MARTHA-ANN   85,961
80,000-99,999 SparkPoints
MARTHA-ANN's Recent Blog Entries

the child in me...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We all have an inner child, a little bit of us which hasn't grown up.

A little bit which delights in childish things...the wonder and awe of something new, the unselfconscious way of kicking through leaves on an autumn day, the singing of silly songs, rolling down a hill, paddling in the sea...these are all signs of our inner child, these and many more!

Well, around Christmas of 2010, my inner child prompted me to buy myself a little box of Mexican jumping beans...

I'd bought some for a grandchild as a Christmas present and witnessing his joy as they wobbled and twitched around in his hand I decided I had to have some myself.
We'd had some each Christmas for a few years many moons ago when my children were young and seeing them again brought back many happy memories so I contacted the 'Bean Daddy' and bought some more especially for me...and my thirty eight year old son who decided he wanted some too!
His excuse was he's a primary school teacher and he could use them in class!!

The beans have lived in a little tin next to my computer ever since then.

At first they bounced around incessantly, tinkling away, clattering against the sides of their little tin before gradually ceasing movement as they pupated.
I looked in the tin every day, held them in my hand where the warmth prompted them to jump and twitch even more, I was in wonderland!

Every day after movement ceased I looked into the little tin but the seed pod was still whole, no tell tale sign of the little round escape door stuffed with a soft silk so they could push it out easily when they'd changed to moths
I have to say in all the years my boys had them we never did get a moth or an escape hole for that matter.

Then yesterday, over a year later, I began hearing the little tinkling sounds again.
I cautiously removed the lid of the tin half expecting a moth to fly out but no...inside was a funny little gingery coloured bug with long hairs on his behind, not at all what I was expecting.
It was very still and I thought it was dead but when I put it on my hand the warmth revived it and it began crawling like a little caterpillar.

I googled jumping beans and according to all the blurb I should have a moth or at the very least a grub or a pupa but my little friend looks nothing like what these pictures say he should so I'm not sure what I've got...

Today he's very quiet, hardly a movement, which makes me sad 'cos I know he's going to eventually die...all the blurb tells you this as there are no special bushes for them to live on, they only grow in Mexico.
I knew this but it still makes me sad.

I took a couple of photos which aren't very good and a little video of him walking across a notepad, falling of the end and twitching himself back over. It's interesting especially to anyone who loves nature as I do.
I decided it was a 'he' and I call him Jose.

Here are a few pictures:

The bug and it's capsule

He has a lovely long hairs on his rear end.

The Mexican jumping bean is actually the larvae of the moth 'Lespeyrasia Saltitans' which lays it's eggs in the flower capsules of the 'Sebastiana' shrub.
These are native to the Chihuahua region of Mexico which is a hot place.
As the seedpods develop the eggs hatch and larvae grow, the seedpods eventually split into three sections which fall to the ground.
Each section contains one larvae.
If the pod become to hot for the larvae they twitch to move their bodies from the heat source which makes the pods jump.
Before they pupate they cut a perfectly round little hole in the pod which they cover over with a softened silk so that the adult moth can emerge easily.
As there is no food source here any moth which emerges will die within four days.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUE_2U 5/2/2012 1:29AM

    I used to be facinated with Mexican jumping beans, also. But I never kept any long enough for the larvae to emerge. I always lost them before that! When I'd get them I'd carry them around in my pocket for days.
I got some for my children when they were quite small, and they were utterly bored with them in five minutes or so. ~sigh~
Love seeing the photos.
Had to look up what they eat. Very interesting! The pics are a bit south of me, here.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TWINKIEQUEEN 4/26/2012 10:30AM

    interesting facts, but i am enchanted with Jose's long silky tail hairs....have you offered him anything to eat or drink....fresh spinach leaf (espinaca), water (agua),...maybe if you offer them saying their spanish names he will feel more at home and have a bite.....have any others that you gave to your son or grandchildren hatched?

Report Inappropriate Comment
ECONLADY 4/26/2012 9:26AM

    Fascinating! Thanks for sharing! I didn't know anything about Mexican jumping beans.

Report Inappropriate Comment

it really doesn't matter if it pitter pitter patters all the day....

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Around two years ago I managed to get back in touch with a cousin I hadn't seen for forty seven years. We'd corresponded now and again but hadn't met each other since I was fourteen and Alma was almost thirty when she'd moved away after her marriage.
We've met up fairly regularly since then, usually in a different town around midway between our homes, as we live a long way apart, to spend the day together.

