A bit of magic…

I know, I really know now, I am most definitely not going to be the world’s best blogger, or actually even a blogger at all. Something always happens between me thinking ‘oh that would make a good bit of writing for the blog,’ and my fingers decisively meeting the little black squares on the keyboard…

Anyway my wonderful year of celebrating being lucky enough to reach 70, finished with the best Christmas ever – definitely since the children were little – when our daughters, their partners and our three grandchildren sat down for a traditional Christmas lunch. That hasn’t happened for at least 15 years and so it was wonderful indeed, and I know I am truly blessed.

Oh yes and I got a tattoo…

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Those three words have helped me on many occasion… you know the story – the king wanted his beautiful princess daughter to marry not just a handsome prince, but someone who was wise too…

So he said he would give her hand in marriage to someone who could tell him the most important words…and they had to be few enough to be engraved on his ring…

no one came up with anything spectacular or earth shattering to impress him, and then a  young man said ‘Sire, these are the most important words to remember at all times.’

‘Remember, when you are really happy – it will pass. When you are really sad, it will pass also – and just like life itself – it will pass.’

OK, I can hear you saying that’s not such a great thing… so most old woman get Carpe Diem tattooed somewhere – it’s a sign of the times nowadays …or is it just this day and its the age of the tattoo? Dame Judi Dench got hers for her 80 th birthday I think…but  I like those three words and it must be said they have given me comfort many a time.

What a year eh?

Reflections on the pond just up the lane, and mist through the trees up near the wind turbines – no particular reason – they just sum up this time of the year here.

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The same pond at sunset and then such excellent reflections on the canal nearby.

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I was trying to find something to write on an email to my friends and family to wish them nice things and positive thoughts for the new Year and I came across this JB Priestly quotation:

‘I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.’  ~ J. B. Priestley

So Happy New Year friends, and I hope you find a bit of magic behind most of your mornings.

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from bush crickets to roses, a plastic duck, common green frogs, fountain pens and many things between..

..and can it be October already? Our ordinary life continues on its own sweet way. Couldn’t be more thankful..

As for blogging, well,  now here’s a thought – I don’t think I’ll make the grade…September came and went – sunny and warm, the camper van came out of the barn and I was going to write about cycling round Cap d’Agde and seeing the sea, feeling the sunshine and the sea breeze on my skin, enjoying the moment and watching Himself cooking his own fish on a hot stone in a restaurant under blue mediterranean skies…

I wasn’t going to write much about getting lost in surburbia and the sand that blew everywhere and the fact that I never got to go in the sea this year…and it wasn’t sheer bloody mindedness either – more like it was a long way to bike and there didn’t seem to be any one else swimming and it was VERY windy!

IMG_1431 roses for blog

Now our cottage is teeming with roses – this is a photo of part of them. It was our 40th wedding anniversary yesterday and 40 were in a bucket when I arrived downstairs  in the morning. We have two rooms in the cottage – a kitchen and a living room, window ledges are not often used because like a lot of french houses the windows open inwards so it is replete with roses…

It teems with rain, I think, not roses. Awash with them? Sparkling with them? A real writer would know how to describe the joy at the sight of them.

And here’s the rest.

…and these two creatures are possibly bush crickets – may even be saddleback bush crickets. Cute eh? The brown one is the larger, although doesn’t look it on the photo, and was seen on a campsite high up on  the Massif Central. The green chappie was spotted just up the lane by my eagle eyed friend, while we were walking the doglet yesterday afternoon.

We have a friend in the valley who put a plastic duck on his pond to try and attract wild ducks to venture in and eat the duckweed. He has even put a central island with a nesting box on but so far not a single duck has flown past to have a look. But the frogs love to come out and sunbathe on the duck’s back.

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There is a plateau a few minutes drive from here – it is 1010 metres high and  occasionally you can see Mont Blanc from it looking East, and Le Puy de Dome, the extinct volcano, looking West. I went up one afternoon last week to walk with the dog and could see neither, but the air was clean and fresh, the open skies huge and wide.

I could see our local town below and the Beaujolais or Bourgogne hills ( I really must look it up and find out once and for all, I am always forgetting) and the wind turbines.

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Can’t resist putting this in – our tiny back garden glistening in the early morning September sunshine. It warms my heart.

Those of you who know me will know that my sister in Ireland and I write in letter books – we are on number 5 now – and when it comes through the post, maybe only once or twice a year – I am quite thrilled.

Of course there’s all the reading of it, her life by  Lough Corrib, the laugh out loud poems she writes, the photos, her recounting of things people have said, its just a great pleasure to hear of her life, which is quite different to mine. And then there’s the next best bit – the thought  of which fountain pen to choose. Which one will get the yearly warm water wash and be refilled? And then to look through the poems I’ve written – are any worth sending? Which photos would she like? So for the next few months I have something creative to do. Well – sort of!

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Here’s my desk before I chose which pen! Oh, I love ’em all.

And because it is now October and getting chilly in the evenings ye olde wood burner is often lit…  the living room warms up nicely – we don’t need a thermometer to tell us how warm – once the doglet is upside down and hanging out of her bed  – it means its cosy and toasty warm!

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More from the birthday year..

…and what a year it’s turning out to be. When I was approaching seventy I thought I’d fall into the Slough of Despond too easily. There’s getting old and then being old…not quite the same.

I mean, I’ve been getting old for ages now, but actually being old – that puts a whole different slant on things and seemed to me to be a little daunting.

So instead of becoming depressed I decided I’d be thankful to have  got this far by having a whole year of celebrations.

In a previous rambling I mentioned some good times in the UK in Spring – and then surprise! surprise! wasn’t I just whisked off to Venice!

I haven’t been there since the mid sixties – wow, the buildings may not have changed but the amount of tourists must have doubled ten fold.

Couldn’t afford to do this in 1965!

A real touristy ride in a gondola – Yippee!

Won’t be doing that again in this lifetime, but its one for the album – so when, more than likely I’m in the home for the bemused and bewildered someone can sit with me and say ‘oh look this is when you were in Venice!’

         

We sat and people watched and oh yes, did some eating and drinking, especially those red drinks called Spritz…and took the water bus and had a lovely time.

back to the buzzards…

…and walking the dog on the well worn paths and empty lanes, being serenaded by crickets and enjoying the peace and tranquility of rural France.

And back from what? I hear you ask? Did you ask?

Obviously not the people who were with me – they shared it all…but for the occasional reader who might be interested…

Back from the best 70th birthday celebrations anyone could wish for. IMG_1137

Such a splendiferous cake!

It wasn’t all eating and drinking and partying and playing with grandchildren – seeing friends from far and wide and having quality time with my daughters and a full body and head massage and staying in a suite of rooms with an outdoor heated swimming pool and a hot tub – oh no that’s not the half of it…

In the olden days when we lived in Yorkshire we often visited Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve  – and we went back there on this holiday. We stood on the cliff top while the gannets plucked at the grass for their nests, nests that are precariously balanced on the cliff edge.

With the pungent odour of guano and the cries of hundreds of seabirds rising and falling on the wind it was just like being a part of their world. The gannets were at head height – what a spectacle!

As birthdays go – it couldn’t be bettered.

I am one really lucky lady – lucky to have reached seventy and lucky to have been able to celebrate this milestone  with people I care about.

It is, after all, only a number…