Archive for April, 2011

OK, so next time I say that I won’t be blogging for X number of days or till after whatever…..don’t believe me!!! ūüôā

If¬†I had thought my day could¬†get any better since my daughter told me she had uploaded my 3 Days in London ¬†itinerary¬†yesterday¬†morning….I had no idea just how!!!

I went into hootsuite last night to do some #TravelTuesday tweets and saw this: from @abcnews – We’ve featured you in our #royalwedding #storify. Have a look here – http://www.abc.net.au/news/infographics/storify.htm?id=uk-gears-up-for-royal-wedding¬†

I nearly fell right off my chair with excitement when I saw one of my photos on their page!!!! 5th photo down! how exciting is that!

and then just while I was jumping up and down with sheer excitement my phone rang!! and it was my brother and sister-in-law to tell me that I am an Aunty 2 times over since mid-March; they’ve adopted 2 little kiddies, and on top of that they are expecting a new arrival at the end of August!!!

Then later on my daughter suddenly decides we should buy a tent¬†for our¬†camp out on Thursday night to secure our place for the wedding on Friday…..so I guess I will be collecting that Wednesday afternoon!

And then to finish off a marvellous day…. at exactly 23:48 and with 11 minutes to spare I placed my order for my 2012 Olympic ticket selection!!!! hooray!!!!!!!!!!!

How absolutely fabulous, Tuesday 26th April 2011 will go down in history as one of my best days!!!

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not just a granny……

thank goodness I am a woman!!!! I can change my mind ūüôā

Ok, so yesterday I said I wouldn’t be blogging again till after the Royal Wedding…..but hey!!! guess what?¬† heehee, here I am again!

And the reason for this is coz two very exciting things happened today that I simply have to share:

1) My first London Itinerary went live!!! whoo hoo! Thanks to the herculean efforts of my wonderful daughter, who is a genius, the 6 Hours in London Itinerary was uploaded and went live this morning.  A special edition for the wedding.

2) I received my ‘Prince William and Catherine Wedding Coin’ – Royal Wedding¬†Crown¬†in the mail this morning!! ¬†A commemorative coin to mark the occassion of their 29 April 2011 wedding!!!

Royal Mint edition of the Royal Wedding coin

The itineraries have taken a year to get up and online.¬† Firstly coz I was paralysed by fear; fear of it not being perfect, fear of it not being good enough and the fear that no-one would like it or find it useful!!!¬† But, thankfully my daughter gave me a good metaphorical¬†kick in the ‘you know what’ and hurry scurry I edited the itinerary that had been waiting for the last¬†12 months to get completed and downloaded!¬† Nothing like the excitement of a¬† British occassion to get me going. ūüôā

and the¬†thrill of receiving my coin¬†was the cherry on top!!! I applied for one a few weeks ago never expecting to actually get it, since they are only printing 50,000 and I though for sure that they would already be sold out.¬† Also you had to apply with no guarantee of getting one, so when I open the bulky envelope this morning and realised what it was…..I nearly went ballistic.

So that’s my tale for today………..see you maybe before the wedding, maybe not!!! depends on what other exciting things happen in my life.¬† In the meantime – ¬†Bye for now.

Bearing in mind that I had said when the wedding was announced that I was NOT going to buy any paraphenalia or memorabilia, I now have the coin and the hat!!! what’s next I wonder?¬† ¬† Thankfully the wedding is only¬†3 days away now and there is not much time left for me to go mad and break the bank!!!

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royal wedding, piers morgan,
this spot has been reserved for Cindy Eve who is @notjustagranny ūüôā

whoo hoo!!!!! ūüôā with only 4 sleeps to go I am way beyond excited now!! I keep jolting out of sleep in the middling hours of the night, when it is¬†still dark outside –¬†my heart racing with excitement and the Royal Wedding on my mind!!!

I have finally persuaded my chica to join me at Buckingham Palace¬†for the Royal Wedding celebrations, and against her better judgement….. to sleep over on The Mall with me the night before. ūüôā

Today I went walkabout along the Royal Wedding route to revisit favourite places and to reserve my place on The Mall.¬† A large part of The Mall has been pedestrianised and the barriers are already lining the sidewalks.¬† There is a real sense of anticipation in the air and one of my favourite celebrities was seen at the Palace interviewing a Royal Correspondent! And finally I know for sure….he is a real person!!!

Piers Morgan at Buckingham Palace

London is bustling with excitement, the bunting is up, the sun was shining and love is in the air.  In preparation for the Royal Wedding, London has donned her finery with Regent Street lined with marvellous flags,

Regent Street all dressed in finery

Admiralty Arch is dressed in her finery, and high above the west tower of Westminster Abbey can be seen the Sovereign’s flag.

the Queen's flag above the West Tower of Westminster Abbey

the ‘Boris’ bikes aka Barclays Cycle Hire bikes are everywhere to be seen as visitors to London make the most of the fabulous weather and cycle about town.¬† The fountains at Trafalgar Square have been emptied…. ? and the 2012 Olympic Clock ticks on!

the 2012 Olympic Clock ticks on

I bought a hat for the occassion….do you think it is suitable?

royal wedding london

my hat for the Royal Wedding....

¬†and now with only 4 sleeps to go to till wedding of the century; the much anticipated¬†wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011……this is your London correspondent signing out till after the 29th. ūüôā

I will be tweeting on the 28th and 29th (or for as long as my battery lasts). Look out for the updates on @3days_in_london and the hashtag #RoyalWedding and #3dil – hope to see you there!!!

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A couple of months ago I¬†accidently attended¬†the ‘Wicked’¬†Halloween event¬†at St Pancras, where I got¬†to see Lee Mead.¬†¬†The Woodland Trust had their table and banners up and as I do, I picked up the brochures to have a look at. I, like many other folk in this country are keen to ensure that we don’t lose the marvellous ancient forests that still exist, albeit in small little pockets. The Woodland Trust are doing what they can to protect and replant.
So I read the brochures, and as 2011 year is my ‘increase my contribution to the world’ year I decided to include them on my list and submitted the form to become a monthly contributor.

I had no other expectations beyond that. So imagine my surprise and subsequent delight when I received a package in the mail the other day with a wee certificate that tells me I now have a tree dedicated to me!!! ūüôā How cool is that!!!

woodland trsut, the forest of marston vale, reclaiming enlands forests

Woodland Trust Certificate

The tree is situated at Water End, Cople, Bedfordshire. The village of Cople is to the east of Bedford and the woodland is part of the area known as ‘The Forest of Marston Vale’ –¬†a project to plant up to 30% of the vale with trees as part of the reclamation of the extensive former workings of the brick making industry. In December 1999, 5,200 trees were planted; including oak, ash, field maple and cherry.

