Monday, 31 December 2012

#Reverb12 days 29,30 and 31

Day 29 What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2012? What gifts did this word bring?

I didn't have a word for 2012, but had I chosen one it would have been patience.  
What word will you choose to guide you through 2013? What do you hope it will bring into your life?

My word for 2013 is consolidation, and I hope it will do exactly what it says on the box.

Day 30  Often we see our life as a humongous journey, and we believe that not only have we not arrived at our far away desired destination, but we also think we must accomplish x, y, and z, before we can declare with satisfaction that we are THERE. 

For a moment, take a close look at who you are NOW. See what you can declare. 

Merge the past, present, and future into one big ARRIVAL. 

Describe joyously and in great celebration the BEING that you ARE. 

(If you like, try writing this in third person as if you were a news reporter and this article about you is appearing in a publication you love and respect.)

Joy only really ever wanted to get married and have babies. So when she married the for first time at the age of 20, she was too young and inexperienced to realize that marriage is a joint venture and needs to be worked at to endure, she expected far too much from her husband, who was also immature and had similar expectations of her. The marriage lasted eighteen years and produced two lovely sons, so it wasn't all bad, but the ending was rather acrimonious and best forgotten. Her second marriage was at age 40, and with her biological clock ticking away at amazing speed, another two sons came very quickly one after the other. This time, husband and wife, with the benefit of age and experience, worked hard together as a team and muddled through life with lots of hugs and kisses. Joy's four sons are all now adults, one is married with children, one is in a long term relationship and expecting a child, one is newly into a relationship, and one is taking a year long sabbatical from education. They are all well-rounded human beings who seem to be happy inside their skins, which is all she really ever wanted for them. She is now a happy mum and a happy grandmother.

Day 31  Take a moment to yourself, somewhere quiet.

Take a deep breath, and if you have the time/space/inclination do something that has significance for you e.g. light a candle, brew a put of your favourite tea, play your favourite music, whatever.

Think back to where you were all those moons ago, on 1 December when you started #reverb12. All the way back then, I asked: "How are you starting?"

Now, I am not going to ask you "Where are you finishing?" because this is not the end. What I want to ask is, "Where are you now?".

You have spent a month honouring everything that has brought you to this place: the highs, the lows, the messy middles, the exuberant rainbows, the turbulent storms, the fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, the too-tight jeans, the unexpected windfalls, the toddler tantrums (theirs or yours!), all of it.

You have thanked each end every one of these things for the things they have taught you and brought you, and fully know that they reside benignly in your physical, emotional and spiritual being. You know know that while they brought you here and will always be with you, there is no reason for them to hold you back any longer.

You are standing where you are, all that you are, splendidly imperfect and right in the middle of this messy delicious life.

Take another deep breath.

Now quickly and without thinking too much about it, finish these five sentences:

2013 is going to be MY YEAR because... I can do whatever I choose, I can be whoever I choose.

In 2013, I am going to do... eat healthily, exercise more, enjoy myself.

In 2013, I am going to feel... fit and healthy.

In 2013, I am not going to... suffer any negativity

In December 2013, I am going to look back and say...oops, what happened to that year?

OK, thats enough navel gazing for now, many thanks to Kat@Isawyoudancing for organising #reverb12 (and Blogtoberfest), looking forward to what you come up with in 2013.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

#Reverb 12, Days 22-28

Day 22  What was the greatest gift you received in 2012? What was the greatest gift you gave?

What do you intend to give yourself in 2013?

The greatest gift was moving into our new home, a gift from Rog and me to ourselves. In 2013 we intend to give ourselves a newly decorated dining room.

Day 23  Name three excuses -- stories you tell yourself that are holding you back -- that you are going to let go of in 2013.

I can't, I shouldn't, I mustn't.

Day 24  What is the single most important habit you intend to cultivate in 2013?

Fitness and healthy eating together, as a means of recovering a younger feeling, healthier, fitter me.

Day 25  How will you be vulnerable?

The soft white underbelly, the flaw in the armor, the Achilles' heel -- weaknesses are what make us the most human, the most beautiful. 

