Sunday, 17 January 2016

Happy times with new friends

What is this thing called chemistry? What makes one person different from any other to a point whereby I can 'hit it off' as great friends within seconds? When with others, you just know the greeting will be just that. Nothing more, nothing less than a hello.

My new best friend is Penny and she's a lovely person. She introduced me to the lovely Cathy, who she works with in New York. It was lovely to meet them for dinner at Downtown Disney. We wandered around the shops, giggled and bought ice-creams just like young kids!

Then we sat on a bench watching the Disney fireworks before catching the bus back to the Anaheim convention centre. Happy times...



Saturday, 7 November 2015

Creative space with a plate of food to share

Given that one of the top 10 reasons for being 'me' includes time for some creative space every day, that means I challenge myself to make decisions. I know, I'm my worst enemy! I thrive on deciding 'stuff' in certain sectors of my life which I want to plan down to the tiniest detail, However, life dictates that I also have to make decisions on the less interesting parts of my life, which I definitely don't enjoy doing.

I've worked hard to finely tune my single life. Doesn't everyone do that? I guess, perhaps not, which is why another's need for a partner to share the decision-making is stronger than mine is. When we are asked why we want someone else in our lives, I bet the top answer is never, because I want to share the burden of decision-making! And yet, that is surely a huge benefit to being in a couple. Watching two people share a plate of food makes me envious. Simple pleasures, but hugely beneficial for our emotional well being. That's what I crave.


Friday, 6 November 2015

Living the dream


It's 24 degrees inside and 0.3 degrees outside this morning. There's a layer of crisp white frost on the roofs and lawn but we're very toasty indoors. The heat from the huge indoor fire radiates out through the house 24/7. It's far hotter than anything I'd have at home but it's the norm here. Sleeping with the window open means the bedroom stays cooler during the night, although the downside is that night noises are so much louder. The tractor, coming down the lane late last night sounded like it was coming through the window. It was so loud! The dogs start barking when the papers are delivered at 4:30am, then comes the voices heard at the bus stop and the bus at 5:30am. The clock chimes at 6am and that pattern is repeated every single day. Hungarians go to bed early and they're up at 5am so what do they care? Life in rural Hungary, even so close to the main tourist 'sea' of Lake Balaton, continues as it has done for many years. Signs of sky dishes, telephone masts are the only sign that technology may have invaded village life. There's an older generation that live here in the villages who live a frugal, simple life and they hold dear their traditions, their festivals, their recipes and their catholic roots. That's the Hungary I want to visit.


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Decisions downtime!

Hurrah, this holiday is time for some decision downtime. I know I love controlling my life and making decisions around it but I do wish I didn't have to do all of it, all of the time. Decision-making fills my every waking hour, as well as some hours of darkness when I don't sleep. Of course, making decisions is a fact of life. The amount of decisions we all make depends on how many 'significant others' influence us on a daily basis. I have worked hard to sharpen my decision-making pencil to deal with more and more as I've grown older. But I don't like the volume of decisions that lie in wait for me every single day. Being your own primary carer is blooming hard work! Given that I'm single and live on my own, the percentage of decisions I make is going to be higher I'd say than someone in a relationship, or living with family. That's why being on holiday with my wonderful family is just so great!



A dose of vitamin D!

Who'd have guessed it? Lashings of gorgeous sunshine again today. This is just what I need. Nothing too hot, a gentle 15 degrees and warm enough to sit outside on the terrace. I love a holiday as much as the next girl and it's especially lovely to visit family for a holiday. Apart from booking the flights, parking and buying a few gifts, I've done little else. Staying with family is lush! It's a chance to be together again and each time I do it, the dynamics change. I think it's because my life is, I'll admit, quite structured but it lacks any kind of routine. Weird sounding, I know and some of that needs to change. What's nicer than becoming absorbed back into family life for a few days, experiencing someone else's life and joining in with the good bits. Suffice to say, in the case of the Szabós, there are no bad bits!



A slice of Hungarian life

Is it day 3 already? Tuesday 3rd November and I'm standing in Greg's garden in Vászoly. I've set up my standing desk (a stool stood on the table!) which is a bit cutting edge for the Hungarians. It's an cosy 15 degrees here and the sun is so hot, both myself and Mom are in shirt sleeves. There's not a cloud in the sky, just the faint sounds of the village people and a local bus driving past the village. I like a slice of life like this, rural and peaceful. In touch with family but not suffocated by them. In control but with consideration.

