Monday, 30 April 2007


Iv'e changed my template again. I was finding that the last one was cutting off the side of photos. This one seems simpler and easier to read I think.

Giveaway Gift Arrived

Today I received the beautiful "Giveaway" notebook that I won on Isobel's blog. It was much larger than I expected and the pages are in all different pastel colours. Isobel has made a beautiful cover. I have decided to use it as my blogging notebook. (See 'blogging help' on a previous post).

It arrived beautifully packaged.

And included a lovely card

And this is the book with the beautiful cover

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Leigh-on-Sea Tearooms

Just a quickie this afternoon as I am about to prepare a meal for guests. This is a watercolour I did of Leigh Tearooms. Sadly it has since closed. One went through the side lean too (see behind the tree) and ordered directly from the house kitchen and then if weather was good sat out under the red and white umbrellas in the garden. Not sophisticated enough for todays clientele I guess. The brown boat is one of the old Thames Barges. The green area in the background is part of Two Tree Island which you can see in a previous post.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Change of Template

Hope I am not confusing my regular visitors but I am trying a change of template. I was finding that some colours were not standing out in my last template so thought I would try this one. There does seem to be more contrast. What does everyone think.

I've Won

I did not intend to spend so much time blogging today, but it happened. What with posting and then being tagged and then winning a beautiful handmade notebook from a fellow blogging friend Thank you Isobel.

I just said to my husband, "feels like I have wasted most of my day blogging" You know what he said? "Why not if you enjoy it". So, there you go, I only have my own conscience to contend with.

Tagged Again - Using your name

Using Your Name - Game

I got this from Susan.'s harder than it looks! But Fun!
Rules: Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following...they MUST be real places, names,things...NOTHING made up!
If you can't think of anything, skip it.
Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same 1st initial.
You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question and you can't use a search engine... Now Go!

1. Your Name: Barbara
2. Famous singer/band: Beatles
3. 4 letter word: Bowl
4. Street name: Beechwood Drive
5. Color: Blue
6. Gifts/presents: Bracelet
7. Vehicle: Bentley
8. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Book
9. Boys Name: Benjamin
10: Girls Name: Beryl
11. Movie Title: Batman
12. Drink: Bacardi
13. An Occupation: Builder
14: Flower: Bluebell
15. Celebrity: Bob Monkhouse
16. Magazine: Bella
17. U.S. City: Birmingham, Alabama
18. Pro Sports Team: Bristol Rovers
19. Fruit: Banana
20. Reason for Being Late for Work: Bought a bicycle
21. Something You Throw Away: Broken china
22. Things You Shout: Be quiet
23: Cartoon Character:Bugs Bunny

Now for the fun - whose next!!! I pick:

Janie -

Vanessa -

Britt-Arnhild - www.britt-arnhild'

Have fun and hope you will still (speak to me) blog me!

To make this excercise much quicker to participate in I copied and pasted the list and instructions from Susan's blog onto mine. Makes it much easier.

Late April Garden

Looking at what is coming into bloom in my garden this afternoon. I am imaptient - can't wait until full bloom!
The Photinia (Red Robin) is coming into flower
The Clematis Montana is scrambling over the Eunonymous

Must not forget the Ceonothus

The pink Weigela

The white Weigela

The Tamarisk hanging over from next door

What's this? Ivy covering up my ugly neighbour's fence - no! my neighbour's ugly fence! This is a sideway to my garden. Ugly so I keep it covered in ivy. Has to be cut back close and hard regularly, otherwise it would take over and cover everything.

Sedona, Arizona in Watercolour

Thought I would do a quick post before reading through some of my favourite blogging buddies. Decided on a photo of one of my watercolours. Unfortunaately, taking the photo through the glass of the frame did not do well this time. The subject is Sedona, Arizona and painted from a photograph taken by my son. I painted the picture for him so it is not in my possession to try and get a better shot.
We are having some amazing weather so I must make sure that I don't miss it all through sitting blogging over coffee instead of sitting in the sun. The London Marathon took place last Sunday and the temperature hit 81f.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Butterfly Card

Do you like this butterfly? It is a birthday card made, and sent to me by a friend. It is created with silk paints on silk. Done by allowing the colours to run into each other and then the silk is stuck onto card and cut into a butterfly shape. Very simple yet very effective.


