28 November 2019

Dressing Up

My boys gave me an enthusiastic welcome when I got home today.  Rick gave me furry hugs and kisses, Paul made me a cup of tea.  I had been out for the day with two friends from the village, a trip to Doddington Hall just south of Lincoln.

Doddington Hall is an Elizabethan mansion, a privately owned and family managed enterprise.  Rain prevented us from exploring the walled gardens but the house was a delight, slightly theatrical but warm and inviting.  Beautiful paintings, furniture and tapestries but not too much in the way of historical artifacts.  There was a solitary glass cabinet containing a cavalier’s boots and costume dating back to the Battle of Gainsborough in the sixteenth century.  This felt more like a home (albeit a very posh one) and less like a museum.

We wandered freely through the rooms, I loved the teddy bears picnic in the drawing room.  On the top floor the unusual tented room reminded me of an opium den.  The tent was originally made in Cairo around 1900 and used outdoors.  It has recently been restored after years in storage.

Then through a narrow corridor hung with old coats.  The temperature suddenly dropped and we entered into a room full of snow covered Christmas trees -  we had arrived in Narnia.  It was an unexpected and charming scene.  For a moment we forgot we were mature women of a certain age and took it in turns to dress up as the White Witch of Narnia.

friend Jackie dressing up as the White Witch
We had a leisurely lunch in the Hall’s restaurant and then it was time to head home, only half past three but already nearly dark.  A lovely day out.

23 November 2019

Three Pot Plants and a Stuffed Polecat

We got an unexpected visitor yesterday.  Kat arrived for the weekend, her last visit before she goes off to Cyprus for three months.  She brought some stuff for us to look after while she’s away – three pot plants and a stuffed polecat.


Kat acquired Jeremiah some time ago, an easy pet to keep because he doesn’t need feeding.  The other guys in her RAF accommodation block tend to keep guinea pigs and hamsters; Kat likes to be different.  I think he looks rather eye catching in my hallway although Rick is a bit wary and gives him a wide berth.

Meanwhile my other daughter in Sydney is fighting a nasty chest infection, probably exacerbated by the current smoky atmosphere in the city.  I think her doctor definitely has the right idea though.

13 November 2019

Rain and Fire

Lincolnshire is wet. Days of heavy rainfall have flooded the county and fields are under water. Valves have been opened to send the water out onto the flood plain to protect Lincoln; the city is protected but it's not good news for farmers or anyone living on the lower ground. We are safe in our village but I have bought Rick a red raincoat to keep him dry during the wet weather.

red raincoat complete with fluorescent strips

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Sydney is surrounded by bushfires. My daughter Sarah emigrated to Australia eleven years ago. She lives and works in the city centre so is relatively safe from the bushfires but is still having to cope with extreme heat and a smokey, ash laden atmosphere. It is heartbreaking for those who have lost their homes and the wildlife who will perish in the fires. I wish I could send her some of our rain.

8 November 2019

Rainy Days

It rained here all day yesterday and quite a few roads are flooded locally.  The village beck is running very high; I’m sure the residents living in nearby cottages are feeling a bit nervous right now.  But this morning the sun is shining and I’m just watching the last remaining leaves drift down from the poplar trees.  Falling autumn leaves are such a tangible sign of time moving on.

the handrails of the ford are almost covered
My life is calm and settled in this Lincolnshire village.  I don’t feel the urge for travel or change anymore, I am content in my new home.  Gradually I am putting my stamp on the bungalow.  We are still on the lookout for some original, contemporary artwork to decorate the walls but, after my ‘big painting’ failure, I’m very pleased with my yellow taxi canvas that I bought for the kitchen.  

The hallway has also had a bit of a makeover.  It’s a fairly cheap reproduction but I love the colours from Klimt’s portrait of Adele.

I’m taking a break from art classes and I have packed away my brushes for the time being.  I shall dabble again in the future.



5 November 2019

Lost Cats

Sad news from Yael today.  Her beloved cat, Edmund, has used up all his nine lives and died.  It is always so painful when we lose a pet.

Earlier this week Paul, while out for his early morning walk with Rick, was approached by one of our neighbours who had discovered a dead tabby at the side of the road; she wondered if Paul might know who he belonged to.  She said she would take him to the vets to see if he was chipped.  Later that day I took Rick out for his afternoon walk in the drizzling rain. As we walked through the village I saw an elderly gentleman standing outside his bungalow calling and whistling.

“Have you lost something?” I asked, silently hoping that he was searching for a lost tortoise or budgerigar, anything but a cat.
“My cat, he hasn’t been home all day.”
“Is it a tabby?”

I broke the sad news to him and led him to the home of the lady who had found the cat.  I felt so helpless.

Autumn has definitely arrived in Lincolnshire.  It is grey and wet here today and the leaves are rapidly floating down onto our garden from the big trees.  It is definitely a day for staying indoors, indulging in some comfort food and staying warm.