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Nella Last's Christmas blues!

We all put a lot of planning ,thought and expectation into our festive celebrations and sometimes it all goes just perfectly  and other...

Friday, 16 December 2011

It's Christmas time again!


Well Hello again!
As many of you know we lost mum in November and since then there have been so many things to sort out that the blog has had to take a back seat but I wanted to post these photos as they are so seasonal and will help me wish you all a Merry Christmas!
With the snow coming down this morning while I was in The V.I.P charity shop in Longton at work{ yes I have started as a volunteer there a few days a week] it all suddenly looked really festive and Christmas looked  that little bit closer!
I am really enjoying it there and meeting new people, so if you are that way pop in and see if you can bag a bargain as some really nice stuff  comes in daily!
Sonia and I had a great day out a couple of weeks back, in Lliverpool and I found the little Cath Kidston owl in John Lewis whilst there, I can hardly bear the thought of sticking pins in him as it is so cute!
On Wednesday we went to a carol concert at Haigh Hall with Sonia and Nige which was also lovely and so was the mulled wine we had!
Last friday we went to' Langs' in Much Hoole with The V.I.P crowd  and wow.... was that good .What a nice meal we had and good company. 
Sunday saw a group of the family at a chinese restaurant in Wigan for Sonias birthday, so it has been a great lead up to Christmas this year after some horrible months since February!
I hope to get in another blog before Christmas all being well.
By the way the lovely drawing done by Nigel , the artist in the family is of Tiger my cat when I was 14, but who stayed on with mum when I got married and lived to be 19! It was done after mum died but she will know wherever she now rests, Bless her


Friday, 11 November 2011

The Green eyed cat on the green furry mat!

Just thought I would share these photos of our cat Ollie who was so so happy that I put the fire on when I got back from the shops this afternoon . It was a nice sunny morning and then suddenly all change and it went gloomy and chilly and breezy!
Still these kind of days can make you get on with some  jobs you have been putting off for a while and that's  what I did, I cleared the study!

Yesterday  while out shopping I found the cutest little Christmas decorations ,the little deer and trees you see in the pictures above . Best of all they were only 99p a packet and they are the only additions to my stock of decorations that I intend to make this year, as I have enough!
I usually love this time of year, the preparation leading up to the festivities but with mum lying so ill and increasingly frail I fear that this Christmas will see us going through the motions and thats about all .
On Tuesday night we were just about to leave to go across to visit my parents when I spotted the smallest little hedgehog at the back door looking for food. i picked him up and took him in the kitchen while I made a phone call to a hedgehog rescue centre and next thing we were on our way to drop him off. It was no good leaving him out as he was far to tiny and would not have withstood hibernation. At least he has a chance now if he does not succumb to stress.So if you see one and it's tiny grab him and contact a centre as they are in trouble and need all the help we can give them.!
In the garden amongst all the fallen leaves and debris I found a stunning patch of marigolds that I grew from seed late in the summer , a lovely splash of colour on a dreary day.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Halloween Fun and Otters at play


Winter visitors at Martin Mere

Well Halloween was quite a success with loads of kids big and small coming round for treats and they all looked great in some super scary costumes.
 Peter nearly frightened some poor girls to death by opening the door and roaring at the top of his voice, obviously he's definitely into Halloween!



Martin Mere otters

Knitted halloween scaries for lucy!

Halloween fun with Lucy

Lucy's doll even had her outfit especially made!
However the highlight was having my special friend little Lucy and her mum round for the afternoon and she loved all the little bits that I made for her.
The day  before halloween we visited Martin Mere nr Ormskirk  to see how many swans had flown in ready for the winter and we were greeted with a lovely sight of many swans with their young families enjoying the mere.
Also while we  were  there we were lucky enough to see the otters in their pen having a wonderful time playing and swimmiing whilst waiting for their feed time, which to our advantage was a  little off  due to the time change of an hour.

 I never tire of going to Martin Mere as they strive to keep it interesting and next year we definitely plan on going out on the Canoe safari  through  the reed beds.It has stopped now for the winter season.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Nella Last's last wish!

I often wonder when I am reading the wonderful  diaries of this extraordinary woman whether she got her last wish , which was that she could have her ashes sprinkled over her beloved Coniston lake.
She didn't seem to think this would happen if she died before her husband as he  would not like it, she says in her war time diary. I hope that she was granted that wish but she actually did die a year or so before him and they were no longer  in their home either as they had become unable to manage through ill health and had moved by then to a Darby and Joan home [ a care home of sorts].
Without Coniston  to soothe her in the terrible years of the war and after when there were constant shortages and the demands and ill health of her husband , she may have gone under. It was only a short car ride away  and often they would stop at her old Aunts in Spark bridge to have tea and a chat.

Coniston remains a favourite place for me as it was here that we came on our first camping trip in 1977 in the pouring rain. I was not a seasoned camper at all having only been with the Girl guides many years before and I have to say that that wet soggy weekend nearly put me off camping for life, ha  !



