Sunday, 31 July 2011

Glorious Petunias

The weekend has left us and with a legacy of fine Sunday weather in the east of the UK with lovely sunshine, 24 degrees during the late afternoon and even after the sun had gone down, it was still 21 degrees Celsius at 9 pm. Have you noticed how the nights are drawing in?

Our tidying out at home is all but complete with just a few odds and ends to sort out, but the volume of stuff we've shredded, taken to the tip for recycling or the Hospice charity shop is truly amazing.

My Reiki exam for the third degree (Masters) went well and I have passed subject to keeping a diary of related healing activities for 21 days. The exam was mainly practical with theory tagged on. I learned the Masters Reiki symbol and its meaning, I completed a full Reiki treatment and did a temporary heart attunement.

The picture above is the petunias in the fountain that I planted in the spring. Whilst the 'busy lizzies' (Impatiens) have been very disappointing as have the begonias; the petunias, the geraniums and the lobelia have been magnificent.

I hope you have a good week - onwards and upwards.

Chat soon


Friday, 29 July 2011

Garage Floor Mystery Revealed

It's twelve days since my last blog and life has been so hectic but so mind numbingly routine and unexciting. I haven't even taken any photographs which is not like me. I hope you are all keeping well. I've not been too good, a really bad sore throat which has gone with the help of antibiotics has left me tired and lethargic and none too interested in much. So my trip to the doctors for a fasting blood test should tell me if there's anything wrong or it may be that I'm just overweight and under exercised which is more likely to be closer to the truth (the doctor hinted at it!) A couple of friends think I'm anaemic.

My house at the moment is like a tip. We don't often throw too many things away; like everyone else we'll go through a splurge every now and then and have a good clear out but this time, the garage has been emptied and the house is full of plastic stacker boxes full of stuff going back 30+ years! 

This does a number of negative things:
  • Makes a temporary bloody mess of the house!
  • Frustration that the thing I thought I'd lost and for which I bought a replacement is in the bottom of a box containing knitting patterns;
  • Typed notes from courses in 1991 (literally typed and xeroxed copied) speak in a language barely understood these days;
  • Creates unnecessary nostalgia;
  • Wastes hours looking at photographs, some from 25 years ago which have never seen the light of day since that time;
  • Fills recycling bins leaving no room for domestic rubbish for a week;
  • Creates arguments with the children (all grown up and long left school) over toys they haven't touched since they were ten years old but which they feel they need to keep;
  • Makes me ask myself why we keep this stuff, (just in case.)
It also does a number of positive things:
  • Creates a garage floor I don't think any of us have ever seen - it's quite pretty as floors go;
  • Creates a mountain of empty boxes ready to be filled - again;
  • Earns me £22 for two old mobile phones which some firm on the Internet will pay me to hand over (several others have no value at all!)
  • Finds a software box with a family history disc which I thought I'd lost and which I can now reload on my PC and start with my family history again.
So, there we go, domestic bliss - NOT.

Hasn't the weather been so unseasonal here is the eastern UK? The BBC weather website calls the weather 'autumnal.' Actually apart from yesterday which was quite balmy, it's been damnably cold.  Someone has hidden summer as a joke.

Still, in my moments of lethargy, I managed to see England beat India in a superb first test at Lords last week and listen to the stunning news of the massacre in Norway which just simply beggars belief - I still can't comprehend it.

I've told my boss that I will be applying to go part time in June next year unless I win the lottery in which case I may go altogether, but I'm not holding my breath.

I have a Reiki exam for my third degree on Sunday so wish me well. It's quite a practical exam really, so I'm looking forward to it.

So that's it for the time being, sorry not to have been in touch, but will be reading all the back issues of my blogging friends blogs to catch up with news shortly.

Chat soon


Sunday, 17 July 2011

It All Ends - Now

Dramatic headline which consciously or subconsciously we've all been looking at for weeks now on billboards, on the Internet, in the papers and on television. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has reached our screens at the cinemas and the climax of this extraordinary story, in cinematic terms anyway has blasted our senses at all levels.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but JK Rowling has been pilloried by literary critics for her banal language and plots with loads of holes in them. Really? Well I guess the statistic speak for themselves. In the UK alone, the seven books have sold 27,602,725* and global box office takings EXCLUDING this latest film is (US Dollars) 6,372,000,000.

