Wednesday 18 July 2012

A poem for Wednesday

(Google images)

Well, amazingly we had beautiful weather during our stay in Keswick, in the English Lake District, it was a wonderful week.  We actually climbed a little mountain, and went to a stone circle that is 1000 years older than Stonehenge.

We have taken lots of pics, and if I receive some comments I will publish them - the more comments, the more pics!

Here is a poem I recently came across in a book called 10 Poems to Change Your Life.  Hope you like this one as much as I do.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
 at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of
fallen branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and their was a new voice
which you slowly
  recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~~ Mary Oliver ~~

Isn't that lovely?  I've posted this for all mothers, grandmothers and stepmothers, for people trying to help others at their own expense, and for a wonderful blogger way up in Scotland, who is not receiving comments right now, so the above is my comment to you in turbulent times. Go well.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Help! Rain!

(Google images)

We are planning to go to Keswick in a few days' time, and the weather forecast is not looking at all good at the moment.

Any ideas for rainy day activities will be gratefully received!

Meanwhile I am baking cakes and cooking up some casseroles which I will freeze and take along with us, so we can have something nice and hot when we get there.

I made some lemon drizzle cakes for the holiday yesterday, using a different recipe to my usual one.  They sunk dramatically, but hopefully they will taste just as good as ever!

We had dramatic rain in the Midlands last Thursday, which was so bad that even Tesco's had to close due to flooding.  We thought we had got off lightly, until days later when I went into the garage and saw a big lake in there!  Mr LFH had to bail it all out, the ground has almost dried out now.  A bit of sunshine would be very welcome any time now!

Sunday 1 July 2012

Welcoming the torch

I am not really a sporty person at all, but as the Olympic flame was coming to Stratford upon Avon this afternoon, and as this is one of my favourite places, we thought we would go and cheer it on its way through the Midlands.  It was such a fun day, there was also a River Festival happening, so more pics of that to follow when I have loaded them.  There were lots of canal boats on the Avon, decked out in bunting, and there was a wonderful atmosphere.  

We went into the Shakespeare Theatre, and I bought a copy of the script of a play the RSC performed last year called Written on the Heart, written by David Edgar.  It is about the making of the King James Bible.  I look forward to reading this in my own time and savouring the text, as sometimes you miss things during a performance.  

Friday 29 June 2012

I'm walking in the air

I have bought some new shoes, and I am so surprised at how comfortable they are.  For a few years I have had metatarsalgia, so walking any distance has been rather painful, as well as having bunions, so imagine how surprised I am to have absolutely pain-free feet for the first time for as long as I can remember.

These are the beauties that feel so wonderful.

They are Skechers Shape Ups Action packed, and they are amazing!  I have been reading the reviews on Amazon, and apparently they are just the same as MBT's but £100 cheaper.  Actually, these were a bargain.  They are £65 at Amazon, but I bought them from Costco for £23, brilliant.  

There seems to be some controversy about whether they actually tone your muscles. Well, they will enable me to walk more, which must surely have health benefits.  I don't believe they will be a short cut to more toning, but then I don't believe in short cuts anyway.

I've worn them for most of today, and my feet feel more comfortable in these shoes than they do in just my socks.  I am so pleased to have accidentally stumbled upon something that has enabled pain free walking, very happy.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Real life!

As I said in my last post, the virtual world has had to take a back seat while real life takes over for a while. So what's been happening here?  The biggest excitement has been the arrival of a new grandson! Baby Samuel was born a few weeks ago.  He was quite poorly at first, he caught an infection so was in special care, but he has pulled through and is doing very well indeed!  My son and his partner are coping splendidly with it all.

Here is one very proud granny with our little fellow!  He was only a few days old here, and had only just left the special care baby unit.  Isn't he a little darling?

We also had our daughter and granddaughter Poppy to stay.  Poppy is now 9 months old, so very interested in everything.  We took her to a sea-life centre to see all the fish, and to a children's farm to see donkeys, goats, ducks and everything else in between.  Watching Poppy's reactions to everything was priceless.  

Here she is on the swing, one of her favourite things.  In fact, she likes the swing so much, we bought an indoor swing so she could go on it as much as she liked while she was here!

And finally, we made a trip to York to visit youngest son, so it has been a wonderful time of connecting with all our family.

I have just realised I am wearing the same top in both photos, I do have more than one top, just in case you were wondering! 

So what next?  Youngest son comes home for the summer in a few days, so I am cleaning up the old homestead and preparing the fatted calf in readiness! All good fun.

Thursday 7 June 2012

We didn't take this one!

