Tuesday, 30 September 2008

ABC WEDNESDAY - K is for ......

K is for KENT

My home county
the garden of England 
(although they took that title away recently and gave it to Yorkshire!)
It is where I spent some of my childhood
and much of my teen years.

I met my Scottish husband there 
We married and we had our children in Kent.
We left the southern county in 1996 and we now live
in the most northern county and city of north west England.

My parents  still live on the Kent coast
and I visit every few months to get my fix of Kent (and mum's cooking).
It's where I feel most comfortable in my skin,  (apart from anywhere with my kids) 
I kind of blend in, accent and all.

a hot summers afternoon view out over the east coastline  
taken from the front of my parents former thatched cottage home

a late summers evening sky out over the sea and the Eastern Promenade,
taken from the same position at the front of my parents former home
(about 400 yards from their present home)

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

Another sunrise skyline from our old farmhouse home.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

My First MEME!?

Fellow bogger BS5  tagged me with this, so here are my happy, dutiful answers to a game of tag...

Here are the instructions: What you are supposed to do...and please don't spoil the fun...Copy/paste, type in your answers and tag four people in your lists! Don't forget to change my answers to the questions with that of your own.

(A) Four places I go over and over: My garden, TULLIE HOUSE Museum & Art gallery, (where I work p/t), Starbucks, TKMaxx

(B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: VOGUE magazine a daily subscription newsletter-a habit of past career!),admin@VIAGRA (daily junk mail honest!), FREECYCLE, Blog updates

(C) Four of my favourite places to eat: My mum's kitchen (MOANNIE), Desi Aroma (indian), a Greek taverna
(preferably IN greece), Paris

(D) Four places you'd rather be: A secluded sunny beach, in a piazza in Venice or Florence, THE COSTUME ARCHIVE at The V & A, Reading in an overstuffed old winged a book curled up in anold  overstuffed winged armchair in front of a real raging fire.

(E) Four TV shows I could watch over and over: The West Wing, ER, any BBC  drama, Antiques Roadshow (from any country)

(F) Four people I think will respond: 
MOANNIE  Out & about in New York   Working Mum on the verge (if she has time) & Random Jotting of a book and opera lover

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


JUXTAPOSE... (and japanese)

with a little help from my COLLINS CONSISE tome AGAIN...
I thought I would try to juxtapose some images  
I may be wrong with this train of thought, I hope not...
here is the definition from my tome

'to place close together or side by 
side, esp. for comparison or contrast.'

60ft Oak tree  on the Isle of Wight 2008

8 inch J-apanese Bonsai in my back garden - summer 2008

I bought this is from a supermarket bargain bin for pennies, all the leaves were brown and crisp. 
 l trimmed it, watered it and I read up about Bonsai,
many people make the error of placing them inside the home, 
with central heating and dry air, they are just not compatible.
Treat it like any other tree and it wll flourish, put it outside, (sheltered in winter) et voila!

Don't forget to stop by Mr.  LINKYat Mrs.Nesbits place, to see "J" posts from all around the world. And....we'd all love it if you left comments, or, even better, if you want to join the fun.

Monday, 22 September 2008

What is in a name?

I was chatting with my work colleagues recently about how assorted and varied are the names which we give  to our children.   The latest fashion influences  of celeb' names, be it Apple, Britney, Rumer or Kylie , Justin or Jayzee isn't a new thing by any means. I'm sure many babies were called Vera and Betty or Ronald and Fred in the 30's and 40's.  I wonder whether the area of the country or county where we were raised is a significant factor; Tracey (Emin) in Margate or Thomas (Beckett/ Cathedral) in Canterbury? 

Nicole Kidmans baby girl is named Sunday Rose, which actually quite surprisingly presses my buttons as  l think it pretty. It wasn't the day of the child's birth, as she was born on a Monday,  but it has everything to do with a Australian poet, apparently!!

