|Posted by dawngriffis on December 11, 2017 at 5:45 AM||comments (4)|
It is December a joyous time for many, exciting time for the children, a sad time for some, a difficult time for too many. I wish I could fix the world to make it good for all. No matter what a persons beliefs are, at this time of year there are many family traditions that take place, besides the traditions from one country to another. This blog is going to cover a little of those.
Here is a little of what many Brits miss about not being home at Christmas time: In Australia and New Zealand they have Christmas in mid summer, it must be hard to re-create what we had at home, from what I have heard most seem to have adjusted, many have BBQs. Brits in Canada, because Canada has very similar traditions as Britain does, it doesn’t seem to bother them quite so much.
Many Brits in the US say they miss a lot. Other than Christmas Day no one here understands what Boxing Day is. Not having Boxing Day, lots of celebrations with friends and families getting together just doesn’t happen. They are all back at work, so sad.
Christmas cakes and puddings as we know them do not exist, we have to make our own, often many Americans do not seem to have a taste for them as we do, so usually we eventually stop making them. The traditions we have surrounding these times are unknown in America, no crackers decorating the table, to have and pull later. No church bells ringing their various melodies; depending on how many bells each church has, St. Michaels in Aynho, my village church, has 8 bells so a large variety can be rung. To walk to church with the bells ringing on Christmas morning just seems right.
No one here seems to have heard of people going from house to house singing Christmas carols, or even what mince pies are; we are give them to the carolers when they stop by. The mince pies are small and always given to the carolers as refreshments, along with a hot drink. Americans only know the large mincepies, not many seem to like them. Many of our Christmas sweets/candy isn’t heard of, like marzipan shaped like fruit, liquor cordials in chocolate, Turkish delight, all are oh so good! No one has heard of bread sauce to go with the turkey along with stuffing, and cranberry sauce, and you usually only get one vegetable with dinner, instead of 3 or 4.
It’s Santa Clause no one knows who Father Christmas is. No one has heard of putting stockings or pillow cases at the foot of the bed, for him to put your gifts in; all gifts are just mixed together under the tree.
No one in the stores wish you a Merry Christmas, instead its Happy Holidays. I always say Merry Christmas, and then sometimes I get it back with a smile. Some stores open on Christmas day, I think is wrong, but sadly becoming more common. All the posted photos but a few are related to family or country traditions.
So what do many Brits miss, the traditions we grew up with, carol singing, mincepies, Christmas foods and treats, Father Christmas, stockings etc at the foot of the bed. What else do we miss? People getting together on Boxing Day, and other people enjoying the traditional foods.
The people who live in the warmer climates in the south miss not having winter climates for Christmas. Brits think and share thoughts, and memories between ourselves on Facebook, because we are the only ones that really understand how we feel, or what we are talking about. There are special things and traditions here that are really nice, but they are acquired for us, or each family has developed their own. All this sounds very sad but it isn’t really, it’s just at this time is when we do miss home the most.
This is unlike my usual blog, there is only one poem from Bev, but that one was custom written just for us. She wrote it according to my request, while on her shopping trip to London, which she timed so she could see the London lights. I asked Bev if she could come up with all a poem covering the things we miss to go in my December blog. As usual Beverley came through. Here it is.
Written by Beverley Coleman
Memories for those of us no longer at home.
Mummy may I sit a while
Before I go to bed
I’m not as tired as usual
And my book I’ve almost read.
Listen Mummy can you hear
There’s someone there outside
Their singing Christmas Carols
Open the door so wide.
Give them a mince pie Mummy
You know the ones you made
With icing sugar on the top
And a glass of Cherryade.
Oh Mummy I’m excited
Is Father Christmas on his way
Will he be in the air now
With his Reindeer and his sleigh.
Oh Memories of Home again
It really takes me back
To my childhood many moons ago
How can I keep on track.
Of decorations everywhere
A fairy on the tree
Cards along the mantelpiece
Sent from you to me.
Of making Christmas Puddings
With Silver Sixpence in
Stirring at the Christmas Cake
Making a wish within.
Mummy find my stocking
I need to hang it up
So Father Christmas sees it
Is that Sherry in his cup.
I close my eyes and think again
Now it is Christmas Morn
“He’s been” I shout to everyone
He came before the Dawn.
My pillow case has presents
Some Slippers he did bring
A puzzle ...book and pencil
All wrapped and tied with string.
No time to dress...no time to waste
I know there can be more
Underneath the Christmas Tree
Right there on the floor.
Oh Happy Times...Exciting Times
But not just when you’re young
Enjoy it now with Grandkids
Get down and have some fun.
And when the day is over
We’ll enjoy it even more
Let’s invite the neighbours round
I know they will adore.
The leftovers from Christmas Day
And then some games we’ll play
A special treat for everyone
On a Snowy Boxing Day.
Christmas cake made for Heather Jones by her neice Belinda ( this is a typical cake, dark spot was on the wrap)
Christmas pudding picture from Oldies but Goodies Facebook page
Trifle by Faith Hart.
Mince pies by me.
Father Christmas by Anthony Morris at Blenheim Palace Woodstock Oxfordshire.
Carolers on Canal St Jericho Oxford picture by Flicker
Carolers receiving mince pies in Oxford picture by flicker
Beverley Coleman in front of John Lewis in London
Lights on Carnaby Street London by Bev.
some of the London lights by Bev
These are just for beauty and fun. Sunset at the bottom of Litle Lane Aynho by Hilary McIntyre.
A winter scene in England from Facebook
Batsford Arboratum posted by Hilary McIntyre but not taken by her, it's just so beautiful.
You know I have to have an English robiin taken from Internet.
Most American families have their own traditions at this time of the year. They are often controlled by where they live, because climates are so varied in different parts of the country; or according to their religious beliefs, and what is the custom for them. I think it would be interesting if you were to share yours, especially those special to your family.
Lots of cooking is done in all parts of America, with foods that are special to them; pecan pies, sweet potato casserole with marshmallow on top. Pralines, ginger bread houses, Christmas cookies and candy.
Christmas cookies picture from internet
Ginger bread house picture from Internet
Living up north most of our family goes to tree farms, to pick out and cut their own Christmas tree.
Ken, Victoria and a friend finding a Christmas tree.
Jason cutting their tree and of course Aubree is helping him. Notice having to lay down in snow to cut it.
Our family has one special tradition that is being continued. It is the grandmother’s responsibility to make a stocking for each of their grandchildren. My husband still has his that his grandmother made, both our girls have theirs that Mike’s mother made for them, sadly I don't have photos of those. Our 6 grandchildren have the ones I made for them. All the ones I made but one was decorated with cross stitch, the other had tatted appliquéd snowflakes on it. Penny our daughter has made 4 for her grandchildren, and is in the process of making one for her latest grandson. Hopefully now that Jane’s youngest has married, she’ll be making stockings soon to. I really like the tradition.
Mike's stocking 76 years old, made by his grandmother Francis Tyson.
The 4 stockings I made for our daughter Jane's children, all cross stitched to my design. The tatted items on Reuben's was specially made for his stocking by a close friend Marvette Root.
These are the ones I made for our daughter Penny/s boys again both cross stitched to my design.
Stockings made by Penny for her 2 grand daughters these are her own design.
Levi's stocking Penny's grandson,, still in the making, name still to go on, it will probably be in white.
This stocking Penny made for her step grand daughter.
The final stocking was also made by Penny for her step grand son. I think this will be the last for Penny to have to do.
What are your favourite family traditions, I would love to hear?
Each year I bake Sandcakes or Sandbakkels, a Norwegian cookie recipe given to me in 1967 by a Norwegian friend in Boulder Colorado. I usually make 12-14 doz giving most of them as gifts. Everyone in our family has continued to make them. I also make about 17 doz mincepies again giving most of them as gifts, so in a small way the tradition is carried on.
Sand bakkels or Sandcakes they do not look anything special but the taste makes up for the looks!!
The next pics are again just for fun
Snow buntings by Jane Glick, our eldest.
Vermont in winter off the internet.
This has been a tough year for our family, but things are definitely improving for Mike, so hopefully 2018 will be much better. I hope your Christmas or your special celebration is a happy one, and the New Year brings you all you wish for, along with peace on earth for all. I would like to thank all our family and friends near and far, who have helped by giving us so much support this past year.
|Posted by dawngriffis on November 4, 2017 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
This has been a strange autumn/fall here in Vermont. We did not get the colour on the trees as brilliant as usual. Across from our house many trees are still green, some just getting colour while others have completely dropped their leaves. Our colour time is usually end of September to about 12th October. We haven’t had a killing frost yet, I have known that to happen as early as 28th August, but definitely in September. Of course according to those that think they know better, there is no such thing as global warming!
My husband Mike is still having problems requiring more admissions to the hospital; this has not been a good year for the Griffis household.
Today 4 Hartford High School students are coming over to help me get the garden/yard cleaned up for the end of the year. I have had very little time to do anything myself, so it is a mess. Our local High School has a program whereby for all students to graduate, have to do 40 hours of community service. I think it is a fabulous idea all around, for those receiving the help, and for the students to realise people do need help.
I am purposefully posting this blog today because of the poem Beverley Coleman wrote for Britain for last weekend, which should tell you it’s not about November 5th Guy Fawkes Day, when bonfires are lit, and fireworks set off. she told me to change the month to November to work for here, so enjoy.
By Beverley Coleman
Two am in the morning
On a dark November day
Sixty minutes on the clock
Seemed to go astray.
I went to bed at midnight
Did nothing to my clock
Was woken in the morning
My goodness what a shock.
My clock right by my bedside
Was showing half past eight
Wow that was some sleep I’d had
And I was feeling great.
then turned on my iPad
And there before my eyes
A different time was showing
Now there is a surprise.
It was only seven thirty
However can that be
Why would my faithful little clock
Suddenly lie to me.
Now I was in a panic
Was it half past seven or eight
This question it was bugging me
I was getting in a state.
The magic man had been around
He decided on this day
We needed extra time in bed
So with our minds he’d play.
He thought I know what I will do
I’ll give an extra hour
So he turned the clock back easily
Because he had the power.
And now the evenings darker
And the Morning it is bright
I’m not sure what I’d rather have
But I won’t put up a fight
Because if we do wait a while
When it is early Spring
You know when all the bulbs come up
And the birds begin to sing.
Those minutes ....yes those minutes
That you can’t get out your head
When you think it’s two o’clock
It’s Three o’clock instead.
So the hour we gained that winter’s night
He finally took away
Spring forward and Fall backward
Is the saying to this day.
The big thing that happened in our family this past month is our youngest grand daughter Victoria Ada married Austin Andrus in Kentucky, sadly we weren’t able to go, but I’ll post a couple of pictures for you to see. Our eldest grand daughter Ruth-Ellen, her sister, was maid on honour and our eldest grt grand daughter Aubree was the flower girl.
In UK town and city fairs are in abundance during this time of the year. They were chartered to take place hundreds of years ago, by whom ever was the reigning Monarch at the time. Banbury has one of those such fairs. David S Woodman gave me the history of Banbury’s Michaelmas Fair and of course Bev wrote a poem. Bev and Chrissie Ansell also supplied me with some photos of it, for you to see. In the 19th century many people met the future spouses at the fairs, it is how my grt grt and grt grand parents met.
I will see what I can find for US photos for this month, but mother nature was not so accommodating as usual, so please forgive me if they are a bit lacking!
Here is the information about Banbury's Michaelmas Fair su[[lied by David S. Woodman.
History of Banbury Fairs
The Michaelmas Fair is on this week (October 18th) in my home town of Banbury. The Michaelmas Fair originated as what was called a Hiring Fair and it dates back some 600 to 700 years. Farm workers, labourers, domestic servants and some craftsmen would work for their employer for a year at a time, from October to October. At the end of their employment they would attend the Hiring Fair dressed in their Sunday best clothes. The prospective workers would gather in the street or market place, often sporting some sort of badge or tool to denote their specialty; shepherds held a crook or a tuft of wool, cowmen brought wisps of straw, dairymaids carried a milking stool or pail and housemaids held brooms or mops, hence the derivation of the term “Mop Fair”.
Potential employers would move amongst them discussing experience and terms and, if they were thought fit, hire them for the coming year. Once agreement was reached the employer would give the employee a small sum of money (the “Hiring Shilling” and the employee would remove the item signifying their trade and wear bright ribbons to indicate they had been hired. They would then spend the money amongst the stalls set up at the fair which would be selling food and drink and offering games to play. The yearly hiring included board and lodging for single employees for the whole year with wages being paid at the end of the year’s service. These fairs attracted all the other trappings of a fair, and they turned into major feasts in their own right, and attracted poor reputations for the drunkenness and immorality involved.
The nursery rhyme/song, with which we are all familiar, derives from the hiring fairs. Johnny, on securing employment for the year, had promised to give his sweetheart the ribbons and a few trinkets:
"Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Dear, dear! What can the matter be?
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Johnny’s so long at the fair.
He promised to buy me a trinket to please me
And then for a smile, oh, he vowed he would tease me.
He promised to buy me a bunch of blue ribbons
To tie up my bonnie brown hair.
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Dear, dear! What can the matter be?
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Johnny’s so long at the fair.
He promised to bring me a basket of posies
A garland of lilies, a gift of red roses,
A little straw hat to set off the blue ribbons
That tie up my bonnie brown hair.
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Johnny’s so long at the fair."
During the 14th and 15th centuries, Banbury became indelibly associated with fairs and markets. The first mention we have of a fair is in a charter of Henry II of England (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), who granted an annual occasion for Whitsun
By Beverley Coleman
October how exciting
It’s time for Banbury Fair
Everyone from all around
Is going to be there.
It’s been a great tradition
Part of it a hiring fair
And then was joined by more.
Now by the nineteenth century
Three fairs rolled into one
The hiring and the livestock
And the pleasure just for fun
As time went on it dwindled
And in the fifties all’s not lost
The big rides they were introduced
But I wonder at what cost.
Marvelous it seemed to work
Good fun was had by all
The Big Wheel and the Waltzer
We all could have a ball.
The scene was set for everyone
A new sweater you would buy
To attract your new intended
A girlie or a boy.
Many many happy hours
We’re spent in those three days
Finding, loving, marrying
It really was the craze.
And now the years are passing
And I still make my way
To the Market Town of Banbury
To see the grand display.
The dodgeums by Beverley Coleman
Fair by Beverley Coleman
waiting for rides by Beverley Coleman
Not for me! See Banbury Town Hall in the shadowsby Chrissie Ansell
Prizes galore by Chrissie Ansell
New one for me? by Chrissie Ansell
Independant drivers by Chrissie Ansell
Lt to Rt Ruth-Ellen, maid of honor, Victoria Ada, Aubree flower girl.