So of course I had to investigate and find out more about Cople…….my first port of call without question: google!! ūüôā
This is what I found: (via this website)
The Great River Ouse is 1.5 miles away.
The village has a population of around 800 people, there is one pub, one church, one primary school (ages 4 to 9) and one garage which no longer sells petrol. The only village shop closed in 1995, but there is a shop in the nearby village of Willington and a major supermarket 3 miles away.
Cople has traditionally been a farming community but farming no longer offers work to many people. Most inhabitants work in offices and factories in nearby towns including Bedford, Sandy, Luton and Milton Keynes.
The name COPLE derived from the phrase “Cock Pool” which was a place where chickens were kept and that Cople was mentioned in the Doomsday Book.
The centre of Cople is dominated by the splendid All Saints Church. One of the most beautiful churches in Bedfordshire.
The Church was originally built soon after 1087 by the De Beauchamp family and later became part of Chicksands Priory. The list of Vicars dates back to 1237.

Guess I am going to have to visit Cople and find my tree!!! ūüôā

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…….and my daughter!!!¬†¬† As mentioned in a previous post, yesterday was my birthday and I had the joy of spending this special day with my daughter and enjoying a couple of adventures in London.

the city of london
one of my favourite views of the City of London; just a glimpse

I slept over at my daughter’s house the night before and¬†our day started with a lie-in (unusual for me with the type of job I have), then tea and cake (chocolate of course) in the garden.¬† The weather was perfect , already warm and the heat a precursor of the temperatures ahead.¬† After a lazy morning we¬†set out on our adventure: first¬†into Twickenham to Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery for tea and cupcakes. Along the way we stopped to smell the roses

if only I could have captured the heavenly perfume.......

and admire the wisteria, now in full bloom just about everywhere you look!¬† Of course this is the easter weekend too so naturally we had easter cupcakes!! ūüôā¬† We sat out in the courtyard, in the shade and enjoyed our tea, chatting away enjoying the slight breeze that wafted by.

tea and easter cupcakes at Sweetie Pies

From there we headed off to Richmond and onto the first train out, into London Central for the next leg of our adventures –¬†first a guided tour of¬† The Guildhall in the City of London, then a guided¬†Shakespeare Trail.¬† Exciting!!!¬†¬† We alighted from¬†the tube at Temple thinking to get a bus from¬†The Royal Courts of Justice¬†to St Paul’s Cathedral to meet our guide. We were ever so¬†slightly behind schedule,¬†so when we got to Strand and discovered massive roadworks going on in the area¬†had pretty much wrecked any chance of getting a bus, our hearts sank.¬† However, not all was lost and quick as wink we hopped into a London Cab and within 5 minutes we arrived at our destination.¬† Love that you can just hop in a cab in this city!!

getting about the City in a London Cab

We met up with the lovely Zoe who is a City of London tour guide and set off for the Guildhall.  I have been to the Guildhall a couple of times before but never on a guided tour!  So cool! I wish I could have recorded all the interesting little snippets she told us! Suffice to say it was brilliantly interesting and I loved all the little details she pointed out.  The Guildhall is so worth a visit, it is fabulous inside: the memorials are fabulous works of art and the stained glass windows; breathtaking

guildhall london, shakespeare trail

stained glass windows at The Guildhall

After the tour, we parted company briefly with our delightful tour guide and  headed over to the Guildhall Art Gallery for a look at the Roman Amphitheatre and it was fun for me to play tour guide for a wee bit and show my daughter around.  We had a quick look at some of the beautiful paintings on display and marvelled at the talent and work put into these paintings, some of which look like photographs the detail is so perfect.  In fact in many ways they are better than photos coz they have texture and depth.    Then it was a quick look at the massive painting in the foyer of gallery, stunning!!  Exiting the Gallery we saw a wedding party; the outfits were a glorious spectrum of rich colours, and what a perfect day for a wedding!

We then strolled across the city back to St Paul’s to meet up with Zoe again who would be conducting the Shakespeare Trail.¬† Along the way we discovered all sorts of interesting things and items of historical note.¬† I love just walking about this city, you just never know what you will find!

a world of discovery; historical sites

This time we were joined by a young man and the four of us set off on a jaunt around London and through the portals of¬†history, to discover more about Shakespeare and the places in London he frequented.¬† There was however,¬†one piece of information that gave me quite a jolt……Shakespeare pre-dated the current St Paul’s Cathedral!!!!¬† I just never really even thought about it and just kind of assumed that this was the building that he saw on his daily walks.!!!!¬† And…..in order to cross the river to the Globe Theatre he would have had to use a ferry!! How about that!

don't pay the ferryman till he gets you to the other side... Globe Theatre is just to the left of the bridge on the other side of the river

The weather was perfect, hot and sunny and the city was quiet/ish with not many people about. Wonderful.

We learned so much that I can’t even begin to tell you everything, so instead I will give you a brief run down and suggest you book yourself on one of the tours for a more comprehensive view of Shakespeare and the London of his time.

London in Shakespeare’s time was miniscule in comparison to¬†the size¬†it is today,¬†and the¬†great urban sprawl we know wasn’t even a figment of his imagination I am sure, and the Great Fire of 1666 would have destroyed much of what he did know. Our first stop was the remains of Roman walls discovered during excavations for new buildings, I constantly marvel at how these places are largely preserved and not ripped out…..thank goodness.¬†¬†¬†Zoe gave us a glimpse into what London would have been like in Shakespeare’s day; pretty grubby and smelly by all accounts!!! Not at all the romantic images we tend to carry around.

Next stop was the remains of¬†the historical site of a wee church where Shakespeare was likely to have worshipped: the Parish Church of St Olave’s. We learned some delectable tidbits about his connections to this church and one of the families he was closely associated with.¬† We also got to see the site of the lodgings where Shakespeare made his home in later life, just over the road from St Olave’s. On our way to the next stop of the tour we walked past the remains of St Alban’s Church and I finally discovered a) the name of it and b) that it is now privately occupied!!! How amazing is that! To live in the remains of an ancient¬†church, albeit only a very small part of it.¬†¬† This area of the city is closely associated with The Museum of London (in my opinion the best museum in London and totally underrated) and the road we briefly walked along; London Wall marks the boundaries of the Roman City.¬† Of course the area is now filled with towering skyscrapers and busy roads, but you can still catch glimpses of Roman, Mediaeval and¬†Tudor London in hidden corners.

Our next stop was the ancient¬†site of¬† St Mary Aldermanbury¬†Church, now a tiny little park,¬†where you can find relics of the original walls, and Love Lane where you will find a decorative memorial with a bust of Shakespeare looking towards the River (a good 5-10 minutes walk away), as well as¬†a carved¬†marble¬†book¬†depicting his first folio; published according to the ‘True Originall Copies London 1623’.¬† Compiled by John Heminge and¬†Henry Condell, close friends¬†of Shakespeare’s, these two gentlemen are in fact buried at this site.¬†¬† The memorial¬†commemorates John Heminge and Henry Condell – fellow actors and personal friends of Shakespeare.

memorial on Love Lane

Next it was back to the Guildhall where once again I was surprised and delighted to discover the links that Shakespeare had with the Guildhall, albeit not very pleasant links.

Also to be found at the Gallery are the busts of four famous citizens of the city: William Shakespeare, Christopher Wren, Oliver Cromwell and Samuel Pepys.

