Four kisses

St Martin en Re, very lovely.
St Martin en Re, very lovely.

A French friend told me years ago that there is a code to how many times you kiss people when you greet or leave them. (I like the way they explain it on this map too, but I’m not so sure about it.  I like my friend’s way better. ) Apparently, never kiss your boss. (Never wanted to but perhaps that’s just me.) Kiss not so close friends twice, right cheek first. Kiss friends and family four times, also right cheek first.

Men don’t kiss men unless very close. Women kiss anyone they like and nobody minds. Continue reading “Four kisses”


Jet, Dracula and Fish and chips.

Simple but I did enjoy doing it.
Simple but I did enjoy doing it.

My cousin and his wife, the ones we went to Winchester and Arundel with a few weeks ago, came to stay last week, so we were out and about in our “local” (within 100 miles) area.  It’s one of those things, you don’t appreciate your own back yard until it’s time to think of places to take guests and then there’s suddenly a lot to choose from.

There was a vintage fair in our nearest town, Rotherham, with live music from the 1940’s and 50’s. Unfortunately, this included a George Formby tribute act, which begs the question, why the Hell would you want to pay a tribute to George Formby? Anyway, all his songs have now been added to the “Songs I never liked” category and are henceforth consigned to the flames. There was also a BeeBop band with a girl singer who had a most mellifluous voice, in absolute contrast to the nasal squeaks of the above mentioned torturer of innocent words.

There were vintage cars, which we were all drooling over and motor bikes too, which had the guys doing a bit of mental time travel, back to when they were Yorkshire versions of James Dean, rather than hopeful auditioners for a new series of Last of the Summer Wine. Continue reading “Jet, Dracula and Fish and chips.”

Over the hills and far away.

Before I start, I want to share this. It was on FB and I think a lot of tanglers in the early stages will relate to it:

Just, and I mean just, off the west coast of Scotland. The short ferry only takes about five minutes.
Just, and I mean just, off the west coast of Scotland. The short ferry only takes about five minutes.

So, back to Over the Hills;

We’re going a bit Gaelic this week, visiting friends in Scotland for a few days. Firstly, to just south of Glasgow and then over to the Isle of Bute for some serious peace and quiet. Now I’ve been to Bute before, a long while ago. We stayed on a farm, my parents and I, a farm called the Barone Farm. My dad, who had been watching Rawhide and the like, thought it was Bar One, as in Bar One Ranch, but it wasn’t, it’s an ancient name going back several hundred years and having no relation at all to branding irons and chaps in chaps, so to speak.  Continue reading “Over the hills and far away.”

The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la…

I’ve been working on a birthday card for my oldest granddaughter, who will be 7 next week and it has proved something of a challenge. Unfortunately, because her parents are divorced and she lives 350 miles away, we hardly ever see her and her brother. In fact it’s been over a year since we saw them and they never phone, so we’ve lost touch and I no longer know what sort of things she likes.  It used to be all Disney princesses, so my cards reflected that:-

For my granddaughter's fourth birthday,  a Little  Mermaid card based on a Disney colouring page.
For my granddaughter’s fourth birthday, a Little Mermaid card based on a Disney colouring page.
My granddaughter loves the Disney princesses and Cinderella is her current favourite.
My five year old granddaughter loves the Disney princesses and Cinderella is her current favourite.
An early one, for my granddaughter
An early Zentangle nameplate, for her sixth birthday.

I’ve decided on another Zentangle because, even though I won’t have the pleasure of seeing her receive it, I will have had the pleasure of drawing it and hoping one day she will know how much love went into every line. Oh dear, getting maudlin’, time to move on. Continue reading “The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la…”

Songs I never liked.

Sadly, an old friend died this week, so I made a card for her husband. I'm pleased enough with the result, if not the occasion.
Sadly, an old friend died this week, so I made a card for her husband. I’m pleased enough with the result, if not the occasion.

There is a point to this but it’ll take a while to get there. Bear with me.