Faith is the light of time, it alone recognises truth without seeing it, touches what it cannot feel, looks upon this world as though it did not exist, sees what is not apparent. It is the key to celestial treasures, the key to the unfathomable mystery and knowledge of God. Faith conquers all the fantasy of falsehood; through faith God reveals and manifests Himself, defying all things. Faith removes the veil and uncovers eternal truth. When souls are given the understanding of faith, God speaks to them through all creation, and the universe becomes for them a living testimony which the finger of God continually traces before their eyes, the record of every passing moment, a sacred scripture. The sacred books which the Holy Spirit has dictated are only the beginnings of divine guidance for us. Everything that happens is a continuation of the scriptures, expounding for us what has not been written. Faith explains the one through the other. It is an abstraction presenting the vast extent of divine action summarised in the scriptures, in which souls can discover the key to all its mysteries....Faith is only living at its best when sensible appearances contradict and attempt to destroy it.... To find God in the trivial and most ordinary events as in the greatest; is to have not an ordinary, but a great and extraordinary faith....How delightful the peace one enjoys when one has learned by faith to see God in this way through all creatures as through a transparent veil. Darkness becomes light and bitterness sweet....There is nothing that faith does not penetrate and seek out. It passes beyond darkness, and no matter how deep the shadows, it passes through them to the truth which it always finally embraces, and from which it is never separated.

Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, 20 April 2007

Me aged 25

My son has scanned hundreds of old transparencies onto my computer for me and I am having great fun looking at them all again. I think most of them have reproduced very well considering the age. The green frame of course I added myself in my photo album software, but apart from that the photo is untouched since my husband took it all those years ago.

Spring Soup

This not very special looking herb is called Lovage which you may or may not know. Can be bought at any good supplier of garden herbs. The herb dies right back over the Winter and the new leaves appear in the Spring. The reason I am posting the picture is to let you know that it makes a delicious Spring soup which is rather different. I made my first batch of the year today while baby-sitting dear little Oliver

Before anyone asks - here is the recipe.


2 oz butter or a little olive oil 1 large onion, chopped
2 celery sticks chopped 1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
1 ½ pint chicken or vegetablestock Freshly grated nutmeg
2 handfuls of Lovage leaves (or leaves of your choice i.e. watercress/parsley)
A little milk to thin if needed

To serve: single cream to swirl at the last moment and chopped chives

Soften onion, celery and potatoes in b utter or oil for about 5 mins. Until softened. Stir in half lovage, then stock. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook gently until potatoes are falling apart – about 15 mins. Allow to cool slightly, add nutmeg and remaining lovage and blend in a liquidiser until smooth.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Why Wait for Summer?

Why wait for Summer when we can enjoy the memories now. This was part of my Summer garden in 2004. I decided soon after this to simplify my garden by digging out all the perennial flowers. The reason for this was because my husband Alan had suffered some health problems. It began when he suffered a trapped nerve in his spine and then developed a hernia. Having had surgery for his hernia and appearing to make a good recovery, he then had a return of the hernia and had to have a further repair. It's not that Alan was the gardener but I found that I was having to do so many other tasks while he was incapacitated that I knew I could not keep up this level of gardening. So the answer seemed to be to replace the flowers with shrubs which I have been doing over the last couple of years. Obviously I kept my rose beds and we will be seeing a lot of them this coming Summer.

The quality of these photographs is not perfect as I have scanned them from a photo album and they were originally printed on my old printer.

These lillies were grown from seed that I brought back from the States originally. Collected from the plants in a friends garden. I did have a whole bed of them in many different colours but eventually dug them out to plant another rose bed. It takes about 4 years for the lillies to flower from seed. Obviously the bulbs have to develop first.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to my English garden.


This is a card I made for Janie's wedding anniversary.

And these 2 are for small children. They can identify the shapes and colours.
I enjoy making cards but this blogging has caused me to make far fewer than usual.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Bluebell Woods

The daffodills have finished so it was time to go and see the Bluebells. Drove to the nearest Bluebell woods just 10 minutes away as I did not have time to go further afield where I could have taken a beautiful long walk through acres of Bluebells.
As I was enjoying the beautiful colours and tranquility I was very much aware of the traumatic shootings on a school campus in Virginia, USA. My heart went out to the families and friends at this very difficult time. In these days of global media coverage I know that prayers go out from all around the world and I know that prayer can lift us in our circumstances to a place we never knew existed in happier times.
I am daily amazed at the appreciative comments I receive from my blogging friends. It makes the time taken to do this so worthwhile if just one person is blessed. I am very humbled.

I remember as a child, along with many others, coming home with arm fulls of bluebells, only to be disappointed when they all went floppy in the vase. Bluebells are one of the wild flowers that do not do well indoors. Today in England they are an 'endangered species' so it is illegal to pick them anyhow. They look far better in their natural setting.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Lunchtime in my April Garden

Sitting by the pond having lunch today in beautiful sunny weather. 78f. Quite unusual for the U.K. in mid-April. Having seen on the news, the devastation and stormy weather on the Eastern U.S. Coast, I felt extra blessed.
I then took a couple of shots of views either side in my neighbours gardens

A poem of mine written in 1982

I'm lonely and different
Abused and ashamed
And no-one hears my cry
Or so it seems
Except the demons within
And so begins the masquerade.

