Monday 30 December 2019

Waving goodbye to 2019

I like to reflect on and record the highlights of the past year rather than dwell on any challenges and disappointments: 

Family and Friends

Inevitably, being part of a large family, we have lots of celebrations and get-togethers.  We welcomed two baby boys and celebrated my granddaughter’s Bat Chayil.  Sadly we lost our Auntie Flo, who passed away at age 99, just four months short of her hundredth birthday.  She was an outrageous flirt, loved to be the life and soul of any party and the last of her generation.  Fortunately we were able to record her reminiscences.  Large numbers of relatives and family friends turned up to see her off.  I suppose we are the “oldies” now.

Harry and Blake and Auntie Flo

Reading, Writing and Presenting

I have kept up with my writing, motivated by my writing group and their generous and constructive criticism and also the monthly local radio programme to which I contribute and help to produce.

 We also contributed to LD50 a project celebrating 50 years of our town being twinned with Dortmund through the arts, particularly literature.  A series of exchanges between writers in Leeds and Dortmund took place culminating in a weekend festival at ChapelFM Arts Centre

and other venues across the city. I read some of their work in German, which I hope was understandable. 

I completed a short on-line course by FutureLearn and MMU, How to make a poem.

Interfaith activities

I am deeply saddened by the amount of racism and antisemitism which exists in the world, after we vowed never again.

Our local group of NisaNashim, a network for  Muslim and Jewish women across the UK  who come together to combat ignorance and learn from each other, have met regularly and enjoyed finding out about each other’s culture.

I have again participated in the winter shelters for asylum seekers.  Our guests our polite and helpful and make us delicious food.  Sadly, we are seeing the same people year after year as their appeals progress so slowly.  Asylum seekers have no access to housing or benefits and not allowed to work.  Every time, I hope the shelters will no longer be necessary, as with the Food Bank where the main cause I record is universal credit.

I was moved by the exhibition Eye as Witness which shows that the photos we see of the holocaust were mostly taken by the Nazis with particular agendas in mind. This exhibition also has rarely seen, secret taken by Jewish people and members of the anti-Nazi resistance, who, at great risk to themselves, used the camera to record the story as they saw it.  It allows visitors, by the use of virtual reality, to step through a Nazi photograph taken in the Warsaw Ghetto and observe the photographer taking the shot, and study what was left outside the frame of the image, which I found very emotional.

 This piece of paper recorded the camps this lady was sent to and kept in her shoe


After changing our membership from National Trust, having had many enjoyable visits, we are now members of the Historic House Association which have more properties in our area, which has allowed us to experience some interesting houses and beautiful grounds.
We saw the impressive Michaelangelo exhibition at Hull Minster which allowed us to see all the works from the Sistine Chapel which had been photographed and annotated.

This year we visited Portugal and Spain, Norfolk and spent a lot of time on our doorstep in Yorkshire.  Many trips are recorded on this blog.
We finished the year with a picnic in Morecambe on Christmas Day


As a judge for Yorkshire in Bloom, I have the privilege of viewing the best gardens and parks and meeting their enthusiastic gardeners.

I also get the opportunity of learning about gardening and visiting amazing gardens through my gardening group, Friday Forum, a gardening group which is part of the Paxton Horticultural Society in Leeds, West Yorkshire

I enjoy reading and participating in Six on Saturday, generously hosted by The Propagator.   By clicking on the link to his blog, you can see what he and his followers are growing and doing in their gardens every week.

Looking forward to hearing about your highlights of 2019 and the challenges you have set for next year.

Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy 2020!

Friday 20 December 2019

Shared Advent Storytelling 2019

Once again, Loren Eaton is hosting this event and links to all stories will be available on 21st January on her blog:

The story has to be told in 100 words and here is my attempt:

On Christmas Eve morning, after my night shift, I collapsed on to the sofa, overwhelmed by the tasks to complete.  Tongue in cheek, I asked Alexa what preparations were needed..

My virtual assistant astounded me: 

“A list of the necessary tasks in order of priority has been sent to your phone.  Here is some energising music to help you.”

There was indeed a list and the uplifting music played while I beavered away.

My husband returned from work and praised my efforts.   I wanted to tell him how I had managed it but there was no message to be seen.

Happy holidays everyone and a all the best for a healthy and successful New Year.

Sunday 1 December 2019

Six on Sunday

I wasn't going to post, thinking there was nothing to write about but just collected some greenery to tart up the living room so (just for this week) it's my short and sweet six on Sunday.
So in this vase are holly, ivy, winter jasmine, abelia, grass and a shrub with no name.It's actually amazing what is growing including buds on trees, shoots of bulbs etc.
The Propagator generously hosts Six on Saturday.  Click on the link to his blog to see what he and his followers are growing and doing in their gardens this week.

Saturday 2 November 2019

Six on Saturday

 Here are my six which are around the front door to give some winter cheer.

 First blooms of Winter Jasmine.  Should stay until March.

 Trough with Pansies and Ajuga underplanted with bulbs 

Pot with Cyclamen, Calluna vulgaris and the silver one which had no label.  I later saw a load of these in Tesco all labelled (wrongly) Sedum Herbstfreude!  It's actually Calopcephalus browniI

The Propagator generously hosts Six on Saturday.  Click on the link to his blog to see what he and his followers are growing and doing in their gardens this week.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Visit to Norfolk

We recently spent a few days based at Cromer after first visiting this part of the country many decades ago, Norfolk is very rural and lies quite far out to the East of the UK.  The fields are mainly given over to crops including flowers which resembled coloured stripes from the road.

The weather was variable but, during the showers, we took advantage of our National Trust membership to visit a couple of stately homes.

 Cromer Pier

 Hotel de Paris where Oscar Wilde and Duke of Wales stayed, although not at the same time

Our B&B was actually once part of the grounds of the elegant Fellbrigg Hall, so we didn’t have far  to go.  
 Some of the stained glass windows dated back to the 15th century


Next we visitedSheringham Park, which was taken over by the National Trust in 1986.  Designed by the landscaper Humphry Repton in 1812, there is 20 hectares of parkland with walks down to the cliffs and a gazebo and a temple which gives excellent views of the surroundings. 

The Bower Garden
In the garden was the International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition.  Here are my favourites:

Bickling Hall is described thus by the National Trust:  Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Blickling Estate was the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, and during the Second World War RAF air crew were billeted here, while its owner, Lord Lothian, influenced Churchill’s actions...

 The perennial beds were stunning, even this late in the season

We also visited the Blakeney Nature Reserve but you have to time the tides right to sail over to see the seals, Hunstanton, Wells next to the Sea and the picturesque town of Holt, the town which was burnt down in 1708 and rebuilt in Georgian style, which has lots of independent shops.

There is still a great deal to see for another time ….

“The sea is their grave but this Memorial sculpture is, in many ways, a headstone for the lost trawlermen”

I have always been impressed by the architecture in the centre of the maritime city of Hull, especially the old buildings with their carving...