MARTHA-ANN   74,930
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints
MARTHA-ANN's Recent Blog Entries

'February Fill Dyke'

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Well! another month is upon us...February.

My Dad always called it February Fill Dyke, meaning rain...lots of it...and it's raining today, pouring down just for you'll probably be fine later on though!

It set me thinking, Dad had lots of little sayings about the weather, comes of being country born and bred and working on a farm from the age of twelve.
Living in the country then meant a lot different way of life than it does today and the seasons were marked by weather lore...little sayings to remember when things bloomed, when to do certain jobs and how to tell if the day would be wet or dry ready for working in the fields.

My Dad worked his way up to be a ploughman, tilling the land with his huge, gentle shire horses. Walking miles each day up and down the furrows taking in the scenery, watching insect, animal and bird behaviour, learning the little tell tales signs of the nuances of our weather.

He tried to teach us some of what he knew, we spent many wonderfully happy hours with him, walking the fields or helping him garden, learning about nature and the way of the year.
Times had changed though, the tractors were a force to be reckoned with and the trusty shires became redundant, surplus to requirements.
Dad loved horses all his life and even when he joined the army he was in the Horse Guards, and still working with his favourite companion.

I thought this morning of my Dad's little sayings and reminisced nicely for half an hour so I thought I'd share some of them with you.
You probably have your own memories and sayings but these are what I remember and a little poem he taught us too.

Whether the weather be hot,
Or whether the weather be not,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not!

Another favourite was the Poem of the Months.
I think it's words are a bit different to the Sara Coleridge one, maybe through passing it down by word of mouth.

January brings the snow
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain
Thaws the frozen lakes again.

March brings breezes sharp and shrill
Shakes the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lillies, roses
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Brown October brings the pheasant
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast
Then the leaves go whistling past.

Chill December brings the sleet
Blazing fire and Christmas treat.

He always quoted 'Red sky at night, shepherds delight, red sky in a morning, shepherds warning' which my Mam always changed from shepherd to sailor as she was from a fishing it foretold whether the weather would be good or bad.

'Onion skins very thin, mild winter coming in.
Onion skins thick and tough, coming winter cold and rough'.
This speaks for itself and he was usually right.

'Oak before ash, we're in for a splash
Ash before oak, we're in for a soak'.
This refers to the leaves of the trees appearing and what the weather will be like through summer from their emergence in spring.

'Rain before seven, fine before eleven'.
This was very often true and helped when we wanted to go somewhere...well! it shut us up if he told us

'Mares' tails and mackeral sky
Not long wet and not long dry'.
Based on the clouds it foretold a showery patch.

He taught us to look at certain flowers too, most of them close their petals to protect their pollen as the humidity rises so we used to say 'Pimpernel, pimpernel tell me true, whether the weather be fine or no'.
We never picked then, we could only observe.
The pimpernel is known as The Ploughman's Weatherglass.

'Beware the blackthorn winter' and 'Ne'er cast a clout 'til may is out' were another couple of favourites meaning rain and cold.
The blackthorn flowers first on bare stems and the March weather makes it bloom early but it can often be followed by rain and sleet and the 'may' or hawthorne tells us cold spells can be expected still in the month of May hence you don't get into your summer gear until after then.

Just some of the many sayings he had...a true countryman.
I miss you Dad. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TJCADDO 2/1/2011 11:26AM

    Now I know why you grow such a lovely garden.

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEELOJ 2/1/2011 9:25AM

    LOVE this blog!!!
Most of these I have not heard of but the Red Sky my dad said too but it was with the "saliors" like your mom said.
My dad was a farmer too and always watched the sky.

This poem, from the local newspaper, was sent to my mother, by my father, before they were married. Sometime before 1932.
My father had written the following on the newsprint:
"I thought you would like to read this.
I don't think it helps much.
But it is true."
The Weather
Just take the weather as it comes, and never make a fuss:
Don't you suppose the good Lord knows just what is best for us?
Then, don't find fault on summer days because it is too hot;
Make up your mind to take what comes---you'll find it helps a lot.

You can't improve on things, you know, no matter how you fret;
Fussing won't make a hot day cool or make a dry spell wet;
In fact, the more you fuss, the more unhappy you will be,
And nobody'll admire you---take that, now, straight from me.

