The eve of New Year’s eve…..

….Saturday 30th.

One Who Walked Alone
One Who Walked Alone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A day for one of my scheduled walks but this day it was more to do with collecting more stones for the garden than the walk itself. Where I collect the stones is around two and a half miles from home so I have to carry them that far on my return. Naturally I collect them on the return journey rather than on the outward one! Although there was some light rain at times there wasn’t much of it. The wind was the major downside to the weather and down on the shore where it is totally open the wind was strong making it feel much colder than the six or seven degrees it was. Soon I was back home in the warmth and not needing to go anywhere for the rest of the day. I did spend some time in the garden though, not a lot but just enough to keep an eye on things and noting down anything that might want doing later. It appears there are a lot of dog owners where I live and I saw most of them down at the beach or in the streets I walked! Probably up to 90% of the people I saw had a dog in tow, some of them with two. Personally I love dogs but they do need a lot of attention and care and think of all those vet bills! We used to keep dogs at home years ago but I doubt we would ever have another and cats? Not very likely. E likes cats as I do though I prefer other people’s cats. We have enough wild animals visiting the garden each day to feel the need to have a pet. Saturday was the last day of the year for exercising too as on Sunday, New Year’s eve, I would be resting. The start of my new year would see me exercising on the gym equipment. No hang-overs, no waking up in the middle of the day not remembering what happened the night before……..just another day.

Shirley Anne

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Just don’t get along……

Killing Technology
Killing Technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

……no, not with people, with technology! You might think that somebody who has worked in the electrical supply and service industry all my life until April last year would be used to technology. That is perfectly true but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. It all depends upon what form the technology takes. I am very familiar with computer control applications and the hardware involved with interfacing for example but when it comes to other areas I am less familiar. I am even familiar with basic programming but as for normal everyday use of computers or devices which are basically computers in disguise like mobile phones I am often at a loss. I own a mobile 3G (third generation) phone which allows connection to the Internet. I had previously owned a 2G phone and wish I hadn’t upgraded it. There is no way I would own a 4G phone or a 5G or 6G phone when they become available. I am not interested in accessing the Internet via my mobile phone. Neither am I interested in using my phone to pay for services or purchases. This technology has rolled out seemingly to make life easier but in fact you can be sure the underlying reasons go far beyond that consideration. People remain blind to the future that awaits them because they cannot see further than the end of their noses. They simply go with the flow as in other areas of their lives but in fact they are, we are, all being manipulated. That aside, I simply don’t like the technology anyway. On Thursday (28) I inadvertently made access to my mobile phone impossible for I had tried to prevent the use of the phone unless a pin number was known. It didn’t work even though I had followed the instructions. I had to take the phone along to my network provider’s shop in town, in my case the Three Store, to have it unlocked. Alright, I admit the problem with the phone is more to do with my being unable to use it properly rather than the technology itself. However for me it doesn’t need to be complicated as I am not interested in anything but the basic use of it. All I want is a phone with texting capability but it has become impossible to obtain one because that doesn’t encourage the possibility of somebody else making a profit down-line. It doesn’t encourage my being dependent on the technology as one day we all may be if we close our eyes to it. I suppose you could call me a modern day Luddite.

The Luddites were a group of English textile workers and weavers in the 19th century who destroyed weaving machinery as a form of protest. The group was protesting the use of machinery in a “fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labour practices.Luddites feared that the time spent learning the skills of their craft would go to waste as machines would replace their role in the industry. It is a misconception that the Luddites protested against the machinery itself in an attempt to halt progress of technology. Over time, however, the term has come to mean one opposed to industrialisationautomationcomputerisation or new technologies in general. The Luddite movement began in Nottingham and culminated in a region-wide rebellion that lasted from 1811 to 1816. Mill owners took to shooting protesters and eventually the movement was suppressed with military force. (Credit…Wikipeadia)

Likewise, I have no objection to the development of technology per se, it just isn’t always for me. I got the phone problem sorted out in minutes and left the shop happy and contented, for the time being that is!

