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Sunday, 25 April 2021

Bluebell wood

 I suddenly realized I needed to see the bluebells before it was too late.  My friend and her dog met me there and we walked the footpath beside the flowers. On the other side were masses of celandines. We go every year and it always takes my breath away. I'm sure this year is the best ever but that might be the result of being shut in so much for a year.






We sat on a bench for a few hours catching up until we both decided we were cold and needed to warm up.

I think I will try and get there again later this week before they go. 

Monday, 19 April 2021

DNA

I have been saying for ages I would like to check my DNA at the company which has a huge data base of other people's DNA. The results came back a couple of weeks ago and the biggest surprise was that I am 81% Scottish. My dad is Scots and my half brother who has the same father as me is 49% Scottish which is what I expected to be. My mum was English but she never knew her father except his name and that he was American. Unless you are native American the ethnicity could be anything so it seems likely my grandfather had Scottish roots. The other possibility of the Scot's background could be my mum's maternal grandfather. After fathering 19 children including triplets and two sets of twins he died before my mum was born. All we know is his surname and the possibility he was called Alfred as the eldest boy and my uncle were named Alfred. 

The only close match which came up was my brother so no surprises there. The most exciting match although not close was a 2nd or 3rd cousin who only shares 2% DNA but has the same surname as my maternal grandfather. I have messaged him but no reply. I have looked on the free site but am thinking I will pay to see all the information. 

My dad was an only child and his mum died when he was 10 years old in 1916 and 2 months later his dad went off to fight in the 1st world war so he was passed around for a couple of years. His dad remarried a younger woman. I never knew them as my granddad died when I was about 3. We lived in Essex and he was in Glasgow. My half sister knew them and during the second world war she was sent to stay with them for safety and that night Glasgow got bombed. Thankfully they survived. The thing is my two sisters are in their 80's so I am getting what information I can now. 

I wish I had asked my parents and my nan for more information when I was younger but I don't think it occured to me.  I think I will need some help finding things on line so will wait until my friend is allowed to come round to help me before I pay to join. Although with the better weather coming and fewer restrictions I probably wont want to be stuck on the laptop for hours. Ah well I will have to consider it.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Wombling

 I noticed that there is more litter than ever around since covid began. Mainly because so many people who don't usually walk the local footpaths are now doing so as they have nowhere else to go. Particularly it is annoying to see the face masks and plastic gloves everywhere as they are so dangerous to wildlife. Anyway 2 weeks ago my litter picker stick was delivered from Amazon and I started clearing up on my daily walks using old carrier bags and taking it home to put in the bin shed. One day a couple with a dog came along and after thanking me asked if I was a womble. I knew there are groups litter picking who call themselves wombles but didn't know there were any around my area. When I got home I did a search on Facebook and found the local group who are actually subdivided into even more local groups. 

I joined then read the announcements and found I could get official bin bags from one of the co-ordinators. Also I could register on-line as a volunteer with the local council which I did. Then I received my registration number so when I have filled a bag, I don't have to lug it home but can leave it by a bin then report it to the council website. If we find any large pieces of rubbish dumped like a trolley or a mattress that can also be reported as can overflowing bins. It is very satisfying to see the area is so much tidier. My friend is waiting for her litter picker then she is joining me. 

Most people are very pleasant and tell me well done and thank you but others seem embarassed and avoid eye contact. Some of us wonder if they think we are criminals doing community service as pay-back. As I am a grey haired old lady they might wonder what anti social behaviour I performed. Then again I think they wear hi-vis jackets advertising what they are doing and I would have thought they would be supervised. 

A sad picture was posted on the group site of a poor little hedgehog with his head wedged in a pringles carton. Sadly it did not survive. Hedgehogs are declining due to lots of problems without litter adding to it. I come home tired and satisfied. 

Monday, 22 March 2021

The library and sculpture town

The library has been closed for months but now we are allowed to reserve on-line and collect in person so as one of my books was available I decided my walk today would include collecting it. I took my camera and thought I would take a few photos of the town. We have many sculptures which can be seen on the sculpture trails. I just picked a few out in the town centre. 



 This boar is in the water gardens along with the Heron. I'm not sure if the Heron is also by Elisabeth Frink. It is not on the trail map. There are also lots of Koi carp in the water and another sculpture nearby.





Asda is at the end and all along side are places to eat. I don't ever use them but it's a pleasant place to sit. The other side has seats where I would rather have a picnic. 


This is the famous Henry Moore family group inside the civic centre where it was moved after vandals knocked off the baby's head! Below is Meat porters in the market place.


Sadly the once thriving market now consists of a few stalls and has been moved further into town. 

As I walked home I took a few more photos of the colourful bushes near the fire station. 



64 sculptures are named on the map and I think I have seen most of them. I will have to walk the trails and take more photos. It is amazing really to think of all these works of art dotted about the town and mainly left alone. It was mainly due to Lady Pat Gibberd the wife of Freddie master architect of the town. 

Friday, 19 March 2021

Not much happening.

 But Spring is coming in spite of the wet windy weather. I haven't had much to blog about although I always seem busy and the days speed past. I have only taken my phone with me on walks and have not been able to load into laptop so I had a go at writing a post on my phone but couldn't work out how to insert the photos so I gave up on that one and took my camera out with me today.

I was busy indoors and had to wait in for a parcel so I finally went out about 3pm. I needed to put a prescription request into the doctor's for DB so decided to walk rather than take the car. It probably takes about 20 minutes to walk straight along the main road but I chose to go through the park so about half an hour. It took a little longer walking back as I sat in the sensory garden, had some water and enjoyed being out in the sunshine. So here is our park in the spring. 




The Azaleas and rhododendrons are always beautiful and mainly looked after by an army of volunteers. 

There was a beautiful sunset too to finish off a lovely day. 


This was taken from my patio. Hope it means another nice day tomorrow after the wet windy stuff we have had all week. 

Friday, 26 February 2021

A beautiful day

I have had a busy day. I left home at 8am to drive to Home Bargains and B & M which are near each other. I was actually quite excited as I haven't been there for months. The virus numbers are down in our area and I have had my jab so still taking all precautions such as going early when it is quiet, I sallied forth. I walked up and down the whole store and had a good spend up which is very unusual for me but I probably wont be going again for months. I don't really like shopping but it seemed like a treat today. 

As I was on a roll I cleaned the house and still felt quite energetic.so as it was such a beautiful day I had to get out and enjoy it. I live right on the edge of town so drove a little way out and parked the car next to a footpath which leads to the river. It was quite a nice little path along the back of houses which were hidden behind fences and trees. Lots of bird song and tree blossom. I saw all the usual little birds including a robin singing its heart out then cormorants. 






Lots of boats on this part of the river and people out enjoying the sunshine but not many on my side of the river. 





These apartments have a great position. They are very nice inside too as I had to visit a gentleman there when I was a carer. 


I then gave the car a well needed clean when I got home. Sunshine really invigorates. I will probably be exhausted tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Olio etc

 I had heard of Olio but as I use all my food so have none to give away and I don't really need free food I never joined. Then I found they do non food items and as I had a few things to give away and no charity shops or freecycle open, I joined.

I had put a shopping trolley, shoe rack and 2021 desk diary on my covered patio with a notice saying "Free, please take". After one week somebody took the shoe rack and then I found out about Olio through a frugal green FB group. Within days the diary went and somebody was going to collect the trolley but messaged to say they couldn't make it that day so I offered to hang on to it until they can get it. It has been interesting looking at the offers. There is a new still in the packet address book which I like but it is a bit further than I want to walk as its  through a built up area and I haven't driven that way lately. There has been lots of food offered and some of it quite close to me. I wouldn't have used it and know there are people who need it anyway. It reminded me of the time 45 years ago when DS was a baby and we were staying with friends in Northumberland in a cottage out in the country. Sunday morning I was in the kitchen and a strange woman walked in with a mixing bowl. It was the next door neighbour who had made too much pastry and thought we would like it. Our friend did! No Smart phones then. 

Even before I was born neighbours shared spare food. My family were very poor then even though dad worked but no help for big families living on one low wage. A neighbour would give mum the ends of the loaf as her family didn't eat them. My brothers were happy to oblige. 

Clothes were regularly handed down from friends and relatives. My best friend's mum was a trained tailoress so every year she made matching coats, hats and sometimes muffs for her two daughters. My friend was the same age and size as me, her sister was 3 years older and my sister 3 years younger so we received the coats when they grew out of them. I loved our matching outfits and didn't mind at all that they were used. We all kept things out of landfill but we didn't know about being green and the environment. You would think now that upcycling and recycling were new inventions but most people we knew were experts. I am glad it has become fashionable though as I do hate waste and enjoy making a little go a long way.