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Scarecrow Festival

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Good morning, some of you were asking about the Scarecrow Festival I went to yesterday so I thought I'd do a little blog with a few pictures for you.

The festival has been running for many years now and is held in Muston, a little village in Yorkshire and is quite famous, attracting visitors from all over Britain and abroad.
The original idea was to raise funds for the village and it seemed to snowball. Since then other villages have latched on to the idea but Muston is still the biggest and best.
During the week long festival the village is covered in scarecrows of all shapes and sizes, all made by the villagers.
It's amazing the work and effort that goes into them, the attention to detail and the ideas for them are wonderous.
Usually life sized, they are well made mostly of papier mache and can be very witty.
The scarecrows are displayed outside the villagers homes, in their gardens, up never know where you'll see one!
There are ice creams, drinks and plant stalls around the village, the Church is open, there are flower displays and the village hall serves delicious homemade baking and teas.....yes I had some!!! but I reckon we walked a couple of miles or more!
It's fun and I had a lovely time.

This is just a small selection of pictures that I liked.

The Crow Bar.

Traditional Morris Dancers...see the moles underfoot, they were all around the village green poking up from the soil. The dancers were life size and all had witty names like Morris Minor(a car!), Morris Gibb, Morris Chevalier...

Beatrix Potter characters Peter Rabbit, Miss Moppet and Jeremy Fisher.

The Vicar and his flock...


Mr Bun the Baker.

Peppa Pig and her brother George.

Reading the ewespaper!
Very witty headlines like..... 'Evening Ewes', 'Sheep scientists clone human', 'Sheepdog found guilty at trial', 'Muston Woollen Mill sale now on', 'Lambs flock to see Ben Shepherd perform at Woolpack'.....

Border Control....very topical!! Love the in and out entrances!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOLDFISHLIZ 7/26/2010 6:11PM

    I love your pics! We went to one in Bassenthwaite village a few weeks back - same sort of idea, but I think the groups you saw were very witty - and so much work - the Morris Dancers were wonderful! Great fun.
We went to the same one (they do it every other year) four years ago. As we walked around I saw a scarecrow with a curious way of attaching the head, so I went up to examine it more closely - and it wished me good afternoon! You could hear my shocked shriek a mile off! The bloke inside the costume laughed immoderately, as did DH. emoticon emoticon

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SHELLB39 7/26/2010 9:24AM

    Love the witty-ness of the displays and how great that it invites the people of the village to walk to see them! I continue to be enthralled by the quaintness of this area you reside in Martha Ann! It points out to me how much American suburbia is lacking in so many ways! Our neighborhood, in the past, has had block parties where we come together for an ice cream social or potluck. Your Scarecrow Festival has given me a wonderful idea to encourage families to be creative together and then to walk the streets and visit the homes at some point during our gathering. What do the villages use the raised funds for?

Thanks for favorite is "The Crow Bar"! emoticon

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LILSUNFLOWER 7/25/2010 1:03PM

    What a fantastic dea. Love your pictures. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. The stalls and displays sound just perfect for an outing. How large is the Village?

It's humid, but we just don't seem to get the rain. Horribly dry - crops aren't doing well. Unless we water, we'll lose everything. I feel sorry for farmers.
Have a great sunday. Guess it's evening by you. Just 1pm here. DH is requesting lunch. Mustn't disappoint.
Bye for now.

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KADD1011 7/25/2010 7:07AM

    Very nice! Thanks for sharing with us. At times I miss England and it is the events like this that I do miss. We have nothing like this down here in North Carolina. In Connecticut, we had some: fall type events. I do miss the mild climate in England. Unfortunately my husband got really bad asthma when we were there so we had to move stateside. Sad, though because I really liked the place (we were aobut 30 miles East of Cambridge.)

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Life's wonderful treasures

Friday, July 23, 2010

This morning got me thinking.....

For almost thirtynine years, on almost every day he's been at work I have kissed my husband goodbye and then waved him off from the front room window..... there's been the odd missed occasion when I've been ill or something similar but this little act means a great deal to me.

