Back to work.

Having been away in the wild blue yonder, even though England was a bit grey when we got home, there are some upsides. Our grandchildren, for example. Not going to bore you with cute things grandchildren say – they tend only to seem cute to the doting grandparents.  But the pleasure you get from grandchildren is different to what you experienced with your own children.

When my children were little, I was responsible for them, afraid for them, tired because of them, constantly watching over them  and so son and so on. There were times when looking after them was much more important than enjoying them. I haven’t forgotten all the fun and the loving and that overwhelming joy of just holding them in your arms for no other reason than that you could hold them in your arms. I was aware of how lucky we were and what pleasure they brought even back then, but I didn’t always have time to appreciate it, or them.

Grandchildren, on the other hand, are definitely different. I suppose because I’m not the primary carer I can do the doting grandma thing if I want. (I try not to push that one but it’s not easy.) Continue reading “Back to work.”

Sitting in a bar again.

Its not the same bar, obviously, but it’s a bar. Waiting for paella this time. Still in the sun, well, even better, in the shade. Only the English feel it’s decadent to sit in the shade, as if we’re wasting sunshine. So many bars, so little time.

20141018_141810This one is in Santa Eularia, Ibiza. Nice paella. And this one is in  Ibiza Town , just coffee. And then the one through the trees, with the red chairs is in Portinatx. Excellent steak sandwiches. SAM_7560 SAM_7612 There were more but I’m sure you’re starting to get the picture. (Get the picture! Get it?)



Continue reading “Sitting in a bar again.”

Some much needed sun.

I am currently sitting in a bar in Es Cana on the Spanish island of Ibiza. I am sitting in the sun drinking beer. This is good, very good. The day is hot, the beer is cool and it is not, I repeat.  NOT, raining.  In one of her Doris Day, Que Sera moments, my mum told me there would be days like this. And she was right. As you can see, the loved one is happy too.



I'm tryingto be a lady so mine is the small beer.
I’m tryingto be a lady so mine is the small beer.


This is a lovely place and i look forward to telling you more about it.  In the background there is music playing – “Dont worry, be happy.” Well i really am going to try.

My idea of Heaven.
My idea of Heaven.


The first time I got onto the Internet today was when I got home from work and I rushed upstairs and had a quick look before being called down by the loved one for my dinner. (Chicken casserole, jacket potato and roast peppers, yummmmeee.)  Saw the Challenge, which was all I was interested in, and thought,”Oh yes, this is going to be fun.”

Ate, watched the news on t.v., my that was riveting, had a bath to get rid of aches and pains and then allowed myself to have a go at the Challenge. Can’t do it. Followed the step out to get started . Had another go. Nope, screwed it up and threw it away. And it’s a lovely pattern, Yuma, by Tina.  Pretty, delicate, swirly. I can’t get past step three. The little branch thingy works and all the leafy bits and then the fronds, yup, fine. But then taking it that step further and I can’t seem to get the lines at the right angles or something.

So here is my best shot and there’s no need to be nice, I KNOW I can do better. But tell me, is it me? Or are there others of you out there who are finding this more of a Challenge than expected?


A Fengle to get it started with the stalks coming off the ends of the "petals. filled it with Barberpole and my most successful attempt at getting "light" on it so far. But...
A Fengle to get it started with the stalks coming off the ends of the “petals”. Filled it with Barberpole and my most successful attempt at getting “light” on it so far. But…


The sky is falling!

And it’s wet.  If it isn’t falling, it’s emptying itself all over us. There’s no wonder Brits have a reputation for being fixated on the weather, we get so much of it. This week we have had sunshine, fog, rain, sometimes together.  And at the moment, we have rain of three varieties. As a sort of background, we have constant, cold drizzle of the sort that creeps down your neck and makes you shiver. Coming in flurries with the gusts of wind, there are what we laughingly call “heavy showers”, which come diagonally and get under your umbrella, which you are holding very tightly because of said gusts of wind attempting to blow it inside out. And then there is the downpour, delivering the coup de grace, vertical rods of water that actually hurt your head if you’re daft enough to let it be exposed. In this area, we call that type of rain “stair rods” because the apparent stream of water coming down in such disciplined lines reminds us, or reminded our parents, to be more exact, of the brass rods that used to be on every step of a staircase, holding down the carpet.