I take the centre stage
And dance in my own light
I become a God unto myself
I think I am the centre of the universe
I trample on the beauty around me
In desperation, until

The stage becomes my prison
I am trapped, there is no way out
The frantic pace closes in on me
The nights are long, the pain is deep
Until, in desperation and prayerful surrender
The answer came.

I am not different
I am a part of the whole
The Creator of the universe,
Manifested in me, through me
Spirit joined to Spirit
Everlasting, Eternal and Complete.

Barbara Rogerson 1982

Sunday, 15 April 2007

The Oldest Wooden Church in the World

This is especially for Becky who expressed an interest in English history. I promised to take some photos of this little church and here they are. Greensted church in Essex (20 minutes drive from my home) is the oldest wooden church in the world. Have visited many times, as this is a place we always take our guests to, and particularly American guests. Usually when I visit here during a weekday it is deserted but this time I just could not believe it, there was a coach parked outside and the church and surrounding area was densly populated with a party of very elderly senior citizens. I waited a while to try and get some pictures but could not get them completely deserted, nor could I take any inside as it was full.

This area was once a part of 2 great forests, Hainault and Epping. Both these forests still exist but now on a much smaller scale. The Saxon settlers worshipped their pagan gods in "groves" in the forest and at first the East Saxons resisted attempts to convert them to Christianity by Augustine and Mellitus from Rome. Finally St. Cedd, a Saxon trained at the Celtic monastery on Lindisfarne, was successful. St. Cedd began his work in about 654 A.D. and the first church was built at Greensted soon after. The original building was built from tree trunks from the forest. The nave was added in 845 A.D. .
This is the back of the church. In the 9th century Danish invasions became a serious threat. Raids produced a host of Saxon martyrs, of whom King Edmund of East Anglia is especially remembered here. In the Norman times of William the Conqueror more additions were made to the church. Next came the Crusaders. Henry VII's reign saw the beginning of many changes. In Victorian times there was a lot of restoration done to what had become a neglected church. Greensted's charming setting and close proximity to London brought increasing visitors and the last major repairs were carried out in 1969.

Obviously there is so much more I could recount but just wanted to give a brief sketch.

This is thought to have been a hole where lepers could sit outside and listen

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

God's ways are not our ways

Light and Darkness

I turned on my computer this morning and all I got was the sound of beeping and nothing else, just a constant whirring sound inside. Oh! no. Crash! Lost everything? How? Why? Did I do anything wrong? It was fine last night! Virus? What have I backed up, what have I not backed up? How long before it's fixed? So, after going through this scenario I phoned Dell Support.

The next hour or so was taken up with me pretending to be an IT engineer, or so it felt like. I was instructed to take the side panel off, find the memory cards, take them out, move them, put them back in a different place. Change them over again into the original place and all the time turning computer on and off, unplugging and reading the colours and letters on a little screen just above the on/off control that I did not even know was there before. Apparently this was the way that Dell would know if a part needed replacing. Fortunately in the end, when everything was returned to it's right place, and all the instructions followed, I have a normally functioning screen. What happened? Apparently sometimes our computers do not recognise the memory cards, and no, I do not know why.

All those plans to make an early start to continue with the spring cleaning gone out of the window.

This brought to mind a time when God made it very clear to me that His ways are not our ways and our plans not always His plans.

At the time I was staying in Louisville, Kentucky for a month. During that particular visit it seemed that nothing had gone right. I developed a severe cold on arrival (probably the airplane). The conference that I had gone to be a part of went well but then my hosts needed to leave town. Another friend that I could have stayed with became very unwell having recently returned from Africa. My daughter who had travelled over with me for the first 2 weeks was invited to go and stay in LA. A relative of my host who kindly invited me to go and stay at their place became ill, as did the husband and daughter. Having talked on the phone with my husband in tears in the wee small hours it seemed right to go back to the home of my original host. I drove back in their very kindly lent Explorer and was shocked later that day when I found a snake in the family room. One does not see things like this in England. Fortunately at that point I had invited a friend over from Toledo, Ohio for the day. They knew exactly how to deal with the snake.

In bed that night I began to wonder if I had been meant to make this trip and as I lay wallowing in fear and self pity I began to hear God speak to me. This is what He said:

God’s ways are not our ways. So often we make what seems like perfect plans, only to find that nothing works out the way we thought it would. Everything seems a mess and we think that we are in the midst of complete and utter failure. Then what?

Once we get our eyes off the situation, and look to see what God is saying to us, the Spirit comes pouring through with fresh enlightenment, and we start to see the situation/problem through God’s eyes as we say that this was meant to be, this is His planning – not our failure (it’s like we are busy making the arrangements while God is busy making the plans). God’s got our attention again, the burden is lessened, the struggle is over and we can watch and see how God works the situation out.

