Saturday, June 30, 2007

Eaton Hall of the back entrances!

Another cottage on the Eaton Estate - love those windows!

Another wet and gloomy day here. I'm tired as i didn't get back from Manchester until nearly one this morning. The play was really well done. I love the Royal Exchange Theatre. The set was very mimimal and so were the props but the lighting and sound were all very effective. Pete Postletwaite was excellent and so were the actors playing Ariel and Caliban. "The Tempest" is one of my favourite plays (someone once described it as a storm in a teacup which i think is apt) but all the same it was a lovely night out. Just wish P could have joined me.

This morning we went shopping for S's birthday and now it's off to riding!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Happy Catblogging Friday!

I didn't blog yesterday as I had a very, very busy day at work; in fact I worked through my lunch and tea breaks and came home early in order to spend a couple of hours editing some pics I took of the author Katie Fforde when she spoke at the library the other week. I was really nervous about yesterday as I had an event on in the afternoon as well as Bounce & Rhyme but in the end it went well...phew!

I have been asked to photograph a wedding. I'm second choice really as P can't do it because he'll be away taking photos for the commision. It's our niece getting married in late October. I'm terrified! But the good news is...I won't have to be in any of the photos!!

These photos were taken by P. It's Basil pretending to be an ornament on our Welsh dresser. He is feeling a lot better and his personality is developing but he doesn't know how to play...obviously no-one played with him when he was a kitten.

As it's been so cold and miserable we put the heating on and both cats have been loving the radiators; they deserted our laps to lie in the hall. Fickle beasts!

Tonight I'm off to the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, to see "The Tempest" with Pete Postlethwaite. It's a work thing and some of our reading group are going so it should be a good night. TGIF!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I heard some strange noises in the kitchen. Basil and I were afraid...we thought we had a burglar. I saw a big fluffy tale sticking out of the kitchen bin.....

I grabbed my camera in case evidence was needed for an arrest. Soon the thief emerged clutching his trophy...a chunk of left-over roast lamb!

He looks a desperate and ruthless individual to me...what do you think?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Online Dating

You will all be relieved to know that my blog is rated G - suitable for all! Found this funny think on Akelamalu's blog!

I also found this fun little survey at the same place and thought this could be my post for's the FINISH THE SENTENCE SURVEY MEME

Maybe I should…… stop worrying and start living!

I love……my family, my friends and my cats.

People would say that I’m….... a good cook.

I don’t understand….. algebra.

When I wake up in the morning….. I wish I didn't have to go to work.

I lost….... my mum and dad far too young.

Life is full of…........challenges and rewards.

My past is…... full of things I wish I could change.

I get annoyed when….... my girls fight with each other.

Parties are…..a nightmare.

I wish…... find a cure for cancer.

Dogs …...... are devoted and loyal.

Cats….. loving, independent and beautiful.

Tomorrow….. is another fresh start.

I have a low tolerance…....bad manners

If I had a million dollars….. I'd buy the beautiful cottage with stables and paddocks down the lane and some horses!

I'm not tagging anyone but if you decide to do it let me know!

The thistle photo was taken on a drive through Cheshire lanes on Sunday.....

Talj and I did some baking yesterday. We made scones together. Not easy when you're 70 odd miles apart but we managed!!
Before baking....

...... and after.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cottage on the Eaton Estate

My lovely friend TALJ has nominated me for the above award! Thanks, T, it was just what I needed to lift my spirits today. Here is what she said about me...

CG/Julie is one of my closest friends, we've been through a lot together this past two years and just for that she deserves every award there is going! Julie has two blogs, this one, where you can find a photo a day (ish) and other 'stuff' and her gardening blog. Thanks for everything Julie, love you lots xxxx

Now I get to honour five of my blog friends with this award. What a hard task! But here they are in particular order:

1. Lipstick and Bullets.. I've known Mel some time on the Internet and we will finally get to meet this summer! Hurray; I can't wait!! Mel's life is really full and busy - she's a photographer, volunter, dog trainer, mom, waitress and all round great gal...I really value Mel's views as she's a clear thinker and expresses herself so well. You ROCK!!

2. Anna Banana Anna is a Canadian girl living in the NE of England. Her photo a day blog contains a great variety of images. You must check out the ongoing adventures of her little wooden pals. Anna has just posted a great series of puffin and other wildlife shots from the Farne Islands which shouldn't be missed.

