the laughter of everyone else & the wild guesses that led to howls of laughter & screams of *NOOO, that's not it !!* I hope everyone else did too.

Sunday dawned bright & breezy, so off we set for a lovely long walk from my house to Pegwell Nature Reserve.
This is the view across the field to Pegwell Bay, from the bridlepath that I've always known as Dead Donkey 'Ole :o)

Cliffs End is on the right, Pegwell Bay straight ahead. The ground was a bit shaky & hard going for Shaun on his mobility scooter, but walking it was fine as long as you kept any eye on where you were going.
Looking across the bay toward Pfizers & Richborough. There were loads of kite surfers down on the beach - it was perfect weather for them, sunny & windy :o)

From here, it's a L O N G way down to the beach, so you can imagine how high these kites were to appear above the cliff top like this.

Here we are at the Viking ship *Hugin*, a replica of the Gokstad. The Hugin was built in Denmark & was sailed across the sea in 1949 by 53 Danes.

It was a gift from the Danish government to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of the arrival of Hengist & Horsa, who landed at Ebbsfleet, not far from Pegwell, in 449. The boat actually arrived at Viking Bay in Broadstairs, but was put on display here at Pegwell.
Hengist's daughter, Rowena, married King Vortigen of Kent.

The Nature Reserve is owned by Kent County Council, Kent Wildlife Trust, The National Trust, the RSPB & Thanet District Council. Kent Wildlife Trust, which was founded in 1958, manages the site. Until the 1970s, the area was actually a landfill site. I can remember walking along the Sandwich Road in October 1981 when they were turning the area into the nature reserve. How do I remember it so clearly ? It was the day after my now brother in law got married :o) 
The site is home to many varities of plants & animals. It has mudflats, saltmarshes, sand dunes, coastal scrubland, cliffs & beach. Kent has more than a third of Britain's coastal chalk & the cliffs at Pegwell comprise of caves, tunnels & pillars. Bees & wasps build nests & burrows in the soft rock & Turnstone flocks roost & feed there.
The views are beautiful. We didn't get to see much in the way of birds, although we did hear them singing their little hearts out in the nesting area & the trees.
At different times of the year, you see different things. The site has over 300 varieties of moth, rare orchids & sea grass. Birds fly thousands of miles to spend the winter here.

 Towards the end of our walk - before turning round & heading home again - we came across the Highland cows. Beautiful eyes but ferocious looking horns !! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to have to try to out run one of them !! :o)

You lookin' at me ???

We walked as far as the gate that leads onto the Sandwich Road & turned round to start walking home again, stopping off at the *Dog Walker's Rest* for a well earned drink. Two teas, a diet coke & a coffee came to the grand total of £2:90 - fantastic value for money & a decent coffee it was, too :o) You never know,  we may well sample the bacon rolls or a burger next time. If they taste as good as they smell, we'll be onto a winner :o)

All in all, we walked over 6 miles. It was perfect walking weather, warm & sunny with a cooling wind. The only thing is, today I look like a Belisha Beacon because my face got sun burnt !! :o)
Today, we're back to rain :o( BUT - that doesn't matter, we had a fantabulous weekend & if it hadn't been sunny, we'd still have had a fantabulous weekend because we spent it with good friends :o)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Fings wot I 'ave made recently :o)

I don't usually speak like that, you know :o) I may be a common, working class girl - & PROUD of it - but I do know 'ow to speak proper, the way wot me muvva taught me :o)

BUT !!! I digress. (See ? I DO know posh words !!)

It's been a busy week or two here, what with trying to get the decorating finished, medical appointments for his nibs, a special little someone's 2nd birthday & trying to avoid the rain, but I've managed to make a few cards & knit a few bits. So, for your delectation & delight (Heh !! MORE posh words !!) not to mention boredom, here are a few of them.

A 30th birthday card for someone who's a bit of a punk rocker. I didn't have a stamp of someone with a mohican, so this had to do :o)

 Gorgeous grandson 1b was 2 & he is besotted with Thomas the Tank Engine, so this was a must birthday card for him. He loved it & kept saying *Thomas, Thomas* over & over as he looked at it :o)

 Some of my best friends have had birthdays recently. This one is for Karen, one of the most dedicated nurses the NHS could wish for. Undervalued & unappreciated, in my opinion, except by those of us who love her.