But is this any 'better'  or 'worse' than say Satchel, Moon unit alpha or Chastity, although l like Apple (of the Paltrow/Martin union) and it's not unlike Cherry or Rose from the 40's & 50's or Daisy from the 60's or Poppy in 70's . And there are the monthly names; June, April, May, these were fashionable in the early 20th century, so really is anything NEW?

My name is Sara, which is French for Sarah and fairly 'common' here in UK now  though I admit incorrect spellings drive me nuts. But in 1950's, when my 'alien' father (French/Italian) went to register my birth, the snotty registrar explained, that if the planned name wasn't in his Book of Names, it wasn't permitted to register in  that name!! My father couldn't argue his point confidently, as his English wasn't yet fluent, so Sarah on the certificate it is, but l am  Sara but I respond to Sarah,  Sar, Saz, Sarita, Mum of course and Oi you, depending who l am with at the time!

My parents  planned to name me Francoise, but my mother  changed her mind on the day as she loved the name Sara from the book  A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The book has been a firm favourite for all the girls in the family and l have several early prints, but no first editions as yet. 

Also my good pal,  with whom l went to school in upstate New York in '70s called her daughter Sara after me in 1986, indeed an honour!

My kids names aren't unusual, but they aren't run of the mill popular either. Here are the stories of the whys and where for's, as  one has to compromise, cos you and the other half have to agree sometimes ... don't we?

My daughter was going to be named Susannah or Mary, but we couldn't decide which, so when she was born, as she was big and so long, 8lbs 11oz and 23.5 inches long, we thought a bigger name would suit a big girl. So Susannah Mary. Our son Patrick was decided upon long before his birth also, it was husbands choice as I had really chosen our daughters names. Husbands great uncle Patrick was a celebrated football player in the early 1920's and 30's in Glasgow, Scotland, and played for Celtic, and was famously named 'the mighty atom'.... and so Patrick. (also the name of my cousin )

My father's family names are of French/Italian origin,  these include Antoinette,  Carmen, Sophia, Clothilde (oh how I love it), Rachele, Martial, Jean-Pierre, Chantal, Margo, Maguerite,Cecile, Louisa, all sound romantic and chic to my ear!

On my mothers side (MOANNIE) pretty names as in Georgina, Margaret, Eleanor, Iris, Lily, Molly, Anne, Helena, Cecil, Henry and Jack all strong solid men's Brit names.

So, I got to wondering if we bloggers' family or siblings names are normal everyday or extraordinary in any way?  Does anyone have any interesting stories to tell?

P.s, MOANNIE tells me my apostrophe use is appalling...'eats shoots and leaves' it may be, but sorry you'll have to show me where and what exactly....LOL... so apolgies if you are the 'tethcy on grammar' type as Mum obviously is!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Today the sun shone.
So in a bid to catch a little of the dry weather, 
I spent a few moments  in my break, 
breathing in the fresh air and 
admiring the view we have from the outside balcony area at the museum.
I think you will agree it's a great view!

Carlisle Castle, Carlisle, Cumbria, as viewed from Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Extracurricular Activities!

I recently read some remarks about how awful some people think it is to read in the loo! Though to be fair approx the same amount were all for it! 

It appears some people are quite anal about having books, magazines, a radio in the loo ... no pun intended, honest!

Why are people so affronted by any extracurricular activities in the bathroom? Is it because this is where the unmentionables and the ablutions take place? Or is it a, dare I say the word, 'class' thing?

Perhaps because the wealthy and well to do's, have had the use of a toilet system within their houses long before the hoi polloi. They perhaps never had to contemplate, in a wooden, concrete or makeshift outhouse, too cold to 'perform', so to speak and that's maybe where it all started!

I've text'd, read books or magazines, wrote 100's of lists and even talked on the phone! But as yet I haven't taken the laptop in with me, into the smallest room in the house. Well maybe the smallest room is an exaggeration cos that probably my sons room. There isn't much between them in size, obviously my sons room hasn't a loo/sink/bath/shower, although if he has any of his mother and maternal grandfather about him, he will try his best to fit it ALL in plus the garden shed too!

