Saturday, January 27, 2007


I have been doing a lot of thinking about childhood, obviously many, many memories of childhood have come flooding back to me with all this sorting I am doing. It got me thinking about how strange a child's perspective of events and even their visual images of events can be.
Three memories in particular made me start to consider this. [Explanations of
the photographs are given directly underneath them in different colour and font.]

A very disgruntled and fat faced me with her ever faithful Jacko the monkey [ I still have the sad remains of him, motheaten hands filling missing out of arms bare patches] sitting in her pram in the park.

I have said before about my first memories and how I can just remember being in a carriage built pram, I have now found a photo of me in this pram, but a memory I didn't mention was one that even now I cannot get a true perspective on what I was doing, and the images from the child's eyes do not really help. I know I was in my Grandfather's garden, right down at the bottom of it. beyond the lawn and flowerbeds, past the vegetable patch, the raspberry canes and the blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes, into the the wild part where the compost was made and spare pieces of wood and out of use glass cloches were kept. The grass was very very high [so it was probably about knee height on an adult]. I am wearing blue play dungarees, these were cotton dungarees that children who were toddlers wore over their day clothes to play out in, the idea being it would keep their clothes clean. I am walking about but not steadily, slightly drunkenly, and in front of me is a vast machine, I search the ground for tiny little stones which I gather and push down a sort of spout or funnel on the side of the machine, then I wait until I hear a really satisfying plop noise, and start the process all over again. There seems to be a lot of grass and wood around me. and I have a feeling a slightly older child was with me.

In the front garden, when I was about eighteen months old. I hope you like my terrible twinkie curl, you know you could buy a preparation to make the hair stand up like that, very punk.

I have often asked about what there was there, in that part of the garden and have been told again and again there was an old zinc or tin boiler, the sort that is kept in a outdoor washhouse, and my Grandfather used it for steeping various plants and leaves in to make liquid fertiliser. What I see in my mind's eye bears no relation to this, but I think I must have been pushing stones into a part of it that let them fall into the liquid inside, hence the 'plop'. The glass and wood was apparently part of a dismantled greenhouse that was secured to the fence. Apparently, there was an older girl of about four that lived next door that used to play with me. This explanation never satisfies me as I always see the much more wonderous picture of a magical world with strange glass houses and machines.

It's old one eye closed again on a donkey when on holiday at Scarborough. Was this the one that ran off with me on it?

The second memory is a rather whimsical one, I must be about five or six years old and am besotted with fairy tales. My favourite fairy tale is The Twelve Dancing Princesses and I am convinced that I am one and must search for my eleven missing sisters. The time is the summer and when I am put to bed with the curtains drawn and the night still light outside, I wait a while and creep out of bed on to the ottoman beneath my window and stick my head through the curtains. In front of me are the front gardens, the road, the front gardens of the houses on the other side of the road, then behind them two more rows of houses, but if I look up into the distance over the three green fields, I can see the late evening sun shining on tiny little men in brilliant whites playing cricket. Behind the men are many trees and poking out through the trees are two round towers like in a fairy tale, and there seems to be a large brick building between them. I am convinced that this is my castle. I often dream there is a door in the wall of our living room that will take me to the castle, the door is invisible you have to know where to find it. The best time to find it is when the morning sun shines in the room, and you can see a faint oblong outline on the wall, that is when to run your hands over the wall whispering magic words. No, the door never opened for me, but I was told off for dirty handprints on the wall. The outline was a reflection from the sun of one of the living room windows, oh, and the magic castle across the fields, I wasn't much older when I found out it actually was, as they were called in those unlightened days the local mental hospital and lunatic asylum. I am still looking for my eleven sisters though so we can wear our shoes out dancing all night, are you there anywhere?

The third memory, is actually a sequence of memories. Every family has instances over the years that a veil is drawn over, and are never mentioned in public. I know every one of these family crisises in parts. Just a few months ago my Mother was telling me about my Father's brother and how his wife left him for a while in the 1950's. My Father's family lived in a large village that had a majority of Irish Catholic families and this would be a great scandal in those days. I told my Mother I knew about it, she told me I couldn't have, I was only four years old, I then went on to tell her where my Grandmother, Mother and Father were when they were talking about it. She was astounded that I was right, and I went on to repeat other small nuggets of information about the whole family I had collected in my childhood when adults thought I was otherwise occupied. I never had the whole story of these different incidents when I was small, but I am well aware of when different family crisis occured. I must have just had the knack of looking as though I wasn't listening, in fact, I would go as far to say that I wan't intentionally listening, I just absorbed it. I only remember once my other Grandmother saying 'careful ears are flapping' her signal that they were being listened too. Was anyone else as a child aware of undercurrents and crisis?

I always loved hats, gosh it's actually sunny in this photograph, Scarborough again.

