Now you see it

See what? Well if you compare the above with the picture below…

The plant that was there on the left has now been removed. Sadly it died back and for a couple of years we made attempts to keep it going but in the end there was more dead wood than live. The other two plants seem indestructible

The taller plant against the wall is a tree, one of three we have around the garden and presently (8 th) in bloom sporting little white clusters of flowers. The bush to the right is bearing red berries at this time. It was Saturday and during the morning E and I set about digging out the dying shrub and pruning others around the garden. I had already been in the garden just after seven o’clock in order to water the lawn, giving it a good soaking in the process. Once that was done I went into the front garden and gave that a good soaking too. Late in the afternoon I watered the rear garden plants and the lawn once more. Having not had rain for weeks apart from the one day a week ago it has been necessary work watering the gardens. E had gone to see her brother as it was his birthday. He lives with his mom so she was able to visit with her too. Whilst she was out I watered the garden and re-potted this little plant

It hadn’t been doing very well no matter what we tried to help it. Compare it with its twin in the picture below 

They were originally planted at the same time a couple of years ago. It may be that we need to re-pot the twin also but for the time being it is thriving. Apart from doing household chores that represented my Saturday. I did take time out on the patio though, it wasn’t all work!

Shirley Anne

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To the woods

I’m sure you’ve heard this little rhyme

To the woods, to the woods
I’ll tell the vicar
I AM the vicar.
The vicars wife wouldn’t like it
The vicars wife’s not getting it!

Well enough of that bit of humour. As was my want I went to bed early on Thursday evening but for two reasons, one, I was tired (best excuse yet!) and two, I wanted to go for a long early morning walk before it got too warm. After a little something for breakfast I began my walk, this time heading south. This time I took the main road as it led me directly to my destination, the little township of Formby or rather the northern part of it called Freshfield. We lived in Freshfield from ’76 till ’88 before moving to Birkdale where we are now. The main route through from Birkdale to Formby took me first of all through Hillside and Ainsdale before continuing down the Formby by-pass where I turned off into Freshfield. Once in Freshfield I headed along the main route (Victoria Road) which took me into the Red Squirrel reserve, all now maintained by The National Trust.https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/formby/features/red-squirrels-at-formby They look after all the woodland along the coast hereabouts. It is somewhere I am completely familiar with having spent much time either walking through the woods or running through them. I particularly enjoyed running through the woods in the hours before dawn when it was just about light enough to see where I was going. I often came across a fox or two and almost always a few rabbits. The owls I could hear but couldn’t see. The woods are special places at dawn. I usually saw the squirrels when out walking but only if one or two where at ground level would I see them when out running. I am guessing the distance to be around six or seven miles by the time I had reached the reserve. I stopped for a short rest at a picnic area where I could sit down before then walking through to the beach a further half-mile away. I stayed on the beach for only a short time but walked northward for a quarter-mile before climbing up a steep sand dune to return to the woods. Two steps forward and one step back was the order of the day climbing that sandy slope! I was exhausted by the time I had reached the top but soon recovered as I made my way into the trees and onto a small path heading north. I walked what seemed an awfully long way until I reached a little sign indicating that it was a mile and a half to the place I had just been, Victoria Road or the squirrel reserve. I walked along not coming across any other people at all, just me and the sound of nature. In fact it was totally quiet and a little eerie most of the time. Suddenly I appeared at the end of the track and was standing on the main track which circles the area. That part of the track runs alongside the rail tracks running between Southport and Liverpool. Every twenty minutes a train or two passes by. I was feeling a little tired once more so I made my way to another picnic area for a snack and a drink. I gave myself twenty minutes before I was off again and heading for the coastal road which would take me back home to Birkdale about four miles away. I hadn’t been walking exceptionally fast getting to the woods and walking through them but along the coastal road I picked up the pace and walked the four miles briskly. It was around twelve-fifteen as I went in the house feeling a little tired and hot. I recovered after a drink and prepared lunch with E. After lunch we spent some time doing garden maintenance and I watered the rear garden again. If the woods were closer to home I would most probably spend more time there. In some ways I regret having moved away all those years ago but that’s life.

