I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure


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Friday letters – the last day of September edition

Dear new Bank of England five pound note,  I am beginning to think that you are a myth.  Since you were introduced into circulation on the 13th of September I have been given several £5 notes in change in shops but never the new one.  There are excited social media suggestions as to what we could do with our first new fiver (send it to charity is the most common one it seems), there have been news reports about them, I have heard people discuss them or exclaim in excitement about receiving one, but I have not seen one myself.  Have any of my British readers actually seen one?  Are they like the Loch Ness Monster – something that is said to exist but no one has ever seen?

Dear supermarket check out girl,  I was not impressed with you and your glum expression.  You spoke five words to me during my entire interaction with you, and one of those words was only because I said hello to you and you grudgingly returned the greeting.  The other four words were ‘Nectar card?’ (so you can guess which shop I was in!) and the total of my bill.  No pleases, no thank yous. You did not look at me during the entire process, or make me feel that your shop was one that I would consider going back to.  I think some customer service training is what you need.

Dear Waterstones,  How wonderful to have you back in town!  You’ve only been open a week and I’ve already been in three times.  When your original shop closed a few years ago we were bereft.  How could it be that we had been denied a ‘proper’ bookshop?    Picking up books in the supermarket, or WH Smiths, just wasn’t the same, but now we have a nice new (if a bit smaller version of the original one) bookshop where I can browse to my heart’s content.  Happy days. 

Dear little standby/on lights, I’m not quite sure what the collective term for you is, but I mean the little lights on the TV recording box, telephone answering machine, heating thermostat, WiFi router etc – the little lights that shine like the brightest beacons in the dark.  Why do you have to be quite so bright?  I don’t think there is such a thing as total darkness in our house at night because there is always something shining, or blinking, and illuminating the place.  I can see that you are useful and can tell us that the item is on, and working, but your luminosity could be turned down several notches and we could still see you quite clearly.  In a world that is trying to get us to think about reducing energy consumption you are not really doing your bit, are you?

Dear friends, I enjoyed our day together yesterday – chatting, eating lemon drizzle cake, seeing the sights and dining in a beautiful old pub.  I hope you got home safely.

Dear savage chickens,  You are still making me laugh.

chickensdoubt

I hope you have a good Friday, whatever your plans are.


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September: flower portrait #4

papaver-orientale

Papaver Orientale

Poppies are one of my favourite flowers but I’ve not had much success growing them in my garden.  However, this year I decided I would try again and bought a plant.  There were a few buds on it and I was really hoping  that I would be able to nurture it and keep it alive.  Success!  It wasn’t until there was only one flower left on it that I realised I hadn’t taken a photo, so this is the last bloom, and it is on its way out I think.

papaver-orientale-close

I think the centre looks as though it has been made from some kind of sugared jelly sweet!

papaver-orientale-seed-head

I kept some of the seed heads, which I will use next year and hope for more success.

This post is linking up with The Earth Laughs in Flowers .


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St Andrews

It was a chilly April day when my mum, sister and I travelled to St Andrews to see a small, temporary exhibition of photographs which was on display at the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum.  The photos were of ‘lost’ buildings: buildings which had either been demolished, or developed over the years.  Our interest in these photos was because they were taken by my mum and dad on our family summer holidays when I was a little girl.  I had submitted several photos of the Step Rock Pool and beach and four were chosen.

photos-on-display

Photo credit: persistentbooks.co.uk

The museum staff treated us like celebrities – they thought it was marvellous that two people who appeared in these ‘historic’ photos should be there in person in the museum.  After our visit, we had coffee in a coffee shop with some royal ‘history’ before setting off on a small tour of the town and pier.  My sister spent four years in St Andrews, at university, so she was looking forward to revisiting some old haunts.

The university of St Andrews was founded in 1413 and is the oldest in Scotland.  Walking through an archway on South Street, we found ourselves in the quadrangle of St Mary’s College.  The first of the buildings which form this quadrangle was begun in 1538 and was known as the ‘New College’!

The quadrangle contains a Holm Oak tree, thought to be about 275 years old and an ancient thorn tree said to have been planted by Mary, Queen of Scots in the sixteenth century.

In the middle of the quadrangle is a bronze statue of Bishop Henry Wardlaw, the founder of this place.

All around the quadrangle there are trees and flower beds and, when we visited, drifts of ramsons, or wild garlic.