Heading back towards St Paul’s Cathedral we next discovered his associations with Carter Lane, The Cockpit Tavern, St Andrews-by-the-Wardrobe Church and many other interesting snippets and fascinating sites.¬† These are places that we tend to walk past without even the tiniest clue of what went before.¬† At the King’s Wardrobe we parted company with Zoe and meandered once again along ancient lanes to take ‘sup at one of the oldest pubs in London; with links to Charles Dickens!!! Guess who is next on my list! ūüôā

the centre page, dickens pickwick papers

The Centre Page, near St Paul's - for the best darn chips and onion rings in town!

We enjoyed a delicious meal of Burger and chips with onion rings for CJ and baked spud with bacon and cheese, chips and onion rings for me.  A draught of apple cider (juice) slaked our thirst!!!   Replete, we strolled down to the riverbank passing a headless man along the way,

a headless man......

then we meandered along the Thames Path.  I love these views of the river!!  By now the horizon was black with rain, and the wind whipped the rushing incoming tide into a frenzy of choppy peaks and troughs!   As we hurried along (not too fast mind), we felt spots of rain, but not enough to discourage a number of stops along the way to take photos!

rain on the horizon

By then we had come full circle and reached Temple station where I said goodbye to CJ, she heading into the underground and me on my way to Charing Cross.¬† I discovered a memorial to Isambard Kingdom¬†Brunel, the entrance¬†to Inland Revenue, And then the rain came down and I got soaked along the Strand! ūüôā

Charing Cross - the story

A marvellous day and what an adventure!  I have created a short video with more views of our wonderful city that you might enjoy.

p.s. you will notice some of the photos have a wide border….it seems I am having some HTML issues. I have no idea why it’s doing this!! So, if you do….please let me know ūüôā

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Tina Games - Moonlight Muse


Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 7 of the Virtual Blog Tour of author Tina M Games whose book Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery (and its accompanying deck of 54 journaling prompt cards) is celebrating its 1st birthday on Amazon on Tuesday May 3, 2011.

amazon journaling by the moonlight tina games

Journaling By The Moonlight Tina games

Author Tina M Games is certified creativity and life purpose coach. She calls herself the “Moonlight Muse” for women who want to tap into the “full moon within” and claim their authentic self, both personally and professionally. Through her signature coaching programs, based on the phases of the moon, Tina gently guides women from darkness to light as they create an authentic vision filled with purpose, passion and creative expression.

Yesterday, Tina visited Dr.Caron Goode at http://academyforcoachingparents.com/acpi/tina-games/ , where she answered about mom’s intuition, journaling enhancing intuition, techniques, self-discovery and the impatient mom advice.  

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Tina when I got to ask her some questions on her journey to doing this work, mother‚Äôs guilt due to extended family breakdown and healing processes for mothers.¬† I hope you enjoy it.


Tina M Games:¬† Thank you, Cindy, for your interest in my book, Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery and its accompanying deck of 54 journaling prompt cards.

tina games journaling prompt cards

journaling prompt cards - Tina Games, Journaling by Moonlight

¬†I believe that mothers are a significant part of the “ripple effect” – that will transform the world into a more loving, more nurturing place. Imagine for a moment a “pebble thrown into a pond.” It creates a ripple that goes on and on and on.
When a mother is living life with complete authenticity, she’s subconsciously giving permission for her kids to do the same. She’s truly at her best – creating powerful change for her family, her community, and for the world at large. It’s all part of “the ripple.”
It’s my belief that “a happy mother makes the best mother” – and our kids really do want to see their moms happy!
Cindy Eve: What lead you to the path you are currently on?
Tina M Games: Shortly after the birth of my first child, and after making some fairly significant life changes at the same time, I fell into depression – a place that felt so foreign to me, a place where I felt like I had fallen into a black hole with no way out. It was during this time, a period that spanned over two years that I had disconnected from everything that made me happy. Because my son suffered from chronic illnesses related to serious colds and severe ear infections, I made a very difficult choice to give up a successful career in order to care for my son full-time. I hadn’t realized until this experience how much of my identity was tied into my career. I really enjoyed working. And without that opportunity in my life, I felt very lost and very unhappy.
It was during this time that I fell back on a great passion of mine – journal writing. And as a mom of a baby who did not have a normal sleep schedule, I found myself exhausted and emotional much of the time. So night after night, after I’d get my son settled and after my husband went to bed, I’d grab my journal and retreat to my favorite chair – beside a big bay window where I caught a glimpse of the moon. It was the moon that taught me the meaning of transition. I’d watch this beautiful lunar goddess, night after night, move in and out of her various phases. And before long, I began to connect her phases with my own emotional tides.
I noticed that the moon always began in darkness and gradually, she’d move into full light – and cycle back around again. And I noticed the contrast between dark and light – the darkness of the night sky against the beautiful full moon light. I started connecting to this – as if I was being divinely guided through my own transitions of dark and light. I began to notice the ebbs and flows of my emotions. There were good days and bad days.
And then one day, two years later, I had an ah-ha. After several conversations with my own mother and other mothers whom I had encountered along the way, I began to wonder, “Are there other moms out there who may be having a similar experience?”
I decided to create two focus groups of mothers where we could have honest discussions about motherhood, careers, and life purpose – and how they all fit together. These dialogues eventually led to a series of articles and then to the creation of my coaching practice – where I could work with moms on a deeper level.
This is when I decided to write my book. I wanted mothers to realize that every human transition begins in darkness and gradually moves into light, where we get a glimpse of what is possible. And then we retreat, to ponder the many ways we can manifest these possibilities into reality. This requires deep work, where we step into our own truth and into our own power – and where we can emerge in the most authentic way possible. This is what I call the Blue Moon phase – when we finally realize that we are here on this Earth to be WHO we are, to put our personal thumbprint on the world in the most truthful, most authentic, most unique way possible. Each one of us are individuals being divinely guided on our own purposeful path.
And looking back on my motherhood journey over the past 12 years, I can now say that everything I experienced along the way has factored into my bigger life purpose. Each experience, as painful as some were, led me to the point of where I am now.
Cindy Eve: Do you think that mothers have all this guilt because of the breakdown of the extended family?
Tina M Games: We’ve definitely become a more transient society. And with so many mothers living in areas away from their extended families, support systems are certainly affected. But I don’t think that guilt stems from this.
Guilt is a normal emotion for every mother. We’re always feeling guilty about something we’ve done – or not done – for our children. As mothers, it’s very natural to put our kids above ourselves. And while this may be necessary some of the time, it’s not necessary all the time. As the airlines so smartly proclaim, “Always put the air mask on yourself before assisting a child or another adult passenger.” In other words, “Take care of yourself, so that you can assist in the caretaking of someone else.”

I’m a big believer that each and every one of us are living OUR life story – in whatever way that story needs to play out. And for many of us, this story involves lessons. In order to learn OUR lessons, we must journey through the challenges. This is where we grow – emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And for mothers, these challenges often include guilt.
I often ask moms to describe what the guilt is about – and we work from there, trying to unravel its deeper meaning. What is the guilt trying to teach us about ourselves? What is it that we need to work through so that guilt doesn’t rear its head time and time again? And how can releasing the guilt help us become better mothers?
I’ve devoted an entire chapter in my book and an entire moon phase in my self-discovery process, to mother‚Äôs guilt. This is how big a role it plays in motherhood – and it‚Äôs why a mother needs to face it head-on. See guilt for what it really is – an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and why it plays such a significant role in our life story. There’s a lesson wrapped up, beautifully disguised as mother’s guilt. What is that lesson – for you? Once you discover it, you can shift the grip it has on you.

