Spending Wednesday

E and I had been invited to a garden centre end of season sale with stock selling at reduced prices. The centre is one we have used before of course though of late we now tend to use Dobbies for our gardening needs. This other centre is about six or seven miles from home whereas Dobbies is just over one mile away. I get discounts at Dobbies throughout the year. We arrived at the centre with time to spare handing in our signed invitation to get access. We had no idea if we would buy anything or not but ended up purchasing two plants, a garden ornament in the shape of an owl, a bird table, some weed killer and some lawn feed spending around seventy to eighty pounds in the process.

In the top picture are the Azalea (right) and a Dahlia shrub (left) both in their pots until I get to plant them later. The owl is in the middle picture and of course the new bird bath is in the lower picture. We waited about an hour looking out of the kitchen windows before the first bird took a bath in it. The robin which lives in a bush nearby was the first partaker and he loved it so much we were wondering if he’d ever get out! Before driving home we decided to visit Dobbies, initially for the free coffee we get each month but to also browse around. We ended up purchasing two more plants, a Fan Palm and an Olearia. Both can grow to a height of over two metres. We already have a Fan Palm but that one is classed as a dwarf palm as it only grows to a height of around one metre. As an extra bonus we discovered that there were two Fan Palms in the same pot and selling for the price of one. Maybe you can see that there are two plants in the right-hand pot. That means we can plant in two different places. We dropped the goods off at home before driving off to a local pub for lunch. It was on our return home that we set up the bird table.

Click on images to magnify.

Shirley Anne


Making sure part two

Yesterday I wrote about health issues, today I write about spiritual health and well-being. We often forget that we are spiritual beings inside our bodies of flesh and some of us don’t even believe that. We will some day live outside of the bodies we are born into. Those bodies will see decay but our spirits live on. Many has been the time when I wrote about Jesus Christ here on my site and many has been the time when I urged those who don’t know him as their Saviour to earnestly seek him. I will continue doing this as I am led to do so but it will continue to be an occasional post for fear of driving people away. I don’t wish to turn people away from God and Jesus Christ by attempting to ram the information down their throats, that would be wrong and in any case final decisions are made by those who wish to respond or not. I was watching a televised lecture or teaching if you will by a prominent Christian Pastor who was talking about the true nature of God as our Father in Heaven.

When God chose a group of people out of the many there are in this world to be an example for the rest He chose the Israelites or the Jews as we know them today. He laid down Laws for them to follow, laws meant for their well-being if they chose to follow them for God wanted His people to live in accordance with His will. If they failed to adhere to the laws (sin) they were expected to offer a sacrifice by way of atonement and this they did by offering the blood of an animal, an ox, a lamb, a goat or even a pigeon. God required the shedding of blood as a sacrifice. It meant that the Israelites had to own thousands of cattle, sheep and other animals in order to pay the price for their wrongdoing or sinful ways. Had they been obedient there would have been no need for the vast quantities of livestock but sin was in them just as it is today in each of us. God, our Father loves each of us with a love that is incomparable to any other. The Pastor related this observation in his teaching…..When his three-year old daughter cries out to him in the night because she is frightened of the dark or that she believes there is a monster beneath her bed she doesn’t cry out ‘Oh Father who is married to Mommy and who supplies us with food and shelter and who looks after me’ but she shouts ‘Daddy, I am frightened’ (paraphrased throughout). This is who our father in Heaven really is, a loving daddy whom we can rely upon and who genuinely loves and cares for us as any daddy would do (should do). We approach our Father as little children knowing He won’t reject us but is always there for us at all times. Our cries of help do not go unnoticed. He is Abba, Father our loving God. If we do wrong, and we all do wrong at times, He is there to comfort us and to chastise us but He does it for our own benefit. What loving father doesn’t chastise his children? That is how they learn good from evil. Following God isn’t a punishment, something we have to endure else be damned but rather it is the most natural thing in the world to want to please our Daddy, Abba Father. It is because of His great love for us that He came in the flesh as a human being, Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself the sins of the world, even our sins, mine and yours. We don’t need herds of cattle to offer as sacrifices for our wrongdoing for Jesus has already paid that price on our behalf. Jesus shed his own blood, he became our sacrificial Lamb. All we have to do is repent and accept that free gift of life in His name. This is how much our Daddy loves us…….Make sure you don’t miss out on His love…..