Everything about Greg & Rachael's 'Good life' here is appealing. The clearly defined seasons and the lack of unseasonal food, which means they buy it when it's at its best, in season! The allotment, which in less than two years is already delivering fresh produce which will keep their larder stocked up this winter. If you had to choose a lifestyle, you'd be hard pressed to find fault with this one! Admittedly, if you enjoy shopping and need to drive to Bristol to work, the location has its challenges. And the tinternet is rubbish! But being unconnected has a certain freedom, a charm that has to be good for the soul. I like this life a lot!



Friday, 29 May 2015

Sometimes life is like odd bits of a jigsaw

Who says that life's little pieces have to join neatly together? Sometimes life throws us jigsaw pieces just like these. Every waking day could be a series of misshaped bits if we let it. Our alarm doesn't go off for some reason. We need petrol and the garage isn't open. We drive to work and discover we've chosen the wrong clothes today. Let's face it, confronting life with a brave face is tiring. I find it hard when things don't go the way I expected them to. There is only me to solve the puzzle of which bit goes where, whereas two heads, we all know, are better than one at solving puzzles. So much of life is like bits of a jigsaw. We rely on our relationships being like closely fitting bits of the same puzzle. Get the edges and the corners done and your heart tells you that you're on your way! When the pieces turn out like these, it's time to accept that you're better off chucking them back in the box and starting again! Give me an old fashioned cottage garden puzzle where every bit had a sticky outie bit, or two, and I'll be happy ;)


Thursday, 28 May 2015

I love my family...

It's not difficult to see what's so special about my wonderful family. We are all deliriously happy and aren't afraid to show it! We spent enough time with Dad to know that faced with a camera lens there's only one thing expected of you, and that is a smile ;)


By the seaside...

You've got to love Lyme Regis on a Bank Holiday Sunday in May!


So is true...

I love collecting quotes, mainly on Pinterest, because it's an easy place to store them. A few days ago, I found this little gem. 'She' resonates so much with someone I know very well ;)


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Super secret silversmith squirrel!

PTake a piece of silver sheet, some amazingly talented tutors, a lot of inspiration and it's the perfect recipe for a perfect weekend. Making silver jewellery is a joy.

Pitch black walking!

Pure adrenalin rush got me back up the hill last night - and a couple of glasses of good red wine! I'd driven to Milton Abbas, checked in at my B&B and strolled very leisurely down the hill to the pub. It's had been a glorious sunny day so it was still warm which made the walk really enjoyable.

Of course,,when I came to leave the temperature had plummeted so it was freezing cold! It was also pitch black so armed with my phone torch, which gave just enough light for me to see my feet, I started trudging up the hill.
All I can say is, it's a good job there wasn't much light! Otherwise, the sight of that perishing hill stretching out before me would have sent me straight back to the pub & my half open bottle of red.
But I rarely give up on anything so despite having a couple of pitstops, I made it up the hill & back to my B&B without incident, yeah!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Life at the Mill

My reason for being here. I wake up every morning and although the view through my window never changes, the scenery certainly does. From misty mornings to smokey, wood burning afternoons, swans flapping frantically across the lake, fish jumping, trees bare, heron standing waiting for supper, fishermen trying their luck, the sun coming up in the mornings, the mist hanging just below the tops of the trees, rain bouncing off the surface of the water, the first green buds of spring and those darned ducks throwing a quacking good party at some God fearing hour of the morning! I love all these special moments and cherish the time I spend here as custodian of my wonderful home.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

My new guilty pleasure..

I love Jolly Nice for oh so many reasons. Not just for the wonderful tasting organic meat, not even the fresh veg but for the wonderful coffee, pistachio, pear and cardamon cake eaten by me (as you can see!) in the yurt. The wood fire is lit, there's light banter going on and life is not just good - it's amazing!

Friday, 13 March 2015

A sunny flower for a very special little boy

I'm remembering little Wilf especially this week. His beautiful, bright daffodil reminds me how special and wonderful Wilf was. I never really knew him and yet, he touched more peoples lives in his three short years than I could ever hope to do. His strength, determination and smile that could light up the night sky, is a lesson to us all. Live for today, smile through all life's ups and downs and make every single day count. It's not the length of your life that counts - it's what you do with it. Touch other people's lives with care, respect, love and you won't go far wrong. Our lives are better because of Wilf, his wonderful family and friends.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

On holiday in West Sussex

A host of wonderful adventures and memories to be repeated again - very soon!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

My best nights sleep in years!