I just want to finish off by talking about the naming of objects. Have you ever as a family given a familiar object a family name for it, so that if you mentioned it to anyone else they would have no idea what you meant. One of ours is 'you better go and fetch the boozy'. No, it is not an aged drunken relation, but a high kitchen stool. It was my son at four years old that named it boozy. Why boozy? who knows it is lost in the passage of time, it was a stool he loved sitting on at his Grandma's table, it gave him extra height when he was little. Then my daughter used boozy, and it finally ended up as a spare seat if there were too many at the table. It is never called the stool always just boozy and I am proud to say I have now taken charge of boozy and he shall reside in splendour in my cottage.

A Summer holiday in Scarborough, Mum, me, Grandma and Auntie, yes it is summer, even thought people seemed to be dressed for winter, and look how formally dressed everyone is, you think they were visiting the Queen not enjoying a holiday.

Well this has been a long rambling posting about memories and childhood but I am pleased to write them down so that I will always remember them and I look forward to knowing if anyone else has rather peculiar memories such as these or was I just a rather odd whimsical child. Also hope you have not been bored by this, but if you are you won't have read this far!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Yesterday late afternoon, I attended the funeral of my best friend's husband. It must have been one of the coldest days in the winter, and we all waited outside the crematorium for the hearse and family to ride up to the entrance. Thirty minutes in the freezing cold because we new it would be a busy funeral. Tony was an inspiring teacher, who often asked to be year tutor to the most awkward and naughty classes. He was a very strict teacher, but fun at the same time, by the end of the academic year these bolshie teenagers always came round to liking and admiring him. He could have invented tough love long before it became a buzzword. As a reward at the end of the year he always had a 'do' whether a meal or a barbecue for his then ex pupils. Obviously, many of them turned up for his funeral. He taught them to aim higher than they thought they could and started many on their paths to a good career. He believed in them and showed them how to believe in theirselves.

It was a wonderful, funny funeral with lots of laughter and a few tears, as I said a contradiction in terms. As we went in Carole King was singing I've got a friend, which I had to admit nearly broke me up as it is one of my favourite songs. Lots of funny stories were told about him and the crematorium rang with laughter. It was not a deep religious service just a celebration of his life really and the coffin disappeared as we sang Jerusalem he was a great sportsman, and Jerusalem was picked for the English Rugby Team and then there was the theme from Z Cars, an old 1960's police programme that his favourite football team, Everton, run out onto the pitch to.

When we were standing in the courtyard and it started to snow on us, people were laughing and saying it must Tony organising it, it was typical of his sense of humour, he would have been amused that the snow fell just as we came out. We followed on to the wake where again, there was a frame full of pictures of him with his family and a compilation tape constantly playing of his favourite music. I decided to send my friend a large shrub to grow in memory of her husband for her garden, instead of sending flowers on the day. I am so glad I did because the flowers will not have survivied lying out on the cold frozen concrete with snow falling on them.

Next important event on the horizon is my mother is finally moving into her new flat, next Thursday, so it is all systems into first gear now, what with me finishing sorting and packing, my husband organising the decorating of the flat, and my son coming up gather up a van and a friend to actually do the move. Then any volunteers to help unpack? Sweetpea? I shall take my time getting my own house reorganised, with its extra furniture and baggages after the move. I don't care if it takes me until Easter, because what I want to do most of all is get down to some of my projects and start firing things out in the post. Luckily the ideas are all there it is just the actual making to do. I will be posting on my site as and when I can, during this coming seven days, probably won't be making my way round the blogs much either, but don't worry I will be back properly after 1st February. I have already got my Crow Chunky Book Page just about worked out in my head, and my Frida ATC's.

I noticed Judie, was asking in my last comments section how do I find the time to do all these things. Well, first of all I don't sleep a lot, probably about five hours a night, and maybe on a quiet day I take a catnap in the afternoon [ especially on cold winter's days or hot sunny days in the garden]. Then some of my activities because I live in England are seasonal. Once I get to the end of October, I don't think about my garden again until March, only to browse plant catalogues. So that always gives me extra craft time. I don't go berserk with housework, as long as I am not ashamed to invite people inside I am a happy bunny. I don't dust and hoover as part of a daily ritual, only when I see it is beginning to need it, but my biggest time saver is, and I don't know if any other countries do this, I do my grocery shopping once a month, on line, and have it delivered to my door. I have done this for two years. That saves half a day every week, so it gives me two more free days a month. The first time you shop online and go through each department with all the pictures of the goods, it takes ages but after that you have a list of your favourites, takes no time and you can still use coupons. This just leaves me to pick up milk and fresh produce locally.

