Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Wonderful Gift. Jim's Baskets.

I received a most lovely gift through the post a few days ago. Julie-Ann Bowden, an artist living in the UK, does the most gorgeous paintings of angels. She did one for Renee before she died. I had asked her to do a commission for me but due to ill health she hadn't been able to complete it. My fabulous painting is to make up for my disappointment.

I just love love it and it went up on the wall straight away. Here it is from a distance showing the placing on the wall. It is called 'In Preparation'.

Julie's blog is well worth a look. Go and see her gallery of artwork.

Jim's Baskets

Jim went to Galway for a 2 day basket weaving course. He thoroughly enjoyed himself as there were only 2 of them plus the tutor and he made 2 baskets. Here is the fruit basket he made:

A Fruit Basket.

It makes a fine hat the other way up!!

I had asked for a waste paper basket for my room and Jim made this one. I love it.

I just love the way he's done the top.

And the bottom. I think I'll have to set him up in business!

While I've been in my studio the cats love to spend time in there with me:

Sandy is on the chair but he's in the shade:

What a contented Sandy cat.

BlackJack prefers to keep watch for enemies!

I worked on the garden over the weekend and on making a rag doll for Christmas for a certain little girl. It's coming on rather well.

I'm really tired now as I didn't sleep well last night, so it's off to bed for me soon, but not before I have to tell you about John and Mildred.


John and Mildred Nalley

I received an email from Mildred in the USA today. She had some bad news about her husband John. An MRI scan has revealed a mass on his temporal lobe. Some healing thoughts for John please, or prayers if you believe in a God.

Night night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Garden Progress - Buster - Another Visitor

Me and Cheryl, my latest visitor - on the meadow.


It seems a while since I updated you on our garden progress. We have been working on the back yard recently, which we want to grass through to join up with the arboretum. It has long grass growing on it so that has to all be removed, the site levelled and then the grass seed sewn. Oh, and all the stone removed.

Here's Jim digging up one of the huge rocks from in front of the new wall.

I spent some time removing stones from under the huge tree and levelling the ground.

On the left you can see some of the grass that has to be removed. The new lawn will go through and join with the other grass, through the narrow gap. Where the pile of stones is will be a small herb garden.

I have just found this photo from September 2009. This is taken looking at the place where the new wall is now situated.

Here is the whole of the back yard taken a day later in September 2009. The yard looks so small there. At the end is a distinct lack of wall!

Here's the new wall, almost finished.

The part that needs finishing. As well as raising the wall height a little by the house, we are making a flower bed in the gap. We are also going to make steps from the gap in the wall to the concrete part you can see outside the patio doors. It'll make a nice feature.

Now the wall has been finished and filled with soil, and even has a few plants in it too. I am so pleased with it. The 'steps' have only been roughly placed and will look much better when finished. Jim dropped the top one on my finger! It bled rather a lot. That top stone is the one Jim was digging out of the ground in the top photo!

Some of the plants.

The wall from the other side. We will make some steps this side too.

Visitors Yesterday

Yesterday, Tuesday, I had a pre-arranged visit from a dear schoolfriend of mine and her husband. We have known each other since about 1961 I think. Cheryl now lives in a beautiful converted barn not far from my son Jason in Suffolk!

The time seemed to absolutely fly by. We sat in the sun room and drank tea. Jim had made home made soup and home made bread which we had for lunch, followed by cold meats and cheese and more bread!

We chatted some more then went for a walk down to the lake, the quick route as Cheryl and Pete didn't really have the footwear to go through the wood. It was a pleasant day weather wise. We also took a walk around the land of course and Jim took a couple of photos when we were at the top of the meadow:

Me and Cheryl with Lough Graney and Flagmount behind us.

It got a bit windy! She is a lovely person, as is her husband Pete and we had a fabulous time.

We had coffee in the afternoon with a lovely swiss roll that Cheryl and Pete had brought with them! All too soon it was time for them to go. Come back soon you two.

There was still a couple of hours for me to pop out into the garden and do some weeding and stone moving. Chicken curry for dinner (Jim's of course), a bit of television watching then it was a flop into bed.

Today it has rained and the sun has shone alternately. Rather like a Spring day. Jim worked in the kitchen and I managed to get outside a bit and edge the rose bed, which I weeded a couple of days ago.


We have been working hard to fatten Buster up after his 5 days away. He has been much better lately. Even when Max has visited and they've gone off to 'play', he has always come back again - although once it was at 3.30am!

I bought him a new red collar and an identity tag with our phone number on it in case he goes missing again:

Buster fast asleep with his new red collar.

Jim bought me a black bamboo for the garden. It's something I've wanted for a long time, having had one in the UK a while ago. Here it is in its pot:

The hosta is now in the wall. We have yet to work out the perfect spot for the bamboo.