3. Anna Anna is an American photographer living with her family in London - she has a fantastic eye for an unusual angle and she has taught me to always look up in case I miss something great. I never fail to feel better after a visit to her blog; Anna is one of those people who just inspire you and enrich your life. It's not just her photos, it's what she says and the way she says it. I'm so enjoying seeng my own country through her eyes.

4. Lori How could I sum up Lori in a few words? I just can't. If you love horses you'll get addicted to her blog but she takes wonderful photos of almost everything she comes across. I am hooked on the daily stories of the horses who live with Lori... Wiggle, Taxes, Cheyenne and the others and Lori introduced me to catblogging Friday. I wish so much I lived near Lori as I'd like nothing better than to help her clean out the stables and look after the horses.

5. And now for a new blog pal...Leanne who is fairly new to the world of blogging and how she finds the time to write I'm not sure as she has a really full life and busy life. Leanne is a fellow Big Brother fan and we should stick together!!

Thanks everyone for the kind words yesterday. No surprise but I am prone to worry and fret too much which is of course the reason I started this blog. Somehow it feels better just to write things down and some of the comments I got yesterday were really helpful - an added bonus.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I'm feeling confused today because I feel as if a friendship is in dificulties. I don't know what has happened but something seems to have changed. I really hate to lose a friend. I don't have a lot of confidence in myself and it's so easy for all the self-doubt to flood in. If I think I'm going to be hurt I tend to withdraw fast. Not always the best thing to do but I don't feel able to push for something if I feel I'm maybe no longer wanted. What should I do? I don't want to sound needy and ask "Is something wrong?"

On a more positive note K's bedroom is painted and looks gorgeous. The blue she chose looks really nice and she's picked a lovely carpet too. I can't wait to see the finished room. We need to get the carpet laid and then her furniture ordered and assembled.

S had a strenuous time at riding today. She was on George who was feeling stubborn and she had to work really hard. I was proud of her determination not to let him get the better of her.

I am hoping tomorrow the weather stays dry enough for me to garden a little. It's too much to hope for sunshine!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I saw this pretty little clump of flowers in a rock garden and really liked them. Another dull and gloomy day here. Am looking forward to some California sunshine!
P is busy decorating K's bedroom. First we had to clear out a load of stuff. She is a real hoarder. I'm quite intrigued by the things she keeps and the reasons why.
S is a being incredibly moody. I guess it must be her age? She is constantly sounding agrieved and flouncing out of rooms; slamming doors etc. She won't lift a finger to help me with anything in the house :( I know she's having a hard time at school so I guess this is just the fallout from that.
What age should kids start helping around the house? i don't want to ruin their lives with tons of chores but the girls do nothing except occasionally tidy their rooms and push the Hoover around. What chores would be reasonable for them to do? At their age I was cooking and washing up and hoovering. I didn't do lots as mum was a full time housewife.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Lavender's blue...

Two more images from our trip to Ness..
I wish it would stop raining. The garden is looking good but it's too wet to go outside and enjoy it.
I went on my evening walk tonight and got totally soaked! It was funny in a way to be out walking with the rain trickling down my face and neck! Well, at first until I got CHILLY.
I'm glad the week is over. I got quite a lot done. In a way it's easier when it's just me in charge. Guess what...I sort of like it. But don't tell anyone. I now have four weeks to go until our holiday and I have a ton of stuff to do.
Tomorrow we are going to start painting K's bedroom. I'm looking forward to some time pottering around the house as next week promises to be lots busier...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lovely borders...

