Friday, 22 May 2009

More Impressions of Pilgrims Hall and a Surprise

Before moving on to more impressions of Pilgrims Hall, the name coming from the fact that it was a stopping place for pilgrims on their way to Canterbury some centuries ago, I want to share with you an exciting event taking place here this coming week.

Sara of Much Ado About Something is leaving her home in California and coming to stay with me for a week before she embarks on an organised tour of England. We will also have the pleasure of meeting her husband. We have never met in person before but through blogging, phone calls, E-mails and exchanging gifts over two and a half years I feel I know her pretty well already. We are used to having people come to stay in our home that we have never met so it is not a new situation for us but Sara and her husband have never stayed in a 'strangers' home before. They will be Ok. There is always a connection in the spirit when Christians meet as well as the physical. So, I am excited and looking forward to their visit.

We will have so much to talk about in getting to know each other better and with the proposed visits to villages and National Trust and gardens etc., it will probably be some days before I can show you some of the great pictures that we will be taking.

In the meantime do enjoy a walk around some of the grounds of Pilgrims Hall

For new visitors to my blog, Pilgrims Hall is a Christian Conference and Retreat Centre and serves the local community in many diverse ways. I am one of the directors there so it can feel like a second home. If you click on Pilgrims Hall in the 'Labels' on my sidebar you will see more of this very lovely house and grounds.

Here we are enjoying a BBQ with the resident team

This wall was covered in Wysteria until 2 years ago when it all had to be removed as a result of the damage caused by it. It cost us £65,000 to have it repaired. Had to be a traditional repair job as the house is a listed building.

The old stable block, now housing team residents

The conservatory

'My sheep hear my voice' The sheep hear the shepherd approaching

They want the food the shepherd has to give even though they are surrounded by enticing grass. There are always spiritual truths to be found around sheep.

The black sheep follow too

They know the shepherd loves them and will hold them in his arms

Some of the 85 chickens that keep me supplied in eggs

A little of the 19 acres

The only Wysteria that has been kept as seen from the sunken garden

The path to.....................................?

Hello to you too!

Looking through to the walled kitchen garden

And the tool shed

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


I was asked by DaySpring Cards if I would review some of their 'tea related' products and have pleasure in doing so here.As I was unpacking the products soon after they arrived, Alan walked through the door and immediately said, "They are nice, aren't they".

The 3 teapots seen here easily hold 4 cups of tea or 3 mugs and they pour well with no drips. Each product has a verse of scripture amongst the design and are well made and would be a lovely addition to any kitchen or tea party. All products in my opinion would make a very nice gift.

The above link will take you to the DaySpring store where they have many more products for sale

The above teapot and cup and saucer show Psalm 126:3 "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy". The cup is a good sized teacup but very dainty and light to hold.

Here we have a very pretty teapot, the handle on the lid being a Bluebird. The verse is Psalm 145:13 "The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made". Being English where tea has for centuries been our main drink I have to say that this cup would not be considered a teacup here as it would be too small for our regular brew. To us it would be a Demi-tasse coffee cup for strong after dinner coffee. However it would be ideal for an older person who maybe is unable to hold a large cup, or even a child. I would also make an ideal gift for someone who likes to display cups and saucers on a shelf. For myself, I am going to put mine on one of my shelves of minature books as I do have 2 sets of Demi-tasse cups. The teapot will certainly be used for tea though.

And now to the GIVEAWAY! The above set is a heavier porcelain and is microwave and dishwasher safe. The teapot as you can see has a message of Hope with the cups conveying Joy and Peace. The verse depicted is "The God of Love fill you with all Joy and Peace" Romans 15:13. This could also make an ideal gift for someone you were wanting to encourage.

If you would like to take part in this GIVEAWAY then leave me a comment saying so and please link this post on your blog. The draw will take place on
6th June It will arrive safely as it will be despatched directly from DaySpring.

Another 'tea related' product. This pretty box holds 20 cards. 10 with the design seen here on the top of the box and 10 as seen below showing the verse from

Romans 15:13 "May the God of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace". Again a very pretty gift or a box of loving cards to send to folks.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

More on the Cats

My next post will be a GIVEAWAY and will coincide with my 400th post

My sequal to my post on aquiring our Siamese cats. The pics have been scanned from some very faded and almost 30 year old pictures which makes me realise how much I appreciate digital. There's also the horror of 70's decor which we thought was wonderful at the time.

