Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Finding a new Beach

Last Saturday we were invited to go and join some friends for a beach barbecue down on Hayling Island where they live (about 45 mins drive from us). We have visited theirs before and know that the beaches down there are all quite pebbly. That is the reason why we have never looked at going there on 'beach' days as our children love sand. Imagine my surprise when we were greeted by this site.

It was quite a difficult walk over a very pebbly bit of beach to start with but we went round a corner and were met by an expanse of over a mile of sandy beach. This is one of those beaches that only appears when it is low tide. We arrived about 4.30pm to find it quite dull and grey around the edges, the forecast was a bit mixed but we all decided we would brave it out no matter what.
We were soooo pleased that we did. Within 45 minutes the clouds cleared and for the rest of the evening we had blue sky and sunshine.

The children played in the sand.

Walked our friends dog.
Paddled in the sea.

Frisbee and cricket were both played. We also got to watch lots of great big Cruise liners leaving Southampton Water into the Channel as they all left for great adventures.

Good food and drink were consumed and it really was just a smashing afternoon. It was great fun to watch the tide slowly coming in and by the time we left after 7pm we were the only ones left on this stretch. It really couldn't have been much more perfect. Thank God for the lovely area that we live in and for lovely friends x.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Our New Shed.

There seems to be something decidedly middle aged about getting excited about a shed. This is the shed that my husband and I promised each other for our 13th wedding anniversary last week. (Though he cheated and got me the most fantastic picture).

When my dad brought my niece down t0 us last weekend, he helped me to decide which was the best (and cheapest) for me to purchase. A few days later I had the conversation with my husband and we decided on the size and I bought it on-line. To pay someone to erect it would have cost more than the shed again so we decided we would have a go ourselves.

Now it has to be said, I love flat pack furniture, I get a great buzz out of making it and can usually do it despite the weak joints. I was not however terribly confident about getting a cheap shed together.

It arrived a couple of days later last Friday and with the children all very keen to help we decided to start it when my husband came home from work later that afternoon. First we set about painting the side that was going to be up against the fence.

While this was being done we got the door fitted in (though it had to be taken off again and refitted once we had erected it - bah!).
Then the excitement began of putting it together.
By 7.30pm we had got this far and though we couldn't shut the door it was starting to look like a shed.
Saturday my husband was working an early shift, so I devised an extra pocket money option for the children and they all took part in painting the rest of the shed. While I refitted the door and started to cut the glazing (they had delivered the wrong size and thought it would be quicker to just cut it myself than wait for new stuff).
As we were out for the afternoon and evening on Saturday we down tooled, but took them up again Sunday morning (we skived on church - naughty naughty) to get the roof on. Rain was forecast for Monday so I was quite keen to get this done. It is not quite finished just have the facings to put on the roof at the front and back but it is up, stable and water tight.

We managed to get all this done with hardly a strong word said - no easy thing for darling husband and I when it comes to DIY. I am hoping that this is further testament for us both that the extra effort we are putting into communicating with each other through the challenges we are presently facing, is well worth it - horrah!

Friday, 22 May 2009


In all the angst of this week, by necessity I got out some craft bits yesterday to make cards for the next week. I have been card making since before I got married, but made the decision just after my first was born in 1999 that I would no longer purchase cards. Until this last year I have reasonably kept up with this. Making all birthday, celebration and Christmas cards every year, my children have grown up believing if you want to send a card you make it and I love this attitude. Making a card gives me the time to sit and think about the person that I making it for and most importantly of all to pray for them.

The last 6 months or so I have really struggled to make any, when in emotional turmoil my creativity takes a nose dive, therefore I was quite surprised at how quickly I got these done yesterday. Like with writing card making does not always go the way you want/hope, but as a first draft I am pleased with what I have produced.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

So tell me........

Why do you leave your wife when she becomes seriously ill?
Why do you leave your 3 year old daughter when her mother is taken into hospital?
Where were you on all those birthdays?
Why do you avoid paying any maintenance to your child for years and years, going to such extremes as putting all purchases in your new partners name to avoid them being repossessed?
When have you ever cooked your child a meal?
Why do you always take her shopping to buy things for yourself when you decide to see her?
How do you have the nerve to turn up at your ex-wife's funeral?
How can you plan to leave the country and your motherless child less than 6 months after the mothers death?
Why do you buy her a new mobile phone for her birthday giving her Internet access but not bother setting it up with any credit?
How do you put your child through a medical examination that she doesn't want to do because you want to call her a dependant on your work visa application?
Where were you when your daughter had her first day at a new school?
Why do you only contact her when you want something?
What right have you got to continually remind her about how much you are choosing to reject her?