The government incentive of free bus travel for pensioners has made it relatively easy to go long distances by bus with a saving on fares we couldn't usually afford. Once you've learned how to figure out the bus timetables it's a doddle!
Any way yesterday was a 'meet up' day and Alma said she'd have a surprise for me when she arrived.

The surprise intrigued me and I didn't sleep very well eventually drifting off early in the morning to the sound of rain against the window pane.
I awoke to rain, lots of rain and it didn't ease off as I began my long bus journey in fact it seemed to get heavier the further north I went.
I have to travel around half an hours drive to catch the bus and then the bus journey itself is an hour and a half so it's quite a long time sitting...luckily I managed to stayed dry so at least I wasn't sat in damp clothes.

My bus arrival time was about twenty minutes before Alma's and after alighting at the bus terminal in the pouring rain and very cold wind waiting those twenty minutes seemed like forever as there was no nice warm waiting room to sit in just a plastic covered walkway, with a few damp hard wooden seats, that the wind whistled up and chilled me to the marrow. The rain gregariously splashed down into large puddles and dripped monotonously from the canopy...even the bus station was deserted!

Then all of a sudden it became alive as buses began to arrive, five of them, all with steamed up windows, parking up and disgorging their bundled up passengers who invariably rushed off in the direction of the town, the only bright spot their different brightly coloured or patterned umbrellas bobbing in the rain.
It was hard spotting Alma as everyone either had brollys or hoods up so their faces were obscured but then I spotted her at almost the same instant she spotted me, her umbrella had blown inside out and she was struggling with it, eventually she righted it and crossed the wide wet bus bay to greet me cheerfully with 'What a day to pick'...she wasn't wrong!

And then suddenly I was grasped by the hands by another lady I hadn't noticed who proclaimed 'I'd have known you anywhere, you're the spit of your mother' was Alma's sister, Stella, who I hadn't seen since I was fourteen!
What a wonderful surprise!

By the time we'd hugged and said our hello's the bus station was once again deserted and Stella's next words were plaintive, 'A hot drink, I really need a hot drink' , it encompassed us all so we made our way down into town and found a lovely old pub called the King's Head which was serving morning coffee.
After finding a quiet, out of the way corner table we ordered hot drinks and toasted sandwiches and got down to the business of getting to know each other again.
The time seemed to pass very quickly as we reminisced and looked at photographs we'd brought with us and suddenly we'd been there almost two

Well, we braved the rain and wind and tried to appreciated the lovely old town we were in but eventually the weather defeated us and we retreated to an old church and looked around it. It seemed warm and welcoming at first but as our damp clothing began to steam we became aware it was actually cold in there so went outside and visited some of the tiny shops along the main street before making a very easy decision to appreciate an establishment with the welcoming name of The Cosy Cafe...and it was, very welcoming, very cosy and above all warm!
We enjoyed another hour of chat over toasted teacakes and a hot drink served in proper old fashioned china cups and saucers with matching plates, sugar bowl, milk jug and teapot...

The time was marching on and by now it was getting to bus departure time.
Alma and Stella's leaving time was twenty minutes before mine so after hugs, kisses, saying goodbyes and waving them off I sat in the same old bleak and windy covered walkway to await my bus.
The rain was still persisting down and the bus was warm and welcoming...well, it seemed like that at first but as the journey wore on it began to feel chilly and damp and as I reached my destination my feet were like little blocks of ice and even my nose was cold!

My DH was waiting to pick me up and, anticipating I'd be cold and wet had the car heater on full blast which was very much appreciated I can tell you.
My journey wasn't over as we were still half an hours drive from home so we stopped and bought fish & chips with mushy peas, which we ate with our fingers, in the car with the windows fogged up and the rain beating a tattoo on the roof...delicious and the best fish and chips we'd had for ages!
I never even thought about my Spark diet

Eventually we reached home. I was warm, dryish, hunger sated and very happy.
I had a nice warm shower, got into my PJs while DH made me a cup of low calorie hot chocolate and I relaxed by the fire and reflected on a wonderful day...rain, wind and cold it didn't matter, I'd thoroughly enjoyed it!

One last footnote, it rained all night and today it's still raining as I type emoticon

The deserted (except for me) wet and windy bus station with it's covered walkway.