First, my only completed drawing so far this week so far and one I would prefer not to have had to do. You know those honorary aunties we all  have, who were parental friends and we were encouraged to treat them as family? Well, my mum’s close friend Audrey died last week. She wasn’t young and had been ill for a while, so it may have been a mercy, who can say? But for me, the loss of a link to my youth is a bit of a blow and I will attend the funeral with a heavy heart, even knowing that this is the way of the world. Don’t like it. People we love should live forever.

Enough. Back to songs I never liked.

Songs I never liked include but are not exclusive to, comedy songs and novelty songs. To the best of my recollection, I was about 12 when I realised that comic songs were only funny the first time you heard them. At this point I developed a lip curl worthy of Elvis whenever I saw people laughing like drains at “Gossip Calypso”, or “Right said Fred”, “Ernie, and he drove the fastest milk cart in the west…”. Can you imagine the contemptuous expression on my face when ageing uncles tried to explain why it was funny? (They were only “ageing” in my eyes then. Probably seem quite dishy now!) Continue reading “Songs I never liked.”

It’s very nice to go travelling…

And, as the song goes; “It’s oh so nice to come home.”

Depends on the weather in my case, I do so hate leaving the sunshine behind.

But this week we have been travelling in the UK and next month we intend to do some more, in Scotland this time. My cousin who we used to visit when he and his wife lived in France, now lives in Hampshire, back in England, and it’s a part of the country we don’t know too well, so off we went last week to see them.

This has gone from love to hate as I've worked on it and now I'm just a bit, well, it's OK I suppose.
This has gone from love to hate as I’ve worked on it and now I’m just a bit, well, it’s OK I suppose. It’s quite a large piece, about 10 inches across.


It was a fairly uneventful drive down there. We missed our way once or twice but this is de rigeur when I’m map reading and we always get there in the end. We arrived to rapturous welcomes and chicken curry and an evening yattering away like nobody’s business. When we get together, oh how we do go on. And on. And on…

On Saturday, we drove down to Arundel Castle, which was new to us and turned out to be a great delight. To start with, we found it easily, which is not always the case. And we found a convenient car park. AND it didn’t cost the proverbial arm and leg just to park.

It couldn’t last, could it? We are people of a certain age and the placement of public lavatories is a matter of some importance to us. There, at the edge of the car park, were public loos, excellent news, you may think. But no. Why? Because they were not gender specific. Now we Brits like to know where we stand/sit. We like Ladies public conveniences and Gentlemen’s public conveniences, not a loo door with a picture of a man AND a woman on it. There was confusion. Were we meant to go in together? Would it only accept heterosexual pairs? What would happen if a person went in alone? Would the door fly open half way through the event and an armed Convenience Supervisor leap in, dragging behind him/her a complete stranger and insisting that we share? (Or two complete strangers, one of each gender, to ensure the right mix, so to speak?) The discussion was heated but we eventually did what a man has to do and then went into the castle.

Even the children's high chairs looked like a Bishop's throne.
Even the children’s high chairs looked like a Bishop’s throne.

The castle is lovely and full of interesting rooms, the first of which was, no, not the lavatories, we’d solved that one, the cafeteria. And very nice it was too, if a little over priced. The staff, however, were efficient and friendly, the tea was hot enough, strong enough and came with an extra pot of hot water – very civilised – and the scones with jam and clotted cream were delish. It’s a fascinating place. I won’t bore you with the history, you can read all about it here… … but it is stuffed with fascinating bits and pieces. There are lots of family portraits and religious artefacts, coats of arms and pieces of armour, and armaments, and a private chapel bigger than many a parish church. We were impressed with all of it but when we came to the library it just took our breath away.

