Friday, 4 April 2014

Another first for me

 

 


I'm over the moon to be awarded third in class in a flower show as it is the first time I have ever entered one.  My grandson was unimpressed when he asked what the prize was and I showed him my certificate!


 Some of the others who didn't win

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A first for me

 

It may be no big deal to my writer friends, but this was my first appearance at a literary festival; the Headingley LitFest http://www.headingleylitfest.org.uk/


I was part of the Leeds Writers Read, represented by three local writing groups, and the theme for the festival was Survival. I had been nervous all day although I had plenty of experience of standing up in front of a whole school without batting an eyelid.  I really appreciated the support of my friends who  were in the audience.  The first writer read his excellent, emotive story about an asylum seeker beautifully and I wanted to go home.  I reasoned that, as my piece was non-fiction, it couldn't be easily compared.

My piece was entitled "The survival of the Yiddish language" and the audience seemed interested, laughed at the right places and some approached me later with positive comments.

Would I do it again?  Well, I'm a sucker for a challenge!


 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Spring forward


Having bought a container at a charity shop for a flower arrangement, imagine my surprise and delight to discover it contained dormant bulbs in dried out compost.

The bulbs, replanted in fresh compost and placed in the porch, became beautiful, fragrant hyacinths to greet our arrival home.

The Rainbow Allotment, where I am a volunteer, is beginning to flourish – but so are the weeds.

This month’s flower arrangement was entitled Winter into Spring
 My arrangement

 


At the gardening club, we had a most enjoyable and informative illustrated talk on Spring and Autumn in Japan.  Who could be more suited to give this talk than Ian Richardson as a frequent visitor, photographer and chrysanthemum enthusiast to tell us about the culture, architecture and plant life?   The cherry blossoms and acers of all colours looked absolutely stunning.

The new season has begun at the coast where the winter has taken its toll and quite a few metres have been lost to the sea through erosion.  The bad news was that the hedging of willowy type trees have been removed from the back of the caravan leaving us more exposed to the wind and giving us less privacy.  However, the good news is that the garden is twice as big and the shade-loving plants may not be needed.  Perhaps the shrubs will revive but I see no sign of it as yet.

The long-awaited Spring presents both opportunity and challenge which is exciting, but the main growing season arrives at such velocity and vitality that it can take you unawares.

I can see from fellow bloggers that you also have projects earmarked.  Looking forward to seeing the results.

Monday, 3 March 2014

March on!


Out and About

Grandkids on half term called for a visit to Knaresborough



Spring displays at RHS Harlow Carr



Garden matters

Can anyone identify this snowdrop which I have in my garden.  If it turns out to be worth a fortune, I’ll give you a cut of the profits, or at least a bulb!

We had a very amusing and enlightening talk at our gardening club by Ben Emmott on the sex lives plants, which you can hear about here:  http://gardenersfridayforum.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-sex-lives-of-plants.htm

The garlic is looking good at the allotment where I am a volunteer.

 
Read: First part of Lost Innocence by Simon Palmer.  Contains a graphic account of a Thai prison but compelling reading as the story twists and turns.
and

 Keeping up my weekly challenge of Write 1 Sub 1

Seen:  “The Flat” an Israeli film, written and directed by Arnon Goldfinger.  A documentary about cleaning out his grandmother’s flat and of the correspondence which the family found there.

 I’m also watching Hostages on TV.  Thrilling!

 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Is Spring on its way?


 


There are signs of new life and the snowdrops and flowering blackcurrant are putting on their display.  Can’t wait to get back in the garden and my heart goes out to those with flooded homes and ruined land.
We took advantage of some fine weather to get out into the Yorkshire countryside.
 Part of Ripley Castle







 Water flowing into the river from the Lake at Ripley Castle


 Walk from Cavendish Pavilion, part of the Bolton Abbey Estate.
 An ancient, gnarled oak which we remembered from other visits

 View from the path



 Cavendish Bridge over a fast flowing River Wharfe
A member of our gardening club gave a very interesting talk on plants for shade to give interest throughout the year.
We also planned to grow yellow plants for the Tour de France which starts here in Yorkshire.
Fellow blogger Patsy Collins passed on this gardening giveaway.  I haven’t won anything yet but maybe you will.   https://offers.thompson-morgan.com/TCOM31/day-5-thompson-amp-morgan-s-big-spring-giveaway.html
Flower Arrangement
 The theme was structure

Read:   I’m enjoying Connie Shelton’s – Deadly Gamble, the first of the Charlie Parker mystery series (a freebie from Amazon for Kindle).
Written:  A couple of short stories, one of which I presented on local radio  http://www.elfm.co.uk/listen-again/the-delibags-feb-2014/  at 39.58 minutes
Seen:  The Railway Man excellent film of a true story, The Bridge on BBC3 was a grim but fascinating Scandinavian detective series, Out of the Furnace not my choice and wouldn’t recommend and the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis which, although didn’t really seem to get going, was well acted and kept me entertained for the whole time.
New experience:   Recorded my audio signature to be etched in glass for the new ELFM studios in a converted chapel opening next year.

 

 

 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

How’s your year been so far?


January seems to be flying by.  The weather has been kind to us in our region and, while snowdrops are peeping out, some flowers have managed to hang on through the winter so far.  I don’t want to be too complacent, as winter proper didn’t start until early spring and continue until early summer!  


 beautiful Yorkshire this week

 Cow and Calf rocks at Ilkley this week

I have eaten out more this month than in the previous three.  Enjoyable it may be, but not good for the figure.  Tried out a recently opened local cafe or, as they call it, a Victorian tearoom.  Great scones served with jam and cream.  Named Mrs Gale's after the owner's wife who died from cancer, a percentage of the profits will go to cancer research.
Read:  Jeanette Winterson’s autobiography Why be happy when you could be normal?  I had already read Oranges are not the only fruit a long time ago and it was interesting to compare the fiction with the non-fiction.

Written:  I have had two short stories accepted (and two rejected) so far this year and read out a piece of non-fiction on Village Greens on local radio.



Seen:  American Hustle.  This film has received mixed comments but I thought was well acted and I didn’t second guess the outcome.   I have a few more on my list to see.   What can you?

New experience:  Taught some primary school children how to make bread at the Jewish Heritage Centre.  
 Challah

 

 

 

Monday, 30 December 2013

..... and so 2013 comes to an end


As I arrive at the end of twenty thirteen
And review tasks done and places I’ve seen,
I count my blessings.

Parties to celebrate something or nothing
Birthdays, marriages and a baby naming,
As I count my blessings.

The loss of those close to us is hard to endure
But being part of my life was indeed an honour,
So, I count my blessings

May the year ahead bring good health and challenges new,
Have you decided on the things that you want to do?
While counting your blessings.

I feel fortunate to have celebrated many events and achieved many ‘firsts for me’ this year; baking bread, going live on local radio, completing the A-Z blogging challenge and the Write1Sub1 weekly challenge and working on an allotment to mention a few.
 
 I have a several projects in mind for the coming year; making ice cream, continuing the W1S1 weekly challenge and appearing at a literary festival being some of them. 
Fellow blogger Maria at First Draft Cafe gave me the idea of A Jar Full of Happiness http://firstdraftcafe.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/a-jar-full-of-happiness.html where you put a note of all your achievements and red letter days in a jar throughout the year and open them on New Year’s Eve.  I use a virtual memory box at the moment but I’m considering a jar, or even a box to put invitations, photos and tickets to help me remember the good times.
 

 
Wishing you all good health and happiness for 2014