Just to the left of the archway into St Mary’s College is the Library, with an interesting line marked on the pavement.

Moving on from the college we went to one of the areas of St Andrews that I remember the most – the swimming pool and beaches.  The pool where I learned to swim is now part of the Aquarium and seals are in the section that used to be the paddling pool.

From our vantage point above the Step Rock Pool we could see over to the West Sands, which you may know from a scene in the film Chariots of Fire where the athletes are running along the beach.

We then made our way to the harbour and pier – another area I remember well from childhood when I used to sit with a little fishing line and a bucket of bait and see if I could catch anything.  I don’t remember actually catching anything!

From the pier you can see back to the ruins of the cathedral and across to the ruins of the castle and the beach below it, which was the other beach we visited during our holidays.  It was a stony, rather than a sandy, beach so was not my favourite one.

Then we walked along the pier, which we had almost to ourselves.

We decided enough was enough after our breezy pier walk and got back into the car and headed off to find somewhere warm and cosy to have something to eat.

My sister wrote here about her visit to the exhibition in the museum, and experiencing other people’s memories.

I hope you enjoyed your bracing walk round St Andrews – it would certainly have blown away any cobwebs which might have been lingering after the weekend.  If you still have the energy for more, pop along to Jo’s Monday Walk where there are plenty of other walks to join in with.


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autumn worms

WORM CASTS ON GRASS – IT’S AUTUMN

Autumn officially began on the 21st September and I think the worms were just waiting for the official go-ahead before they started leaving their little heaps of muddy soil on our grass.  I’m sure there weren’t any there a few days ago and now quite a few have appeared – it won’t be long before it will be impossible to walk on the grass without squelching.

chickenshrug

I hope you have a good Saturday whatever you have planned.

For more sets of six words visit Cate.


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Friday letters – the start of autumn edition

Dear Autumn,  You arrived yesterday, officially, and the transition from summer to autumn was seamless with sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures, which was a wonderful bonus.  It’s going to be another similar day today – hooray!

Dear camera, Why do you sometimes allow me to take wonderful close up photos and then the next minute you won’t focus?  It’s a trifle annoying.  However, I did manage to take a few shots this week which I am very pleased with.

Dear magpies,  Hanging peanut feeders are not really designed for you – but it’s good fun watching you try to use them!

Dear chestnuts/conkers,  Your brown shiny-ness (is that a real word?) is so irresistible!  We went for a walk in the park at the weekend and I came home with a handful – I just couldn’t leave them on the ground.  I’ve put you in the porch because I’ve heard that you keep spiders away –  we will see.

conkers

Have a good Friday everyone!


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September: flower portrait #3

I saw this North American tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in Kew Gardens in June this year.

tulip tree

The tree has large dark green leaves and cup shaped white, green and orange blooms that look like tulips, which is how it gets its name, although there is no scientific link between them.  It grows up to 30 metres in height, flowers in mid-summer and produces lots of nectar.

The Native Americans of the Appalachian Mountains used trunks of this tree to make dugout canoes; massive logs were hollowed out and could carry up to 20 people at a time!

This post is linking up with The Earth Laughs in Flowers .


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Friday letters – the spectacular thunderstorms edition

Dear weather,  You certainly made your presence known last night with more rain in one night than we’ve had in the last few months put together.  The torrential rain, coupled with VERY loud thunder and bright lightning, meant that last night was quite a change from the warm, sultry nights we’ve been having for a while. 

Dear fire engine,  I am puzzled as to why you needed your blue lights flashing in the middle of the night on a deserted residential road?  There was no-one impeding your progress, so it can’t have been that.  Maybe it is just so that the people who have called you out can see that you are coming? I’m presuming you were responding to something that happened as a result of the lightning.  I’m not complaining, I’m just wondering.

Dear people, Why, after what has clearly been a night of unusual rainfall, do you not think that perhaps you should leave a little earlier than normal for the car journey to work?  Why leave at the usual time and then get all stressed and drive like an idiot when a flash flood has either blocked your progress, or slowed it down?  Some of you then cause more of a problem by crashing into other cars and holding everyone up for that reason.  It happens every time we have very heavy rain – why do you not learn?  Luckily I didn’t have to travel anywhere this morning, but apparently it was gridlock for miles around.

Dear collared doves,   I saw you again, this morning, on the fence, being very amorous.  Surely baby-making time is over now? 

chickenspain

Have a good Friday everyone!