Friday, October 28, 2011

Thailand - Heart-breaking

People row their belongings through floodwaters during an evacuation from a garbage-strewn flooded market in Bangkok, on October 24, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang)
Statues of Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar, outside a flooded McDonald's restaurant in Bangkok, on October 24, 2011. Millions of people in the Thai capital nervously prepared for the advancing and seemingly unstoppable flood waters after a fresh warning for residents to evacuate certain danger zones. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images)
A fellow blogger writes this gruesome description of flood waters:

"Flood water contains urine, excrement and used condoms, tampons and sanitary towels. It picks up silt, mud, chemicals and detritus as it gathers pace. It contains rats, fleas and disease-carrying micro-organisms. It could kill if ingested - an easy thing to do when one is swimming for their life..."

There is more, but before you read here any further, please head over to Elizabeth's blog post on the floods in Thailand, to read, or re-read, the rest of what she writes about the situation  the Thai people are facing:

Then head here, to see more startlingly graphic photos of the floods.

One can but bow the head and pray for Thailand and her people.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

THIS is Why We Don't Put Up Our Bird Feeder Anymore

(our neighbour across the street)

I know all God's creatures need to eat, but these crows, blackbirds, or whatever they are, just take right over and scare off all the other birds -- and they are certainly not anywhere near as pretty to watch!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Been There - Done That...

My sister, ChrisJ, is part of a blogging group called Coffee Klatch Friday. This week their challenge is to list 10 things they have never done. I am not a part of the group - too busy to keep up with them :{ but I thought it would be fun to list my own "10 Things I've Never Done" and encourage my followers to do the same on their blogs:

I have never...

...climbed a mountain (don't think Snowdonia counts as a mountain)

...piloted a plane (although my sister says she has, at a very young age)

...allowed a spider to live (forgive me, those who feel strongly about such things)

...become fully fluent in a foreign language (English is hard enough)

...taken drugs (I did smoke for a number of years, until I came to my senses)

...dived from a diving board (swimming is hard enough)

...wanted to swim with a dolphin (unlike some who would feel that it's a dream come true)

...driven a motorcycle (especially after riding side-saddle to work on the back of my husband's)

...had an operation (and at the age of 67, I am so very grateful)

 ...won a school award (I couldn't even finish school)

And now:

10 Things I Have Done That Others May Not Have...

...nearly lost my life at least four times: diving off a boat at the age of 6/at the mercy of a runaway horse/because of a faulty gas furnace/ and a car accident that could have been deadly

...won a trophy in a golf tournament at the age of 10

...worked for my father for 3 years after prematurely finishing school (not the greatest of situations, but so much better than school)

...lived for a number of years in a home on the edge of a cliff 400 feet above the North Sea

...visited/lived in at least 12 countries: England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, United States, Romania, Poland, France, Hungary, Bulgaria, Mexico, Cuba, Israel -- oops, that's 13!  Although I understand there is some discussion as to whether Scotland is actually a country?

...published 2 books and many articles

...taken a bird-watching boat ride down the Danube River (few birds, lots of mosquitos!)

...gained four granddaughters in one day (lo-o-ong story!)

...been attacked by a pack of dogs (yes, I had to have rabies shots, but, thank goodness, not the old-fashioned way) a child, hunted down hidden Christmas gifts, opened them and re-sealed them - and cleverly feigned great surprise when opening them on Christmas morning (bet my sister never knew that!)

Ok, followers and lurkers, now let's hear about yours!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall is......well, falling!

I guess my UK followers call it autumn, but I have always thought fall was the perfect name for this time of the year...and it is probably my most favourite season.

This past week I had the pleasure of driving with a good friend to Orleans, Ontario - just outside Ottawa.We spent four days there, and timed it just right to catch the turning of the leaves. So why did I not pack my camera?  Just have to put it down to old age, I guess - but I was greatly regretting that I didn't have it with me. Photos taken by cell phone are just not the same, but they are better than no photos at all. It took me some time to hunt down the users manual and the little SD card conversion thingy that originally came with the phone when I got home, but finally I managed to retrieve the best of the photo selection. I especially wanted to post them before the snows arrive and fall becomes a distant memory.

Little commentary needed really - just that we were drinking in, and rejoicing in God's beautiful creation over those four days - during a walk along the Ottawa River, and around the conference grounds. Truly refreshing!

It was a chilly, stormy day, but we didn't mind!