What does one do in the loo, if you are there longer than to spend a penny? (and btw its now 20 pence to spend a 'penny' in Euston station ladies). What is there to look at? Your feet? the wall in front? Now this is where I think that there is quality time to be found when in the loo.

When I attended my convent school 1968-174, we never spent much time in the loos, unless we were avoiding Sisters Assumpta and Joseph Columba, because the loo paper was that crispy hard noisy Izal paper, but there were times when it was raining and we didn't want to 'play' outside, so Lorri and I would stand on the loo and talk over the top. Then when anyone came in we were very quiet. So wrong in retrospect on several levels, but hey we were the tallest girls in a convent school in the early 70's and the teasing was merciless!

Slight digression, sorry, in our bathroom we have copies of Film magazines, the Sunday sport pages, a copy of the Culture and I've probably left my current book in there. I've noticed that rarely does anyone use the single 2nd loo we have, and l think that is because its such a narrow room, you can't stick your elbows out!

If you were say, the author of a book would you be affronted to find it in the loo?!

Someone has taken his reading very seriously, this contraption is available through this 

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

ABC WEDNESDAY - i is for....

... I-con
to be frank I had trouble on this one, all I could t
hink of was ICE, but l couldnt find any of my own images
 to go with it, and that IS the point right, that its our own photos!?

So l reached for my old faithful the Collins Concise tome and looked for inspiration...ah too late now!

Here is a well known and loved Icon, The Princess of Wales, 
unfortunately I cannot find the photos I have of her, 
which I took when she visited my home town of Canterbury at the  Cathedral in the early 1980's. 

However I do have this, 
an I-conic  vintage Jacques Azagury designer dress from my Vintage store, 
well it isn't anymore as I'm keeping it! 
The original was sold in the now famous auction of many of her dresses.

Ballerina length dress with black bodice  
embroidered with blue stars.  
The drop waisted skirt is a double layer of blue organza. 
Designer: Jacques Azagury
...and this is my dress

Don't forget to stop by Mr.  LINKYat Mrs.Nesbits place, to see "i" posts from all around the world. And....we'd all love it if you left comments, or, even better, if you want to join the fun.

Hell hath no fury ...

... like a woman going through the CHANGE'.

I am, I think by nature a passionate creature, I am a mix of French/Italian & English by parentage ... surely this speaks volumes ... there are no in between moods nor shades of grey with me I'm afraid. So perhaps one should feel sorry for my husband, my daughter and my son, yes probably even Pippa, our dog.

I have been known to try and put the iron into the fridge, the kids have found the bacon in the dishwasher instead of the fridge and the butter into the microwave (in error), and no the butter wasn't frozen! I have ranted at the children for not putting a teaspoon into the dishwasher and cried copiously in frustration on the telephone to the man at the bank, the telephone supplier and Sky tv. I know getting through the 8 different menu sections, to speak with a living breathing human in Bangkok, Bombay or Blackpool would test the patience of Mother Teresa or even Gandhi himself, but it defeats me totally, menopausal or not!

Lucky are those who can take Hrt, as l experienced the happy pills for 3 blissful months. Heaven on earth it was, no flushes, my mood swings were better, but my BP was so abnormal when checked by my Doctor, he was surprised l was still breathing. He told me to not take one more.

Now l just pray that the 'mad manic mama' or 'the mentalist' tags by which I am now referred to, will soon be forgotten and forgiven and I can get through this end of the horror, with my marriage and our children still intact and me in one un-frazzled piece!!

Last year I was having hot flushes (flashes in USA) every 10 minutes, day and night for about four months. Now I just get them when I eat anything hot, mow the lawn or ... well l'm sure you can imagine! 

All around me everyone is complaining that it is getting colder and asking 'when can we put the heating on?', I just laugh and tell them to firm up and put on a cardi or sweater. The heating on! no, that aint gonna happen this month!