Things you find when sorting. I found two holiday photographs the other day, which follow on from my postings about childhood holidays, so I thought I would upload them here. I had forgotten that when I had my photo taken as a child and was looking to where the sun was I used to close one eye, it looks so funny now, when I see these photos. Looking at these photos of holidays, in the mid 1950's I am constantly surprised how formal people are on them, nearly all the men have sports jackets and shirts and ties on, the only casualness about them seems to be a pair of sandals. I can remember on the beach you didn't see people, such as parents in clothing such as is worn today. I seem to remember gatherings of women in cotton dresses and sandals and men dressed as my father is, although they did take their sports jackets off on the beach and roll up their shirt sleeves. There doesn't seem to have been a cult of beach clothes in England or perhaps the east coast was too windy and cold for them. I am wearing my favourite royal blue dress with white spots on and a white plastic belt in one photo amd a lemon nylon dress and beige cardigan in the other. I seem to have shoes on here, but I do remember as a child being bought new t-bar sandals at the start of every summer. usually in red, and the first time I wore them was always told '.....and don't scuff your new sandals....' and by the end of every summer, copious amounts of cherry red polish were being brushed onto the scuff marks on the toes. Oh and note on one the photographs I am feeling very grown up as I am carrying the binoculars in their case!

I had a lovely surprise in the post this morning, a package from Pretty Lady, with some beautiful fairy cards in it. I have posted an example of one of them above. This unexpected package got my day off to a good start, it was so kind of her to remember how much I love faery things. Thank you Pretty Lady.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I often find that one of my blogging friends writes about something on their blog and it sort of takes on a life of his own, other people comment, including me, then I sometimes feel compelled to muse about it and then go off at a tangent and write about where the tangent led me and write about it on my site.

This time it was Gemma that started me musing. She posted Leonard Cohen's Joan of Arc on her site, saying how every so often you get a craving for some of good old Leonard. I posted agreeing that just sometimes no one else will do. I then posted that my all time favourite lines of Leonard's were ...and she brings you tea and oranges that come all the way for china... from Suzanne. When I checked that my posting was on the site I noticed that immediately above me was a posting from Lisa Oceandreamer, mentioning guess what? her favourite song was Suzanne too. This led to a lovely exchange of emails where we both discovered our images of Suzanne and her life were identical. This in turn got me looking out Songs of Leonard Cohen and indulge in repeat track playing of Suzanne. In turn this led to a discussion with husband who said Leonard Cohen had written it about a real woman called Suzanne whom he, [Cohen, not my husband lol!] had known. I said, yes, but that was nothing to do with my Suzanne, who I had imagined, my Suzanne was more of an archetype and inspired me, and that I hadn't taken the real one into consideration at all.

After satisfying my Leonard Cohen need, I then moved onto Google and found out all about the real Suzanne, I thought if you didn't know about her you might be interested in these links that explains all about her. I have also uploaded her photo and show it below. Of course, this does not make me budge one inch on the Suzanne in my head. She was created by me, and Lisa Oceandreamer it seems. and

We are still having wild winds with galeforce gusts, just the sort of day to stay indoors, so I made the most of it. I actually got into my artroom this afternoon,[Hello artroom,long time no see did you think I have forgotten about you? I'll be back lots when life resumes its even pace once more.] put some bits in pieces in order, sat down at my desk wrote a list of all the swaps etc that I am participating in, hoping I am not forgetting to write things down and pinned it to the wall. Then, oh what bliss. I actually sat on got on with one of my projects and did some hand sewing. I so enjoyed it, sitting in a pool of lamplight, wind gusting at the window, heating hissing and clanking away, incense burning. In fact, I was enjoying it so much I had to put Leonard Cohen's Songs From a Room on all over again.

I have just bought three Charles de Lint books really cheaply on Amazon Used Books, two were ones I read a long time ago but never owned copies of, plus I want to read them again, and the third was one I have not read yet Spirit in the Wires. I was just going to start reading a book called The Red Tent that quite a few people seem to have recommended, although it has been published for a few years now. Now I am thinking, should I leave that and go straight to the Charles de Lint I haven't read or ..., oh decisions, decisions. At the moment I am listening to Madeleine Peyroux, [yes still, I am besotted with it], Jamie Cullen's Twenty Something and as mentioned above Songs From a Room.

This illustration above is called The Two Gossips, isn't it adorable? I am sure it is me, in the mob cap and fingerless lace glove, busy creating while a friend visits me and we catch up in the garden on local gossip. I will admit to being a bit of a gossip, not of the mean kind, I just love to know all the news and while we are telling truths, I won't deny I am a really nosey parker at times, well, I call it interest in humanity, I like to see where people live and know what makes them tick. I have just found a fabulous project on Flikr. com called, wait for it, The Bookshelf Project. The idea is you photograph your bookshelves and upload them onto flickr. The only proviso is that you must be able to read the titles of the books. This site must have been made for me, if I ever see a photo of someone's room and there books on the shelves, I will do my best to zoom in or enlarge or whatever to try to read the book title. Please excuse me this, its just that I love books, and like to know what other people like! I do know one person that reads this blog, admitting to trying to read the titles in my bookcase when I posted photos of my cottage. YOU know who you are, and I don't blame you one bit. Well believe me, you can while away some pleasant time on this project and some people even mention which of the books they are reading now and if any are up for trading. Check it out!