I won't be blogging for a couple of days, as Real Life is going to be claiming my time, real people, real places, real conversations, I'll tell you all about it when I get back.  In the meantime, I am leaving you with a picture from the Jubilee weekend that Mr Letters From Home didn't take, as unfortunately we don't own a world war two war plane,or in fact any other kind of plane, now I come to think of it! 

Breathtaking: The view of Buckingham Palace and The Mall beyond from the Lancaster bomber
(Google images)

This is a fantastic shot, taken from a Lancaster Bomber as it flew over London, showing Buckingham Palace and the long snake of hundreds of thousands of people filling the Mall on Tuesday afternoon.  The dark circle in the middle is a solid body of hundreds of thousands of people.  You can also see the London Eye in the background, which I've been on a few times.

Have a great weekend!

More pics

Hope you are enjoying the royal pics, we had a great vantage point outside St Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday morning, and all these pics were taken by Mr Letters From Home.

This is royal correspondent Jenni Bond.....

And here I am, with her, just in case you thought I was just getting pics from Google!

Yes, I was really there, and it was such a fun time, the banter in the crowd was brilliant, we had such a laugh.

Here are the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Queen's youngest son, arriving at St Pauls, with their daughter.


Various participants entering the Cathedral.

I still have more pictures to publish, including one me in the middle of the crowd, so you know what to do, the more comments, the more pictures!

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Royal pictures

Here are one or two of our pictures from the service at St Paul's Cathedral yesterday.  If you want to see more, leave some more comments please!

Here are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate entering the church...

This is the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles and Camilla, with Prince Harry...

And here is the Queen, climbing the steps.  It's one thing to see royalty on TV, but quite another to see them in real life, and suddenly realise they are real people, it was quite thrilling to be there.

These are the crowds where we were standing...

And here is a fun one of our granddaughter Poppy, wearing my flag!  We went to visit her after the service.  What a lot of fun we had!

It was amazing to see the Royal Family, but even better to spend some time with our own family afterwards!  I still have more pictures to publish, depending on whether I receive more comments!

Tuesday 5 June 2012

The Day I Saw The Queen!

Today has been such a wonderful day, full of excitement. Mr Letters From Home and I took a very early train this morning and went to St. Paul's Cathedral in London, in plenty of time to see the Royal Family arrive for a service of thanksgiving for Her Majesty The Queen.

We saw every member of the Royal Family, but a special thrill for me, which I will never forget, was seeing The Queen.  Her car drove very slowly past the spot where I stood.  Her Majesty actually made eye contact with me and gave me such a beautiful, beaming smile.  Only a second or two in time, but at that point, time seemed to stand still.

There will be pictures of the day to follow, when we get them uploaded.

We also met some lovely TV presenters, including Susanna Reid from the BBC Breakfast News, and Nicky Campbell.  The most surprising thing was that as we were leaving to go to the tube station, we found ourselves walking with Jenni Bond, royal reporter for Sky TV.  Mr LFH whipped out his camera to take a photo of her, then she put an arm around my shoulder and suggested a picture of us both together, how kind was that!  She was so lovely and friendly, and down to earth.

Shortly after our exciting morning, we got on a train and visited our daughter, son-in-law and baby granddaughter Poppy, and spent a lovely day with them.  We watched the rest of the royal proceedings on TV, whilst madly waving the flags I had kept from this  morning, which of course Poppy loved!

I'm off to bed now, as it's been a very long day.

The more comments I receive, the more pictures of today I will publish tomorrow!  Goodnight everybody.

Sunday 3 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee

I have had a happy day watching the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames, from the comfort of my own home, with a lovely hot cup of redbush tea close at hand.

I felt quite concerned for the Royal Family, standing on the Spirit of Chartwell for hours and hours in the pouring rain, but it was a wonderful spectacle.  I love to see narrow boats, and they looked particularly splendid, bedecked with jolly bunting.

The Duchess of Cambridge looked especially chilly, as she didn't wear a coat, although she did look stunning.

Colour Analysis

Last week, I had a colour analysis consultation, which was really interesting and fun.  A friend of mine did this for me, she is very professional, I can warmly recommend her!  I always thought I was a 'winter' type, so I tend to wear a lot of black/white/red/blue, but apparently I am a deep autumn, so I've been looking online to see what colours I should be wearing.

Color analysis autumn

This is my basic colour palette, so if I follow this, I should soon be looking like the lady above, hahaha, it's only a matter of wearing the right colours!

Best Colors:

Black brown, black, light yellow, marigold, peach, terracotta, salmon pink, tomato red, deep red, true red, dark rose, lemon yellow, camel, jade, moss, lime bronze, hot turquoise, cerulean, Chinese blue, evergreen, navy, purple.