Shirley Anne

Something like this

Even when I am not busy I remain busy! It’s just that the nature of the business has changed. I am getting more used to not working on one of my projects and turning my hand more often to other things instead. Those ‘other’ things were always there and always needed doing just as they still do. The difference is that now I have more time to do them and it’s funny how those things seem to have multiplied because I have more time. When I think about it I wonder how I managed to get other chores done when I worked full-time as an electrician but somehow I did. Today, Thursday (7), I got up early and did the weekly shopping, leaving the house just as E was coming downstairs. She hasn’t done the weekly shopping for eight weeks, though I am not counting it against her. Strange as it may seem to some I am beginning to enjoy the new routine now that I am getting familiar with where things are shelved. I usually don’t waste time and just whizz around and get it done but lately I have been taking more time and taking more interest in what is actually available. There are items for instance that I never knew existed and some of them I might be tempted to purchase one day. Generally though I stick to my shopping list. I returned home and after packing everything away I spent a long time watering the front garden. After a coffee I went online for a time then sat outside on the front bench playing my guitar.

Bench under front window

It is nice sitting there for it is usually quiet in the front garden. There is very little vehicular traffic and even less pedestrian traffic. The only problem is it can get too hot if there is no cloud cover and on Thursday there wasn’t any cloud cover. I returned indoors to prepare lunch, a tomato omelette on a bed of lettuce followed with strawberries and pears with a little single cream. I spent a little time out on the patio then returned indoors again to spend a half-hour on the cross-trainer. Thursday was a hot day but exercising in the cellar gym wasn’t a problem for it is much cooler down there. I say down there but the cellar is at the same level as the rear garden. Nevertheless I worked up a sweat despite the coolness. I soon cooled down on returning to the garden, a more shady part of the garden of course where there was a slight breeze blowing. An hour later I found myself mowing the lawn then watering the rear garden too. By that time it was after five o’clock and the rest of my time was spent relaxing, mostly indoors.

Shirley Anne

Short walk

It was Wednesday morning (6 th) and I wanted to take the mile walk into town to purchase a few things. So after breakfast I set off on foot on the short walk. It is actually slightly longer than a mile so a good two miles  round trip if I don’t end up wandering about as I often do. My purchases were for cosmetics mainly but I spent a little time in the Marks and Spencer store just to browse. I bought myself another skirt for the summer months but wasn’t tempted to spend any more money and returned home, not even stopping off at Neros for a coffee which I would normally do. It was one of those warm and humid mornings with hardly a breeze blowing. I was uncomfortable for that reason and wanted to get home as soon as I could and find somewhere cool to sit for a while. As I approached our house I could see a guy trying to deliver a package to a neighbour’s house across the way but he wasn’t getting an answer for I knew they were out at work. I beckoned to him and said I would take it in for him and he replied that he also had a package for me. A few days earlier I had made an online purchase of a lightweight rain coat. It wasn’t a proper rainproof coat but one which was classed as ‘showerproof’. They used to be called ‘Pacamacs’ though this one looked a bit more substantial than those original ones. When I go walking in the colder months I have a proper waterproof jacket which I purchased last year but it is too heavy a garment for use when the weather is warm. The new showerproof coat wraps up into a small bundle and fits into the small bag supplied with it and can be taken with me when I go for walks in the warmer months. As it is only for use in a light shower I do carry an umbrella too. Both fit easily into the bag I use when out walking. E kept asking me what my plans for the day were but I hadn’t any. I asked her if she would like to dine out somewhere but she declined and said we have food at home which must be eaten soon. She had been out shopping with her mom on Tuesday and had bought these ‘special offers’. She does crazy things like that sometimes knowing full well that we have freezers stocked with the very foods she had purchased! I despair sometimes. I spent the rest of the day at home.

Shirley Anne

Drought?