But this morning when I was upstairs he just shouted he was going and left!!

It sounds very irrational, and I'm not an irrational person, but I felt quite spoiled my morning!
I rang his mobile and asked 'Why?'.
He said 'I thought you were busy so I just went, I didn't mean anything by it, I thought it would save you coming back downstairs'.
We ended up laughing and I'm fine now but it got me thinking about life's little gifts to us.

It seems to me a lot of life's most precious treasures are free.

Personal treasures like a smile, a hug, a kiss, a caress, a wave, a kind word, a little kindness to someone else.
These gifts can give such happiness to others as well as ourselves.

And then there are beautiful, miraculous, God given happenings like the golden sun rising and setting with it's wonderful colour palette, a blue or cloudy sky, a green field, a pretty flower, a gentle breeze.....
Birds, butterflies, insects, animals in all their varied and colourful forms.....

We take a lot of our treasures for granted and it takes something like this morning's little episode to give us a reality check.
I'm reminded of my favourite hymn, O Lord my God.
Ruth, our Chapel organist, always plays this one to welcome the congregation in for worship and it couldn't be more fitting.....

O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hand has made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to thee.
How great though art.
How great thought art.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to thee.
How great thou art.
How great thou art.

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing softly in the trees.
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.'

.....Just a part of the hymn but it's beautiful isn't it and aren't we just the most blessed!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOOBERRY 7/27/2010 4:36PM

    I totally understand I always tell and hug and kiss my hubby and kids goodbye I even go to the picture window and wave to them goodbye if I don't I fell lost just that something isn't complete. Hubby asked why I go to the window you just gave them a hug I don't know why I guess I just want to make sure they got off ok. Brenda

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DEBHAPPY2B 7/24/2010 8:57PM

    One of my favorites as well! What a small world.

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GOLDFISHLIZ 7/23/2010 1:29PM

    I love singing that hymn. It uses the word 'awesome' in its proper context too! ( a little hobbyhorse of mine!)
Thank you for reminding us of really important things.

emoticon emoticon

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NEELOJ 7/23/2010 12:41PM

    Great blog! I have always loved the idea of "little things" in nature that we miss.
This is why I love Macro photography! Even I am surprised many times by the things I have managed to snap a picture of!
God is amazing!
And good friends are too!!!!!

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XME501 7/23/2010 9:55AM

    What beautiful words!! One of God's creations that continues to amaze me are the trees. I lived most of my life in Southern Oregon where there is much green - my favorite color. Here in NE Oregon there is much brown. Looking out my windows there is a row of big, green trees along the river. Beautiful!!!
Martha-Ann, you continually encourage me - Thank you!!

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HOPE2BE 7/23/2010 9:09AM

    Wonderful blog Martha.

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SHELLB39 7/23/2010 8:57AM

    Thanks for the reminder to see the small gifts in daily routine. The hymn included; moved me into singing right in front of the computer, causing the Gus boy to look up from his morning sleep spot and wonder right along with me! It was my Father and Grandmother's favorite and always reminds me of them when I hear it. They were big gifts in my life and I'll always treasure their loving influence on me and extended family.
I do find it rather admirable of you to send your DH off almost each morning like you have consistently for so many years! Perhaps if mine didn't have to leave before dawn I would do the same, rather than the night before when we call it a day and wish the other a good one tomorrow. Here's to being more fully aware of the free gifts in today's moments! emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 7/23/2010 8:10AM

    What a beautiful hymn. You are so right, we do take so much for granted. Why must we be in such hast that we miss what is most valuable?

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LOOZINITNOW 7/23/2010 8:03AM

    I completely understand. This is the way my hubby and I part in the morning also. He also sends me a good day email every morning when he gets to work. When he forgets or doesn't, I feel lost and devastated. Very silly I know, but it is just a habit that is worth continuing.

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Awesome us.....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm in awe of how our bodies work.
They put up with abuse, neglect and general disrespect but they don't take offence, they bounce right back, they even repair themselves, it might take years but it does get there in the end. It might not be quite what it was before but it'll do its very best to replicate it.

