26 Apr 2013

The End of an Era

I have decided to close this blog down for the time being as I was finding it a struggle to keep three blogs going.  I  am going  to concentrate on my other two blogs
ramblings from rosebank which covers gardening, food, books, frugal living, crafts etc.
a woman of the soil which is mainly about vegetable and container gardening

I would love it if you visited me at either of the sites.

For anyone who has been following me here at  'life in the slow lane' I would like to thank you for leaving such encouraging and interesting comments - I have certainly enjoyed writing the slightly 'off-beat' posts.

As the sun goes down on this blog I bid you

13 Mar 2013

Born this day - Daphne du Maurier

When I was younger I read most of Daphne's novels - Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek, and of course watched  the film Rebecca over and over - it still remains one of my favourite films.  She wrote a particularly fine book about Vanishing Cornwall too.

Daphne du Maurier was born in London, the second of three daughters of the prominent actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and actress Muriel Beaumont (maternal niece of William Comyns Beaumont).[1] Her grandfather was the author and Punch cartoonist George du Maurier, who created the character of Svengali in the novel Trilby.
These connections helped her in establishing her literary career, and du Maurier published some of her very early work in Beaumont's Bystander magazine. Her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published in 1931.
Du Maurier was also the cousin of the Llewelyn Davies boys, who served as J.M. Barrie's inspiration for the characters in the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. As a young child, she met many of the brightest stars of the theatre, thanks to the celebrity of her father. On meeting Tallulah Bankhead, she was quoted as saying that the actress was the most beautiful creature she had ever seen.

Du Maurier has often been painted as a frostily private recluse who rarely mixed in society or gave interviews.[18] An exception to this came after the release of the film A Bridge Too Far, in which her late husband was portrayed in a less-than-flattering light. Du Maurier, incensed, wrote to the national newspapers, decrying what she considered unforgivable treatment.[19] Once out of the glare of the public spotlight, however, many remembered her as a warm and immensely funny person who was a welcoming hostess to guests at Menabilly,[5] the house she leased for many years (from the Rashleigh family) in Cornwall. Letters from Menabilly contains the letters from du Maurier to Oriel Malet over 30 years, with Malet's commentary. (Malet's real name is Auriel Malet Vaughan.)
Her final novels reveal just how far her writing style had developed. The House on the Strand (1969) combines elements of "mental time-travel", a tragic love affair in 14th century Cornwall, and the dangers of using mind-altering drugs. Her final novel, Rule Britannia, written post-Vietnam, plays with the resentment of English people in general and Cornish people in particular at the increasing dominance of the U.S.

Du Maurier died aged 81 at her home in Cornwall, which had been the setting for many of her books. Her body was cremated and her ashes scattered at Kilmarth


But luxury has never appealed to me,
I like simple things,
books, being alone, or with somebody who understands.

1907 - 1989

28 Feb 2013

St. David's Day

My birthday falls on 1st March and I have always been aware that it is St. David's Day but never given him a thought until now.  So, who was this David bloke.  Below is everything you need to know about St. David's Day - but were afraid to ask.

St David (Welsh: Dewi Sant) was born towards the end of the fifth century. He was a scion of the royal house of Ceredigion, and founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosyn (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro), at the spot where St David's Cathedral stands today. David's fame as a teacher and ascetic spread throughout the Celtic world. His foundation at Glyn Rhosin became an important Christian shrine, and the most important centre in Wales. The date of Dewi Sant's death is recorded as 1 March, but the year is uncertain – possibly 588. As his tearful monks prepared for his death St David uttered these words: 'Brothers be ye constant. The yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil'.

Saint David's Day is not a national holiday in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Similarly in the United States of America, it has regularly been celebrated, although it is not an official holiday. It is invariably celebrated by Welsh societies throughout the world with dinners, parties, eisteddfodau (recitals and concerts).

celebrations 2008
 Additionally, various Welsh Regiments of the British Army utilize aspects of Saint David's cross, Saint David himself, or songs of Saint David in their formalities during the celebrations. Many Welsh people wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel to celebrate St. David: the daffodil (a generic Welsh symbol which is in season during March) or the leek (Saint David's personal symbol) on this day. The leek arises from an occasion when a troop of Welsh were able to distinguish each other from a troop of English enemy dressed in similar fashion by wearing leeks.[15] The association between leeks and daffodils is strengthened by the fact that they have similar names in Welsh, Cenhinen (leek) and Cenhinen Pedr (daffodil, literally "Peter's leek"). Younger girls sometimes wear traditional Welsh costumes to school. This costume consists of a long woollen skirt, white blouse, woollen shawl and a Welsh hat

celebrations 2009

18 Feb 2013

Walk with me by the water as I age ...



