Thursday, October 16, 2014

Paris Part 1 Eiffel Tower

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit Paris for the very first time. My eldest daughter had spent a week on a photo shoot in a Chateau and was able to add a few days to her trip before returning to California. My other daughter and her husband were also able to join us from Dublin which was lovely. We were staying in an apartment in Montmartre and could see Sacré-Cœur from the balcony window (some of you will have seen this on FB).

The family had all been to Paris before so on the afternoon we arrived I was allowed to choose a visit and decided on the Eiffel Tower! There was a huge queue so it was quite late by the time we actually got into a lift. The top floor was not open and that was a bit of a disappointment but there were some good views from all sides.
Actually took this shot from window of tour bus.

Looking up as we waited to buy tickets.

Lots of river cruises available.

Jardins du Trocadéro

Bridges over the Seine 

It's a long way down!!
My daughters are stood on the new glass floor sections ( reminded me of the CN  tower) I even managed to get my shadow in this shot!!!

I can now cross another thing off my bucket list!!

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Look whose nesting in my loganberries!!!!

We have been watching a pair of Blackbirds who are always in out of the garden. They do like to steal the apple I put out for my tortoises and the berries from out fruit bushes. Often when we are out there they will sit on the wall or the fence and screech at us and they will often nip in and out of the loganberries. This afternoon I was picking some berries and the male flew right by me and into the leaves. It went very quiet, so tentatively, I moved the leaves to discover that he was sitting on a nest! This had to be camera time and although he gave me the evil eye he did not leave his task. I went back about an hour later and he had shifted his position so I left him in peace. Fast forward a few hours and I saw him flying off so I guessed the female had taken over and went to investigate and there she was sitting on the nest. I am assuming there are eggs and am hoping they will hatch; it would be fun to see babies. If you could see my garden and where they have nested it is not ideal so not sure how things will proceed. I can only keep my fingers crossed and hope!!

Male Blackbird on egg duty!!

He's got his beady eye on me!!

Female on evening duty!

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Fun Monday= as a child what did you want to do when you grew up!!

As a child I only ever wanted to do one thing!!!!!!
Well I did dream of becoming a ballet dancer but I wasn't even allowed to go to ballet class, fat children don't dance!!! Adults could be so thoughtless back then. You never know it could have changed my life!!
I also wanted to ride but again that was something I never got to do until I was grown up with children of my own. I thought about being a hairdresser but that was not a serious career move, more a fleeting thought that it would be good to create a glamorous hair style!

The one constant thing from as far back as I can remember was I wanted to be a nurse and yes I did fulfil that ambition and here are a couple of old photos taken back when I was training.

I found one of these old uniforms only last week, it was at the bottom of a chest full of material.

The cape was very good at keeping you warm on cold winter days!

The hospital chefs made Christmas cakes for all the wards and I was lucky enough to have this picture published in the local Evening Post. 

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday 13th or Bee swarm!!!

I've often wondered how Friday 13th superstition of bad luck came about! Well nothing bad was going to happen today! or have I spoken too soon.....

It was a beautiful hot day and the laundry was drying almost as quickly as I could hang it out. One of my tortoises had laid an egg but that's another story!!! One little mishap Embee ran the lawn mower over the wire and snapped it, he didn't get an electric shock just had to buy connecters and make a repair. While he was doing this I met up with a friend for our Friday swim, it was very pleasant and not many people there even better. 
My friend gave me a lift home and was coming in for a cup of tea and to collect some toys and games I had found out for her grand daughter. As we arrived outside our house the area above the back wall was black with a buzzing swarm of bees. I could not believe what I was seeing never having been close to a real swarm before. My first thought 'must get the camera this is good blog material'!! It probably should have been mustn't get too close!!
Funnily enough I wasn't worried about getting stung and they didn't seem interested in me even when I went quite close. After making tea I went back to take another look and thought they had gone but not so they had formed a huge block on my blueberry bush about a ft sq. 

