Saturday, 1 November 2008

A Little Bit Of Art

I was leafing through a Van Gogh book when I came across a painting that I had copied when I was much younger, back in the early seventies. I decided to compare the two after all this time, and must say I was a bit disappointed to see that my copy wasn't as good as I remembered! What do you think?

Portrait of an Actor - Van Gogh My Copy

I was closer when I took the picture of my copy, so it looks larger, but it is actually the same size! It is also behind glass so the colour looks less intense.

I also drew this picture from a photograph of a statue called 'Ecstacy of Saint Theresa', but amongst the hundreds of books I have, I can't find the picture I copied it from. There are plenty on Google, but taken from a different angle.

Again, it is behind glass and done in pencil in 1976, and was very difficult to photograph without a flash. (At least for me it is!!) They can all be seen more clearly by clicking on them.

And there you have it. Two bits of art done many years ago!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


I have three large boxes in my huge attic which houses a lot of memories. One has everything to do with my son in it, one for my daughter, and one for me! I was rummaging around in them today having the occasional tear at all the lovely mementos I have collected over the years. I came across a couple of poems. One I had written when my first grandchild was born, and another that I had framed and on the wall of the retirement home that we owned. I thought I would share them with you:0)

My new grandaughters name was Emily who is now 17 years old, and this was written to her parents:

When you wake up this morning,
A new feeling will be there,
Of unbelievable happiness
The two of you will share.

That tiny little bundle,
So warm and soft and new,
Is not anothers baby now
This one belongs to you!

She's totally dependant,
On your gentleness and love,
This little miracle of life
From someone up above.

You'll proudly watch her gathering strength,
Her crawling - that first tooth,
Her faltering words and footsteps,
Her schooling and her youth.

And as she slowly blossoms,
And starts venturing from home,
You'll realise that your daughter
Has a lifestyle of her own.

Her need for you will lessen,
As she finds friends of her own,
And finally settles down with one,
Who will always share her home.

You'll feel a little strange at first,
Somewhat like a 'spare',
But suddenly life is full of joy,
Your grandchild will be there!

Again you'll share the feeling,
Of this first day again,
As you hold the tiny baby,
Emotions are the same.

But this time the lovely feeling,
Will be yours to share around,
With three other happy grandfolk,
In who this joy abounds.

The time will pass so quickly,
You must savour every day,
Of this lovely tiny new born babe,
To whom you both gave life today.

* * *

Now at the other end of life, a poem that speaks volumes. This was found in the locker of an old lady in a geriatric hospital by the nurses clearing it out after she had died:


What do you see nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking, when you look at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes;
who dribbles her food and makes no reply
when you say in a loud voice 'I do wish you'd try'.
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
and forever is losing a stocking or shoe;
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will
with bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

Is that what you're thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, you're not looking at me!
I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I move at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another,
A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet,
Dreaming of soon now a lover she'll meet.

At twenty five now I have young of my own,
who need me to build a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast
bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty my young now will soon be gone,
but my man stands beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty once more babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look to the future, I shudder with dread;
For my young are all busy, rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love I have known.

I'm an old woman now, and nature is cruel,
'tis her jest to make old age look a fool.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigour depart,
and now there's a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcase, a young girl still dwells,
and now and again, my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.

I think of the years all too few gone too fast,
And accept the cold facts that nothing can last,
So open your eyes nurses, open and see,
not a crabby old woman, look closer - SEE ME!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

All done!!

At the risk of boring you all senseless, here is a final video clip of the fence all finished! You have no idea what a mammoth job that was for one old aged pensioner to do on his own. Thank goodness it is all over. The whole job was made worse due to the fact that the garden is on quite a slope! Now he said he intends to take a week off to potter, then start on the transformation of the dressing room into another guest bedroom. He has until Christmas to get that finished, so can take his time if he wants to, but knowing Lennie, he will go at it until it is finished!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Moving on!

Thank goodness for a break in this nasty weather! It has been pouring down, and making everything very muddy, and uncomfortable to work in. Lennie has managed to work outside all day today, and things are moving on.

Thankfully, our next door neighbours have gone to France for a week, so we do not have to worry about intruding on their privacy. Pickles is being very good, and has not attempted to go into their garden once, so that is one less worry.

I must admit I am going a bit 'stir crazy' because we usually manage to get out once a day, even if it is to visit my daughter Sindie. She and her family have gone to Kent for a few days to attend the funeral of her father-in-law. I don't like driving, especially by myself, and we live in such a hilly place that I am sure I would have a heart attack if I decided to go walking round here! And of course, Lennie has no time to go off jaunting about!