Well done JK Rowling, you deserve everything you get from this. Your ideas, your work, your effort and time, your determination in sending it to more than 12 publishers who declined the manuscripts. I know at least two writers read this blog and they too will succeed because they have determination and the will to have their work published - to do what? Entertain, mystify, make us laugh, make us cry, stir the emotions and when we finish the book say - wow, that was a really good read.

I went to see the film at Cineworld, Hull last night with friends. The film was exceptional and lived up to the publicity. It had everything you would want in terms of emotions, action, special effects, great plot, extraordinary acting from many characters by a lot of superb world renown actors who gave every effort to make it what it should have been - a spectacle.

I shed tears on a number of occasions, fortunately behind my dark 3D glasses, but after the film, my friends confessed they had done the same.

The 3D effects were not distracting either - a pet hate of mine. You concentrated on the film, not looking for the 3D so well done director David Yates. If I have a concern about the film, I would have said its 12A rating was right on the cusp and I believe that anyone under 12 (who could have gone with parental supervision) would have been affected perhaps by at least two of the scenes. But on the plus side there is no gratuitous showing of violence and no swearing, even from Ronald Weasley who often slips in "bloody hell!"

I will miss Harry Potter, the actors, the stories, the now familiar plots, the magic, the fun, seeing familiar faces grow up into adults over the last ten years of the most brilliant franchise films which, apart from a couple of blips, held the imagination and left you desperately wanting the next film.

Recommended? Hell yes!

Chat soon

*Source Neilson BookScan

Thursday, 14 July 2011

My Valued Friends

Where has the week gone? It's Thursday and I haven't caught my breath yet! The weekend is however forecast torrential rain for most of the UK on Saturday and residual showers on Sunday so a couple of good books might have to come off the shelf.

Indeed my fellow blogger Magnumlady has sent me a beautiful book of photographs to which she is a contributor and I look forward to reading that and taking in good quality photography. It's called 'Quoted Moments' compiled by Joanne Malony with proceeds going to the Irish Cancer Society; with the most delicious photographs accompanying some famous and lovely well chosen quotes.

Now, nine years ago give or take a few months, I met for the first time Shirley Ann Summerwill and her partner Barry Chessman. They are mediums who I approached after an Internet search for a local medium to help me with a project which they did gladly and voluntarily. We have been firm friends ever since and they are now married having been partners for nearly twenty years.

I have been going along to a development circle run by Shirley Ann for nine years without missing hardly a week, it means a great deal to me. After nine years of keeping the faith with me, this afternoon, I accompanied Shirley Ann to a Spiritualist Church in Hull (John Street) and together we provided mediumship from the platform during their lovely service. 

This is a milestone in my spiritual life and my life in general.

It went well and feedback I've had is very positive. I don't want to shout about this because it's about giving others a service of messages of compassion, love, hope and truth from their loved ones now departed, but I do owe a debt of gratitude to a few people who have supported me and have put faith in me and I am so grateful. To Shirley and Barry who are simply stars - I can't say enough in their praise. To two Lindas who are both really good friends - Linda the Back who has encouraged and supported me and given sage advice over the years (as well as mending my back) and to Linda the Healer, who, although only coming into my life relatively recently has pointed me in new directions with the spiritual and angelic worlds, she is a great teacher and so enthusiastic about Archangels and their undoubted influence in our lives. To the lovely Tammy who started this journey with me at the same time and became a good friend, I thank her for sticking with me and believing in me - she is much more sensitive than I and would make an excellent medium/psychic.

To Su from the Midlands who gave me so much practical advice as a tutor through her class on the Spirit and the Artist course at the Arthur Findlay College; to fun Margot who guides us on a special philosophy circle who has broadened my horizons immeasurably. Maureen is my Reiki Master and who is never short of wise practical advice both spiritually and in Reiki terms. To Sharla Rae from  across the pond in Illinois who was so encouraging and supporting and with whom I would love to work again one day.

There you are. I am quite emotional writing this so if I have missed anyone, I am so sorry. There are many other friends I now have that I met along the way directly as a result of Spiritualism of whom I dearly love and are a part of my life now. Sounds like someone accepting an Academy Award. 

I can't share this with my wife because she doesn't believe in it, so I share it with you, being a believer or not, it doesn't matter, I just need people to know how important friends are.

I hope you have a great weekend when it arrives and hope the weather doesn't curtail your enjoyment of it.

Chat soon


Sunday, 10 July 2011

East Yorkshire's Finest House

I hope you've had a great weekend and managed, like I have, to dodge the showers. I apologise in advance, a bit of picture overload today.

