Saturday, April 02, 2011
Wanda set us a challenge in Positive Bloggers this week to blog about spring in our part of the world, so here is mine, just in before the bell. :-) Suddenly having to handle 5000 emails cos of your webmail provider messing things up royally'll set you behind for the week! LOL
A couple of these you may have already seen, but here is a selection of photos of Highwoods, our street, and Castle Park since the Spring Equinox:
As you can see, a lot of trees are still largely bare at this point:
In Castle Park, my three favourite Willows are gradually getting their new coat on:
And things are happening at the river there too:
And the trees across the park are in various stages of bare, budding and full of blossom:
See that Willow in the middle, looking all spring yellow/green with its new foliage? See that teeny weeny pink dot right below it? That is Tara following a different path through the park. LOL Next step in independence. *grin*
The grass is looking lush and this is one of my favourite views across the Upper Park. The wall on the right has bits of the original Roman wall in it at intervals:
This Duck was foraging in the flower beds! See her muddy beak? *grin*
The plastic fencing is also new spring growth... Placed there to stop us from treading where they have reseeded the lawns. See Tara striding along again? She walks fast! LOL :-)
At Highwoods, Sophie and I braved the path over the marsh yesterday, though we didn't go far beyond as there are still very muddy areas and I didn't have the right footwear on.
The water level has dropped along the footpath:
There is lichen on some of the trees and bushes showing what a wet time we have had over the winter:
But the bushes and trees seem to be handling it and are bursting into bud:
And we have fresh new nettles. Time for gloves, a bag, and a recipe for nettle soup, methinks:
And, almost finally, a couple of those May blossom pics:
I am finishing with photos of two of my favourite trees that we see on the straight walk into town via the roads.
The first is a Hawthorn that sits beside a busy roundabout and wows me with its beauty every year:
Then further into town we pass a little park area by the river, and see this Willow:
So, there you go... Nature springing in Colchester. :-)
Have a lovely weekend.
Monday, March 28, 2011
I've been a little excited lately, because of working to revamp one of my favourite Sparkteams - Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger - and this is a shameless plug for the team to try and encourage some of you to join us. :-)
I became co-leader of the team a few weeks ago, and it is the first time I have had the privilege of helping run a spark team. To start with I was uncomfortable about starting challenges and such because I was wary about treading on toes, but Chris, one of my Co-Leaders, has been so supportive and welcoming, that I started making a few tentative suggestions.
Unfortunately, as happens with teams sometimes, things were pretty slow, and Chris and I knew we needed to shake things up to get the team back on track. A few nights ago, my muse struck out of the blue. Here was a team centred around Tigger, with a passing reference to Eeyore, but what about the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang?
We all love the Stories of Winnie-ther-Pooh. We have loved them since When We Were Very Young, and we continued to to love them Now We Are Six. (Yes I am shamelessly punning, LOL) We had clothes with the characters on, and all the books, and even as adults, a big badge with Tigger's smiling face was enough to make us smile too, so we had to have one!
I still have mine, as you know! :-)
This was my experience and I suspect you all had a similar one. My children arrived, and they were barely focusing before I was introducing them to the Hundred Acre Wood experience. First Bryony was treated to the books, Mum reading the stories to her, and then the films that appeared courtesy of Disney, closely followed by the Winnie-the-Pooh comics. The comics were where I got the pictures to trace and enlarge, which was how I ended up drawing the Disney version of every main character two feet high and plastering them all over her bedroom walls. :-)
When Tara came along, the plushy Winnie-the-Pooh was one of her first toys. And what delighted little Miss Tara more than anything? Holding Winnie aloft, shouting his name, and on the word 'Pooh', launching him skywards accompanied by blowing a raspberry. The sound of Tara's laughter is something I can still hear every time I think of it. *grin*
Tara's Pooh toy was joined a while later by a Tigger pyjama case. That got launched skywards regularly too, cos he bounces, so that was two of them flying around her bedroom! LOL
Finally she was given an itty bitty Piglet, and yes, he flew around her bedroom too, attached to a piece of wool, because, as she pointed out, he flew during Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day! :-)
Anyway, this reminiscing waffle is all because over the last few days I have been reading the books again, remembering all the fun again, finding my missing badge again, and ultimately completely revamping the Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger Team Page. :-)
So, the result of all this musing is that we are attempting to offer the complete Hundred Acre Wood experience to all our team members on Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger. The forums are renamed to reflect Pooh, Owl and Rabbit's houses respectively, and we are including as many of the characters and places from the books as we can in our topics, to try and recapture some of that childlike fun we used to have with them. We can get to know all our favourite characters in a whole new way by combining them with sparkteam challenges. :-)
So, if this sounds like something you might enjoy, why not pop by and check us out? If you like what you see, we would love to have you join us. :-)
Here's the link:
I hope you feel like joining us. It will be Tiggerlicious to have you pop by for a visit and then stay! :-)
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Yes, tonight we spring forward and lose an hour of sleep. :-) Darker mornings and lighter evenings, which always has the ability to please some and annoy others. My personal idea to solve the issue once and for all is to compromise: get everyone in the world to move their clocks forward by half an hour on the same weekend, and then call it a day on the whole springing forward and falling back each year. :-) Of course, getting everyone in the world to agree.... LOLOL
In fact the whole subject of time zones, never mind how some of us play with them each spring and autumn and some of us don't, is quite complicated. I always (naive little me) imagined the world covered with twenty-four imaginary vertical lines, each denoting one of the twenty-four hours of the day. Wrong! LOL
Oh, were it that simple...