During the last couple of weeks it has rained only once in earnest. I write this on 5 th with no forecast of rain for the next few days. If it continues this way we will be heading for a drought. It also means I have been engaged in watering the gardens with a hose else the plants would be suffering, even dying in some cases. For this part of the world the current weather pattern is very unusual and I wonder if it is just a temporary phase or something we can expect more often now. Parts of my country have plenty of water to hand and don’t feel the effects so much when there is a drought but other parts, the more densely populated areas for instance struggle. I hope we can avoid a drought but it is one thing totally beyond our control. I have always maintained that there should be more reservoirs constructed and interconnected with wetter areas to alleviate any possible problems. We do the same thing at home on a miniature scale, we have rainwater butts which are kept full throughout the year for use in drier weather if needed. I have been thinking of adding more for we do have the space for them. For instance I could install a couple behind one of the garages, where the bricks were stored in this old picture for instance,

in fact a very large tank could be installed in that spot if it were desired. We have never resorted to using either of the present water butts because of a shortage of water. So far it has never been necessary but that could change. The moment I decide to add another water-butt it will most probably pour down for weeks on end! It is nice to know I have the option anyway.

Shirley Anne

 

A nice day for pottering

I could make any day a nice day in which to potter about but usually I have something bigger to do or something more important. That’s not to say that pottering about is less important for I believe pottering about is beneficial to our well-being. We can wander about aimlessly without being under pressure and find so many little things to do which ought to be done but get left behind in the great scheme of things we call our lives. It is in the execution of these small tasks that we often find the greatest pleasure. Monday was the beginning of yet another week though for me that has begun more and more to be of less significance as each day is taken the same. I often forget which day it is I have to say. I have been taking a break from heavy work, from projects, from anything inside the house lately and have concentrated mainly on working (and pottering) in the gardens. If you’d have asked me five years ago what I like about gardening I would have told you I hate gardening. How times and attitudes have changed for me, now I enjoy the work no matter what that work might be. I treat gardening as a never-ending project and work at it in the same way as with any other project I undertake though those projects obviously do end. At the beginning of this week I have nothing set in mind to do so I suppose I will be pottering about a lot. This morning (4 th) I emptied out one of the two industrial bags which are filled with the sand I removed during the construction of the pit in the cellar a couple of months ago. 

It occupied the area where you can now see a dark wet space right of centre in the picture above. It was the same sized bag as the white one top centre  which is still full of sand. That one will most probably remain there for some time because it is out-of-the-way where it is.. The emptied sand was put into smaller plastic bags and is now stored in the garage to the right out of the picture. The area in the picture is that which is first seen when exiting the cellar into the rear garden. During the Autumn leaves accumulate  mostly on the right in the picture so I have been endeavouring to keep it as tidy as possible to make sweeping the leaves up easier to do as well as making it less of an eyesore. I took the following pictures on the day of things around the garden.The apples beginning to grow,

Under the apples trees,

Under the little oak tree,

Behind the apple trees the potatoes and rhubarb (of which some has already ended up in a rhubarb crumble),

and finally some of the baby beetroot plants we put into this raised bed and elsewhere

The beetroot are those without the flowers in case you were wondering!

Shirley Anne

 

Good as new

My energy levels soon picked up after a great night’s sleep. I had been for an unaccustomed long walk on Saturday so I had been feeling a wee bit tired afterward. It’s not that I don’t do long walks but I hadn’t been so far in one go for quite some time. That is the key, the walk was done in more or less one go with a brief stop for toilet breaks and a chat with a lady walking her dog. So on Sunday morning I was as good as new and ready to go again though I didn’t go anywhere. Sunday was once more a lovely sunny day and very warm. Saturday had been a much cooler and overcast day which made the walk easier and comfortable. I don’t like exercising when the weather is too warm and that’s why if I go for walks during the warmer months they are usually done early in the day. It was due to the fine weather that I had to water the gardens again on Sunday and according to the forecast it looked like I would be doing the same for some time to come. The month of May as it happened had been the warmest on record since recording began. It was for the best part dry and sunny too. If ‘flaming’ June lives up to its reputation bright sunny days lie ahead (I write this on 3 rd). I did a little pruning of the trees close to the path in the rear garden and swept up the fallen leaves again. Every day there have been leaves lying on the path and part of the lawn and it’s not even Autumn! Something I will just have to put up with I guess. I spent some time relaxing on the patio during the afternoon. My youngest son had spent the night at the house as he does sometimes but he didn’t stay long once he had arisen and taken a shower. He was off to town, that is a public park on the town fringes to have lunch. Every year there is a food festival held in the park and the eating is free. He never misses an opportunity! I might have gone along too but for the crowds that attend these functions, I don’t like crowds. E didn’t fancy the idea either and she would have had difficulty in getting about anyway. There are several events and function held in Southport each month every year but I have never taken much interest in any of them though many people do. I prefer the quieter life.