Stella and Alma inside the warm and welcoming Cosy Cafe.
Wonderful ladies, Stella is eighty four and Alma seventy nine.
I'm a spring chicken compared to them and I hope I'm still as sprightly at their age...somehow I doubt it!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CELLOPLAYER1 4/19/2012 6:23PM

    What a wonderful day!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUE_2U 4/19/2012 4:39PM

    What a wonderful, adventuresome day, full of love and warm memories, despite the chilly rain! Fantastic read! Thanks for sharing this!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ECONLADY 4/19/2012 11:04AM

    What a delightful story. Some of your phrases and descriptions are quite different than I would use in California. It made it more charming. I truly enjoyed your story! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment

the path through the wood

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's weird weather here, one minute it's sunny bright blue skies, the next cloudy or raining and with a chilly wind too.
The rain varies from a slight drizzle to a torrential downpour which only lasts a few minutes. Bearing this in mind we decided to walk in Lowthorpe Wood.

Lowthorpe is a small Yorkshire Wolds village, maybe twenty houses, and the wood which borders it is mainly beech trees with the occasional horse chestnut, it runs along side the Lowthorpe Beck which forms part of the river Hull. The beck meanders it's way through various small villages, across fields and through wooded areas, changing it's outlook and name along the way until it meets the the mighty Humber and flows into the North Sea.

The Yorkshire Wolds are chalk so Lowthorpe Beck is a wide chalk stream and crystal clear, the water level is low this year but the bank sides are studded with clumps of primroses and violets whilst the bluebells are beginning to make an appearance under the trees.

It was a bright clear blue sky when we set off, parking the car in a small layby we skirted two fields planted with oilseed rape which was just beginning to flower, watching rabbits and birds until we crossed a precarious one plank, moss covered little bridge into the cool dankness of the wood.
I love the smell, a sort of damp, dank yet pleasant odour with a hint of promise.

The track is covered in last year's leaves, still bearing their lovely gingery hue, and dark brown beech mast shells which crunched underfoot making a sharp conrtrast to the soft sounds of the trickling water as it runs along side the path.
We walked slowly, savouring the smells and the little finds among the trees.

Bright green leaves were emerging from the sticky buds of the horse chestnut trees, in various stages of their unfurling process they looked fresh and spring like against the autumn bare branches.

A lonely little bluebell poked it's head from amid the fallen leaves, it's bright blue countenance a welcome contrast to the earthy browns and greens of it's surroundings. It's head hung bashfully, flowers dangling like little bells in the typical English bluebell way. There were lots of other budded stalks which would soon be opening to keep it company.

A bit further on stood a lone daffodil, almost opalescent pale lemon petals with a brighter yellow trumpet, all on it's ownsome in a sea of fallen beech did it arrive there?

Clumps of pretty yellow primroses, garlanded round with fresh green leaves to look like little posies, studded the steep bank sides. Glowing brightly against the white chalk and brown soil, their pretty flowers intermingled with bright purple violets and white wood sorrel.

It began to rain and the drops pitter-pattered above our heads filtering down through the canopy of bare branches their little splashes making the fallen leaves glisten.
The surface of the stream became a myriad of ever widening concentric circles as the raindrops plipped into the water.
It didn't rain long and little rays of sunshine shone down like tiny spotlights illuminating small patches on the tree trunks and the water surface, making them glow with an ethereal light.

It was calm and peaceful on the banks of that little trickling stream which seemed to sing it's way along, listening to the birds piping fluently and seeing the first signs of spring emerge but the day was growing old so we followed the track through an unusually dry boggy meadow back to the warmth of the car before heading off to a layby on the main road where a small white van and trailer parks daily to serve up delicious bacon butties, beefburgers and home made cake...all washed down with mugs of tea or weary walkers and travellers alike.
You order from the van, eat in your car or the little picnic area provided.
I love the varied plates and mugs they serve everything up on, nothing matches and some of the slogans on the side of the mugs make me laugh....DH had 'I'm on a seafood diet...I see food, I eat it!'

Emerging bluebells

Lowthorpe beck

Horse chestnut leaves emerging from their sticky buds

a clump of primroses

primroses on the bank sides

Looking back through the trees

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LILSUNFLOWER 4/18/2012 7:25AM

    Wow. Such beautiful pictures and the descriptive prose.
Thanks for brightening up my day.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUE_2U 4/15/2012 9:32PM

    So beautiful to read... so lovely to see! Thank you so much! I do miss my walks beside the stream.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNUZSUZ 4/14/2012 11:22AM

    Thank you for the "virtual" walk through the woods with you! I always feel like I am right there, you describe it so beautifully!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARTHA-ANN 4/14/2012 3:28AM

    Thankyou both, it was a lovely walk, glad you enjoyed it too emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ECONLADY 4/13/2012 10:55AM

    Absolutely beautiful and a delight to read!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TWINKIEQUEEN 4/13/2012 9:19AM

    your pictures are lovely.....your descriptive words are even lovlier, evoking mental images which make the fotos unnecessary......sounds like a lovely day

Report Inappropriate Comment


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Snappy is an acronym for Special Needs Activities and Play Provision for York.
It's a York based voluntary organisation providing various activities, schemes and trips for young special needs people aged between five and twentyfive.
They rely on donations to run the organisation.