Just when I'm having a couple of nights at a good hotel, I happen across a couple of amazing nights sleep! That doesn't happen very often. In fact, I could count my good nights for one year on just one hand. I'm a restless sleeper, in and out like the proverbial yo-yo and as a result I have been searching for the perfect mattress. Today I found it!! If anyone could have seen me frantically pulling off the bedclothes trying to find out what brand of mattress I had been lying on, they'd have laughed out loud. And to my surprise, look what I found. Not just a brand but a cute little label - see here. At first I thought it was an instruction for me to follow, doh! But it's for note for turning.. how clever.. it made my wonderful nights sleep even more perfect.
So my footnote to this story is that I called the hotel (yes madness ensued!) and they very kindly called me back with details of the actual brand of mattress. I searched online and did a bit of research and.. I  have bought myself a wonderful new bed.
Thank you Fawsley Hall Hotel for an amazing nights sleep and for many more super uninterrupted sleeps to come!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Highs and lows...

Lows... Feeling so tired! More tired than I'm used to experiencing, that's for sure. My hectic lifestyle means I'm used to drawing on my energy reserves. I do it quite often. But this is a quite different feeling. I'm delving into my emergency reserves -- those extra crystals of pure power and energy that rarely get touched. It's a short term fix for weeks and weeks of extra hours. Roll on holiday time!!

Highs - today, I sat and chatted with May from the Great British Sewing Bee. She was charming. My awards, which have sucked every bit of life out of me these past few weeks, went extremely well. I'm now sitting in Loch Fyne having consumed smoked haddock, mash and a poached egg, followed by frangipani tart with custard. Not one jug of custard but the barman kindly bought me two, woo hoo!

It's been a very long day and a good one.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

My super silversmith journey..

Carefully positioned within the vice, protected within a small piece of leather. Starting with a very small drill at first then increasing the drill bit until the hole is large enough to be threaded onto the bracelet.

It's looking rather rough, wouldn't you say?! Just a little bit of filing and my wonderful silver bead is ready for more polishing. I am the polishing fairy! It's never a chore.. for some reason, I find it very therapeutic. The joy of getting a beautiful even finish is worth all the hours of filing.

Here is my finished satin finished silver bead charm. Most people, I know because I've tried this, say 'That's nice', and that's okay, really it is. Only I know how much time and effort it has taken me to get from a flat sheet of silver to a perfectly round silver bead. I'm happy that only I know because it becomes my little secret, It makes my fabulous silver bead mean even more to me. I couldn't do any of this without the help, guidance, kindness of two wonderful people that are Flux 'n Flame. I feel so lucky to have happened upon them.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

My little silver charm

It's such a joy to work with silver. Here's my little bauble charm which I'll finish tomorrow... It started life as a 0.8mm sheet of silver... Tad da!

Lots of filing and polishing to do yet, along with making the holes at each side, so I can thread onto my charm bracelet. I may also set a tiny stone on to it... Back with more once it's done ;)



Friday, 30 January 2015

Today... I am a trouble shooter!

Flipping heck...! I knew today was a day to stay in bed! So many unusual things have happened. Things that never happen and make today an extraordinary day. Hard hats on... Nerves on alert... it's Friday 30th January.

I think we all experience days when things don't go quite to plan. One incident, and we just ignore it. Two incidents and we begin to notice. Any more than two and it becomes a hard hat day

I started the day feeling lazy having woken up rather late. I'd kept the eiderdown on my bed which is like sleeping under a brick. I think it stops me from waking up, which has to be a good thing. I decided to cook the rhubarb that I bought this week. I trimmed, chopped and poached my plump, cherry red sticks of new season rhubarb until they were just soft. I added a little honey and a pile of plump cranberries, returned it to the heat to warm through then spooned into thick yoghurt. That was a nice surprise!

Work has been extremely demanding all week. I've even begun to count the emails I've sent, which isn't a good sign. I had my xmas tree recycling incident, which was a new experience. Then I filled my car with diesel and the cut off didn't work. I only realised when I noticed a puddle on the ground under my tyre and a pool of diesel running down the side of my car. I know it's cheaper than it was but hey, it's still not what I'd use to wash my car!

This evening I've booked into my hotel and I know the walls of most hotels are paper thin. That's why I choose ones with large chunky keys and thick walls! I've already been treated to the tv on one side and a phone alarm going off continuously on the other. It's a lovely place to stay so I hope it doesn't spoil my stay.