Shirley Anne

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Copyright Stuart Townend

Shirley Anne

Making sure

After an unintended sleep-in the previous day I was determined to get up early on Monday morning to go for a walk so it was that by eight-twenty I found myself pounding the streets on my way doing just that. Over the last few weeks I had been suffering with a persistent rash on my back and couldn’t shift it. It was similar in appearance to that shown in this picture though I doubt it was the same condition…

English: Vesicular rash of Rickettsia australis
Vesicular rash of Rickettsia australis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It wasn’t so much the rash that was the nuisance but rather the itch that accompanied it. For a time I thought I had it under control but on Sunday the itch got worse and I had to do something about it. I took my walk to pass the doctor’s surgery with a view to arranging an appointment and to my good fortune I was accommodated that same morning at 9.50 . It meant I had to cut the walk short but it was more important I got to see a doctor. I returned at the appointed time but as usual I had to wait an extra ten minutes or so. Twenty minutes later I was at the pharmacy collecting the ‘Betnovate’ cream prescribed for the rash. Soon after I returned home E walked through the front door. I said, ‘You’ve been to the doctor’s haven’t you’? I didn’t know that, just had the feeling but the amazing things was, I was right! She must have driven there whilst I was at the pharmacy so our paths didn’t cross. Neither of us knew the other intended to see the doctor that morning as the decisions were made on the spur of the moment. She had been suffering with a possible hair-line fracture in her foot and an appointment for her to see a specialist at the hospital was made.  Anyway the pair of us were making sure we were getting our problems sorted. We both remained at home until later in the afternoon when I was asked to fit a couple of replacement lighting units for someone a couple of miles away. It was almost time for our evening meal by the time I returned.

Shirley Anne

20 August 2017

It was one of those days that didn’t know it was still Summer, only a little sunshine but also almost no wind or rain. The rain would fall later in the evening. I had overslept and didn’t get downstairs until eleven o’clock, however it was Sunday and I had nothing special to do except perhaps go for an early morning walk. Well that didn’t happen. Although I arose at nine and was ready to come downstairs for a belated breakfast at ten I decided instead to clean out the gutter and brush off some moss which gathers on the sloping roof beneath my bedroom windows..(upper-left in picture)

I have a long piece of wood adapted at the end to reach into the gutter from the windows to get at the moss which falls into it. The gutter is over a metre out and at least a half-metre below my window s so it isn’t easy to reach. In the past I used the 7 metre high tower to reach the gutter and the roof but even then it is at a stretch. The gutter is around 7 metres from the ground! The day was sunny at that time and E and I sat out on the patio before lunchtime for a while. We decided to put the new washing line pole into the tube I had set in concrete the day before and sealed it at the joint using silicone rubber.

When we get a new line we will use the new pole and abandon the old one (behind the holly on the left above). The afternoon went dull and overcast but remained fairly warm so E and I did a little pruning and tidying up before returning indoors for the day. In the meantime I took these pictures….

In the next month or so things will look entirely different as Autumn comes knocking. I will then be able to do some outdoor work, filling in the edges of the edging stones around the Mound and flowerbed. Why then? There will be no ants trying to bite me whilst I am doing it!

Shirley Anne

Too wet

I didn’t think it was ever going to stop raining on Saturday morning though it wasn’t continuous rain just frequent heavy showers. I had made up my mind to get into the garden and dig a hole in which to set in concrete the small piece of plastic tubing that would house the new washing-line post I had purchased. Initially I had thought of setting the pole itself directly in the concrete but on reflection decided to use a tube in which to place it.