Next year, how will you tend to your vulnerabilities? How will you build them a shelter from the storm? How will you put them through physical therapy? How will you find a way to make them work to your advantage?  

I'm quite a shy person, and I tend to behave in a rather OTT manner to overcome that shyness, I push myself forward too much, I'm a bit loud. I should try to overcome my shyness and be a bit more reserved, although that sounds contradictory, doesn't it?

Day 26  How do you intend to carve out more time for the things that are the most important to you in 2013?

This isn't a problem for me, Rog and I are both retired, and we are more or less able to spend our time however we choose. We intend to spend more time walking, particularly gentle hill climbing, in 2013.

Day 27 How did you make time for creativity in 2012? 

Looking back, is there one creative time or one particular creation that stands out for you? (Maybe you could share it here?) 

How will you continue (or start) making time and space for your creative passions in 2013?

I had a go at quilting, which I'd never done before. With a bit of guidance from my friend Jean, I set about making a single bed quilt for my granddaughter.

During 2013 I'll carry on being creative by knitting and crocheting for my new grandchild, due in May.

Day 28  Think of three things that daunted you in 2012: how are you going to work towards overcoming them in 2013?

To be perfectly honest, I can only think of one thing that daunted me. We moved house mainly because the house we were living in just wasn't the right house for us, one of the downsides - but not the major one - was a confrontational and aggressive neighbour, so I was really hoping that our new neighbours would be slightly less so. As it turned out they are absolutely lovely in every way possible, so currently there is nothing daunting me.

Please come back tomorrow for the final three prompts.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Reverb12 days 15-21

I don't like to start something and then not finish it, which is why I was in two minds about doing this Reverb12, in case I didn't have the time to do it justice. However, with only three days left of this year I finally find I do have the time to get it all done and dusted, so without further ado here are the next 7 prompts:

Day 15  What was the most extraordinary dish you sampled in 2012? What made it so magical? 

It needn't be the most extravagant dish, just the one that knocked your socks off with its flavour, texture, aroma, freshness, colour, significance, timing… whatever.

A home-made Lancashire hot-pot, using beef instead of lamb, from a recipe I picked up on the web. It was so mouth-tingly scrumptious, and very likely the loveliest meal I have ever eaten. Here's the link

Day 16  Who inspired you in 2012? And why?

What gifts did they give you? And how will you carry these forward in to 2013?

Three people inspired me during 2012 and you can read about them here, they are all authors, and ladies who have followed their dreams. I am not saying that I too want to be an author, but I think it's incredibly important to follow your dreams, and that's what I'll carry forward into the new year.

Day 17 Think of one person whose life you made a difference to in 2012.

What did you gain from this?

How will you continue to make a difference in 2013?

Referring back to the previous prompt, and the link back to my blogpost about the authors who've inspired me, I would like to think that I've made a difference to Amy's life, by helping her out with proofreading and editing her work. My own gain from this was the realization that I can put my proofreading skills to good use and maybe even provide an income, albeit a small one. Hopefully during the coming year I'll continue to help Amy, and any other would-be authors who need use of my skills.

Day 18  What colour best represents the year you had in 2012? And why?

What colour would you like to invite into your life in 2013? 

Be as literal or metaphorical, clever or crazy, or just plain off-the-wall with this as you choose! 

The colour of my year, gosh, I'd like to choose a bright invigorating colour, but unfortunately the colour that first springs to mind about this year would have to be grey! It has been such an uninspiring year weather-wise, with so much rain and so little sunshine. I had been hoping to grow some vegetables, despite having a late start to the season due to the house move, but the weather was so disappointing that nothing much grew. We had not much more than one helping of runner beans, a few baby carrots, a couple of servings of potatoes, possibly a dozen tomatoes and a handful of strawberries, and that was it. Next year I would really like a bit more sunshine, as we are intending to grow as much as we can to eat, so I'm hoping 2013 will be a yellow year.

Day 19 How did you nourish your beautiful body in 2012?

What self-care practices will you take with you into 2013?

