Sunday, 29 August 2010

Making Hay While The Sun Shines.

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Harry and I have been taking advantage of weekend trips to the sea. It seems that we might as well make hay while the sunshines because Harry has recently received news from the hospital that he attends, where they monitor his Prostate Cancer, that he will sooner or later have to start chemotherapy.
I was much more upset than he was to hear this.
Anyway, he has had a stay of execution for a month at least and
I am trying not to think about it until nearer the time.

This photo was taken at Weston Super Mare overlooking Steep Holme, a small island in the Bristol Channel.

Quite a few of you are asking about my health and at the moment, I am not feeling too bad at all and go for three monthly check ups.
I get more tired than I used to and am giving up some of my work. I also feel the cold more than before. Chemo does seem to upset the metabolism. However the numbness has gone completely from my hands and toes.
My hair is growing back! Not curly in an unusual colour, like everyone who has had chemo or known someone else who has, predicted that it would. I was looking forward to thick, curly red hair for a change.
Straight and silver/grey, thats me. However, it is a great style to have as I can get out of the shower or walk in the rain and know that I don't really need to do anything to it. It just dries out and lies in place. What could be simpler than that?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A Little Black Rabbit

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

My little black rabbit, Ash, spends much of his time in his run, which we have in a corner in our house as he is an indoor rabbit and never goes outside.
He changes from his hutch, where he spends the night and gets ready to go into his adventure playground in the morning. He knows the routine.

He has several favourite things. One of them is his toy carrot that you can see in the top photo. This was given to him by our lovely friends who looked after him while we were away.
It is made of hessian or raffia and rabbits love to chew these things and he tosses it about and listens to the rattle inside.
Have you ever heard of a rabbit who doesn't like real carrots? Well meet this one.

He loves to play ball and can lift this one in his mouth and toss it around. He plays footie with it and rolls about on it. However, if he is not in the mood, he won't play. The ball is always in his court. (Excuse the pun.) I always know if he is playing football though, as there is a little tinkly bell inside.
He plays toss the caber with a long cardboard tube from the inside of a kitchen roll.He keeps this up for ages before he gets tired of it.

Another of his favourite things is chewing/demolishing his little cardboard box house. He can sometimes keep it for a few weeks but then he goes into a kind of frenzy and tears it up. I am always making him new houses.

My friend, Squirrel, is an expert on rabbit and guinea pig care and she was a bit dismayed that Ash's claws were getting too long.
*He needs to be out on the patio to grind them down,* She said.
Well, I wasn't going to let Mr Fox have an easy dinner out of my little rabbit and I didn't have the nerve to cut the claws myself, even if he would have let me. The vet would charge an extortionate amount to do a job that would need regular visits. So....... I bought some tiny paving slabs from the Garden Centre and made little paths round his run. Now he can race round and round and wear down his toenails. I hope this will make a difference. Only time will tell.
I am really fortunate that I am not allergic to Ash but handling guinea pigs brings me out in an itchy rash and sore, swollen eyes.

When my brother and I were little, we used to be mad on Beatrix Potter books and a little verse of hers stands out in my mind. I know that my niece used to recite this one to me when she was little and my own children loved it too.
However the younger generation have never enjoyed her books. I think they are used to much more exciting things and a faster pace of life. Sigh.........

Now who is that knocking on Cottontail's door?
Tapp tap it! Tap tappit!
She's heard it before.
And when she peeps out there is nobody there,
But a present of carrots
Put down on the stair.
Hark, I hear it again,
Tap tappit! Tap tappit!
Why I really believe its a little black rabbit.

By Beatrix Potter.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Look Lively

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Although I wouldn't dream of getting on such a small boat, the name of this one caught my eye. After all, I am a lively lady! (Or maybe I used to be).
This was on the beach at Beer, in Devon.

Back to Pecorama in Beer again. This is one of the narrow gauge steam trains that gives the passengers rides. Don't you just love the name of that station?

Now these two trams are part of a set of miniature replica trams that take you on a long tour starting from Seaton ....... another seaside town in Devon, close to where we stayed. We boarded a tram there and after a half hour journey, we ended up in a quaint little station where we disembarked and had refreshments in the cafe at the station, in the small town of Colyton.
Why not click the link here for a virtual free ride?

When we were on our return journey on top of an open tram, the weather turned suddenly windy with slight rain. I remember saying to Harry, "Hang on to your hat."
He replied saying, "Oh, its not too bad at all.....oops, I lost it." His hat went flying off behind him, when a strong gust got under the brim of it. Luckily, another passenger caught it further down the tram and everybody laughed.

