Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Reculver Towers - Day Three

Day one & two HERE


On Day Three - I packed Mum and Milou into the back of my car, well not literally but into the back seats, and trundled, not unlike Postman Pat to Reculver. Which is just three miles east of the bay. I've visited this many times. With family, on school and cycle trips and ' a deux' as lovers lane is on the way. Nuff said.

The famous Reculver Roman Fort/ Towers is now sitting precariously on the edge of the cliff. Literally three feet away from disaster.  When the Roman fort first came into existence some 2o0o years ago. It probably consisted of trenches and a wooden structure, not dissimilar to the first incarnation of Hadrians wall. This too was soon replaced by a stone structure. The southern remnants represent the original building c 693AD. 

From Wikipedia- "Called "Regulbium", the fort guarded the north end of what were then the broad waters of the Wantsum Channel, which separated the Isle of Thanet from the rest of Kent, and was open to shipping. Recent archaeological excavation has shown that the site had been occupied in pre-historic times, and it is of interest that the name "Regulbium" is Celtic  in origin, probably meaning "at the promontory", or similar. The place is elevated above the surrounding countryside, and it still sits on a slight promontory today. In old english, the place-name became corrupted to "Raculf", ultimately giving rise to the modern "Reculver".

While the churchyard to the north of the church has long since been lost to the sea, together with a large proportion of the Roman fort, Reculver continues to be threatened by the retreating coastline. The cliffs between Reculver and Herne Bay, which rise up to 30 metres (98 ft) in height, are highly vulnerable to erosion since they are composed of soft sand and clays, originally laid down in shallow seas about 60 million years ago. Consequently the coastline is receding extremely quickly, threatening residents and the local tourism industry. At present the area remains inadequately protected, and the provision of adequate sea defences is still under debate."


(click on images to enlarge)

back view of the front towers 


the view  over the south end over the Isle Of Thanet (although no longer an Island)

the roman remains

see how near the cliff edge it is...


view from south end and cliff edge


map showing then and now (click to enlarge)


room with a view


19C dedication

Milou enjoying the space

Day one & two HERE

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Home stay

Yesterday I drove home from Kent. Back up through the spine of England. In the pouring rain. In Kent the weather had been wonderful.   Sunshine and blue skies beside the sea. 
The fresh sea air was refreshing and cleansing. 
 I was replenished from the well of family. 
Much laughter and talk fed me from the deep waters that is  the cradle of my parents home. 

Day one - We didn't stray too far. We ratched around some charity shops in town. 
Then drank in the seafront promenade and a pot of tea within the renovated Bandstand. 
As we sat and drank in the tea and sunshine. 
Our minds were no doubt awash with our own youthful memories. 
Spent dancing and romancing along this promenade. Thirty years apart.
(Some of the images are clickable to enlarge)

The seafront Bandstand

Room with a View

Inspired by people watching in cafes by Merisi, 
though not quite the same

Watching me, watching you!

Day two -  We visited Ramsgate Cemetery. My grandmother is buried there. The cemetery is not well maintained nor pristine. The grass not manicured within an inch of its life, nor are the graves regularly visited or well kempt. Thus the atmosphere is magically serene and welcoming. I always enjoy my rare visits. 


A walk of Remembrance

In the shade of a fringe of leaves

a leafy arch

the domino effect?
back to nature

... all in a row...

I just love this peeking through...

I always fancy that Nana is laughing or dancing around, looking glamorous.  
Raising a perfectly pencilled eyebrow when she hears us approach 
and leaves her erstwhile friends to return a while to her resting place.

Nana at 44, oh those legs!

We decided that some retail therapy and potential heavy spending
 at TK Maxx would balance up our day.  
Though As Moannie reported HERE  we did not find much to buy.

More images of the trip to post this week. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

100 things...revisited

After work tomorrow, I shall be driving to Kent. Alone. To visit with my parents. We will talk, eat, drink, shop, relax, laugh and even perhaps cry a bit. We may paint some views, take some photos and watch some tv or films. My ever increasing backside will be fed by mother's FAB cooking and I will hesitate at the third helping. But only for a nano second. Oh and I will spoiled rotten. Never to lift a finger. Though I shall try hard to help out. I shall stay a few days and drive back on Monday. At least 5lbs heavier. All on my waist and arse! I like to think I shall be missed. I doubt I will. 

I posted this back in August. I got scared.  l think I was being silly. Here it is again. See you soon.

