Wednesday 28 August 2013

Misty Moo

Misty Moo portrait

We found a lump.
My heart sank.
Her tail wagged.

All of a sudden I had to contemplate the possibility of her not being here. How could I begin to explain it to the children. She is in old age, but still fit. We think she is 12 years old but we aren't sure because we got her from a rescue home 10 years ago. They said she was 4. We thought she was younger.

She stood out immediately. She was so superior. She wasn't soppy. She wasn't jumping up at us. She just looked at us and then beyond us to the field. We took her for a walk around the grounds and decided there and then she was for us.

When we got her home, she settled in immediately, like she was meant to be there. She made a slightly odd sighing noise when she relaxed in her bed that made people jump. She was top dog.

And then came children. With each new baby, she slipped down a rung on the ladder but was never resentful, confident of her place as part of the family. Our first baby.

The vet was reassuring. A biopsy was quickly done.

I whinced.
She wagged.

And then the telephone call with the results.
All normal. Just a harmless fatty lump.

I sighed.
She sighed.
All's well.

Joining in with Sticky Fingers and the prompt of 'pets' for The Gallery 


Monday 26 August 2013

On my doorstep

You don't need to go far to have an adventure. It could be as close as your local park or as far as your imagination will take you.

We are very lucky to have chosen to live in Stamford, the Best Place in Britain (according to the Sunday Times earlier this year), not only for the town itself which is steeped in history, has some beautiful buildings and can cater for that retail itch, but also for the fact that it has on its doorstep so many wonderful places which make a great day out.

So far this holiday we have travelled no further than 10 miles from our front door (with one exception to visit friends) but we've seen beautiful scenery, had some great days out and enjoyed where we live.

First up Burghley.
The House, the Park, the Gardens. All of it. Beautiful. See.

Burghley Park and House (in the distance)
View of Burghley House from the Chapel
In Burghley House, understated isn't it?
Gardens of Surprises Burghley House
The family pet fish at Burghley House

Fineshade Woods
A wood, not surprisingly, perfect for family walks or cycle rides, with added tree house and park.

The Adventurers in Fineshade Woods
Add caption
So how do we get down?

Rutland Water
Sailing and kayaking should that float your boat (groan) or a simple walk or cycle along some of its 23 miles of coastline. And another play area.

Rutland Water beach

Wave watching at Rutland Water
Another day, another slide

The Spinney
More woods, more walking, more playing, and fortunately more sunshine.

The Spinney, yep, more trees
Flying at The Spinney
A very slow but awesome slide at The Spinney

You know, I should get a job with the Tourist information office ;-)

And later this week, to make up for a distinct lack of traveling this summer holiday, we are going to Scotland. I'm expecting little or no 3G signal where we are going so I'll see you anon.

Saturday 24 August 2013


Sometimes all you need is a little boost. It could be a ray of sunshine at just the right moment, an afternoon when children entertain themselves and don't bicker or hitting the pause button to watch a slug in the rain. I'm low maintenance me! And this week we have had many little boosts.

Fivegoblogging 365project week 34 2013

Grandma treated us to a lovely lunch
Beautiful sunshine and some smiles
Shrinkles. Oh, hello. Where have you been hiding for the last 35 years?
A evening adventure across a field
Watching wildlife (yes just a slug but still fascinating)
Day out at Burghley House and watching the fish.

Keep looking for the little things :-)

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Friday 23 August 2013

The Buddha in the Attic - Review

The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka

It's not quantity. It is quality.

I distinctly remember reading my first 'big' book. One that was more than 100 pages. One that would give me street cred. It was Diana by RF Delderfield. I still have it in paperback for purely sentimental reasons, not for any great literary achievement. It took a long time to read but I think I enjoyed reading it.

Most of the books I read seem to be at least an inch thick. Why does a book need to be 300 plus pages? Can you even find a book less than 300 pages on the WHSmith bestseller shelves?

One book that should be there is The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. (129 pages).