There is a deer in the midst of those trees, but my phone camera just couldn't pick it up. One morning, at 7:00am, as I opened the curtains in my room, five lovely deer came sauntering up the hill, one behind the other, and headed to the cherry tree. By the time I pulled out my phone and found the photo app, there was only one deer left - the rest had moved on. There were cherries on the ground under the tree, and apparently the deer make this trek every morning for their breakfast, although I only got to see them once. It was sort of like they were going to McDonalds every day for a cherry pie!

This is the actual colour of the leaves - beautiful!

Now I am trying to convince myself that snow can be beautiful, too!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

There are hoarders, and then there are HOARDERS!

My trip to the UK to spend time with cousin snafu and his TBH, along with some cousins second and third removed, would be but a dim memory without photos. And fortunately, snafu -- the great photographer that he is, has posted a great number of photos taken during our 10 days together, along with some terrific narration here (you may have to go back a couple of posts to find the one titled "Kaybee's Visit.') It's well worth reading to get a picture of all we packed into those 10 days...and a great remembrance for me.

The most comfortable home where I was pleasantly hosted for 10 days

Here, I would like to add some of my own perspective and since there was one sight that demanded more photos than any other, I though I would start with it -- Snowshill Manor. near Broadway, in the beautifully picturesque Cotswolds.

Snowshill Manor, by snafu
Charles Wade, who was the owner of Snowshill Manor, was a treasure-seeker who loved buying and restoring beautifully made objects. His family motto was 'Let nothing perish', and he spent his inherited wealth doing just that, amassing a spectacular collection of everyday and extraordinary objects from across the globe. He restored the ancient Cotswold manor house specifically to display these unlikely treasures. Laid out with creative flair, just as Mr Wade intended, the Manor is literally packed to the rafters with thousands of unusual objects – from tiny toys to splendid suits of Samurai armour. The Manor is surrounded by an equally characterful hand-crafted terraced garden.

There are 22,000 items, plus a 2000 piece costume collection. Wade believed that every object was invested with the spirit of the craftsman and the age in which it was created. He raised even everyday functional objects like butter stamps, cow bells and locks to the status traditionally given to paintings and sculpture.

So the visitor to Snowshill can view clocks, bicycles, automatons, children's toys and even 26 suits of Samurai armour. Wade loved colour and, after collecting many examples of early English craftsmanship, he began to look to the Middle and Far East for objects using a bright and imaginative colours.
(gleaned from

This describes Charles Wade's journey to collecting:

 Viewing 22,000 items is quite overwhelming!  But the following caught my attention (it helps to click on the image to enlarge it):

A rather uncomfortable-looking baby carriage

A fascinating collection of ancient bicycles

A quaint Noah's Ark, with Mr. and Mrs. Noah at the front door

The art of 'quilling.'  
Every part of the design is created by rolling narrow strips of coloured and metallic paper into various and sundry shapes and sizes. This work of art was apparently created by a nun in her spare time! The photo doesn't do it justice - it is stunning!

One of my favourites -
Wade's pen drawings, done on old playing cards and then cut out.
 Must try that sometime!

A knight in shining armour -- suspiciously looking like snafu?
 And finally, some lovely views in and around the gardens:

Ready to reap a bountiful harvest of fruit

And finally, a  pastoral scene that, for me, typifies the English countryside!

Snafu and TBH -- you couldn't have chosen a more appropriate location to bring me the greatest pleasure.

Thank you! 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sweet Memory!

I'll be posting more of my wonderful visit to the UK and my UK cousins soon.

But just really wanted my sister to enjoy this one:

I do remember an occasion when my sister, at the end of a visit to the UK, rounded up all the ingredients for an English Cream Tea (scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream) and brought them back to the States with her. Not sure how long those ingredients lasted, but I am willing to bet she enjoyed every moment!

Thanks, TBH, for spoiling us that afternoon - lots of fun!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Farewell to Cuba (amended)

Well, getting ready for another trip now, going east rather than south, so I will just post some general photos of Cuban scenery, for a finale. You will note that I am a bit addicted to cloud formations!

Our daily view

Aah, life in Cuba -- not a care in the world!

Storm brewing...

...early next morning a red flag is posted - dangerous waters!
Life's decisions - should we or shouldn't we?  Those waves look very large!

DOTH opted for calmer waters!

Sunset, on our final evening
And sunrise the next morning as we waited for the coach to take us to the airport

And finally, some shots of the beauty to be found on the hotel grounds

So...farewell to Cuba...leaving with some lovely memories!



This photo is for snafu. It is a photo of the 'hoppa bus' that we took to tour Varadero. You pay one price - I think it was five pesos (about $5), catch it at close proximity to the hotel and then get on and off at will, stopping off to see the sights, souvenir shop, have lunch etc, and then be dropped off back near the hotel: