Photobucket

Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Auntie Annie...........................

Auntie Annie was a part of my childhood, a part of my life until I was in my teens. She would visit us every Friday evening. She would bring sweets and give me six pence. My Mum liked her sweets too and she too would buy some to share. So Friday nights for me was something to look forwards to. Auntie and sweets and a sixpence to spend. The Photo below is Annie and Daisy.
 photo 20170131_130418l_zps5ep7lo29.jpg
Annie was my Grandmother Jenny's sister. She never married. It was said that she was engaged once but lost her fiance in the Great War. She did not apparently get over that, but it is hear say. I don't really know. I know she was very close with Daisy Swann who lived next door to my Grandparents. Burt and Jenny Hines, my Dad's parents, lived at St Omere in Houghton Regis. My parents lived with them for a time right after the war. Mum and dad married before he went overseas and Mum lived at her parents house until the war was over. I was born in 1946 and I believe they lived at St Omere for a time before they moved to their soon to be permanent home on Bidwell Hill.
 photo 20170131_130411k_zpsle7rjxxt.jpg
The above picture is of Mum rushing me inside to "clean me up" no idea what was involved there but the stout lady in the black is Annie.
Daisy Swann was an adopted daughter. I have no idea if that was formal or she just lived with the Hines family, but when her mother died and her father and family went elsewhere to live, Daisy stayed behind (probably because she was a girl) and was raised by the Hines family.Her father probably thought it best for her. Life was very harsh then. So basically Annie and Daisy were like sisters.
 photo 20170131_130424k_zpswjz2z22p.jpg
The above picture is of my great grandparents with Annie and Daisy the baby may be Jenny.I am not sure at this point as all my pictures are put away, I can correct this later.
Well anyway, Daisy and Annie had to be very close because Annie lived with her and her husband Bill Swann for the remainder of her life. They lived next door to St Omere at The Ferns. Notice so many English houses have names rather than numbers. I love that.
Well Annie was a member of the Baptist Church in Houghton Regis. My parents were Church of England but never went to church. Annie spend a good deal of time involved in church activities. When I was small she would come and get me and take me to tend the family graves. I loved that. I loved the cemeteries and that remained with me always. I was never uncomfortable there, I found it peaceful and pleasant. She showed me where everyone was and we would change the flowers on many graves during our days visit. Some I remember but mostly I just remember loving being with her.
Annie probably was a great influence on me. To all who knew her she was a true Christian lady. She was quiet and unassuming. I can see her still bending to pick lint off the living room carpet. Tidy and fussy. Like me.
She bought me a picture of Jesus on the cross that was in my bedroom above my bed growing up. I reluctantly got rid of that when I was older because I was told it was wrong to have images of our Lord. I regret that now.
Sometimes she would come and call for me and take me with her to visit old people who were shut ins. Sick people who needed groceries of something. I am not sure exactly what she was up to but she took me with her sometimes. I can remember at least two places we would visit. She was a kind lady. A giving lady and she gave of her time to those less fortunate. No one had money in those days, it was all about doing what you could for those who needed it.
 photo 20170131_130509_zpsdl8rav8u.jpg
I didn't realize when I was young, that she worked but she did. A picture of her retirement above.
I would love to know more about her life but alas everyone is gone now. I do know that she took my cousins Brenda and Janet on some of the same missions as she took me and they remember her too with much love. She would take us to Harvest Festival at the chapel and I know that when I was older I would go with my friend Jean. I loved the Chapel and the way they looked after people. At Harvest festival the front of the church would be full of baskets of baked goods, vegetables and flowers. All given to the less fortunate in the village.
They told me I look like her. I think I can see it.
 photo annie_zpswoxat7ek.jpg
 photo 100_1222gh_zpsuj8pq4s0.jpg
Now if I can be as good of a person as she was, then I would be happy. I would like people to remember me as I remember her. I hope I can achieve that goal before my time is up.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Ice Ice Baby...................................