1. I am a blogger and my blog name is Fat frumpy & fifty.

2. My family call me Sarita, Saz, Sazzie, Sarabelle, Lala and Mum.
3. I have lived in England, France, Mexico, Canada, USA and Spain.
4. I have also visited Italy, Tunisia, Scotland, oh and Belgium (we took a wrong turn and l was asleep, does that count?) and Greece.
5. I used to speak French and Spanish (Mexican-Spanish though l am terribly, terribly rusty in both)
6. I love the sunshine and dry warm weather
7. I don’t enjoy living in wet, damp, windy and cold climates
8. I live in Cumbria.
9. I was conceived in Barcelona.
10. I miss my grandmother, Iris Eleanor Young (June)
11. I adore visiting Art Galleries and Museums.
12. I’m addicted to books, reading them, holding them, smelling them, owning them.
13. Ditto for handbags, especially vintage handbags.
14. I haven’t counted them but I guess l have around 100
15. I have two children, a daughter of 17 and a son of 14.
16. I love going to the cinema
17. I love watching a film at home
18. I have rekindled my interest in gardening
19. I love the smell of the sea, the seaside in Kent.
20. I love feeling the hot sand under foot (not in Kent)
21. Smelling the washing that has been blown dry on a line, lovely! (not in Cumbria)
22. I like to eat, the pleasure of eating, the event, the taste, it’s a sensual thing for me, it’s part of my upbringing, its those long French meal times
23. I like to do most things 'creative', to paint, draw, sculpt, mosaic, stitch, quilt, etc.
24. The French singer Johnny Hallyday is a not so secret passion, since I was 10 yrs old.
25. My favourite colour is purple and all its hues.
26. I am passionate about Vintage clothing, its history is mesmerising real or imagined.
27. I spent a large part of my life in a south of England seaside town in
 Kent
28. I have attended five schools, two colleges and am currently study with the Open University.
29. I read and review books for a readers’ magazine.
30. I used to be a breast feeding counsellor
31. I’ve been in the same relationship for 27 years (or 34 if you count the breaks like Rachel & Ross)
32. I’m not very even tempered, l'm either really enthusiastic or quite low, even depressed, rarely relaxed or calm, what is that about?
33. I think l must be difficult to live with
34. I think everyone must be difficult to live with
35. I am probably a bit obsessive compulsive, its all or nothing with me
36. I cry at sad things, reading newspapers, blogs, on tv, radio and most of the happy things too
37. I wish l laughed more, it feels so good
38. I was an awful school student, uninspired, no study ethic, couldn’t wait to leave
39. I wish I had been a good student, inspired by great teachers and subjects
40. I wanted to go to art school
41. I value my friends! You know who you are!
42. I have been made redundant four times, all in the 1980’s
43. I am a qualified hair stylist
44. I used to work in a bookshop
45. I passed the Diploma of Uk Booksellers with merit
46. I used to be a Fashion buyer and in retail management
47. I love hot pulsating showers and soaking in deep hot bath tubs
48. I love Steak au poivre, chateaubriand and beef wellington
49. I love crushed raspberries, meringues and whipped cream, all mushed up!
50. I love Galaxy chocolate
51. I eat too much chocolate
52. I am 50
53. I love my bed
54. I would love to have a duvet day alone
55. Or for two
56. I don’t like housework, but it has to be done
57. I love the smell of my babies’ skin, necks and heads, even now
58. My favourite black and white films are Random Harvest, it’s a Wonderful life & Brief Encounter
59. I love Christmas time, the planning, buying and wrapping of presents
60. It is better to give than receive
61. I wish l were happier
62. I’m not sure that’s possible
63. I want my children to be happy and healthy always, I guess that’s a given!
64. I am married to a Scot
65. I have had four broken bones: knee cap- l fell, collar bone -I was pushed, toe- something fell on me, cracked nose ( too complicated and embarrassing to go in to!)
66. I recently severed a nerve in my finger and had micro surgery to repair it
67. The finger is still numb
68. I adore Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No1, played very loud
69. I would like to attend a live orchestra playing no. 69.(you know what l mean)

70. I used to dislike country music, coffee and cream, not anymore.

71. I have tried to learn the guitar and piano and failed

72. I used to play the recorder

73. I went to a Catholic girls’ convent school for 6 years

74. I always fainted in Chapel during Benediction, it was the incense (or me)
75. I am not a catholic, but feel I am sort of, it’s complicated.
76. I am interested in Buddhism and other ‘spiritual’ paths
77. I would like to be ‘a glass half full’ kinda girl
78. I spend too much time online
79. I miss my dog Butch and our dog Barney
80. I like old brown furniture, painted white
81. I have had measles, German measles, chicken pox, slapped cheek disease, a touch of tuberculosis/whopping cough, influenza. 