I forgot the words....

12 Feb 2013

Diary Entry - A Round Heeled Woman

I have just finished reading a book called  “A Round Heeled Woman” by Jane Juska.
You know what a sucker I am for a well-written book – this is one of them.  It had me enthralled from the moment I picked it up.  This was possibly because of its content as much as the quality of the writing.  Jane was a 66 year old woman on the look out for sex.  It is the story of how she found it.  Inbetween the story of her sexual encounters, there is an underlying text about literature.  She was an English teacher for all of her life with  a passion for Trollope.

In one section where she is giving a class in San Quentin prison, she reads a passage from ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens.  This is one of my favourite films, especially the 1940’s version with John Mills.  Ashamedly, I have never read the book, but the passage she quotes about the meeting on the marshes with the convict  Magwitch, says more than any picture can reveal.

            “A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. 
            A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag
            tied round his head.  A man who had been soaked in water, and
            smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and
            stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped and shivered,
            and glared, and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his
            head, as he seized me by the chin.”

How good a description is that, brilliant, that’s what!  So, of course, I intend to read the book now – how could I not?
Magwitch and Pip

Janes’ book was very touching and when times were tough for her I wept with her.  In the last chapter she writes:-

            In the beginning of all this, I had thought to make my life fuller,
            Not just happier.  I had thought that my passion, which had
            Served so many people so well when I was a teacher, might find
            A place to put itself before it subsided into the contentment of
            Old age.  I thought right; I got what I hoped for.  What is just
            As far away as ever is the contentment of old age.  I doubt that
            It comes, ever.  There is the inevitable falling off of energy, I
            Suppose, certainly the falling away of flesh from the bone, and
            In some of us a flagging of the spirit.  It’s called dying.  But
            Contentment?  Peace?  I think we just get tired, and people who
            Write junk about us, because contentment makes better greeting
            Cards, mistake fatigue for serenity.

11 Feb 2013

This Day In History

My Diary Entry for 11th February 2010

The book I am reading at the moment ‘Wish I May’ by Justine Picardie, struck a note with me whilst I was reading in the bath this morning.  I am actually enjoying the book, although it isn’t the kind of ‘chick lit’ that I would normally go for.  In one passage the author describes the kind of house ‘Kate’, the protagonist of the book, would buy if it could be found:-

            A little wooden house by the sea:  a perfect cottage, in the sand dunes
            With a garden gate that led straight to the beach.  Inside there would
            Be sun-bleached linen and walls the colour of seashells; shelves
            Made out of driftwood and a worn teak floor.  Outside would be clean
            Air and golden light, the crash of waves beyond empty expanses of
            Unlittered, perfect sand.  Her very own Shangri-la.

This is a version of my own fantasy house and the pictures I often find in ‘Country Living’ magazine are very like the above description.  I play a game with the weekend newspapers in the Home section when I go through all the adverts and decide which house I would buy given an endless supply of money.  To be honest I have never really found one that fits my exacting imaginary requirements.  I play the same game with the television programme ‘Escape to the Country’, and in all the programmes I have watched, I have only ever seen one that I would gladly move in to.  So in all probability, the house I fantasise about is just that – a fantasy.  My dream home is just a dream!

I popped over to Janets’ house this morning to use her computer for finding some more of my ancestors, there is a puzzle I am working on concerning one of my great grandmothers x 3, and although I have accumulated a good deal more paperwork, I am still no nearer to solving the puzzle.  Perhaps that is what tracing your family is all about – solving the puzzle.

We had a snow storm this morning which lasted for about fifteen minutes, then vanished.  This has got to be one of the longest winters I can remember, I can’t seem to keep warm even with the heating on all day; albeit on a low mark, just to keep the chill off.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Today is just an ordinary day.  But, maybe we shouldn't ignore  the ordinary days - just maybe, way back in time, something happened to mark this particular day as special.

  • 55Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman Emperorship, dies under mysterious circumstances in Rome. This clears the way for Nero to become Emperor.
    1531Henry VIII of England is recognized as supreme head of the Church of England
  • 1752Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in the United States, is opened by Benjamin Franklin.