Lt to Rt. Siblings and parents with Austin Andrus our new family member Ruth-Ellen, Reuben, Austin, Victoria, Jane, (Mom), Ken (step-Dad),Seth
Autumn by Jane Glick
4 Corners Farm this year
Winter squash at 4 Corners Farm
Of course pumpkins at 4Corners Farm
The following two are my new offerings
That's it folks hope you remembered to turn your clocks back. Now we are back to 5 hours behing Britain! Have a good month. For those in the US, Happy Thanksgiving
|Posted by dawngriffis on October 7, 2017 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
By now we are supposed to be a full colour throughout Vermont, with the trees showing off all their glory, let me say it seems to be running late!
It has been a busy month for me, of course we are still dealing with Mike’s pre and post heart surgery problems, I’m sure he has had enough!
For me in addition to all those commitments I have been trying to get a new Facebook page up and running, along with changing my web page a bit, take a look, plus making new knitting garments to sell. If I typed faster than hunt and peck, or still had Gladys as my secretary, she could type 167 words a minute, I’d be OK.
Let me explain, some of you may remember, because I can’t just sit and do nothing, I knitted a load of hats, all sizes (100). This was while Mike was in the hospital, and waiting for him at appointments. I have now progressed to baby and toddler sweaters/ jumpers. Almost all are my own design, or I’ve converted patterns to what I wanted. Obviously I have no need for all this knitting, so I thought I might make some pocket money by selling them. They are all listed on the Facebook page called Vermont Hand Knits, and they are gradually being added to my web site here, for those who don’t have Facebook. It is just a slow process. I’ll post a couple of sample pics at the very end for you to see. Ok that’s the end of my sales pitch!
On the Griffis family news, on the 15th, our youngest granddaughter Victoria Ada, is getting married in Kentucky to Austin Andrus, he is from Colorado, close to where we used to live. Most of the family is going down; sadly we will not be able to.
This month we have some lovely poems from our friend Beverley Coleman, who also just celebrated her 75 birthday in full Banbury style, including jiving like a teenager in the 50s. The farm stands in Vermont are bursting with all varieties of great veggies. If I was to buy all I wanted, I’d need a ton of money, and a walk-in cooler, neither of which is going to happen. I found some lovely fall color pictures from last year on line which I will post at the end.
This was Bev’s poem from her birthday party.
This is me in all my finery
Black & White or Claret & Blue
Matching knickers, matching bra
What is a girl to do.
Shoes of every colour
A heart that's made of gold
No I am not bragging
This is what I'm told.
A family to be proud of
Friends I would not change
The order that they came in
I would not rearrange.
I can get very emotional
As some of you well know
A wrong word out of context
Will make the tears flow.
Your here today to have some fun
So please take to the floor
I hope that you all love me
But I bet I love you more.
The next poem she wrote will bring back memories for each of us. Most she wrote fit with me, but my pics to go with it shows others
By Beverley Coleman
I've shared so many memories
With you all over time
From times when I was just a kid
And didn't tow the line
I got in lots of mischief
Along with some of you
But we had fun and happiness
And so our friendships grew
Our teenage years with that first kiss
Our sweetheart on our arm
Our first Cigarette and Babycham
Suspenders ....men keep calm
The walking home from dances
The Grand with double seats
The Wimpy on the Broad Street
Where we did often meet
Then marriage....babies....kids in school
Struggling as you do
Trying to stretch the pennies
But then that's nothing new
Your kids grow up ...they want fast cars
There's no catching the bus
They want it all like yesterday
Not like all of us
So now as old age catches up
And some are on their own
We look back on those happy years
And how our kids have grown
Valarian growing out of a wall in Atnhoe just as it did when I was a child over 70 years ago picture by Lucy ?
Blackberries in the hedgerow watch for prickers - great for apple and blackberry pies photo by Ken Fitton
Crab apples make crab apple jelly we used to go scrumping for these, photo by Ken Fitton
berries for the birds and Christmas decorations taken in Adderbury by Beverley Coleman
English red squirrels most sadly killed out by the American grey squirrel.
Beverely's last poem this month is of course about Autumn and conkers (horse chestnuts)
By Beverley Coleman
The leaves are turning colour
From Green to Yellow to Brown
Another gust upon them
And they'll all come tumbling down.
They'll lay there like a carpet
All sodden from the rain
Slippy on the pavements
Always a walkers bane.
The children love this time of year
As conkers they collect
Amongst the debris on the floor
The prickly skins protect.
Summer flowers are dying
Their work on earth is done
They've given off some colour
Though they haven't seen much sun.
Dark nights are approaching
Wood burners are lit
Turn the central heating on
You'll need it in a bit.
Shops are getting ready
Their changing all their stock
Rows and rows of bargains
So to the sales we flock.
I love a bargain anytime
You know I love to shop
Spring Summer whenever
I'm never gonna stop
But just today ...no shopping
Today is party day
So glad rags at the ready
I'll soon be making hay.
Four Corners farm beginning to show Fall colours
Crossroads Farm stand looking very festive
Peppers -peppers and more peppers at Crossroads Farm stand
Route 125 in the Notch above Middlebury
Grist Mill in Guildhall Vermont is lovely in autumn
This is in Stowe at the Gentle Giants sleigh rides
Sleepy Hollow Farm at Pomfret Vermont, this is close to us.
baby and toddler sweaters/jumpers /cardigans.
2 adult hats and 1 child's hat
Have a great month
You can Email me from here by using this address
below is my monthly screw up that I can't figure out how to take out and all the A on the left side is not of my doing but I can't get rid of either so sorry to be so inept!!!
|Posted by dawngriffis on September 5, 2017 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
With this summer almost over, I think for many of us we probably feel it could have been better. What with up and down temperatures, plus violent storms in many places of the world, I’m sure for many 2017 will best be forgotten, and to hope for better 2018.
This month we have some lovely poems from Bev including pics from the UK. This past weekend was the annual St Giles Fair in Oxford, so I have included one of Anthony Morris’s photos for you to enjoy or reminisce. If you look closely, you will see the Martyrs Memorial in the back ground. Near there is where my favourite stall was, they sold cockles in small dishes, I do miss those.
This month we have a contribution from a British lady who now lives in Pennsylvania with her family. Wendy and her husband Bob, are very involved with the Scouting movement and Gettysburg memorial area, but I’ll let her tell you her story.
I hope you all enjoy the blog and have a good month
Was thinking of our friends today
Those far across the sea
Those l talk to every day
And they talk back to me.
It brings me ever closer
It really blows my mind
Although I've never met some
They all seem very kind.
We chat about our daily lives
Well most times it is me
Yes I can talk for England
As most of you will see.
From Australia to Canada
U.S.A to Spain
New Zealand, France and Italy
Wherever is our gain.
I love them all ...no kidding
The distance it is none
Just leave a little message
I'll get back to you in one.
And if by chance I'm not around
You know your in safe hand
Because the friendship on here
Are the bestest in the land.
So all my friends around the globe
Today this is for you
Be happy...be contented
In everything you do.
And if by chance you’re poorly
May good health come your way
Not just for tomorrow
But every single day.
Banbury Friends by Maureen Tyrrell
Once a month usually around the 23rd many members on Banbury Friends Facebook page members post photos of candles. Somme are simple some imaginative or just plain beautiful. Here is one; it was posted in August by Jacky Holloway Shelley. I thought it went well with Bev’s poem below.
By Beverley Coleman
The crazy world of Facebook
Where some friends come and go
While others just stick with you
And just go with the flow.
They listen to your tales of woe
Cheer you up when you are sad
Celebrate your birthdays
And are happy when your glad.
Friends come together often
But most is done on line
Your friendships get much stronger
It's all in a matter of time.
You know there's some you'll never meet
But the bond is still as strong
As if you saw them everyday
It matters not how long.
I compare it to a magnet
It seems to draw you in
You may be small; you may be tall
Or even fat or thin.
Who cares the feelings mutual
It comes right from the heart
The friendship buttons there to press
Go on let's make a start.
And as today is Candle day
Let's all light up the way
It's our day friends enjoy it
Let's call this FRIENDSHIP DAY.
Photo by Beverley Coleman it inspired the poem below
By Beverley Coleman
I looked around was all alone
Nobody left in sight
My own fault I was dawdling
We hadn't got all night.
But hurrying I did not do
I was taking in the view
And clicking at my camera
To send them back to you.
The waterway was tranquil
There's leaves still on the ground
They'd been there since last Autumn
No wind to shift around.
I hear voices in the distance
I'll catch them if I run
But there's no running in me
Walkings much more fun.
From waterways and cottages
From main road to village stream
The scenery is beautiful
It's all part of the dream.
To wander English countryside
Like we're allowed to do
Savouring the beauty
Of every lovely view.
Now for Wendy Joyes-Holsberger story and pics , above is her and her husband Bob; followed by a few more pics from UK.
I came to the USA in 1966 as a nanny, married in 1968 and after my husband left me with 2 small adopted children I bought myself a house in PA. I worked in social work in foster care and ran my own business, then became a case worker for a homeless shelter and went on to teach for PSU in Nutrition Education. 16 years ago I met another social worker who had raised his daughter as a single Dad and we married. His ancestors fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. Bob has advanced degrees in History, especially The Constitution and taught K-12 after his first retirement. We are now fully retired but have for the last 15 years been fully trained Adult Boy Scout Leaders. We have given the boys the opportunities to do their genealogy and if they have relatives who fought - or died at local battles we help them find the names of their kin on the monuments and photograph them. Many boys have felt "shivers" or have had a feeling of "kinship" when hiking certain trails in the Park. They are all changed by experience as you see the bullet holes in the houses or visit shops that were hospitals during the battle. My job as I am now a cancer survivor of 11 years is to "drive the toe truck" I teach the nutrition lessons, feed the crew, and drive the van to pick up the "sore toe" brigade. Bob gives a lecture at every stop and it takes a full year of 5 visits to complete the major hikes. I dispense water bottles and Band-aids to other visitors and answer questions about life in PA, life at the time of the war and why we teach the boys about history. The troops we have worked with call us Beaver Bob and Momma Beaver as it is unusual to have a married Wood Badge Trained husband and wife team working for BSA. We have a 95% Eagle completion record. Our 3 children are now in their 40's - and I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! I love to travel, have been to 43 of the 50 states which is not bad for a girl from West Sussex who was just going to spend a year here and go back to University. We enjoy gardening, and hunting and fishing; have a cabin in the mountains shared with the family; and go trout fishing, surf fishing and buck hunting, can our own food and I sew our own clothes. Would love to be a re-enactor but no longer have the stamina. Bob shoots black powder rifle and teaches history in a very hands on way. We love the town of Gettysburg and it is a very welcoming place albeit a tad crowded in the summer. Anyone wanting to know more can contact me through FB.
Here is Wendy’s information on Gettysburg
The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 was an Act of the Parliament in the United Kingdom abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire. In America, there were plenty of triggers of the Civil War, (known in the Southern states of the U.S. as “The War of Northern Aggression” and virtually all of them revolved around the concept of slavery in the United States. The small, hot and steamy town of Gettysburg in south central Pennsylvania played a big role in the outcome of that war.
The Battle of Gettysburg took place on July 1-3, 1863 in and around the village of Gettysburg. This battle was one of the most important battles of the Civil War for the North. Robert E. Lee had invaded the North and was trying to defeat the Union Army after dominating the conflict south of the Mason Dixon line. However, the Union Army held him off and sent him retreating. This was an embarrassment to General Lee and his supporters, and still (conceptually) plays a part in American politics to this day.
The Confederate Army was led by General Robert E. Lee along with General's Longstreet and Pickett. The Union Army was led by General George Meade. The Southerners were armed with British Enfield rifles and received support from England. Lord Palmerston (Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston) was the British Prime Minister during the American Civil War. Although he was anti-slavery, his sympathies were with the Confederacy, believing that once permanently separated from United States they would be a valuable trading partner in cotton, tea, and whisky. Furthermore, before the war he was concerned the growing American nation would again be a threat to the British Empire, so felt that successful Southern secession was in Britain’s best interests.
The Battle took place over three days. On the first day the armies were still coming together. The Confederates outnumbered the Union the first day and caused them to retreat through the town of Gettysburg to the south side of town. General Lee wanted his men to continue the attack and finish off the Union troops. However, his men delayed and the Union had the opportunity to dig in and set up their defenses.
By the second day, the armies from both sides were now at full force. The Union had around 94,000 soldiers and the Confederates around 72,000. Lee attacked and there was fierce fighting throughout the day with both sides taking heavy losses. The Union lines held.
The third day, General Lee decided to make an all or nothing attack. He felt if he could win this battle, the South would win the war. He sent General Pickett, with 12,500 men, on a direct charge at the heart of the Union Army. This famous attack is called Pickett's Charge. Pickett's men were defeated with over half of them injured or killed. General Lee and the Confederate Army retreated. One of the main reasons this attack was turned back was that not all who started the attack chose to finish it.
The Battle of Gettysburg was the deadliest battle of the Civil War. There were around 46,000 casualties including nearly 8,000 deaths.
General Meade and the Union Army were exhausted and had many casualties and deaths of their own to deal with. They did not pursue Lee's Army. President Lincoln was disappointed that Meade did not pursue General Lee as he felt the entire Confederate army could have been defeated and the war ended that day.
Some Confederate soldiers opted not to return to the South and settled in Pennsylvania.
I have the opportunity to spend time on the battlefield and its environs as I settled an hour east of this historical and beautiful place. Also I am one hour west of Valley Forge, Amish Country, on the banks of the mighty Susquehanna River. My American husband and I have taken our troop of Boy Scouts on many hikes, and adventures to follow the paths of ancestors, finding their names on the massive monuments to those who participated in the battle. The town is delightful, although really crowded in high summer. History abounds and many re-enactors help you to follow the activities of the 3 days that must have been pure hell on earth. If you visit, please spend some quiet time in the cemetery where the famous speech by Abraham Lincoln, learned by me in school “Four score and seven years ago…” Written by him on the back of an envelope, in a moving train and delivered as a eulogy in that place. I will add some photos.
Wendy Joyes Holsberger, West Sussex to Pennsylvania
Map of location.
Little Round Top battle field
Museum and visitors center
One of the original buildings
Thank you Wendy for your contribution and photos I'm just sorry my web page wouldn't allow me to down load them all. Dawn
Now for the last of the UK photos from the Adderbury Lakes and village walk plus the fair.
Adderbury Lakes by Beverley Coleman
Another view by Bev.
A village garden by Maureen Tyrrell
Adderbury village cottage gardden by Maureen Tyrrell.
St Giles Fair Oxford by Anthony Morris
Thank you to all contributers and to my readers I hope you enjoy our September blog
|Posted by dawngriffis on August 7, 2017 at 9:00 PM||comments (2)|
I belong to a private Facebook page for expats, or Brits living in North America, who are close to, or over 60 years old. Most of us have been in the US many years. Most of us came to this side of the pond because of marriage or work. Many of us came at a very young age, leaving family and friends behind, plus everything that was familiar to us, whether it was food, customs or speech. Most of us thought ‘well they speak the same language we do, so it will be easy’. It didn’t take long for many of us to realize, how wrong we were. Not only are things spelled differently, grammar is different, meanings are different, plus our multitude of sayings or words, are unknown to most American ears. This is where the saying comes from ‘that we are separated by a common language’. Oh! So true, most of us have spent many hours explaining ourselves, and what we truly mean. When we are in company of other Brits, it is so easy and nice, to talk without having to explain ourselves. Of course our American husbands were young when they came to Britain, and they had to learn to understand our speech, sayings, and customs; but I don’t think many of them thought to warn us how different it was in the US; I know mine didn’t.