Must go now Saturday evening in my cozy living room complete with glass of wine is awaiting me, oh tell the truth Daisy, well a bottle of wine and one wine glass, the other half is going to have some lager.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Around this time of year I am given a nudge and suddenly remember my garden, yes, the one at the end of the alleyway past the barn. It is deep in it's Winter sleep, well it should be, but it seems to having odd spurts of business this year. What usually gives me that nudge are the garden catalogues that come rattling through the post box. Delicious booklets full of wonderfully coloured and scented plants. There is nothing like sitting with your breakfast cup of coffee and toast working your way through these wonderful books. You can transplant, in your mind's eye, these healthy mature plants into your garden. These juicy succulent books overcome you and then the fun begins, out comes the pen and paper and the lists begin to be made. 'oooh one of those would be nice, ooooh what a reasonable price that is, ooooooooh look at this special offer or if I buy X amount I will get this free'. Then reality hits, you add up your lists and find you have, in your little fantasy world spent a couple of hundred pounds. That's when the crossing outs begin and you think 'Do I really need six types of lavender?'

Used wisely though, you can pick up the bargains, especially if you can team up with a friend to buy the larger amounts that come at the really discounted prices. In my garden though the larger amounts even divided are still too much and too many for my space. Every year I think surely my garden is full but I still manage to squeeze a little more in. I have decided not to sew seeds this year, I am still going out to buy my bedding plants later in the year, but what I buy from catalogues will be perennials, as last year's did so well. I have my eye on a lovely set of penstemons, a plant I only grew for the first time last year, but which gave so many flowers right through the summer and autumn. I also want some more flowering small shrubs for the alleyway and need to do some serious wall covering, I am thinking Virginia Creeper and another lovely looking climber called Firethorn. I have also promised myself a little rock garden in some suitable container to put on my bench near the back door. I must also, make my first foray into rose growing, and I am thinking about the luscious David Austen roses. I am also searching for those lovely hanging coloured glass baubles that you see a lot of on the sites of people who live in Germany. I think a few more ornaments is what my garden lacks. It does make spring seem nearer all this garden daydreaming, though I have heard we are forecast severe storms from tomorrow.

I found these two interesting meme's on Janet's site, so I have pinched them, feel free to use them if you wish, I won't be bothering tagging anyone.

Two names you go by:
1. Daisy 2. My secret magick name

Two parts of your heritage
1. English 2. Irish

Two things that scare you:
1. Snakes 2. Religious fundamentalists

Two everyday essentials:
1. Coffee 2. Something [preferably a book] to read

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. A large paisley shawl and big spotty fluffy furry slippers [I interchange them with my tiger feet ones] it's freezing and windy outside today

Two of your favorite bands or musical artists (at the moment)
1. Madeleine Peyroux 2. Loreena McKennitt

Two things you want in a relationship (other than love):
1. A united front in time of crisis 2. Occasionally I need my own space or sanctuary

Two truths:
1. I have a fear of going blind [because I use my eyes the most of all my senses, though some might say my mouth never stops talking] 2. Chronic fear of flying

Two favorite hobbies:
1. Creating all sorts of things artistic 2. Reading

Two things you need to do this week:
Oh God how can I narrow it down to two!!!!!!!!! Right!!
1. Keep on sorting out belongings for Mother's move 2. Find time to have a decent conversation with my husband, not just hello, goodbye, I'm going now be back sometime tonight

Two stores you shop at:
1. Waterstones [Bookshop a bit like Borders only probably smaller] 2.The Pier, for simply glorious ornaments and furniture 3. Monsoon, for gorgeous accessories, handbags, clothes etc [only at sale times though] 4. TK Maxx [Where would we be without it]
Do you really think I could only list two shops?

Two favorite sports:
This must be a joke question, I haven't got one ounce of liking for sport in me. I suppose watching our local heron fish and bunnies in the fields playing tag

Two shows you like to watch:
1.Lost [Before it went to sky] 2. Invasion [Before they abruptly ended it] Don't watch a lot of TV

Two things you’d buy if money were no object:
1. A house on a hill with fantastic gardens overlooking a wide vista of the sea with a private beach below 2. An Elizabeth Frink sculpture for the garden, either a running person or a horse

Two wishes for 2007:
1. That we get out of Iraq, we can do no good there, get rid of Blair, and please there must be someone out there, who is not yet corrupted with some scruples and morals left that can put this country to rights 2. Personal wish, that I get all my projects made and my other projects set up with a nice degree of success

Fill in the blanks to each of these statements - it's as simple as that! These don't have to be one-word responses. Use as few or as many words as you need to fill each blank, in order to tell your story. My responses are in italics:-

1. I have never wanted to be famous, I just like communicating with people, exchanging ideas and even maybe one day writing a book. I am friendly but never want to get caught up in some mad publicity show, so I do things quietly and wait for word of mouth to get round.