So we went from 65 degrees at the beginning of the week to this. Today is Friday and we have a snow day. Schools are shut and roads are bad. Ice. Snow. Rain. Thunder. All this morning. We awoke to rain on top of the snow that came last night. This is Michigan.
 photo 103_0541_zpsitgqa94x.jpg
It looks so pretty, but causes so many problems when it is so heavy. The ploughs and sanders have been very busy. Just as well because the roads are ice with a layer of wet snow. This stuff does not last long though so there is some hope.
 photo 103_0544h_zpstdnk82m2.jpg
Want to sit awhile? I thought not.
 photo 103_0542k_zps3nh2cbct.jpg
The buds are frozen but will be OK. Better to stop them from popping now than have them freeze later.
 photo 103_0538j_zps5pftm0iw.jpg
I put out bird food but I think they will wait till it has thawed a bit.
 photo 103_0535g_zpsjsoheqde.jpg
 photo 103_0535u_zpsvh5eewye.jpg
No bird wants to sit on that stuff.
So I asked Brea if she wanted to go out. She wagged her tail but said no.
 photo 103_0549k_zps1eixb37v.jpg
Boots heard and said "I may want to go out"
 photo 103_0551_zps4zliwuuw.jpg
"Just kidding, I am not going out there today"
 photo 103_0553j_zpsayigrfcd.jpg
I don't blame either one, although they all went out at some point but came right in to their heating pad and blankets.
 photo 103_0547_zpsld1koc9l.jpg
Stay safe out there.
 photo 103_0546k_zpsnk51fqpi.jpg
We sometimes get the worst storms in March. Hard to believe we were outside yesterday with no coats on. Yup. That's Michigan for ya. May get to try snow shoeing after all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It's only February...................

Yesterday Laura and I went to the beach. We had hoped to go to Point Betsy and see all the ice, but it warmed up and its all gone. So instead we first went to Leland to look for Blue Stones. It was clear as a bell water like glass. Stones all over the beach. Perfect. We were so dang tired and full of pain, neither one of us could get into it. Still we found a few. That's always nice but were not enthused. My back was killing me. I am in constant pain these days and no idea why. Anyway, we walked quite a way before giving that up. So what to do next.
 photo 20170220_162405_zpspvcbug8y.jpg
This is why we have back pain.
 photo 20170220_145417_zps2hmqcmyu.jpg
And knee pain from shuffling the stones with feet. Look how calm the water is though.
 photo 16830619_10155006862554761_6996150697562650313_n_zpsaij3j8lv.jpg
They still have snow fences up at Leland.
 photo 103_0480_zpsd5anorqp.jpg
Well I wanted to find Christmas Cove, I could not remember how to get there. So off we went. We tried the GPS on Laura's phone but the lady got cranky with us and suggested we use the "help" feature as she didn't know how to help us. I guess we were not following her directions right. Thats because we said "Christmas Cove" instead of Christmas Cove beach.............she took us to Christmas Cove farm instead. So when we changed directions the GPS got confused. Well we found it, so there. We missed the road to the beach because it was closed off, we had to walk down. Just left over snow from road ploughing was blocking the road down.
 photo 103_0489_zpsgxg70otp.jpg
Anyway, We walked the beach as far as half way to Cathead point at which point the wind got cold. Laura had not put on her winter coat this time so we went back. When we can take another trip I think we will go there and see how far we can walk. According to what I saw on a regular map we should be able to walk all the way to the Northport Point Lighthouse.That is a very long way but we can try, have to remember though we also have to walk back.
This little stream cut in through the beach and in summer we will be able to wade through it. It was about here we saw two Bald Eagles, they went fishing. It's always good to see them and we often do in this area. Frequently see them on Leland Beaches.I only had my cell phone so could not get a good picture.
 photo 20170220_144034_zpshpnnrb1i.jpg
The entrance to the beach is always difficult for us to find. Now we know where it is. I knew I had been there before but............anyway, we found it. We found some black stones that may be coal. Collected some of those, not much else. The stones here are so different from Leland and just up the coast a bit. Amazing the difference.
 photo 20170220_162410_zpsmzzuzp64.jpg
We wonder why no blue stones up here if they were dumped in Leland harbor then why would they not wash up on other beaches with the currents ETC. They are going to be dredging the harbor in March so maybe that will stir some up.
This is a picture of stones in the water that Laura took. The stones are under the water, it's that clear.
 photo 16832102_10155006863559761_8282910129762339741_n_zpssr8q1pfw.jpg
The snow is almost gone but we are supposed to get more on the weekend. On the way from Leland we passed the Yak farm. They were contently chewing cuds and grazing
 photo 103_0488_zps2dw9krh3.jpg
By the time we got back to the car it was time to head home. We want to go back soon before it gets hot and walk as far as we can on Christmas Cove and Cathead Bay. Think I will take a regular map so as to see whats around the bend both ways. Summer fun even so, the kids will love the stream. I wonder how busy it gets there? Monday was presidents day. We saw a few people out enjoying the nice day. Hard to believe its still February. We typically get some bad storms in March. At least we have had a nice break, the sun is still out today and the birds are singing like it's Spring. Maybe it is. Global warming and all that. Whatever the cause I am liking it. I need some extra time in the garden but its too wet at the moment. It has been a good winter for wildlife, plenty to eat I would think. We didn't see any this day, but that's OK we did see Eagles.
Sharing with Inspire Me Monday