Two photos from a trip to Ness Gardens on Fathers Day. I wish I had lovely wide borders like these. I loved the colour of these pine branches. Every photo I took that day was handheld as I felt too lazy to carry my tripod! Bad Julie!!!
I am sitting in work feeling very anxious. I have real staffing problems and this is one of the busiest times of the year. Over the next few weeks I have to visit schools to talk about the summer reading challenge, publicise our summer activities, do two "Friends" events, finish off the Bookstart giftings in local playgroups, attend a conference and a hundred and one other things plus all the regular admin of running a library. I have two staff off sick and there are quite a few taking holidays (how dare they? LOL). And one of my three full time staff has just got another job. I'm not sure i can get all this done even working full time and I'm actually part time!! Supposedly...
At home we have all the home improvements stuff going on, S's birthday and I've agreed to do a full day at RDA on Wednesdays because they are shortstaffed between now and the end of term :( I must be nuts but I would hate to think of rides being cancelled.
Sorry for moaning on. I just feel better having got it off my chest...!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A visit to "The Deep"
I haven't blogged since Sunday because I went over to Leeds to visit Talj. One of the things we did was go to Hull and visit the big aquarium there called "The Deep". Although I don't think it's quite as good as our own local place "The Blue Planet" I really enjoyed our trip. Except for lunch. Lunch was disgusting. Soggy butties, cold chips and a really nasty "healthy" cereal bar...The picture above shows a statue at the entrance.

We had fun trying to take photos through the glass. Most of them were pretty useless but a couple turned out ok. I liked this little yellow fish.

I wasn't so keen on this shark! Look at those mean little eyes. This photo can't convey the real sense of menace in his look. We were very glad to have a thick sheet of glass between us and him!

We found Nemo...well, several Nemos anyway. They are very attractive little fish and I liked the sea anenome too.
I had a really nice time in Leeds with T. On the Tuesday we went to a sushi bar for lunch (sheer absolute BLISS!!!) and also made fairy cakes. I know it's been an emotional time for T but we still managed to enjoy each others company and have a few laughs.
Today I went for a long walk with M and J in the morning and in the afternoon it was RDA. On the last ride we had a new rider called Liz who was very nervous but really enjoyed herself. I was leading Daz and when Ruth was adjusting his girth he bit me on the forearm. OUCH!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fathers Day

This is a photo of my Dad, Alf. It was taken at New Brighton Baths before I was born. It was always a favourite pic of mine and it sits in a frame on the unit in my sitting room. It shows Dad acting the fool and making mum laugh as he so loved to do!Dad was a captain in the Merchant Navy. He was often away during my early childhood but it was always like Christmas whenever he came home.

Dad died when K was not quite two. He had lung cancer. I held his hand as he slipped away. Dad always told me that the night I was born; he sat and talked to me for hours; telling me all the wonderful things we'd do together and that we would be the best of friends. As I grew up, we used to spend Sunday mornings together while Mum got the dinner ready and we did all sorts of fun things together. He was right - we always were the best of friends despite being so alike that we often had shortlived but noisy quarrels! Dad loved K very much although as a staunch Liverpool supporter he would be very upset and distressed that his beloved grand daughter is now an Everton fan! I felt that by holding his hand and talking to him as he left this life the bond created the night I was born as he welcomed me into the world had formed a perfect circle.

The day Dad died, I went home and did a pregnancy test. I found out I was expecting S. Dad would have approved of the timing.

Dad, I miss you so much and wish more than anything I could spend this special day with you. You were a wonderful Dad and I will never ever stop loving you.

I am blessed in my kind and loving father in law who is coming to see us today.
Happy Fathers Day to all dads, grandads, fathers in law and step-dads - hope you all are thoroughly spoiled today!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Catblogging Friday so here's a cheerful big cat...he looks likes he's having a really good laugh here!
Found this fun thing on Picperfic's website....

You Belong in Paris

You enjoy all that life has to offer, and you can appreciate the fine tastes and sites of Paris.

You're the perfect person to wander the streets of Paris aimlessly, enjoying architecture and a crepe.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Reflections of Venice

I've been tagged by Akelamalu for the Eight Random Facts About Me meme

1. I took my driving test 5 times; failing each time on reversing around corners. The day I finally passed was one of the happiest of my life!

2. I love having my blood pressure taken. The medical profession (and indeed everyone else!) seems to think this is very strange. I get quite a thrill when they get that cuff onto my arm. I just love the feeling....

3. I have been engaged to be married four times.

4. I type with one finger and use my thumb for the shift key. I'd love to be able to use more of my fingers.

5. About 2 years ago I taught myself to duck-dive and swim underwater. It was very difficult at first as I'm very buoyant but now I can do it easily.