  
Spark bridge

Coniston

Ilkley road  , Nellas house[ after For Sale sign]
  I found some more photos that we took when we went up to Barrow to seek out  old haunts of  Nellas and have included them in this post as I know that there are many people out there who would like to see a little of the area this special lady lived in.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Craft Storage solved!

In a corner of the little back bedroom that I used as my room, at my Grandmother's house at Wigan stood a solid white painted bookcase which was home to her very small collection of books.
She said that Grandad Hill had made it long ago after the war when furniture was hard to come by. It's nothing special to look at but it is so well made it will outlast me  I'm sure!
When she died  I gave it a home here in the summerhouse but when we were in Scarborough not long ago I saw one in a lovely craft shop being used to display some beautiful things and it got me thinking that I could put mine to much better use. So now all the lovely bits and pieces that I buy on my travels and all my craft and sewing and knitting books have a lovely new home up on our landing.
It makes me think of that lovely shop whenever I see it! I think maybe I am a frustrated craft shop owner.

I can feel a change in the weather, a distinct coolness, a first sign of  autumn and Paul, the gardener, said it will be earlier this year. However the  garden is putting on a pretty show and the Sedum has been attracting the butterflies. One little Tortoiseshell butterfly, which I think maybe one of the ones my good friend Pat successfully released this week, was seen on it the other day.

The Gladioli are adding a bright splash as others flowers are fading after doing so well.
Ollie follows me if I venture into the garden but keeps a discreet distance usually hiding behind a bush so that the other cats can't see him , which of course they can but Ollie thinks he's clever which of course he's not !
We  went out on the boat a couple of weekends back and as usual I wandered off along the tow path to see what I could spy. The hedgerows were ripe with berries of all descriptions and the afternoon sun  brought out the dragonflies and butterflies as seen above. The Peacock landed on the canal on some lilies and then the gatekeeper on the flowers on the towpath .
A beautiful late summer afternoon rainbow over our house!


a splash of colour in a shady area
 I have been keeping busy doing quite a lot of scrapbooking of our U.S.A holiday last year and will be posting a few photos soon on that here but September is looking like a busy month, so crafts will have to wait a bit until the more mellow days of Autumn!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Scarborough and The Grand Hotel

I love Scarborough with the wide sweeping bay, the castle set high on the cliff top looking down over the town,the little streets with interesting shops and the lights at night that give it such a lovely holiday atmosphere.
We spent a lovely weekend break at the Grand Hotel , which although not as it was in its glorious heyday at the end of the 1800's, is still a nice place to stay and soak up a little bit of that late Victorian  style.






Sun rise over the harbour
The Sun coming up over Scarborough harbour
Here Lies Ann Bronte
The Grand Hotel Reception hall
Anne Bronte's  grave is on the hillside up nr the castle, she died here in a boarding house which was sited where the Grand Hotel now sits.
She loved Scarborough , especially walking along the sands.
 I can see why she would ,after the gloom and drabness of her home town of Haworth it must have seemed like paradise to her.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Days.

Myerscough College summer garden, marigolds and lavender.
Well it has been a little while since  last blogged so lets have a catch up shall we?
Well last week I spent a lovely day with Pat ,Joanne and Lucy at Cobble Hey Gardens, up near the Forest of Bowland.
 It was gorgeous and a perfect summer day with blue skies and sunshine the whole time we were there. Lucy skipped ,ran and danced along the gardens and enjoyed seeing all the animals, especially the new born piglets. We then finished off our day with lovely cake and drinks at the tearooms there and of course came away laden with jars of local jam and pickles and a few  little bits for Lucy.
The piglets at Cobble Hey... just so cute!
He looks like a Figurehead but he is actually standing on the bank!Taken at Garstang on boat trip.
It has been pretty wet lately and the frogs in my garden were hopping all over the place in the rain.
Canal scene on the Lancaster canal
The yellow poppies have been lovely in the garden this year


Most of you reading this will also probably now know that our son Mark is getting married, not as orginally planned next spring but in September this year, to Emma his girlfriend of 8 years and it is to be up at Gretna Green. So we and a few others  on our side of the family have been busy making arrangements to get up there for the service .
We are also making plans to visit our niece Lisa who has now moved to Scotland and lives on the coast near Edinburgh, we are really looking forward to seeing her and and of course lovely George the dog who is, as I write, no doubt running on the many beaches near to them.

On the home front we were delighted to at last be rid of our horrible leaky garage roof and  the new one looks a real treat, it is made from rubber the same as Firestone tyres and has a life of about 50 years . Pete had a massive clearout of 30 years of 'stuff' and is now in the process of getting it into shape. Pictures on next blog!






Friday, 10 June 2011

Carol Klein at Holker Hall Garden festival

Carol Klein was there giving a talk .
Old roses
A cute little group
What a great day out we had on saturday up at Holker Hall nr Cartmel in the lakes. The sun shone making it lovely for all who visited . The place was buzzing but you  never felt crowded or harrassed like some similar events we have attended.
I had fun looking at the Alpacas they are just so cute and looked really funny with their recently trimmed coats.
The flowers and plants on display were really stunning and the Spanish horse display was a treat to sit and watch while sitting on bales of hay eating hot Cornish pasties!
A lovely display

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