Take, for instance, the tiny 300 metre long Market Reef Island in the Baltic Sea. It belongs to both Sweden and Finland, which are in two different time zones. When Finland built the lighthouse, they accidentally placed it on the Swedish side of the timeline. So, in 1981 they re-drew the timeline to put the lighthouse back in Finland, and ensure an equal division of the rest of the land so that it now looks like a couple of jagged 'Z's across the island. LOL
Then there's Antarctica. Since the South Pole is the point at which all the world's lines of longitude meet, in theory it could be in any time zone. Most people who operate there use their own time zones, however, so currently there are 16 different times there! Even the UK is tricky in the Antarctic and has two time choices three hours apart - don't ask me how! LOL
Then there is the difference between Russia and China: Both are huge countries, but Chine operates with only one time zone, whereas Russia has Nine!
And what about the countries that don't work in hour-long increments? Nepal is 5 3/4 hours ahead of GMT, and the Chatham Islands off New Zealand are 12 3/4 hours ahead (if I calculated correctly).
Did you know:
This year, in Turkey, daylight savings is starting a day later than usual - because 1.5 million students take important exams on March 27th and it was thought the clock change would cause them extra stress. :-)
And all this is just a sample of the differences that abound in time zones around the world. :-)
So, you can see how very complicated the time zones are, and why people can get so frustrated by any changes that are made. Things really are quite complicated enough already. LOL
This Time Zone Broadcast has been brought to you coutesy of Lexie's Curiosity, combined with a fascinating interactive Globe the BBC kindly placed on their website *grin*:
Have fun! :-)
Time LOLs (what else, *grin*)
Friday, March 25, 2011
I am attempting to control my anger at the intrusive ads on my blog page by remembering what a nice day I was having, until I saw the latest adverts on my blog. There are TWO now, both at the top of my blog page, in the damn way, and BOTH advertising tuna, a fish I loathe and that makes me feel sick to think of. Why should I have to feel sick just because I went to my Sparkpage to write a blog?
This really sucks!!!!!!
OK, rant over. I already complained to the powers-that-be, not that they seem to be listening. Now I've had my little moan, and hopefully tomorrow they will at least be advertising something that doesn't make me ill, if they haven't taken the damn things away from our personal pages altogether (she says pointedly - yes Sparkguy! I'm staring at you! *grin*)
So, on to something more pleasant, I hope.
I mentioned recently to Chris, a Co-Leader of the Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger Sparkteam, that I used to have a badge with Tigger's face on. It was a big badge too, about 4 inches across, and bright pink, which seems an odd choice as the background for something orange and black, but it worked. The problem was that I'd lost it. I hadn't seen it in months and had no idea whether I even still had it.
Well, it would seem that my insistence that we springclean Tara's bedroom today paid off, because in the course of sorting through her clothes, we went to the spare clothes hangers box and what do I find under them, but a collection of ornaments, candles and stuff that I cleared out of my sitting room about a year ago and put in the box in case I needed them again, and what was at the bottom of the box? You guessed it! My Tigger Badge! Yay!
Here it is in my hand so you can see how big it is...
And here it is on top of the TV in all its colourful glory because the hand pic was a bit washed out colourwise...
So I have decided it is my official Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger Membership Badge! *grin*
Sophie and I had a 2 1/2 mile walk at Highwoods today. I was only going to do a short walk initially, and hadn't put my walking boots on because I was intending to stick to the paths. Once we got there though, the fields were calling, and as they looked pretty dry we headed up the first field, planning to circuit it and then go home.