I've just finished dinner and a large table of lads from the private school down the road, celebrating a birthday, asked for the fire to be lit. The room gradually filled with smoke, to the point that they had to open the windows and I've come to sit in the coffee room. It's all good humoured here and not a problem but it does bring my total of incidents to +4.

Here's a quote from my horoscope for today...

" Problems provide purpose. We all know what we are supposed to be doing if we have a difficulty to resolve or an obstacle to get round. As long as we feel reasonably capable of rising to that challenge, we can take some pleasure in playing the role of a troubleshooter. "

Keep the challenges coming - there are still 4 hours to go!


Congratulations car - you're now a skip!

Today, the bin men, who are clearly the refuse police, decided not to take my bits of xmas tree that I'd put out by my bin. They took everything else but deemed it not worthy to ride in their wagon - muppets!

It was the right day - tick! It was even green bin week - tick! But doh, I put the cut branches in black bin bags - bad girl! They could clearly see the pine needle clad branches trying to fight their way out of the bags. And the nobbly trunk wrapped up in plastic. What's a girl to do, I asked myself?

I decided it was time I found the local tip! I'm quite proud of myself because I've managed to avoid the experience the whole time I've lived here, a fact of which I'm constantly amazed. But today was going to be the day I gave in and used my lovely car as a skip!

I needed to find a recycling place that would take two big bags of branches and the 6 foot long trunk! I did my google homework and merrily drove to the local recycling centre only to find the postcode must have been wrong... How annoying! So I drove back into Nailsworth to have lunch and rethink my strategy. The nice girl in Hobbs explained that I hadn't driven far enough along the road so back I went until I found the tip and have safely deposited my tree down the Shute. The only signs of it now are the few pine needles left in the boot of my car which will no doubt hand about until next Xmas! Aw well, it was lovely while it lasted!


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Hot tub blues

There's something quite awesome and indulgent (and I use those words on purpose) about sitting in a hot tub outdoors looking up at the sky. The air is chilly, the sky relatively clear, just the mere hint of a moon and the lights of a plane flying overhead. It feels like a huge privilege, something rare that I'm being treated to, and not a run of the mill 'ordinary' day. That's a good thing. I guess it's something that doesn't happen to everyone, which is why it feels so very special. I could be in a glade in a wood in Canada. Don't wake me up from this dream ;)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Great Western Pumpkins

I don't need to learn patience. I know it already!
Every daily experience, good or bad should teach us something. Not something like, Great Western train timetables are dire on a Sunday. I already knew that! I'd hoped to learn something much deeper & more meaningful than that. 
What should have been a wonderful afternoons excursion to my fave coffee shop in Cirencester, on my way back from London, has turned into Pumpkin cardboard cappuccino & plastic, super sweet coffee & walnut cake on Swindon railway station! Hardly the treat I had imagined. This feels more like a holding shed, a limbo moment which serves no more use than to fill a space in my stomach & remind me that sometimes, life's unexpected surprises are not always nice ones. I've learnt that today!

Table for one...?

A 'table for one' usually sounds like the lonelist thing in the world but this evening, it's music to my ears! I love it when a plan comes together! I've been waiting and waiting for that eurika moment and today it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. The next few days were looking very intense & difficult. I needed to be places and the journeys seemed arduous. So what have I done? I've split the journey and am having some R&R at a wonderful country spa hotel.
I've driven for 2 hours, not a bad journey, checked in, great room with an enormous bed, spent a while relaxing under the stars in the outdoor hot spa and am just having dinner. Life doesn't get much better than this! Well clearly, sharing the experience would be better but in the absence if a great partner, I'll settle for a table for one anytime :)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Train travel just got more exciting!

I'm not a great lover of train travel. I don't enjoy hanging around and I'm not nosey enough to want to listen to other peoples personal & often inappropriate conversations, their music & packed trains.
However, this morning, my expectations have flipped! The train is unusually quiet, very few passengers want to travel before 9am in a Saturday morning! To be honest, on a normal weekend, I wouldn't blame them. But I'm going to visit my grandchildren & I'm so excited I couldn't sleep.

And I've just been to the express cafe & picked up a Wolfy's berry porridge pot! Made in Stroud & with a tiny pot of berry jam, it was a welcome treat & tasted delicious!

FGW, I'm very impressed! You've turned an ordinary, birming journey into a berry adventure!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Everyone's talking about...

The tree that fell in the night and blocked the road by the shell petrol garage!