Not so much nourishment of the body, but more nourishment of the soul, by encompassing daily meditation (again, please see the link to my blogpost above), which I shall most definitely continue into 2013.

Day 20 What was lost in 2012? What do you intend to find in 2013?

The first four months of 2012 were "lost", we had been hoping to move house in mid-January, but didn't, in fact, move until the end of April, so those four months were spent just treading water and waiting for other people to get their acts together. Since we intend never, ever to move house again, I am hoping to find firm roots growing in our new home town and community.

Day 21 What items did you tick off your dream list in 2012? What other, unexpected, dreams came to fruition?

What are the top three items on your dream list for 2013?

Most of 2012 has been about moving house and settling in to our new home. The new home was the biggest item on the dream list, and that is obviously now crossed off. Having viewed the house on a couple of occasions, and visited the town in which it's located only briefly a couple of times, it was a real pleasure to find after the move that the house, and its location, are so much more than first impressions led us to believe, we are so happy here, and even after 8 months of being in the house the only surprises we have had are pleasant ones!

Dream list for 2013:
1) establish temporary raised beds in the garden and grow as much produce for our own consumption as is possible.
2) re-instate healthy eating and exercise regime
3) re-establish our pastime of hill-walking, we are in a lovely part of the UK with plenty of hill walks within easy distance of home, some we can even see through our upstairs windows.

Please come back tomorrow for Days 22-28.
Linking to Reverb12 hosted by Kat@Isawyoudancing

Thursday, 27 December 2012

My alphabetic review of 2012

A is for Authors, three of whom have figured quite prominently this year (and several others have popped in and out from time to time).
Amy I've known virtually for over three years, she is a young lady with a huge amount of artistic talent and dips her fingers in several pies, she paints, face paints, runs children's art workshops and parties, designs book covers, and this year has spent some time writing as well, I've had the pleasure of proofreading her stories, one of which is to be published in the spring - remember, you saw it here first!
Clare is another virtual friend, an NLP trainer, a meditation teacher and a dedicated happiness experimenter (what a great job title/description!), and you'll read more about her later (see M for Meditation).
Jane, and her alta ego Bertha, are relatively new virtual friends. I won a copy of Jane's book, "Bertha-size your Life", it's a great fun little book (available from Amazon as an ebook or a "real" one), written for ladies of a certain age, and has had a very positive effect on my outlook on life.
Thanks girls.
B is for Blogland, which continues to be a great source of friendship and inspiration. Well done to my blog follower, I'm amazed that you continue to read my witterings, I hope you'll stick with it for another year.
C is for Cassie, the bestest, cutest, cuddliest little friend and companion anyone could ask for (except when she wants out at 4.30am, then she's a pest).
D is for Diet and E is for Exercise, both of which have been sadly sidelined this year, but will definitely feature more positively in 2013.
F is for Felixstowe, the furthest destination on my summer "World Tour".
When we moved to Wiltshire four and a half years ago, it was always my intention to make an annual pilgrimage to see my oldest (in age and duration) and dearest friends, but due to various things that got in the way, this was the first year I managed to make it happen. I was away from home for five days and drove 500 miles, met up separately with Kate in Felixstowe, Janet in Tollesbury, Janice in Chelmsford and Amanda in Hastings, all of whom I've known for more years than I choose to admit, and Tracy, who was until recently a virtual friend, and who, on a very hot Saturday afternoon, with the aid of strawberries and cake, morphed seamlessly into a real one. Thanks girls, it was lovely to see you all, but I'm not sure I'm up to the trip on an annual basis, so you'll have to come to me next year!
G is for Guernsey, where Rog and I spent a magical, restful, recuperative week in September.
H is for Husband, the lovely aforementioned Rog, who continues to be the bedrock on which my life is structured, next year we celebrate our silver wedding anniversary.
I is for Internet, without which, keeping in touch with friends and family would be a much more complicated and time-consuming business.
J is for Joy, yes, that's me, but it's also an emotion I've experienced on several occasions over the past year - joy at finally moving into our dream house in April, joy at seeing friends old and new (see F above), joy at hosting a family gathering in August (see R for Rogues gallery) and joy at the news that I'm to be a grandmother again in 2013.
K is for Knitting, which I've been enjoying on and off for almost sixty years and which has lately given me an added dimension to my CV - reviewing craft publications and products.
L is for Local friends, who've also played their part in my continued sanity during this year, thanks Jean, Claire and Eileen.
M is for Meditation, which I've attempted on several occasions during my lifetime, but with little lasting effect until Clare (see A above) offered the opportunity to be a participant in an online experiment, a 28 Day Meditation Challenge, to take place during the month of February. As I was in limbo at that point, with delay after delay in the house sale/purchase process, I signed up. It was a great experience with long lasting results, a chance to incorporate meditation into the daily routine, which has now become an ingrained habit. Clare has collated all the information from the on-line course into a book, not surprisingly called "The 28 Day Meditation Challenge", which I was honoured to proofread for her, and which is now available from Amazon as both an ebook and a "real" one.
N is for New Home, which eventually became a reality at the end of April, after a very stressful, and sometimes almost heartbreaking, eight months of being in the middle slot in a chain of five, with constant demands from the purchaser at the bottom of the chain, and constant stipulations from the seller at the top of the chain. There were times when it looked as if the whole thing might completely disintegrate - in fact we had practically started to house-hunt all over again just days before contracts were finally exchanged on the day before the Easter weekend.
O is for Offspring, of which I have many (and counting!), I love you all - Alex, Catherine, Eddie, Ellie, Jade, Junko, Marissa, Oli, Reese, Tegue, Tom (listed alphabetically in order to show no favouritism x x). (Goodness, that is a lot, hope I haven't missed anyone out)
P is for Proofreading, a skill which derives from a) being pedantic and b) suffering a 1950s/60s education when we had spelling bees each week, and were beaten to within an inch of our lives if we made a mistake (that may be a slight exaggeration). Enhanced by working for a printing company for a couple of years, practised on and off during my working life and re-engaged this year to help my friend Amy (see A above) who is dyslexic.
Q is for Quilt, I taught myself basic quilting and made my first one for Marissa's second birthday. It's not as easy as it looks, and I think it'll be a while before I tackle another one.
R is for Rogues Gallery, see photo (with apologies for overuse thereof) - Rog is behind the camera, and Ellie was unable to be with us on the day. With my Mum and sister Jan included, these are the people I care for the most.