Friday, February 17, 2017

Nationalism...........................

So what is Nationalism. People are offended by it, so it seems. It brought about such things (for example) as Nazi Germany, so they say. To me, in my mind that is Fanaticism not Nationalism.
Wikopedia says Nationalism "is a complex, multidimensional concept involving a shared communal identification with one's nation. It is a political ideology oriented towards gaining and maintaining self-governance, or full sovereignty, over a territory of historical significance to the group (such as its homeland)".
I live in the United States but to me England is my home.
 photo 51l8F1Dkh3L_zps0uy76ddk.jpg
One day I had posted something on my Bluebell Woods page on Facebook, a post from another group. Someone took um-bridge with that. Their symbol was a Union Jack with the British Bulldog superimposed on top. She took offence first because I had said "England" rather than the UK. Well, I was actually talking about England, the picture was in England. It is STILL a country.
 photo British-Flags1_zpsahrknrng.jpg
Complicated though it is, all definitions have a distinct use. United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. England. Scotland Wales and N Ireland all distinct countries within the United Kingdom. Great Britain is England, Scotland and Wales as a political unit. British Isles would be Gr Britain the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Great Britain and United Kingdom are somewhat interchangeable as in sporting events. So according to her I should say I am British. I am. I am and always will be English first. So, have we got that part sorted?
 photo Flags_of_the_Union_Jack_zpscpcwmxzv.png