2. When I was 18 I believed I could have it all and live this rather strange boheminan lifestyle without regard as to how I was to afford it, I was nearly 16 when it was the Summer of Love, so called, I thought I could go to America, and live in Haight Ashbury or follow Kerouac's footsteps to Big Sur. It was all a beautiful dream, it has taken my until my early 50's and some boring times trying to keep my wild child spirit in check to realise that now I can be what I really am and my wild side does not just creep out for an occasional view of the world. It can be permanently unleashed, it is my creative self, that wild child.

3. If I was my own best friend, what I would enjoy the most about spending time with Me would be sitting in a lovely café drinking coffee or a glass or two of wine, discussing our creative projects, laughing, giggling, recommending each other books, then going together to buy art supplies, browsing bookshops, walking round an art gallery and finishing up in another café or bistro for a meal before before heading home; while what I'd find the most irritating would be what irritates me most about myself, I can't help it if I get really excited talking I tend to cut across the person talking, I really find that impolite and do try to check it, its just I get intense and excited.

4. If the story of my life up to this point was being published tomorrow, it would be titled DAISY, A WOMAN OUT OF STEP WITH TIME, knowing that most of my beliefs, ideas etc are out of sync with the modern world, not that I care just the world is moving and spinning too fast, people need not to be so time obsessed and slow the world's pace down, hurry gets us nowhere.

5. When my time on Earth is over, and the people who loved me are remembering me, it would please me if they said Daisy was a free spirit, and slightly eccentric at times, but you could always rely on her if you had a crisis


I am afraid I have to finish on a very sad note, my best friend's husband died on Tuesday lunchtime. They went on the holiday of a lifetime last year, and he came back to the news that he had an inoperable brain tumour. All this happened within six months. Please keep them both in your thoughts, especially my friend. Thank you.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I am now well and truly immersed in moving my Mum to her new flat. At last she is showing signs of being a little bit excited at somewhere new to live, though she cannot cope at all with the packing so just sits in her living room and lets me get on with it. This is a boon, to me, she has told me, I am just to do exactly as I want and take any decisions I feel justified in taking. This is making life a lot easier, though I am living in a fog of exhaustion at the moment. She has specified the items she wants with her, such as favourite ornaments, pictures,and photograph. The rest I am packing taking home and there I will sort through them. She will have moved, hopefully before the end of the month, then I will spend a couple of weeks finishing off the packing in her old flat.

The move will be in two stages, my son and I are in charge, and I spent thirty minutes on the phone to him in London last night, planning our strategy. He takes after me in his organising capacities. He is coming up from London next weekend for the first part of the move. I think you would all laugh if you could see the notebook of lists that I am carrying everywhere with me. The other thing connected to the move is pleasant and fun. My mother will need new curtains etc as she has never had windows this shape and size before, so I am to undertake a shopping expedition on her behalf and buy her various new household items. I am picking them and organising them so its a bit like playing interior decorators, that will keep my inner child happy. I love advising people about rooms and decor.

When this move is completed, what I want to do more than anything is to go to my workroom and create, create, after sorting black bin liners. The best thing about this move is that I have come across much fabric and vintage material that I can use. Also, I found a couple of boxes of old greetings cards from the 1950's, put together with the buttons, ribbons, threads and broken beads I have sorted, I am going to have some wonderful treasures for collage and altered art.

The other evening when I returned home from sorting, had my dinner and settled down in a chair with my candles and incense, there was a real treat on television for me. I don't watch a lot of television, and sometimes forget to look at the listings, luckily my husband had spotted this and told me. It was a vintage Joni Mitchell concert from 1970. It was a small studio concert in London made by BBC television [ our public broadcasting station]. It was just so good to hear her play all the very early work, accompanying herself on guitar, piano or dulcimer, especially as she played my favourite early song For Free. I do hope they repeat it again sometime. When I first bought her albums in those far off days I also bought her songbooks as well and used to spend many a happy hour playing her songs on the piano and warbling along with my playing. At some point everyday out would come the music books and plink plonk on the piano I would go. [Big secret, I still have them and my dream is to find a piano again sometime and resume playing them]

The next evening it was a Neil Young concert from the same time, that pleased my husband as well. It was good too, but he was so totally out of it, he forgot the words to one song, couldn't decide which guitar to use and had a pocket full of harmonicas. The few songs he did were fantastic but was guy was sooooo stoned when he did that BBC concert. I think they have been putting these concerts on as they have had a documentary series on about the musicians of that time that hung about LA. You know the Byrds, Crosby Still Nash and Young, Joni etc. - Fantastic!