If it hadn't have been for my grandsons' choice of things to do for a holiday treat, then I wouldn't have ever discovered these trains and trams, so well done to them.

While we are on the subject of transport...... it is now two weeks since our holiday and today we decided to go to our local seaside resort Weston Super Mare, where the sea is anything but blue because of the mud in the Bristol Channel.
We used our free bus passes and had a lovely day, even though the weather forecast could have put us off because rain was predicted. As it happened, the sun shone all the time we were there and it wasn't until we were on the top of a bus home, that a couple of events happened. Just as the bus was about to pull out of the bay, Harry and I realised that a stink bomb had gone off some where.
The bus stopped and the woman driver, who seemed to be a *stickler for the rules* informed us that some boys had thrown a stink bomb through the downstairs window of the bus.

Now practically all the passengers on this bus were of a certain age. Most had been brought up in World War 2 or at least been born during the war like I had, and survived air raids and food rationing for years. In other words we had all been brought up in a very different world where only the tough and fortunate survived.
The lady bus driver came up the stairs and informed us, *This bus cannot leave because of Health and Safety. You might all have to get off as I am not allowed to drive it in this state.*
She had already told the people downstairs to get off the bus and they were all moaning in protest outside.
No one could believe their eyes and ears. All this fuss for a stink bomb, which was unpleasant but was hardly going to endanger our lives. Suddenly the oldies grouped together in force and started to remark about the namby pamby attitude of the day and how Health and Safety had gone too far. Everyone started swapping tales of the old days when stink bombs were something that happened frequently and a window would have been opened to get rid of the smell and the journey wouldn't have been interrupted. I suppose I was as bad as the next one.

Anyway, the driver summonsed a co worker to come and deal with it. *This bus will not pull out until this smell has cleared. Health and Safety will not permit me to drive this bus.*
A man came along in blue rubber gloves armed with a pail,mop and air-fresheners and proceeded to remove the remains of the bomb and to wash the floor and spray smelly stuff around that I thought was worse than the stink bomb had been in the first place.

Well, that crisis over, the grumbling passengers were allowed to re embark downstairs and we were all left saying that it was quite worthwhile for the teenagers who were probably snickering across the road watching the mayhem and would be inspired to do it again for all the attention that they had received from the action of the bus driver. Most of us thought it would have been better to do nothing and ignore the situation, giving them no satisfaction or inclination to waste their money again on another attack.

We were about to pull away when two men came running out of a large store, racing through traffic and grappling each other. One was a security guard and the other, a rather fat man with bags of goodies in his hand.
The security guard grabbed him round the neck in a very tight grip and pinned his arm behind his back..... frogmarching him back into the store.
I do not condone shop lifting in any way and I am really pleased that he was caught. However what about Health and Safety in that situation? Surely the man could suffocate!
The bus pulled away without further incident and everyone resumed silence.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Pecorama Gardens

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Behind this wall is a secret place............

It is a small grotto with a fishy creature guarding it.

These are the steps that lead down to the grotto on the other side of that wall.
It is all part of the Pecorama gardens in Beer, where we satisfied our grandsons' passion for model trains together with the grown ups' passion for lovely gardens. The two things were combined. A building full of model trains for the boys to ooooohhh and aaaahhhhh over, and then a slow browse round the gardens followed by a long train ride on a bigger model train.

This mosaic was in the section of the garden labelled the Moon Garden.

Of course, this had to be the Sun Garden

All through these gardens are bridges...........


and little paths that seem to urge you on, making you want to turn the corner and see what other lovely display might be waiting to be discovered.

The Rainbow garden was very cleverly planted.

The froggy planter and the mosaic sword fish below were just two of the many things that we did stumble on and I really loved these gardens.
There was also a large aviary where I watched the budgerigars and lovebirds while the boys went back to the trains and there were also different play areas for them to run about and climb on.
I wonder if any of you have been there?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Beautiful Devon and Dorset

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

These are just some of my favourite photos from my holiday. The first one is in the beautiful garden at Pecorama in Beer. Although Pecorama is for Railway enthusiasts, which applies to my grandsons, there are some beautiful gardens there and I think it is worth going just to see them. Also the entrance fee includes a very long ride on a model railway.

These are typical thatched cottages that are everywhere in Devon and Dorset and these particular ones are overlooking Sidmouth Beach.