Cindy Eve: You talk about the healing process for mothers. Do you mean physical or emotional? If emotional – in what context?
Tina M Games:¬† Our need for healing – whether it’s physical, emotional, mental or spiritual – often stems from self-neglect. Mothers get a lot of mixed messages from society about our role. Many of us have been taught that to take care of ourselves is considered selfish. So we continuously put the needs of others ahead of our own – and many times, we completely wear ourselves out to the point of physical exhaustion, overwhelm, frustration, resentment and depression.
I can’t stress enough how important self-care is to a mother. It makes her a happier, healthier person – all the way around. And her kids, her family and her community really reap the benefits!
If we could all get in the habit of scheduling time for self-care (which includes journal writing) – with the same priority that we give everyone else in our lives, we can create an even stronger ripple effect. Not only are we honoring ourselves, we are modelling a great habit for our children.

In my book, Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery, I offer a series of journal writing prompts (called Moonlight Musings) that follow a self-exploration process. Each of these prompts are designed to take a mother to a deeper place within her being – and take anywhere from five minutes to 30 minutes, depending on how connected a mom might be with a particular question.
I’ve also designed an accompanying deck of 54 journaling prompt cards. Each card offers a prompt that guides moms on an inner journey to discover more about herself and how to honor her gifts in our external world.
When a mom can connect with her own self-worth, taking good care of herself moves up the priority list. She begins to recognize the value of being emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy.


I hope you enjoyed this interview with Tina M Games and that you‚Äôll check out her book and card deck Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery this month at http://moonlightmomscircle.com/book-launch/pages/pre-launch.html

Here’s why:

When you visit the page at the link above and request a “launch reminder”, you will automatically receive a FREE pass to Tina’s 3-day “I‚Äôm a Mom‚Ķ But Who Am I Really? Telesummit” with 11 creative writing moms and grandmothers speaking on how to use intuition, journaling and creativity to explore life purpose.¬† You can listen to the telesummit online in the comfort of your own home, and even ask questions during the broadcast.

This telesummit is a completely free “no purchase necessary”
gift from Tina, to celebrate the 1st birthday of her book.

When you buy Tina’s book or the card deck during its birthday celebration on Tuesday May 3, 2011, you can ALSO receive a complete library of beautiful personal development gifts from authors, speakers, coaches and other enlightened professionals from around the globe.

To claim your 3-Day Pass and read about the free gifts, go to: http://moonlightmomscircle.com/book-launch/pages/pre-launch.html

Thanks for reading! As usual, please feel free to share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.

AND‚Ķ be sure to follow Tina tomorrow when the next stop on the Virtual Blog Tour is Theresa Ceniccola who will be interviewing Tina on mothers finding authentic purpose, guilt, creating authentic change and support system for mothers.¬†¬† To visit that “stop” on the tour, go to http://www.theresaceniccola.com/business/journaling-by-the-moonlight/.

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Bluebells in spring

For some reason I have always loved my name and my birth date.¬† Now this is not from any egotistical aspect, merely that my name is quite lyrical and somehow my birthday, especially the April bit (not so much the year anymore ūüôā ), appeals to me.

Back in South Africa I was an autumn baby. ¬†April is the start of autumn in the Southern hemisphere, and as far as seasons go it’s not too bad.¬† Of course what it did mean is that growing up I could never have a ‘pool party’. Not that that was an issue since we didn’t ever have a pool in our backyard, but it was the thought of the delightful possibilities of having a ‘pool party’ that appealed to me.

My birthday usually signified the slow slide into winter and was a time of chilly winds and mornings, not t-shirt type of weather at all.¬† Not that I minded, since I am a ‘wrap up warm in lots of layers’ type of person; one of the reasons I love the UK so much!

So when I came over to the UK, it was to the sudden realisation that I was no longer an ‘autumn’ person, I am now a ‘spring’ person!!! and how marvellous that is.¬† I adore spring in the UK and it has¬†become quite my favourite time of year.¬† Of course I still do love autumn and that season in the Northern hemisphere is something to behold.¬† So lucky me, I have the best of both worlds.

Now a little secret here…..I never progressed very far in school and left as soon as¬†I reasonably could without being considered an uneducated dunce!¬†ūüėČ haha!!¬† ¬†In fact¬†I left school in what is Standard¬†8 (should have been Standard 9 but I failed one¬†year!¬† What was that I said about being a dunce?). heehee!!¬†( f.y.i.¬†Standard¬†8 in South Africa¬†is Grade 10).

So the sum total of that is I never got to study any of the subjects that were on the higher curriculum, one of which was Shakespeare! or the classics for that matter, not that it matters now, since I can read up on whatever I wish, coz thankfully I did learn to read!!!  and we have google!

So where am I going with this?¬† Well here’s the thing.¬† I learned about Shakespeare at some stage of my life (don’t we all?) and of course his sayings and quotes and stories are quite well known, aka Romeo and Juliet!¬† But more than that I did not know!¬† So when I came to the UK, it was quite a surprise to discover that this dude shared my birthday!!! and not only that, he also died on that date!! how weird is that?

William Shakespeare - born and died April 23rd

So, now of course when I celebrate my birthday I always think of ‘our Will’, and remember that he shares such an auspicious day with me!¬†¬† Of course I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering all the places he hung out in London, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is one of my favourite sights in London (of which there are many).¬† My daughter and I have visited Stratford-Upon-Avon (his birthplace) and walked through the house where he was born (which was beyond awesome).

In London you are quite unable to miss the man, he is everywhere. I have seen him in so many places, that if you didn’t know who he was before, you would most assuredly get the message that this is one important dude!¬† So who is Shakespeare?¬† Here is a wee biography courtesy of wikipedia (of course).

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.
He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon.¬† At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men.

He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613.  His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the 16th century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.

William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, a successful glover and alderman originally from Snitterfield, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer.¬† He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual birthdate remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, St George’s Day. This date, which can be traced back to an 18th-century scholar’s mistake, has proved appealing to biographers, since Shakespeare died 23 April 1616. He was the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son.
Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare probably was educated at the King’s New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but the curriculum was dictated by law throughout England, and the school would have provided an intensive education in Latin grammar and the classics.

And as if that is not enough!!!! I also discovered that I share a date with……….St George! He who slays dragons.¬† St George’s day is 23April!!¬†¬†¬†Which in a weird way is quite apt, since I have often been referred to as ‘a dragon’ and one of my very ex-boyfriends put up at sign at the entrance to my house in R.S.A. ‘Never mind the dog, beware the dragon’.¬† He didn’t last long! ūüôā¬† The boyfriend that is, not the dragon!!

So what do we know about St George?¬† Well first of all he is the Patron Saint of England; of course!! heehee.¬†¬† Secondly he is a Saint (I can’t lay claim to that title for sure), and like the bard, he is everywhere to be seen.