Shirley Anne

End of year

It may be the end of the year, the last few days, I write this on 28th, but life doesn’t stop. Creatures of habit like me continue on as normal. A day is a day just like any other so I do pretty much the same as I do at any time throughout the year. I have been working on a very small plot in the garden and wanted to add some natural stone as I had done in the much larger plot we call the west bed. That simply means the bed is on the western side of the garden. This one however is on the opposite side. I had over the months gathered many stones from the beach to cover that plot and recently collected more to put in this one too but a small bucket-full is far from enough as you can see….(click on image to magnify)

They barely cover the soil around the plant, the new fan palm at the end of the flowerbed. I did realise I would need more but the idea is not to fully cover the soil as there will be some small flowering  plants placed there later. Maybe another bucket of stones will be enough. On my morning walk on Thursday (28) I collected enough to half-fill a bucket so it shouldn’t take long to collect what I want. These stones I might add are what were left behind after the construction of the sea defence wall many years ago. The construction company I suppose couldn’t be bothered to remove them else were unable to remove them all. Already I have been digging out some montbretia plants from the main flowerbed in the garden on the north side. They are the ones I missed when I cleared them from the bed at the beginning of the year along with bluebells. I have no doubts I shall be digging more out as the new year begins. It isn’t that I don’t like the flowers, it’s just that they grow like weeds and want to take over the garden! E and I have been putting seeds out on the bird table and some ‘fat balls’ in the feeder but it isn’t just the birds who eat them, we have a small family of grey squirrels who like them too. They eat the fat balls through the wire cage and the birds peck them in turn. A few days ago I made some alterations to the bird table in order to keep the larger birds such as pigeons, jackdaws and gulls from feeding there and leaving nothing for the many smaller birds such as tits, wagtails, and the robin we get here. We do put seed and other food on the grass to accommodate the larger birds. However, the squirrels can and do climb the pole to reach the table and can still enter the protected table to feed. This picture was taken before I altered the access but as I said, they can still gain entry which is fine.

and this is one having a drink in the bird bath

Shirley Anne

On the go

In yesterday’s post I talked about continuing with the work in the garden and the weather thwarting that possibility. Wednesday (27) was a far better day for working outdoors as it was dry and sunny for the most part though I have to add much colder than it had been in the previous week. I didn’t get out of bed especially early as I might have done another time but I was downstairs exercising on the gym equipment by nine o’clock even so. After a brief cooling off outside I returned upstairs for breakfast before taking a shower and getting dressed for the day. Over the last couple of days our youngest son has been staying here and his car is left parked on the driveway in front of the house when he is here. The vehicle is supplied by the company he works for and he normally gets it cleaned in a car wash station. His employer pays for that but I suppose only once a month. It stood there looking as if it had been in a coal mine for weeks but as he said, driving up and down the motorways in the rain keeps it looking that way! I put on my overalls and with a bucket of warm water, liquid soap and the nylon bristled sweeping brush I keep in my van for cleaning the van I set about cleaning the car. It didn’t take long and at least it would look much better for a while…

Having done my good deed for the day I returned to the rear garden and set about fixing the stones in the rear edge of the small bed that is now occupied by the new fan palm…

I mixed some fine concrete to fill in the gaps and used what was left to fill holes elsewhere around the garden and one of the surface water grids. When I returned into the house through the cellar door my son was using the elliptical trainer and then the bench press to do some weight lifting. He, just like his brother, are certainly a healthy and muscular pair of guys. They each have membership in their preferred gymnasium but obviously take advantage of the equipment we have at home when they visit. It is good to see they are looking after themselves by keeping fit. I wonder where they get that from?

Shirley Anne

 

Nearly a day off

Gardener Gardening
Gardener Gardening (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After my morning exercises on the gym equipment followed by some gardening later I rested for the remainder of Christmas Day. I wasn’t going anywhere and had no visitors. E went to her mom’s house for the day to meet with her family and I had the day to myself. I had planned to go for an afternoon walk but changed that idea and decided I would take one on Tuesday instead. I usually take my walks on days I am not using the equipment and Tuesday would be one of those days. However after arising early to do just that I again had a change of heart. It was a holiday after all so I took the day off. No exercising on the equipment, no walks, I was going to treat myself. Wednesday would see my exercise regime resume its routine. What was I going to do with myself? I just cannot sit around too long, I am not that type of person, I have to be doing something. I ended up doing some gardening, sweeping up more leaves and sorting out some of the last remaining natural stone pieces to see what I could use to fill in the space behind the newly planted fan palm. The small patch once occupied by the rhubarb I moved was separated from the rest of the flowerbed by a length of stone and other stone pieces were fitted to two of the other sides. The fourth side at the rear is adjacent to the concrete path behind it but I wanted to put some stone slabs there to prevent soil over spill and to improve the appearance. It was the only flowerbed in the garden not completely walled-in so to speak so it needed doing anyway. Having searched through our small stock of stones, bricks and concrete pieces I found four pieces of stone which would fit perfectly along the rear of the small bed but I was prevented from further work because of the rain showers. I hoped Wednesday would see better weather and allow me time to do the work. I’ll let you know one way the another. When out in the garden I noticed many of the bulbs we have in pots near the patio have sprouted up quite some way ready to flower in the weeks ahead. They seem to be appearing sooner this season because of the mild weather. I hope it lasts.