I would just love to know.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

13th Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was my 13th Wedding Anniversary. So much has happened in 13 years, alot of it seems to have been just in the last 6 months! The day didn't start great. My daughter woke me up at 5am and I didn't really get back to sleep. My husband then came in from his night shift and I said happy anniversary to me - and I have to confess, I had completely forgotten it was! I hadn't even got him a card. We knew that we were busy so had agreed not to do anything particularly special - we had even agreed no presents - we would just buy each other a shed as we really need one!

It was therefore an amazing surprise when my lovely husband went into the back of my wardrobe and pulled out something big (now then!). It was a beautiful painting by a local artist whose pictures we had been longing to purchase for several years. I am not easily moved to tears by gestures, but this one sent them trickling down my cheeks. Today we have put it up in the place that has been waiting for a picture since we had our new fireplace done several years ago. Maybe our house is starting to feel complete in more ways than one.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

My Aliums Misses

It's been a very busy week, so nothing on the blogging front and I've missed it! Still not got much brain left for creativity, but I have been working on something for a few weeks and as the last part was obtained yesterday I thought I would share it.

Last year, about February time, we had my step mother in law coming for a visit. About a week before she came I realised I still had a packet of Aliums that she had brought me the previous year and I had never got round to planting. I hastily planted them thinking they would probably now amount to nothing (I was rather cross myself). Despite my first small step (the only thing I had to do was plant them!), they flowered just a few months later though they were very small.

This year they are absolutely lovely, I am so pleased with them. I was so excited when I saw how many flower heads had appeared. When they first started to open I decided to try and capture them coming out in all their glory.

I was surprised how long it took them to open a little more. The photos aren't great I'm afraid they were taken on our little snappy camera which does not have a terribly good zoom.

Just yesterday, after a really good Spring week (lots of sunshine and showers!) I asked my husband to take this picture on his superduper camera - I could not believe how many bees were covering them!
As I start a potential minefield of a week, I'm praying that I might have the patience to sit back and let things take their course. God knows how beautiful my situation could become and I will trust him to make it bloom in it's own time, knowing that I will be able to sit back and admire the achievements that have occurred because of my first small steps.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Everything is blue.

Well shades of anyway - I have got a very blue garden at the moment. I'm not sure I planned it that way but this spring I have really noticed the colour changes in my garden. First there was just the odd white snowdrop. Then lots of yellow narcissus. Now it is blue

The bluebells are from my husbands old family home, we were given some bulbs years ago and this year they have finally taken a firm stand (I was always told they would take over my garden but never quite believed it).

I can't remember whether these blue geraniums came from my sister or my husbands, they most certainly do take over but with their first blooms of the year (they will continue all through till the end of summer) I am happy for them to have as much space as they like. I separated some of these last year and put them into my front garden which is not quite as sunny, but I have just noticed the first flower heads starting to appear!

This flowers name is 'heavenly blue' (sorry can't remember its proper name). I put this in the year before last, attracted by it's amazingly brilliant blueness. I have been a bit concerned with it all through the winter as it's evergreen stalks and leaves have been looking very wooden, but it has not disappointed and is living up to its name.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


When I was on retreat last week, I read several books in the bible. One of those was the book of Job - so many people have said urghh! when I have said this - and I have to be honest I think in the past I might have had this attitude towards the book as well.

However this time it was different, very different, whether it is because of what I am going through at the moment or whether it is to do with the translation that I read it in (The Message) I'm not sure. But one thing I do know is in parts it even made me laugh out loud!

I did not set out to write notes or anything like that when I settled to read it (in several sessions) however I did end up taking down a couple of verses that particularly struck me.

"What's the point of life when it doesn't make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?" Job 3 verse23.

In this translation the meaning of this verse seems very different to the NLT that I often use. On it's own it is a very hopeless sounding statement. However, when you read on to the Lords response to Jobs pages of woe, He does something very interesting. He answers Job with lots of questions - just as Job had posed questions like the one above.

Could it be that Questions are important, could it be that having questions can be more important than having answers! Most certainly the Lord does not give Job all the answers. I remember once being told that if you have all the answers you don't need any faith (think there may even be a proverb on that!) So questions are good - I'm going to hold onto that, I will also try and be satisfied with not requiring all the answers!

By far my most favourite verse that really had me tickled was this one below:

"Your wise sayings are knickknack wisdom, good for nothing but gathering dust" Job 13 verse 12.

I will certainly try and keep this one to hand to remind me to keep my mouth shut sometimes when facing people in situations where they have many questions - ones that I do not need to answer!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Where Does My Help Come From?