S is for Studio, my very own room, where I can do my own thing with all my treasured possessions and "stuff" (which Rog refers to as my rubbish) around me, each and every object in the room is special to me - I'm a memory hoarder. I have room for a desk, with my PC, printer and other bits and pieces, another desk which I use as a cutting and sewing table, a whole wall of racking to store my yarns and fabrics, cards and paperbacks and loads of other stuff besides, a special bookcase for my treasured old books, a stationery cupboard and a filing cabinet, and there is still room for a swivel chair so I can sit down. The large window looks out over the garden and beyond to Battlesbury Hill on the edge of Salisbury Plain. I'm a very lucky lass to have such a super room all to myself.
T is for Transformation, the ongoing process of turning the house of our dreams into a dream home.
U is for Uphill, each and every way to our home is uphill, no matter how you approach, so in the unlikely event that our house ever gets flooded, London will  have disappeared off the face of the planet.
V is for Virtual, I'm chuffed to bits to have made so many virtual friends in the last couple of years since I've dabbled my way into Blogland, Facebook, various online craft sites and now even Twitter. Way too many to mention here, but just because I haven't named you doesn't mean I dont appreciate you being a part of my life. Thank you all x x
W is for Weather, ours has been pretty dire this year, as for most of the rest of you, but there have been bright spots and sunny days, and those are the ones I'll remember in years to come when I'm asked about 2012 - days on the decking supping tea, or beer, or even the odd gin and tonic, alfresco breakfasts (we managed a couple), the days of my World Tour (the warmest and sunniest of the whole year), the day of the family gathering (see R above), moving day (the only dry day in almost the whole of April, thankyou, thankyou, weather gods), holiday days and even the day flying home from Guernsey above the very murky looking cloud below.
X is for Xmas, shared, as always, with my three wise men

Y is for Year, this, on the whole, has been a good one, a very good one.
Z is for Zero, the number of regrets I have at the end of this year.