Shirley Anne

Getting motivated

Hangover Square (film)
Hangover Square (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many people today will be ‘getting over hangover day’ I suppose but for me it means getting myself motivated for the things I have in mind to do. It has been a very long time since I felt the effects of a hangover and I am glad those days are past having given up the demon drink some years ago. My pleasure is in being active, something not easily achieved when drunk under the influence of alcohol. People do odd things when drunk, often regrettable things. It is a new year with new beginnings or the possibility of them for those who are inclined. For myself, I have other plans. I have no intentions of wasting my time wiling away the hours in a state of being incapable due to alcohol.

I didn’t need to get motivated on Christmas Day, it came naturally! On Christmas Eve in the afternoon E asked if I would like to accompany her on a short trip to Dobbies, the gardening centre. She wanted to buy a small present on behalf of our youngest son. I took the opportunity to tag along as I had wanted to purchase another plant for the rear garden anyway. I wanted another dwarf fan palm to put in the space the rhubarb had occupied before I dug it out a few days earlier. We purchased all that we wanted and returned home immediately afterward. It was beginning to get dark in the late afternoon so I left the plant in its pot until the following day, Christmas Day. On Christmas morning I was up and dressed in my sports clothes and spent time on both the treadmill and the elliptical trainer before returning upstairs for breakfast before eight o’clock. After breakfast and getting dressed for the day I put on my overalls and went into the garden. It was beginning to get brighter and I could now do a little gardening. I collected the wheelbarrow and took it to the composting bin to collect some compost. Then I dug out the hole for the new plant and put some of the compost in it before setting the plant in place and back-filling with soil. It, like all the other fan palms we have will grow to a height of two to three metres.

I took the remainder of the compost and dug it into that part of the raised bed where I would replant the rhubarb corms then placed them in the bed, covering them lightly with soil. The area in question lies about a metre outward from the rear wall at the top of the picture.

You can just about see a couple of them sticking out of the soil. I didn’t water them in as at this time of year they are dormant. In any case rain was forecast and that would level off the soil allowing the heads to show as they should. Hopefully the rhubarb will establish itself and produce a better crop this year having not done so well last year. Once I had watered in the new fan palm I spent a little time sweeping up yet more fallen leaves from the path behind the large greenhouse before finally returning indoors for the day.

Shirley Anne.

And now?

So then here we are again on the brink of another new year and what have we done. John Lennon asked that same question some years ago in his song ‘So this is Christmas‘. Did you think about the question then? One of the things I tire of about the perpetual merry-go-round we in the western world ride each year is that nothing ever changes. It isn’t so much the things which people cling to in order to keep up with the Jones’ or follow like sheep in the tradition of others else feel left out, no, it is more the stupidity of their mindset. We are after all free spirits are we not? Why then is there the need to do anything because others do it? We can think for ourselves, do as we please (within the constraints of a civilised society of course) and live how we wish, it is entirely a free choice. No-one pressures anyone else into doing something they really don’t want to do you would think but often the opposite is true. The bland statement of  ‘Oh well we are human beings and expect and accept our behaviour’, is a measure of our own defeat. It’s about time we stopped following all the other sheep who eat in the same old pasture and go find another field, do our own thing.

If you could start your life anew
What would you think or say or do?
If everything you did before
Could be wiped clean and be no more
Would you respond and let it be
Or stay still blind and never see?
You may not think that this is true
But all these words apply to you.

Shirley Anne 21 Dec 2017

So what will change for you this year? Have the promises you made to yourself last year been kept? Probably not in most cases or if they have they probably didn’t take root because they were starved of nourishment and consequently died to become a forgotten memory. Well another year has passed and you are still stuck in the rut, still doing the same old thing, still supporting some nasty habits and maybe now regretting your lack of will-power. Do something different, make some changes and keep them, you owe it to yourself. Who knows how long we may live, chances missed, opportunities passed-by, reluctant attitudes and by this time next year you will look exactly like you do now. Whatever paths you take make sure they are good ones, ones which will stay the course in your life. Make this year the best you’ve ever had but for all the right reasons.