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Have you ever had to make a decision that you feel so unable to make? Having to do this absolutely terrifies me! I feel almost paralysed, it also makes me feel as though my faith is so small. Why can't I read the above psalm and do it!!!!! I know, I really know that I have to just trust not myself but the God to whom I am supposed to be giving my life back to. Why do I think I should be able to do it - am I perfect!! I'm pleased to say I'm not that delusional!!
In a week and a half my niece is going to come and stay for 3 weeks. She has stayed with us for 2 weeks before now during the school holidays and this has gone well. The difference is, this stay is going to involve her going to a school. This is the last part of the plan to help enable her to feel comfortable with the decision about coming to live with us.
It is a very lonely decision to make, even though others are involved in it. I pray that friends will not become compassion fatigued with my continual angst. I can honestly say I don't know if I could put up with what they are having to put up with. In the meantime I will continually attempt on a minute by minute basis to 'lift my eyes up', thank you Lord for not growing weary with me.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Good Shepherd

Been blogging over on my other side today http://lifeofacyp.blogspot.com/ for those that are interested in my work stuff!

Monday, 4 May 2009

My Veg Patch.

I have finally got round to sorting the veg patch out this weekend. Last year was our first year, spurred on by my sisters allotment, and her offer of all the plants we could not hold off any longer. Maybe that is one of the reasons I have found it so difficult to get motivated to get on with it this year. With all the family trauma that entailed at the end of last autumn we had not been able to harvest everything in time, though I amazingly I have still got the last of my spring onions to use - one more meals worth left! Of course this year I do not have my supply of young plants from my sister either. Fortunately with the help of my children we got ourselves to the garden centre on Saturday and spent all our money on small plants and packets of seeds. I have detailed exactly what we bought below so that I can remember for next year when we start again! The only plants we have left over from the initial planting last year are, the rhubarb (doing very nicely I must say - crumble here we come!), chives, mint, and parsley. Last years perpetual spinach is still perpetuating but I have now moved that into a pot next to the guinea pigs who are very happy to continue eating it!

Small plants:

2 x Strawberry - Pegasus

2 x Strawberry - Hongoye

Water Melon, Charantais

Cucumber - Futura

Cucumber F1 Zeina

2 x Cherry Tomato - Sungold.

3 x Dwarf French Bean - Slenderette (just loved that name!)


Sweet Corn F1-Sundance

Carrot - Nantes2

Leek - Winter Atlanta

Pumpkin - Ghostrider

Spring onion

Spinach - Tarpy F1

Lettuce Cos - Parris Island

Lettuce - salad bowl

We are also trying some flowers in our new patch of land that we dug up a few weeks ago, in there I have planted blocks of Chrysanthemum - Summer Festival (these were free having got the next two packets), Cornflower - Polka dot mixed,Snapdragon - Royal Bride (supposed to be very fragrant) and Showy Sunflax (these are left over from last year so will see if they do anything!)

Because my mobility is somewhat reduced at the moment with my very painful knees (fell over Saturday morning so they are even worse!) my lovely family got on with all the hard work for me while I directed.

I have got some protection over my small plants as we do tend to get an influx of pigeons in the garden when there is something new that might be tasty in it, hopefully this can come off in a few weeks and I will post a picture of how it is getting on.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Beautiful Spring Flowers

One of the greatest treats for me while I was on retreat was getting to see carpets of gorgeous wild flowers. Below are a couple of them.

It seems to have been an incredibly good year for blue bells in England this year, my mum and dad have reported seeing lots and lots in the midlands, they are in my garden and there were just loads in the woods around the Friary.

Ramsons (Allium ursinum) also known as wild garlic because of its pungent smell. This seemed to be particularly fond of the banks along the roadside. The flowers are so beautiful and delicate when you get real close they are like little individual stars.

There was also a secret garden in the grounds which was abounding in all colours and types of rhododendron, and some others which I am still to identify!

I am not the greatest photographer in the world but with my little snappy camera I was really pleased to have at least caught a little bit of the beauty that I was surround by.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Home Sweet Home

It feels like a great accomplishment to have been away on my first retreat. It is probably going to take me a while to assimilate all the information that my brain has been processing. On a practical level, it has taught me a few things about what is important to me:

1. I like having my own bathroom.

2. The little extras in life, like a comfy cushion on my chair make a difference to how welcome I feel.

3. I love silence, it is great to have an excuse not to have to give an impression of my self or feeling that I need to show an interest in others when I really don't want to.

4. I can go to sleep without the TV on, though I suspect that this might also be to do with the fact that I was away from the distractions that cause my brain to overload and require the TV to be on in the first place!

5. Colour is poetry to me, I love to experiment with it in patterns and doodles!

I'm sure there is probably more, but that will do for now.

Hilfield Friary is a funny little place, the Franciscan monks there are a variety of ages, they are a very eco positive bunch of folks, which suits me fine, but the whole place did feels just a bit to blokey for me. I may go back some time, they do have some self-catering houses on the complex that are suitable for groups - I think this is probably the biggest draw to get me back along with the beautiful countryside. Below are a few pictures to show the seclusion of the place, sadly it rained all day Thursday so I only got out in the evening, however that did mean, I read and painted and cross stitched all day!