Ok, so thats the end of my summary of 2012, but dont think you've got off that lightly, I'll be back in January with a list of hopes and aspirations for the coming year. Until then, adios amigos and a very Happy New Year to one and all.

Friday, 21 December 2012

This will probably be my last post . . .

. . . this side of Christmas, and may even be my last post before New Years Eve, as I've got various things I want to "talk" about, but its not the right time for expecting you lovely people out there to be interested, so some things are going on the back-burner until the new year.

A quick up-date on our dining room. As you can see, the walls are stripped. The new door into the conservatory is booked and will arrive in January, the plasterers are booked to come in after the door, Rog is going to finish the electrics and block up the fireplace, then take a break.

In the conservatory, the gooseberry plant and three raspberry plants that I bought are looking good, there is even a tiny green shoot at the base of one of the raspberry plants!

I'm looking forward to planting these out in the raised bed at the side of the house in spring.

In the mean time, I sincerely hope you have a wonderful Christmas - ours will be fairly quiet, just as we like it (we hope).

(I'll be continuing with 2012 Illustrated until the year is done).

A huge Thank You to all my followers, I look forward to seeing you all again soon. x x  x

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

My other blog . . .

. . . is a 365 366 photo a day, which you can see here.

The end is in sight, I've just posted picture no. 353, so only another 13 to go. I'm going to leave the blog where it is, but I wont be adding to it after 31st December.

Instead I'll be starting another one, which I hope will also cover the whole year, but weekly instead of daily, and with a specific theme to it. I'll announce it on here on 1st January, I hope some of you will follow me and join me for the ride.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Reverb12, days 8-14

I'm joining in with Reverb12, which you can read about here.
Basically its a look back over the past year and a sneak preview of the next, with daily prompts to set you thinking.

You can read my days 1-7 here.

Day 8  Considering the idea that nothing lasts forever: what was the most important relationship that you fostered in 2012? 

How will you continue to nurture it in 2013?

My relationship with my husband of 25 years, Rog, is still the most important one in my life, we have been very happy together through thick and thin, good times and bad times, sickness and health, we've raised a family and waved them off into the big wide world, and now, for almost the first time, we are enjoying just being a couple. We are having fun doing things we want to do, ordinary, everyday things, like a walk in the park, a shared beer at lunchtime, just having the time to sit together and chat. It's lovely, and I will do my utmost to make sure it continues into 2013, and beyond.

Day 9 What was the best book you read in 2012, and why? (And by "Why?" I mean: Why did you read it? And why was it your favourite? Although these answers could be one and the same...!)

Not so much one book, but the discovery of an author, Lionel Schriver. Our local pub has a shelf of books, available to take to read and return, much like a library but with less books and no membership required. As I was browsing it one time I came across "We need to talk about Kevin", which I thought I had heard of at some stage, so I took it to read. To say I was gobsmacked was an understatement, it's hard to put into words the effect this lady's (yes, Lionel is a lady) writing had on me. I have subsequently read another of her books, borrowed this time from the County Library, called "The post-Birthday world" another brilliant piece of writing, and I hope during 2013 to read some more of her work. Fabulous.

Day 10  What was the greatest risk you took in 2012? What was the outcome?

I dont think I did anything really risky in 2012, although some things were a bit scary. The biggest risk was in 2008, when Rog and I relocated from Surrey, where we had lived for over 20 years, to Wiltshire, a move of about 90 miles to a place where we knew no-one. It turned out to be a good move, and the slightly less risky move from one town to another 15 miles away this year was hardly risky at all, although a bit scary to have ones entire worldly possessions in the back of two lorries.

Neither of us like flying, so it was a bit scary for us to fly to Guernsey for our week's holiday, and even more scary to fly back at the end of September just a couple of days after some extremely heavy rainfall and strong winds had affected the English Channel and the whole of the south of England, but again, no real risk was involved.