That way the pole could be readily removed should that be necessary in the future. I would use silicone rubber to seal the gap between the pole and the tube to prevent the ingress of water when it rained. Though it is a galvanised metal pole it would not be advisable having it sitting in a tube filled with water and that water would be inside the pole too. I spent less than an hour doing the work once the rain finally stopped falling. The weather forecast indicated a sunny afternoon ahead and indeed it turned out that way. I covered the new concrete with a plastic sheet just in case it did rain later. One thing which didn’t change much throughout the day was the strength of the wind, it remained blustery. There are other little outdoor projects to be undertaken yet but I didn’t wish to start any of them, I wanted the weekend to myself for a change. When the concrete sets I will at some point disguise it using some natural stone, similar to what I did after I had constructed the concrete base for the flag pole a couple of years ago. All that can be seen there are stones at the base of the pole. During the time I was out working on the project I discovered and removed several small Montbretia shoots that had appeared over the previous couple of days. My readers will remember my efforts early in the year in removing the Montbretia and Bluebells that had been growing profusely in the flowerbeds. I said then that it would be an ongoing problem for some time yet but have to say at least now they are far fewer. Still, I have to keep an eye on the beds and dig any out as I find them. There are always things to do in the gardens, always something to keep me occupied should I begin feeling bored!

Shirley Anne

All over the place

Friday, although turning brighter during the afternoon with much sunshine it remained in a state of threatening showery moments. It was to turn to full-on rain later, just as it had been first thing in the morning. I was up very early at five-thirty and not because I couldn’t sleep, no, I had a very good five solid hours and awoke amazingly refreshed. The window was ajar as I usually keep it through the night and I could feel the cool air through the gap. There are two windows in the room but one is seldom opened as enough fresh air can be had with just the one open. The wind was high and that remained the same throughout the day making it feel much cooler than the 21 deg C it was. It was far less than that at 13 deg C when I arose with the intention of going for a walk before breakfast. Wet, cool and windy required wrapping up well and I gave my new boots their first outing too since I had purchased them a couple of weeks earlier. I bought them to use during the colder and wetter months of the year but it was still Summer though it felt more like Autumn. I kept the walk short, only venturing out for three miles this time. I had walked twice that distance on Wednesday but I had to keep it short as I was expecting the delivery of the washing-line pole I had ordered the previous day. Soon after I had set off around seven o’clock I received a text message letting me know it was on its way. We have received articles as early as six-thirty in the morning in the past though I didn’t expect this one to arrive until early afternoon. I was back home in plenty of time for its arrival at noon. It had been just as well I was wearing suitable attire because of the driving wind a heavy rain which fell as I walked along the coastal road. A guy was running ahead of me and we were the only two braving the elements at that time. Passing motorists must have thought us mad but who cares? Fresh air and exercise won the day for us. Now all I need is another break in the weather so that I can install the pole, if not I’ll get wet walking instead.

