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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, February 29, 2012

English country walks.............

One big difference between Michigan and where I grew up is the freedom to go where we wanted. I have no idea if its still true but I know that it is where I was raised. There are "footpaths" .....one of the things I remember about my dad was us going for walks. Mum, Dad and myself would go off over the fields along the footpaths. He would be armed with clippers and would trim overhanging branches. One of the things to keep footpaths open would be public use, otherwise they could become overgrown and disappear.I think there are now real laws in place to protect that right. So off we would go and I would learn the names of the trees and about the hedgerows and the wildlife around and about. I would also go along the same trails on my own. I remember one such walk and drinking from a stream. Clear as Spring water can be. Sticklebacks are tiny fish and it was fun to try to catch some in little nets and keep them in a jam jar. Tadpoles too.
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The footpaths are usually well marked and the entry to fields are generally marked with a stile or gate that can open without letting the livestock out.

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The footpaths are pretty obvious and farmers appreciate it when people stick to them and not destroy the crops or bother the animals. Other than that people are usually free to come and go across their land
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I think its a part of our heritage dating back to before land ownership that freedom to wander. Later came the Kings who gave land to whomever they chose. Not a bad thing because it kept it in good shape and in later years prevented the encroachment of land developers. The farms that came were sometimes private owned but some were on crown property or a part of an estate. The hedgerows are ancient, many hundreds of years old. Its an art, a skill that should never be lost. The hedgerow is a haven for animals and birds and without those England would not be England. Then came the enclosure act and a lot of the privilege of hunting and foraging were taken away from regular folk and poaching became a sport. Over time common land was allotted and people could graze their animals on the common or the green in most villages. The Kings lands and forests were out of bounds for hunting as were the estates but the byways, bridle ways and footpaths came into being. I do not know off hand the exact history of this but many paths are hundreds of years old. I think people have a different attitude in the British Isles than in the USA. Here if its mine its mind and you stay out or else. I miss the more open feeling of being able to walk on beautiful farm lands. Now that does not mean mountain bikes or snowmobiles or any of those things popular in the States it means hiking on foot.
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There are also Bridle Ways for horses and all these things are marked on Ordinance survey maps. What better way to spend a vacation or a weekend or just a day than hiking through beautiful country.

flowers Pictures, Images and Photos

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Drives.......................................

I am not sure when Dad got his first car, it was around the time of the Suez crisis and that was in 1956. That sounds about right, I would have been 10 years old. Well I do know that it was not long before he had to put the car away and go back to riding his bike to work because there was no gas/petrol to be had. The buses were so crowded because everyone relied then on the public transportation. So he rode his bike.
When we could, we would go for a Sunday drive. The area that I lived was at the foot of the Downs (The Chiltern Hills)and there were plenty of places to go for a day out within a smallish area. Ashridge was a favourite. I only really knew it as the woodlands for walks but there is actually an estate there. I believe it now belongs to the National Trust.
Bluebells at Ashridge................
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We would also go to Woburn Abbey and see the deer that the Duke of Bedford so carefully preserves. Wonderful to drive through and see great herds of beautiful Fallow Deer laying in the lush grass parklands. He later opened a Safari park to help him support the estate. When we went it was quite new and quite an experience. To our delight a giraffe walked up to the front of the car to cross the road, all we could see were its knees...........then it peed on Dads car bonnet it was as though the heavens opened we kids were delighted, Dad not so much. Margaret was my constant companion and was along on most of our adventures. I will have to tell some stories of my Dad and Uncle Ray's fishing adventures over at the Duke of Bedfords. That is for another time though.
When asked where I would like to go I would often say Ivinghoe........There was Ivinghoe beacon.
View from Ivinghoe Beacon.........................
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A nice climb and a wonderful view from the top. It is one of the Beacons that were used for hundreds of years to announce things quickly from one end of the country to the other. The Spanish Armada comes to mind and Queen Elizabeth having the beacons lit across the country. There is also a Dyke close by that was dug by a long ago warrior. Locally known a Devil's Dyke. We would go on through a road we called the golden mile where Laburnum trees form a tunnel over the road. When in bloom its just spectacular. On then to Aldbury. What a beautiful village that is. Often featured in British films or TV shows, back then it was ours to explore. As a youngster the imagination worked overtime when viewing the village stocks, the ducking stool for witches and the pond. The buildings are all red brick and beams and it has to be one of the quaintest villages.
Village of Aldbury...............
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There are just so many places to see that one Sunday does not begin to cover the ground. The Chiltern Hills with the White chalk Lion of Whipsnade Zoo can be seen from many vantage points. Where else in England can one sit on the Downs and have a few Wallabies wander on by as one enjoys a picnic. They got out many years ago and just live in and around the general area enjoying the freedom.

Whipsnade White Lion..................
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We used to go to look around the small churches and the church yards. I still love graveyards and reading the tombstones. I find it fascinating. I do that here too. In our Upper Peninsula of Michigan where the Cornish miners came to live in the forests here to mine tin and copper......to see how young men of 16 or 17 came for a better life only to die in the mines. So sad. In England though its even more interesting because they go back so far and so much history can be imagined by the dates on the stones.
At one point my Dad befriended a neighbours son, the family was going through a rough time. So Mick and I became good friends. He was older than me by a few years but we had great times together for several years (till he discovered girls) and he would come along on our Sunday drives. We would "collect" pub names in a note book and compare with each other. We got up to a lot of mischief too out in the fields at home and that's another story.
One place I remember that fascinated me was Burnham Beeches. It was quite a drive from our house but it was a beautiful place. We saw some great big ant hills made from sticks and leaves with big black ants. There is also a part of the park that is closed off due to the age of the trees there. I don't know if its still there or what but I know it sparked my imagination. The Druids Oak is supposed to be 800 years old and many of the Beeches over 400 or 500 years old. They would not want kids climbing on them or people being hurt either.
Burnham Beeches......................
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I also loved it when we could go through a ford. That is where the river runs over the road. It just seems so magical. I don't know why. Eddlesborough Ford is the one that comes to mind.It is near Doolittle Mill. I also have a deep fondness for Eddlesborough Church, it sits up on the hill. Last time in England we tried to go in and take a look around but it was locked. My aunt was rather put out because we have always been used to going in and out of any church we take a fancy too, its also nice to be able to just pop in and pray, but in this day and age I guess people do not deserve that privilege any more. Lets save these places for a generation that appreciates them. They have been around hundreds if not a thousand years, we do not need to loose them to vandals now.
Eddlesborough Ford..............
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Eddlesborough Church............
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View from the fields............

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sacrifice..................

As we begin the Easter season so to speak......Lent and what that means to Christians, with the culmination of Christ's death and resurrection and what it means to me......I must reflect on my journey as a Christian. I grew up with really no instruction. We were apparently Church of England. So my mother told me. I was "Christened" there. I have my Baptism certificate. It says in effect that I have been Baptized with the sign of the cross, that hereafter I will not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified and manfully fight under his banner against sin, the world and the devil and to continue Christs faithful soldier and servant until my life's end.
While I willingly abide by that, as a child I could not. So it was that in my adult life after a lot of searching that would take a long time to explain, I finally became a "Christian". I was very confused for a long time. I read a lot. When I married it was as a Catholic because I really had no preference at that time even though I really was not Catholic material. The priest was young and I am sure wanted a conversion. It was not very long after we came to the States that I reverted back to Jehovah Witness, simply because I could get good bible studies with them and didn't know much else and I had studied with a friend who was a Witness through a lot of my teens and twenties.
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Finally after other false starts I met a young pastor who answered my questions and made sense to me. That was it. I was "saved". I only use that word because people relate to it. Salvation is freely given by Christ, not a church or denomination. My life since then has been a journey in Faith. I have learned a lot. I know I am nothing within myself without Christ's love and sacrifice. I do not understand everything, I never will. I do know enough to accept what I do not know on Faith. I know that its not a religion. My faith and journey in Christ is a way of life. I fail, and fail often but I know that He expects that, if I did not then I would be perfect and would not need a saviour. I do though. I need Him every day, in every decision I make. I often forget to Thank Him for what He does for me. I often ask Him to bless a choice I made without consulting Him first. I forget to pray. I forget to honour requests for prayer. I forget to be selfless. I am a sinner. As far as things in my life I really did not do anything that might be considered wrong except for the most strict of denominations. That may not be totally true, but my point is that when I did become a Christian it was not like a visible change occurred. It was inside that changed the most. Attitude and outlook. It was a quiet conversion of my heart.
Bad things happen in everyone's life. I think of Job, a lot. I have had a very good life. When bad things do happen I do not blame God, its just life. God does not always intervene, even if we beg Him. He knows best. I trust that.