The only other slightly scary thing I did was to undertake a 500-mile round trip, on my own, to visit some old friends in various parts of the country, and to meet up with a new online friend. My journey took me from Wiltshire to Essex, from Essex to Suffolk, from Suffolk back to Essex, Essex to East Sussex, then back to Surrey, before returning 5 days later to Wiltshire - again, no real risk involved, but a bit scary none-the-less. Whilst I enjoy driving and my car is reliable,  and it was truly enjoyable to meet up with so many lovely people over such a short period of time, I was very tired when I got back home. I dont think I'll do it again for a while!.

Day 11  What was music to your ears in 2012, literally or metaphorically?

This one is easy, the news that my second son (from my first marriage) and his partner of 15 years are expecting a baby in May next year.

Day 12  What made you dance in 2012? What made you weep?

See the above entry for starters, I wept with happiness and danced with joy at the news. Secondly, the very stressful period of house sale/purchase, which went on for far too long, had me weeping with frustration on occasions, and having unlocked the door of our new house for the very first time saw me weeping with joy.

Day 13  Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2012, self-portrait or otherwise!

This picture contains all those who are dear to me (except Rog, who was behind the camera), I am on the far right, my 4 sons together along the back, my first son's wife and his ex-girlfriend (mum of the two grandsons), my second son's partner, my Mum, my sister Jan and my three gorgeous grandchildren. Sadly my third son's partner (they've been together for 6 months) was unable to join us on the day due to just starting a new job.

Day 14 What was the most important thing you learned in 2012?

Patience, patience and more patience.

Green day Friday, and coffee with Jean

My offering for Green Day Friday, Christmas Tree lights.
Linking up to Raindrops and Daisies

Yesterday I dressed in my glad rags 
(this is almost the only photo you will ever see of me wearing a skirt!)

and went off to Palmer Gardens in Trowbridge to meet up with my friend Jean for coffee (and mince pie) and a chat

We spent a lovely couple of hours chatting away and putting the world to rights. She gave me this beautiful beaded star which she had made. 
It is now hanging on my Christmas tree.

Thanks Jean x x

Wishing you all a peaceful and stress-free weekend

Thursday, 13 December 2012

A couple of "Christmassy" posts . . .

. . . from last December, 2011.

My "On the twelfth day of Christmas" set of photos

and a very funny recipe for "last minute Christmas cake"

Hope you enjoy x x

Monday, 10 December 2012

10 on 10th December

Had rather a rude awakening this morning, Rog was having a coughing fit at 3.30 a.m. Once he had calmed down, he got up to make a pot of tea.

Did some knitting while drinking my tea.

Had a bit of a doze until about 5.30, then Cassie decided to come and lie with me for a while.

Up for breakfast by 6.30 - just cereal today.

It was a lovely morning for a walk by the lake

My hyacinths are showing, but I was a bit late planting them this year, so they wont be ready for Christmas

At long last I've managed a "Bokeh" shot of the tree

"Orange" soup (sweet potato, carrot, swede and lentils) for lunch

Sunshine through frosted glass on the bathroom wall

Our poinsettia

Linking up to 10 on the 10th with Rebekah at A bit of sunshine


Originally I made up my mind I wasn't going to do this, but having seen some of the great insights that others have had, I thought well, why not. I need to put my thinking cap on now and again and get my brain to work, so here goes.

Reverb prompt 1. How are you starting this last month of 2012?

Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel...

... in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?

Well, as we are now well into December, its quite hard to remember back over a week to precisely how I felt on the first day of the month, but I know that generally I'm feeling good. I suppose my body could feel a little better, I'm slightly overweight, which is not unusual for this time of the year, and I wish I wasn't, but my mind is settled and calm, my creative life is fulfilling and my heart is happy.

Reverb prompt 2. What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?

It doesn't have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact.

What difference has it made to your life?

This is easy, we moved house back in April, paying the largest amount of money we have ever spent on the purchase of our new home. It is a truly wonderful house and is perfect for us in every way, we'll be spending the rest of our lives here, I know that for sure. The difference to our lives has been to eliminate a few significant negatives that had accumulated during the four years we lived in our previous house.