Any helpful old wives tales or stress and strenuous free tips would be gratefully received...

OH shit, open the effing window here comes another hormonal heat wave...

Monday, 15 September 2008

It is just like the double decker bus syndrome!

... and you can stand there on the pavement for ages in the rain,
getting wetter and wearier, waiting impatiently for that damn bus...
it never arrives ... nor does the next one due .... and then ....
several come all at once ....

In the past few days I've received  two awards
Thank you...
Having recently posted that 'My cup runneth over...'
and writing about my reflection upon how blessed l'm feeling
with my friends and family all around me,
just like a warm blanket
fresh out of the tumble drier,
(oh dear that analogy wasn't in keeping with the mood l was trying to recreate! )

Thanks to Suburbia
for passing this torch to me and as with the last one
I feel happy to pass this on in the spirit of those recieved,
 to more of my favourite bloggers .

OMGOSH! My first award...

On friday afternoon I found I had been given this award  from Hadriana! 
So  THANK YOU very much I'm still buzzing...

I'm not sure how the system actually works (is it the same for ALL awards, like wot I got ... LOL and can I make my own?)

I understand I can give them away to some of my favourite bloggers. 

It is lovely to be appreciated and to know that there are people out there reading what we write is a HUGE bonus, (cos I thought I was just ranting and venting!).

So thank you once more Hadriana and right back at ya with this award!
My tributes are for a few of the bloggers whose posts are unmissable! 

THE VIEW FROM THIS END - for Moannie (mum) who has been blogging for a short time but her posts are all pearls! Call it nepotism l don't care! LOL

Moments from suburbia -  Cos she makes me laugh and cry

Poetic License - for her inspiring and 'poetic' posts

 authorblog -David, because his blog is inspiring on so many levels, his photography, his wit, his altruism and intelligence and oh so much more....

Family Affairs - for her fortitude and perseverence 

Alcoholic Daze - for her courage and endurance

Working mum on the verge - cos she was one of the first bloggers who came by to visit and she has been coming by ever since & btw I do 'love your blog'

 One strangely lush mother   - and to a fellow 'Lady of Kent',   who writes with such versatility and happiness, it thankfully can't help but rub off a little!

As with all awards there are certain rules to follow:
1. Link to the giver
2. Nominate up to seven (oops...) other fab blogs and link to them
3. Leave messages announcing their ris
e to greatness. 
note - You may have been given this already, so that means you are a GREAT blogger

Friday, 12 September 2008

My cup runneth over ...

A few days ago I received a very touching tribute from a long time girl friend, it was about female friendships and sisterhood.

It made me reflect upon the women in my life and how these friends may also be described as our 'chosen' family.

I have always considered myself to be not much of a girly girl, you know the one who loves to party with a gaggle of giggling female friends out on the town, in a pub or club, sometimes getting sloshed and perhaps even boshed at weekends. I rarely went out with a group of girls or women for that matter and I've always been uncomfortable in a crowded and noisy nightclub, a bar or disco, but I did sometimes frequent them, though rarely drunk, often getting slowly merry and smoking myself into a muggy stupor.

However when the children came, even that stopped for me and I have to say I didnt miss it at all. The women l would go out with to the cinema, a wine bar or for a meal, were usually work colleagues and they soon dropped by the wayside, along with the career girl work. I have to say I didn't and don't miss that at all either.

Whilst thinking about the poignant email and the friend who sent it, I thought about my recent birthday bash, a group of 20 women who gathered to join me to celebrate for a few drinks and a meal. Women work colleagues, my daughter, my sister in law, other good friends and Lynn, my good pal whom I met shortly after I moved to Cumbria, indeed she moved here in the same year.

I have four other good friends whom, now l come to think this through, don't know each other nor have they ever met that l can recall. One friend is from early school, with whom I share a love of vintage fashion and we now both run vintage businesses. One friend is from my fashion world of the early 1980's and another friend is from bedsit land in the late 1970's. My friend in America who sent me the email, has been a very good friend since 1975 when we met and became close at school in upstate New York. All four live the other end of the country but we keep in contact by email and by phone. Visits are few and far between and need strategic planning, organising and timing, similar to the scope of a Mrs. Strangelove.