So there we have it. Another catch up. When Jim's finished the next section of the kitchen I'll show you what he's done this time.

Have a good week everyone.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Catch Up - Mixed Bloggy Post - 17th September 2010

Poppy - aged 2 in December. She is still very tiny for her age.

At last I've managed to increase my photo storage with Google. It's taken about 4 days in all. Now I can download some photos. Hurrah!

Taken at the Scariff Show, luckily on that day we didn't need an umbrella, but we have had plenty of rainy days.

Just one photo of Ben and Hayley as the rest are on Facebook. Here they all all dressed up and ready to go to the wedding:

Don't they look smart? It was so lovely to have them here for a few days.

Jim's UK Trip

On Thursday 9th September, Jim went to the UK for a few days to visit his children and Grandchildren there. Jenny, Matt and Sonny were heading off to the Isle of Wight for a holiday but Jim still managed to get to see them for a while. Sonny was very taken with Jim and put his arms up each time Grandad appeared!

Here's Sonny bouncing on the trampoline we had bought him for his 1st birthday. He loves it!

He still pulls some great faces! The engine was also from us and has Sonny's name on it. He liked it.

On the Friday night they all went for an Italian meal to celebrate Russell's 30th birthday. There was Russell and Caz, Matt and Jenny and Ali and Jim. Ali's husband Joe had a prior band engagement so couldn't make it.

Russell had threatened anyone with death who ever bought him a 'photo' cake or 30th balloon, so of course they had to get him both!

He loved it really!

Russ's beautiful wife Caz.

Sonny's Mummy Jenny - Jim's younger daughter.

With Jenny and family gone on holiday, Ali came with Poppy to take Dad out for a walk to Burpham - a favourite walk they used to go on when Ali was a child.

She is still adorable and now has a great vocabulary too.

Poppy decided the 'here' is where she wanted her picnic, but Ali and Jim had other ideas! Eventually she followed them.

Grandad had bought custard tarts. Mmmm.

The walk ends at a little park. Poppy fed the 'horse' some grass!

I can't wait to see both Poppy and Sonny just after Christmas when Jim and I are travelling the country on a 'Deens on tour'.

My Birthday

Here I am in my office with the new screen/now Jim's! (Bea, can you see one of your post cards on the wall by the door?)

My birthday's been a funny one this year. Jim bought me a new screen for my computer, which I didn't like, so he swapped it for his - which I love!

A few days later a present from K, Rachel and Lu arrived. A marvellous mobile made by Rachel out of a knife handle, a fork and 4 twisted spoons. I must take a photo of it, it's lovely and makes a delightful tinkling noise too.

I've had cards arriving for days then I thought yesterday that I hadn't had a present from my son Jason, Sam, Jack and Kitty. Very strange as Sam is so on the ball with birthdays. It turns out Jason had brought my presents with him on their visit and they were in Jim's office on a shelf!! So I had another birthday yesterday. Such lovely things too, a card chosen by and written by Jack from him and Kitty. 2 Art Deco pens, a little jewel encrusted notebook for my handbag with matching pen. Some blank cards for the insertion of photos. A pretty little shaker style wooden box with 'Special Mum' on the top. Some chocolate of course! And a little art deco card plus some 'backing' A4 size card with super patterns on them. Wow, what a lucky girl.

Jim still felt he hadn't really brought me anything for my birthday and bought me a new 'everyday' watch from the UK as mine had broken. It has big numbers on it so I can see it! Then today he went shopping and bought me a huge Black stemmed bamboo. It's enormous and quite lovely. Now all I have to do is decide where to plant it to display it at its best. I wonder whether anything else will turn up??

Some of my presents and cards. Jim's prizewinning vase of flowers from Scariff show are on the table too.

Garden Progress

The new wall Jim and I are building is almost finished. Today I filled the completed part with soil and planted one plant! I do have some more to put in but it was getting dark.

Ben took this rather lovely photo of the arboretum and the new flower bed all bursting with colour. You can see how glorious the weather was for their visit.

We are currently working on the back yard - the part most affected by the builders and where the new wall is. We are aiming to grass it soon, having removed all the surface stone and sorted out the levels. I will take some photos tomorrow!

In the front, we had a huge pile of gravel delivered and I have been spreading it around. Jason and Jack did some for us too (I think I mentioned this in my last catch up post). It's all looking much smarter too. Ben took rather a good photo of the front:

Jim is coming up the steps and I think Hayley's on the phone! It's been a good Summer for the garden and Jim's produce in particular. We now have courgettes by the ton - well, they're marrows now! Also carrots, beetroot and parsnips. The sweet corn is doing very well too, although we have had a couple of very windy days and they had blown over. Yesterday Jim and I staked them up again. I love corn on the cob.