Shirley Anne

Last working day of the year

As long as it didn’t rain on Saturday (23) I intended to spend some more time in the garden again. It would be the last day in the year for doing any work for me but alas it didn’t happen. I had gotten up early and went for a long walk down the coastal road to Ainsdale. I chose that route as it was still dark at the time I went, 7.30. I wanted to take the route through the sand dunes but that could have proved very difficult in the dark. However, by the time I decided to return home it was light so I walked back through the dunes. When on the beach the sky was clear toward the south but northward it was dark and heavy. To the south I could see the mountains of North Wales, easily seen when the skies are clear. The oil rig westward out to sea was still fully lit against the dark sky. This time the tide had receded before I arrived but it had left an enormous amount of seaweed behind! I walked northward again along the beach to the point in the dunes where I would turn into them and off the beach. I was back home before 10.00 and had breakfast whilst E was busy doing something associated with her crafting hobby. As I mentioned I wanted to do a little gardening but events got in the way during the rest of the morning. After lunch I just didn’t feel like doing anything. It has been quite a busy twelve months with all the projects that I have been involved with both inside and outside the house. It helped not having to do electrical work for others, at least for the last nine months anyway. My time became my own and I could concentrate on my little domestic projects, and there were many! Just the way I like it, better for my health and well-being to have things to do to wile away the time. When I look back on the year I am amazed just how much was done, all of them written about in my posts, and there was still plenty of time to relax too. Saturday afternoon being one of them. There was always Sunday for a potter around the garden!

Shirley Anne

Not quite to plan

In yesterday’s post I mentioned I was leaving off working on any projects at home until the new year. However, as I am too active a person I didn’t include that to mean I wouldn’t be doing anything! For a time now I have been considering moving the rhubarb from the small bed the corms were in and putting them in the raised bed between the two greenhouses. I had cleared the bed some months ago so it is lying empty at the moment.

With that in mind I dug them out and now have a small spare space in which to plant something else.

For the time being (as I write this on Fri 22) I have placed the corms on the large empty bed. I intend to dig in some compost from the compost bin before planting them. They will occupy the far end of the bed next to the main garden wall as E wishes to grow some vegetables in the same bed later. I think she’s intending to plant beetroot and maybe some other root vegetables though not potato, not this time round anyway. I have been wondering what to put in the spare space, another dwarf fan palm? A dwarf conifer? Flowers? I am not sure right now but I would prefer something on the taller side rather than ground-hugging. I have also been busy digging out a few montbretia plants that have been popping up here and there. If my readers remember I spent the first three or four months of the year digging out those rascals along with bluebells. I expect I will be doing much the same these next few months too although on a much smaller scale as I expect there to be far fewer.

Shirley Anne

 

It is the start

English: Gayle Beck After a morning of constan...
Gayle Beck After a morning of constant drizzle, Gayle beck is seen flowing through Hawes with a fair volume of water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am writing this on Thursday 21 after having my lunch. I had missed breakfast as I tend to do when I plan going for a walk in the morning. This morning was no exception. It has been a wet and dull morning with no prospect of any sunshine at all today. It wasn’t raining heavily when I went out but there was a constant drizzle, fine rain, the sort that drifts slowly down from the sky and seems to get into every nook and cranny not effectively screened from it. Even such fine drizzle can lead to streams of gushing water in some places. Anyway, it wasn’t going to prevent my enjoyment and off I went. I headed to the beach and walked toward the pier at which point I took to the roadside because there was too much mud on the beach for the next couple of hundred metres. I decided to remain on the roadside and continued as far as I wished until turning off to return homeward along a different route. I did return to the seafront for the last part of my walk. By the time I arrived home I was ready to do it all over again……but I didn’t. It proves a point, one which I already knew anyway, that the more we exercise the more we want to and are able to. It is all about building up stamina. When we exercise our bodies produce endorphins, ‘Any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides which activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect.‘ In other words exercising makes you feel good. It is the start of Winter (Dec 21 or thereabouts) today if it can be pinned down to the calendar of course. It is so mild despite the rain. For some time now I have done little in the way of work at home though there are some things in the pipeline ahead which I plan on doing. I made the decision to put off all little projects until the beginning of the new year and simply enjoy doing nothing for a while, apart from my exercising of course.

Shirley Anne

 