No one is talking about the tree that fell in the road just before the bend, after the Weighbridge Inn! I should know because I skidded into it in slow motion, just like you see on the films. I had switched off full beam and slowed down because I could see a police car and someone carrying a torch just around the bend. Of course, with less light I failed to spot the tree in the pitch dark so slowly and quite sedately, I slid across the loose pine branches into the tangled mix of tree branches and leaves.
I sat with the car motionless wondering what to do next. Clearly, there was no route forward. With a bend directly behind me I quickly worked out that I needed to back out and turn around pretty pronto! A 5-point turn later, I was high tailing up the road, back home and started my journey all over again but with a different route!
This evening, all the news is about the 'other tree', the one I didn't see or bump into, which fell on the other side of Nailsworth. So if you read this and can plant a tree, make it a double planting for me :)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

My highlights of 2014

2014 was such a great year for so many reasons. There were goals, challenges, easy rides and hostile takeovers and all were managed with my usual aplomb! If I didn't enjoy them, I didn't let on. If I loved them, then everyone knew about it! Loving my life is my goal and although it's not always easy, I try my best. That's all I ask of myself..

Here are just a few of the many amazing highlights of 2014…
January brought new light to my home. I bought a Lee Broom bulb and I know it's not to everyone's taste but it fits mine perfectly. I love the crystal, the shape, the design.. and after just one year, I still love it as much as the very first time I saw it.

Too many to mention, I love attending live performances and this year I managed to cram in Swan Lake, Gary Barlow, Elvis tribute, Cirque De Soleil, Paul Hollywood, Malvern Quilt show, Strictly with the Stars, Athletics, Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Hucklow scrapping, and discovered Stourhead gardens.

I spent glorious days away with Mom on the edge of Dartmoor at Middle Hole farm, Cheltenham races, Ginger weekends filled with fun and fab food! Everyone needs a friend like Ginger to bring out the crazy in them ;)

I did try new stuff and went flying in a propellor glider with Gordon, saw Roberta Flack at Chelts Jazz festival, enrolled on a silversmith course and learnt how to play with silver to make beautiful rings.. oh, me, oh my..

I went with Mom to Wimbledon, arranged a family trip to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, secret Sunday, dinner at Liz's, Wet. Wet, Wet at the races, NEC Quilt show, Cowslip studios...

I got some pampering at Malvern Spa, was waited on hand and foot by the wonderful Rachael and Greg on my visit to Hungary, had a most wonderful evening with Ginger at Giffords Circus, more pampering at Hoar Cross Hall, tapped my feet to Riverdance with Mom and had a brilliant time at Jeremy's birthday bash!

October is always one of my favourite months and this year was no exception. I saw Judy Dench, Alan Titchmarsh, wine lunches and had some wonderful adventures at the Lit Festival with the highlight being the poetry reading with Lewis and McCrory - awesome!

The big hitters for 2014 were Lady Gaga (who I've secretly wanted to see for ages! she didn't disappoint), saw the adorable Michael Buble, enjoyed more Hucklow, more Malvern and hid myself away at the amazingly, rejuvenating Dormy House Spa. I laughed at Fascinating Aida with Diane and Lisa, I had an intriguing evening with Gordon in Stow and enjoyed another wonderful Ginger weekend in County Durham.

December saw another fab holiday, this time at Otterton, with food from Darts Farm and walks along the beach at Budleigh Salterton. I went to the Good Food show, had a close encounter with the girl with the kitten and delighted in becoming an instant grandma x2! If nothing else happened in 2014 and I lay like a dormant lion for the remainder of the year, the little fact of my status being elevated to 'grandma' has to be the best thing that's happened to me in a long, long time!

Of course, there has to be a few disappointments, sad happenings and things that don't go to plan which in 2014 included a minor happening - the worst work xmas party EVER! And some much larger, more difficult occasions where I said goodbye to Uncle Vernon and in September, our little Wilf, who managed to touch so many people's lives at the tender age of just 3 years. He influenced us in ways we never imagined. He smiled through every minute of his short life and I have nothing but awe for his family. We all celebrated his amazing life and I am confident, his smile will be kept alive for many years to come.

And finally in December, with 25 wonderful advent gifts from Ginger to keep me smiling, I changed all my Xmas plans to look after my amazing Mother. It was tiring, it was tough, it was tinsel-less but I wouldn't change a thing. I have driven too many miles, drunk too much prosecco, spent far too much money on my chiropractor but it's all been worth it (so worth it!) and on the plus side, I am a few pounds lighter and looking forward to some hazy, lazy time in February when I can relax again.. that will be nice x