Patriotism. Loving ones country. I believe that one can be Patriotic and yet disagree with the powers that be at any given time. A Patriotic German could and did fight the Nazi's. I as an English person may or may not agree with my government and if I am of the belief that my country is very wrong, then I am Patriotic by fighting that government and not a traitor. Its all in the way one looks at things. That is my belief. When I say I love my country I love the land. I love the past present and future of that land. I love its history. I am a Monarchist, I love my Royal Family. I love the continuity. Good and bad Monarchs have come and gone and because they are in the past I can enjoy reading about them without approving of them. In more tumultuous times I would have had to choose a side. Thank goodness we don't have to do that anymore.The English people, well thats much the same as I feel here in the States, some I like and some not so much.
Now I live in the United States. I am not and will never be a citizen. I love my own country too much. I remember St George's Day and proudly.
 photo St_George_and_Dragon_Philly_zpsyvtluiyg.jpg
On the political level I do not like the American political machine, I want nothing to do with it. Especially now. I do not like how they have ever conducted themselves, I resent the attitude to other countries. I think their idea of Patriotism is not mine. I do not believe in "My country right or wrong" I believe if something needs to be fixed then fix it. I do not like the racial attitudes in America. I do not like the way the rich have so much and the poor and middle class are not appreciated or represented.
In England we have the aristocracy. Good and Bad and somewhere in between but I appreciate them for they are the guardians of our heritage. They keep up the Stately homes of England and that is a part of what makes it the country I love. They are rich yes, but they are different. Ok so I live in a dream world maybe. I love the English countryside and I love the place I now call home. If it were not for the people (sorry) I would love a lot more places in the USA. Its the violence, the guns, the hate, the prejudices thats what I mean when I say... the people. Intolerance for those who are different. I detest what has been done to the Native Americans, the original owners of this land. For that reason alone I could not be American with my whole heart ever.
 photo nodap6_zpspy4yrqoy.jpg
OK so yes, the UK has problems now. So many immigrants have moved there that people resent them for getting services that the British people can not get. Resentment and dislike and yes hate, but nothing like here. Not yet. I am sure it will get there but for now guns are not an issue. I hope they never will be but the world is changing.
I went to Arizona and loved it. Now with the laws of open carry and stand your ground I would never be able to live there, that and the attitude towards the Mexcans. I think Michigan has open carry, not sure, but you don't yet see it here where I live. I have been to a lot of lovely states but for one reason or other I could never live there. I will stay in my corner of Michigan thank you.
 photo 14670765_10153797665331736_504044186504584946_n_zpsxonkwnpb.jpg
So back to that lady taking offence when I said something about England. She said something like "you mean Britain" I said "No I mean England" she said its people like me who are whats wrong with the country. Nationalism is prejudice. Then she referred to the flag and the nasty little bulldog.(It was not even my picture) Ah well. So be it. I know friends who live there have been criticized and told to take down the flag of St George the English flag. I say keep it up. It is our flag. There is nothing wrong in being proud to be English. Just as there is nothing wrong in being proud to be Scottish or Welsh or Cornish for that matter as that is a Principality within England. I am proud to live in Michigan, I love Michigan that does not mean I am not liking other places, I just love my home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

English Springtime.....

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 photo b9905d28da226dc5f1a3358198512e94_zpsrwt2y7xa.jpg

I always think of home at this time of year. While we are under a blanket of snow here in Michigan. I know that at home things are moving on to Spring. The wildflowers begin to pop. The Snowdrops come up through the snow and the daffodils begin to bud. Primroses bloom in the hedgerows. The first flowers I remember in Spring were Violets and I can still see those, tight little buds snug to the earth among their leaves, not big enough yet to pick. My friend Sylvia and I would go looking for Violets, we knew all the places to look and it was magic when we found some.
 photo 300px-Violets_on_the_Flitch_Way_-_geograph.org.uk_-_383352_zpslnzmgn0g.jpg
When I think of the places we loved to play we would pick branches of Pussy Willow and Lambs Tails.
 photo aa8c3b5967c927c325a9eab479334c77_zpsj0k2ihe6.jpg
With that I would remember the birds nesting. We would watch and wait and hope to see the eggs followed by babies. As a lot of kids back then did I collected Birds Eggs. We would know we must only take one and leave everything undisturbed. The eggs would be "blown" and added to our collection. We could name all the birds (and animals and flowers and trees) because we practically lived outside in the fields and woods. We knew the hedgerows and who lived there. The Hedgehog and Badger. The Fox and very rare where I lived the deer. Although we were not far from Woburn Abbey where the Duke of Bedford keeps herds of Fallow deer and rare Peire David's Deer. Sometimes they would escape and live wild in the fields. I was lucky enough to see some in the fields but could not Identify them.
The same thing happens up on Dunstable Downs where the Whipsnade Zoo is located. It is quite frequent that you may see a Wallaby hopping on by. I think they like to get out but go back at supper time. Just a guess because they are not seen far from the fences.
 photo tumblr_o8uodhiBCr1rxcvjdo1_1280_zpsorkfvluf.jpg
Cowslips are another favourite of mine, and for me were actually found in the cow pastures mostly. I hear that so many of these wild flowers are becoming rare. Maybe it's time for the powers that be to take it upon themselves to plant them to keep them going. Many of the large fields and woods full of Daffodils were planted hundreds of years ago purposely. It's one of the beautiful things about an English Springtime. Wild daffodils at Farndale, had been planted by the monks from Rievaulx Abbey over 500 years ago. I am sure many things were planted at homes and farms that have long gone, yet the flowers keep on blooming in more modern fields and hedges.
 photo 528-1000-90_zpslb13hymp.jpg
We went home one year in May and I remember being filled with sheer joy at seeing the woodlands full of Bluebells, the blue sky above and the lime green of the Beech woods. I know I felt like crying I loved it so much. There is nothing quite like that beauty and I always love it if I am watching a movie and it shows scenes with Bluebells.
 photo 53Micheldever wood_zpsprkdxvdu.jpg
There is nothing quite like the English hedgerows. Some are ancient. They don't just grow the way they are, they are moulded by the farmers who own the land or farm the land, that's a different story but they shelter some amazing wildflowers and the critters that live on them.
I have to also mention the Spring lambs, always a joyful sight. The jump and frolic in fields of buttercups and daisies.
I miss my beautiful England all the time, but mostly in the Sprintime..