Reverb prompt 3. 

 Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven't had the chance to accomplish yet?

What steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013?

I dont think there is anything that I would really wish to do that I haven't had the chance to accomplish yet. As in the first response, I am very happy with my life as it is now, my family (children and spouses, grandchildren) are all happy and comfortable and I would hope they stay that way. Our new home is perfect for us and we are in the process of tidying up a few little areas of surface decoration, I'm also in the process of constructing a couple of raised beds for growing veg next year, so all in all, I'm satisfied with things as they are.

Reverb prompt 4.

How are you going to celebrate your SELF this festive season?

With help from my darling husband, we are going to ensure that we dont eat too much, drink too much, or spend too much. We'll enjoy having our two younger sons with us for a festive meal, and then we'll look forward to the new year with positive feelings and hopes that things stay on an even keel for all concerned. I dont feel the need for more than that.

Reverb prompt 5.

What was your dream destination in 2012 and why? 

It can be a town, city, country or region -- real or imaginary -- and doesn't matter if you actually got there or not!

My dream destination for 2012 was my new home, it was 15 miles away from where I was living, but the house sale/purchase had been going on since July 2011 and didn't come to fruition until late April 2012, it was such a relief to finally arrive, lock, stock and barrel in our new home after some very stressfilled months.

Reverb prompt 6.

 Compare the “you” from the beginning of 2012 to the “you” that you are now. What new skills or talents have you learned or discovered this year?

At the beginning of the year I had to learn to be patient, it was a hard lesson, as we so desperately wanted to move but being in a chain of 5 meant that we just had to wait until all other parties in the chain got themselves sorted. There was simply nothing else we could do.

Later in the year I taught myself to make a quilt for my granddaughter. I wouldn't say I'm a great quilter, and I'm not even sure that I want to make any more quilts, but it was something I wasn't able to do at the start of the year.

Reverb prompt 7.

What's the one thing you want to take with you into 2013?

My current state of happiness, contentment and feeling of all being well with my own little corner of the world.

Ok thats enough to be getting along with, I'll play catch-up with the rest of the prompts later this week.

Linking to Reverb 12

Friday, 7 December 2012

Beautiful Botanical Knits

Here is another book that I've been sent by F+W Media for review.

Its difficult to know where to start with this book. The author, Nora J. Bellows, is the creative mind behind all these wonderful creations, she is a knitter and comes from a long line of passionate gardeners, so has combined her love of plants - in particular, flowers - with her craft.

The unusual feature of her patterns is that there are no fixed needle sizes or yarns for you to use, you choose your own, so each flower can be tiny or huge or anywhere in between, depending entirely on your choice of materials.

The book includes instructions for 40 different flowers, I have just picked a small selection of my favourites to show.

The book comprises 176 pages, with 40 different flowers and 6 projects, beautifully illustrated with colour photos on every page. As you can see in the above picture and the cover, some of the flowers are shown real size with actual plant foliage, and sometimes its hard to spot where one ends and the other begins. I love this book, and despite saying in my last review that I didn't really have room for any more books, this one is definitely being added to my collection, and hopefully you'll spot some of my knitted flowers on my blog during the course of the next few months.

The book can be purchased here for only £9.73 (cover price £14.99)

I am linking this post to Green Day Friday at Raindrops and Daisies

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Temporary beds

I really want (need) some raised beds in the garden (so that I dont have to bend as much to do the weeding, sowing, harvesting), and the long term plan is to build some nice chunky beds using railway sleeper-type wooden surrounds. The long term plan is, however, just what is says on the box, a long term plan, therefore a short term temporary plan was also needed. In order to leave the sunnier side of the garden free to work on the long term plan, Rog has erected a couple of wooden structures and placed them on the less sunny side of the garden so I can grow some stuff next season.

Having put them in position he passed them over to me, and this week I've made a start on the first one, removing the top turfs, double digging the next 30cm or so of soil and removing a fair amount of rubble in the process, placing the turfs upside-down and covering them with the double dug soil. Its quite heavy work, especially as the soil is so heavy with the amounts of rain we've had this year, so I'm only tackling a little bit at a time.