From the first line on the first page I was absorbed into the lives of the mail order Japanese brides shipped to the States in the early 20th century. With only a photo of their future husbands, and a few possessions from home in a cardboard case they set sale. This book takes us with them. Some happily. Some terrified. Some abused from the start. Some quietly and some obediently. Each bride, each life, is given a voice in the collection of voices captured in this book. The writing is beautifully simple and evocative, narrated by the brides collectively as one voice. From marriage, to the marital bed, to child birth, to teenagers, we are privileged to listen to their stories right up to the point when they are quietened, freighted to who knows where, away from the coast where they might be helping the enemy. Each life is a battle and precious for the story that it tells. I wish there were more stories to tell. I would happily have carried on listening past the 129th page.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the book for review for the BritMums Book Club. Join in the discussion here.

Sunday 18 August 2013


A Sunday morning stroll to blow away some cobwebs revealed a glorious view of golden fields nestled beneath a typical British summer sky, pillows of white and grey layered in a sea of blue. As the sun played hide and seek, streaks of bright yellow swept across the fields and Ellie the labrador bobbed up and down amongst the crop hunting for her stick.

Pretty idyllic really.

And a timely reminder that you don't need to travel too far to discover new places, find new adventures and escape from the realities of daily life.

So many of my friends are off on holiday, some overseas, some in the UK and I was just a bit jealous. We really want to get a holiday before the children go back to school and we might still manage it, but in the meantime we are making the most of what we can find on our doorstep and appreciate having time together.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 33 2013

Fennel - love the structure of the flower heads
Golden fields
Gazing at the tree canopy in the woods
Dance (not so) juniors
Wind in her hair
Another mosaic hidden around Stamford
Testing out the brick chesterfield sofa at Burghley Sculpture Gardens

Hope you have had a wonderful week x

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Silent Sunday


Friday 16 August 2013

Saturday is Caption Day

You know that moment when you snap a photo and you just know you've got a perfect caption opportunity. 
Happened to me this week at Burghley Sculpture Park.


Think up a caption and pop it in a comment, then head over to Mammasaurusblog  for more captioning mayhem.

Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

And relaaaaaax

Once upon a time, I would have the opportunity to relax during daylight hours. The sun would preferably be shining down on my little patch of sanctuary, there would be a glass of something refreshing within easy reach and a jolly good read would be resting in my hands.

Then along came children.

My opportunity to relax is now crammed into an hour at the end of the day, while gentle snores come from the bedrooms, when jobs are done, when I am so tired that any real appreciation for this moment of relaxation is consumed with exhaustion and mental to-do lists for tomorrow. 

But for a few minutes, before I can resist my drooping eyelids no longer, I read. I lose myself in the pages of a book where others live in my imagination leaving no room for anything except their story. 

This is relaxation for me.

Review of 'Buddha in the Attic' by Julie Otsuka to follow.

Joining in with Sticky Fingers and the prompt of 'relax' for The Gallery 


Sunday 11 August 2013

Slowly slowly

Summer fun had taken the form of slowly and gently as the Mr recovers from his op. As much as we will it, it is not healing quickly so we have settled into a homecation for the duration.

Comfort fingers - only a child could think this indispensable accessory.
Bee watch. The gentle buzz and swinging of the lavender is mesmerising.
Pyjamas, plums and photos.
Obstacle courses while walking Misty Moo.
Nursing an injured butterfly.
Watching rain.
Plane spotting at Shuttleworth.

Head over to for more 365project action.
And for The Week That Was Instagrammed

Silent Sunday

Saturday 3 August 2013


After a stay in hospital I am happy to report that the Mr was discharged on Thursday and is home recuperating. Thank you everyone who took the time to comment and send me tweets over the last week. Those good will messages did their job :-)

Meanwhile I continued with distraction tactics for the children who should have been collecting shells on a beach in Wales, sometimes indoors and sometimes outdoors, sometimes successfully and sometimes less so.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 31 2013

Distraction tactic 1:  How many raindrops are there on the washing line? Success factor 1/10
Distraction tactic 2: How many different ways can you go down the slide? Success factor 8/10
Distraction tactic 3: What happens when you mix chalk and water? Success factor 7/10
Distraction tactic 4: How long after the rain stops will a snail come and say hello? Success factor 3/10
Mummy's Distraction tactic 5: Drink Rose Prosecco in a pub garden until my shadow reaches that wall. Success factor 10/10
Distraction tactic 6: Go forth and have an adventure! Success factor 9/10
Distraction tactic 7: What happens if you empty the ball pit balls onto the trampoline? Success factor 6/10

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