Today I've been into the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds, more to the east closer to the coast but none the less in some of the prettiest land in this fair isle. In fact I've briefly visited the lovely picturesque village of Rudston in East Yorkshire and Burton Agnes Hall just four miles away.

The day started fair and sunny - balmy. Rudston is a small village but its history goes back many centuries. Of particular interest is Rudston Monolith which stands in All Saints Rudston Parish Churchyard next to the small attractive church.

This peculiar stone stands 26 feet high from the ground and was bought to the site around 4000 years ago toward the end of the Neolithic Period (
c. 4000 - 2000 B.C.) a full 2000 years before the birth of Christ. The rock is the sort that comes from the Cleveland area of the UK, many, many miles north of this hilly location. 

This tallest single standing monolith in the UK is made of moor grit conglomerate but was bought here by who and for what purpose, I guess we'll never know. However an excavation in the 18th century to discover how much of the stone was underground found many skulls suggesting it might have been a sacrificial site.

I took this picture of this bee on a roadside thistle on one of the many single track roads in the area which are quite high up offering magnificent views of the base of the Wolds looking south and to the east where today, you could see the coast and the North Sea.

Burton Agnes Hall is the most attractive of buildings and is allegedly one of the top twenty country houses in the UK according to Simon Jenkins in 'Englands Thousand Top Homes,' ranking alongside Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Chatsworth House - high praise indeed.

Originally there was a Norman manor house on this site built, staggeringly as far back as 1175, the lower chamber of which amazingly still survives. The 'modern' Elizabethan building was built between 1598 and 1610 by Sir Henry Griffith, the house has been in the same current family for fifteen generations. Although I didn't go in the house today, the weather was too nice, it is thoroughly recommended. The brochure shows its magnificence and today, it is still a family home. It cost me a fiver to get in and stay from 11am to 5 pm.

The grounds are most beautiful with an award winning walled garden and trimmed yew trees bordering a lovely fountain. Today, I spent most of the time in the walled garden.

Each of the many dozens and dozens of borders and secret gardens carries flowers of every shade, size and colour. Labels abound giving you the chance to identify the plant, many of which are for sale in the courtyard shop next to the excellent and reasonably priced cafe. There's a maze, a huge chequers board and a chess board hidden in secret gardens which abound everywhere to explore, each themed.

The garden also holds vegetables of many different varieties which feed the house, so very practical use of the garden. In total, the garden carries apparantly over 4000 different varieties of plants including a national collection of campanulas. Close to the fountain area is a woodland walk and the last time I went, which was many years ago, in spring it was full of rhododendron flowers.

Although I didn't watch it today, this weekend has been a Civil War re-enactment going on with lots of beautifully dressed men (soldiers) women and children dressed in Civil War period costume. I managed to capture them on the main drive to the house from the gatehouse (in the background) getting ready to march into battle, presumably for the last time this weekend.

Finally, here is the lovely fountain which has a few lillies and a few gold fish in it. You can just see the first of many manicured yew trees on the far right in the background which line this well kept garden.

By the way, this wire sculptured gardener provides light entertainment in the border of the wall garden quietly tending the veg.

Burton Agnes Hall is the home of the Cunliffe-Listers and their web site is very informative. Thoroughly recommended for a vist and even if you have to drive a fair way to get there, I guess it's worth the effort. I'll visit the house next time and there's even a room haunted apparantly by a Katharine Griffith who died in the house in 1620. The story of her untimely death is very sad indeed. Right up my street.

Enjoy what's left of the weekend.

Chat Soon


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Comedy and Tragedy

This week has been very busy indeed coupled with the fact that I've been ill meant that this blog, which was mostly written last Monday, but never finished is four days late!

The first day back at work (Monday) was fine. I was warmly greeted by the Branch head and my former line manager Phill and my colleagues Ellie, Caroline, Tammy, Gemma and Kirsty and a couple of other good colleagues and it sort of gives one a glow that people still care about each other. In difficult and demanding times, it's good not to lose a sense of courtesy and friendliness. Without looking after your people, what would you have left?

I only had 85 e-mails which was a bit of a surprise. About half were for my information, about fifteen needed some sort of action  and the rest were just administrative thingybobs.