This is what I've done so far, and I'm just hoping that I'll be able to do a little bit each day for most days over the winter months and have them ready for the start of next year's growing season.

It has been good fun to become re-aquainted with my wellies, which have been hiding in a box in the garage since we moved in April. Hello wellies.

As I mentioned, this is the less sunny side of the garden, and as you can see in the first picture, there is an overhanging evergreen in the garden next door, but there should be enough morning sunshine to make it all work. Roll on spring.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A photo a day

As well as "Welcome to Daisy Row" I have another blog, its called 2012 Illustrated, and is a photo-a-day blog, you can click here to view.

As we are now well into December, and with todays post being no. 340 out of 366, its not long until the end of the year, and I've been having thoughts about whether or not to carry on next year.

I quite enjoy the challenge of blogging a photo every day, but I need to change the name and format in order to give myself a new incentive, and it would be really nice, too, if I had a few more followers.

With this in mind, I have come up with a novel (for me anyway) idea for next year to add a bit more interest to my photos and to my blog, so, as they say, watch this (or rather that) space!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Once a month for a year, month four, December

View 1. The garden

Apart from the evergreens, all the leaves have now fallen, and frames are in position for a couple of slightly raised beds for vegetables next season.
November's shot for comparison below.

View 2. The Park

As in the garden, all the leaves have now fallen.
November's shot below, what a difference.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Draw

When my contact at F+W Media, the lovely Sandra, heard that I was holding a giveaway for Knitting Know-How, she very kindly offered an extra two copies, so there are now three copies for me to give.

Yesterday I wrote down the twelve names on a sheet of paper:

cut them into individual slips

folded them all and placed in a bowl

and then asked Rog to draw the names for me. First out was

second was

and third was

So please send me your details Ellie, Tracy and Mama Syder, and I'll make sure the books are despatched to you, hopefully ahead of the Christmas rush. A big thanks to all who entered, and I'm sorry you couldn't all win.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Just a quickie . . .

 . . . . to let you know that I'll be doing the draw for my giveaway later today, and will post the results tomorrow morning. Good luck to all those who have entered, you have about another hour if you wish to enter here.

Moved to tears

As anyone who has been reading my blog for more than six months will know, we moved to Warminster in April of this year. We knew beforehand that it was a barrack town, but the barracks are situated away from the town centre and are not visible to a casual passer through. The only real indication of the presence of so many soldiers is the odd appearance of one or two at a cash machine or the checkout queue at the supermarket. I've been googling to see if I can find out how many people are involved with the regiment (the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire regiment - formerly Duke of Wellingtons) without success, but my guess is that there are about 600-700 foot soldiers, plus officers, wives and families and civilian support staff making the number up to (my best guess) about 2000 bodies. The population of Warminster is listed as 19,000, so that makes them slightly more than 10% of the population . . . .

 . . . and as most of the foot soldiers appear to be fairly young men, again my guess, a lot of them will have young families that attend the local schools, which is probably why yesterday all the local schools were closed so that the children could watch as their fathers and their friends' fathers paraded through town to be welcomed back from their third tour of duty in Afghanistan and to be awarded the freedom of the town.

The parade was due to start at 10am, so at 9.50 Rog and I walked down to Station Road where the parade was to assemble and start, proceeding along Station Road, into the Market Square, along the High Street and from there to The Minster Church of St. Denys for a service of thanksgiving.

All roads through town were closed off as the townspeople gathered in readiness

These two young ladies were there to wave at their Daddy

Various military and civilian personnel checked out the route, and then the parade began

At this point I just had to put my camera away and clap, along with everyone else, to show appreciation to these brave boys (for they all look so young to me), it was a very emotional few minutes, and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. It was a moment to be proud just to be there. Thank you all so much for your bravery, and to your families for standing by you and putting up with the trauma of seeing you sent away to foreign lands to fight battles not of your making. If only the world were a more friendly and loving place so that your services were not required.