When I was writing my last posting about long ago holidays in Scarborough, I was wishing I had to some photographs to hand of that time, there was one in particular I liked of me sitting on steps with the Boarding House's Jack Russell Terrier. The strangest thing happened, I was sorting out another bag of my Mum's paperwork last night and there in the middle of old receipts etc was the very photograph I had been thinking, amazing. I have posted it above, I think the dog was called Pickles. I was so pleased to learn on my comments site that another blogger had been on the Hispaniola voyage and had been frightened as well, though she doesn't remember digging for treasure, maybe as the years went by they changed the concept of it. I am sure there must be more people that remember it. Glad to here I was not the only child with a vivid imagination, Tinker, seems to have had a similar experience with a wild west theme.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


After finding that vintage postcard of Scarborough, uploading to my site and mentioning the many happy childhood holidays we had there, plus the fact that Mis Robyn has just returned from a seaside break, I decided to take some metime to remember those holidays and then post about them.

Apparently, though I only have cloudy memories of them, my first two holidays in the first two years of my life were taken in Southport with just my Mum and Dad. Thereafter, we went to Scarborough, the three of us, and my Aunt and my Mum's parents. Every year for one week at the height of summer, July, you would find us there, except for one year, when inexplicably, just my Mum, Dad and I went to Morecambe. It can't have suited for we never went back again, and every year after that Scarborough in Yorkshire was where you would find us.

Oh how I wanted to live there all year round, the sea, the sand, the stalls selling cups of wonderful seafood such as fresh prawns and shrimps to eat as you wandered round the harbour and what in the world tastes better than salty crisply coated fish and chips eaten straight out of the greaseproof and newspaper wrapping in the salty air, ah the kiss of salt on your lips. Of course, during the late 1950's my Mother thought it was 'not quite nice' to be seen gorging on food outside the home or a cafe, and so we were led down the backlanes, byways and snicks of Scarborough to eat them, but what a way to learn the true historic Scarborough.

There were always highlights to look forward to every year, a variety show with comedians and glamourous kickline dancers, the delights of Peasholm Park, the esplanade and the prom, the donkey rides and of course, the best, the Punch and Judy shows on the beach. There was one attraction that I was taken to once and never wanted to go again, although I was excited when I first heard I was going - Treasure Island.

This is how Treasure Island worked, just outside Scarborough there was a mere [small lake], near to Oliver's Mount and some enterprising concern had set up a trip by boat around the mere based onthe book, Treasure Island. The idea was everyone boarded this boat, I am sure it had masts and sails, like a true tall ship, The Hispaniola, naturally enough Captained by a man pretending to be Long John Silver. We were taken around the mere, now I am not quite sure whether there was an island in the middle of the mere or we were just dumped at the other end of the mere and there all the kids had to set to in the sand to dig up gold doubloons, in the middle of all this Ben Gunn appeared and there were more amateur dramatics. Some lucky children went back with a 'gold' doubloon, but every one received a tattoo [ink stamp] and a certificate stating we had all sailed on The Hispaniola with Long John Silver.

Don't you just think what a wonderful idea and adventure that was? Well everyone did apart from me, I was such an imaginative child I thought it was all for real and sobbed the whole of the trip. I have been told since, and this makes it worse, that the man playing Long John Silver, a real onelegged ex sailor, was really sorry for me and tried to help me find a doubloon, but that made me scream more because I thought he was kidnapping me. I still feel embarrassed about the way I carried on now all these years later. I often wonder if it was as colourful and as realistic as I thought it was or is that the mind of a child. I have never met anyone else who has taken a trip on
The Hispaniola.

A highlight I loved every year was Peasholm Park[photo above], where on the lake every Sunday there was a mock battle of ships. The ships were just large enough to have a man hidden inside them them and every Sunday afternoon, there was a naval war with plenty of smoke, large bangs and flashes of fire. On other afternoons, you could row round the lake in a boat. But, the best part of Peasholm Park was that there was a large island, well it seemed large to me, in the middle, connected to the shore by two quasi japanese style bridges, there were trees on the island and a walk through them. In the evening the walk was lit by pretty coloured lights and hidden amongst the tree were models illuminated within of animals such as squirrels in the branches, rabbits, between the trunks, and fairies in the boughs. I just adored it and thought I was in Fairy Land, and the most exciting thing to me was if you walked around the lake before paying to do the island walk you could just see hints of the delights in store amongst the trees on the island. It seemed such an enormous magical island, I often wonder just how large it really was! At the same time in a chinese pagoda type structure that was floated out into the middle of the lake their would be musicians playing and concerts would be performed.