82. I don’t like pubs and clubs, l’m always uncomfortable.

83. I did enjoy them in my 20’s though, it must have been a phase
84. I get pissed on two drinks (red wine or G&T) maybe it’s my age
85. Rufus Wainwright is my current music obsession
86. If l could I would travel, travel, travel.
87. I’ve been in several earthquakes, one was quite a biggie. I was a child and found it exciting
88. I’ve seen a tornado from a distance, again I was a child and found it exciting
89. During the 1968 student riots, we had to evacuate my Mexican school as the students were about to over run it. Tanks were on the streets.

90. I am scared of the dark

91. My maternal grandmother was a dancer, she partnered Victor Sylvester and was a Phyllis Dixie tableaux nude.
92. I was my happiest when I was pregnant.

93. As a teenager my Dad delivered groceries to the artist Picasso. He didn’t have any cash on him for a tip, so gave my father a drawing and signed it. My father thought he wasn’t impressed and threw it away. DOH!

94. I can't hear 'Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini', without thinking of my mother fondly.

95. As a child l would have nose bleeds that lasted for 3-4 hours, my nose was cauterised twice

96. In 1968 I travelled with my family on QE1 liner on its final transatlantic journey.
97. I’m strive to me a better mother.
98. l'm a fan of US drama programmes
99. I cycle, weather permitting, about town on my old Pashley bicycle.

100. I love to make lists, so this was fun and a tad revealing

Monday, 20 April 2009

You oxymoron!

house of lime and 'the joys of teens'..


Reading the post I said out loud and laughing,


'the joys of teens! Isn't that an oxymoron...?'


The teens and I then went on to discuss Irony and Oxymorons and Sarcasm in the same 15 minute period... of course this maybe perceived with humour and experience as an Oxymoron, I guess in grammatical terms it is not. Or am I being moronic?


Over to WIKi to clarify..


An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms. Oxymoron is a loanword from Greek oxy ("sharp" or "pointed") and moros ("dull").
  • Deafening silence
  • Sweet sorrow
  • Forward retreat
  • Accidentally on Purpose
  • Bittersweet
  • Controlled chaos
  • Icy hot
  • Living dead
  • Open secret
  • Organized mess
  • Plastic glass
  • Same difference
Interestingly the word oxymoron is itself an oxymoron.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

High spring and the beckoning of Summer..

why I like the warmer days and longer lighter evenings ...


walking the dog at 9pm instead of 3.30pm




wearing flip flops




sitting in the car facing the sea in the rain with a 99 (an ice cream not a position)


everyone seems happier (if the temperature rises above 68 degrees however they can't hack it)


the garden is a vista of colour


and an abundance of flora and textures all overlapping wildly


wearing less


mowing the lawn and pottering about in the garden and shed


the sun on my face


eating in the garden


getting my paints and easel out



serving cold cuts and salad more often (and getting away with it)





getting Agatha - my beloved Pashley out of the shed (just out not riding it! I jest - I ride it to work and push it home again)





the occassional BBQ


long walks on the beach


reading more during the day and not feeling so guilty - weird or what


my uplifted spirits


hearing the counds of neighbouring children shrieking and chatting with delight


our dog lying on the grass soaking up the sunshine...



Thank you David for mentioning this post on Post of the Day!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Spreading the text

Yesterday my bloggy pal Suburbia, was talking about her mother's new found agility at texting. 

Apparently, no technophobes, no slow learners these, our 'older' mothers.

On Sunday, my Mum sent me a message enquiring as to our plans for the day. I texted her back to say I was working and I would catch up her later.

Within a heartbeat she texted back with and I quote...  

'Who the fuck visits a Museum on Easter Sunday.....?'  

If she could receive images on her phone, I would have sent her pictures of the fuckers!


Be very afraid!

Friday, 17 April 2009

In case of fire...

which items would you save?

During our move in recent weeks, as items, bags, boxes and furniture were removed piece by piece, from one house to the other. I left a few choice pieces in full view, so  they wouldn't get mislaid, misplaced or misused.

As someone who is in recent years quite forgetful. One who has been burgled of some prized items of jewellery. One who has also stupidly through my own fault lost other items. One who may have left their purse on a car roof and driven off littering the motorway with money, jewellery and photos.  Lost forever. One has to be more careful. Doesn't one?

I try and keep special pieces of jewellery with me always or at least kept protectively hidden. I have irreplaceable and priceless items such as drawings and cards made by the children in infant school. All these and more would be lost if not coveted and stored well.

But I am at a loss what I should do next to protect my treasures and keepsakes, after the latest debacle!

Three special items were kept on plain view on  our undressed mattress in house #1 during the move. This included a copy of The Family History, a manuscript my mother has written for us her children. This is MY copy and although I do have a digital copy it is valuable to me. 

Another treasured item in the 'pile' on the bed was a personalised book, again  written and illustrated  by my mother. I cannot describe its worth. It is a one off. Written solely for me, about me. With love. 

The third treasured item was an large envelope containing a coveted family document. Recently sent to me in trust by my father.  I was honoured that he felt he could release this document to my trust and keeping, not to mention the Royal Mail in getting it to me. This document is essential to my application for my French passport. I postponed my application due to the house move. Without this document I could not apply. My father has had this 'Livre de Famille' since his 18th birthday. He is now 73 . I know it's  significance.

We took our time moving. We retained both properties for a two week overlapping period to ease the stress and strains of the move. One of the last items I brought into house#2 was the pile of folders from our bed.

I have spent the last two days, taking everything out of the shed. Twice. I have emptied all the cupboards in the house. Twice. I have been standing on chairs. I have been on my knees and not in a good way. Looking for them. How could I have forgotten where I put them? Where did I squirrel them away, after I brought them into this house? How stupid! How ridiculous! I got every box, sack, drawer and folder and rifled through them. Twice. At least. I got hot and bothered. Not in a good way.

I decided I could not go down to my folks as planned next Wednesday, as I couldn't face my father. I could not, pretend if asked about it fib or lie. I could not. I would not. 

What should I , could I, would I do,  if and when I had to admit to myself it was indeed missing? How could I tell him. He hoards. He cherishes. He is sentimental. I am like him about certain possessions. Their history. Their story. Their relevance. I was filled with dread and self loathing at my stupidity. If only I had told someone where I had placed them for safe keeping.

By 6pm on Tuesday I was beginning to feel sick. I went upstairs. I sat on my bed. I wept. From somewhere I know not where. Perhaps St. Anthony himself.  I may have mumbled a few words, dredged up from the dogma of my catholic convent school past. Perhaps. Into my mind came the thought to look again in the bedside table.  I had already looked there twice. There the Manuscript and My Story were lying beneath the detritus of pens, pencils and list making paraphernalia. I ran downstairs. I expressed a moment of relief. But still no Livre de Famille.

My daughter helpfully asked, 'Have you looked in the Household folder, like I suggested yesterday?' I had not.  I knew it wasn't big enough to hold the envelope. SoI thought I would look now as she was being helpful and I did not want to ignore the suggestion in front of her. 

She was also right! There it was! I was shamefaced. I was saved. I called Mum and Dad. I would definitely be down on Wednesday evening. 

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Wow! Wow! Wow!


A breath of fresh air from this unassuming, unaffected gentlewoman.
 May we all dream.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Home Alone 2

I thought I would share my few solitary days with you. I am alone. All alone. Not lonely.


The last time I was alone, I thought was just a few months ago. No. It was not. The last time was when I posted this post Home Alone dated Tuesday July 22, 2008!! That's nine months ago.



The same routine is being replayed. Larry has three days in the office in Manchester and so he books into an apartment rather than a hotel. This one has two bedrooms, so although my son camps out in the living room, there is a sense of holiday for them. Larry loves taking them out in the evenings. Imax - what is that? Pizza, curry, Apple shop etc.
I get to rearrange the house just so, tweaking a few things here and there. This way and that. Attack our daughters room. So when she returns it not overwhelming her. Cos as it is now, I cannot see the carpet!


I also get to play with my new toy. Its white and heavy and noisy! Now now! Moi, mais non! Lucky moi was out with Larry for breakfast yesterday and then we ran a few errands, including picking up some wire, I think I mean leads, for the amplifier. He totally surprised me by asking for ' a white Bose soundDock please' I was flabbergasted! My belated birthday present! I have been yearning for this for my ipod and loving the anticipation. I now have one. It is fantastico! The sound is sublime.