He is working so hard, as I have probably said before, but hopefully things will ease up a bit now, as he is on the shorter concrete posts, which only weigh 84lbs, whereas the others weighed 126lb! Still very heavy as they are such a dead weight, but a little easier on the arms and back. He is also moving on to earth as opposed to concrete, so the digging will be easier as well.

I have attached a video to show you how he is getting on.

More news as it happens:0)

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Getting there!

Lennie is gradually getting the fence up, weather permitting! He had to have a day off yesterday due to back strain, but he is back out there today, dodging the showers! The posts and gravel boards weigh over 9 stone each, and that is a lot of dead weight to keep shifting about! As you can see, some of the posts are in, but we are waiting for Gary, our son in law to come and help put the panels in, as they are very large and have to be lifted above head height to get them in the grooves. I did one with Lennie, but my daughter Sindie was not happy about it! Here are a couple of pictures taken between showers.

Once Lennie gets past the patio and on to the grass, things will become a lot easier and faster for him. At the moment he is having to dig very deep holes through rocks and concrete to set the posts in, but once on the grass it will be mainly earth. He thinks the digging of the holes on his knees was the main cause of his back problem.

The weather for tomorrow seems a little more promising, so we shall have to see how much he can get done then.

Thursday, 28 August 2008


This is what happened to Lennies arms shifting just one concrete post. At this rate he will be in shreds when he has shifted all 20 of them!!

More as it happens:0)

Our New Project

Those of you who know us, are aware that we live on a very windy corner, and are always having trouble with our fences blowing over and crushing our neighbours plants and solar lights! After a couple of embarrassing years, tying the fence to the other side of the garden using bright blue towing ropes to try and hold the fence up during gales, we decided enough was enough, and we would have to lay out for new fencing. This is what the fence looks like now.

As you can see, it rests directly on the grass and if one part gets blown over it takes a lot more with it!

The fence is 90 feet long, and we have decided to buy the sort of fence that has panels seperated by concrete posts, so that if there is any damage, we just have to slide the broken panel out and replace it with another, rather than dig up the huge wooden posts and replace them as well. The fence will rest on concrete gravel posts, all of which have been delivered now, and deposited in various parts of the garden by Len and my son Chris. It was thought that while he was here visiting for a while, he would help Len put them close to where they will be needed, as they are extremely heavy, and Len is no spring chicken!

Work started this morning, digging the hole for the first post. As this is the one that is adjacent to next doors gate, it was the one most worrying Lennie. He says once this is sorted out he should be able to get on with the rest of it okay.

Thank goodness this will see an end to poor Lennie, on his hands and knees in icy, windy conditions, digging holes and mixing cement to replace broken fence posts!
I will update this project as it moves on.

As usual, one post in and rain stopped play!!!!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Dear Old Tom

I was sitting thinking of years gone by, when my late father-in-law, Tom, came to mind. He was a lovely chap, and was always smiling. His wife totally and absolutely spoilt him, and all he ever did in the house, apart from DIY, was wiping up and making a pot of tea! Of course, when his dear wife died, he couldn't realistically look after himself, and as we owned a retirement home in Kent, he came to live with us there. We lived on the top floor for a while, and on Tom's request, we gave him his own room amongst the residents. He loved looking in on them to say goodnight, and thoroughly enjoyed the weekly parties we held for them all. He adored the homes dog, Pickles, and they were inseperable. He also had his girlfriend, Doris, a resident. He was very much loved by residents and staff alike, and had his little jobs that he liked to do to help the staff, like helping the gardener, and seeing that all the kitchen waste was securely tied up etc.,.

After he had lived with us for 5 years, he sadly got prostate cancer and died. This is a poem that I made up and gave out to the staff.


He always had a smile for you,

He always had a joke,

Happy in his own small world,

With his home, his wife and 'smoke'.

For miles around they knew him,

That kind and helpful man,

He'd clean their windows, mend their things,

And often an errand ran.

He always helped the old folk,

The helpless and the poor,

He had his wife and children,

And would never ask for more.

As years passed by he slowly aged,

But was a familiar sight,

Carrying peoples bags for them,

(But now his hair was white!).

His world it fell apart one day,

When he lost his treasured wife,

Suddenly she wasn't there,

He'd lost part of his life.

He needed looking after,

So came to live with us,

And tried to settle down here,

With the minimum of fuss.

The tables began turning,

He was 'useful' once again,

As he helped the ladies and the staff,

In his own little domain.

He had his faithful Pickles,

Doris, and the staff,

His garden and his rubbish bags,

He always liked a laugh.

You made him feel so needed,

You made him feel so proud,

As he helped you in the kitchen,

And joined in with 'the crowd'.