Just today I met up with fellow blogger Hadriana for lunch and we chatted for the longest time. What surprises this blog business brings!

I have a refreshed, open and relaxed friendship with my mother, (who is now a blogger herself) and we share many interests above and beyond family.

I have always thought one would be rich indeed to have two people to call friends. Since turning 50 last month, I have been more reflective and appreciative of my life,  my family, my friends, but more importantly my women friends. I am actually surprised and humbled at the wealth in my life.

I feel I am truly blessed, my cup runneth over with an abundance of sisterhood! 

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A Photo Opportunity for PHOTO STORY FRIDAY

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Whilst on the Isle of Wight this summer, we came across some fishing boats at Steephill Cove.

As I drew closer, I saw a whole metal fence covered with fishermens'  floats.
 I thought it was a 'photo story' opportunity and a potential watercolour project too! 

photostory friday Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

ABC WEDNESDAY - H is for...

This week's ABC Wednesday is I'm afraid a tad self indulgent ...

as H is for my idea of H-eaven (on earth)

my kind of H-eaven is a roomful of BOOKS, 
one day I would love to have a library, 
my own room dedicated to books!

my kind of H-eaven is a book in hand, 
on a summers day in the garden, 
the children (now too big) playing quietly together (nah not gonna happen!)

Old books, new books, coffee table books, children's  books, art books in fact any books!

another kind of heaven for me is my collection of vintage H-andbags
I use them whenever practical or not, 
with a vintage silk scarf tied to one handle, 
also very useful when caught out in the rain. 
This mortifies my kids, but hey, am l bovvered?

 A selection of bags from my (quite large) vintage collection.
Of course my idea of H-eaven is also, 
being with my family, traveling, making art and gardening, 
but none of these pursuits happen to begin with H!

Don't forget to stop by Mr. Linky at Mrs. Nesbitt's place, to see "H" posts from all around the world. And....we'd all love it if you left comments, or, even better, if you want to join the fun.

Thursday, 4 September 2008


I wasn't sure which club to attach this post to so did both, hope that's ok!?

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

The view of the south eastern skyline

from our former home of nine years

could be pretty spectacular!

Just beyond the horizon is the hamlet of Easton,

hence the title.

Autumn Haze

Winter Daze

Spring Rainbow

Summer Harvest

ABC photostory friday Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

G is for Gairloch - ABC WEDNESDAY


a cove at Gairloch 2007

I was just thinking that this time last year we had just returned from a late summer trip to the North West of Scotland.

Ben Eigh 2007

Of course, it was dull and mostly wet, but we had a great relaxing time.
We stayed in a log cabin for 5 days in Kinlochewe,
under the shadow of Ben Eigh on the shores of Loch Maree
We walked a lot and watched the wildlife, including skuas, G-uillemonts, G-annets, cormorants, porpoises and seals whilst on a boat trip out into Loch G-airloch.

Loch Gairloch
The nearest town was G-airloch, where we visited the fabulous Hillbillies Cafe for morning coffee and afternoon tea and sometimes just for piece of lemon meringue pie. With its adjacent book shop I was in heaven, food and books, what more can a girl ask for....

Bealach na Ba, Skye

We took the car up the world reknowned Cattle Pass and then down to Applecross, something we did when we were younger before we had the children and had regaled them with tales of the steep and winding drive up. At the top, where it is so cold and blustery even in August the view over to Isle of Skye and Bealach na Ba was amazing.

Don't forget to stop by Mr. Linky at Mrs. Nesbitt's place, to see "G" posts from all around the world. And....we'd all love it if you left comments, or, even better, if you want to join the fun.

just dropped by...

...to visit Mum's blog and to say Hi to a few friends... I hope you know, you are all never very far from my thoughts. Many of whom I...