We need all sorts of weather, and we're going to get it too;
The program won't be changed at all, not even to please you.
So make the best of what you have and do not fret and fuss,
And you can make a humid day seem quite salubrious.
---Somerville Journal

Your blog made me think of this that I have in a scrapbook...

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOLLBABE56 2/1/2011 7:10AM

    Oh Marth-Ann! Thank you so much for this blog. It does remind me of my mom and dad's sayings very much.

Report Inappropriate Comment
ONESPOTLEFT 2/1/2011 6:37AM

    I love this poem but in zone 7 where I am the flowers are already coming along nicely emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

very rewarding...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well, a week has gone by since I re-committed to Spark and this morning I've lost 2lbs. which is brilliant but it certainly hasn't been easy, in fact it's been quite an eventful week one way or another.

I've had a tight chest and no voice for over a week, it's not too bad and my voice is returning...if I don't talk too

We went walking and birdwatching last Monday and I pulled a calf muscle...or so I thought...but it's turned out to be sciatica and by heck is it painful.
I have a 'bad' right leg due to arthritis in my knee and ankle which is a constant ache and the sciatica is in my 'good' left leg so I'm limping big time!

I've also had a Gilberts flare-up which makes me very achey and lethargic.

DH, trying to be helpful...bless! brought fish & chips for tea one night and yesterday we had a pizza. It was difficult, I didn't want to upset I did enjoy them!
He's promised no more being wise anyway!

I'm getting there slowly so the 2lbs loss is a very nice surprise as I didn't think I'd have done very well as I haven't exercised at all, apart from the one birdwatching walk, and have been 'resting' all week!

Anyway it's taken me up to ninety pounds lost and it's reward time once again as I give myself a little incentive every ten pounds lost.
Not sure where or when I'll be able to get something as I'm not going far yet but I have seen a little bendable lamp in a sale which I'd quite like for next to the computer...I'm going to ring and send DH for it! emoticon

it's now later tonight, he went and got it for me, here it is!
It's a pretty shade of lilacy blue.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOW2DAY 1/14/2011 9:40AM

    Congrats on being MOD and losing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOLDFISHLIZ 1/14/2011 4:31AM

    Poor you! There are some horrible chest infections around, so I hope you soon feel better from that, as well as the sciatica.
Well done on choosing such a brilliant reward - long lasting, and a reminder of your achievements!
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARTHA-ANN 1/14/2011 4:03AM

    Thanks everyone, the breathing turned into a chest infection which is now being treated and the sciatica is easing slowly.
I've begun to exercise again...albeit very gingerly...but I'm getting there.
Thanks for all the good wishes, goodies're all awesome! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PMCFARM 1/12/2011 5:40PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
ONESPOTLEFT 1/12/2011 6:44AM

    You are doing a marvelous job and I hope you are feeling better quick as a wink

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEELOJ 1/10/2011 9:01PM

    You are doing great!! It gets hard but just keep at it.
I hope you will be feeling better soon so you can enjoy the weight loss!!
Love your lamp!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CELLOPLAYER1 1/10/2011 8:48PM


Congrats on the weight loss and hitting 90 lbs.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MOM2ACAT 1/10/2011 3:23PM

    I have sciatica too, so I know how painful it is; hope you are feeling better soon!
Way to go on the pounds lost! Enjoy your reward!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LOOZINITNOW 1/10/2011 8:01AM

    emoticon on the loss and enjoy treating yourself to a reward!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUZIEQS65 1/10/2011 6:53AM

    Way to go! You should be very proud of yourself - despite your injuries making a 2lb loss is great!

Report Inappropriate Comment

out with the old and in with the new...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

...that's habits as well as year!

I've been looking back over the last year and re-evaluing my goals.
There were a lot of ups and downs, mainly downs due to ill health but ups too with help and encouragement from all you lovely Sparkers...what would I do without you all emoticon

Anyway I got weighed yesterday and over the last few weeks whilst I haven't gained any weight I haven't lost any either so today I'm recommitting to Spark, climbing back on the train, finding a comfy seat and staying there.
I'm about half way through my achievement goal I set out when I joined Spark so I've a fair way to go yet but with your help and encouragement I know I can do it.
I'm not going to beat myself up, I know what I've done and I want to fix it so here are my ideas for twenty eleven.

1. Recommit to Spark emoticon
Log-in every day not just for a chat with all my wonderful friends but also for the real reason we're lose weight!!

