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December blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on December 11, 2017 at 5:45 AM Comments 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.

“Merry Christmas”

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 and pencil

All wrapped and tied with string.


No time to 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. 

November blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on November 4, 2017 at 9:50 PM Comments 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

Banbury Fair

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

Since 1154

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 

October blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on October 7, 2017 at 10:15 AM Comments 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 

Life’s Memories

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 keep calm

The walking home from dances

The Grand with double seats

The Wimpy on the Broad Street

Where we did often meet


Then 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 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!!!

September blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on September 5, 2017 at 3:45 PM Comments 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


Beverley Coleman

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 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 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. 

Facebook world

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

National Cemetery

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


August blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on August 7, 2017 at 9:00 PM Comments 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


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


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



I carried on regardless

Looking very far

And wondering another thought


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


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


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

Lughole= ear

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

Sunrise Farm

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.

July Blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on July 9, 2017 at 12:55 AM Comments 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


Niagara Falls

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

Over London

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!!


Additional info

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.


June Blog

Posted by dawngriffis on June 10, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments 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 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 


February Blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on February 17, 2017 at 7:10 AM Comments 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

Kind regards to all






January blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on January 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM Comments 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 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


Bull finch

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.




Knife Edge

Lehigh Gap

View from Lehigh Gap

Rocks, hard to climb

Wolf Rocks

Kirkridge shelter- home for one night

View from Kirkridge shelter next morning

Discarded boots

Eureka Creek

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!!!!

December blog 2016

Posted by dawngriffis on December 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM Comments 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!

Winter morning


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.

Christmas tree


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.

Santa Claus

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

George Parrish


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 






November 2016 blog

Posted by dawngriffis on November 13, 2016 at 7:35 AM Comments 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 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

Spider’s web


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 comments (0)

Click on the http link above to open calendar then see the October log below. Crossed fingers didn't work!

October 2016 Blog

Posted by dawngriffis on October 12, 2016 at 5:50 AM Comments 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.


Dropped and found things picture be Jean Sinclair. Of course Beverley Coleman had a poem for them

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


Robert Bowman took all these pictures of berries coming out everywhere

They say when there are lots of berries for the birds and animals we are in for a hard winter! The next picture was taken by Keith McClellan from Aynho close to Souldern with farmers baling straw for winter use

With all this around Beverley Coleman of course wrote another poem

 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's up to you

What have you got to lose.



Val Boscott from Banbury took this picture of a fox in  her garden she says he is a regular visitor who seems to like to sunbathe there. Beverley wrote a poem for him.

Mr Fox

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.


The photo is of Banbury High Street and was posted by ian Gentles in the Banburyshire Info page I/m not sure who took the picture but it fit with what I wanted to post next but again not sure who posted it it is the recipe and photo of the famous Banbury cakes. In the States I use our regular sugar because it is much like caster sugar.

Next  are all the fall/Autumn photos from the US

This one and the next two are from 4 Corners farm

The next picture is one Penny our youngest daughter took of her grand daughters on a pumpkin trip of course they are our greats!

The following pictures were taken by Sharon Styles-Osgood when she visited Irasburg in the North East Kingdom in Vermont last week, she said if the sun had shone they would have been even better.

Now I will try and post thhe link for the calendar - fingers crossed! If it doesn't show when  I publish it I will try something else!


September blog 2016

Posted by dawngriffis on September 8, 2016 at 7:15 AM Comments 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.


Love, Edith


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


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.


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 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





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

Golden Fields

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.


August 2016 blog

Posted by dawngriffis on August 8, 2016 at 7:20 AM Comments 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 

 Stall at Banbury Market getting signatures & selling T. shirts.

July rally to Save the Horton Maternity

Same rally

better view of the crowd at the rally.

Front door

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.

Cropredy Walk


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.

The Walk


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,

Pastries galore,

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

Pike's cheese!

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.

July blog 2016

Posted by dawngriffis on July 11, 2016 at 5:30 AM Comments 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 

Village Fetes


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

The Walk

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 


June blog 2016

Posted by dawngriffis on June 4, 2016 at 7:40 AM Comments 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 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.

The Bridge

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.

Sleepy Villages

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


The Cornflowers...Delphiniums

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.;



May blog 2016

Posted by dawngriffis on May 7, 2016 at 10:35 AM Comments 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.

May Day


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.


April Blog 2016

Posted by dawngriffis on April 12, 2016 at 11:35 AM Comments 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.

Daffy Dil


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!

Weird Weather

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.





March blog 2016

Posted by dawngriffis on March 5, 2016 at 6:45 AM Comments 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.


High Hills.

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.

Hello Petal:

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.