Meeting people

A Walk to Remember
A Walk to Remember (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was getting back into the routine of exercising yesterday, that would be Monday 18th and today I resumed my walking routine too. Quite often when I go out for a walk I meet someone who knows me, even when I am distant from home. That’s to be expected considering I have spent many years working in the area until earlier this year. Often I am taken by surprise when people approach and greet me by name for I can almost guarantee I have forgotten theirs. I remember their faces and even after they have reminded me that I worked for them and where they live I still cannot remember their names. So on Tuesday I planned to walk for five miles and headed northward on roads a little distance from the seafront. I passed along the Promenade to the other side of  the town centre then took another road off the main route. At this point I was greeted by a man walking his dog but I didn’t recognise him (or the dog!). “Hello Shirley Anne” he said as we approached each other. He was wondering why I was so far from home as I told him I take long walks frequently though not always in the same direction. He was doing likewise but as he admitted he was more or less obliged to so the dog could get the exercise. I think he enjoys it too. We parted company and I continued on my chosen route. As I headed toward the coastal road I met the same guy again walking toward me. He had taken a circuitous route which crossed mine so we were bound to pass by each other again. This time I quipped ” We’ll have to stop meeting like this” and he smiled. I apologised to him for not remembering his name and asked him what it was. His name was Andrew. He headed home and I headed for the beach, if you could call it by that name for at that point it is all grass! I could see the tide was turning and beginning to come in but the water was still far off. I walked the whole way back toward home on the beach until eventually the grass gave way to sand and I was standing beneath the pier. The water was much nearer there but still far enough away to allow me to continue to my exit point a mile away. A guy had come onto the beach near to the pier with his bicycle and had proceeded to fill a large bag with seaweed. There is always a lot of seaweed washed up on the beach. Saying hello I asked him why he was collecting it and he told me that he uses it as a compost in his garden. He told me he grows vegetables and that the seaweed is an excellent fertilizer as it contains high amounts of amino acids, iron and other nutrients ideal for his plants. I had thought he was collecting it to eat though no-one in their right mind would eat the seaweed that washes up hereabouts. Maybe it is safe to eat but I wouldn’t like to try it. I might consider trying it as a fertilizer though. I continued along the beach toward home thinking about seaweed as a fertilizer additive to our compost bin.

Shirley Anne

 

 

 

The way it goes

Gym Cardio Area Overlooking Greenery Category:...
Gym Cardio Area Overlooking Greenery Category:Fitness_training Category:Elliptical_Cross_Trainers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was Monday 18th, a week before Christmas day and I was set to resume my workout regime after a week of abstinence. The reason for the abstinence I mentioned in a previous post but essentially it was to allow my muscles to recuperate after I had overworked them on our new elliptical trainer. Now that they had recuperated I was eager to resume exercising. Although I had been for a couple of short walks during the week in order to do some exercise I needed to get started again on the gym equipment. Maybe it was that I simply wasn’t tired enough but I found it very difficult to get to sleep on Sunday evening. I found myself tossing and turning throughout the night until eventually I fell asleep properly. However, it was by then 4.30 which meant I didn’t wake until almost 11.00 . E had gone out somewhere and probably wouldn’t be home until late in the afternoon. I dragged myself out of bed and dressed in my sportswear. After a short warm-up and a spell on the vibrating machine which helps loosen up the muscles I got on the treadmill and began my exercise. Half an hour later I mounted the elliptical trainer and began exercising on that, very slowly and only at a walking pace. I was determined not to do any strenuous exercise on the machine this first time after abstaining from using it. After about fifteen minutes I stopped. Maybe at the next visit I will begin to extend my time on it. Although I wasn’t too warm after my exercising I went into the garden to cool off anyway and as usual with me I am looking to see if there are any weeds which I can pull out when out there. This time I ended up sweeping leaves and putting them in the wheelie bin!. It was time to return indoors and change out of my sportswear and dress for the day. It was 1 o’clock. Time for lunch. I had it in mind to go for a walk but changed my mind, I would be going for a long walk the following day and didn’t want to overdo things by exercising too much. According to the weather forecast we were in for some fine weather for a few days which is always nice when going for walks.

Shirley Anne

With all my heart

I’ve a wonderful love
That’s so deep in my heart
Came into my life
Gave me a new start
Through all of my sorrows
My troubles and pain
Whenever I fell
I was lifted again.
The joy of this love
Gives to each one a share
With no special favours
To black, brown or fair.
Take hold of this love
There for each one of us
The love of my Saviour
My sweet Lord Jesus.

Copyright Shirley Anne 31 March 2003

Dear Lord my God, my Heavenly Father I give you praise

You are worthy to receive honour and glory and praise

For You are the I AM, you are the Creator of all things

You created all things through your Son my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

He is my Redeemer my Saviour God

Today the world celebrates your birth, the day you came down from heaven to live amongst us

Immanuel! We cry out Immanuel – God with us

You take away the sins of the people that we may be presented pure and holy before The Father

For all those who believe on your name there is Salvation.

Thank you for the greatest gift we could ever receive

Thank you Jesus for loving me.

Today as in every day my soul rejoices in the knowledge of your love

I pray for those who don’t know you, for those who reject you

Forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing forgive them in Jesus’ name I ask

Give them O God another opportunity today to get to know you.

Thank you Jesus

Amen

 

Shirley Anne