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Poodle Play Time....................

These long boring Winter days are a pain not only for us, but for the "pets" too. The cat Bessie is bored out of her mind. She and Boots love being outside but won't go out at all now. Boots will take a quick stroll to the garage to see if any of the Rodent population is hanging out but is soon back inside to lay on the heater.
The Poodles spend most of the day napping, insisting on being petted or eating. They are rather round at the moment and shaggy. Time for March grooming sessions I think.
Well the last few days Bella has initiated a play session. I have to get down on the floor and throw her toy before Bodi beats her up for pestering her.
 photo 20170_zpse8k43rfs.jpg
So it goes, I throw a toy and everyone joins in. All except Bijou who does not much fancy running around and competing. She likes to just pester them when they are trying to sleep.
Bessie on the other hand was watching from under an old record player.
 photo 20170212_135242_zpsom1ir2vl.jpg
She figured she would swat anyone who came close, but they didn't so she removed herself to the dining room chair and swatted Bodi as she ran by or tried to retrieve her toy from under the table.
 photo 20170212_135932_zpsy01yagco.jpg
As I said, the pets are bored. Bodi didn't care, she has enough fur.
 photo 20170212_135505k_zpsfqe2x4cc.jpg
 photo 20170212_135746k_zps6w17ruro.jpg
When they get tired Bella takes off with her toy and watches
 photo 20170212_135712_001_zps4aiavtq3.jpg
Brea took a breather too. She always looks like she has fangs when she smiles. Hehe.
 photo 20170212_135920_zpsaggxspkj.jpg
Then pretty soon its back to napping on the heater, they have a heating pad under their blankets.
 photo 20170212_135 k_zpslfebqh3y.jpg
No they are not spoiled at all.
They get to warm their pads up when they come in from the snow and wrap up warm.
 photo 20170212_135733k_zps747y9w3x.jpg
Bijou meanwhile has nothing to do with any of that. She will watch through the window for a reason to bark. That would get them all stirred up again just when they are all settled down for another nap.
 photo 20170212_165925k_zps3d41y0ws.jpg

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sixty Five years..............

What can I say? Our beautiful Queen has reigned for Sixty Five years.
 photo Screen-Shot-2015-09-03-at-19.00.45_zpsn1nlnjs0.png

Today is ascension day. The day Elizabeth 11 came to the throne upon the death of her Father. Not a role she was ready to play, but one that she embraced as only she could. A lifetime of service. Dedicated to her people and country. Always first in her heart. Even now at 90 she still works. There are people who say that they are leaches who live off the people. Those sort are far from knowing just how much the Royal Family does for our country. Yes, they could sit back and do nothing. Live a life of leisure rather than dedication but they do not. Oh sure, they live in castles and stately homes surrounded by luxury. What some people fail to see is that they are the keepers of our national treasures. What do you think would happen to all that if it were not for them? What would people come to see in an England devoid of it's estates and castles and treasures? How dull it would all be without the ceremonies and pomp and circumstance that only Britain can do so well? ........Apart from that, the very service they do for charities and services. They all take on their favourite thing. Just watch William and Harry and Kate and see how they give to others of their time and use their position to help and encourage others. It's no act. It is the way they have been raised, to live to serve. They know they live privileged lives, but their lives are not their own. Constantly under scrutiny. Every move watched and noted.
 photo 0_64_queen_elizabeth_030607_zps97jrqryj.jpg