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I know that now and I pray that His will be done. My granddaughter died a year ago in February. When she was still alive and in the hospital I prayed that she would recover if it be His will. It was not. I accepted that. It was not easy to get over her loss but I know that she is with the Lord and that some day we will see her again, God did not take her from us, it was an accident. What if He had answered my prayer (and many others) and she had lived but been badly damaged and not the fit cheerleader that she was. Could she have handled that? what would it have done to her life and her sons? I have no idea, but God knows. So it is I accept His will for us, we (my husband and me) are raising her son who was a baby at the time. I am 65 years old with a two year old. I accept that as God's will for my life for now. That has been my journey to peace within myself. It does not make me a better person than someone with no faith. It does not make me good. It makes me forgiven but it does not let me off the hook, its a daily struggle to accept what He wants for my life. Being forgiven does not mean I get a free ride, that I can do as I want, confess and be forgiven. No, that's not how it works. We do have an obligation to try to be our best, to learn what is expected of us and to show others that what we have, our faith in God and love of Christ is something worth having. He is the way.......He is the truth and He is the life everlasting.

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I still have many unanswered questions, I actually enjoy thinking about and speculating about them. On the whole I am not concerned because I know some day I will have all the answers. Then they wont matter anyway. God wants the very best for us all. He gives us what we need to find our way to Him if we have open and honest hearts and sincerely look for Him then we will find Him. That is His promice.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Old Friends.............

One of the great things about Facebook is that one can find so many old friends there. Many I have not seen since I was a child in school, some were teen friends and some were work friends. Who ever they are its magical that we can catch up now after so many years. I started a group for the village in England that we all grew up in. Its been amazing seeing them come in and just begin chatting about how things used to be back in our day. Our village was a rural farming community that did not change much from the beginning its in the Doomsday Book. At some point it was a Saxon village and then the Romans built a road through to the north that went on by. The church is Saxon and has not changed since then.
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Our families have been there as long as records have been kept, either in that village or close by. People did not move far until the 1950s and 1960s and life remained pretty much the same. It was our generation that changed everything but it began after the war when we were chosen to take on a lot of the London people. New homes had to be built and new jobs found as London was rebuilt, along with Coventry and many other cities. So they brought in car factories to replace the straw hat trade that sustained the area for a hundred years or so and the new Londoners moved into council houses to take on the work. Over the next years the village was pretty much demolished. So it is that in this Facebook group we remember our childhood. How free we were. Most of us would go outside after breakfast go find a mate and off we would go, sometimes alone. I know I would go for miles across the fields with a friend or on my own and just look around. No particular goal in mind but learning the names of the wildflowers (Dad got me a book) and birds and their nests. A friend and I collected eggs and got to know where to find and identify them. I remember being thrilled when I found a Wrens nest, so pretty and well made. We climbed trees, fell out of them or caught our clothes on barbed wire and ripped them. I remember the first electric fence I saw and how we would "test" it. I have been chased by a herd of cows and attacked my a mother hen. Stung by wasps and just about everything you may imagine but was never really hurt. My parents could never have known where I was, they were working and I was free to do as I chose, and I did. We would play in the chalk pits and visit the farms. Climb the cliffs and fish for Tadpoles and Sticklebacks. There was never such a thing as being bored, we made and invented our own fun. No TV because even when we did get one in 1952 there was nothing on during the day. Not that much at night for that matter. Maybe on a rainy day we would listen to the stories on the radio. We collected food boxes and played at stores or we played school or we made mud pies. There was never a lack of things to do. From what I have heard on the group, the boys were way more adventuresome and their territory was more within the village and with each other, mine was a more solitary existence. I preferred that. The village Chemist would pay us to go gather things like Elderberries and other things that they needed and we got paid a pittance for doing something we loved to do anyway.