2. Keep on with the water emoticon
I've never really stopped this, I like my water as I don't drink tea or coffeee but I'm going to see if I can up it a little bit more.

3. Make healthy choices with food emoticon
I love my freggies (fruit & veg) too and always manage my five a day...often I'm going to keep on with this.

4. Up the cardio emoticon
I do walk a lot but this is sometimes quite slow due to an ongoing condition but I have been lax with the cardio side of it all so I'm restarting in with Coach Nicole's Ten Minute Heartstart to get me going on the cardio again.

5. Think positive emoticon
I do like me and I know I can do what I set my mind to so thinking positive can only be a good thing.

6. Plan, plan, plan emoticon
Planning is the key...I got a bit lax with my food planner so I've restarted that and have put my exercise plan into gear too. I'll also try to plan for meals out, there are a few good strategies I can use for that one!

7. Reward myself emoticon
When I began on Spark I decided for every ten pounds I lost I'd give myself a little present, nothing much just a small incentive to keep going and I'm going to carry on with that too.

Well, that's it!
Now I just have to manage to stick to it emoticon
Come on girl emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEELOJ 1/2/2011 5:37PM

    A great list!! I will try to join you!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MOM2ACAT 1/2/2011 4:08PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
KAT573 1/2/2011 1:21PM

    OH boy! We have a lot in common! LOL I am going out for my wlk now, doing 2/2 intervals/recovery 12 minutes the rest before, warmup brisk walk and back to house, brisk walk so I know I got my OOMPH sandwiched in there! Hope to see ya on the trails, pal!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LOOZINITNOW 1/2/2011 9:38AM

    Fantastic goals! You hold the key to success. Show 'em how it's done!

Report Inappropriate Comment

In memory of Sylvia

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I like writing poetry, always have but I don't broadcast it about and only a select few know, or at least they did!
Three years ago in a moment of madness I entered a poem for a WI competiton, just for fun really and it won!
So suddenly the whole of my institute knew I wrote poetry.

One of the ladies, Sylvia, was very enthusiastic about it and printed me a lovely copy off from her computer, it was all decorated up and laminated.
On top of this she began calling me the village 'Poet Laureate'.

That Christmas, very tongure in cheek, I wrote her a little poem called 'The Fairy's Lament' which I put inside a Christmas card and posted through her door.
She apparently read the poem out to her family over Christmas lunch where it went down very well.
The next year I wrote a sequel, 'The Fairy's Lament-Part Two', which also went down well and last year it was 'The Fairy's Lament-Part Three'.

Very sadly Sylvia died this year so I won't be able to write any more happy little ditties to slip through her letterbox.
As a tribute to her I'm going to write the three I did produce here.....I hope you enjoy them.

The Fairy's Lament.

You wouldn't want to be a fairy, it's really ill-begotten
Sitting on a Christmas tree with a spike right up your bottom.
They leave me here a week or more, pointing to the skies,
With Christmas lights that wink and blink and nearly blind my eyes.
I'm always in a corner. I rarely see the telly.
They never offer any food. I've got an empty belly.
So if you have a Christmas wish. Please, be very wary.
You really wouldn't want to be a much maligned old fairy!

The Fairy's Lament-Part Two.

Remember last Christmas, the warning I gave?
Well I hope you thought to take heed.
'Cos I'm up here again on the top of this tree
And quite frankly, there's really no need.
They could have a star. A big golden affair.
Or silver. I don't really care.
Either would do and look just as good
As long as the branch wasn't bare.

I could sit at my ease while festivities passed.
Watch telly. Be comfy and calm.
Sample the fare, pull crackers, play games,
Get tiddly! Well, where's the harm?

If they thought about it they'd see that I'm right.
It's a long time--mid December until the twelfth night
And I'm getting old, a bit long in the tooth.
Not halfway as chipper as I was in my youth.
It's a pain to have branches poked up your flue.
Oh! I give up. Merry Christmas to you.

The Fairy's Lament-Part Three.

It's that time again and here I am
Back up this flipping tree.
I thought by now somebody might
Have taken pity on me.

You must be all hard hearted
That's all that I can say.
You eat and drink and merry make
Especially Christmas day.

You never even give a thought
About the fairy's plight.
We're Christmas, that's just how it is.
We live it day and night.