The monarchy has changed during Elizabeth's reign but if you go back to the first Elizabeth, you see that same dedication, the same resolve, the same wisdom. That is a great part of what makes the Monarchy, that line of succession, that link with the past. It is the glue and fabric that hold the nation together.
Politicians come and go............sometimes we get a great one like Sir Winston Churchill. They are rare. Even so, the common link is the sovereign who councils them and guides them. The Queen has seen so many come and go and her continuity has been a link for them all, someone to guide them or council them. Sometimes as with Sir Winston, the other way around where he was the one to guide a young woman into the Queen she became.
Every day of her life she works. She is responsible for so much more than people give her credit for. She does have power. They say just a figurehead, well no, she is not.
Even as a princess she worked, she drove ambulances during the war and was an auto mechanic.
 photo hbz-1945-princess-elizabeth-gettyimages-89867508_zps63nhuwed.jpg

She is smart, intelligent and savvy. She knows her job and does it well and is dedicated to it. How many people are still working at 90 years old. I have to add that her husband the Duke of Edinburgh has been her confidant and support for all these years. It could not have come easy. Much like Victoria and Albert, they had to weather some storms, it does not come natural for a man to walk behind his wife. I remember a few Faux Pas in his younger days. He seemed to manage to put his foot in it quite frequently and does not suffer fools gladly.
 photo hbz-1947-princess-elizabeth-prince-philip-honeymoon-gettyimages-3279565_zpsgkkw4ryd.jpg
Prince Charles is heir to the throne. He has not really survived the fiasco of his marriage to Diana in the eyes of the people. She remains a popular Princess. I see her as a spoiled child who almost destroyed the monarchy. Oh I can understand her, but that does not change things. I am old fashioned. I expect a certain behavior from the Royal women. However, I do believe that had the Queen not allowed the divorce they would have worked things out in the end as Diana grew into a remarkable woman. Charles is a good man, his interests are many. He is an artist. He is a gardener, he is interested in the environment and architecture. Some see that as being stuffy and boring. Not me. I would find him interesting. He will be an active and involved King when the time comes.
 photo 140806171919-45-queen-elizabeth-ii-0806-horizontal-large-gallery_zps3xrrdm8w.jpg

Now he is married to the love of his life, but people still resent Camilla. That's a shame. She has worked diligently to earn her place. People do not know the goings on between Charles and Diana, they do not know what really happened. We can only go by what we see, and I saw Diana as a needy person, she has no excuse knowing the expectations of Royal life. She grew up with them. So he was not 100% in love with her. So what. She had to know that. If she thought that her tantrums and illness would win him over she was wrong. He had to be appalled at her behavior. I am sure he had seen nothing like it and Fergie was a lot of the influence on her at that time. She too divorced but she still lives in the same house as Andrew and they have at least been a family for their daughters.
 photo flashed-cute-grins-during-photocall-Royal-Air-Force_zpsocjqiuam.jpg

William and Harry are good men, that is in great part because of their Father with whom they are very close. Everyone gives Diana credit for that but not so............apparently Charles has done good for them and has more than made up for the loss of their Mother, they love her, of course they do and what a tragedy that was. Camilla was never good enough to be Charles partner because of her divorce. Well, things change and although as head of the Church of England Charles should not be divorced or married to a divorcee, it happened. Camilla has dedicated her life to her work as everyone else in the family has.
She won't be "Queen" but she will be a darn good consort. Let Charles have his day. Let William have a life and enjoy his little family while he still can. I pray that the monarchy goes on and on and on forever. I probably will never live to see King William or whatever he chooses for his name, but I may just see Charles as King and I hope that his people will appreciate what a good man he is.
 photo QUEEN_zpsbynch8vl.jpg
Meanwhile, God Bless our Queen and may she have many more years to be our sovereign.