This picture was taken from the beach at Beer. The fishermen had to use an electric winch to pull their boats high on the shingle beach after their fishing trips. Many of them take out people who want to catch mackerel.

I love taking photos through archways and there are plenty of these in the Sidmouth Cliff Gardens. However this one was taken in the Pecorama Gardens.

Lyme Regis is a quaint town with old world cottages and beautiful views of the Charmouth cliffs. There are many fossils on Charmouth Beach in the rocks and stones. In Lyme Regis there are shops that specialise in Fossils and semi precious stones and there is also a small museum where many interesting local finds can be seen. This is a photo taken from the gardens overlooking Lyme Bay towards Charmouth where the beach is only accessible at low tide. The sun always seems to strike that sloping field seen here near to the tree. Depending on the weather, the field can be seen in bright yellows or greens but sometimes is shrouded by mist and can hardly be seen at all.

This is a view from the Sidmouth Gardens overlooking the sea. I love these gardens and I love Sidmouth. In fact I love the whole area and I was so grateful to my daughter for taking me to these much loved places again.

I will do a post showing lovely floral displays soon.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Walter Bailey

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

While we were on holiday my daughter,Deb and my grandsons, Harry and I visited the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.

Although I have always seen this sanctuary advertised while visiting Devon and Dorset in the past, I have never been with anyone else who was interested enough to actually visit it.
All of us had a turn in choosing where we would like to visit for the day, on this holiday, so the sanctuary was my choice.
I found the whole place was a lot bigger than I had ever imagined it to be and was surprised that coaches brought people to visit as there are over 600 rescued donkeys there and most of them over the age of 25. Some have been cruelly treated but some have come from good homes where their owners cannot now look after them. Some are retired beach donkeys and some have had treatment and operations in the enclosed hospital block and some are lame and some blind.
There is a riding ring under cover, where disabled children come to ride certain trained donkeys and the less able children can be pulled in a little cart that caters for their wheelchair and led by a specially trained donkey and assistant.

As well as a lovely restaurant and outdoor eating area, there are walks all round the sanctuary. You can choose a short, easy walk or a long complicated one, with many in between. In fact my daughter, husband and I were so interested in the donkeys and the walks that we decided to come back the next day, foregoing an intended boat trip.
It was while we were on one of the walks round the donkey fields, that I noticed the rows of newly planted and established trees lining the paths. Then we noticed the dedication plaques to people who had died and wanted to be remembered. I suddenly realised that this is what I want my family to do when I have departed this world. (Not that I intend to go just yet). I like the thought of a tree being planted because of me though, with a plaque to remember me by.

While we were there, Deb and I decided to adopt a donkey each. For £16 a year we could choose from four different donkeys that are used to give rides to the disabled children. Obviously that amount of money won't even get me to own an ear or a hoof and many others will be adopting the same animal.
I chose the donkey in the pictures who was named Walter Bailey. Walter was the name of my grandfather so I thought it seemed appropriate to choose him, even though there were more attractive donkeys that I could have chosen instead.
I went to see him to take photos as he was tethered to some railings so his sponsors could pat him. He stamped a lot and didn't seem to be the best tempered one there. When I went to stroke him, he pushed my hand against a fence, bruising it. Whether I will choose him again next year is not certain as he seems to be the type that *bites the hand of the one that feeds him*, as the saying goes.
Anyway........ here is Walter Bailey my adopted donkey, though I won't own even a hair on his head, I have the adoption papers to prove he is *mine* for a year!
Considering that the Sanctuary's entrance is free for a whole day, I feel it is well worth sponsoring and helping this worthy cause. I used to work in a special school where the children went riding and I know how much it meant to them. I also like the idea of saving unwanted animals and I love the idea of planting trees....... so all in all it seemed a great place.
Has any one else been there? If you can go, I do recommend it.

Saturday, 7 August 2010


Photo Copyright: Maggie May

I have been on holiday for the last week with my daughter and grandsons. We stayed in a lovely lodge in Rousdon, East Devon and the weather was mostly kind to us.
The area we stayed in was very convenient to travel to both Devon and Dorset and the photo is of the little beach at Beer. I love that place very much and it was lovely to see it again. It reminded me of childhood visits years ago. it hasn't changed too much.

I was extremely fortunate to have a good friend and her little girls stay in our house to look after Ash, our rabbit and when we got home Ash and the house were in immaculate condition. (better than the state we left the house in, I am ashamed to say!)

I will get round to visiting all my favourite blogs again soon and will be posting out more photos of the holiday soon.