Shirley Anne

Saying and doing

How many of you say you’ll do something but don’t do it? I am sometimes guilty of this or have been in the past. I get ideas, think them through then decide if I will do them or not. I am more likely to do things these days than leave them to one side. E tells me that my problem is thinking up too many projects, no sooner have I completed one she says then I am thinking of another. I guess she is right but as I said to her I like to take breaks between them! It has been a few days since I completed my last project, the garden gate and the brick pillar though I’ve still at the time of writing this yet to cement on the capstone. That will probably be done soon however. On Thursday morning we were discussing unfulfilled projects, only unfulfilled because of other things getting in the way and now with nothing to prevent them being done. First off having discovered we could not purchase locally we placed an order on-line for a sturdy washing line pole. I will be installing it in a new position from an existing one. Next, we ordered two outdoor wall lighting units to replace the bulkhead fittings I installed over the patio some years ago but never really liked. I kept saying I would change them but never got around to actually doing it. Now I have no excuse as by the time you are reading this they should be here. I have to build two small pillars in brick to support a slab of natural stone for it to become a stone bench seat set in the ‘Plot’ behind one of the garages. See posts written twelve months ago regarding the Plot. We are thinking of referring to the Plot as the secret garden in future as it is now hidden from the main garden by the new gate. Anyway one of the other things we wanted to do was to fall a Mountain Ash (Rowan) tree which had developed a problem and had begun to die off. You can see the base of the trunk in the picture below, it is on the extreme right-hand side. As you can see the trunk begins to lean further to the right and ends up six metres high and hanging over the garden wall about a metre and a half to the right in this picture taken a couple of years ago.Whilst E was out doing the weekly shopping on Thursday I set about felling it. It stood in the Mound at the rear and was pretty much hidden by the damson trees growing there and it was leaning toward the garden next door anyway. It took me about thirty minutes to cut it down and cut up the branches and a further fifteen minutes to chop down what was left of the main trunk with an axe. The stump still remains so that is another job for the future. Incidentally, the tree stump in the front garden is still stubbornly refusing to go though I have been making progress on doing that, slow progress that is! So there are plenty of things to do outdoors to keep me occupied and that is besides the garden maintenance.

Shirley Anne

The beachcomber

I have never been a beachcomber as some would describe or imagine the activity to be though whenever I am on the beach I do keep a sharp eye for anything that might be interesting. I was up early on Wednesday so that I could go for a walk. E had kindly left a wad of envelopes the night before near to the door which she evidently wanted posting and probably in the hope that I intended to go for a walk and would post them. Well naturally I did post them. I took the direct route to the sea front and along for a mile or so before deciding to get off the concrete and on to the beach itself. Although there is plenty of sand along the shore from further south and to the north of Southport there is only a short stretch where the sand comes right up to the sea wall. The stretch you see below….. Everywhere else is either covered with  marram grass and other salt-resistant plants and in places it is very muddy too. Even so there is a sandy pathway near to the sea wall for much of the way and it is nice to take that route as long as the tide is out. Once down on the sand the noise of passing traffic quieted down considerably and depending upon the wind direction it is often less windy too. Apart from the debris left by inconsiderate people there is little else of interest to be found lying about for any would-be beachcomber. On this day I found two new hair bands and a small silver-coated knife. Nothing to write home about to be sure though I’ll wager greater things have been found by others in the past. As I walk along I think about how the beach  would have looked say a thousand or two-thousand years ago and who might have been walking there at that time. I suppose not many people in the day would be out taking a leisurely stroll but would be out fishing or collecting cockles (an industry still thriving in these parts and along the coast) or maybe hunting for rabbits of which there are still plenty even down on the beach! I walked a mile or so along the sand before setting foot on concrete once again to make up the mileage before returning later to walk back along the sand until I had to get back on the street and on homeward.