We stayed in the same boarding house every year, and the owners became family friends. The owner was the best cook I have ever known and I can still remember her strawberry pies, fresh lobster or crab salad and amazing full works roast beef and yorkshire pudding Sunday dinner. It was on a road, I think, called Castle Road and just about three doors away was an amazing, to me, toyshop, whilst the grown-ups were getting ready to go to the beach, I used to be allowed to go and look in the window of it. There was also down one of the twisty back streets, an amazing Chinese shop that sold Chinese rag dolls, made by Chinese refugees. It was run by a little old bent Chinese man [very Harry Potter] who wore a little hat on his head. I used to buy a small cotton doll every year, until I had a family of them. Unfortunately, I lost them a few years ago when we moved, and I have never seen anything similar elsewhere.

Well, I could go on and on, but I'll leave you with the memories above and maybe another time I will sit down and dredge up some more childhood holiday stories.

Just before I go, the last two evenings I have had trouble leaving comments on a few blogs, in fact some just told me I was forbidden to view site! and others said there was a blogger error! I will be getting round the blogs as often as I can in this very busy month, so don't think I have forgotten you if you don't hear from me as much as usual and don't forget me, I'll be visiting as much as possible.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Finally managed to spend some time in my artroom actually working yesterday. The first time since before Christmas. I was just thinking when I was working in there, doesn't Christmas seem a long time ago? All that preparation and then suddenly its been and gone. It felt really good doing something creative again. I was bascially just catching up on one or two projects I wanted to finish before launching into my 2007 projects.

I was in my artroom on Saturday afternoon too, basically trying to sort out some sort of flexible schedule. [and I am certainly not a schedule type of person, I prefer to 'wing it', I love lists but time listing NO!] I realise that to keep on top of everything these next few weeks I do have to have a basic day to day rota, to include the serious things but to also give me some precious metime both to keep on top of projects and creating and to just totally relax, whether by reading or watching a dvd. I am trying to keep remembering if the weather stays as mild as it has been, I should be able to get out in the garden next month, to start tidying it, and that will be another addition to my schedule. Of course, it could be that winter will descend with a vengeance and I won't have to think about the garden for a while.

I had hoped to be checking the local animal shelter for another cat by now, as we are really both aching and ready for another cat, I mean Pixie is constantly in my dreams telling me this, but I may have to postpone this a few weeks, as I want to give it a lot of love and attention when it arrives. I want a cat to know us both well.

The way forward, at a busy time like this is lots of lists, write everything down, because I know if I don't I will think of something wonderful to do or create and if I don't jot it down, I will forget it. Basically my lists run along the lines of, must dos, don't forgets, yummy things to do, inspiration for future things. I am known as the Queen of Lists in my family, although, Sweetpea is fast coming up behind me in the list stakes. A true chip off the old block, where lists are concerned.

I want to thank you for all the wonderful, lovely comments you left on my last posting, comments such as these mean such a lot and certainly sprinkle some happiness over my day.

Do you like my dream house at the top of this posting. Imagine living in a beautiful Elizabethan house like that with wonderful flower and herb gardens surrounding it. What magic would happen there! I found this illustration on the net along with these two glorious vintage seed catalogues from the 19th century, what wonderful romantic illustrations for the front of a catalogue.

I went on an expedition on Saturday morning to a factory outlet a few miles away. I went to be there for it opening before it was too busy, as the annual sale was one. I managed to get stacks of both soft and hard storage bags, crates and boxes. Also found one or two wonderful bargains in the sale, amazing bedding, voile panels, and curtains at ridiculous prices, end of lines etc. I just commented the other day on Pretty Lady's site, how like her, I never feel the necessity to pay full price for much, I would much rather go out into a sale or wait for a reduction, it always seems to me that after items have been in a shop for a few weeks they get reduced. Most of my house has been furnished by buying at times where there are good discounts or reductions on, and I haven't had to compromise in my choice of goods at all, they all are exactly what I was wanting at the time

A completely different subject, what an amazing amount of birds there are around at the moment, especially of the tit family, such as blue tits. I was standing looking out of the bedroom window this morning watching them all fly about and clinging to the side of barn, they do such wonderful acrobatics. There are also flocks of small birds, such as sparrows in the scrub behind the garden. I have never seen so many birds about in January.
I wonder if the weather is so mild that they might be nest building early? I must look through my binoculars to see exactly what other kind of birds are flying around the scrub, there will be plenty food about for them this year. There was also a bluebottle buzzing at my bedroom window, I have never seen one in January before. These last two days I have also noticed that the evenings are just getting a tad lighter, though I have got to admit the mornings don't seem any lighter yet, perhaps, that's just because we have had some dull grey mornings.

I also found this photograph of Scarborough in Yorkshire C1895. When I was a child the whole family used to go to Scarborough for a week in the summer. My mum and dad, my unmarried aunt, and my grandparents. I used to save pennies all year to spend on my holidays. It was so exciting the train journey, arriving there going to our bed and breakfast boarding house, where we stayed every year, until the owners really became friends of the family.