Three and a half years ago I had to take early retirement from work due to bad earache and pain in my neck and shoulder. It made me deaf, not just in the ear that hurt but both of them.
When I began treatment it was found that one ear had had limited hearing for quite a while due to impacted wax and when the other one started hurting it showed up the deafness in it that I already had so after three 'hoover' treatments one ear was cleared and I could hear again.
The other ear was diagnosed with an infection of the middle ear which was treated with antibiotics. It cleared up slowly but it didn't last, the pain was still there, the infection recurred three times over the next few months and I still couldn't hear.

Whilst all this was going on I began getting a lot of pain in my right side and was referred to hospital where I was diagnosed with uterine polyps.
After two were removed I still had a lot of pain so went in to hospital for an internal scan, this revealed my right fallopian tube was enlarged which meant an exploratory operation.
They found a large grapefruit sized mass which was removed and sent for examination. They also did a scrape of my uterus as the lining was thickened.
The results for both came back as cancer so next I had a hysterectomy, double salpingectomy, and double oophorectomy plus removal of my cervix and cervix cuff. Luckily it seemed to be enclosed and hadn't spread further so I only needed radiotherapy which they let me self medicate in the form of tablets.

When I awoke from the operation I couldn't sit, stand, turn over without awful pain, mostly in my lower back and buttocks. I practically laid on my side for almost five weeks and struggled to walk and sit. They decided I'd trapped my sciatic nerve where it crosses my back. It runs through two large muscles called the piriformis and they'd swelled and trapped the nerve. The pain was across my back, down my right leg and under my foot, right to the end of my toes and it was agony! You Americans quite rightly call this syndrome 'a pain in the butt' and believe me it sums it up felt like I was sitting on two boulders!
I had three intense courses of physiotherapy and was told it could take two years to disappear but eventually it didn't feel like it would at the time!

Anyway after a few weeks treatment when I was beginning to hobble around I went back to see my ear specialist who discovered I'd a tumour on my eardrum so I went in for a little operation to remove it.
I was terrified of the operation, not of what it was but because it was the operating table which had caused my bad back and I didn't want it getting any worse when it was just beginning to feel a little easier.
The operation was a success.

While other ailments came and went, a sprained knee ligament, a broken toe, a burst eardrum due to infection and another small operation to remove some scar tissue which was causing pain, other ailments appeared and have stayed, Psoriasis, Gilbert's Syndrome, Morton's Foot and osteoarthritis in my right knee and ankle.

But now..... three and a half years later I've finished with all my treatments and most of the medication, I've got the cancer all clear and though I still have the Psoriasis, Gilberts, arthritis and occasional liver tests to contend with everything has settled down and repaired itself very nicely.

I feel fit and well, I'm walking regularly again, exercising to my limits and after three and a half years of wandering around in the night sixteen nights ago I began sleeping straight through the night again, eight hours of unbroken sleep without even bathroom breaks!
Why.....I don't know but I do know sleep has made me feel so much better than I have for a long, long time.
And I'm happy.

Our bodies are amazing.
Their capacity for misuse but also for healing are phenomenal and I, for one, am in awe of it.
Are you in awe of yours?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOLDFISHLIZ 7/23/2010 1:32PM

    What a lot you have had to contend with. Well done for remaining so positive amidst it all.
emoticon emoticon

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MARTHA-ANN 7/22/2010 5:09AM

    Thank so much for all your lovely comments, I didn't really intend this to become a medical list but it sort of ran away with me...LOL...I really wanted to show how we and our bodies work together towards healing.
It's so good to have you all as my friends, I feel very blessed emoticon

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DEBHAPPY2B 7/20/2010 6:25PM

    You inspire me, Martha-Ann. I am so proud to have you for a Spark Friend. What a wimp I have been! Blessings to you.


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AFM-SPARK 7/20/2010 2:10PM

    Sorry you had to go through so much, but glad you are doing so much better!