Shirley Anne

Repairs and maintenance

I guess you could say that throughout my life I have been engaged in carrying out repairs and maintenance as well as installation work. I am a doer of things if you like, a person who doesn’t mind getting ‘stuck in’ if there is something that needs doing. I do get tired of it occasionally though and take a break but it isn’t long before I want to get back to the routine. I arose fairly late on Tuesday morning even though I had been awake for quite some time. There was no need to rush into the day, I had nothing planned. It was around eleven in the morning that saw E and I sitting in the garden with a drink of coffee just chatting about things. I had been browsing the Internet looking for a supplier of clothes-line posts because I want to abandon an existing pole in the garden and install a new one in a different location. Having said that I haven’t checked to see if it is possible to dig out the old one and just move it though I can foresee a lot of problems with that idea. The existing post we want to replace is behind the large variegated holly tree left of centre in the picture below. If my readers have keen eyesight they will be able to catch a glimpse of it through the foliage. Free eyesight tests too! However I thought there might be an outlet near home which supplies them so I suggested we take a drive to check it out. E mentioned again that we could call into a place where she thought they repaired televisions as it was along the same route. We called there first to check it out. The guy asked us about the problem we were having with the set and then suggested we bring it in so he could attempt a repair. If my readers will remember we had one of a pair of televisions bought some sixteen months ago which, though had hardly been used, suddenly stopped working. It is in the picture below. The original supplier fobbed us off saying it couldn’t be repaired even though they hadn’t inspected it. They did reimburse us with a token £79 but we were left with a practically new set that didn’t work. I returned to the guy about an hour later with the television and left it with him. Hopefully he can fix it, for a fee of course. Anyway we carried on to locate a supplier of posts but alas it was futile, nobody had the type of pole we were after. As I write this I am planning to order one over the Internet instead. The only problem with buying on-line is you don’t get to see the goods beforehand and I like to check things over before making a purchase. During the afternoon E took her mom out shopping whilst I relaxed out on the patio in the warm sunshine. It wasn’t long before I stopped lounging about and I mowed the lawn. I also spent a little time cleaning out the gutters on the greenhouses. One of them supplies a water butt through a small hose which needs to be kept free of debris. In the picture above you can just see the butt to the right of the smaller greenhouse. It is better to use water from the butt to water the plants in the greenhouse because it is rain water and free from additives.

Shirley Anne

Uneasy feeling

In a similar vein to the words of the well-liked but now deceased comedian Spike Milligan who had written on his tombstone.’Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite, Irish for “I told you I was ill.”…….I told you I’d get bored once I retired!

Spike Milligan's Headstone, Winchelsea, E.Suss...
Spike Milligan’s Headstone, Winchelsea, E.Sussex. The epitaph reads: “Duirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite”, Irish for “I told you I was ill”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spike was a favourite of mine along with comedians such as Tommy Cooper, Marty Feldman and others who never failed to make me laugh. They had my kind of humour. Anyway, to the point, I laugh and joke about anything and everything these days serious stuff included. Life is too short to be walking about looking as if the troubles of the whole world were on your shoulders. Speaking about retirement, I am getting used to it but very slowly indeed. I have had the good fortune to have found things to do over the last few months, that is since the beginning of April when I declared myself to have stopped working as an electrician. Even so some small jobs have since come my way. I get to go for walks which I like for two reasons, the exercise and the fresh air. The air around here certainly is fresh coming off the Irish Sea and walks along the seafront are very refreshing. So it was I went for a slightly later than usual walk on Monday. I don’t know about you but I get a little wary of people following me even though their intentions might be completely innocent and most folk’s are. I was walking along a local street on my way down toward the sea when I sensed there was someone following me or rather walking in the same direction as myself. Peripheral vision is wonderful especially if the head is turned slightly in the direction behind you. I could see that it was a middle-aged guy dressed as you would expect from someone out for a walk and complete with rucksack too. He made no attempt to pass by but kept his distance behind me. The trouble was that distance was a mere ten metres and it made me feel uncomfortable. For a half-mile it continued that way until we reached the seafront where he decided to walk on by. Now it was my turn to repay him the compliment by walking behind him. He must have thought he could outpace me but I kept pace without even trying, in fact it seemed a little slow if anything. He kept looking back to see if he had left me behind but I was still there. I sensed he was by now feeling a little uneasy himself but that was my intention. About another half-mile and we would reach a point where there were three routes to choose from all in the same direction. I waited to see which way he would go then I chose another path. I ran a little way (I was wearing running shoes) to put some distance between us then began taking the route homeward. I bet he didn’t think I could run! I could have chosen to walk along the pier but chose the road over the bridge which spans the lake instead. I walked the last few metres on the pier and as I looked back toward the sea guess who was walking toward me? I carried on through the town centre before turning toward home. It was probably all in my imagination but when I am out alone I take great care in keeping my wits about me and a careful eye on those who are around me.

Shirley Anne