Saint George and the dragon

Saint George (ca. 275/281 ‚Äď 23 April 303) was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic (Western and Eastern Rites), Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox churches. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April, and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.

Many Patronages of Saint George exist around the world, including: Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, India, Iraq, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia and Russia, as well as the cities of Genoa, Amersfoort, Beirut, Fakiha, Bteghrine, C√°ceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Kumanovo, Ljubljana, Pomorie, Preston, Qormi, Rio de Janeiro, Lod, Barcelona, Moscow, Tamworth and the Maltese island of Gozo, as well as a wide range of professions, organizations and disease sufferers.

The episode of St George and the Dragon was a legend brought back with the Crusaders and retold with the courtly appurtenances belonging to the genre of Romance. The earliest known depiction of the legend is from early eleventh-century Cappadocia, (in the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church, George had been depicted as a soldier since at least the seventh century); the earliest known surviving narrative text is an eleventh-century Georgian text.

In the General Calendar of the Roman Rite the feast of Saint George is on April 23.¬† St George is very much honored by the Eastern Orthodox Church, wherein he is referred to as a “Great Martyr”, and in Oriental Orthodoxy overall. His major feast day is on April 23 (Julian Calendar April 23 currently corresponds to Gregorian Calendar May 6) and that very coincidentally is the birth date of my youngest sister!

We, my daughter and I will be celebrating the day with a visit to Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery in the morning and in the afternoon going on a walk……check it out!! heehee!!!

And,¬†in order to celebrate not only my birthday, but Shakespeare’s too, as well as Saint George’s Day I have created a short video.¬† Hope you enjoy it ūüôā

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Hatfield House.  This is the follow on to my previous post about the Henry Moore exhibition that I was so lucky to attend on Monday 18th April.

hatfield house, henry moore at hatfield house

Hatfield House as viewed from the entrance via the Old Tudor Palace

Stepping back in time through the enormous heavy wooden doors I got goosebumps running up and down my spine, my legs and arms! You know that feeling you get when your scalp crinkles….thats what it felt like! Awesome!

hatfield house, henry moore exhibition

the entrance hall of Hatfield House

Enter through the portals of time and into a world of Courtiers and Knights, intrigue and gossip, servants and coachmen, Lords and Ladies, upstairs downstairs and in my Lady’s chamber.¬† A chapel here, a staircase there, chandeliers, coats of armour, Knights in shining armour,

my Knight in shining armour ūüôā

brocaded chairs, a crimson and gold brocaded throne,

a gold and crimson throne.....waiting for a Queen perhaps?

ornate clocks that tick away 400 years or more, a carved wooden crib; echoes of a baby’s cries.¬† Enormous hallways filled with portraits of the ancestors, old coats worn hundreds of years ago hang incogruously from pegs on the walls, a chequered marble floor within a hall that towered above with the biggest fireplace I have ever seen.

the fabulous fireplace in the Great Hall

 The walls and ceiling adorned with intricately carved figurines and paintings, fabulous portraits, ancient clocks and gilded tapestries. A musicians gallery, intricately carved.

hatfield house, henry moore at hatfield house

the musicians gallery - intricately carved woodwork

Walking through an arched doorway you step into a scene from the Arabian Nights, along the whole length of the hall, windows decorated with swirls and whirls from floor to ceiling allow dappled light to shine through.

Arabian Nights in Hatfield

  The opposite side of the hall is lined with portraits and paintings, Knights stand guard in full body armour, swords and shields adorn the walls, a large porcelain bathtub sits incogruously against the windows, a rocking horse waits patiently in the shadows.

a rocking horse in the shadows

 At one end a  fabulous organ, glittering gold decoration inset with intricate decorations, pipes waiting to burst forth with sound!

how fabulous is this!!!

At the other end a beautifully decorated Chinese Screen hides a family sitting room from prying eyes.

a beautifully decorated Chinese Screen

Stepping up a wide wooden staircase to the upper level, your breath is taken away, not only by the sight that fills your eyes, but also by the length of the hall.  It fades away into the distance, lined with brocaded chairs that stand back to back, side to side waiting for the music to begin.

you can almost hear the music....... (this was taken halfway along the hall)

Side nooks filled with books and recent photos, a carved wooden chest, a chest of drawers inset with intricate mother-of-pearl pastoral scenes.  Fireplaces line the walls, empty now, but shut your eyes and you can feel the heat of the hearth as you slip silently into the shadows and watch the ladies glide by, their gowns and petticoats swish across the floor as their slippered feet glide effortlessly to the strains of the orchestra, candlelight flickers, sending bursts of colour dancing above on  a heavily ornate gold ceiling.

the fireplace

The view outside from the window is no less enchanting, gilded towers supporting intricate wind-vanes, ancient creepers and vine vie for a foothold.  Tinkling fountains splash merrily in manicured gardens, step through the wrought iron arches and onto a golden pathway stretching into the distance betwixt emerald green lawns, and there, if you look closely enough is a gilded coach just coming into view on the horizon!

.....as far as the eye can see

Stepping through a hidden door and down a flight of wrought-iron stairs you enter another world; a world of cooks and butlers, maids and mice.

royal upstairs downstairs bbc2, hatfield house moore exhibition

a vast Victorian kitchen

  A Victorian kitchen, so large that you would need a map to navigate to the other side.  Along the wall a massive cooking area with winches and chains  to support roasting succulent pigs, and not one but three fireplaces to feed the massive iron monster that sits squat and brooding in the corner.

a massive fireplace, perfect for roasting fat little piggies ūüôā

  Dressers lined with gleaming copper pots, kettles, jugs and jelly moulds. And here a candlestick holder to light you to bed.

gleaming copper jugs and a candlestick holder

¬† A pastry room sistered by a tiny scullery leads off at one end of this vast cavern below stairs. Opposite the ‘Still Room’, an alcove for cook to rest her feet

The Still Room

– you can hear the faint echoes through space and time; the shouts and gossip of staff long gone.
Hatfield House is quite simply enchanting.