Shiny metals (gold), deep stones and enamels, black or white pearls, dark wooden pieces.

Your Deep Autumn look may feel...

* daring
* bold

Hmmm.........  I don't feel that these words exactly describe my current wardrobe, more like practical, comfy, doesn't show the dirt, warm, doesn't scare small children.....oh dear, must try harder, hahaha!

Friday 1 June 2012

Anybody want to buy a blog?

I've just heard that Martin Lewis has sold the Money Saving Expert website for £87 million to Money Supermarket dot com.  I wonder whether they would like to buy Letters From Home too?  I probably don't have quite as large a readership as Mr Lewis, so I would happily accept just a few million.  Any offers?!

Sunday 27 May 2012

A Rest on Sunday

I have been reading a wonderful book on prayer called "God on Mute" by Pete Grieg.  He has started an international chain of prayer rooms where people pray 24-7.   You can find out all about his ministry here.  On the wall of one of the prayer rooms, someone once wrote this piece of prose called "The Vision".  I have been enjoying simply focussing on these words, which are deeply inspiring.

So this guy comes up to me and says:
“what’s the vision? What’s the big idea?”
I open my mouth and words come out like this:
The vision?

The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones? I see an army.
And they are FREE from materialism.

They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won.

They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.

What is the vision ?

The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers choose to loose,
that they might one day win
the great ‘Well done’ of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: “COME ON!”

And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Foundations shaking
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground

And the army is discipl(in)ed.
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.
Winners. Martyrs.
Who can stop them ?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them ?

And the generation prays

like a dying man
with groans beyond talking,
with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and
with great barrow loads of laughter!
Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive


On the outside? They hardly care.
They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives - swap seats with the man on death row - guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days,
they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centres.

Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdo’s! Summon the losers and the freaks.
Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes.
They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.
Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.

And this vision will be.
It will come to pass;
it will come easily;
it will come soon.

How do I know?

Because this is the longing of creation itself,
the groaning of the Spirit,
the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is his today.
My distant hope is his 3D.
And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great ‘Amen!’ from countless angels, from hero’s of the faith, from Christ himself. And he is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.


Sunday 29 April 2012

The House of Trembling Madness

During my trip to York last week, as well as visiting Annie Softpots, we had lunch in The House of Trembling Madness.

If you are ever in York, I can highly recommend a trip to this unusual, fascinating pub, which is in Stonegate, in fact it is right opposite Softpots.

The pub is a stone's throw from York Minster, and we could hear the Minster bells ringing as we ascended the creaky staircase.  We could see the Minster from the windows.

We were joined by a whole menagerie of animals!

The bar was originally a pulpit in a local church.

The pub is in an ancient building.  One of the walls was built in 1180 ad.  The beams sailed the seas as ship beams 800 years ago. 

There are many different drinks to choose from (although we only had diet Cokes, not very adventurous!)  The food is sensational, as it is all locally sourced and produced.  I had a pork pie, topped with Stilton.  I haven't eaten a pork pie for years, but this was a special, meaty version.  It was served with salad, and a beautiful Italian bread, which is baked daily in a tiny bakery in the Shambles, here.

The food was amazing, really different, and high quality, and the atmosphere was friendly, bustling and lively, an exciting place to be.

I am gradually getting used to the new Blogger layout.  Why do things have to be constantly changed and updated?!

Friday 27 April 2012


Here's a craft with a difference!

There is a lovely lady called Annie who has a craft/gardening business in York called Softpots.  I found her quite by accident late last year, one wintery evening, as we were walking through Stonegate.  Her business is in a tiny little alleyway, sandwiched between other shops, and here I discovered a miniature wonderland of plants, fairy lights and sculpture.  I was instantly hooked.

Doesn't this look so inviting?  I had to find out more!

At the end of this alley, Annie was busy potting up plants in her own unique way - you will have to look at her Website to find out exactly what she does, and how she pots up her plants, it's a secret method!

I was so intrigued, I bought a little booklet from her, explaining the process.

Fast forward a few months to last week and another trip to York.  I decided I really wanted to have a 30-minute training session, to learn more about creating Softpots, so while the rest of the family went to look at nearby York Minster, I had my training session, and made my own softpot under Annie's tuition.  Here is my finished work of art.

Doesn't it look pretty and unusual?  The colours come from sisal and gold threads and sequins - I love sequins!

I love this process, because I am not a gardener, although I do try, and so I have little rockeries in my front and back gardens, covered in blue slate, with lots of little pots of plants everywhere.  I really like the idea of introducing a few softpots into the garden, to give it a different dimension, a different medium.

Here is a little video, showing lots of the things you can make with softpots, I can't wait to make some more!

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