On this side of the pond, where different areas have different names or terms for everyday things, the same applies in Britain; but probably because total area in Britain is much smaller, we often recognise where it comes from, and generally the meaning. Brits have spread to all areas of North America, and with the onset of Facebook have been able to easily reconnect, and support each other. Recently, on the Brit page I mentioned, some one asked what words or sayings they still used, that most locals needed an explanation for them to understand. We ended up with so many; I thought it might make for an interesting blog. Obviously this connects both sides of the pond, which is what I try to do each month. I asked Beverley Coleman, our kind and prolific poet in Banbury, to write a poem addressing the subject to post for you. I will post the poem first, then list all that came out of the list of words, names, saying and terminologies that the Facebook page generated. I will also try to put meaning by each. As all of you know, I can screw things up sometimes, so if I have, please put a correction in comments below.
I came across another poem in the British magazine, ‘Evergreen’ which really describes nicely this land we Brits come from, this I will share with you at the end along with relevant photos taken by the excellent photographer Anthony Morris who lives in Oxford. The last one is of Scotland taken by my niece Emily Alsford, she asked for people not to use it without her permission. Following those, I will post some pics from the US.
Here Bev’s poem I asked her what title she’d like to use she suggested this
To Hell and Back
By Beverley Coleman
I get up in the morning
Wash my FIZZOG and away
Use the LOO before I go
I won't be back today
I'm running down the GINNEL
Couldn't give a TINKERS CUSS
Need to now STEP ON IT
Or I might just miss the bus
The HEAVENS THEY DID OPEN
Thank the Lord for a BROLLY
Must go to the bank today
And draw out extra LOLLY.
I waved to the woman across the road
Who lives NEXT DOOR BUT ONE
She is always PISSED AS A NEWT
But seems to be having some fun
I then remembered back in the day
When lots of sayings were funny
Getting KNICKERS IN A TWIST
And NOT A HAPPY BUNNY.
I carried on regardless
Looking very far
And wondering another thought
WHY SPOIL A GOOD ROAD FOR A H'PENNETH OF TAR
I started then to DAWDLE
My mind on other things
I'm thinking I'm going DOOLALLY
I'll see what tomorrow brings.
Feeling in pain
I remembered another
NO PAIN..NO GAIN.
My head all ADDLED ...I was in a TISWAS
And trying to KEEP MY PECKER UP
I called into our local pub
A drink ....I need to SUP
Feeling refreshed and RARING TO GO
My NEW BROOM NOW SWEEPS CLEAN
I'm homeward bound and very tired
But remember where I've been
How to understand the Brits
‘A bit naff’. From S. London. = not happy with situation
‘Addled’= mind not working right, could be just from being over tired e.g. my mind feels addled meaning cant think clearly
‘A right cock up’, = screwed up something, but when we say this we usually get AWFUL looks.
‘A right narna or nana’ = a person who does stupid things
Being precise for example customers at the bank in the US are asked for a couple of something, and then when we give them the 2 they ask for more. Brit tends to take numbers literally so couple = 2, few would be a more flexible amount, usually up to about 5..
‘Bloody hell’! ‘What a twat’. ‘Sod off.’ ‘Bugger that for a game of soldiers’; this is how to give vent in front of Americans, by using the swear words to a Brit with Americans not having a clue what we're saying or that we are even swearing. I once saw a New Hampshire license plate that said ‘Sod off’ obviously NH DMV had no clue they were being sworn at.
Braces = suspenders
Brolly = umbrella
Checking the post and posting a letter. = post is same as mail
Cheesed off = had enough of whatever is being said or done
Cock up = messed up a job or project
‘cos = because
‘Couldn’t give Tinkers damn about it’; or a ‘Tinkers cuss’. Tinkers were people who delivered hardware item in lorries (trucks) to homes in villages; they were good news travelers and didn’t care too much about anything being true or how accurate everything was.
Crisps – chips
Dawdle = walk slow.
Different as Chalk and cheese, instead of night and day = (for 2 people being different when you might expect them to be similar as in siblings).
Discombobulated or Underconstumbled = all mixed up
Don't ask a lazy person to do anything, they never have time. Ask a busy person they will find time. This is so true
Don't get in a Tizz = don’t get upset
Don't get your knickers in a twist = again don’t get upset over little things, knickers are underpants usually female
Don’t just stand there like a tin of milk = don’t just stand there doing nothing
Don't lose your bottle = nerve
Don’t spoil a road for a h'peneth (halfpenny) of tar.= don’t make short cuts by not using enough of what is needed to do a job properly, in other words a job worth doing, is worth doing well, or a job's not worth a tinker's cuss if its not done well.
Double 2 throws Americans; Brits almost always will use double 2 or any number that there are 2 of the same number together or even triple 2 if there are 3 together are the same number
Elastoplasts = bandaid
Fiddle = whether an object or person or situation = to try anyway necessary to make it work e.g. I fiddled with it until it started.
Fizzogg = a person’s face
Fortnight = 2 weeks.
Going "doo lally tap" or doo lally = a little crazy in mind or thoughts not clear thinking or behaviour
In a tiswas = didn’t know which way to turn
Jacket potato. = baked potato
Jumper = sweater
keep your hair on = don’t get all upset over nothing
Keep your pecker up= keep your chin up, things will get better
Knock me up = knock on my door to wake me up in the morning.
Knocked up = woke me up as in the morning by knocking on my bedroom door
Lollygag = hanging around doing nothing useful
Loo = toilet
Mucky pup =someone who got dirty and messy
Nah! = No
Next door but one = it means the house after the one next door to you.
OAP. Old Age Pensioner = same as a person receiving SS
Off his trolly = a person not really with it mentally!
Old trout. = very old person probably wrinkled
Owt = nothing or anything e.g. I haven’t got owt to give you.
Pinched = stole
Pissed as a newt, people usually think it means mad- ticked off. = not happy with situation
Rubber, = eraser.
Rubber bands for elastic bands.
Scunnered or scuppered? = fooled or out done
Storm in a teacup, whereas Americans say tempest in a teapot; their version of "I'm a little teapot" is different too, and they often call a kettle a teapot or vice versa.
Take the dustbins out ‘cos the dustman is coming. = take the garbage or rubbish bins out because they are being collected, the dustman is the name given to the person doing the job of picking them up.
Tea up! = Means tea time the afternoon meal is ready or just a cup of tea is ready.
Telegraph poles = utility poles
The way we pronounce some things is hard for Americans to understand here are a couple of examples - Bottle many think we are saying butt holes; water they often think we are saying, weight.
’titfer’ = hat is a cockney rhyming slang, of course plus there's a problem if it the hat was red... "Red hat, no drawers!" drawers = underpants or knickers
You are in and out like a pox doctors clerk = in and out of the house
Wellies = Wellington boots
Here is the poem about our home country
Where in the World?
Meet the people, see the smiles.
Roam the counties, walk the miles.
Conquer mountains, see the coasts.
Try the famous Sunday roasts.
Drink the whiskey, drink the beer.
Marvel at the cultures here.
Visit Scotland, see the Glens.
Through your eyes or through a lens.
Watch the sunsets on the West.
That is Ireland at its best
Channel Islands, Isle of Wight.
Shetland for the Northern Lights.
Fish the rivers, walk the Dales
Steeped in history, hear the tales
Palaces and castles stand.
Waterways snake through the land.
Know the heritage and the laws.
Read of battles, read of wars.
Rulers, monarchs of the ages
Archived in the history pages.
Come and ride the railway
Through Snowdonia today.
As the light fades, day is done.
Go to Stonehenge, watch the sun.
John o’Groats down to Land’s End.
Wales to Ireland, families, friends.
Meet the people, see the smiles
Come, explore the British Isles!
By Joanne Jervis
Printed in the Evergreen magazine the summer 2017 edition
Blenheim Palace Woodstock By Anthony Morris
Hot day at Bourton on the Water by Anthony Morris
Birling Gap by Anthony Morris
Eastbourne beach and pier
Ponies keeping cool at Port Meadow Oxford by Anthony Morris
Minster Lovell ruins by Anthony Morris
Stocks at Stanton Harcourt by Anthony Morris
Whitney the town where the blankets were made. by Anthony Morris
Village of Shutford by the late Robert Bowman
South Western coast of Scotland by Emily Alsford
Arizona by Jean & Corb Sponcel
a garden in Arizona by Jean & Corb Sponcel
Golf course in Arizona by Jean & Corb Sponcel
Colorado stream by Carol Gillen
Oregon by Carol Gillen
Maine by Penny Gramling
Maine again by Penny Gramling
Chickens in Vermont owned bya Brit Jacqueline C Rousseau, where I get my eggs
Loon and chick by Jane Glick
That’s it folks hope you have enjoyed the blog, and thanks to all the Brits that contributed to it.
|Posted by dawngriffis on July 9, 2017 at 12:55 AM||comments (2)|
This month the blog is going to be a little different. I am sure if you are a regular reader you are familiar with the Banbury lady Beverley Coleman who is a very prolific poet. Bev and her family of about 6 or 7 took a trip in June to Canada. They flew from Heathrow Airport in London to Vancouver BC. Their itinerary was as follows Vancouver 2 nights, Vancouver Island 1 night, Whistler 2 nights, Kamloops 1 night, Banff 2 nights, Jasper 2 nights, Calgary 2 nights. All of this was their own steam in a rented a vehicle and one of them did all the driving. From Calgary they flew to Toronto, where they stayed 3 nights, and of course visited Niagara Falls. During the trip, along with the many photos Bev shared with all the ‘Banbury Friends’, she of course wrote poems as they went along. Bev kindly has allowed me to use her poems and some of her pictures for you all to enjoy. Because Bev and co are from England, and Canada is on this side of the pond most of the pictures will be from this side of the pond. I hope you enjoy the trip considering they left England with their gardens full of flowers it must have been a bit of a surprise for them all!
In my last blog different herbs were mentioned, I received some request to explain how I used them, and any other good uses. I have put a small list together for you, it will be posted at the end. I’m afraid this is going to be a long blog!
Now for Bev’s adventure in poems and photos:
Heathrow airport London
June 3rd clouds under their plane
Vancouver BC June 3rd
Sleeping like a baby
And then I hear a ping
That's my phone I tell myself
What news will my phone bring.
Its David Sydney Woodman
A message to convey
David here it's 5am
With you it's passed mid-day.
That's it I'm wide awake now
I'll catch up on your news
Hope everyone is happy
And no one has the blues.
I hope the weather with you
Has been okay today
It's usually nice while I'm away
But not I hear you say.
Is everyone behaving
No falling out you know
I might be lots of miles away
Don't mean I'm not in tow.
So all my lovely friends out there
I'll keep on looking in
Keep posting me your messages
Then I can wear a grin.
It helps the ache that's in my heart
I miss you one and all
Eight hours behind is what I am
But I'm having a ball
Scenes around BC that they all enjoyed
yes that is snow!
Ubove and below Bow Lake Baniff National Park
Car loaded at the ready
And all raring to go
Seat belts fastened click click click
The sixth day in a row.
Today we journey Eastward
From Kamloops on our way
Lots of miles to cover
Must be done today
Another Hotel waiting
Another comfy bed
A promise..a warm welcome
Once we have been fed.
I gaze out of the window
As we go on today
Fir trees in abundance
All lean a certain way.
Mountains stand magnificent
Some still edged with snow
Lupines grow on roadsides
They make a pretty show.
I close my eyes my music plays
My mind goes back to home
My absent friends all waiting
To hear how far I roam.
Eating up the petrol
The tank that was once full
Looking for the station
This journeys never dull.
Occasionally the sun goes in
The skies are looking grey
It adds to the adventure
And a very pleasant day.
snow snow in June no less
The first bear siting
Northern Rockies in June
Take a look in front of you
What is it that you see
A mountain top covered with snow
It looks so good to me.
I've travelled far to see it
Over land and sea
A wonderful land of fir trees
All stand majestically.
Whichever way your body turns
Be it left or right
A mountain stands on either side
In sunlight that is bright.
There's rocks of every colour
A landslide here and there
Water so much water
There's water everywhere.
But then it stands to reason
With all the melting snow
That rushes down the mountains
It just goes with the flow.
In places though it's very cold
An ice field forms ...oh wow
A glacier on the mountain slope
Where and when and how.
There's people from all walks of life
With cameras just like me
Capturing the moment
For everyone to see.
You notice everywhere is clean
There's litter bins galore
A Dunny in the woodland
You couldn't ask for more.
We stop to have a coffee
Another photo shoot
From Jasper into Calgary
We take the scenic route.
tavelling to Calgary
Such a beautiful country
And even more
Not such an early rise today
What are we going to do
The rain has started falling
Let's go and have a brew.
Scrambled eggs and Bacon
Fruit and Yogurt too
Toast a Danish Pastry
Is that enough for you.
Bellies full to last the day
It's time to go explore
Wet coats at the ready
Make sure you close the door.
Let's head to the mountains
The wind chill has a bite
But we still head on forward
Always a wondrous sight.
Eyes peeled at the wayside
We see a lovely sight
A big brown bear a foraging
Two deer there on the right.
There's water water everywhere
And still a lot of snow
Our journey was magnificent
We still have far to go.
Bear above and deer below
The snow it started falling
An unexpected shock
Here in shorts and tee shirt
It's time to now take stock.
Flip flops off ...Trainers on
Sun screen in the bin
Dark clouds now surround us
But we take it on the chin.
We're British and we're very proud
They say it takes all sorts
But really should have thought it through
And threw away the shorts.
We soldier on regardless
We shiver from the cold
But still we take the photographs
Not stupid but just bold.
The fir trees in the distance
They're boughs hanging with snow
We're running out of patience
We see no deer or doe.
The daylight now is fading
The clouds are very low
But what time will we get there
We still have far to go.
The sun returns like magic
As we go on our way
The roads dry up just perfect
Another awesome day
At the bottom of the Falls
Bev's family at the Falls
Niagara Falls by Bev
I looked on in amazement
My eyes popped out my head
I thought I was in heaven
I could well have been dead.
I heard this rush of water
I saw a sight ...not real
The atmosphere was magic
I now see the appeal.
Water water everywhere
Excitement and a thrill
A boat ride to be talked about
Just one will fit the bill.
The noise at times was deafening
Could hardly hear ones speak
It's not for the faint hearted
It isn't for the weak.
We did it though and glad we did
We laughed had so much fun
Getting soaked and drying out
Thank goodness for the sun.
Niagara is a must you know
Put it on your list
An awesome time my families had
I think you've got the gist.
Leaving Canada Toronto under tornado warnings!
Driving to the airport !!
Sadly now today's the day
I have say Goodbye
To such a beautiful country
Nobody can deny.