Shirley Anne

Worn out

Touching on yesterday’s post regarding the subject of wisdom I am glad I had been wise to follow an exercise regime when I was younger. It has been beneficial to me in keeping me fit and active over the years. Of course having an occupation which was manually orientated helped a lot too. Even so I still get tired after exercising if I push myself too hard. If I didn’t get tired at all it would mean I am not benefiting from the exercise as I should. At my age I am limited to how much exercise my body can sustain but being used to exercising I know I can do more than I could otherwise do. I love going for walks and for many years loved and enjoyed running. Some people my age still go running, I know, I see them when out walking. I have to say though that the running is more often than not like a trot. Still they are out actively enjoying themselves. I hadn’t been for a longish walk for some time so on Saturday (2nd) I made it my business to arise early and go for a longer walk than I normally take. I decided to walk down the coast to the district where I lived before I moved to my present location. I estimate the distance to be around six to six and a half miles or twelve to thirteen miles for the round trip. So with bag containing my water bottle and a couple of other items should they be needed across my shoulder I set off. My destination was the pine woods (shown above) north of my old house and I walked the coast road to get there. My return journey would take me along the beach and then through the sand dunes nearer home. As I walked northward along the beach there was but one figure in the distance ahead of me, a lady walking her dog. She was walking toward me when her dog dashed off toward the sea a couple of hundred metres away. The beaches along this part of the coast are very wide when the tide is out. The dog seemed to disappear but had in fact walked into a dip in the otherwise flat sand. The lady shouted to me that he always does this and soon enough he was back with her. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes and I discovered she lived locally. She asked where I lived so I told her adding that I too lived where she now does. She asked exactly where so I told her the name of the road then she asked which number so again I told her. ‘That’s my house’ she said, ‘I live there now’. What a co-incidence that we should meet out on a walk. She described the house as it is now and I described what it was like when we lived there and what work we had done in it. It appeared that the people to whom we sold the house in 1988 sold it on a couple of years later to this lady’s sister who then sold it on to her in 1994. She mentioned that I would know ‘Sylvia’ her neighbour and ours when we lived there to which I replied that I did but doubted she would remember me since much water has passed under the bridge since then. We parted company and I continued homeward. It is a fact that the effects of exercising or doing strenuous work don’t come upon us until long after we have ceased what we were doing. It was a short five minutes after I had arrived home that I felt worn out even so but I was soon back to normal later.

Shirley Anne

Wisdom

I’m supposed to be wise?

It takes wisdom to get through life, to overcome life’s difficulties and problems. We often think wisdom is just about these things and getting wisdom takes a lifetime, something we learn with each passing day. Well to a point it is, it does take time to learn wisdom for living and dealing with life’s issues not least of all in our dealings with others. We would like others to think us wise even if we are not. We link stupidity with the lack of wisdom and in a lot of cases it is justified. I say we are stupid if we don’t take heed of having a lack of wisdom. We are stupid if we don’t seek after it but what is wisdom anyway and how do we get it?

Shirley Anne

Four  ways to Get Wisdom (Proverbs 9:10)

Habit: Developing Wisdom

Wisdom is a capacity of the mind that allows us to understand life from God’s perspective. Throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon encourages us to “get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:5). He says those who get wisdom love life (see 19:8); that it’s better to get wisdom than gold (see 16:16); and that those who get wisdom find life and receive favour from the Lord (see 8:32–35).