Kilham Wednesday Night Bikers are a group of local motorcycle lovers who meet regularly at The Bay Horse Inn, Kilham for rides out on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons through the summer months.
Every Easter Sunday they have an annual Easter Egg Run in memory of Stephen Cowton.
This years run is for eggs and donations to be given to egg-cellent idea!

I knew Stephen, he was an inspirational young man who battled a heart condition all of his life. He died aged eighteen years leaving a sad hole in the village community.
I went to Stephens funeral, All Saints is a large church but it was filled to capacity with as many again standing outside, young and old alike attended and there wasn't a dry eye as the haunting song 'You are the wind beneath my wings' sang by Celine Dion was played as they carried his coffin out.
I can't hear this song now that I think of Stephen.

Stephen was motor bike mad from a very young age, his dad Fran used to take him to compete in the road races on the Olivers Mount Circuit at Scarborough and together they started the Kilham Bikers with the intention for pleasant rides out through the summer months. When Stephen sadly died they started the annual bike run for charity in his memory, todays run was the sixteenth.

The weather was kind, no rain but a little dull.
By nine am the car park at the Bay Horse began to fill up with bikes and riders, they also lined the roadsides and filled the forecourt of a nearby garage.
Bikes of every description and colour, old, new, vintage, three wheeled and riders in colourful gear, painted helmets and fancy dress stood around gossiping and munching on bacon butties washed down with mugs of steaming hot tea...the smell was wonderful and DH and I succumbed to a bacon was deeelish!

Bikers armed with plastic buckets walked among the crowds collecting donations and selling raffle tickets for the draw to be held at the pub shindig this evening, yet others were gathering up the donated Easter eggs and loading them into a white van which would end the procession of bikes.
Then spot on eleven o'clock they all lined up three deep and led by a chicken, the Easter bunny and a black & white rabbit, complete with carrot, they roared off amid cheers and clapping.

Here are a few photos:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHA-ANN 4/12/2012 1:19PM

    Thankyou, I like writing and Sparking so I'll continue doing both!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CRANRANA 4/12/2012 11:12AM

  What a wonderful tribute. I'm sure he was a special fella. You really have a way of making us feel connected to him and your community. Keep on writing--and Sparking!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARTHA-ANN 4/10/2012 1:27PM

    He was Barb, a really nice well mannered young was so sad as he knew he would never grow old right from being little and had the fortitude to deal with it and live life to the full.

Comment edited on: 4/10/2012 1:27:29 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
XME501 4/10/2012 11:32AM

    What an awesome tribute!! He must have been a very special young man.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARTHA-ANN 4/9/2012 5:52AM

    Thanks everyone, it was a good turnout especially the evening do which was a social and an auction and raised lots of money...not sure how much as it hasn't been counted yet!
Stephen will definitely be looking down on us and will be very pleased...bless!

Comment edited on: 4/10/2012 1:25:46 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
ECONLADY 4/8/2012 2:23PM

    Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ALIHIKES 4/8/2012 1:39PM

    What a great event, and what a wonderful way to remember Stephen! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOLDEN-DAYS 4/8/2012 8:22AM

  sounds like fun hope they got plenty of eggs and cash for all the kids stephen would be pleased with this bet he's was sitting in heaven watching all the fun nice one emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Our 'Ruby' week-end

Monday, March 26, 2012

It was our Ruby Wedding Anniversary yesterday.
When we married forty years ago it was Easter Saturday and in those forty years it has only fallen at Easter again once, our nineteenth.
We didn't want a 'do' so on Friday we headed up into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park for a long week-end in a little stone holiday cottage. It was so peaceful and relaxing even though we did a lot of walking.
Beautiful weather, beautiful views with time to relax and reminisce...we set off in thick fog and apparently the weather back at home stayed foggy all day and the next too...were we blessed or what!!