At parties he would hold the mike,

And sing with all his heart,

I think he was his happiest,

When he heard the music start.

But sadly Tom became unwell,

And illness took it's toll,

He couldn't help us any more,

He couldn't play 'his role'.

His garden patch grew weedy,

The rubbish piled up high,

His strength it fast was fading,

To see him made us cry.

But Tom was totally unaware,

Of what lay in store for him,

He relished all the love you gave,

And returned it with a grin.

Tom didn't suffer any pain,

You gave him so much care,

And when time came for him to leave,

Again, you all were there.

Our lives are all the richer,

For knowing dear old Tom,

And we owe so much to all of you,

For making him 'belong'.

I know he's not too far away,

I feel him everywhere,

And when next we have our party,

Don't be fooled, 'cos he'll be there!

And in all our future summers,

If you would like a treat,

I'm sure you'll feel him sitting,

In his 'personal' garden seat.

You show love and understanding,

In everything you do,

So from Lennie, Sandie and Pickles,

Our heartfelt thanks to you.

This is a picture of Tom and his lovely wife Flo.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Garden visitor

Just thought I would show you this photograph of one of our regular garden visitors:0) This squirrel is now being joined on it's forages by a baby. They are digging little holes all over the lawn and burying the peanuts! Click photo's to enlarge.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


It is quite a while since I posted, because, as most of you know, Sindie has been poorly and has been staying with me. However, she was well enough to return home at the weekend, so I thought I would sit at my computer and update my blog.

Firstly, the diet is going well, and I have now lost a total of 1stone 1 pound. Sindie has also lost this amount, but unfortunately for her, the steroids she is on have made her face balloon out, and the weight loss is not so evident until you look at the rest of her! Thankfully, she is now cutting down on the steroids, so we have high hopes of her facial swelling going down, albeit slowly.

Now, I haven't mentioned this before, but we are very keen amateur bird watchers (in our garden, that is!) We feed them constantly, and have a lot of regular birds visit us. One day we had a Jay, a blackbird, a mouse and a squirrel, all eating together on dry porridge oats that we left out:0) We have a very scruffy blackbird that is always fighting to protect his territory. Whenever I put food out, he is there, chasing off the other birds! We call him Sid, and he was here last year as well, making his home in the large bushes in our front garden. The lady next door calls him Scruff. He always has disheveled feathers, and feathers sticking out! Hence the name given by the lady next door:0) He is not at all nervous of us, and has three babies in the front garden, and although they try and chase him off, he still feeds them regularly. When they were very young, he used to dive bomb us whenever we went on to the drive!

We were looking out of out kitchen window into the back garden, watching the birds, when we saw what at first glance, we thought was a Jay. It was half hidden behind a shrub. We noticed it was eating strangely, and on closer inspection we saw that it was a beautiful Merlin! But he was busy eating one of my garden birds! All we could see of the bird he was eating were the skinny black legs sticking up in the air, and our first thought was of Sid:0( After our initial shock, we got the binoculars out, and studied it more carefully, and prayed that it wasn't Sid. The Merlin stayed in the garden, eating this bird for at least 15 minutes, then it picked it up an flew away with the remains. It definitely looked black.

We went down the garden and inspected the feathers, and they were dark grey. We still were not sure what colour legs our blackbird had, and were on edge for ages, until, who should we see come hopping into the back garden, but Sid! We have decided that the unfortunate bird was probably a young starling.

I have attached a phot of a Merlin in the middle of a meal, and you can see what a beautiful bird it is.

I now spend ages scanning the sky in case he returns. If he does, I hope I see him in time to warn all my little feathered friends! (Click photo to enlarge)

Monday, 12 May 2008

Diet Week 3

Just a quick update on my diet. Things improved this week with a further loss of three pounds. That's half a stone in 3 weeks! I really have a good feeling about this Rosemary Conley diet. I have spent years starving myself and going without, in an attempt to lose weight, and was always being told that I needed to eat more if I wanted my diets to work. I scoffed at this idea, frightened to eat properly for fear of a ballooning weight.

Anyhow, after being recommended this diet, I thought I would have a go, and honestly, I have never eaten so much for as long as I can remember! I was very nervous about it, but after my 4lb weight loss the first week, I was rearing to go! Tonight I had chicken curry with rice, and I was only able to eat half of the rice because there was so much. Two ounces of Basmati rice cooks up to a huge plateful. Far too much for me to eat.

