Saturday, 21 May 2016


We're trying to do more, we're constantly finding that our weeks consist of 7 hectic long days and our weekends are disappearing in a haze of busyness. So as I am a member of the RHS already we've decided to join the National Trust and get out and visit new places.

Last weekend we decided to visit Chartwell in Kent, home of Winston Churchill. Now, to be honest I have been there before but Michael was keen to go and I was happy enough to visit again, after all I already knew they had a nice tea room!
We set off on Sunday and the sun was shining, the traffic, running smoothly. All good, for the M25.

Chartwell when we arrived was pretty busy as you would expect but not so busy that we couldn't find a table outside for a cup of coffee and a scone. 
Once fed and watered we went for a tour inside the house, where you can't take photos and then outside for a long stroll through the grounds.

The azaleas were stunning!

 and we walked along by the lake

and up into the woods where the blue bells were still flourishing.

as we walked back towards the car, another stop in the cafe was needed and appreciated.

As it was such a nice day we decided to come home via RHS Wisley for another wander and an ice cream. The gardens are always lovely there whatever the season and there is always something to take a photo of

and more azaleas

In the large glass house there were beautiful displays of orchids

and water lilies

We had a great day and are looking forward to going out again very soon.
Not this weekend though, grandchildren to see and my mother is celebrating her 92nd birthday tomorrow.

There is knitting in progress but oh so slowly. I've started this 10 stitich blanket and I have got the hang of it now. My only trouble is I knit mostly in the evenings when dinner is finished and the tv is on. But, I'm finding as soon as i've picked up my knitting and done a few rows, my eye lids grow weary and drop down over my eyes. Hence I knit a bit and I sleep a bit, still, I don't need this finished until the autumn so I've got some time to get it done.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Island of Madeira

A few years ago we were sitting in a bar on the bank of Lake Garda in Italy enjoying a pre dinner drink. I remember it well, the stars were shining brightly and as we sat there we were sure we saw a satellite hurtling through the sky. Everything was so clear, not just the night but our daughter had just learnt she'd got a place at her chosen university in London and our son had just started an apprenticeship at a local agricultural firm.

As I said everything was clear and everything seemed settled. Yet, less than two weeks later and having had a wonderfully relaxing holiday we found our son eagerly waiting our return and with his hands in his pockets and leaning up against the kitchen sink (all major decisions in our house seem to be announced in that very spot) he broke the news that the job wasn't for him and he was leaving.
This was all closely followed by our daughter breaking her news that she had changed her mind about her university choice.

 Eventually our son did find a job that he really enjoys and our daughter, a different university and a job that she enjoys too but at the time of their big announcements and the days that followed both my husband and myself took it in turns to lean our backs up against the kitchen sink to try and fathom out why!

Moving forward to this April, on board a flight to Madeira, while my husband was engrossed in his newly purchased book and I was sipping a rather strong gin & tonic I was under no illusion that everything was settled, clear and fine at home. My parents despite telling us not to worry because they are absolutely fine are actually becoming very worrying and as my son and daughter in law continue to rumble along through the pitfalls of separation it is very difficult to sit on the fence and watch it all going on around us.

We were certainly in need of a break and as my husband said 7 nights good sleep so Madeira seemed an ideal choice and we ended up having a very relaxing time. 

Here is the view from our bedroom window.
It was lovely falling asleep to the sounds of the sea.

We were there at the end of the flower festival so there were still some pretty floral displays to see in Funchal.

From Funchal we went up in the cable car to Monte and visited the gardens there.

and we went on a couple of drives around the island and found the scenery, spectacular.

Unfortunately it did rain quite a bit while we were there but then it rains almost everywhere we go, we get used to it.

This was our first visit to Madeira, we were impressed and it really did do us good.

Once back at home I had itchy fingers to purchase some yarn and get on with something new so on Saturday this lovely bag of goodiness arrived for me to make a start and once I've got my feet up this evening that's what I'm going to do.

I'll be letting you all know soon how I'm getting on.