Archive for July, 2010

Pet pride

Saturday saw the Stockholm Pride parade wending its way through the capital city of Sweden.

Your faithful reporter was there to record it all for you.

Most of the floats or groups were made up of people, but the Swedish Kennel Club was also there.

In various shapes and sizes.

Dangerously manicured poodles brought a bride along…

… while a more sedate one looked lovingly up at her owner as if to say, “When will this 90s music end?”

Meanwhile, a pair of panting corgis decked in heavy pink scarves waddled on stubby legs after elegant afghans and dancing disco queens.

Loud music, lots of balloons and plenty of rainbows … and not a drop of rain – made it a pretty good day for a parade.

For more pride pets, please visit: Camera Critters!


Castles in the air

My sister lives near Bramber, a quaint cobble-stoned village near the rolling downs of West Sussex (that’s in southern England for those of you who don’t know).

Apart from its old houses, Bramber is famous for the ruins of its castle, Bramber Castle, that once stood proud and strong more than 900 years ago.

I wonder if the watchtower saw such impossibly blue skies the day it was finished.

And was it the guardian of the hopes and dreams of the people who gazed up at similar lilac clouds as they tilled the golden fields below?

For more historic skies, please visit: Skywatch.


In summer, the song sings itself

High summer is here. At last!

It’s amazing how a single sunbeam can chase away the shadows

And make the heart sing.

Summer means that it is respectable, almost required, to be lazy

And dazzled water laughs in the sun.

Summer days – stretching out like friendly hands -

Making it easy to see the perfection of a perfect day,

A child’s laughter filtered through the sunlight.

I’ve only just got back from England so haven’t had time to sort through my photos. These are shots of summer in Sweden (that I took just before I left).

For more perfection, please visit: My World!


Postcard from England

Weather is here.

Wish you were nice.

Still on holiday in southern England — enjoying the rolling hills of the Sussex countryside and the pebble beaches of the coast.

Back after the weekend.

Many thanks for visiting me. And once again, sorry that I can’t pop in to visit you!


Moody trees

For once, I’m letting the photos do the talking…


In stitches: revisited

While I’m away, I thought I would re-post this story as most of you haven’t yet had a chance to really laugh at my domestic skills:

Much as I’d like to paint myself as a saint at school, the label ‘terror’ pops to mind…

And once you have a reputation, then it kind of sticks – like egg on the face or wet spaghetti if you throw it on the wall. (What do you mean you haven’t tried?)

We went to a prison boarding school and lived in dorms. And that meant that every single item of our clothing – school uniform and mufti (i.e. casual clothing) – had to have a name tag sewn onto it!

Once, I had the temerity to show up at the beginning of term with tagless socks. The matron or housemistress decided that I should sew my name tags onto my socks myself.

This was a welcome break from the tedium of homework, so I eagerly turned my attention to this task. It took hours because I was not very good at sewing, but I was determined to do as good a job as possible.

sew

So, sitting on the carpet in my dorm and with my little tongue sticking out, I painstakingly sewed each name tag on lovingly. I was really proud of myself when I had finished. There – laid out on the carpet for all to see – was a line of eight socks.

Bursting with excitement, I called the matron to come and admire my handiwork.

Now, this is where the bit about reputations sticking comes in…

You see, in my efforts to do a good job, I had – quite inadvertently – managed to sew all eight socks onto the carpet! Yes – they were stuck there, held prisoner on the carpet by my childish stitches. (Not sure how I managed this, but it came quite easily at the time.)

Now, any nice or normal person would have laughed off my childish mistake. Not this teacher. She was furious because she thought that I had sewn the socks onto the carpet on purpose. Because, as you know, I was a Major Terror.

I got a terrible telling off. But, at least I was never asked to sew my name tags on anything again.



Shocking

Went to an outdoor museum in Sussex, England. One exhibit had all kinds of medical instruments from the end of the 1800s.

Being nervous was no fun in those days.

Although they did seem to know how to relax…


Flying without feathers


Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from knowing the joy of flight. — Lane Wallace

I’m visiting my family back home in England, so I won’t be able to visit your blogs for the next two weeks. (I will have a few  posts going up now and then so please do pop in for a visit.)

I wish you many magical skies!


May the sun always shine

As the mercury rises and peaks at over 33 C here, in a country more used to cool temperatures, I am returning to England (where I come from) to enjoy time with my family.

The anklebiters and I will have adventures with parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunties.

It’s been too long.

I won’t be able to visit your blogs for the next two weeks, but will have some posts going up here in case you pop by.

In the meantime, may kind breezes fill your sails,

May the sun shine warmly on your face

And may you dance among the stars.


Thrills and spills

Anklebiter #1 (my daughter) has been in horse heaven all week at a wonderful place called Oak Wood Ranch.