We had our first BBQ of the year yesterday, and it was very easy to stick to the diet. I had three low fat apple and pork sausages, a 175g jacket potato, and unlimited salad with lettuce, peppers, mushrooms, beetroot, celery and tomatoes. I was drinking sugar free bitter lemon, which is all I ever drink anyway:0) This was followed by my usual baked apple and yoghurt. Yes, I can heartily recommend this diet:0)

Let's hope next week I have another weight loss. Sindie and Leeta are doing really well as well.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Diet week 2

I weighed myself this week, and I had stayed the same:0( I know this is entirely my own fault, and not the fault of the diet I am following. I have been having more than my quota of skimmed milk for a start. I am allowed three quarters of a pint, and I love my milky coffee. I also have 150g pot of home made natural skimmed yoghurt as part of my milk allowance, but haven't been cutting my milk allowance down to half a pint! The other thing I have been doing is sucking on sugar free sweets, as my medication makes me very dry, but I didn't notice that they had fat in them, so that's another mistake.

I am going to show you what I ate last week, just this once, as I don't want to bore you. This was what my meals consisted of:


I had a slice of wholegrain bread, spread with brown sauce and topped by two turkey rashers, followed by half a grapefruit, but this could have been any piece of fruit really.
Slice wholegrain toast, topped by two low fat sausages plus some baby plum tomatoes. (The diet called for a tin of tomatoes, but I don’t like them cooked). This was followed by an orange.
Three low fat sausages, 175g new potatoes, plus unlimited other vegetables with low fat gravy. This was followed by one baked cooking apple and 150g low fat plain yoghurt.
Milky decaff frothy coffee and one piece of fruit.


Slice of wholegrain bread, spread with brown sauce and topped by two turkey rashers. I also had some dry fried new potatoes left over from my portion last night. (Verified with Rosemary Conley site) This was followed by an orange.
was out at a class so didn’t have anything, but I did have a grapefruit when I got back.
Lentil and potato pie from the recipe book, with unlimited other vegetables, other than of course, potatoes. I also had one baked cooking apple with 150g low fat natural yoghurt.
Milky decaff frothy coffee and a piece of fruit.



40g wholewheat cereal (I happen to like mine with hot water). Piece of fruit
Pitta bread filled with a mixture of Romaine shredded lettuce, sliced baby plum tomatoes, 1oz tinned salmon, 1 tablespoon 100% fat free Greek yoghurt and one teaspoon of tomato ketchup, with plenty of pepper! One orange.
Summer Vegetable Bake from the recipe book, follwed by one baked cooking apple and 150g low fat natural yoghurt.
Milky decaff coffee and a piece of fruit.


40g whole wheat cereal. Piece of fruit.
Two slices of wholegrain bread spread with low calorie dressing and filled with unlimited salad, including two ounces of thin sliced ham. One orange.
Chicken Korma and rice followed by one baked cooking apple and 150g low fat natural yoghurt.
Milky frothy decaff coffee and a piece of fruit.


Slice of wholewheat bread, spread with brown sauce, and topped with two turkey rashers. A piece of fruit.
Pitta bread stuffed with mixed salad, 1 tablespoon 0% fat Greek yoghurt, 1 teaspoon tomato ketchup and 10z salmon, followed by one baked cooking apple and 150g low fat natural yoghurt.
Three WW apple and pork sausages, 175g new potatoes, unlimited steamed vegetables, followed by baked apple and natural yoghurt
Milky coffee and one orange

One slice whole wheat bread topped with 150g baked beans
Same as yesterday
Lentil and potato pie with unlimited vegetable and followed by baked apple and 150g low fat plain yoghurt
Cup of milky coffee and piece of fruit

40g whole wheat cereal and half a grapefruit
Two slices of wholegrain bread, spread with low calorie salad dressing, and filled with unlimited salad, including 20z thin sliced ham and one fruit.
6ozs chicken, dry fried, 100g new potatoes and unlimited vegetables, followed by baked apple and 150g low fat natural yoghurt.
Milky coffee and one apple.

The two weeks I have been on this diet are much stricter than the rest of the diet, so I will be introducing a much more varied menu. If I don't lose any more weight by next Monday, then I will stick to the kick start menus of the first two weeks. Sindie is doing much better than I am, but then she is half my age! My age counts against me when looking for big weight losses, as I can't excercise much, and it is harder to lose weight the older you are. As I am 65 now, that is counted as being old, even though I don't think it is!!

I will hopefully chart a weight loss next week:0)

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

My Diet

I have started the Rosemary Conley GI Jeans diet and thought it would help me if I blogged about it!! I have been on it one week so far and have lost 4lbs! I am thrilled. My daughter Sindie, and my sister are also doing it. Sindie lost 4lb the first week as well.