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NEELOJ 7/20/2010 11:19AM

    I agree with what everyone has said!! You are terrific!! Doctors are great but you and your body worked together to do the "real" healing!
Yes, I am in awe of my body. Just last week I had a small accident that caused a slice of skin to be torn from my finger. It amazes me to watch how the skin can regrow over the wound. And as you said, amazing all that the body can do!!

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SHELLB39 7/20/2010 11:03AM

    I Celebrate with you, across the tides Martha Ann! Thanks for sharing.

Your body has certainly showed you it's ability to heal! I'm sure there was more than just physiological work at hand here!! SLEEP...we all need it to not only function, but to maximize our physical and mental health too! So happy that you are reaping the benefits of uninterrupted rem!

I can so relate to your back pain you described and for me I see that my healing occurred with time, strength building, and most significantly some divine intervention! emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 7/20/2010 8:05AM

    Martha-Ann you have certainly had more than your share difficult health issues. It makes me realize how lucky I have been. Thank you for sharing. I am so happy for you. And, a good night's sleep is soooo important.

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MARILYN1260 7/20/2010 6:11AM

    Hello Martha-Ann,
I'm totally in awe of........YOU. Your wonderful attitude was as much a part of your recovery as your medical treatments. You live your life to the fullest, you take time to inspire, comfort and encourage others and you rise above your problems, believing you'll overcome them and you do. I treasure our friendship.
Hugs, Marilyn

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Sod's law....

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yesterday morning I was gardening before it got too hot, trimming dead heads, faffing about in my bog garden and generally getting dirty when I suddenly remembered I needed to order a couple of sacks of potatoes from the farm around the corner.
Let me set the scene....

When I garden I like to be comfortable, who doesn't?
So I wear an old soft cotton bra with absolutely no support what so ever.
A pair of baggy leggings that have seen better days and are held up by two large safety pins as the elastic has lost almost all its stretch. (I really ought to replace it!!)
A baggy old tshirt which has been washed so many times the colour is undefinable.
And to top it all off a pair of black socks and blue rubber wellington shoes.
....that actually sounds worse than I look when I read it back!! LOL and of course I wasn't very clean either, I hadn't even washed my hands just rubbed them on an old towel and my fingernails were gross to say the least!

Anyway, unwilling to get out of my gardening gear just to walk about two hundred yards and knowing the farmers wife would probably be dressed almost as badly as me (she helps with everything) I peered down the village street to see if the coast was clear so I could 'Go for it.'

The coast was clear, so 'Go for it' I did!

I hadn't gone more than two steps out of my front gate when the world and his wife seemed to appear from nowhere!!

I got 'Morning Martha-Ann' even as I was closing the front gate and turned to find a well dressed friend on her way to the village shop, boy did I feel like the poor relation!
But it was actually nice to see her as she said 'You look as though you've lost some more weight' could she tell with all the baggy gear?
Maybe she thought they were baggy because I'd lost more weight, who knows but her comments pleased me immensely and boosted me up for the day.

A few steps further down the street, a car pulled up next to me and the window was wound old friend of my sons who lives in Georgia, USA was home visiting her parents and was beaming out at me and talking away as if it was yesterday she last saw me when in reality it was fourteen years, she had her two beautiful young sons with her too.
She looked immaculate and talked with a surprisingly American drawl instead of our usual Yorkshire accent.
It was lovely to see and chat with her but it made wish I'd changed my clothes!

Next on the list were three young mums, once my pupils, who knew me from the school I used to work at before I retired. They gathered round me chatting away, talking about their children and asking how I was, saying I looked well and it was lovely to see me. They were all very trendy and modern, pushing their latest offspring dressed in designer baby clothes.
It was lovely to see them and chat but next to their colourful clothes I felt old and haggard and sort of like a bag lady!

I eventually made the farm gate, this was the best bit and took me a while as wandered up the track slowly, watching butterflies and insects, listening to the birds singing and talking to the cows and scratching their foreheads as they nosily came to the fence of their field.
Upon reaching the farmhouse I made a fuss of the sheepdog in his kennel, stroked the cat and her three large kittens then knocked on the door to have it opened by an immaculate farmers wife all done up, even wearing make-up, and ready to attend an agricultural show with her husband who looked just as immaculate in a very sharp suit!
Oh! boy...

Well, I got back home without meeting a single soul (wouldn't you know it!!) and settled back into my garden with a sigh of relief.
Everyone I'd met was very nice and probably didn't even notice what I was wearing, I suppose to them I'm just Martha-Ann but I don't think I'll venture out dressed like that again as it certainly made me feel uncomfortable.
I know it shouldn't and we shouldn't worry what others think about us, but I do and I suppose I always will, can't change some things!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEELOJ 7/16/2010 12:43PM

    Great blog!!! I have had the very same thing happen.
It is wonderful to just laugh at yourself and go on.......

I try to put myself in the other persons place and think about what I would say if I saw a person I know dressed like this. I would know they had been working in the garden and I would be thinking I should be out doing the same thing in my own yard.

I use to be so selfconscience when I went out walking in the neighborhood until I stopped to think about what goes through my mine when I see someone else walking. I never think anything except how great it is they are out getting exercise.
I don't believe most people are any different then myself and am sure they only think the same thing that I do.

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LOOZINITNOW 7/16/2010 8:28AM

    Loved it! Got my morning started of with a good laugh! This is the way it always happens. You get dressed up then you run into no one. You look your worst and you run into everybody. Truthfully, they probably don't even notice or care about what you are wearing. They are just happy to see you. emoticon

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SHELLB39 7/16/2010 8:11AM

    Oh what a hoot! With the exception of the socks and boots we are alike in our gardening apparel! I'm glad you could enjoy, for the most part all your lovely encounters! Being a hairstylist I use to think I could never go out without my locks fixed. I rejoice that I've finally overcome the silly idea that people would care if I didn't! And if they do...that's their issue. The freedom to go out on a whim when necessary, despite appearance is worth it for me! Thanks for the good morning story! What a lovely place you live! emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 7/16/2010 7:54AM

    I absolutely love this blog! It never fails, when we venture out in our "work clothes" and for me, an old cap on my head, that we meet at least one person we know. LOL I also know that this will not ever change so I'm not going to fret about it as much. But I do get a bit embarrassed at times.

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GOLDFISHLIZ 7/16/2010 7:01AM

    Oh --- isn't always the way!! What a great picture you paint! But my guess is - if they thought at all about what you were wearing, that they just assumed you were doing the garden!
I'm off into mine whan the rain stops......
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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A very, very, busy, busy bee....Bzzzz Bzzzzz Bzzzzzz

Friday, July 09, 2010

I've been a bit of a busy bee this last week and was hoping to post some pictures along with this blog but frustratingly my camera won't load to the computer so I'll have to paint a picture with words....

On Friday with my friend Judy I visited the beautiful and historic mediaeval town of Beverley in East Yorkshire.
It was a gorgeous sunny day but rather humid so we did the touristy thing of visiting the imposing Minster, parts of which date back to 700AD, where it was peaceful and cool.
We visted the Friary built in 1263 which is now a gallery and conference centre.
We also wandered the tiny mediaeval streets and alleyways enjoying the old houses and architecture and walked along the banks of the river Hull, known locally as Beverley Beck.
A visit to Beverley isn't complete without a visit to Nellies, more correctly called the White Horse Inn, the oldest coaching Inn in Beverley dating from 1666, but known locally as Nellies after the landlady who ran it for many years. Sadly not there now, the place is still run as she and her sister did it, even down to still having gas lighting!!
We had a lovely bar meal and a refreshing thirst quenching cold drink and afterwards strolled the Westwood, a common grazing pasture which is still run on the mediaeval rules by the Pasture Masters of the parish.