hatfield house, henry moore at hatfield house 2011

Hatfield House

Lord knows that if I had my life over, I would study history more closely.¬† Always one of my favourite subjects in school, the European history of particular interest, I wish I had learned more than I did. And now I can. ūüôā
Two great projects achieved completion in 1611; the building of Hatfield House and the publication of the King James Bible. Only 27 copies of the King James Bible were produced and the only known surviving copy remains in the possession of the Cecil family and is on display in the Anniversary exhibition.
2011 marks the 400th anniversary of Hatfield House, situated just 20 miles from London in the green, rolling landscapes of Hertfordshire.¬† Home of the Cecil family for 400 years, the house, also known for it’s Elizabethan portraits, in particular the two celebrated ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Ermine’ portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, is steeped in Elizabethan and Victorian political history and intrigue. Commissioned by the First Earl of Salisbury, Robert Cecil, the architect, Inigo Jones was involved in the design of Hatfield House.¬†¬† Stroll around the grounds and enjoy the scented borders and herb garden of the West garden, see the famous Knot garden of the Tudor Old Palace where Elizabeth I spent her childhood and visit the Victorian kitchen, featured on the BBC2 programme ‘Royal Upstairs Downstairs’ ¬†as one of the houses visited by Queen Victoria during her lifetime.
The Hatfield House 2011 visitor season runs from Saturday April 23rd until September 30th.
Henry Moore, House, Park and Garden
Adult: £18.50 Concession: £17.50 Child: £11.50
Henry Moore, Park and Garden
Adult: £12.50 Concession: £11.50 Child: £8
(in my considered opinion, if you are going to travel all that way, make the most of it and take the full ticket, it is so worth it.  The Jacobian House is magnificent and shoud not be missed). http://www.hatfield-house.co.uk/
The House, Park and West garden are closed on Mondays (except bank holidays) and the House alone is closed on Tuesdays, the East Garden is open on Wednesdays only.
Hatfield House is one of the ‘Treasure Houses’ of England, 10 of the most magnificent palaces, stately homes and castles in England. For more information on these houses visit www.treasurehouses.co.uk.
How to get there:
Take the train from Kings Cross Overland Station to Hatfield. At time of writing the ticket is £10.50 return. Situated on Euston Road, Kings Cross Station can be reached via St Pancras Station, and the Northern, Victoria, Piccadilly, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines, as well a great number of buses.

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old tudor palace hatfield, hatfield house, henry moore exhibition

through the rabbit hole........

Have you ever had one of those days where you set out without any idea of what awaits you?¬† You leave home with certain expectations, expectations that are based on just the flimsiest of possibility, on just a ‘thought’ of what might come.¬† And then your day turns out to be just amazing, so totally not what you had in mind at all!¬† The kind of day that feels like you just fell down the Rabbit Hole!

Well yesterday I had one of those days.   A few weeks ago I received a message from Andy of @501places on twitter via my @3days_in_london profile, asking if I was interested in attending the preview of a new Henry Moore exhibition at Hatfield House. Oh yes!! By gum, I was interested, of course!  I had never attended an exhibition preview before!  I said yes immediately and prayed I could get the time off!

In fact I was thrilled and immediately set about arranging time off for the day.  The invitation from the organisers arrived in due course and I hopped onto the internet to find out more about Henry Moore and Hatfield House.

Whoa!! All my preconceived ideas did not even begin to meet what I discovered.
Hatfield House looked just beyond amazing and I was excited to have the oppotunity to visit.¬† I had stumbled across Henry Moore’s pieces previously on my #walkabouts through London, so did a bit of investigation and all thoughts/ideas I had about the man went straight out the window.

When I first came across Henry Moore it was by walking past an intruiging piece of his work, called ‘Locking Piece’ on Millbank near Vauxhall Bridge.

locking piece henry moore sculpture london
Locking Piece 1978 – Henry Moore sculpture on Millbank near Tate Modern

I loved the sculpture and took some photos of it before heading onto Tate Britain where I came across a couple more pieces, one of which was a rather large shape depicting a lady reclining on her side, a rather overwhelming piece that I wasn’t at all too sure I liked.¬† I mistakenly assumed that these pieces were modern!

So now, when I did my research, I discovered that in fact this Gentleman, Henry Spencer Moore  was born in 1898!!!! He died in 1986 at the age of 88 after a long and illustrious career as a sculptor, with many commissions and hundreds of pieces, pieces that were in exhibitions all over the world.  So successful was his career that at one stage he was paying £1million in tax accordingly to wikipedia, the article went on to say that it was at this stage that with the help of his daughter Mary, they set up the Henry Moore Foundation.

Finally the day dawned and I set off to Kings Cross Station.¬† We were to be met at the station by a representative of the House, the lovely Annabel.¬†¬† My next suprise came when I met some of the other people who had been invited and to my delight, many of them were people I had met online and chatted to via twitter: Laura of @AboutLondon, Sue of @itsyourlondon, Charles of @HotelPRGuy and Andy of @501places (the gentleman who invited me).¬† Sue I had met before when we went to Trooping the Colour together in June last year. (Did I ever tell you that I LOVE twitter) ūüôā I also got to meet Sophie of @QunoSpotter as well as Pleasance and Alex of @visitbritain¬† It was great to meet them all.

We hopped on the train and excuse me if you don’t mind…….we travelled 1st Class! Tah dah!! Now we’re talking!!¬† The journey from Kings Cross to Hatfield¬† lasted about 20minutes and before we even had time to really get a conversation going we arrived at Hatfield Station, no time to play a game of cards then!¬† A short bus ride later and my jaw hit the floor!!

henry moore hatfield house

Old Tudor Palace, Large Reclining Figure 1984 and me!

OMG!!!! beyond my wildest expectations there before my very eyes was this absolutely amazing Tudor House. WOW! WOW! WOW!¬† I was elated.¬† I clambered out the bus and in front of me, reclining on the emerald green lawn was this enormous fibreglass caste ‘Large Reclining Figure’….no kidding. It is ‘very large’ and very, very white.¬† Not something you would miss in the dark! I loved it!
Across the way a private church (which sadly I did not get time to explore), the old riding school, and the rooms, chimneys and wonder of the Old Tudor Palace of Hatfield.
Next I met the lovely Cherise with whom I had spoken on the phone and then it was a quick tour through this most marvellous hall.  I cannot even begin to tell you how fabulous this Tudor Hall is.  An aframe ceiling soars above your head, covered with the most incredible wood work, glowing chandeliers hung precariously from the rafters, the ancient red-brick walls adorned with fabulous woven tapestries of mythical creatures, in bright glowing colours and along the walls were wonderful portraits of Kings and Queens, Lords and Ladies.

old tudor palace hatfield henry moore exhibition at hatfield house

the hall of the Old Tudor House, Hatfield

If my mouth had been a fly-catcher, I would have cleared the planet!!¬†¬† I was entranced.¬† Walking around, all I could say was wow, wow, wow! My vocabulary had forsaken me!¬† Then to my delight I discovered that a certain young lady had lived there as a young girl….. wait for it…… Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen.¬† I kid you not!!!!¬† I was walking on the same floor through the same room as Queen Elizabeth I.

queen elizabeth old tudor palace, henry moore exhibition hatfield house

portrait of Queen Elizabeth I at Hatfield

 The goosebumps were running up and down my arms and legs like you could not believe.  The house is fabulous, red-brick and wood, towering roofs and chimneys, walls adorned with fullsome bunches of purple and lilac wisteria; fresh new buds on ancient limbs.

old tudor palace hatfield, hatfield house henry moore exhibition

lovely, lovely wisteria

Running up a flight of stairs (to find the loo) I stepped back in time!¬† Gosh, golly and wow.¬† The upper landing was a rabbits warren of rooms and staircases, with ancient doors and furniture, cosy fireplaces, mullioned windows, and along the walls; portraits of ‘yer man’ Henry VIII and his bunch of not so merry wives.¬† Please bear in mind that this dude was not averse to using the blade and had most of his wives beheaded!