I'm on a diet again and to be fair, I have been throughout my holiday and the last three days, I've felt rubbish and in fact I think I've actually had a reaction to the stuff. They are sort of milk shakes with one decent meal a day. Bearing in mind that although I drank milk for England when I was younger, I haven't drunk milk except in tea for the last two years. I am now paying the price and I am starting a bit of a detox which leaves me with temporary inertia and slight dizziness which always happens when I cut down on food intake. My stomach is as solid as a rock. (Update - this was written on Monday - and apart from a sore throat - back up and running!)

But enough about that. The last week and a half has been pretty good weather wise so I've been lucky with my UK holiday in sunny East Yorkshire, however, my grass is starting to look brown again. I noticed that the forecast is for rain, some heavy, on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning so perhaps a bit of respite, I don't want to waste good tap water on the sprinklers.

To bring me down to earth, fellow blogger Weaver mentions in her blog the plight of women and children, the infirm and elderly in the Horn of Africa, East Africa and parts of other countries local to this area. This is indeed a distressing sight. I am so sad that the lack of meaningful Government in Somalia has meant that tens of thousands are marching simply to get basic minimal food and water. I am delighted however that the Muslim based self styled Government is now sufficiently embarrassed to allowed western aid agencies in to the country PROVIDING they abide by strict conditions and report to their committee first for permission. Their arrogance is staggering. What about their people? Don't they come first?

The News of the World are indeed in deep do-do. I am delighted that at last tabloid journalism is coming under very deep and close scrutiny. Whilst sympathising with today's NoW journalists and editorial team who had nothing to do with the early to mid 2000s scandals, I hope that this bites at the very heart of the empire that runs the paper that thinks it's invincible. Excellent coverage in the Daily Telegraph shows live daily news on the subject as it happens. 

To create balance, I was also disappointed to read that Police Officers were paid for information and I hope this doesn't detract from investigating and getting to the bottom of the evil that was going on at the time in the dark, dingy, back offices of NoW, but none the less also needs to be addressed urgently.

I hope this is a wake up call for all tabloid editors that public opinion and big business (by withdrawing advertising revenue) can and do make a difference to you if you screw up - oh how the tables have turned. It's about time the papers and editors started to treat the public with respect.

Finally, if you are in the UK and want a huge laugh, listen to a programme on BBC iPlayer (this is time limited) from a BBC Radio 2 boraodcast on Tuesday night, hosted by Barbara Windsor about the history of female comedians that shaped today's comedians. The subject on Tuesday night was the extraordinary character actress and comedian Hilda Baker. She was a northern lass who often got her words mixed up and in the first ten minutes of this programme, I was nearly wetting myself whilst driving home in my car listening to her repartee. He comic timing was brilliant.

So, some serious stuff and not so serious stuff today and looking forward to the weekend.

Chat soon


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Wave Goodbye to This Year's Holiday

Well the holiday is nearly over for another year. I've had a lazy time, a time for thinking, a time for dieting and a time where I haven't done what I intended to do. I didn't cut the hedge; I didn't clear the garage out; I didn't read as much as I wanted to. But I've also had an unexpected trip to Scarborough, a trip to York and met up with some old friends, the garden is in good trim and the weather is warm and balmy. I've even done three Reiki treatments. What more could a man from 'up north' want?

By the way, I washed the car too. Well strictly speaking I didn't actually wash the car, I paid someone else to do it for me but it looks good and he did it better than I would have done. A worthy £8 in Sainsbury's car park while I did the family shopping on my own this morning. I was exhausted at the thought of him doing it while I was rummaging through the melons - does that count?

A tribute of thanks to a fellow blogger today MorningAJ - her very entertaining blog is here. She gave me an award. MorningAJ lives in the Midlands and describes herself as an ordinary person with a story to tell. Let me tell you she is not an ordinary person, none of us are and blimey does she tell a good story of her day to day life. Congratulations on your award and and many thanks for passing it on!

She is also very naughty because she is a temptress with a superbly mouth-watering blog entitled Auntie Anne's Extremely Useful Stuff with tons of recipes, experiments with food and hot tips!

So what am I doing on my last day tomorrow? Well I normally always get fed up with myself at the thought of going back to work, but I ain't bothered. Hair cut with a number 3 attachment on the end of a home hairdressing kit; watch England's third one day cricket international against Sri Lanka at Lords on the television; unless the day is hot, then I'll be fairly lazy sitting in the garden - again; and no matter what the temperature, roast pork and vegetables with crackling of course! We are making up with a salad for tea today.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and as always:

Chat soon