But apparently I had other ideas and at the end of the first field the second one was calling, and I figured it would be a good idea to see if that field was dry too, so we continued on our way. It was slightly muddy in spots but was mostly dry, and as we approached the entrance to the third field I could see that half of the entranceway to that was also dry, so I decided to take a peek through the gap before continuing round field two and then heading for home.
What I saw as I walked through the gap made me stop dead in my tracks.
It is hard to show you the sight that met my eyes in all its glorious detail because the phone camera is not the best camera in the world, but as I slowly walked towards the beauty in the distance before me I took shot after shot, and am sharing some of them with you in the hope that I can convey at least a little of the wonder I felt at the sight of multiple Hawthorns in full May blossom gowns!
Such an awesomely beautiful sight. I'll let the pictures speak...
Glorious! *happy sigh*
We then walked across Boat Field seeing as that looked dry too, and I got Sophie to sit for a portrait partway across:
So we had a lovely time! :-)
See? A lovely day, full of enjoyment, prayerful walking, active spring cleaning and finding my Tigger Badge, not to mention the yummy Roast Chicken dinner treat tonight. Nice. :-)
Hope your day was also a good one! Spark ads notwithstanding. ;-)
If you get this one you are showing your age! LOL
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tara and I went into town today. I needed to pay a bill and get a Brita Filter for my water jug, and Tara wanted to get my Mother's Day pressie.
Glorious day again:
We parted at the bottom of the High Street, to give her some more practice at independence, and she headed for HMV while I headed for Robert Dyas and Hughes. I did my chores and then went to meet her at HMV. By the time I got there she was already at the desk paying for something, so I held back because I didn't want to accidentally see what she got and spoil her fun. Besides which we still have ten days to go until Mother's Day. *grin*
She couldn't contain herself. We had barely left the shop when she said, "I looked for Bat Out Of Hell for you, but I couldn't find it. No, that's not true. I found it." (She tries to be sneaky but she finds it impossible) LOL
I said, "Did you get it? No, don't tell me, you'll spoil the surprise, and we still have ten days to wait."
She tried so hard not to say anymore, but we only got a few steps further when she burst! "It was on special offer, so I got it!"
So, an album I have wanted for some time on CD so I could upload it to my computer is finally mine, and thanks to a totally impatient and excited daughter, I have it rather early. But that doesn't matter! Seeing her so animated and thrilled to have found something she knew I would love was a joy! :-)
We then popped in to Game for a very special reason. It is Tara's birthday in about three weeks, and I am buying her a Wii Console. Actually, we are using her birthday as an excuse to get one. LOL. It will be a pre-owned one because it is all I can afford, and she knows it will be a week or three after her birthday before I have the cash together for it, but she doesn't mind! She is just so excited that we will finally have a Wii. I am excited too. I am looking forward to seeing how it enhances my activity levels. I hope to add the Wii Fit Plus (also pre-owned) to it by the summer. In the meantime we are getting Just Dance (which we both want), and that Zumba game when it comes out, which will probably kill me, but I'm determined to try it! LOLOL
We also both have our eyes on the Grease game based on the film, and Tara wants Harry Potter and Pokemon games too. :-) We are so excited. :-)
I did think long and hard about buying new using my Littlewoods Catalogue, but they hike the prices up to cover the interest they 'claim' they don't charge us if we pay over less than a year, and a bundle that is just the console and a couple of games would set me back over £300!!! It is just an insane amount to pay, and the Wii Fit Plus isn't even included in that price! That would be another £170 or more on top! Totally crazy!
Anyway, we are very happy with the prices quoted to us in Game and we're putting every spare penny back to pay for it. :-)
Last chore before heading home was a trip to the bookstore to see if it is possible to get Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Witch Books. That was mostly a no, sadly. No joy with Charmed at all, but they did have one last Sabrina book in store, and it was one Tara doesn't have. Unfortunately she had already spent up, and I was too broke to cover it. We were walking out of the shop when I suggested we ask them to put it back till next week. We went back and asked and they were happy to, so Tara will pick it up next week when her pocket money hits her account. :-)
We walked home through the park as usual, popping into the pet store on the way so I could show Tara the dazzling array of Baker's Dog goodies they have. I can't wait for those vouchers to arrive. I'll be straight down there to raid the low-fat dog treats section. *grin*
Hope you are all having a wonderful day.
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