We've travelled over mountains
We've travelled many miles
The scenery is awesome
But I haven't climbed no stiles
The people are real friendly
The food has been just great
The cleanliness is second to none
There's nothing you could hate.
We've seen the snow
We've had some rain
Thunder and Lightening
Then sun again.
We've travelled on a cable car
Up to the mountain peak
The air was fresh and riveting
Just had to take a peek.
We took a boat and got real wet
The highlight of this week
We've laughed so much it's all been great
Adventure we did seek.
A Baseball game to round it off
Now we're packed ready to leave
Canada you've been fantastic
Our mission we did achieve.
See the sunrise coming into England
We travelled through the darkness
We were chasing the Sun
A brand new day adorning
Good Morning everyone.
I hear you've had a scorcher
While I have been away
I hope I see a bit of it
Is all I've got to say.
I have a fortnights washing
To go with what l had
I wished I hadn't left it
Now I'm feeling bad.
But I'll have to grin and bare it
And pull my finger out
Not keep plugged in to Facebook
Or be a lazy lout.
For those that missed the action
I've drunk Canada Dry
I wrote a poem for Fathers Day
Which even made me cry.
Well now I'm back what have I missed
What gossip do you know
I need to hear about it
Are there any tales of wow.
A coffee catch ups what we need
But that will have to wait
Until the end of June I think
Have we got a date.
I'll leave you now just for a bit
I hope I've no jet lag
I won't be long...speak to you soon
I'll go unpack my bag.
Thank you Beverley Coleman and Family for sharing your trip and allowing me to share it , Dawn
Flags from all the countries represented photo from Oldies but Goodies Ex Pat's page
Summer Soltice on the Thames at Farmoor by Anthony Morris
Sun goes down on Soltice by Anthony Morris
Herbs I frequently use and how I use them.
In summer I use all herbs fresh, more is needed when fresh than when they are dried. Note during the summer I am constantly drying herbs for winter. I dry them in the narrow draw in my refrigerator. I put them either chopped or just leaves in plastic open trays to dry. This way most keep a good green colour, and maintain flavour when dried. Once dry, I put them in air tight plastic jars that formally held dried herbs I had bought.
Basil I use fresh and dried in all my meat sauces for Italian dishes. I’ll put it on salads fresh in the summer. I do not make pesto.
Chives I cut then up to about ¼ long, and use lots in all meat, poultry, and fish dishes, plus on top of sour cream when eating baked of jacket potatoes. When chive flowers are available I break the flowers up & sprinkle them on top of salads. If I haven’t got enough onion I substitute chives. When drying I cut them up the same length to dry.
Italian or flat leaf parsley I use in just about everything. Parsley is good for freshening, your palate. Fresh I just chop up leaves from 5-6 stems to put in dishes when cooking, dried I put dried leaves in my palm and crumble them into the dish during cooking.
Lovage. Is often used by diabetics as a sweetener. The stems are hollow and can be used as a straw! It is also good in dishes for calming stomachs down, if someone is known to have digestive problems. I put it in all my meat dishes and fish pies, chowders etc. Fresh I just chop up 6 or 8 leaves to put in dishes dried I put dried leaves in my palm and crumble them into the dish during cooking.
Mint I use fresh or dried. I grow lots because I use a lot. I keep cut mint in vases in my kitchen, and bathroom, to keep ants away. I make sure it doesn’t run out of water so it will root, then I plant it, cut more to replenish it. I gather all the mint I can at the end of the summer to put in jars as concentrated, to have to make mint sauce through the winter. With those we strip leaves, chop them fine in a food processor, put a little sugar in it, fill the jars with the mint as tightly packed as I can, then pour malt vinegar in it. Put lid on, plastic lids are better if you have them. Once opened to make mince sauce I keep the concentrated in the fridge. To make sauce take out at least 2 heaped tea spoons of mint, put in whatever you use for your mint sauce, add a couple of tsp of sugar, and fill with malt vinegar stir well and ready to use. We like it on lamb, and most green vegetables, plus sometimes mashed potatoes, it especially good on spinach. When the new potatoes come in, I always put several sprigs in with the potatoes while they are boiling. I dry the mint same as all other herbs.
Oregano I use fresh and dried in all my meat sauces for Italian dishes not too much either way because it is very strong. When I make a Greek salad I chop it and sprinkle it fresh on top of it.
Rosemary I usually put a very small amount in meat dishes, not poultry or fish. I do put a few sprigs in olive oil with garlic granules when roasting red potatoes and cherry tomatoes. When using dried I just use a pinch.
Sage I use in all poultry dishes chopped fresh, or a generous pinch dried
Tarragon is good with all fish dishes especially if baked, or grilled. I do not use it when making English fish and chips. Occasionally I’ll use it in poultry dishes such as pies, chowders etc. a pinch at a time sometimes 2 pinches.
Thyme has a very strong flavour so I’m not as generous with the amount I put in. I mostly use it in all beef dishes. Fresh just strip leaves from stem and put in while cooking. Dried I only put in a scant pinch.
Winter savoury has a peppery flavour; I use it in all meat dishes such as stews, casseroles, meat pies. Plus I use it on fish. I usually put a generous pinch or 2 in all.
Not an herb but I love the taste of Nasturtium flowers just to eat they are very peppery, yellow ones are mild, the redder they get, the stronger they are also good on salads. Warning if you just pick the heads, and pop them in your mouth, check there’s no insect inside them, bees love their nectar!!
Back when we had a huge garden, I had many raised beds, many were loaded with herbs. During that time I made a lot of herb vinegars to use, sell, and for gifts. It is very easy to make, you just need a lot of herbs. Just about any herb will do. Fill a gallon glass jar packed well with which ever herb you want to use, fill the jar with white vinegar put lid on it (if lid is metal put a layer of plastic wrap between vinegar and lid), if plastic lid no need to do this. Place in the sun for 3 weeks. Strain put in bottles or jars, put a few sprigs of the herb used in to show what it is, and put top on. These are good for cooking and for salad dressings. There was one vinegar I did make that was not an herb, but was very popular it was Raspberry vinegar. I found the late raspberries made the best vinegar. Again just fill jar with raspberries, fill to top with white vinegar, set in sun for 3 weeks. Strain and bottle or jar up, do not put fruit in, the vinegar will be pink so you will know what it is. I sold out of this one very quickly.
The next 3 photos are our raised beds where I grew herbs back in late 80s and 90s
That's it folks, I enjoyed your comments last month would love to have more. Update on Mike he is still improving.
|Posted by dawngriffis on June 10, 2017 at 4:45 PM||comments (10)|
It has been 5 months I believe since my last blog, I am very sorry it has taken me so long to write. The reason for it is Mike my husband of nearly 55 years has been seriously ill with heart problems. He suffered many complications before, and after the heart surgery, requiring all my time, and effort to help him through it. Our family and neighbours have come through in aces. It seemed that every time he needed to go to one hospital or another, whether planned or emergent a major storm hit. This past week, after many delays he has started cardiac rehab; it will be 3 times a week and will last 6 or more weeks. Am hoping with this step forward things will return to normal, reason for me to attempt another blog.
Beverley Coleman our prolific poet has been busily writing poems but right now she is vacationing in British Columbia, if I can find some of the ones she has written that will go with pictures I can find I will include them here, they may not be relevant for the month.
Here in Vermont the farm stands are opening and filling up with plants and early veggies. Today at the Crossroads Farm stand in Norwich, which has taken over from the Killdeer’s farm stand; I bought a lovely Boston lettuce, radishes, a bunch of mint, and a rosemary plant to replace the one that died during the winter. I have a lot of mint coming up in the garden but not ready to pick. I needed it for the kitchen, and bathroom to put in water so it would repel the ants, ants hate mint!
After I got home I picked some herbs to dry in my refrigerator. They were lovage, winter savory and tarragon. I dry different ones all summer so I have them for cooking during the winter, but in the summer months I use fresh herbs in my cooking. If you want to know what or how I use the different herbs just email me and I’ll send you the info.
I have managed to take a look at our wild flower area it looks as if there will be lots of flowers for the bees, birds and butterflies again this year, plus ones for great grand daughters to pick. Finally the lupines are blooming this year; it’s the third year since I sowed the seeds. So far they are all a very deep purple. The lilac bushes were a show but short lived thanks to the rain and winds that blew through here at the wrong time.
I heard today that 4 Corners farm will have strawberries by mid June, theirs are the best. Maybe with Mike improving we’ll be able to make the trip up there. It is time to replenish our freezer with strawberries for our winter trifles. Sunrise Farm has increased their sheep flock, so I’m hoping to buy a whole lamb from them to put in our freezer. It’s almost as good as English lamb!! Maybe it’s because it is raised in New England!
Here is one of Beverley Colman's poems
People and friends
As days go by and life goes on
New people we do meet
All different in their own sweet way
And I find this a treat.
You come from different backgrounds
Your memories you share
But one thing that stands out the most
Is that most people care
They care enough to ask the question
Answers come real quick
Your not afraid to share with us
To tell us how you tick.
The genuine they stand out
Will help you everyday
Will meet you for a coffee
Help you through your day.
Speak with you at midnight
If sleep you cannot go
Reassuring you you'll be ok
As if their in the know.
Good people you won't always meet
A pity may I say
But friendships for the making
And these are here to stay.
So each and everyone of you
Grasp friendships while you can
Be nice...be kind..be loving
It makes a better man.....( Woman
Banbury Friends Picture by Maureen Tyrrell
This poem is about Britain favourite fast food!
Good old days
by Beverly Coleman
Whatever happened to your good old days
When you went to buy a chip
All fried in lard and greasy
And went straight on your hip.
They'd serve it in old newspaper
Watered vinegar and salt
You ate them with your fingers
Those germs ..nobody's fault.
A piece of fish who knew what kind
All battered on the top
A Dandelion and Burdock
Or some other kind of pop.
How things have changed no newspaper
They're now laid in a tray
A wooden fork to eat with
But the smell won't go away.
Remember it....just take a whiff
A smell that's like no other
Saturday nights at the Chippy
With Father and with Mother.
Fish and Chips in newspaper so you had something to read as you walked around town eating it. Oh! so good with malt vinegars over the fish and chips!!
Kathy Cusicks spring garden in Banbury
Exbury gardens by Anna Massey
Near Iffley Lock by Lin Coulsen
A wall in Aynho by Gill Batten
Summer soltice at Farmoor by Anthony Morris soon to be again
New Crossroads farm stand sign in Norwich Vermont
This years peppers growing at 4 Corners Farm
This years salad greens at Sunrise Farm
Frosty's Greenhouse are full for 2017
Part of our wild flower garden showing some of the lupines blooming for the first time
Some more of our wildflowers
A Blue bird taken by our daughter Jane Glick
That's it folks hope it publishes
|Posted by dawngriffis on February 17, 2017 at 7:10 AM||comments (0)|
Dear Blog reader,
After a multitude of attempts to post this months blog, I have to admit defeat. The script has not been a problem, but the pictures will not download, no matter what I have tried.
Finally admitting defeat is not easy for me, as I believe 'Perserverance brings results' but not this time. Therefore I have posted the blog on my two Facebook pages. First my personal one which is just Dawn Griffis, the second one is, Living in America vs England, page. If you do not have access to Facebook, I have compiled it so that I can email it to anyone as an attachment. To be able to do this, first please email me your request, and I will send it to you. In the subject line just write;- February Blog please. With you contacting me through my email it will give me your return address.
I am very sorry for the inconvenience; my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Kind regards to all
|Posted by dawngriffis on January 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
In an effort to put the Trump fiasco into the back of my thoughts, fears and dread; I have been working on something a little different for this blog.
We have our usual poems from our friend Beverley Coleman, plus one written by someone we think is sadly no longer with us, but submitted by Edd Frost another member of Banbury Friends Facebook page. Banbury Friends won’t be going on walks again until February, so not so many local walks pictures from them. Aynho walks continue all winter, and so I have a couple of those. A new member to Banbury Friends is Alison Davis formerly from Banbury now living on Cape Cod Massachusetts. Alison has been hiking on the Appalachian Trail for some time, as with most people she is doing it in segments, her latest one in December, January was in Pennsylvania. I have several of her pictures to post.
First we will have the poems and England’s pictures, then Alison’s for this side of the pond.
New Year’s first day
By Beverley Coleman
I'm pleased I woke this morning
Then I can say to you
"Good Morning " it's a brand new year
Hope your not feeling blue.
No hangovers to talk about
No hang- ups come your way
Let's start the day by smiling
To help us on our way.
Be positive ...be happy
That's all I ask of you
Just stand up and be counted
Make sure your there in view.
Don't hide away ...walk to the front
This brand new year must start
It's all about your attitude
Don't keep it in your heart.
So folks as you are waking
On this first day of the year
Just take a glance behind you
Say Good-bye and never fear.
Banbury Cross and town centre submitted by Robert Bowman photographer unknown
Dorchester Abbey through the arch and rain by Anthony Morris for bBC South weather channel
By Beverley Coleman
Gone are the days of Daisy chains
And Buttercups under your chin
Of skipping in the playground
Things childhood days did bring.
The days of roaming over fields
A sandwich for a snack
To last us till it's teatime
When our folks expect us back.
Holding hands and kiss chase
Love letters passed around
Underneath the lamp light
Sitting on the ground.
Talking till the cows come home
All innocent and tame
Boys and Girls together
Playing a childhood game.
Nothing like it is today
The pace was oh so slow
No mobile phones to check on us
We were allowed to go.
Where we want..when we want
Hours and hours on end
Magic days remember them
If you don't you won't offend.
I will just jog your memory
Cos this is what I do
So you can reminisce some more
These thoughts from me to you.
The following pictures are ones about what I think about when I reminisce, what are yours?
View from my grandparent's home in the 1940s
Laburnum tree my Gramp planted between 1906 -1913 when they lived in the house.
Red telephone box at the top of Hollow Road and it's still there
Fields I walked as a child now they are walked regularly by Aynho walkers photo by Les Horley
English robin by Anthony Morris this and all the following bird pictures were taken by him in his garden -they are also the ones I miss
Blue Tit, smaller than American chickadee
For those not familiar with the Appalachian Trail this is from Wikipedia
The Appalachian Trail is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States, between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is about 2,200 long, though the precise length changes as parts are modified or rerouted. The trail passes through 14 states. Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The trail was completed in 1937 after more than a decade of work, although improvements and changes continue. It is maintained by 31 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns, roads and farms. The trail conservancy claims that the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking trail in the world
Here is Alison’s story about her latest hike on the AT and a little about herself.
l arrived from Banbury to Cape Cod in 1982 after being married to a man from Chatham.
My fiancé Finbarr who comes from Dublin, Ireland arrived in 1977 to complete an education in Horticulture at the University of Massachusetts. l later studied horticulture at our local community college. When we first met in 2013 l had a gardening business in Chatham MA, and Fin owned his own landscape company in Hyannis Port, so we decided to combine our businesses and live together. Fin had always been interested in the Appalachian trail and it was on a 2013 hike in Maine while surveying the land below us after climbing to the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine that our idea of a section hike was born, two weeks later we found ourselves dropping of our car at a trailhead in Massachusetts and having our friend Bill Ross pick us up and deposit us at a trailhead just before Connecticut. After Bill drove off l said omg what have we just done! Realization had finally sunk in that we now have to walk to Massachusetts. The weather was beautiful on that particular section; apart from a little chilly the sun was smiling upon us throughout Connecticut. The beauty of being a section hiker is that for the most part you can pick and choose when to go and can thus try to pick the best weather possible; after all we wanted this to be fun. We had also decided to work on our completion of the trail in the traditional way which is South to North. Connecticut was perfect for us to pick as our first state to hike, it had a lovely flat river walk for several miles and the terrain did not seem to be impossible to complete in the time we had allowed ourselves to finish it which was 3 days. At our very first shelter we slept in we even had a porcupine visitor and l had no idea they could climb trees. We also had our first experience of trail magic at the end of the river walk with a Boy Scout group offering coffee and doughnuts, lucky us. Along the river walk we also came up with our trail names, Fin chose "Mad Paddy" and l became "Teapot", although l am now known as "Twisted Blister" due to the fact l seem to be plagued with them on most hikes. The last few miles hiking into Massachusetts were the hardest part of our hike, we were tired or rather l was tired and the mountains seemed much higher than in CT, Fin can go on and on all day long whereas l am a slower hiker so that last push was really difficult for me. Thankfully we had our headlamps so could find our way back to the car in the dark. Our first hike we carried everything we thought we would possibly need and even though we still carry some weight we have streamlined our backpacks as we learn what is really necessary and what is not, although sometimes wine, cheese and crackers are absolutely necessary. Our next state was our own home state in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts and we loved Mt Greylock so much we day hiked it again later on in 2' snow drifts. This was followed by Maryland where history abounds, New Jersey which is really much more beautiful than l could ever have imagined (only knowing the turnpike). New York was next which offers some stunning views, a mad dash across both sides of the palisades Pkwy (yes we have this on video) and a walk up Bear Mountain and a jaunt through the zoo. Vermont affectionately known as the Green Tunnel was next on our list and is still my favorite state to walk through, l think it reminds me more of home back in the UK with its pastoral views. We ended up in Hanover NH and that was going to be our next state to hike but alas the weather beat us and we then decided to tackle the great state of Rocksyvania! Oops haha Kerhonkson, NJ s sorry l meant Pennsylvania. l can fully understand why many thru hikers loathe this state with its incessant rocks especially in the more northern part of the state although they are sprinkled everywhere except the Cumberland Valley which was a nice easy walk through fields and my favourite town so far, Boiling Springs. Many a hiker have hung their broken boots from a tree. The northern part was like walking in a riverbed, and there were some areas where there were no rocks to the left and right of us but no, we had the riverbed to follow. This last trip we took down to complete Pennsylvania started us out in Port Clinton. We parked our car in Lehigh Gap and took a hiker shuttle down to Port Clinton. Our driver Joyce was very entertaining to talk to and before we knew it we were being dropped off at the Port Clinton hotel for our one night stay so we could disembark early the next morning. Lucky for us the hotel had a great restaurant where we could carb up and even luckier a candy shop right next door where we purchased some delicious sweets for our trip although l think most of them were eaten that night in our hotel room, less weight to carry was our logic on that one!
We started out early wearing our bright orange (lots of hunting here and much of the trail follows State Game Lands) and walked along the Little Schuylkill River for a little while before taking a hard left leaving the river and started our ascent of Blue Mountain. Blue Mountain is a very long mountain range, and l really was beginning to wonder if it would ever end. Most mountains you go up and down and then come to the next one but not Blue Mountain, one day l need to see just how far it goes. We walked about 15.2 miles that first day to get us to the Eckville Shelter for the night. It was a little chilly but we had recently upgraded our sleeping bags to winter bags so l knew we wouldn't freeze. One of the biggest things about PA is the water supply, sometimes the springs are dry so you always need to be on the lookout for a water source. l hate bits floating around in my water so poor Fin has to carry a water filter which is healthier anyways than just iodine tablets (just my opinion but really it’s the bits floating in my tea l cannot stand). We had a restful night at the Eckville Shelter or rather Fin did, l tend to sleep with one eye or both eyes open half expecting a serial killer to come around the corner at any given moment. l can thank my mum Rosemary for my obsession reading true crime, serial killer books and to just top it off like a cherry on a cake, the ID channel, in fact when we talk to each other we always discuss what books we are reading at this particular time, which ones we would pack in our suitcase to deliver on the next visit and how sorry we were that Ann Rule had passed. Thanks Mum l love you. New Year's Eve day arrives and we are on our way to our next destination. When we come upon the Allentown shelter we see a very large gathering of people who wave us over to the shelter. This large gathering of people had a fire going and a ridiculous amount of delicious food in their midst and of course invited us to eat. We had some wonderful conversation with the Allentown Hiking Club members out for their New Year's Eve Day hike and ate some cookies because the more we eat the less they have to hike out, so of course we obliged. It was a cold day and we didn't stay to long so we would get to our next destination for the evening a little early. Fin had made us reservations at The Blue Mountain Summit Inn B&B. We walked in and the owner said he was not expecting us until later and asked us if we had parked our car and at the same time we both said no we walked here from Port Clinton, he shook his head and called us crazy. Our room was wonderful and after a hot shower, a fabulous dinner and great music we retired to our room where l too got a great night's sleep. We arose a little late the next morning thanking our gracious hosts for a lovely evening and great place to stay and continued our Northerly path. It was just a simple walk in the woods until we reached the “Knife Edge". Now the "Knife Edge" is not particularly hard or very long for that matter compared to its notorious namesake at Mt Katahdin, Maine but with just enough snow and ice on the rocks it was interesting to say the least, the views were well worth it though. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and the rocks were not too bad in this section at all and before we knew it we had walked down the mountain and completed our 13.3 mile hike for the day. With the weather coming in we drove our car up to the Delaware Water Gap area and found a Staybridge hotel to stay in for the next 3 nights, l seriously could live in one of these hotels! When the weather finally broke we arranged to meet our hiker shuttle at the Delaware Gap and have him drive us to Lehigh Gap which is where we left the trail. Lehigh Gap is a short, 1 mile but steep rock scramble climb and extremely exposed, there was a time where Fin took mine and his pack so l could heave myself up the rocks. The views of course were outstanding in this section. This area is an EPA Superfund site after many decades of zinc smelting resulted in contamination of the Lehigh River and the surrounding creeks and also large scale airborne fallout from emissions killed all the forestland and vegetation. We stayed at the Leroy Smith shelter for the night and even though it was cold we had plenty of water (Fin had to travel about 1 mile to the water source) for dinner and drinks and of course toasty warm sleeping bags. The next day was all rocks; people say the last 20 miles is the worst for rocks in PA and l have to agree with them. Wolf rocks were in this section and had some very large rocks to walk on. Wolf Rocks is approximately the southern limit of glaciations along the Appalachian Trail route during the last ice age. It also had some Rhododendron arches to walk under and l can only imagine what this area must look like with the Rhodies in bloom (May require another trip here in the spring). Again the views were truly amazing and we feel so very blessed that we are getting to enjoy them. Only other was 2 or so miles to the Kirkridge shelter, and so this was our home for the evening. Not 1 drop of water to be found here. The retreat center behind the shelter is the water supply for the shelter but for obvious reasons is turned off for the winter, luckily we had not drank much of our water during the day so we feasted on some ramen noodles and bagels with some weird cheese in a cup that had not frozen, what does that say! We cozied up in our sleeping bags but we were awake most of the night, not due to the serial killers but to the clever mice that were raiding some trail magic food left by a previous hiker. Back and forth all night those mice ran but thankfully they did not try to raid our food bags or worse still climb across our faces in the night… The next day was our hike to our car at the water gap and while my feet were happy this hike was coming to an end my heart was not. Coming down Mt Minsi was a little slow due to the ice so we picked our way slowly down the mountain, and as we continued our descent, we came across a beautiful little waterfall called Eureka Creek and at this moment l was just struck by the simple beauty and thought how lucky are we to be doing this hike. We get to play in nature for our work and for our playtime, it cannot get much better than that! We have now completed 723.9 miles of our adventure from Harpers Ferry VA to Hanover NH and with the winter weather upon us will have to travel even further south to continue this beauful journey we have started together…
Now for her photos, all taken by her or Fin.
View from Lehigh Gap
Rocks, hard to climb
Kirkridge shelter- home for one night
View from Kirkridge shelter next morning
World's largest garden gnome at Kerhonkson New Jersey
That's it folks, sorry it has taken me so long to post, this is my 7th attempt and many hours of working on it. Between web site going down and not publishing it when I hit publish. I'll try to have February more timely!!!!
|Posted by dawngriffis on December 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM||comments (0)|
A Very Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year to you all; to those who celebrate differently, good wishes to you and yours.
We have snow, not a lot, but I expect it is just a taste of what is to come. Our freezer and larder is well stocked so thankfully we won’t have to go out when it is bad- one of the few benefits of aging.
I am giving mostly gift baskets this year, with mainly treats I have cooked including the things I know they like, mincepies and Norwegian sandcakes being high on the list. I will make a total of 20 dozen sandcakes and 12 dozen mincepies, this way there will still be some for Mike and me!
Our friend Beverley Coleman has written a few poems for this time of the year, and I will put photos with them. To go with the one she wrote is about a Christmas tree a friend Susan (Judd) Anderson, from Croughton in Banburyshire, she now lives in a small town in the Utah mountains, does a lot of decorations. So to go with Beverley’s poem it will be connected from across the ocean and many miles across the land, her decorated tree. Additionally several of the American pictures will be more of Sue’s beautiful decorations. Therefore this month will be a very England American combination, I hope you like it.
The last poem will be one my grandfather George Parrish wrote back in the 1920s, it is beautiful but sad. It was inspired when he saw a tramp walk through the village on Christmas Eve; the rest is just his imagination.
Home Wishes from Abroad
By Beverley Coleman
Written from a request by
Dawn Griffis, for all the absent friends
I wish I could go home again
And catch up with my friends
I wish that you could feel the love
The love that never ends
My love is dear old Banbury town
I left it years ago
The memories won't go away
As it's still my home you know
And as Christmas is approaching
I'm reaching out to you
To feel the love I'm sending
Though you know it's nothing new
I've once again wrapped presents
I've dec's upon the tree
But I wish it was in Banbury
Cos that's where I'd like to be
So all my many friends out there
And some relations too
From me it's Merry Christmas
Just pretend I'm there with you
St Michaels Church Aynho by Dorothy Gibbs
English robin by David Hartley
Off of the internet showing robin -telephone kiosk & letterr box all things I love from home
This poem of Bev’s reminded me so much of my childhood. We only had heat in the house in the kitchen come living room, where the open fire and grate was where all the cooking was done.The rest of the house was very cold; there was no indoor plumbing so no pipes to freeze. In the winter we would undress, and get into our night clothes in front of the fire, take our hot water bottles to bed with us to warm the bed, and put our clothes for the next day right close to our bed. In the morning before getting dressed we’d pull our clothes in bed with us to warm them up, and then get dressed under the covers; that takes real skill, but well worth learning!
I see we've had a visitor
He came in dead of night
As I looked out the window
I see that all is white.
Jack Frost has paid a visit
Trying to destroy
Anything left blooming
Well I suppose he had a try.
But some blooms they are hardened
And made to take the cold
But me it makes me shiver
But then I'm getting old.
Thank god for central heating
Is what I always say
Remember how it used to be
Remember back in the day.
Getting dressed while still in bed
Your breath showing in the air
Windows iced up, can't see out
Is anybody there.
So on this early morning
If you do have to go out
Just please beware it’s slippery
Where Jack Frosts been no doubt.
frost on a window from off of the internet.
The tree in all its splendour
The tinsel and the bows
The ornaments you've gathered
Lights in the darkness glows.
The candles on the mantelpiece
A jingle of a bell
A carol playing merrily
To show that all is well.
Wrapping paper everywhere
Sticky tape as well
Let's drink a toast to happiness
And a new year that is swell.
The mince pies and the mulled wine
Holly on display
Children all excited
Waiting for the day.
The stuffing of the turkey
Pigs in Blankets too
Roasties, Carrots, Brussel Sprouts.
My God I need a brew.
Too much excitement for one day
It's all still in my mind
I'll do the rest tomorrow
If the energy I find.
Christmas tree by Susan (Judd) Anderson.
Poems by Beverley Coleman
Santa is a big fat man
He wears a big red coat
He flies across the ocean
Because he hasn't got a boat.
He has a friendly Reindeer
In fact he's one or two
To pull the sleigh he comes on
To visit me and you.
He starts his journey early
You will find him in the store
Go visit him and tell him what you want
Because he isn't always sure.
He gathers information
So on this certain day
He leaves for you that certain gift
And then he flies away.
He's a very very clever man
Is dear old Santa Claus
He's seems to bring most things you want
And he seems to walk through doors.
He also climbs down chimneys
Leaving Rudolf on the roof
It's magic..... please believe me
Cos I haven't any proof.
So if you catch a glimpse of him
Just wave and softly say
Keep safe while on your travels
Come visit on the day.
Santa from the internet
After Santa I the morning
Imagine all the kiddies
Waking up on Christmas Day
To see what dear old Santa's brought
For each of them to play.
A Dolly that says Mama
Or a soft toy that was black
An Apple and a Tangerine
At the bottom of their sack.
How about some Tiddlywinks
A game of Ludo too
A jigsaw or a penny flute
That they could play to you.
Snakes and Ladders, Pack of Cards
To have a game of Snap
But give these to the kids today
They'd think ...a load of crap.
Once I had some roller skates
That you adjusted to your feet
And a pair of fluffy slippers
That I thought looked pretty neat.
But the thing that I had every year
And still love to this day
Is a box of Liquorice Allsorts
Delivered on Santa's Sleigh.
both photos above by Susan (Judd) Anderson
By George E. Parrish
Christmas Night on a dark highway
A figure old, bent and gray
He was a social outcast
Stumbling along on the dark highway
And from the hill he heard the bells
Ring out so clear and bright
Telling the world a Christ was born
For it was Christmas Night
And he heard the childish trebles
In a street nearby
Singing that sweet old carol
“Glory Be to God on High”
He saw the cottage windows
With their tinsel coloured lights
And heard the laughter from within
And the shouts of childish glee
As they received their presents
From off the Christmas tree
The outcast stopped his thought
Went back to the time when he
Was like those children in their homes
And from all airs and care was free
And he thought of his dear old mother
Who had nursed him on her knee
And had taught him how to pray
And now he was a social outcast
Alone on the dark highway
He saw the village mansion
With lights on all aglow
And saw the merry couples
Dancing to and fro
They were a happy throng
And with a sigh of “Oh My God”
The outcast turned his head
And stumbled on
He passed the other cottages
Their lights they shone so bright
And on again to the dark highway
And the blackness of the night
And in the morn they found the outcast
Cold and still was he
His heart had ceased to beat
His soul was free
A smile was on his cold gray face
His hands clasped o’er his breast
For he had heard that soft voice
Calling “Come my son and outcast
Come with me and rest”
And it was Christmas Night.
a tramp photo from internet the next one shows how they used to dress
the following are family photos
Jane our eldest
Penny our youngest
3 grear grand children and 2 step great grand children
|Posted by dawngriffis on November 13, 2016 at 7:35 AM||comments (0)|
Words cannot express my feeling about the results from the 8th November election. I think Bernie Sanders said it best when asked about the results he said, “I have no polite response at this time”! Because my feelings about it are probably best left unsaid, I will post a few America pics at the end of my favourite farm stand, taken at the end of the season. The rest will be poems by Beverley Coleman, and pictures of around Banburyshire from friends to go with either the poems, or others are some pictures from walks around Aynho - my home.
Photo by Robert Bowman
Steps ...do they lead anywhere
Let's go we can find out
Be careful of the pretty flowers
That are dotted about.
These steps have been here many years
They've seen a lot of life
But now my days of climbing them
Usually bring me strife.
But just today I'll come with you
We'll climb them both together
To paradise or thereabouts
Go put on your shoe leather.
We climbed up one and two and three
And then we got to four
I clung on to the window sill
Can I climb some more.
We finally made it to the top
And looked back where we'd been
It still looked great from up above
A really pretty scene.
Photo by Beverley Coleman
It's a foggy morning in the shires
It's also dark and grey
I went to hang my washing out
But it won't dry today
The spider has been busy
He built a little home
But it's all wet and frosty
So he needs to further roam
I thought I'd sit and contemplate
Drink coffee to warm me
But the bench is wet and it's cold out here
So in the house I be
I'll just look out the window
And dream I see the sun
It's a dreary Friday morning
But the weekend has to come
photo found on internet
They come in very useful
On days just like today
A day some say is needed
But I say stay away.
A day you can play catch up
On all those awful chores
A day you want to soon forget
A day to stay indoors.
But if you do just venture out
Please put one in your bag
It may just come in handy
But I'm not going to nag.
There are so many colours
That you may wish to choose
Go out and buy a bright one
What you got to lose.
It will keep you very dry
Stop you from getting damp
its posh name is Umbrella
But often called a Gamp.
Photo by David Sydney Woodman
After the walk poem
Did I over- do it
No is the reply
Even though I'm struggling
I am not going to lie
On my feet are blisters
But that was my own fault
I didn't put my thick socks on
But the walk I wouldn't holt
I enjoyed it as did others
Even in the rain
There are a lot of people
Who'd say we were insane
So rest is what I'll do today
My fit bit it may say
"What's up Bev are you ok"
Just resting for today.
Walking around Aynhho - Green Lane photo by Keith McClellan
Walking in the mist along Aynho Canal photo by Keith McClellan
Walking a leafy path around Aynho photo by Keith McClellan
Portway, part of the old Roman road that passes through Aynho photo by Gill Batten
The tunnel part of Portway photo by Gill Batten. When we were kids, we always ran through the tunnel as fast as we could, because of the Trolls that lived there.
A walk by Anthony Morris to see and take this photo of Oxford skyline.
Sunrise over 4 Corners Farm
Fall prices at 4 Corners Farm
still plenty of tomatoes and peppers at 4 Corners
Stand enclosed at 4 Corners but still loads of veggies
Pumpkins, winter squash, potatoes, and jugs of maple syrup in background at 4 Corners
Everyone stay safe and warm - I will do better next month Dawn.
|Posted by dawngriffis on October 12, 2016 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
Click on the http link above to open calendar then see the October log below. Crossed fingers didn't work!
|Posted by dawngriffis on October 12, 2016 at 5:50 AM||comments (0)|
Oops late with the blog, though these past few weeks I have been very busy. 15th September Levi Jace was born to Jess & Corey is our 2nd eldest grandson; he is a health bonnie boy. Madison our 2nd eldest great grand daughter had her 2nd birthday- she’s growing up so fast.
Where I have been very busy is trying to help the Horton General Hospital campaigners, they are working to save services, and stop the downgrading of their much needed hospital. My contribution is, support, advice, and suggestions from afar. To help them raise money for the cause, I have produced a calendar; all profit/proceeds from the sale, will go to the campaign fund to ‘Save Our Horton’. The calendar has photos donated from photographers who live in Banburyshire, which is the area all around Banbury where residents live who use the Horton. I will put a link to it at the end of the blog; hopefully I can make it work!!! People who have already bought it have said ‘the pictures are amazing’, ‘best calendar ever bought’. Each calendar sold will give to the Save Our Horton fund £1.41 or $ 1.82.
Autumn or fall is well on its way on both sides of the pond. Berries are out in UK, straw bales being prepared for storage, foxes are wandering into gardens. In Vermont the colours are stunning this year, they would look even better if the sun would stay out. We are hoping to travel some of the roads before it has passed; sadly the window is so short for doing it. We have bought our winter stock of groceries, so if we are confined to the house because of bad weather, we will still have plenty of food. Of course we also went to 4 Corners farm for winter veggies, also got our last fresh strawberries there for the year. They grow a late crop which is nice to have.
Again Beverley Coleman has supplied us with a few poems, and Banburyshire people pictures to go with them. 4 Corners Farm as usual can be relied upon to post many good photos, Penny, our youngest can always supply pictures of Aubree & Madison, and friend Sharon Styles- Osgood gave several local pictures. Hope you like them all.
Don’t forget to look at the end for the calendar. To get your country’s price click on the flag at the top of the page once it opens, and pick your country. US & UK produced calendars are all local shipping prices.
Things are dropping everywhere
Dropping from above
Coming down from heaven
On a Snow White Turtle Dove.
A Buzzard flying way up high
He spies a lovely feast
He leaves us just a trademark
A feather from the beast.
Just look around your garden
And over the garden wall
See what else will catch your eye
If anything at all.
An Acorn but no tree in sight
Who left it we don't know
A squirrel or a Dormouse
Don't think it was a Crow.
Leaves start falling from the trees
Seeds spreading their wings
Settling in another place
Lots of crazy things.
But that's because it's Autumn
We have come to expect
Changes there before our eyes
What will happen next.
So if you see a feather
When you pass this way today
Your loved one may of sent it
Just to say Good-Day. X
Autumn is close
It's a rather chilly morning
And the heating has kicked in
A bit drier than yesterday
So where shall I begin
As Autumn is approaching
It time to clear away
All the dead and shriveled plants
That have seen a better day
There's Blackberries on the hedgerow
Always good to see
Let's pick a few and take them home
We'll have some for our tea
The farmer has been busy
The corn has all been cut
The gardener still has work to do
Before his door is shut
So make the most of what is left
Of summer anyhow
The evening light starts fading
The days are shorter now
So have a happy Sunday
Doing as you choose
Stay in..go out..it's up to you
What have you got to lose.
By Beverley Coleman
I used to run so very fast
Over field through wood
Someone was always after me
At every time they could.
First I'd hear the bugle
Then they were on their way
Could I escape those dreaded dogs
Is this to be my day.
I'd run until exhausted
My tongue be hanging out
How could they treat me this way
What is it all about.
But now I am so happy
I wander as I please
Just look where I am today
I'm mingling with the bees
It's lovely in Val's garden
They let me sit and rest
I love it in the gardens
These people are the best
I hope the day does never come
When I fear for my life
I just want to be happy
And find myself a wife.........Thank you Val.
|Posted by dawngriffis on September 8, 2016 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
Where to begin? August here in Vermont has been warm to hot and mostly humid, but that means no white stuff, that will come soon enough! Our 3 weeks of foliage or Leaf Peeping season will be here by the end of this month. Vermont roads will be gridlocked with tourists, I hope the color is to their liking, we may join them one of the mid week days, when it isn’t quite so congested.
Farm stands are full many veggies and offers of bulk purchases for canning, bottling or freezing for winter months. Along with apple picking, many farms here have the option to pick your own. When we had teenagers at home, we used to do that each year, and then I’d make about 27 apple pies, and freeze them. Our 2 girls could come home from school at 3:30pm, cook one, eat it all, before we even came home about 5:30, and still be ready for supper at 6:30!
Our wild flower garden was quite full, but mid to late summer it was mostly yellow and orange, I’m going to try to introduce more, blues, pinks and white ones for next year.
The new café that will be opening soon in White River Junction is going to have a lot of British influenced food on the menu. It’s called Piecemeal Pies, owner/ chef is Justine Barrett. I have given him lots of my English family recipes to use. Many of us Brits in the area are excited about having somewhere to eat, that will have our much loved and missed food available.
Update on the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and Save the Horton campaign. This past month we have had many large rallies, participated by thousands. On the 31st when the Trust was to decide the fate of the maternity physician led unit, as usual the Trust could not be trusted, and decided to change it to midwife only unit, they said it was temporary, but like many other of their so called temporary moves they become the norm. The distance and traffic congestions just getting to the JR from the Horton will put many mums and babies at risk. So the fight continues, as we say we lost that battle, but we will win the war! Support for the Horton is world wide with connection to the Horton and support for the Horton stems from many long years of commitment and dedication. One former Horton nurse, now in her 90s living in Washington State, sent me the following letter and said I could use it in my blog. Edith when she visited the Horton did not go into the new part of the hospital, but stayed where it was familiar to her that was the reason it seemed so quiet to her, the patients had all been moved to the new wards. What Edith thought was the A&E was the outpatients, A&E had also been moved.
Hello Dawn: My favorite expression "Holy Cow" - this is really serious. I must say, that the last time I visited the Horton in 1999 (so long ago but I remember every minute) the place did not seem very busy. I just went along the corridors and not into any wards, but everything seemed very quiet. And when I passed and walked into the A & E, the two very young nurses were standing around and chatting - not working in any way. They did ask what I was looking for and I told them that 53 years ago I worked in your department for a short time under Sister Harris. They were totally uninterested! What did impress me was the cafeteria where I had a really good omelette! In other words, the atmosphere seemed to be lethargic. However, once I spoke with Lily who was at the reception desk and talked about old times and found that her son was married to Stella's daughter, everything seemed cheery! A magazine about the Horton was lying on the desk and I asked if this was on sale in their small gift shop - well that brought several senior nurses to the desk and they insisted that I take that one! This is one of my prize possessions.
I hope that whoever sends me the T-shirt will give me an e-mail address and names, so that I can thank them profusely, and ask if they are able to deposit a dollar check into their account as my contribution to the cause.
Thanks so much for keeping me up to date.
P.S. If you want to include this in your next Blog, feel free to do so. Or forward it to the volunteers who are working so hard. Are any of them former nurses or other employees of the hospital?
We are continuing to fight for the much loved and now very busy hospital, if by any chance you have any connection to the Horton, and would like to be involved, the Facebook page is Save the Horton or email mail me for more information email@example.com.
I wish for all of you a fabulous September; we have 2 poems and pictures to follow. first poem was not written by Bev!
The Horton sits on 8 acres of land August 25th Banburyshire folks joined hand and encircled the entire Horton property to demonstrate to the Oxford Trust to Keep it's hands off the Horton, above is a small portion of the crowd doing this. Following is a poem written about the way we feel and come together for the Horton.
HANDS OFF THE HORTON:
By Paula Baker.
Banbury was a Market Town, long gone I’m sad to say
Along side us the M 40 with traffic rushing past us every day
Accidents always happening, so very sad to see
Do we need A& E, yes we do need thee
The Horton where l had my kids, so many years ago
It may not be as big as some, but it was the best
The quality of time they give to put your mind at rest
Help and kindness to new Mums, and lots of friendly chatter
This is where most life begins a precious thing to happen
If all goes well it's wonderful, but in a heartbeat it can change
So Consultants they are needed, when C section is the best
We want ALL Mums delivered here, near the family
The powers that be are stripping us of Wards which were the best
Gynae Ward was stripped away, followed then by E
Oak Ward next upon the list, such a tragedy
F Ward being chopped in half, will there never be an end
You start your life here happy, and use throughout your growing years
And hope there will some beds left, to help us at the end
So HANDS OFF THE HORTON
So Hands around the Horton
We thought the NHS we could trust
Big is not always beautiful
Staying small a must
So on Sunday the 21 st August at the hour of HALF PAST TEN
come rain or shine or gale force winds, the weather forecast not looking great
As many of you that can come please around the Horton gather
And let's show the world, we will not rest always trying are best
So gather around the Horton, and form a orderly queue
Bring this Community, like we used to do
Don't say it doesn't matter the battle already lost
We must fight this now we won't accept a loss
And when we have all finished, l hope you will join me
To walk or ride or cycle into the town of Banbury
The Council have a food fair so bring some bags as well
So go and parade your T Shirt, all wearing them with pride
And get our photos taken standing side by side
SHOW THEM THAT WE ALL COUNT NEVER LET IT REST
SO HANDS OFF THE HORTON
HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE
Not only did people come in aid of the Horton but many of the area companies did plus Unions here is a group of one of the Union members.
picture taken by member Derek Evans
After the rally around the Horton around 5,000 people walked to the Banbury Town Hall for a photo shoot arranged by Banbury Town Council. This shows a small portion of them in front of the Town Hall.
Now for pictures to go with Bev's poem
Aynho folks on their walk through fields of corn ready to harvest picture by Keith McClellen
By Beverley Coleman
The gate it wouldn't open
But it didn't spoil the view
Of a lovely golden cornfield
Where golden corn once grew.
The farmer has been busy
As you can surly see
The bales of hay before your eyes
A sight for you and me.
The clouds they scatter up above
Lets hope the sun shines through
Making for a pleasant day
For me to spend with you
There's blackberries on the hedgerows
And if the sun does shine
We could pick some to make a pie
Or even make some wine
Let’s leave that for another day
We'll pass this way again
Let’s concentrate on fields of hay
Before it starts to rain.
This picture taken by Maureen Tyrrell is what inspired Bev to write the poem
Aynho fields looking towards King Sutton- see the church spire. Taken by Les Horley after the harvest of the corn.
Apricot jam made by Duncan Lang, from the apricots picked from his apricot tree, in Aynho. The other name for Aynho, is Apricot Village for all the apricot trees growing, and producing on the sides of the cottages.
Can you see all the walnuts hanging on Robert Bowman's tree in Swacliffe? I hope he pickles some, there is nothing so good as pickled walnuts - they are just perfect there for picking and pickling.
Kath & David Cusick's garden in Banbury - this garden is so lovely as it progresses through the seasons.
Anthony Morris took all the following pictures at St Giles Fair in Oxford it is held annually in St Giles a road in the middle of Oxford the first week in September. When I lived there I was always more interested in the first stall as you entered from the City. It was a stand that sold cockles, I could spend all my hard earned money there before I even got to the fair. Next 2 are night time pictures by Anthony Morris.
Rest of the pictures are from the US
4 Corners Jersey cows investigating and hiding in the corn field on their farm
A mountain stream out west taken by Reuben Dandurand, our eldest grandson.
The norhtern Rockies taken by Seth Dandurand our youngest grandson
Dillion Lake Colorado by Carol Gillen
Loveland Pass Colorado at 12,000 feet by Carol Gillen.
Sunrise at Honeysuckle Farm Tennessee by Christine Lunn.
Butterfly at Botanical Gardens in Atlanta Georgia by Susan Jackson.
Lake Winnipesaukee New Hampshire taken by Penny Gramling our youngest daughter.
Sharon Stygles-Osgood's Woodland garden in Lebanon New Hampshire and the next is her wild flowers
The following two pictures are of the soon to be cafe mentioned above
Piecemeal Pies from their web page
Justin Barrett chef/owner of Piecemeal pies cafe in White River Junction Vermont.
|Posted by dawngriffis on August 8, 2016 at 7:20 AM||comments (0)|
This is my 4th attempt to post the blog this month each one before was lost into Yah! Yah! land! Here is hoping this one works.
We have poems and pictures this month from our Banbury Friend Beverley Coleman; plus Banbury friend’s photos to go with them. In addition we have a poem from a good friend Jean Sponcel, who now lives in Arizona; this is to go with her pictures from Washington State.
The other thing I want to cover not so briefly is about the situation at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, as many of you know this is the hospital where I received my nurses training. It has always been very special to me, and I have always cared about how it is doing. After the Oxford Trust took over the managing of it, they in their infinite wisdom or more to the point utter stupidity, has tried to either close or cut services to it over too many years. It has been a constant battle to stop them. What they have against the hospital is hard to fathom, but that seems to be their goal in life. The hospital is of high quality and the staff really cares about their patients, and gives over 100% to the people they serve, the people of Banbury have a great love towards it. Their excuse this time is they can’t recruit replacement staff for those retiring. If you were to see their limited and awful ads, you would understand why they haven’t been able to. The distance to the main Oxford hospital, the JR is about 25 miles. In the US that is nothing, but in England with the traffic, and the location of the hospital in the city it is a minimum of an hour, it is no better for ambulances. The hospital warns people to allow an hour to find a parking spot. Therefore in an emergent situation it is creating a life threatening situation. The latest round of cuts and closures they want to do – is change the maternity unit into midwife only, and do away with the specialty Pedi unit. Many weekly emergent deliveries are performed at the Horton requiring physician intervention either for the welfare of the mother and or baby. This change is to take place by the end of September. The other cuts are the very busy A&E (ER) and the acute medical and rehab ward. As I said in other words the Trust is insane. Especially considering the wide catchment area the Horton covers, plus the plans have been approved for 28,000 new homes to be built in the next 15 years. The Horton already covers 180,000 people, and the additional plans will increase the numbers by another 100,000. I realize those of you who are Americans can do very little to help, but my many readers who British and live outside the UK, or still live in England, there is a Facebook page called Save our Horton where there are many petitions to sign, every little bit helps. Here are a few pictures showing Banbury folks at a rally a few days ago, plus another is planned for 10:30 am on August 21st. At this one everyone is going to join hands and circle the whole perimeter of the hospital to show the Trust to keep their Hands off our Horton. The local MPs will be there as well.
If any of my readers would like to have a paper petition to get signed to help the Horton, please email me, & I will send you one firstname.lastname@example.org
Stall at Banbury Market getting signatures & selling T. shirts.
July rally to Save the Horton Maternity
better view of the crowd at the rally.
By Beverley Coleman
I'm feeling they've abandoned me
They don't use me anymore
So many lovely people
Did walk through my front door
It's sad to say a sorry sight
I'm all so overgrown
Left to its own devices
The seeds the birds have sown
It's dark and dreary in my rooms
No chance to let in light
I never know what time it is
As it always feels like night
I used to stand out from the rest
With roses up the walls
But now there's only greenery
No colour much at all
Why have they let it go like this
My master he is old
He cannot do the garden now
Well this is what I'm told
I live in hope that one day soon
Someone will come along
Who'll cherish me and clear the rough
Put me back where I belong
So many many people
Will once more knock to see
An airy bright familiar room
Just like it used to be.
Front door photo by Maureen Tyrrell.
By Beverley Coleman
A picture tells a story
Of a group of friendly chums
Who do get out occasionally
Stop sitting on their bums
They wander around the villages
To see what they can see
So this picture tells you what I ask
They've got their backs to me
There's Susan with her camera
Oh she's spied the friendly fox
Up amongst the thatching
Right by the chimney tops
The church there in the distance
With scaffolding all round
Let's hope they fix the bell tower
And no more damage can be found
The morning was a little grey
We'd had a drop of rain
But soon they took their coats off
British weather is a bane
These pretty little villages
That we enjoy to see
Around the Oxfordshire Countryside
Filling us all with glee.
Cropredy walk by Doug Wills.
Cropredy walk by Maureen Tyrrell.
By Beverley Coleman
I gaze up at the hillside
A new day has been born
It's six fifteen ...just perfect
To be up in the morn
I breathe the air so cool and fresh
But I can see the sun
It shines across the meadow
I'm going to have some fun
I'll open up the five barred gate
And walk into the mist
The undergrowth is heavy now
And it's ground I should of missed
I turn around it's difficult
So I do make my way
Along the riverbank I go
No more must I delay
There's shadows on the water
Reflecting from the light
The day is getting warmer
Much to my delight
My walking done I take a rest
There's a seat before your eyes
I have to go to work now
So I'll say my Goodbyes.
Bletchingly Surrey by Darren Hunt
Same walk by Darren Hunt.
Walk in the mist all photos by Darren Hunt.
By Jean Sponcel
If you've been there,
You will know,
It’s the place to go
There are fish and flowers,
Scallops and clams,
Crab legs and salmon,
Within reach of your hand
Veggies and fruit,
If I come here often,
I will well fed,
But surely poor!
Fish at Pike's Market all photos by Jean Sponcel
Pike's Market crabs etc.
Flowers at Pike's Market.
The deli at Pike's
Pastries at Pike's
Frisco Colorado by Carol Gillen
Seven loons on a lake in New Hampshire by Deb Adams.
Mother and baby at 4 Corners Farm
All that 4 Corners have to offer right now.
|Posted by dawngriffis on July 11, 2016 at 5:30 AM||comments (0)|
Summer is finally here, with all the usual activities on both sides of the pond. In Britain it is village and church fetes, usually to raise money for good causes. In the US it is charity runs, bike rides and fairs. The last fair in Vermont is usually the Tunbridge Worlds Fair in September.
On both sides of the pond the seasonal farmers markets abound; though in Britain the farmers markets can go all year, because of the more temperate weather. Our closest farmer’s market is in Norwich, but though very popular, it has become very expensive to buy there, it used to be very reasonable. I think it is because it is close to Norwich, and Hanover New Hampshire, they are very wealthy towns, so it is priced accordingly. As are most of the very local farm stands. Therefore we go to the farm stands farther a field, where the size of bunches are larger, and prices very reasonable, so well worth the drive. My only wish is that they would grow the sweet heart cabbages. They are so full of flavour and sweet. They are the only cabbage I know of that freezes well for later use.
The Banbury Friends walks are in full swing. The member taking so many fabulous pictures, it is difficult to choose which ones to share with you. I wish there were as many prolific photographers here that I knew about. Those I know about here who do hike, do not take as many pictures, I wonder why?
I have been working in my garden putting in new flower beds, fixing others. We especially enjoy Penny, our youngest daughter, bringing her grand daughters (our greats) Aubree and Madison, over to pick the wild flowers that I sowed last year. When they have finished they like to have a chocolate chip cookie that Papa (Mike) has made. Jane, our eldest and her hubby, Ken went out west to attend Reuben, (her eldest) university graduation in BC Canada; they stopped for a week in Montana’s Glacier National Park; there are a couple of their pictures included.
Beverley Coleman has not been quite so prolific with her poems this month that would fit in with the blog. She has been busy watching football (soccer) and Wimbledon tennis.
I hope you enjoy the photos, all but one of the fete are from Aynhoe (my village); they were raising money to repair the church windows, and raised £6,000 – so very good.
I hope you all have a fabulous summer.
Village Fete at Wardington Manor by Maureen Penfold-King
By Beverley Coleman
In Villages around this time
The fundraising is high
Can we reach the target
Let's shoot it through the sky
So the people came together
A fete was soon arranged
Some held it on the cricket field
Others at the Grange
On the very morning
The sun came out was great
Everybody gathered there
To enjoy this village fete
There were horses made like unicorns
A Ferret race as well
The Tootsie girls did a turn
Everything was swell
How many sweets are in the jar
Go on have a guess
Or buy a raffle ticket
When asked please answer yes
With stalls of all description
The fete is going great
There's a queue for tea and coffee
And which cake what a debate
A lovely day was had by all
The fund was looking good
It brought the whole village together
As we always knew it would
Above Tootsie Rollers at Aynhoe fete by Les Horley
Below, Aynhoe Fete by James Love
Les Horley Unicorn ride Aynhoe Fete
Face painting at Aynhoe Fete. by louise Lowe
Tea & cakes at Aynhoe Park House -baked by WI members for Aynhoe fete picture by Leslie Leighton
by Beverley Coleman
The walk was great I'm knackered now
And ready for a snooze
We didn't go to the pub today
So I haven't had any booze
We walked around the countryside
Three miles according to Val
I was flagging towards the end
If you saw me you could tell
But with some great accommodating
From the W.I.
Sandwiches and coffee
And cakes galore for to die
What a fantastic morning
And now I’ve had my fill
The company was just perfect
Along with some rock from Phil
So this just leaves our David
We must say Thanks to him
For doing some great organizing
And determined to keep us all trim
So sit back and look at the pictures
They all will be on here in time
And maybe next time you'll join us
And everything will be sublime
Edgecot walk picture by Wendy Meager
Edgecot walk picture by Doug Wills
Walk pictures continued by Val Boscott
still walking by Irene Dumbleton
I thought this next poem was right for here, because the next set of pictures are from the US, and communication between people and countries is important.
by Beverley Coleman
If i say to you "Good Morning"
I know you'll answer me
If I say "Hello how are you"
Again you'll answer thee
It's called communication
And I really think it great
To type some words on to the screen
Then your reply ...I wait
You'll tell me of your working day
Whether your ill or not
What you had for dinner
Or whether it's hot or not
A stray cat or a lost dog
Flowers by the score
Tennis, Cricket, Football,
Cuddly Toys and more
Keep your posts a coming
I love to hear about your day
So all my lovely friends out there
What have you got to say???
Aubree and a friend's Lemonade stand picture by Jason Gramling
above Madison picking flowers.
below Aubree picking flowers pictures by Penny Gramling
mama Skunk in no harm trap & 8 babies, they were all transported to woods away from homes picture by Penny Gramling
Quechee Balloon Festival picture by Jason Gramling
above and below Glacier National Park Montana June 2016 by Jane Glick
Sharon Stygles - Osgood's garden in New Hampshire
Hanover Farmers market, 4 Corners Farm selling strawberries
Bunches of Flowers at 4 Corners Farm
|Posted by dawngriffis on June 4, 2016 at 7:40 AM||comments (0)|
Well I guess spring is drawing to a close, it was early on both sides of the pond this year, including going from very warm, to very cold. Growth in the gardens, fields and hedgerows, or in the US roadsides, came early. In Vermont we had full green on the trees at least 2 weeks earlier than usual, and for the most part hardly any snow all winter.
This month I have a selection of ten random pictures from across the US, covering New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Arizona and California. Covering England we have a bumper crop of poems from Beverley Coleman, to go with pictures taken mostly by ‘Banbury Friends’ members, plus of course, from others who live in Banbury, or Oxford. The poems and pictures speak for themselves.
As usual I will start with the British ones and end with the American ones- why do I do it this way? Well I was born and grew up in Britain, and came to America fully grown, so that is my reason and I’m sticking to it. I hope you enjoy the blog and have a great June.
view from Tramway bridge Banbury, looking south. by Ian Gentles
By Beverley Coleman
As I gaze at the Waterways
I get the sense of fun
Watching as the boats go by
Saying Hi to everyone
Everywhere was quiet
Then the silence breaks
An engine has been turned on
The world is wide awake
I jump aboard no plans today
I'll just go on my way
The air is fresh, the sky is blue
Looking forward to the day
The narrow boat starts moving
Leaving a ripple in its wake
The world upon the waterways
Is gorgeous....no mistake.
Above and below,
Canal at Kings Sutton by Darren Hunt
Hoping it's not a sunset
By Beverly Coleman
The earth was wet, it rained all night
There was puddles all around
The air was fresh imagine
Silence ...not a sound
Then all of a sudden a chink of light
The sun begins to rise
A brand new day is dawning
A much welcome surprise
I stand and gaze this awesome sight
Is always good to see
It makes me feel excited
And fills me full of glee
It shimmers on the water
The ground begins to dry
Everything looks different now
As the time goes by
There is no longer silence
The birds now start to sing
Amazing what a difference
The sunshine now does bring.
So do you think it is sunrise or sunset? Picture by Darren Hunt.
The bridge by Maureen Tyrrell to go with poem below.
By Beverley Coleman
There's a steady stream of water
Running under me
I'm here to help the people
Who walk all over me
They come in shapes and sizes
All ages old and young
I've been here for a lifetime
But not since time begun
Sometimes the waters very high
It reaches up to me
Good job I have some railings
So you can lean and see
I'm happy doing what I do
It makes me feel real good
You can now reach the other side
While walking through the wood.
Another bridge by Maureen Tyrrell.
By Beverley Coleman
Another Gin and Tonic dear
Oh yes that would be great
We have some time to sit and gaze
Just while we have to wait
How pleasant is this village
With cottages of stone
I'm glad your here to share it
And I'm not sat here alone
I look around the village green
It’s very quiet today
I expect the children are in school
So non are out to play
My mind it starts to wander
The signpost I do see
Now which pathway will be taken
When we have had our tea
For now though we are happy
Our day has turned out fine
We've eaten well so off we go
And we are on cloud nine
A sleepy village picture by Maureen Tyrrell that inspired Bev's poem.
Flowers in you garden
By Beverley Coleman
The flowers in your gardens
Are a sight to see
There's blues and reds all glorious
To draw the Honey Bee
And Canterbury Bell
Are blue but very different
And often there's no smell
Peony. Roses. Poppies
A gorgeous flash of red
Would always be a pleasure
In every flowerbed
With Busy Lizzy...Asters
Petunias even Chive
Penstemon and Dwarf Marigold
All planted up the drive
There's Butterflies on Buddleia
Peacock and Cabbage White
In your English Country Garden
A very awesome sight.
To go with flowers in your garden poem, picture by Kathy Cusick, but David Cusick's idea
Below is Ken Fitton garden where the chickens Daisy, Rosiie & Betty are not allowed to go!
When we were children we were taught this poem.
The Cuckoo cames in April
Sings his song in May
Changes his tune in the middle of June
July he flies away.
The picture below by Anthony morris inspired Bev to write another about a cuckoo, and the picture of the lamb by Robert Bowman brought it together.
By Beverley Coleman
Why am I feeling all alone
Why won't they mix with me
I cannot help my colour
But that's how life can be
There's outcasts in all walks of life
It's sad but very true
The Cuckoo in the nest syndrome
Let's hope it's never you
A feeling of sheer loneliness
A hurt that's always there
Thinking no one loves you
And that no one does care
It gets to you can cause real harm
But let me tell you this
Please worry not ..just move on
Those kind you just dismiss.
Now for the American pictures they are from all over the country this month from New England to California, with a few stops in between
Above and below New Hampshire by Deb & Wayne Adams.
Below Gene E Bush's garden in Indiana.
Below June in Arizona by Jean & Corb Sponcel
Below Colorado by Carol Gillian
Below Manhatton Beach in California taken by a Brit friend living there.
Below inside Frost Greenhouse in Vermont
Next 2 below butterflies in Pensylvania by Ruth-Ellen Dandurand
Finally a Lunar Moth by Jane Glick in Vermont.
That's it folks have a great June.;
|Posted by dawngriffis on May 7, 2016 at 10:35 AM||comments (2)|
It is not easy to decide what might interest all of you and to cover all that is happening in May in England. The new format seems to be very popular, especially Bev’s poems with photos.
In New England May is usually the ending of mud season, and the start of Farmer’s weekly markets plus all the Farm stands opening. Mud season ended early this year and spring flowers came out at least 3 weeks early, then we went into a cold snap so everything stalled again- but grass is growing because of all the rain.
In England spring is in full bloom, not only in the gardens but in the countryside and most especially the woodlands, plus all the May Day celebrations - it is hard to choose which photos to post. Therefore this blog is probably going to end up a bumper size posting;
The 1st of May is one of the largest celebrations in Oxford. The celebration starts about 5 am on Magdalen College Bridge with huge crowds and the Magdalen College Choir in the top of the college tower singing; after the choir finishes their songs; then the Morris dancers plus many other dance groups dance throughout the city; with the crowds following them. For many years students used to jump off of the bridge into the River Cherwell, there were so many injuries, this custom is no longer allowed. All the following pictures were taken this May 1st by Anthony Morris who lives in Oxford. Be warned there are a lot of them!
Magdalen College Choir in the top of the tower
The crowd listening to Choir May 1st 2016 at 5 am.
Morris Dancers at Carfax
Morris Dancers at Hartford Bridge
Morris Dancers in front of the famous Blackwell's Book shop on Broad Street
More Dancers May 1st 2016
More May Day revelers
Even more all photos taken by Anthony Morris.
By Beverley Coleman
A day of celebrations
The procession came to town
Everyone dressed in their best
The May Queen in her gown
She took her place upon the throne
The crown placed on her head
The music played exciting
Let the party go ahead
The children then all gathered
Upon the village green
The maypole stood majestically
Everyone was keen
They took the coloured ribbons
Red and Blue and White
Under over did they go
Such an awesome sight
The ribbons did get shorter
As round the pole they went
They reached the end then turning
They made a great decent
The crowd they started cheering
And gave a great whoopee
This May Day is the best they've had
And all said we agree.
May Queen & her court taken from the internet.
Maypole Dancing taken from the internet.
Lonely Bluebells and Primroses
By Beverley Coleman
I'm lonely said the bluebell
I've been left here all alone
The other bluebells in wood
Have scattered from this zone
Don't worry said the primrose
I will be your friend
We'll stay all snug in these dead leaves
Until the bitter end
The fern said stop your moaning
The people can still see
The brightness of your colour
Your not just green like me
Ignore him said the primrose
There's ivy over there
She's also green but she's ok
She never seems to care
Oh said bluebell you are kind
I'm gonna like it here
I don't feel lonely anymore
I'm glad your growing near.
The lonely bluebell & primrose taken by David S Woodman that inspired Bev's poem.
The reason the bluebell felt lonely was because the next several pictures show this years display of bluebells in the woods. They are about 2 weeks early, and as you will see in one photo a mass of them is in a church yard all amongst the grave stones. It is beyond my capabilities to describe how restful and intoxicating it is to walk slowly through woodland filled with bluebells. The dappled sun through the trees lights them up, and the smell from them is so kind to your senses. If you are ever able to do a walk through the English woodland in May please jump at the chance.
Ashbury Forest by Mervyn Edwards
Bluebells in a Southampton Church yard by posted i
n internet by BBC South
Badley Woods by Mark Byron
Bluebells in Oxfordshire by Anthony Morris.
Most of the Farm stands around here are open, or will be this weekend ready for the US Mother’s Day celebration. Because this time of year is so busy for them the photos have slowed down. Then with our cold wet snap local gardens have slowed down, making finding or taking pictures very difficult. A friend in Queensland Australia, who I trained with at the Horton Gen Hospital, sent me 2 pictures, so I have deviated the pond a bit, from the US. 3 other pictures are from a friend Sharon Osgood who lives in Meriden NH a lot of her garden has a Scottish theme as you will see from her tiny cottages all built by her..
The first 3 are Sharon Osgood's woodland garden in Meriden NH.
A Rosella in the Argave Americana I think that Tequila can be made from this cactus shrub Queensland garden All Australian pictures by Mavis Williams.
Below Gold Coast of Queensland
$ Corners Farm spinach - we have already had some- delicious!
Below their Zinnia pots ready for Mother's Day
4 Corners Farm stand May 4th.
Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford showing unusual planters
And below their Farm stand ready to open.
|Posted by dawngriffis on April 12, 2016 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
This strange winter we have all been experiencing on both sides of the pond has now continued into spring. Except for one thing in - those of us in New England have been having our fair share of April showers. It has been colder than usual, with an occasional day into the 60s. The brown grass from winter cold has started to green up in our garden. Snowdrops have finished blooming a month before they usually bloom. Daffs are poking through still very early, for us, but across the pond in England the daffs have been blooming for over a month.
By Beverley Coleman
Look at me I'm beautiful
I do smell nice as well
We come in different variates
A nice bunch I can tell
We start to bloom in early spring
In gardens where we're set
And if you leave us where we are
We'll bloom next year you bet
But we don't only grow in gardens
We get around you know
We end up in the hedgerows
And in the fields also
I have a famous cousin
But he gets on my nerves
He has a longer trumpet
I'd like to put in reverse
What's not to like about me
With my orange little frill
You don't know what I'll look like
Till I open up ...that's brill
Sadly I must leave you soon
My work here almost done
I'll make way for the tulip
But remember....I'm your number one.
One of Banbury Friends, Darren Hunt was on Leith Hill in Surrey today and photographed bluebells in full bloom that is supposed to be a May flower.
Another Banbury Friend Robert Bowman photographed a Blackthorn hedge in full bloom. He says this means we are right in the middle of Blackthorn winter- which means unsettled weather until blossoms have dropped. Pity these old sayings are so accurate
Beverley Coleman has had hedgehogs visit her so of course she wrote a poem about them.
Benny the Hedgehog
By Beverley Coleman
Hello my name is Benny
And this is brother Jim
He's rather pale in colour
So I must look after him
He doesn't blend the same as me
So may not be as safe
You could say I'm a pedigree
And he's a poor old waif
We're lucky though we have a house
It's clean and were well fed
We've snuggled down all winter
In our lovely cozy bed
Quick eat up Jim this food is good
The cat is on his way
He'll want to share this grub with us
Let's tell him go away
I suppose we should be grateful
We should all live as one
This lovely life with Nikki
Because she's like our Mum.
Today, Monday she got a picture from Maureen Tyrrell of a Ladybird or in US Ladybug so of course another poem
My shiny new coat.
By Beverley Coleman
You spotted me ....get the joke
It's hard for me to hide
With my new red shiny coat
But it really is my pride
I rather like the colour
And been told a million times
A bit of red in photographs
Shows up ...I'm in my prime
I sometimes hide under a leaf
I'm scared of being eaten
But I can also fly away
So I'm not always beaten
Today though I've exposed myself
I'm silly this I know
But it's given lovely Maureen
A pic for her too show
So all you friends of Maureen
Have a lovely day
And if you see a ladybird
Just look then look away..
Bev was on a roll she wrote another poem about seeing things in unusual places that day it was in a tree, much as can be seen from clouds in the sky.
Face in a tree
By Beverley Coleman
Look into the branches
What else do you see
I can see a monkey face
Looking back at me
It's funny when you look at things
Images come to mind
How different shapes and sizes
Seem to all combined
Like looking up into the sky
The shapes of different cloud
A Face, a Horse, a Micky Mouse
Or sometimes just a crowd
Today though if you look up
It's just a mass of grey
No shapes or different sizes
The sun has gone away
So don't look out the window
Just stop look through this tree
And see what other faces
Are looking back at thee
(I can see a Koala bear full face on between the branches, Bev says her monkey can be seen on the left branch side face.
The birds and animals are venturing out; so far all I have had in my garden are chickadees, juncos, and one cardinal. Anthony Morris from Oxford has been able to take a variety of bird pictures including a grey heron that really looks a vivid blue colour.
Gene Bush’s garden in Indiana is coming into bloom in spite of the bad weather he has had, the mid west has been hit very hard with storms.
Here in Vermont and New Hampshire the vegetable and flower growing farms are in full activity planting for this coming year,
Root 5 Farm in Fairley VT
Lisanthus at Edgewater Farm Plainfield NH
4 Corners Farm even had a small tomato showing in one of their houses. They also had a lovely photo of the Connecticut Valley with one of their Highlander steer in the fore ground, plus new calves just a few days old.
Chris and Dave Lunn at Honeysuckle Farm in Tennessee, (Chris is from Banbury and was a student nurse with me at the Horton). They have had some really bad storms, but their horses and chickens have survived, Roberto their rooster has all his new plumage- he looks so smart, I think you will agree. Here he is with some of his many wives.
Here is Bev's latest poem that covers these last few months for both sides of the pond!
By Beverley Coleman
I came in way past midnight
We had to scrape the car
The Windows were all frosted up
Our weather is bizarre
The day started with sunshine
We thought a lovely day
The rain then started falling
By the time it reached midday
It got colder by the minute
We had shivers down our spine
A cup of tea to warm us up
We'd only reached half time
It rained all of the second half
We rushed back to the car
To listen to The National
Good job it wasn't far
We drove home on the motorway
Rain coming down so fast
Wipers working overtime
How much longer will it last
There's danger on the roads tonight
As ice has quickly formed
So please drive very carefully
I'm telling you be warned.
I hope you all like this additional change to the format, I just sorry.
can’t do the same on Facebook.
|Posted by dawngriffis on March 5, 2016 at 6:45 AM||comments (2)|
March blog 2016
I thought I would try and do something different this month with the blog; mostly because this time of the year, nothing much is happening in our house.
In US and England they are winding up for elections later. In the UK June 23rd is the EU in or out vote, and the US presidential election November 8th. I have my vote decided for the EU- out. After the primaries are over in the US, then we will see who we have to choose from. I hope it is Bernie Sanders that I get to vote for. Enough of all that rhetoric.
Spring has been bursting out all over in England and the walks have started in earnest, plus flowers everywhere. Beverley Coleman has been busy writing poems to go with these walks – I like them so I’m going to post some along with the pictures or places that inspired her.
In the US it has been a very weird winter here in the North East much warmer than usual, and hardly any snow- fine by me. The rest of the country has been a mess, snow where it isn’t usually, tornados in the middle of winter, and severe flooding- though England didn’t escape the flooding either. Where things are popping now in the US is the farms especially the vegetable, flower and animal farms, so that is what I am covering in my US photos. I hope you enjoy them; I always love to hear from you if you find the blogs interesting. The lay out if it works with what I want to do might be more appealing –I hope!!!
A Frosty Start
by Beverley Coleman
After what you'd call a frosty night
With a light sprinkling of snow
We made our way to Wroxton
To do a walk Hey Ho!!
We stood around the air was a chill
Waiting for friends to meet
The chattering had started
We put wellies on our feet
By now the sun was shining
As we finally made our way
Into the Abbey grounds we went
To see the fine array.
There's snowdrops and some primroses
I saw odd celandine
Amongst the fallen leaves it was
The views they are devine
The blue sky was a treat to see
Sun sparkled on the water
Reflections of the tallest trees
There's nothing you could falter
This day has been just perfect
And we have all had fun
Doing what we like to do
With friends and in the sun.
By Beverley Coleman
Snowdrops, Crocus, Daffodils
Spring is on its way
Catkins hanging from the trees
As we go on today
Fields were ploughed and planted
There showing signs of life
Everything now comes alive
Everything is rife.
Wildlife get together
New life will soon appear
Lambs look great in woolly coats
Makes you want to cheer
What ever could be better
On a lovely day
To hear the babbling of the brook
And gaze at the Archway
Remembering the hills
That feature in our past
We had such fun as kids up there
We really had a blast
Our days that went from dawn till dusk
We were made of sterner stuff
Playing out there everyday
We couldn't get enough
So now that we are older
It's great that we can say
I had good times in them there hills
Right back in the day
To put a face to a name - here is Beverley Coleman on one of her many walks last year with Banbury Friends,
The photo of a tree by Doug Willis inspired the next poem by Bev.
Reaching out to you.
By Beverley Coleman
I've been here many many years
People just pass me by
No ones even looked at me
I often wonder why
I've seen a lot of action
As I began to grow
Children playing on the grass
Having fun you know
As my trunk has doubled
My branches reaching out
I'm often leaving shadows
What's that all about
I look on at the other trees
We all surround the lawn
Some shed their leaves in winter
And some have branches sawn
The woodcutter he thins them out
So as to make a way
For people who are just like you
And pass this way today
Today for me is special
Cos now I'm in the frame
You came and took my picture
Please pass this way again.
The 2 photos above by Maureen Tyrrell inspired the next poem by Bev.
Poem by Beverley Coleman
(They are Blackthorn blossoms)
I like to think I'm delicate
And always look good too
My petals are so fragile
You can almost see straight through
I'm white but have a tinge of pink
A perfect combination
Showing Spring is round the corner
A time for celebration
But please beware I have a side
That's not pleasant to touch
I'm prickly on my branches
Which make me feel quite butch
So my advice to all of you
Just gaze admire and say
Your perfect just the way you are
And that's how you should stay
The rest are photos without poems as is usually posted
Jonquils photo by Marilyn Lucas
Unusual clouds by Maureen Tyrrell
First lamb born at Sunrise farm Hartford Vermont.
More lambs at Sunrise Farm Hartford Vermont., now they have 24 total.
Long Wind Farm at East Thetford Vermont grows organic tomatoes under many glass greenhouses- they can almost supply us all year with fresh delicious tomatoes. I go to their farm every couple of weeks all spring,summer & fall to buy 10lbs at a time
A new calf at 4 Corners Farm South Newbury Vermont.
Hens and Roberto the Rooster at Honeysuckle Farm in Tennessee home of Christine Lunn & her husband Dave , Chris is a fellow nursing school class friend of mine from Banbury. Roberto is a pen pal of Daisy & Rosie chickens in Rugby England.
A daily supply of eggs from the hens at Honeysuckle Farm.
Well folks that's it for this month hope you like the new format - poems photos etc.