Ben just loved the garden and took lots of photos. It's super that he enjoys photography as much as I do and K and Jason love it too.

I think that's enough for today. I will take some up to date photos of the back yard and the new wall. It's so good to be able to post photos again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Too Much to Catch Up!

The trouble is, when you're all behind it gets harder and harder to make the effort to catch up. I can't possibly do all that has happened or this will be like War and Peace. Suffice it to say we've had a stream of visitors and I don't seem to have had any time.....

The Suffolk trip was wonderful as you may have seen from the previous post. Having just about sorted myself out, Jason brought Jack over to us on Sunday 29th August late at night. Jack was so excited and it was quite hard to get him settled but eventually he fell asleep in the little bed I'd made for him in my office!

Aha, I seem to have exceeded my photo quota on here so will have to purchase some more space. This takes another 24 hours! Why can't life be simple? LOL. All my photos are on Facebook, however, and anyone can go and see them:

This is the Jason and Jack's visit to Ireland album if you have time to go and take a peep. We were so lucky with the weather. It was really sunny and warm and the 2nd day we went to the top end of Lough Graney where there is a very shallow edge to the Lough and some sand. It's known as 'White Sands'. Jack spent ages in the water and Jason and I paddled while Jim had a nap on the shore. We had a picnic and then I had a nap too!

The first day we went to Coole Park but Jack was so tired he actually fell asleep in Jason's arms, a real rarity!

We have had a huge pile of gravel delivered and Jason and Jack helped spread it around the yard. Well, Jack climbed up and down the heap and generally had fun!! Jack also helped 'Grandad Jim' pick some apples and some carrots and beans from the vegetable plot.

He is such a live wire it's hard to keep up with him. On the day we went to White Sands they were off home again - a really short stay but lovely all the same. Jack slept on the way to the airport and has talked about his trip since. He really enjoyed it and we loved having them.

The very next day, Wednesday 1st September, we picked up my younger son Ben and his girlfriend Hayley from Shannon - our car knows the way now! They arrived at 9pm so we just chatted the first evening - it was great to see them again.

I have 2 albums from their visit on Facebook if anyone would like a look:


I know it's not the same as having them on here but it's the best I can do.

Ben has never seen my home before and loved it. He spent ages wandering around the garden taking photos and exploring.

We visited Galway or course, which both Ben and Hayley really enjoyed. Again, we were very lucky with the weather. We sampled McDonagh's fish and chips again and in the evening went to a pub in Scarriff to meet up with one of Ben's friends. It's an amazing coincidence, but Kevin, one of his friends from Puerto Banus in Spain, was getting married on September 4th in Scarriff, which is only a short distance from where we live! We met up with Kev and his fiancee Christina on Friday in Scarriff in 'Johnny's Bar'. Quite a few of the guests were there and it was good to see Kevin and meet Christina too. I didn't drink as I drove home.

On Saturday it was the wedding and we drove Ben and Hayley to the church. Coincidentally, it was also the day of the Scarriff Show, which Jim had entered! So we went off to the show as they went into the church!

Jim had entered 2 pots of jam, a photo, a vase of flowers and some potatoes. His vase of flowers won first prize and the potatoes 2nd but that was all this time. Still, he made a small profit. The day hadn't started too well weather wise but the sun came out and it was beautiful from then on.

Jim and I had a great time. We watched the dog show and quite a bit of horse jumping. Ate chips and hot dogs and had a lovely ice cream. We headed home at tea time and had an evening alone, as Ben and Hay were staying overnight in the wedding hotel.

On the Sunday we again met up with the now married couple and Ben and Hayley in Scarriff. There was a sort of large shed at the back of the bar and a group played and in true Irish fashion, a sing song developed! Kev was very much the worse for wear by the end of the evening but was still going when we left!

We also managed a lovely walk to the lake and again the weather was fabulous. I have some lovely photos of Ben and Hayley on Facebook.

Sadly they had to leave on Monday morning. We had an extra guest overnight Sunday - a friend of theirs from Oz and she slept on the settee which she said was 'like a marshmallow'!!

Ben and Hay slept all the way to the airport but woke up just enough to say our goodbyes and see them on their way. Oh, it was also my birthday on that day, Monday 6th September! Ben bought me a huge box of Dairy Milk (which I'm consuming right now), a lovely mug with bulls on and a key ring with a bull mosaic on it.

It was a funny day really - very quiet but we had some time in the garden and just generally chilled out after all our visitors.

When I can upload some photos, I'll show you the garden's progress. Our wall is almost finished! It looks splendid.

Love to everyone. I'm sorry I've been so rubbish at blogging and visiting blogs but will try harder!