henry VIII old tudor palace, hatfield house henry moore exhibition

I am Henry the 8th... I am, I am

You know, when you read about this in the history books, it’s kind of many times removed and doesn’t really make an impact beyond the obvious:…’how could anyone do that?’¬†¬† But when you actually stand in front of the portraits of the women whose heads were removed in a most horrific way and look into their eyes……..it takes on a completely different meaning. I was almost moved to tears!
From there we made our way out into the garden, where to my delight, I got to meet Lynne of @lynnerosie also a FB friend.  Wow, this day was turning out just fine!!! and to boot, the weather was quite simply fabulous.  There is nothing on earth like a spring day in England!

nothing like a spring day in the UK, the lawns of the Old Tudor Palace

Then it was out onto the lawns, where we met Lord Salisbury, whose family has lived on this property for the last 400 years!!! Can you even compute that?¬† 400 years!! geez xmas.¬† The furtherst back I can track my heritage is my great-great-grandparents and even then we are a wee bit uncertain exactly from whence they came.¬†¬† It was quite surreal really.¬† You know when you read about and learn about the Aristocracy you kind of expect them to be different somehow (well I do!), but when you meet them in real life…..they are just like you and me!¬† Two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two arms and two legs and they look so normal. I don’t know why I find it weird, but I do.

hatfield house, henry moore exhibition, lord salisbury

Lord Salisbury on the left and Anthony Caro, a student of Henry Moore

¬†Beyond almost shaking the hand of the Queen back in RSA in 199? (can’t recall which year exactly) I have never met anyone even remotely connected to the Aristocracy, and here I was feet away from a man whose family roots can not only be traced back 400 years, but we were standing in the gardens of said family. See….Rabbit Hole!!!!

I am not sure what I was expecting; perhaps someone like we see in the portraits, all regal and royal.¬† And yet the reality is vastly different (not to offend anyone).¬† He looked a wee bit like yer man farmer Brown from down the road…..except his lineage can be traced back to Elizabethan times….surreal!!!¬† and guess what? There is actually a farm….Lawn Farm: where you will find many traditional breed animals such as Long Horn Cattle, Tamworth Pigs, and domestic fowl.

After the short intro to the House, Henry Moore and the exhibition, we were introduced to an elderly gentleman; Anthony Caro (see above photo), who was one of Henry Moore’s students.¬† Not that young himself, said gentleman looked to be in his 80’s and what a sweetie. (on investigation I found that¬† he is in fact 87!) http://www.anthonycaro.org/biography.htm¬† Apparently he still has a studio in Camden…..I am so going to see it!!
Then it was time for a conducted stroll around the grounds.  Now listen, if you are going to have a back garden, then this is the type of place you want.  It is enormous. A mixture of formal, sculpted gardens with neatly shaped and trimmed hedgerows that form a maze, tinkling fountains, ancient grapevines draped over trellis works, manicured lawns, hidden nooks and crannies, hundreds of flowers in both formal and informal beds and a wonderful meadow that stretches out for miles under some of the most gorgeous trees.

hatfield house, henry moore exhibition

not a small backyard....Hatfield House grounds

The Henry Moore sculptures were scattered about the garden, each having being carefully placed and postioned to make the most of not only the sculpture but the surrounding lawns or woodland.  We traipsed along behind the lass who was giving us the run down of the pieces, their history, how they were made, what materials he used, how he found his inspiration and much else.   It was fascinating.

henry moore exhibition, hatfield house, hill arches

Hill Arches 1973 in the fields of Hatfield House

“Sculpture is an art of the open air…I would rather have a piece of my sculpture put in a landscape, almost any landscape, than in or on the most beautiful building in the world.” Henry Moore 1951.
I am not sure what I was more enchanted with, the sculptures, the houses or the grounds!
I was constantly distracted by the fabulous Jacobian house that was standing in glorious splendour, just behind the gardens and a good strong hedgerow.  I have never seen anything so enchanting. Not the same building mind that we had just been through, no, this was Hatfield House, the ancestral home of Lord and Lady Salisbury.

henry moore exhibition hatfield house, reclining figure angles

Reclining Figure: Angles 1979, in repose at Hatfield House

I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful and wonderful and fabulous the gardens are.  We wandered from formal to informal, manicured to meadows, all the while with the sounds of birdsong and fountains to keep us company, the wind whispering softly through the sun-kissed trees, then a shower of petals like confetti floating down. Heavenly.
The meadows are filled with wild-flowers; cowslips and primroses, tiny daisies scattered here and there like drops of paint carelessly splattered, a haze of bluebells in clumps beneath trees, tulips and daffodils now past their prime, bright clumps of shocking pink rhododendrons towering above, soft pale pink silk slippers of the magnolia bush, white camillas now fading to brown, and dozens and dozens of trees.  I felt like I was in a time-warp.

henry moore exhibition, hatfield house gardens

exhuberant rhodendrons at Hatfield House

The sculptures fitted right in like they had grown roots there, at home, in repose, at peace.

From there we made our way indoors for a really yummy lunch, quiet conversation, the tinkle of glasses and all this in the beautiful setting of what used to be the riding school. Wow!  I had the vegetarian option of roasted vegetables topped with grilled feta cheese studded with sesame seeds drizzled with warm olive oil, a lovely mixed leaf fresh green salad and grilled tomatoes.

hatfield house, henry moore exhibition

mmmmm, it was as yummy as it looks

Dessert was an explosion of taste that set the old taste-buds dancing; a compote of summer fruits served with thick fresh cream!! heavenly!
After lunch we were given press-packs, and then the cherry on the top……a tour of the fabulous Jacobian Manor that I had been eyeing out all morning!!!¬† Yay! And OMG!!! wow, talk about stunning.¬† I cannot even begin to describe the splendour, the magnificence and totally overwhelming wonder of it all.

I have written a seperate blog on that tour which you can find here. Hope you enjoy it. ūüôā

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hurry home to Mama!!

As a Carer my days are usually pretty busy what with caring, cleaning and cooking, so I don’t often get time to read the newspapers and rely on the 6pm News (and twitter) to catch up with world events.

Today I had the good fortune of an extra hour in the morning and decided to buy & read the daily papers.¬† The variety of news is fascinating and the front page filled with hype.¬† This btw was not why I bought the paper….I don’t do hype.

What I did do (?) was get exceedingly annoyed with some of the stuff I read.
Firstly, as I am sure you already know, the newspapers are responsible for creating a storm where there isn’t one and blowing a story up and out of proportion.¬† I know it’s coz human beings (doings) love a scandal and the more scandalous the headlines the more papers they sell.¬† Which seems a bit sick to me and I sometimes wonder if instead of charging for newspapers we got them for free, would they create such ridiculous headlines.
Secondly I got totally annoyed with a particular polititian (who shall remain un-named) who persists in ‘blaming’ the last Government for whatever issue happens to raise it’s ugly head.¬† I seriously believe that once a Politician gets into power they have a complete mind-wipe; when¬†they’re no longer¬†the ‘Opposition’, all the accusations and challenges they put to the¬†ex-ruling Party are suddenly forgotten.
So here are the things I read in today’s paper:

Front page: story continues page 9!!! – Cameron raises stakes in debate on immigration – and the sum of it is that the Lib Dems are, as the paper put it “appalled at the language he is using”. Me thinks there is dissention in the ranks! Who would have guessed? Hmmm.