Barbara Rogerson
Written in Louisville, Kentucky Sep. 96

I've Been Tagged - REAL MUMS

With husband Alan and son Peter

Daughter Jane with Oliver

So I have been tagged (first time) and the subject is "Real Mums". Thank you la bellina mammina!

I did not want to think about this but just see what my immediate thoughts were, like when you do a personality test and they say, don't think just write what comes into your mind. So here goes:

Real Mums................
Want to take the pain away
Would rather 'go through it themselves' than see their child suffer
Lay awake at night until their grown children come home
Want their child to know God for themsleves
Want their child to become a fully functioning adult
Push their child to independence no matter how it hurts
Hide their own pain
Love till it hurts
Want to show off their grandchildren
Accept and love unconditionally
Go out to buy something for themselves but come back with a new outfit for "Johnny"
Hurt when their offspring take wrong paths
Stay up late planning surprises
Leave their 'child' at university for the first time with a smile, but then cry the whole way home
Encourage 'child' to hang in and see it through when phoning home in tears, but longing to rush down and bring them home.

Whose next? I'll be mean and nominate my daughter Janie, Becky and Tracy Have fun! I'll be checking.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

Easter Sunday

Hope you all had a very Happy Easter time. I had my family over for the day on Easter Sunday. We tried to get Oliver to sleep in the travel cot but I think it was his Mummy who succumbed in the end. Mummy just sent me a comment to say "Has anyone noticed the clump of hair in O's hand which he uses to pull every so often to ensure that Mummy does not get to sleep. Can click on this whole sentence to get to Janie's blog. Something strange happening with the link!

So, into the garden instead where Oliver enjoyed his Grandma's lounger far more than his travel cot.

Out in the garden the fish were enjoying the sunshine. If you look carefully you can see small black shadows. These are baby fish - there are dozens and dozens of them. We have just taken the net off the top so are hoping the fish will be safe. The tadpoles are a wriggling mass. After removing the Winter net last year a Heron came and reduced the fish population from about 60 to about 12. These fish breed so well that without the Heron it would be vastly overcrowded so perhaps nature knows best in the end.

The Arrum Lillies in the pond are beginning to flower too but do need some tidying up.

Took a photo of the Red Robin again just to show how different it looks in the evening light. So different to how it looks in the sun. I prefer the evening colour I think.

Thank you to all my blogging friends for the good wishes received over the Easter period.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Blogging Help

This beautiful tree with ever so delicate flowers (they last less than a week) is growing in my neighbour's garden but it does overhang mine so I can enjoy it too. I do not know what it is called, neither does my neighbour. I took it yesterday late morning.
Then last evening at about 8.0 pm I spotted this very pretty sky. The sun had set before then but the rays were still catching the clouds.
Thought I would share with blogging friends out there something that I have found helpful. When one gets Post Comments coming through via. E-mail, only a name is shown and until I get really familiar with the blogsite of that person I may need to look up the site to check who it is.

So I took a notebook and have made an entry for each one. Things like name, location, age if known, blog name and site, E-mail where appropriate and any other relevant details that are of particular interest to me. I have found this really helpful. I am a 'list' person who likes things organised as you can see. So I hope this is helpful to someone.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

The Donkey

A Poem for Easter


When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! for I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

by G K Chesterton

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Spring Lambs

Here are some cute 3 and 4 week old lambs as my contribution to Easter pictures. These are on the grounds of a Christian Retreat Centre, Pilgrims Hall, that I am involved with. They are a flock of Jacob Sheep and yes they are supposed to be descended from the time of Jacob. They are different in colouring to the sheep that one generally sees in the fields and on the hills.
There were 36 lambs born and all but 2 are black. Baa Baa Black Sheep! These baby lambs remind one so much of new birth and new life and with Jesus Himself being the lamb slain for us it seemed very appropriate to use these on an Easter blog.
Some centuries ago Pilgrims Hall was part of the route that the pilgrims took on their way to Canterbury and it was a place to stop off and rest. These days many people come to take time out either overnight or on a daily basis. The Hall also hosts conferences and various church away days as well as being a counselling centre.

Did not get back to any Spring cleaning today. After breakfast I was hanging washing out on the line when my next door neighbour called out to ask if I would like to join them for a time of praise and worship. This to me is real organic church. There I am hanging out the washing, having not even done my face, and I am called to worship. We had a good time of worship and prayer along with about 8 other neighbours before ending with coffee and then each back to our daily routines.

After lunch I decided to forget the house and take a trip out. First stop was to take pictures of the oldest wooden church in the world as I had promised these to a fellow blogger (These will be going on another post) and after that stopped off at Pilgrims Hall to have afternoon tea with the resident team there. What better way to spend a day. Hope you like the pictures.