I am going to list what I have eaten for the day, and then chart my weight loss each week. I have checked with the Rosemary Conley website, and they have given me permission to do this:0) I think this will be the incentive I need.

I am allowed three quarters of a pint of skimmed or semi skimmed milk a day, plus an extra piece of fruit mid morning and mid afternoon. I am also allowed an extra salad portion. This is in addition to the days meals of course!

This is for the first two weeks, but after that I can either stay on this part of the diet or move on to part two, which has a lot more recipes!

So far I am finding this diet fantastic, and seem to be eating much more than I usually do. It would be nice if some of you decided to buy this book as well, then we could swop notes and recommend recipes:0)

I will announce any weight loss, and the menus throughout the week that led up to it, each Monday. I feel very positive about this diet, so wish me luck.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

I am participating in the million blog list to see how long it will take to get a million blogs signed up. I am number 574 on the list. Why don't you participate? Just copy and paste this link.
Get listed at

Monday, 7 April 2008

Cowell Family Portrait

This photo is the first family group we have ever had taken. Chris took it with his new camera just before the end of their two week stay:0)

Posted by Picasa

Friday, 4 April 2008


This is Jo, our two year old grandson on a recent visit to us.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

I just did a lovely long blog, with lots of photographs, but when I clicked Publish Post, it said there was an error, and I lost the lot! I will now try again, but it will be much shorter!
As it was such a lovely day on Sunday, we decided to take Livvie out for a walk around the grounds of Wortley Hall. As usual, our first stop was the Wortley Tearooms. Livvie had a nice big slice of chocolate cake, with a drink of orange juice, and Lennie and I had a cappuccino. ‘Would you like cream and marshmallows’? the waitress asked us. I immediately said yes, despite my diet, but Lennie declined. ‘Grandpa would like marshmallows’ Livvie said quickly. A little later the waitress returned with our drinks and the cake. Much to Livvies delight she had put Lennies marshmallows on the saucer and said to Livvie ‘ I thought this would make it much easier for you to pinch them’!!

After we had finished our little treat, we took a nice stroll round the grounds of Wortley Hall. I had loaned Livvie my spare camera, and she spent a long time happily snapping away with it! It was a beautiful sunny, warm day.

On the way home Livvie said that she wanted to go to Sheffield to meet her friends, so I told her that if she would like to vacuum the inside of the car, and dust it, we would give her five pounds to take with her. She jumped at the chance, and made a very good job of it too!

Here are some of the photo’s of our very pleasant day.

Saturday, 9 February 2008


Look what my son Chris just sent to me. He took this photo in his garage. I am gutted!! It looks as if they are even living behind it:0(

Friday, 1 February 2008


Spider Repellent

Those of you who know me, will be aware that I am absolutely petrified of spiders! I feel sick with dread everytime August/September comes around, because that is the spiders mating season, and the time the huge ones all appear at different times, crawling through different rooms in the house.

The ones that freak me out the most, are the ones that appear in my bedroom! The thought that they could have been crawling over the bed while I am in it makes me feel sick. Anyway.......I saw an advertisement in a magazine advertising this 4 in 1 Pest Repellent machine. It works by emitting ultrasonic pulses which create a 'noisy and hostile' environment which repels pests, whilst remaining absolutely safe for humans and household animals (cats, dogs and goldfish). The appliance is not safe to use if you have the following household pets: Mice, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillad, minks and TARANTULAS!!!

It also emits Electromagnetic Waves. Pests hiding in the cracks and walls are repelled by the use of these waves, safely emitted from the appliance throughout the wiring of your house. It also has a clean air ioniser, and an automatic night light. It is effective in an area of 250 square meters (average three bedroom home). Now as I have a larger 4 bedroom house, once I have proved this works, then I shall need to buy another one for downstairs I think!

Now this is the part of the instructions that has really freaked me out!!

'Soon after the appliance is installed, you will probably notice more pests than usual as they are repelled from their hiding places!!! This is normal, and after a period of time will disappear.'

I am now totally on edge, waiting to see all these spiders evacuating their homes and looking for other houses to invade that don't have this super duper pest repellent!! My sister Leeta has said that this is probably the best time to install it, because the large spiders haven't come in yet for mating, and by the time they are ready, they will be put off because of these pulses and waves.

I just had to share this with any other spider hating people. For those that love them, this won't harm them but will make them scamper away quickly from whence they came!

I have naturally plugged it in in my bedroom to ensure that they go first, but when the light comes on at night it is very spooky, and has me scouring the carpet for spiders wishing to evacuate during the night, unseen!!

This is the best picture of the light I could manage, because without a flash it was just a bright blue light.

So come on then, I am dying to hear all your witty comments:0)