So there, a dissertation on English rain. Fascinating conversationalists, aren’t we?  Why am I writing about the rain? Because it’s Thanksgiving in Canada so there’s no Diva Challenge until tomorrow. Damn!


However, I have been drawing, with varying degrees of success.

Continue reading “The sky is falling!”


When I first asked what GAY, as in homosexual, stemmed from, I was told it was from some of the early Gay Rights marches in the USA, where marchers bore banners stating “Good As You”. It shocked me at the time and still does. Why on earth should someone have to march to declare they were as good as me? Of course they were.  As a teenager in the 1960’s I was as prejudiced as the next man/woman because I’d been brought up that way – most of us were. I don’t know when my thinking changed but for many of us seeing how the black population had to fight for their rights led to a more realistic attitude to the world in general and to accepting our differences.

So this week’s Diva Challenge took me back to when I marched for Civil Rights; sang the songs; wrote the poems; joined the debate because:

This week (before the back pain) i was contacted by a very well spoken young man who sent me a really well written email.  
His name is Daniel, and he is 12 years old.  Hello Daniel! 
Daniel told me that October 11th is National Coming Out Day.  Daniel’s friend is gay, and so he wanted me to help him support his friend and to issue a challenge with a LGBT theme. 
Daniel says:

I think it would be a good way to further inspire tanglers and raise awareness if you considered a challenge to somehow put some aspect of LGBT in a tile. Perhaps using the colors of the rainbow, or using tangles that start with L, G, B, and T, or using those letters as a string? 

Surely we don’t STILL need to raise awareness?  Hasn’t the world moved on at all?  Are we still the same closed minded, unthinking lumps we were before the world woke up to embrace our differences?

So I rushed to do this tile and it shows. I wanted to be first to say:

“Good as me?  you better believe it.!”

Started with a rainbow string, for obvious reasons. Sunrays shining through, equally obvious.
Started with a rainbow string, for obvious reasons. Sunrays shining through, equally obvious.

Patterns used:Jessicup, Piza, Jalousie, Roscos, Paradox, Diva Dance, CBun and Heartrope.

When you get to thinking…

My Dad always said thinking was a dangerous game and we should be rationed to two thoughts a day – any more and you were

A. going to have a headache     and

B. showing off.

You know when a child says, “I’ve been thinking…” and it’s going to lead to a question, well, as soon as I said, “Da-ad, I’ve been thinking…”, he would look at me seriously, preferably over the top of his glasses, and say, “Now, steady, lass, you’ve already had your two a day you know…” It didn’t stop me, of course and my questions were legion.

Our youngest grandson does it to us now and his imagination is wonderful, if a little hard to follow at times. What is even better, from my point of view, is his absolute conviction that the love of my life, his grandad, can do ANYTHING. Currently, he has Grandad promising to create an invention in time for their visit to us at Christmas. Neither Grandad nor I, nor his parents, can quite work out what it is that he wants, which makes it a bit of a challenge, but Ben has complete faith. Bless the boy.

I’ve got quite a few projects on the go at the moment. Nothing new there, you may well say but, heyho, that’s life at Number 20. I’ve bought some little sets of drawers, for jewelry boxes for my friends for Christmas. The idea is to paint them then decorate with decoupatch papers to suit the individuals’ tastes. I’ve got eight to make. I’ve had them ages. painted them cream ready to add paper and then come to a grinding halt. Really must get going. It’s only about 13 weeks until Christmas and we’re away for three of them. Oh Ecky Thump, as they say, better get a move on.

Clearly, it still  needs some work but you get the idea.
Clearly, it still needs some work but you get the idea.





While our friends were visiting last week, I introduced the female of the species to Zentangle and Joanne Fink’s work and, although she isn’t quite hooked yet, I think she will be. We were practising monograms a la Fink and, to give her a bit of a boost, I pencilled a couple for her and then did one of my own to look at techniques. This is the one I did:

For Rachel, Kris and Ben.
For Rachel, Kris and Ben.

We did have fun but there wasn’t enough time. You may have seen, some time ago, another Joanne style piece I’ve been working on for my son and his family.  I’ve been out to buy one of those plastic clip frames today, as it is nearly finished.

All the names coloured now, ready for a background and border.
All the names coloured now, ready for a background and border.
Stage 1
Stage 1


And now, almost at the end…

Still have to finish the borders and tidy up the bands across the names but another couple of evenings should do it.
Still have to finish the borders and tidy up the bands across the names but another couple of evenings should do it.

So I’ve been pretty busy and look like remaining so for a while, which is how I like it.

However, I have, in spite of my Dad’s advice, been thinking. It was triggered by a funeral we attended this week. A colleague and friend, who had been ill with some form of cancer for the last couple of years, finally lost the battle. It was, of course, horrible, but he had planned the service himself, choosing the music from his favourites, including “Bring Me sunshine” by Morecombe and Wise at the end  and it had the desired effect, as we all came away with a rueful smile and a fond memory. What it set me thinking about was not death and the nearing of the end of life, I already think too much about that for my own mental well-being, but about my funeral. I want to be sure that people walk away from mine with a happy memory too but also with the chance to have a bit of a weep if they feel like it.

Generally, I’m not one for !Inspirational” quotes and the like, I tend to find them a bit sickly, but the poem below was read at Dave’s funeral and I have to say, it works for me.

You can shed tears that he is gone

Or you can smile because he has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him

Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember him and only that he is gone

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.


The order of service gave the poem as Anonymous, so I looked it up and here is what I found:

The story is bittersweet but heartwarming.

So I’m planning mine and you, world, are responsible for seeing that I get it.

I want to be cremated and my ashes scattered on the Derbyshire hills near where we scattered my Mum and Dad’s, our children know where. (Don’t tell the Peak Park Planning Board, they probably wouldn’t approve.)  And at the service I want some of my favourite music. You can come in to Imagine, by John Lennon, then we’ll have the poem quoted above, followed by a really rousing old fashioned hymn that everyone can sing along to but sung by a Welsh male voice choir, so people aren’t self conscious about singing, “Fight the Good Fight”, I think, or “Bread of Heaven”.  I don’t think a funeral oration is a good idea, don’t want people bringing up my past indiscretions at that late stage, do we? I’ll write a letter to my remaining family and friends and have it read out, perhaps. Something mildly amusing and grateful for a good life. Then another poem, from Shakespeare, I think, not quite decided yet but I’ll have a think – one of my two a day.  And to go out? Nimrod, by Elgar. I know of no other piece of music guaranteed to go straight to the tear ducts, and people do need to cry, just a little, at a funeral.

That’s it then. pretty much settled.

But not soon, I  hope, I don’t plan on going anywhere just yet.

Fun, Friends and Freedom.

In January, we went to Madeira, which was a bit of a disappointment, partly because of the weather, which was, to use a very English expression, changeable. Mainly, it changed from mist to rain and back again. We had been led to believe we were going to an earthly Paradise and, lovely though the island is, Paradise it is not. However, we met a couple in the hotel who are becoming very good friends indeed, so Madeira remains a fond memory in spite of its meteorological deficits.

This week, those friends have been to see us for a few days and we have been showing them some of our favourite places. On Sunday, we made a huge traditional Sunday dinner – Big Yorkshire puddings with onion gravy as a starter and then a main course of roast chicken,  mashed potato, roast potato, cauliflower, carrots, Brussel Sprouts, stuffing balls and pigs in blankets. (That’s mini sausages wrapped in streaky bacon to you.) All finished off with Summer fruits in jelly with yogurt, ice cream and or cream.  We then sat and digested that little lot for the rest of the evening.

Continue reading “Fun, Friends and Freedom.”