Yet in Ecclesiastes 7:23–24 Solomon also makes clear that getting wisdom is a challenging process: “ ‘I am determined to be wise’—but this was beyond me. Whatever exists is far off and most profound—who can discover it?”

Fortunately, Scripture provides us instruction in this area. Here are four Biblical instructions for how to get wisdom:

1. Fear God. Solomon says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (see Proverbs 9:10). But how should we fear God? Philipp Melanchthon, a collaborator of Martin Luther, discussed what it means to fear God by contrasting filial fear with servile fear. Filial fear is the type of respect and love a child has for a parent, a fear of offending the one they most adore and trust. In contrast, servile fear is the kind of fear that a prisoner has for his jailer or executioner.*

2. Desire wisdom. The second step to getting wisdom is to desire it with all our heart. As Solomon says, we must “look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure” (Proverbs 2:4).

3. Pray for wisdom. As James tell us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

4. Study God’s Word. The fourth step in getting wisdom is studying and meditating on God’s Word (see Psalm 19:7). We shouldn’t rely merely on our own understanding, though, but lean on the wisdom and insight produced by Christians throughout the church’s history.

PRACTICAL TAKEAWAY: To get wisdom we must fear God, study his Word and prayer-fully desire to understand life from God’s perspective.

* R. C. Sproul, “What Does It Mean to Fear God?” Ligonier Ministries, accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-fear-god/

Taken from NIV Lifehacks Bible

Shirley Anne

Down in the mouth

‘Down in the mouth’ is an expression we use to describe someone who is (temporarily) feeling ‘out of sorts’ or not as ‘upbeat’ as they usually are. Late morning on Thursday saw me like that and I’ll explain in a moment. I had gone to bed early on Wednesday because basically I couldn’t keep my eyes open! I really was feeling tired. It meant once more that I would wake early too but that wasn’t a problem except that I woke a little too early at three o’clock. I had slept on top of the bed again in the high temperature and especially high humidity which was way over 90%. Sleeping under the covers would have been unbearable. So I woke up and made the attempt at returning to sleep but couldn’t. At five o’clock I gave up the idea and had a shower. I was downstairs for breakfast before six. As is my want I usually have the tv switched on while eating breakfast which was on that day porridge. Just as I had finished eating the tv went dead. At first I though I’d accidentally switched it off on the remote control but then I realised the fridge power indicator light wasn’t on. I checked the lights and they too were not working. Going down into the dark cellar rooms I discovered the unit which reads the gas and electric meters had no indicating lights working. This meant there was no power at the electric meter, the whole house was off, fridge/freezers, power outlets and lighting all not working. It was six twenty-five. There was nothing I could do  but go and do the weekly shopping run. However, even I didn’t want to go shopping at such an early hour though I had planned to go around eight o’clock. I sat and read the local newspaper for a while then looking out of the lounge window I saw our neighbour’s son about to leave for work. I opened the window and called to him asking if he had lost electrical power too. He had. It could only be a high voltage distribution problem for I learned later that large areas had been affected. Had it simply been local it might have been the lower voltage distribution system at fault. I decided I would go and fetch the shopping which I did but first of all I had to wind the garage door up manually to get the van out and wind it sown again manually too. I returned home at eight-thirty by which time E had come downstairs and eaten her breakfast. After I had packed the food away the power came back on as we stood and chatted. It was now nine o’clock. Now I had a dental appointment around eleven o’clock so after a short rest I drove there and was attended to almost immediately. I’d had a couple of fillings replaced. The injection I’d received didn’t wear off until almost two o’clock! I had no feelings on the right side of my mouth and when I looked in the mirror I could see my mouth was sagging on the right. I really was down in the mouth for a while. I was back home before eleven forty-five and drove E into town so she could attend to some business. We arrived back home for lunch after one o’clock by which time I was feeling really drained of energy. We spent a little time relaxing on the patio after eating lunch and wondered when we would get rain. The day was still warm and humid as we awaited the promised rain and thunderstorms late in the afternoon. Maybe it would finally rain on this the last day of the month……………

Shirley Anne