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This is me at Grove Farm aged around 16


I already spoke about the time I spent on the farm. My friend Margaret lived on Grove Farm and that was my main hang out in the summer time and any weekend I could get there. Never a lack of things to do there for kids.
Sometimes I would walk to my Grandmothers several miles away along a more busy road but I may have stopped in at my Aunt Nellie's house or maybe caught a bus, it depended upon the weather. Nan never knew to expect me, we didn't have a phone and neither did she. When I had enough of that I would take off and walk across the hills to Dunstable and visit my Auntie Ivy and Uncle Norman. They worked nights so I knew that by afternoon they would be there. I loved to lay on the side of the hills and just watch the clouds, the sound of bees in the Harebells and Daisies. Larks singing in the sky and the sun warm on my face. I suppose I may have dozed off on occasion, after all it was a lot of walking. There was a small Spinney up on the hills and Bluebells grew there. It was not far as the crow fly's to my aunts house and after a brief visit and cup of tea I could catch the bus home. No one had a car so it was up to me to get myself home by tea time. We could play outside until the street lights came on and then all the kids would go inside unless a few stragglers would hold out under the street light until called inside. We have some wonderful memories and a childhood that is now a thing of the past. One that I am just so grateful for

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pictures from the web with no credits. If I have inadvertently taken your picture please do let me know and I will delete it or give you credit.


I am linking up with Brambleberry Cottage Time travel Thursday.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Versatile Blogger award.................

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I know a lot of folks do not accept "awards" but I am new enough to enjoy the recognition. I think its a nice thing that people select you from among so many others that they could have chosen. So I accept this graciously from "Breathing English Air"

There are rules..............
1. Add the award to your blog.

2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.
I think that this is a great idea because it also allows us to get to know new people and to share with old friends too.


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Seven things about me...........

1. I am new to blogging and love it, I do so enjoy learning about others and enjoying the pictures they share as well as the ideas and crafts.
2. I am a great grandmother and guardian to my grgrandson Tristen. So I am a new mum at 65.
3. I have been married for ever it seems. Married in 1970.
4. Born and raised in England my children were all born there.
5. My heart is still in England even though I do love Michigan where I now live.
6. I have a great interest in art and crafts and making things myself. I love all things hand made
7. I am learning to take photo's now and enjoying the bird life around me, I love the outdoors and animals and birds and flowers, photography is a great way of seeing them.


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The blogs I have chosen in no particular order are

1 A Brit in Tennessee
2 Art,Books, Tea....Cindy Adkins
3 Whimsical Musings
4 For the Love of Crochet Along
5 Sew in Love
6 Art du jour
7 Faery Realm
8 Helen Philipps
9 A Very Fairy garden

10 Patina Moon
11 Shabby Cats and Roses
12 Michelle Palmer
13 Susan Branch blog
14 crochet with Raymond
15 Opulent Cottage

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tristen and Granddad.............

Well this is a picture of Tristen and Sylvie having a pony ride on Granddad's leg. Funny how kids love that. They are watching "Timmy Time' one of their favourite programs.

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A little before the picture they were shrieking with laughter but sobered up when I got the camera out.
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Ain't they just so cute?

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunlit Sunday.................

Who is this napping under the couch?
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Its Brea enjoying a ray of February sunshine.

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February was doing so well, it was warmish and sunny and since then the snow has come back with a vengeance. Maybe Brea is dreaming of those sunny days in the Fall when the sunflowers were still bright in the fields. Her sister Bella is on the couch next to her daddy. We have four poodles in all.

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Most likely though she is hiding out of the way of Tristen who is always interrupting Poodle naps. Right now though he is busy in his own ray of sunshine. Trying to get a handle on the use of a pencil.

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He has not quite got a grip on it, or should I say he has too much of a grip on it? Then again he is only two

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I am linking up with Sunlit Sunday at My Little Home and Garden. I hope anyone who visits will enjoy all three of my blogs and I will enjoy finding some new blogs to visit. One great thing about joining in on a "party" is finding all those new blogs to visit and new friends to make.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One Year on............