The first trip of the holiday to the beach, the first paddle of toes in the sea, such simple pleasures, but what fun. I can always remember I also was bought some new pairs of bright cotton shorts just before we went on holiday. I can still remember one bright blue pair with white circles stamped on them. My first purchases were always a bucket and space and a pack of flags to fly in the sandcastles I made.

The best thing of all though, was the first donkey ride of the holiday. One year the donkey was skittish and it was spooked by something and it took off racing down the beach with me clinging to the saddle and grandfather chasing it as fast as it could. Luckily it stopped of it s own accord. I remember I decided to avoid the donkeys for the rest of that year but had forgotten about it by the next. I must tell some more Scarborough stories sometime.

Friday, January 05, 2007


By nine thirty this morning I was on planet bliss, why? I have just received through the post some issues of Cloth Paper Scissors. At last I have found somewhere in the UK that will send me this magazine. I ordered the current issue and the previous issue. I have been sitting with a cup of coffee, turning over the pages, colours and forms whirling round in my brain, I haven't even began to read the text yet. I just can't get enough of the images. You don't know how lucky you are you gals over the pond to be able to have magazines of this calibre. We have nothing like it, just twee card making magazines which usually are just step by step instructions to making, not juicy inspiring journals such as this. I have now ordered a Stampington magazine, but there are many others listed, unfortunately, I can't buy them all, but I would be grateful if any of you have any recommendations for favourites. I did not believe magazines could be so inspiring.

On Wednesday, I had a lovely surprise when I received a piece of Guerilla Art from Mis Judie Macawhead, [see above], it certainly made my day, which I knew was going to be a very stressful one. This piece of work with its delicious cats is now framed and hanging above my work desk, where it makes me smile each time I look up at it. The envelope made me chuckle too, there was a fairy with a magnifying glass flying over a map of Cumbria looking for me, collaged on it. Delightful! Thank you Judie.

Wednesday was a stressful day as out of the blue I received a phone call saying there was a flat in shetlered accommodation about to become available for my Mum if she wanted it. I had to go and view it that morning, the occupant is in the middle of moving to be nearer her children so the flat was half empty. I thought it looked fine, said so, so when the lady hands in her keys, my mother must view it and then sign the tenancy agreement. I then had to go to see my Mum and explain about the flat, that took four hours of exhausting talk. She does want to move, but she, naturally enough, lives life in the slow lane and the speed of all this has left her somewhat confused, she is no longer good at making sudden decisions and becomes very indecisive. I have told her many times that when she eventually found new accommdation everything would happen with great speed. I would imagine she will be in there within six weeks. So everything is about to become very very hectic indeed.

When I arrived home that night, the stress was already telling on me, I sank into a chair still in my outdoor coat and just burst into tears, for no reason I could think of. Luckily husband was on hand to make me a soothing drink, coffee my favourite way, light my candles and incense and let me slowly chill out. I must remember in all the sorting etc that will be happening in the next few weeks to keep some small spaces of time for metime, when I can relax and indulge in pleasant things.

So, all small plans I had for rejigging rooms of my cottage, have taken on a larger frame with my Mum moving as the plan works like this. Four lists, one for items, my Mum is taking with her, the second for items to be stored in the interim in my barn, the third for items I am lucky enough to be inheriting from her and the fourth charity shop items or complete throw away items. This sounds organised but believe me it is mammoth, a whole lifetime's accumulations to be gone through. My cupboards, niches and storage space must be emptied to enable them to be repacked with extra boxes. I see a shoppping expedition for vacuum storage packages to enable more storage, plastic storage boxes etc. Once I get the word the flat is empty I am going to have a seriously frantic few weeks.

It was my Local History Group meeting last night, I am so glad I started this group, I love to hear the members of varying ages talk about how the village used to be. I am organising a summer schedule of illustrated talks from various local historians, to which anyone in the village can attend for the princely sum of £1, I just want enough to pay for the hall hire and the speaker, it is not a profit making group.

We have also decided to have what I call a Show and Tell, one Saturday morning after Easter. This is where we put up photos past and present of the village, newspaper cuttings about it, maps, and various bits and pieces, people can pop in to look at these and also bring any photographs, house deeds, clippings, artifacts, even memories to show us. We have a strong basic group but the feedback I am getting is that there are many more people out there that are interested in the group but do not want to committ to joining yet, so lectures and the Show and Tell are the ideal way of reaching them. I had someone in to give a lecture in November and it was a great success.

Also when the Spring arrives, we are going to do a group walk around the village and the parish churches nosing about here and there and taking photos. I think people become so used to their surroundings and think they are familiar with them, but to walk around looking at details in a group will give them a fresh appreciation of the village.

This posting was slightly longer but, thank you Mr. B***** Blogger, for somehow managing to lose a saved draft in cyberspace, I have had to write it all again