Yesterday we drove down into Farndale, a small hamlet, parked up and walked along the banks of the river Dove, it's in a sheltered valley and is famous for it's tiny wild daffodils or lenten lillies said to have been brought here by Franciscan monks when they founded Rievaulx Abbey in medieval times. There are a few ruined monasteries in the area.
There were quite a lot of people about as the flowers only bloom for two to three weeks each year but even so you could feel the peace and tranquility of the valley and appreciate the wide open spaces.
It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny with a gorgeous blue cloudless sky, sheep dotted the valley sides and the dancing daffodils made a yellow carpet alongside the Dove as she wound her way through the valley bottom, meandering on with little views and vistas appearing at every bend.
Half way round is a little tea room nicknamed the 'Daffy Caffy' or to give it it's proper title The Low Mill Tearooms. The food is served from a farmhouse kitchen and is delicious. It's especially famous for it's bacon sandwiches but as we'd had our lunch we plumped for a cooling vanilla icecream. The cafe and little garden at the rear was packed out with people so we had to sit on an old stone wall where we were entertained by the cheeky little chaffinches who know when they're on to a good thing with bits of food from the tourists.

Following the path we then came to Church Houses, a tiny hamlet of about six houses and a pub, The Feversham Arms, where we had a refreshing drink in the pretty courtyard garden before making our way back to the carpark. It's like stepping back in time to a bygone age when you go inside.

We drove up the narrow winding steep road out of the valley and across the moor to Hutton-le-hole, a small but beautiful village with a meandering stream through the centre of it.
It made me think of a visit a few years ago when my mam missed one of the stepping stones as she crossed the stream and ended up sitting in the couldn't get up for laughing!
There are 'moor jocks' or swaledale sheep to give them their proper name wandering about free, they're friendly enough and love to share a picnic though they are a bit greedy!
There's the wonderful Ryedale Folk Museum here with it's original houses saved from demolition, brought from other villages brick by brick and rebuilt into their own little village in the museum grounds. We didn't go in as we've been many times before as I used to work there dressing children in medieval costume for photographs when they came on school visits.

We left the village and followed the road through Pickering, a pretty market town, up onto the valley top to Lockton with it's panoramic views and a wonderful hostelry set on the brow of a hill. The Fox and Rabbit used to be a surgeon's house built for his marriage, before it was turned into a pub, you can see why he chose the site. We had a delicious meal sitting in the pretty flower bedecked garden with the sun beginning to set across the moor...all pinks and oranges.

We're back home now but it's another set of beautiful memories to add to my store.
Here are a few pictures for you...enjoy!

The river Dove meanders through Farndale, it's famous for it's tiny wild daffodils or lenten lillies

The 'Daffy Caffy' or Low Mill Tearooms

The Feversham Arms, Chuch Houses

The river Dove

Farndale cottage post office



Greedy 'moor jocks' or Swaledale sheep

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHA-ANN 4/8/2012 8:20AM

    I disappeared when I tried to add a photo, I've done it again and it's back on now!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ECONLADY 4/8/2012 7:31AM

    Did you have another blog that you erased?

Report Inappropriate Comment
SISSYB3 4/6/2012 10:15AM

    What a beautiful blog...Cogratulations on your anniversary and thanks so very much for sharing! emoticonRenee

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNUZSUZ 3/28/2012 11:04PM

    Wow! gorgeous pictures and the way you tell the story i always feel like I'm right there with you! Thank you so much for sharing this with us:)

Report Inappropriate Comment
ONESPOTLEFT 3/28/2012 12:31PM

    wow great places to see what a visual treat even for those of us who saw the photos, great thank you for sharing

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARTHA-ANN 3/27/2012 4:54AM

    Thanks everyone, it was a lovely week-end and we've brought back lots of happy memories we can remember in the years to come. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HICKOK-HALEY 3/27/2012 1:13AM

    That is a beautiful place. So glad you had the chance to go there. The flowers are beautiful, and the buildings are very charming. Thanks for the pictures!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ECONLADY 3/26/2012 9:24PM

    Happy Anniversary! The pictures are amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUE_2U 3/26/2012 8:50PM

    Oh what a lovely place to be! Thank you for sharing the photos.
I think I did wish you a Happy Anniversary already... if not then I do now! May you have many glorious decades together, to come!

Comment edited on: 3/26/2012 8:50:48 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
XME501 3/26/2012 1:32PM

    How beautiful!! Thank you for sharing - I always enjoy your pictures.

You do live in a beautiful part of our little world.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARILYN1260 3/26/2012 11:52AM

    Happy Anniversary !!! Sounds like your weekend was so nice. Best wishes for many more decades of happiness.

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 37 Last Page