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It has been a difficult year in many ways. I realize now that although I have lost many members of my family, at my age that is to be expected. Loosing a 21 year old granddaughter is not. When mum and dad died it was probably made easier because of the distance. With them living in England and me here in Michigan I did not see them often. We had great visits and they enjoyed their holidays here, it is not the same as when someone is living in the same house, or that you see all the time. I think maybe the only other death that effected me as much was my grandmother when I was quite young. Alex lived here and was a force of nature, she would always make an entrance. If she was in the house, then it revolved around her. She was never to be ignored. She was noisy and disruptive, always on the go never still for long. So the silence that followed her death was deafening. We did of course have Tristen here and I suppose in a lot of ways he made it easier to go on without too much bother, after all a baby has its demands as well. He was about 14 months at the time his mother died. As the year progressed it was a great comfort to go to the grave and decorate. Laura (her mum) and me go often and decorate for whatever is appropriate. Right now she is all decked out in Valentines hearts and stuff and we will be going for Easter next. I will also take some Spring flowers to plant. Her loss is something different to anything I have experienced before, in some ways it has changed me. I now look at Michigan more as a permanent place for me. I had wanted to be sent home (cremated) when I died, now I want to be with Alex. I suppose in that respect I now have "roots" here. Tristen is both a trial and a comfort. He is a happy 2 year old now with loads of personality just like her, he is obnoxious and funny, cute and sassy, smart and mischievous. So much like Alexandra was as a baby. She was such a cute little kid and always in trouble. It sought her out I think. Alex and I had things in common, she loved my old horse and would go with me to the barn. She also liked to draw and I have kept her things for Tristen.
So a year has past, I no longer think its her when someone comes in. I will always miss her and we will always remember her so beautiful and young and full of life. She had her troubles too she was not always happy but she was on track in many ways when she died. She was planning her marriage and its sad that she will not be that bride because she would have been so beautiful. We still see her fiance and he still sees her son now and then but it gets less and less as he moves on with his life, as he must. That too is sad but I am glad for him. Everything is bittersweet. Soon Tristen will begin to ask questions and we are not sure how we will respond yet, it will always be the truth but as he is able to process the truth. We take him to visit her and he loves to play in the cemetery so its not an unhappy place for him.
So we move on, closing the door to that year of our lives, we will always mourn and always remember but maybe as time goes on with more joy than regret because we know that Alexandra is with her Lord and we will see her again someday.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sixty years on the throne of England...................

This year marks the 60th year for Queen Elizabeth 11 since she ascended the throne of England. Many British people do not appreciate the Royal family, I know that. For me.....I believe she is probably the hardest working person in the country. Also most likely the most unappreciated. It would not be England without her. English history and indeed British history is culminated in her reign. It all comes down to that. From the battles for the throne back in the beginning and the merging of tribes into one united land and then of the wars between York and Lancaster, from the side track into a republic that was so hated that the King was called back from exile to take up the crown once more. From calling in Kings and Queens from foreign lands to take up the crown to Victoria who populated the thrones of Europe with her progeny..........to Elizabeth.
The one reason when I moved to the USA I did not become an American citizen........well the major reason, is that I would have to revoke allegiance to her. I can not and will not do that. I know it does not mean much in this modern world but the oath states that one must take it without reservation so standing there with fingers crossed is not an option. My word does mean something to me. I could not ever give up my allegiance to England, not unless they got rid of the monarchy, then it would not be England anymore. I hope I never see that day.
Meanwhile.......God save the queen and God bless her. Long may she reign.
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I am linking this post up with Antiques and Teacups for their drawing. Its a beautiful blog and I just love the beautiful china displayed there.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Beauty.....Legend.....



One of the most beautiful creatures imagined, the Unicorn is shown in art and film many times over. Here are a few that I like.
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The white horses, always vivid in my imagination I love this picture

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Sleepless nights................

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I am so tired I could just drop.....
So I climbed in bed....then my eyes just popped
The Sandman came but did not stay.
I lay here and waited for the day.
The hours they drag and minutes creep
How can I get myself some sleep?.
Now at last when sleep has come,
Its just in time to greet the sun.
JKS Feb 2012