Here is Misty looking regally at the camera as only cats can. Having resisted owning a cat for so long (see recent post) Misty won me over and became a loved member of our family. She never stopped surprising us with her interesting ways and being Siamese she was extremely talkative and loved to play hide and seek with us. She followed us around the house and would watch at the window when we went out, running to the door when she heard our car return. Janie who developed an allergy to cats insisted on letting her sleep on and sometimes in her bed. What happened to the rule about no cats upstairs!

She developed a liking for pink and would go in search of something pink and soft, particularly a woollen glove or sock and bring it to us and drop it at our feet. Janie who was quite young at the time started to make 'Faberge' eggs as a hobby. She made one particularly beautiful one in the shape of a baby's crib. The edges were studded with tiny pearls and the minature doll inside had a pink pillow and quilt. She left it out one day on the top of a chest of drawers and Misty seeing it, jumped up and brought it downstairs in her mouth as a gift to us. Now this was a very delicate egg shell and it was completely intact. How can a cat do that!

Time went by and the children were asking if we could mate her and have a kitten. Of course we gave in as I quite liked the idea myself and at 13 months old we took her to a stud.

She actually had 7 kittens and seen here above is Sandy the kitten we kept and the one I wrote the poem about.

Misty in labour and waiting for the birth to begin

We made a nest in this very large cardboard box (also featured in my poem) and placed it outside our bedroom door. When the time came Jane and I sat with her and could not believe it when yet another kitten appeared. We would run downstairs and tell Alan 'another one' to which he replied 'Oh! yeh' when Jane and I were beside ourselves with wonder and excitement. After a few hours there appeared to be six in all.

It was not until the next morning that we realised that there were 7, the last one being a runt. Interestingly shortly afterwards we had friends who were farmers staying with us and they insisted that in the wild the runt would be left to die. We could not bear the thought of this and fortunately we had a local friend who just loved these kind of challenges and he took the runt to his home and cared for her, feeding her drops of milk from a dropper every hour of the day and night. Once she was strong enough we brought her home and she developed into a beautiful Bluepoint cat. At 4 months old we gave her to the family who had cared for her where she had a loving home.
When the time came to take the kittens out of the nest I bought a secondhand wooden playpen and we packed the inside of the rails with cardboard and put it in the dining room. (seen here on the right) We carefully placed the kittens in and as soon as we left the room Misty obviously thought that we had stolen her babies because she removed them all and hid them under our bed.

Once she had accepted the change of residence here began a battle to keep the kittens in there at night. There would always be one who managed to escape. Once they were mobile and able to run around we would be woken every night with 7 kittens running helter skelter up and down the stairs. Who said cats were quiet!

When very young we found it easier to feed them on this bench where we could keep an eye on them.

Soon they were able to eat at floor level. Misty was an extremely good Mother and disiplined them well. One day I had fresh fish I needed to thaw out so put it high up on top of the wall cupboards in the kitchen. Misty somehow managed to climb up there, take the fish down and distribute it around the kitchen floor for her kittens. She never touched it herself.

Trying to watch TV

For 4 months we had kittens everywhere and could not get away from them.

Trying to cook

Trying to iron


Sleeping in the out/in baskets in Alan's home office. An interesting story here. One day we suddenly realised that we only had 4 kittens. Panic, panic where were the other 3? We checked every nook and cranny in the house and even scored the street and surrounding area, checked the garden and alerted the neighbours. No kittens. The next day still only 4 kittens. We were anxious and upset by now. How could they have managed to get out?
Twenty four hours later Alan was at his desk and heard a squeak. After investigating, there were the kittens, curled up in one of his desk drawers. The drawers in the homemade desk did not have a back to them and they had somehow climbed in and being next to a radiator they had promptly settled down and gone to sleep. What relief to find them.
By the time they were 4 months old I was ready to let them go. We loved them but they were disturbing our sleep and becoming very expensive to feed. Fresh fish and chicken was their daily diet, not to mention their vetinary fees and injections. We gave one away, kept one and sold 5.

We had a number of local children from our house church come to visit the kittens every day and they hated to see them go.

Sandy in the Crab apple tree

Sandy learning to be a cat!
Sandy lived for 13 years and her Mother Misty outlived her by 2 years

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Today's Garden plus

I am still planning to do the follow up 'cat' posts but I need to scan some old photos and have not yet done that.

So in the meantime some photos from today's garden. Beautiful colour contrasts.

The herb bed is coming back after the winter

Not strictly the garden but I just love these orchids.
The deep pink one has 15 flower heads

Last but not least
Having fun with Oliver yesterday
and yes, I did go down the slide!