She has ridden informally but never had lessons. Suddenly, there she was trotting and jumping by herself.

The riding camp ended with a show on the hottest day of the year.

Oscar took refuge in the stables.

The rest of us watched with anticipation as the riders twirled and jumped in the dust.

There were thrills – and some spills…

I immediately bonded with my daughter’s horse, Attila, because he proved that it is not only mothers who can be embarrassing! (Click the picture if you need to enlarge it.)

At the end, proud parents wiped away tears

And a child’s face lit up with the joy of accomplishment.

For more thrilling pictures, visit: My World!


Hide and seek

It’s hot. Sizzling hot.

And when you have golden fur, it’s worth trying anything to get away from the heat.

All you have to do is go under the jasmine bush,

Dig a very very deep hole (and hope that your human doesn’t get too angry about it) -

And then enjoy the coolness!

For more cool creatures, visit: Camera Critters


Fly by night

It happens again.

The phone rings and Sir Pe, who is out for an evening walk with the dog, tells me to hurry outside with my camera.

The sky is full of gorgeous balloons in the late setting sun.

I throw a cardigan on over my nightie. It is 10.30 pm and I was on my way up to bed.

I charge outside.

Fingers fumbling, framing the perfect picture.

Click. Nothing happens.

I remember that I have left my battery on charge, so I dash home. Get the battery.

Run outside to see most of the balloons disappearing over the horizon.

I’ve missed a lot of good shots.

I pause. Panting.

And drink in the wonder of flight without feathers.


All photos are straight out of the camera – and not edited at all. Click them to enlarge.

For more magical skies, please visit: Skywatch!


Two sides of love

I came across two abandoned bags on the worn steps of an old church

And stopped to wonder:

Is there anything quite as sad as loving someone who has stopped loving you?

Love lost somewhere between altar and reality,

Abandoned on church steps

Along with the rice, the scattered hopes, that once promised so much.

**********************************

I saw Love up close, there in the rice on the church steps,

Worn with feet eager for love.

Bride and groom departed;

Bags left there in haste.

No time for anything but each other.

Poem inspired by Sätra Brunn Church


My chocolate fix

I’ve just come back from my secret weekend adventure.

I had no idea where we were going or what we were going to do. I just knew that we were going somewhere in the middle of the countryside.

It turned out that Sir Pe had checked us into Sätra Brunn, one of Sweden’s oldest spas. People have been coming here ‘to take the waters’ since 1700.

The spa is set in a huge park and two-hundred-year old buildings have now been converted into hotel rooms. (You can see one of the hotel wings in the long red building behind me in the picture.)

Some of the very old cottages are nearly 300 years old and are not used nowadays — like the old red cabin on the right-hand side of the photo below.

The oldest spring is Trinity Spring and it is still bubbling today. Housed in a wooden yellow building, it is open to everyone who wants to come and taste its water. Trinity Spring, together with six other springs dotted around the estate, provide all the drinking water for the spa resort. Nowadays though, the iron and sulfur are filtered out.

Trinity spring

After checking into the hotel, we wandered over to the swimming pool. The water was 34 C – almost as hot as the air at a balmy 30 C!

My next surprise awaited… a dark chocolate full body massage and facial! I smelled delicious, my skin was rehydrated and I was so relaxed I could have floated away…

As my one of my T shirts declares, “There’s nothing wrong with me that a little bit of chocolate can’t fix!”

Me - enjoying a chocolate glow

For more adventures, please visit: My World!


Swimming with snakes

It was a perfect summer’s day: blazing sun and nothing to do all day long but enjoy the moment.

Anklebiter #1 and her friend, the dog and I drove out in the blazing sun to our ‘secret’ beach, where dogs can swim with their small friends.

Three splashes, a happy bark and laughter.

Kids on right. Dog in middle. Snake... underwater.

Which then turned to hysterical screaming from my daughter’s friend.

“Snake!” came the cry.

And yes – there was a snake swimming along next to the dog and kids.

The friend kept on screaming. The snake dived under the water and disappeared.

I think the poor thing was terrified.


Midsummer blaze

Midsummer has been and gone… the long white nights stretch out ahead. Hard to believe that the slow march towards autumn has already started. (Click the photos to enlarge.)

At 10.30 in the evening, it is still full of sunlight,

Golden rays bringing smiles to clouds.

The setting sun is an orange egg on the horizon.

A stray black eyebrow crosses the sky

While a ribbon of apricot clouds casts a glow on the water below.

The sky seems to expand with beauty – dizzying in size,

The clouds melting into the burnished copper of the lake.

Clouds, sun, sky – dance in silence

While I –

I become a star on the horizon.

For more lovely sunsets, please visit: Skywatch!

I’m going away this weekend. The destination is a surprise – but hopefully it will be somewhere photogenic and relaxing! I’ll be around to visit you all when I get back.


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