I find that the pace here is slowing and I am awash with a quiet contentment... and wine, galaxy, cream cake and salmon and veg steamed to perfection. Now which dvd shall I watch?


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

ABC Wednesday - M is for ..

ME and MY shadow!

Our beloved Pippa
earlier this evening
seating not so patiently 
while we eat our chicken dinner!

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

Monday, 13 April 2009

My mojo is missing


I'm not sure I can explain this properly. I'm not sure I can even put my finger on it. I'm not sure I even know where it has been. I'm not so sure I would recognise it if I saw it. I will try and explain.

I think I began to miss it early on last year. Some days I found myself feeling as if I was detached from my body. Detached from my family and friends. Detached from my life. Detached. In limbo.

It was as if I was in waiting for an event. What event? I had no knowledge of any nor any expectancy for any such happening.
It has felt like the sort of thing you read about when people talk about 'out of body experiences'. I have felt sad. At times I have felt very angry. Frustrated. Fit to burst. But I know not what about. I have felt disappointment.

It isn't depression. That shadow has visited. I know the difference. It is a chasm. Deep space. Off the beat. Out of sync.

I have assuaged these deep and strong feelings by telling myself I am at a crossroads. A watershed. Perhaps it is trite and indulgent, but it has seemingly got me through, I think to here and now. It has helped. Nothing terrible has happened. Really. I think I have been changing. Treading water. Holding on. By my fingernails.

Almost a year on and I think I have found a balance. I hope. I have not been looking. We have made changes. Not all welcomed. Some by the seat of our pants. Not all tangible.

Maybe it takes a little sunshine. Maybe it is a rite of passage. From one age to another. The dynamic is changing. I am changing. Everything changes. All of the time. Sometimes there is more noise. Sometimes there is a space left that needs filling. Or not. Maybe it takes time. Energy. Patience. Deep replenishing breaths of life.

It may also be that the cathartic and life affirming nature of this experience online has helped. It may be the kindness of others. Watching people reach out. Friendships made. The fulfillment and richness of the writing here. The prize of writing and sharing.

A shift in the spirit level of family. Relationships realigned.

It is early days, but I'm pretty sure I've got my mojo back.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

A Sunday Roast

Today and tomorrow I am working,
 as it is my turn on shift
this Easter 

The Museum doesn't close often, it is open 24/7
only closing on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

So suck it up Saz! 

So whilst the family are sucking up their chocolate and 
perhaps tidying the house and garden, I jest of course,
I am helping visitors around the museum 
and time is probably passing very slowly.

My day often begins well
 with an abundance of goodwill and happiness
 through the bounty of bloggers 

In particular this week's
 Sunday Roast feature 
 in David Authorblog McMahon's  blog.

I was honoured that David asked to interview me 
a short while ago for this feature 
but
 I am a little wary as I hardly recall 'what I writ'!

So if you go to  visit  please be gentle with me!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

A Photostory Friday - West Walls

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

walking back to the car from the church
 where my daughter 
had been performing in the senior choir

the sun was shining
in blue skies and I was
remembering how Merisi seems to 
find such great shots upon her walks

I thought I would try and look with her eye
for interesting buildings, views and reflections

these are the results of my 15 minute walk along West Walls
 the oldest street in the city which nestles along the city wall

view through leaded church window

shadow of a naked tree on old leaded window in sandstone building

West Walls

an old street lantern on West Walls




shadow of the street light


Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

(Don't assume all of Carlisle is like this, I also have pics of grafitti walls and boarded up buildings. These are pics of the older parts in Carlisle, my adopted home town)

Saturday, 4 April 2009

For Doris


Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, 
love leaves a memory no one can steal.  

From a headstone in Ireland




Thursday, 2 April 2009

Clouds of Calm - Photostory Friday




Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

I have cherished some moments of calm

and pockets of contentment this week.

I guess usually at this point

You would expect to see images

of soppy dogs and smiley babies, but not here



My segments of satisfaction are small slices

from my day on Tuesday

when I found myself smiling and reflecting

over small portions of productivity amid clouds of calm.

*****

The singing steam of the kettle


Flowers from a friend




cooking cute cupcakes



wind blown webs of washing


 bargain basement finds


and bedtime bliss


small wonders upon which to build

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.