 This card was for Peter, who loves steam trains. He's very kind, has a great sense of humour & like his wife, Liz, is just one of the best. When you need a friend in time of trouble, you couldn't ask for anyone better  :o)

 I made this card for 'imself, his nibs, the other 'alf, whatever you want to call him :o) When he's awake, he answers to *Shaun*, but as he's asleep more than he is awake, I call him whatever I like & he knows nothing about it !! :o) Mean ? Cruel ? Yep !!! That's me !! ;o)

 This card is for Terri - I hope she doesn't read my blog before Friday, otherwise she'll see her card here first !! :o) Terri is another fab friend. She's quiet & thoughtful, she's a listener & doesn't judge people. Terri is someone you feel comfortable with from the very first time you meet her.

This card was for Val, who, over the past year, has become a much loved & valued friend. She's been Shaun's personal Occupational Therapist, teaching him to make lace, something he always wanted to do, but being a big, burly bloke, used to worry about what people would think. She's encouraged & helped him every step of the way & gives up most of her Wednesday mornings to come over to us. Being mostly in a wheelchair, there aren't many things Shaun can do without help,  but he's made everything he needs to make lace & he's spent many an evening spangling his bobbins !! :o)

We've both been blessed with some wonderful friends & although we don't say it often, we appreciate everyone of them.

Now, onto a bit of knitting :o)

 SOCKS !!! As I was knitting the first sock, I thought the colours reminded me of Fruit Pastilles. So, I just had to buy a packet & - purely in the name of research, you understand - opened them up & put them with the partly knitted sock to see if I was right. Well, they could be twins, really, couldn't they ? :o)

Here are the finished socks - not a very good pic, really & quite why my *PJK :o)* watermark thingy is that big is anyone's guess !!  :o)

Anyway, these socks are for my daughter for Christmas & I've called them *Sweet Feet Fruit Pastille Socks* :o) She knows I've knitted them for her, but hopefully, by the time Christmas gets here, she'll have forgotten. If she hasn't, then I hope she'll have perfected  her *Oh-what-a-surprise-they're-just-what-I-wanted-however-did-you-know ?* speech !! :o)

Disclaimer: No fruit pastilles were intentionally hurt in the making of these socks. They gave themselves willingly !!! :o)

Have a great Wednesday, whatever you do :o)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

I've said it before . . .

. . . and I'll say it again:

Why, oh why, don't the council and/or the water companies invest in a *sucky-up* machine & clear all the blocked drains ? Surely if they were cleared of mud, weeds & other debris, the rain would get to where it should & we wouldn't have hosepipe bans & drought orders. This past couple of months, when we've had so much rain, some of the roads have looked like rivers because the rain has gushed over the blocked drains & not gone down them as it should. 

As much as the farmers & gardeners need the rain, they also need sun & warmth. The few good & extremely hot days we've had, haven't really done much for my veggies - they're either parched or drowned. If I get anything decent out of my veg patch this year, it'll be a miracle :o(

This pic was taken just last Saturday at the end of my road & is a prime example of the blocked drains.

Now, I'm not saying ALL the drains in the town are blocked like this, but I've seen a fair few this year - & in past years - that are. One day last summer, when we were out for a walk, me on Shanks's, 'imself in his chariot, we came across a blocked drain that had a tree growing out of it !! It was well past my shoulders in height, so must have been there for quite some time.

(Memo to self:   Self - try to remember where it was & check to see if it's still there.)

 I'm also not saying that investing in a *sucky up* machine is the be all & end all to the problem, but wouldn't it at least help ?

Bring back the old corporation dust cart, I say !!! :o) The ones like my great grandad used to work on at night, cleaning the streets of the day's grime, so that they could do it all over again the following night !! :o)

Other towns & cities manage to have nice, clean streets to walk along, so why can't we ? Maybe we just have a bigger proportion of litter louts than other places. Who knows ?

I do have my own ideas as to how the streets could be kept clean, but I'm sure if I voice them, I'll be given a lecture on civil liberties & then thrown in a dungeon somewhere :o)  No doubt the dungeon will have a grille open to the road which will then fill with mud & have weeds growing out of it, but, looking on the bright side,  if the rain can't get through, at least I won't drown !! :o))