I know we look fantastic
Sat up here looking great
But fairy nerves are fraying
At an exhausting rate.

I really think the time has come
To change the way things are.
Please spare our blushes from now on
And buy a ruddy star!!

Happy Christmas Sparkers and all the best for 2011. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Love these and I'm betting her family would LOVE to have Part Four next year in Marilyn's honor.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARILYN1260 2/11/2011 8:37AM

    Somehow I didn't see this blog until today. Your poems made me smile and I agree with Jo - they should be published!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ECONLADY 12/22/2010 6:37PM

    Wonderful! You are a very fine poet. Please let me know if you write more!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KAT573 12/19/2010 10:32PM

    OHHHHHHHHHHH these are wONDerMOST! The more so because they are a continuing and personal sharing over time with a friend. But by golly, you have a the gift of rhyme and the merriness of it is sublime!
xxoo emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEELOJ 12/19/2010 4:38PM

    So neat!!! Love the poetry! Thanks for sharing them!!
Now go and have them published!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

memories light the corners of my mind....

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I've been sitting this morning writing my Christmas cards.
Snuggled by the fire I spread them out around me, looking at the pictures and reading the verses.
Perusing through the list of recipients names from last year made me think of all the people I'd written down on it.
It has an order to it, a priority.

Family first, starting with the nearest and dearest and going right down to much loved distant aunts, uncles and cousins. Some we hardly ever see except in photographs but keep in touch with through letters, 'phone calls and e-mails while others are a big part of everyday life.

Then it's the dearest of friends, followed by work colleagues and acquaintances who enter our lives briefly but live on in our thoughts.

Things have changed since last year too.....a few names are missing.
Elderly relatives who've had a good, long life and a young man who succumbed to illness. There's also a marriage split needing two cards now instead of the usual one and new names to add as a baby was born and a marriage occurred.
Addresses have changed too, some to more exotic places, others closer to home and roots.

Each person pops into my mind as I choose a card, remembering the little things they like or do, picking a card to suit their know, Auntie Wynne likes cats so I choose one with a kitten in a Christmas stocking and cousin Jane loves skiing so she gets a brightly suited skier whizzing down a mountain, or I choose a Christmas scenes for a family's first Christmas together.

Treasured memories crowd into my mind of wonderful or not so wonderful holidays, happy days out and the joys of childhood as I write the cards sending love and best wishes winging across the miles.

It's a sobering thought to see so much of my life tied up together on a single sheet of paper.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAT573 12/19/2010 10:35PM

    What a wonderfully written nostalgic sharing! Thoughtful and just so you, you, YOU!
Thank you for sharing with us.
xxoo emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
XME501 12/16/2010 1:49PM

    What a special challenge to me. I have not sent Christmas cards for such a long time - but I do enjoy everyone that I receive!
I live in an apartment building and think I will write a special one to each one. Some I do not even know, but I do think of each one when I am out on my patio or walking across the parking lot.
So, this weekend that will be a priority for me.
Thanks so much for the idea!! and for sharing a moment of your day with us!


Report Inappropriate Comment
PMCFARM 12/8/2010 10:52PM

  Such a wonderful time of the year to recall old memories and to make new ones! emoticon MarilynC

Report Inappropriate Comment
MOM2ACAT 12/7/2010 3:28PM

    I love looking through my cards too, Christmas or any other time of the year.
I have a lot of "get well" and thinking-of-you type cards; when I am feeling blue and like I am all alone, I get those out and look through them and I am reminded of how much I am loved and cared for.

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEELOJ 12/7/2010 11:07AM

    This is a really neat blog!
So many of us, me included, send out email Christmas Cards now days and I think we miss a lot of this personal touch.
My main reason for email is the cost of stamps but also it is just so much easier!!
But since you did this email I may have to take a little more time then usual and at least send a person email with many of them.
Not just send them out as a lump to family and friends!!
Thanks for the thought!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOLLBABE56 12/7/2010 7:23AM

    I can't tell you just how much I have enjoyed this blog. Thank you for posting it.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOLDFISHLIZ 12/7/2010 7:22AM

    Your way of doing it is like me - same order, lots of reminiscing, thoughts of those no longer with us. Takes longer than DH, who just tries to get the job over, but I like our way! Hope your prep for Christmas is happy, in spite of the snow!!
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Last Page