  • 1808Jesse Fell burns anthracite on an open grate as an experiment in heating homes with coal.

  • 1873 – King Amadeus I of Spain abdicates.

  • 1942 – The first gold record is presented to Glenn Miller for "Chattanooga Choo Choo".

  • 1978Censorship: the People's Republic of China lifts a ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.

  • 1990Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner.

  • 1997Space Shuttle Discovery is launched on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

  • So you see, although 11th February is to us just like any other day,  some pretty important things have happened through out history.

    13 Jan 2013

    The Church at Salthouse

     I often come across beautifully descriptive passages in books that I feel I would like to share so I have decided to make this a regular feature.  Here is the first one.  Salthouse is a place we regularly visit on our holidays in North Norfolk, we were there last March when it was really hot.  We sat on the pebble covered ridges with the sun on our backs looking out to sea.  We have never ventured inside the church but after reading this description it will definitely be on our 'to do' list next time.  The heath that she mentions rises up behind Salthouse and used to be a 'lookout' area during the 2nd WW.  There are still remnants of buildings and concrete pathways.  The area is vast and when we discovered it on one of our jaunts there were lots of oo's and aa's at the variety of plant and wild life.  The area is covered is gorse and you can stand amongst it and take in the view of Salthouse below, as shown in this picture I took.

    Salthouse Church, Nth Norfolk
      "Wandering over the heath, purple and russet with heather and bracken and splashed with the gold of late-flowering gorse, I came to the still unspoiled village of Salthouse.  It has one of the long line of lovely churches, strung along this coast; set on little hills, throned in peace and simple dignity, backed by the tilt of rolling fields, the sweep of sea and sky, and banners of blowing cloud.  They look like great grey birds brooding over the huddle of cobble cottages below.

    Salthouse Church is beautifully kept, illumined with clear sea-light flooding through tall windows and lofty clerestory, spacious and possesses relics of a more glorious day in the glowing colours of the figures on the cruelly disfigures rood screen, and the remains of the early choir stalls.  The backs are covered with pictures of craft which sailed the seas centuries before the coming of stream, scratched by childish hands when 'Ye Towne of Salthous' shared in the prosperity born of corn, and wool, and overseas trade.

    The little guide (which helps the hard struggle to raise a fund for urgent repairs) told me something I was glad to know, the reason for the narrow stone seats under the windows.  They were for the old and infirm, and from them comes the saying - The weakest go to the wall."

    Taken from the book 'Norfolk Life' by Lilias Rider Haggard

    6 Jan 2013

    Fifteen minutes on a Foggy January Morning

         I sit on the edge of the bed and look out over the back garden, binoculars at my side and notebook on my lap.  The sky is heavy with fog, nothing can be seen beyond the confines of the garden, the fields and hedgerows are veiled in mist.  The drooping branches of the willow drip, drip, drip on to the grass below.

         A blackbird stands beside an apple I have put out for him - stab, stab with his beak at the juicy flesh.  A dozen goldfinches line up on the bird table waiting to take the sunflower hearts from the recently filled feeder.  A starling flutters in and scares them away, he tries to get a grip on the fat balls, fails, and flies away again.
         Blue tits dart in and out, nibble, nibble, at the peanuts - to and fro, not staying long.  Sparrows hop through the privet and bare stems of the forsythia - quarrelsome.
         Chaffinch hop along the garden path looking for seed I have thrown down, here and there, hop, hop.
         A  black cap lands on the apple and frightens the blackbird away.      The garden is all a-flutter, birds coming and going, cheep-cheep, chirp-chirp.  A flock of long-tailed tits wait their turn in the willow - waiting for the starlings to leave the fat balls - their favourite food.  Six of them land, their tails sticking out in every direction.
         Two crows on the grass accompanied by a magpie filling their beaks with chunks of bread, flying off full-mouthed to the safety of the back field, away from human eyes.
         Greenfinch fly in and goldfinch leave.

         A flurry of activity, the garden is alive with birds, landing on the bird bath for a quick sip before flying back to the seeds.
         All this happening on a foggy Sunday morning just a few feet away beyond the window.   A male black cap flies in, lands on the peanuts, flies off again.  Opportunists all, standing on the bird table, two collared doves taking advantage of the discarded husks.
         Just fifteen minutes I have been sitting here. 

         The chirping stops, all the birds disappear - it is quiet, and the fog hangs heavy - drip, drip, drip.

    The bird pictures are not mine - just my uploads.