Saturday was a day of 'Hearts & Flowers' with a visit to a nearby church for an exhibition of wedding dresses and memorablia complimented by wedding floral arrangements.
The sights and smells were wonderful.
The oldest dress dated from 1786 and the youngest was one a bride had worn the Saturday before at a wedding in the church. It was wonderful to see the changing styles as we meandered through the decades.
Embroidered hearts decorated the pew ends, the magnificent floral bouquets and sill arrangements were works of art and the scent of lillies was overpowering.
There were cream teas, craft stalls and a raffle in the village hall to finish of the visit.....I later found out I'd been VERY lucky and won a raffle prize.....with over 2000 tickets sold, how lucky was that!!

Monday was a Garden Party for my Chapel's 'Knit, Natter & Stuff ' group.
We get together regularly to knit soft toys, teddybears, babies & toddlers cardigans, blankets, shawls, hats, gloves and mittens and make cloth school bags and small blackboards, pack shoeboxes with essential items like toothpaste, soap etc. for an African orphanage and raise money for 'Water Aid' which helps to dig wells for remote African villages where people have to walk miles for water and pay for it!
So far we've helped to pay for five wells, built two schools and a further four classrooms to an existing one and we're putting seven orphans through their schooling so fund raisers every now and again are essential.
The garden party was held in a friends stunning garden on a gloriously sunny day. We served cream teas & strawberries and ran a cake stall, bring & buy and a raffle.

Tuesday saw a visit to the studio and gallery of the very talented local wildlife artist and sculptor Robert Fuller. (If you google 'Robert Fuller, wildlife artist' you'll find pages which show you the kind of thing he does.)
It was an open day with guided walks across his land to badger, otter and kingfisher watch, but sadly we left it too late to book for any and they were all full so it'll mean another visit...Yippee!!
Robert & his father Richard are very well known it the area for their conservational farming methods.
Richard exhibits as well, not paintings, but wonderful wild life photography taken on his farm at Great Givendale. (You can google him too!!)

All in all a very busy but wonderful week which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHELLB39 7/14/2010 9:28PM

    What great visuals you created with your words! Thanks for the "telling" ! Hope you're in the upload mode soon! emoticon

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GOLDFISHLIZ 7/13/2010 2:45AM

    What a great week! My Dad was an architect, and loved Beverley Minster, which he photographed in detail and spoke about in his groups in Harrogate.
This is a great time of year for flower festivals and the like. I'd have loved the bridal exhibition!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEELOJ 7/11/2010 8:30PM

    What a grand time!! I was having a great time with my sister this week too!
We saw a lot of really beautiful Kansas!!

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DAWNDMOORE40 7/10/2010 9:58AM

    Hi! It sounds like you are having a wonderful trip! I would love to go visit England someday! I also think it's wonderful that you are emoticonother! emoticon

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QUIETCUPOFTEA 7/10/2010 9:08AM

    hi martha ann! what a wonderful trip. i would love to visit england someday; all that rich history and beautiful scenery! and bless you for your work on behalf of the people of truly do make the world a much better place! emoticon

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MARTHA-ANN 7/10/2010 2:23AM

    Thanks everyone, it was a very enjoyable week emoticon

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DEBHAPPY2B 7/9/2010 9:12PM

    Hi Martha Ann, your week sounds wonderful. The UK has such wonderful historical sites which put ours to shame in the US! I wish I had been with you! I saw many wonderful things when I visited England about 17 years ago...I would love to meet up with you sometime and visit again.


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HAVALOVER 7/9/2010 9:32AM

    Wow, Martha-Ann, you visited great places!
I can picture them clearly in my mind, but when the camera-computer marriage reach an agreemente emoticon, I'd love to see the pictures too!
Hugs and have a great weekend,
Go Spain! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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XME501 7/9/2010 9:26AM

    Beautiful!! Love the pictures of the Garden Party - just spending time with fiends and enjoying a craft together. And also raising money to help dig wells in Africa. I was there on a Mission trip a number of years ago - we had a well where we were staying and the women were allowed to come in the morning to draw water. Then they would balance the container on their heads and return to their "homes". Also, in one village we visited the children we so excited to show us the well that an organization had put in for them.
Perhaps you will still be able to add your pictures. Would love to see them!

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