I wasn't quite sure what to do but looked at the local council's pest control and saw a link for bees and from there I found a list of people who collected bees. Top of the list was someone who lived a mile from my home. I rang him and he said he could come immediately, I was impressed. He went on to explain that as he was going away for the weekend so he would need to leave the collection hive in my garden and collect on Monday. Not a problem in fact I was actually very interested. Gareth was as good as his word and arrived very quickly, bringing a temporary hive with him. He then proceeded to transfer the bees......
Dressed for action. Gareth said the bees were a gentle swarm but said if they started buzzing near your face that was a warning and to keep away. Sounds like good advice!

Getting the temp hive in place

Moving the bees

By the handful

Tom is inspecting the interlopers and he was not happy!

One of the blueberry branches laden with fruit had to be sacrificed  so that Gareth could reach the bees and make sure he got the queen in the centre of the heaving mass!

It seems to have worked and the stragglers are  leaving the blueberry bush and moving to the hive!

No one has been stung (so far) and I will be watching them carefully over the weekend and hopefully they will remain and be moved to their forever home on Monday. I am very grateful to Gareth for his prompt action and I'm hoping they produce some honey for him!! 

 Reflecting on my Friday 13th it's been an interesting day!!!

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Monday, May 05, 2014

Fun Monday= Favourite (Mexican)Food

Hahaha this is easy anything that someone else cooks for me!!!!! Both my daughters are excellent cooks while I think I would fall into the OK category! Looking back I have posted a lot of recipes and written posts about dishes I have cooked...I really don't think I have a favourite Mexican dish but here are a couple of dishes that I cook fairly regularly.......
no recipe just leeks, cauliflower, bacon (small pieces fried crisp), wholemeal pasta and cheese sauce, (sometimes add mushrooms) 

Moussaka (I follow a recipe but vary the amounts)

Lemon cake always popular
Now all I have to decide is what to cook for dinner!!!!!

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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Berkeley Castle

Berkeley Castle 
I grew up living in the shadow of this famous old castle and because it was something I saw everyday, I did not really appreciate all the history that surrounded it. Of course as children we were fascinated that it had a dungeon and we all knew the legend about King Edward 11 being murdered there (red hot poker in a part of this anatomy that I will leave to your seems more likely that he was suffocated; but legends are always better than reality!!!!!) 

The castle saw brief action during the English Civil War in the 1640's when it endured a three-day siege and capture by Parliamentary forces. Incredibly, Berkeley was one of England's few castles to withstand Cromwell's ruthless slighting campaign, which rendered them useless in further military action. At Berkeley Castle, the only damage of any significance is still visible: a 35 foot breach in the walling of the keep. In fact, even today, the Berkeleys are forbidden by law to repair the crack!

Inner courtyard, a lot of these rooms are bedrooms.

Looking through the arch on right is a gate to church, as children we used to stop the bridal cars here and it was tradition for a few coins to be thrown out!

The day we visited there were some ladies dressed in period costume. They looked very elegant and it was easy to imagine the castle as it had been!

Some of the old cannons

I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of one of these!!

View of one part of the garden taken from where the cannons were situated

Dungeon deep and dank not a place you would want to in!!

The room where Edward 11 was incarcerated until his death!

Drake's Room but it was never established that he actually stayed at the castle.

Drake's Chest

Now set out as a dining room but was originally the billiard room (clue being the lighting)

The great hall (my daughter taking pics and I tell you hers are so much better than mine!)

The Berkeley Arch

Not sure what the environmental health dept would make of these lead lined sinks in The Buttery!!

AddGood job we don't have to cope with one of these anymore!! (pestle and mortar!!)caption

Believe it or not these are picnic hampers...glad I don't have to carry them! They were apparently used by the family until relatively recently(this century)

One of the huge grates used for cooking. Imagine working here!!

House keepers room with old typewriter and sewing machine.

Wine and beer cellars. Some of the wine racks still had the original wine labels from 1800's (no wine though!!)

This is really only a little snippet but anyone interested should take a look at the link and in my opinion it is well worth a visit!!  Berkeley Castle

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