6. I speed read. I'm the fastest reader I know (although the Wildcat is pretty speedy too!)

7. I was a vegetarian for about 5 years and through both pregnancies. One day I succumbed to a bacon sandwich and that was it :(

8. I am incredibly bad at maths. Numbers send me into a complete panic. My dad was very good at maths and thought if he shouted at me loud enough I'd eventually "get it". I never did!

I'm not going to tag anyone but if anyone would like to do this then let me know!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This is another of my mini teapot collection.

Thanks for the positive thoughts and prayers for my friend. Today I got an email saying he felt much more positive and cheerful!

This morning was the RDA gymkhana. The Mayor and Mayoress were there and it was a great occasion. All the kids really enjoyed themselves and so did the helpers.

The kitchen improvements are progressing: the pantry cupboard has now had the door from the kitchen blocked and replaced so it leads in from the hall. The radiator is being moved on Wednesday next week. K's bunkbeds are going to a new home on Saturday. We need to get her a carpet organised yet! I'm so excited that I'm going to have more cupboard space and work surfaces :)

Had a lovely night out with CL last evening...was good to catch up on each others news.

K made sweet and sour chicken in school today and we're having it for tea - so if you don't hear from me for a few days......!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Please spare a thought or a prayer for a friend of mine, who faces with tremendous courage a truly devestating future in health terms. He is all you would wish for in a friend and has always been there when I needed him. Right now he's experiencing an understandable darkness of the soul and as I believe very much in the power of both prayer and "positive vibes" to help those in need, I'm asking that all of you who read this just send something out into the ether to lighten his darkness a little. Thanks.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Seeing double...
What a scorching day - my thermometer read 26c this afternoon. I felt quite worn out as I slept really badly last night, waking up at around 5 and then finding it hard to drop off.
Fluffy the Frog Slayer was caught with a baby frog tonight and promptly SAT ON IT in an attempt to avoid another grounding. I picked up the tiny body and it was limp :( I put it in the pot pond and it floated upside down still and lifeless. Then I placed him at the side of the pot and thought I saw his sides move. Back in the pond he went; again floated motionless. Then...a little movement of the legs and he was away. Phew. what a relief.
More chaos in the house...someone wants the bunk beds from K's room so all the clothes from the now-departed wardrobes had to be packed away or redistributed. Now the beds need to be dismantled...
Why do home improvements take so much time, cause so much mess and seem so complicated?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Two more photos from my day in Grange...I'm listening to this song on repeat today!

Is it too much to ask
I want a comfortable bed that won't hurt my back
Food to fill me up
And warm clothes and all that stuff
Shouldn't I have this
Shouldn't I have this
Shouldn't I have all of this, and

Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you

Is it too much to demand
I want a full house and a rock and roll band
Pens that won't run out of ink
And cool quiet and time to think
Shouldn't I have this
Shouldn't I have this
Shouldn't I have all of this, and

Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you

Do I want too much
Am I going overboard to want that touch
I shout it out to the night
"Give me what I deserve, 'cause it's my right"
Shouldn't I have this (shouldn't I)
Shouldn't I have this (shouldn't I)
Shouldn't I have all of this, and

Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you
Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you

M. C. Carpenter

Saturday, June 09, 2007

P's special tree
which is near Blencathra in the Lake District
I like the soft colours and the diagonal lines in this photo. Well, it's quite a laid-back Sunday. I've been catching up on a bit of light housework and gardening. K did a great job of clearing out her room and produced several bags of junk so I took a trip to the tip just now. I love to de-clutter - makes me feel liberated. Right now i feel we have far too much "stuff" so it is good to get rid of some. Thanks to Mrs Nesbitt who introduced me to the Freecycle Organisation, I was able to get rid of K's old pine wardrobes to a good home. Next week I'll be advertising some more stuff - like her bunk beds.

We're grilling tonight so I'd better go marinade some chicken. i'm not feeling very cheerful today for some reason. No doubt it will soon pass!

Catblogging Saturday...

I know it should be Friday but I didn't get a chance to post last night; was out with the Coven. We had a WONDERFUL night; I'm so very lucky to have such incredible friends. They are all so different but really special and as J put it, a night out with them is a real tonic.

So here are two pictures of our new family member Basil; he's still got a poorly leg and cat flu and is shaping up to being a worl-class sleeper! I love his little black nose!