Front page: story continues page 11!! (so only two pages short of the immigration problem) – Zeta-Jones checks into clinic for mental illness.The front page has a HUGE blow up pic of Zeta-Jones that overshadows the Politician’s photo.¬† – Apparently she now has bipolar disorder caused by the stress of her husband’s illness. A doctor’s comment says that the current favoured theory is that it is a genetic disorder, so what I am wondering is why all of a sudden does she have this disorder?¬†¬† She checked into the clinic for 5 days and checked herself out sgain! Surely only a Doctor should be able to ‘check’ you in?¬† Why bring it up now?¬† As a p.s. The footnote read that she is about to start working on two new movies. Hmmm.

Front page: story continues page 4!!! (way more important than the immigration problem) – Kate and the Church. – Apparently Kate (or Catherine as she is now called) was only confirmed into the Church last month ahead of her marriage to Prince William. “A hush-hush date with the bishop and Kate fills in the obvious gap on her CV”. CV??? what are they on? It goes on to say that her parents only occassionally attend their local church. Who cares!¬† ¬†I remember my mother called that type of religious attendance ‘a fire-engine religion’.¬† You only use it when you need it.¬† It is also interesting to note that the knives are already being sharpened and the girl is not even married yet.

Page 3: Call girl must keep celebrity sex secret: story not relegated to a back page, but fills virtually the whole of page 3. (evidently this is way more important than either the Immigration issues or the marriage of our future (possibly) Queen).¬† Apparently some famous actor who is married and has a child had a ‘relationship’ with a hooker and has now had an injunction granted preventing his name from being mentioned. What’s new? I bet you that in a couple of months time the ‘sensational’ news will be accidently leaked, the hooker will write a book for an undisclosed sum, the actor will go on to get a divorce, the wife will sue for millions for the next 50thousand years, the actor will go on to marry someone else and in due course the next scandal will raise it’s ugly head and a few movies will be on short release. The use of Wayne Rooney’s name in the article will no doubt push up sales.

Page 3: Cowell’s lawyers deny ‘scandalous’ allegations in ¬£2bn divorce row. This only warranted a very small space on page 3 and the story is not continued elsewhere which is a suprise really since¬† he has new progammes starting soon.

Page 5: Outcry as mobile operator fails to pass on all charity text cash.- Apparently one of the major phone operators is holding back 10% of the money donated via TEXT donation for charity, by it’s users.¬† Thankfully my provider donates the full 100% of monies I donate, if they didn’t I would most certainly have something to say about that. This is an absolute disgrace and I cannot believe that these companies have the audacity to hold this money back.¬† It is meant for charity. Why are policies and agreements not put in place before the event rather than after.¬† The sum we are talking about is not to be sniffed at either and amounts to a percentage of a possible ¬£96million per year by 2014. Greedy buggers. Boosting their profits by stealing from the poor.

Page 6 & 7: Hague backs plan to arm rebels ‚Äď but not with guns from Britain. – is this man mad? Why do we want to create another disaster like Afghanistan and Iraq. So if he plans on not using guns from the UK, whose does he plan to use?¬† I am sure these people think we are completely stupid.¬† No matter where you buy the guns from, or how you get them there, as the broker we will still be responsible.¬† And in any event, if you dig deep enough, there is bound to be a British part in the guns there somewhere.¬† This whole Libyan issue has me completely floored anyway.¬† History has proven time and again just what happens when we (the UK Government) decides that so and so should be out and so and so should be in.¬† Who is flavour of the month?¬† Take a look at Zimbabwe folks!! hello!¬† It’s funny that one after the other in countries ruled by Dictators, the citizens are slaughtered and opposition parties decimated and yet the UK & USA stay mum and nothing gets done besides blowing a lot of hot air. However…..look a little closer and what do we find……..tah dah! No oil! Hmmm.

Page 8: Killers could go free as cutbacks weaken prosecution teams. – Mostly they do anyway coz some eejit hashes it up. With the ridiculous system that we have where a murderer is let out after a number of years for good behaviour only to go out and kill again, as has happened a number of times in the past, what difference now that we are supposedly short of money (only the banks have any money these days (and that aint no pun!) Once again I have no doubt the previous government will be held liable for this. Besides which, criminals in this country have better ‘human rights’ than the normal citizens who bear the brunt of their crimes.¬† I place the blame fair and square on the so called ‘Human Rights’ activists.¬† I am all for them getting their teeth in to a real problem but to tell me a murderer has ‘rights’ is laughable.¬† What about the victims and their families, people who will be traumatised for the rest of their lives.¬† What Human Rights then? My advice would be to bring back Capital Punishment. We could dispense with the lot of them and save a whole heck of a lot of the tax-payers money.

Negative, negative, negative, and so it goes…….and all of the above is why I am grateful I don’t have time to read the papers.¬† It raises my blood pressure and makes me boil!!!!¬†¬† A woman I met some years ago at an event had a newspaper that only printed ‘good news’ stories.¬† Sadly it didn’t survive. No suprise there.¬† Are we so hooked on bad news and salacious gossip that the good stories get pushed to the back of the paper and serious issues get relegated to page 9?

and now for the good news:

Page 14: Scientists show how birds get one over the cuckoo’s eggs. – as you may know, cuckoos lay their eggs in other bird’s nests, then push off and leave the poor unsuspecting parents to rear their young.¬† This delightful story tells about how these birds are now getting clever and laying eggs with such complex patterns that the cuckoo is unable to match them. Ha!

Page 16: Close shave for duckling as gorilla cuddles up. – a duckling at Bristol Zoo apparently came to the attention of a 4-year old male gorilla that plucked it up and cuddled the wee bird before sniffing it.¬† Thankfully the little critter was wearing ‘I ain’t dinner’ eau de’parfum, made it’s excuses pretty damn sharpish and after hiding in the bushes for a while, escaped when the gorilla lost interest.¬† Gorgeous photos.¬† The duckling is about half the size of the gorilla’s hand.¬† Eeek!

Page 16: Family secure Christian burial for killer hanged in 1821. – quite a bizarre story this. Apparently this bloke killed a lass he was infatuated with.¬† He was then hanged for his crime, after which his body was dissected, his skin used as the cover for a book detailing his crimes, and his remains left in a cupboard at the University.¬† Apparently this dastardly deed came to the notice of the dissected, deceased’s family, who promptly complained, recovered the remains and had them buried 190 years to the day, with a full period burial: coffin draped in black,¬†on a flat-bed cart,¬†and the pall-bearers in top hat and tails. Anyone with good sense would most assuredly not want to¬† lay claim to a murderer’s remains, family or not! Hmmm.

And that is as far as I got and that is enough thank you very much.¬† Urgh!¬† The newspapers.¬† Should be banned.¬† After all, they end up in the trash where they belong and look at how many trees we could save and chemicals we could avoid dumping into our rivers and streams if we banned¬†bad-news newspapers¬†for ever more.¬† We have twitter and facebook , google and kindles now….. ban the papers I say!!! Hmmm!

p.s.¬†and thankfully I don’t read the papers every day!!¬†Hahahaha.

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