It’s not the number of books, any library would have them; it was the room itself, filled, from floor to ceiling, including the ceiling, in fact,  with the loveliest carved wood panelling  I have ever seen and, in spite of its undoubted magnificence, a room you could sit comfortably in and read. I’ve never envied the aristocracy before but I really wanted that room. Even the loved one, whose strongest term of approval is “Aye, it’s alright…” actually said…

“This is the most beautiful room I have ever been in.”       Wowzer!

I could have made this my home forever. (As long as there was someone to bring me a regular supply of tea, of course.)
No photo could do justice to this. The wood panelling glows and the carving is incrediblw. I could have made this my home forever. (As long as there was someone to bring me a regular supply of tea, of course.)

And then,and if this doesn’t impress the Hell out of you, I don’t know what will, the lady who was supervising the room noticed that my cousin’s wife, who has had a hip replacement and now has a bad knee instead, was walking a little uncomfortably, asked if we had seen the gardens yet, which we hadn’t.

“Well,” she said, “When you go outside, there will be  a member of staff, who will call a buggy to take you down to the garden entrance…”

So we did and there was and he did and we did. Fabulous. Felt a bit cheeky but it was obviously all part of the service. Excellent. And the gardens were spectacular. Not in a huge and dramatic way, but just lovely. As you can see from the pictures I took, dozens of them. 




SAM_8230 SAM_8229




What an ace day out. And that was just the first day of our stay. Can’t wait to tell you about the rest of it!

While we were away, because we spent little time lounging and lots of it out and about, I have done very little drawing, apart from the flower ring you see at the top of the page, which has been both a blessing and a curse. I’m not too unhappy with the drawing itself but the colouring went all wrong. Well, not all, but you know what I mean. I was using my new Koi water colour pens, which I love, but am still learning. I wanted pale and subtle but what I got was loud and glaring because I used paper that didn’t encourage blending or fading the colours with water. Dammit. Oh well, lesson learned.

But for now, it’s the Diva Challenge and…

And she wants us to use patterns that are all straight lines. This is good for me, as it makes me concentrate, so I’ve chosen just three patterns: Zin, Rain and a version of Farling. I’ve used Rain before but not the other two, so it’s been a genuine challenge and good fun.  I couldn’t make up my mind whether or not to use colour, so I scanned it both ways – so which do YOU prefer?


Before adding colour.
Before adding colour.
With a bit of colour but no shading - couldn't work out where to shade!
With a bit of colour but no shading – couldn’t work out where to shade!



I forgot,


AND  . . .

I did a birthday card for my son in law. I had all sorts of ideas to include his hobbies and interests and then I thought, nope, he can have some Zentangle, why not? He’s tried it himself in the past and I’m hoping to recruit him to the cause sooner or later. Maybe this will set him going again – or put him off for life!

You'll see this week's Diva Challenge tile included on the card and I kept the theme of lines and angles, with a flash of red here and there. Hope he likes it.
You’ll see this week’s Diva Challenge tile included on the card and I kept the theme of lines and angles, with a flash of red here and there. Hope he likes it.

Minotaur Island




That’s Crete, of course, and one of my favourite ever places. (Alright, yes, there’s Rhodes and Skiathos and various areas in France and the Peak District in the UK and…..) Anyway, one of my favourites, as I said. Although, coming from the murk of the north of England, it’s the sunshine that attracts in the first place, the island itself has a real magic. It’s quite big, in comparison to the other Greek islands and there’s a wide range of scenery, from cliffs and mountains to beaches and bays; from vineyards and farms to night clubs and busy modern cities.

The loved one and friend with the pool all to themselves. Bliss.

We were there from May 2nd with my cousin and her husband plus a couple of friends we met there two years ago. It’s one of those things, when you recommend a place, you hope and pray that it’s as good as you remembered and that the others will like it too. And it’s the same way with friends – we knew WE would get on fine with Ann and Kev (Cousin and hubby) and ditto Gareth and Sonia (Friends from previous holiday) but would they get on with each other?  Well, we needn’t have worried. We spent the whole week laughing, teasing and generally enjoying each others’ company. Continue reading “Minotaur Island”