I was working all today which is a shame as the weather was gorgeous. Nothing very special planned for tomorrow so hopefully will have some time to relax, garden, take photos etc.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More photos of S riding Jack....apologies for being such a proud mother!
The Race for Life was good. Iwas really tired however. In the morning I did chores and took S to the doctor; who thinks she has a virus. Then I made soup, lunch for S and out to Riding for the Disabled. All three classes came and it was great bt very hot and quite tiring; the ponies were very reluctant to move and I was literally dragging them along!! Then I realised I needed to do my ironing as it wasmy last chance to get it done until I ironed for 3 solid hours! Then it was straight out to the race. J, D and I walked together. It was brilliant - the usual wonderful atmosphere but moving too as we read the various messages on peoples "I race for..." labels. Mine read "I race for Alf (my dad), John (my cousin), Joyce, Caroline, Rose and Mick."
Around the 1k mark we saw the wonderful Wildcat with her camera and P, K and S plus the wildkittens were cheering us on from the side of the was lovely to see them all and really spurred us on! Afterwards I walked to WC's house and was served a tasty latte; then it was home to bed. I've done well with my sponsorship so I'm feeling really great :)
Basil the cat is ok but seems to have a virus and spends a lot of time sleeping, he's very affectionate and loving though.
Next week there's an RDA gymkhana competition for the children which I'm going to help at - am looking forward to that.
This evening's reading group was pretty good despite my frequent sneezes and croaky voice. Wish this wasn't my Saturday to work though.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It's Race For Life Day
Thanks to those who have wished me luck and/or sponsored me! I'm very grateful.

I volunteer on a photography website and am one of the admin team. I'm depressed to say that not one single person from the site has wished me luck or said any words of encouragment. That really hurts. I give up a lot of my own time to maintain the site and comment on pictures and it would be nice to get just a tiny bit of SOMETHING back in return. So often I'm overwhelmed by the kindness of people in general; but this has left a really sour taste in my mouth. Apologies for ranting...

Monday, June 04, 2007

P took some photos of S riding Jack last Saturday. They turned out pretty well. The class were doing a jumping course and S really loves jumping. Jack is a lovely gentle horse and this was the first time she'd got to ride him.

Yesterday we went to the Lakes and visited our friends who run an animal rescue charity there. We came home with Basil, who has recently had surgery to mend a broken leg. He's lovely and no doubt we'll be taking lots of photos of him very soon. Right now he's just settling in.

I have a really sore throat. I just came back from aerobics but I struggled today. I can't be ill this week - I have too much to do and it's the Race for Life on Wednesday night!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Canadian time...

Apologies for posting this early but we have an early departure for Cumbria planned for tomorrow morning!!

K bought me this little clock and I set it to Canadian time so I'd know what time of day it was in Alberta. I took this the other day when I was playing around with the macro lens.

Today was S's riding instructor's last day before she leaves to have a baby but she'll be back september 1st. We'll miss her! S rode really well on Jack; they did a jumping course. P took some great photos which I hope to post here when i can find where he filed them on the PC!!
Had fun this evening using the laptop while I was watching TV. Oh dear; seems I'm even more computer addicted now!

Off to the Lakes tomorrow to maybe get another cat - hopefully taking some photos along the way. Have a great Sunday everyone!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

First teapot
This is a replica of one of the first teapots ever made, and it came from the British Museum shop.
Many of my larger teapots come from the Teapottery
One of my favourites is one shaped like an Airstream trailer. I have another shaped like a computer monitor that sits on its own little shelf above my desk here. Now I just need to find a teapot shaped like a camera....!
I just watched the last episode of "Life on Mars". I'm so sorry I've seen them all now. I feel like I've said goodbye to some old friends.

I am typing this on our new laptop. P got it yesterday.I like it a lot..... I am finding my usual one finger typing hard to do on it so am attempting to use more than one finger. The girls and Ihave set up our own user profiles on it which was fun.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Catblogging Friday rolls around again...

...and here is Shea hunting frogs. We have renamed him "Fluffy the Frog Slayer".

made a lovely post earlier this week about making friends on the Internet, specifically via Blogging. I just wanted to say I agree and I'm so pleased to be able to visit my blog friends in their world and share a little bit of their lives. And thanks to everyone who stops by and leaves a comment here - every single one is much appreciated!

Have a wonderful June 1st everyone!