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Friday, 6 February 2015

Happy 1st Birthday Li'l E, Slimming World, Walking Arundel and a wander around Emsworth.

Arundel Eccentrics

Its a really important day in our world.
It's our only grand daughters first birthday..

The sad thing is that we haven't got to meet her yet.
Our gorgeous girl lives in California.

We had hoped to get there for Christmas but alas life doesn't  always
pan out as you expect  it does it?

My son and his lovely wife will have planned a special day
 and a party over the weekend I'm sure.
How we would love to be there.

We wanted to send a small but meaningful gift.

I went into our lovely family run local bookshop in
 Arundel High Street, and asked
" Very, very English and not too heavy to send by post."

Beatrix Potter.
Peter Rabbit.....

Oh yes!
Those little books are so much part of our own childhoods. 
Why had I never thought of that before?

We can add to the set every birthday and Christmas.
Gorgeous little books that are so beautifully illustrated.

And ....we have a few from Jay's
 childhood it would be great to send.
How lovely to have some of her daddies
 books from his own English childhood.

Happy 1st Birthday darling girl.
We hope to meet you very soon.

January went in a flash
The weather mostly cold and clear.
Arundel looks beautiful whatever the weather.

I've managed to walk up over Arundel
 park a few times a week.

I'm trying for at least four miles
 a day and once a week about seven.

Here's one of the most glorious walks of the area.

Starting on the bridge on the outskirts of Arundel.
Looking down you'll see the old windmill.

 I go across the bridge and round 
by Arundel library.
Cross Maltravers Street and
up Mount Pleasant

Arundel Cathedral and St. Marys Gate Pub

Walk past the Cathedral Centre and the school,
cross the road
and walk up into the park.

Hiorne Tower.
It's been used to film Dr. Who episodes.

Meant to be haunted as well.
Though I've never spotted anything spooky myself.LOL

Keep walking straight and
 when you arrive at the top
of the hill,
you will see a view that will take
your breathe away.

Then it's down towards the bridge at Offham


Offham Bridge

 along the river bank towards the Black Rabbit Pub

Past Swanbourne Lake

  and back into town along Mill Road....

My friend from Steyning has started to join me.
I've known Sarah since we trained as nurses in Brighton at 18.

We met up,  all five of us
 in France last summer.

The Not So Famous Five

no, no that's not one of us.

I was a misery when I arrived.
My weight had not exactly piled on. 
More slid on while my back was turned.

When I met with my dearest oldest friends
 I realised how embarrassed I'd be 
near the swimming pool.

In photos of the week, my face looks puffy and
I'd started wearing really
baggy clothes in a effort to cover the chubby bits.

Actually all it did was make me look even larger.

I came home from Bordeaux 
determined to carry on the walks we had begun over there.

Chrissie had her dog Millie with her,

 so we went every morning for long early hikes.

They were beautiful.

France is lovely. I've always adored the country.

We have even been toying with the idea of  going to live there.

Anyway on my return
I saw a Slimming World group had begun in Arundel.

I HAD been to Weightwatchers a few times in the past and I know it works for a lot of people but I'm rubbish at remembering how many points things are, 
Crikey I forget what day it is half the time.
So  I thought I'd try Slimming World.

That first meeting I came away feeling lighter already.
I all but skipped down the road.

Went straight to Chichester Market, my usual Saturday haunt, 
and stocked up on all the veggies and fruit.
Determined to walk as much as I could, I started that very day.
Found an app that would give pedometer, etc and maps of the walks.

That's helped as it gives you a huge 
"Ta Daa" when you reach ten thousand steps.

One day I was walking along Arundel river bank.
I'd done about five miles and was desperate for the little girls room.
Hmmmmm I'm not even close to getting back.
Looked this way and that.
No one in site.
Dived behind the nearest bush and just at the moment....
From my pocket an extremely loud
Nearly jumped out of my skin.

Anyway back at Slimming World
3 pounds then 3.5pounds, then 2 all started to mount up.
It doesn't feel like a diet.
You eat loads.
It's a change of eating pattern and as a veggie
I returned to more of the whole foods I'd always loved.
It's changed my life in a very short time.
That first visit was July and I'm now 2stone lighter.
I can wear clothes again that were destined for the charity shop.

When Sarah came to join me for her
 first walk about a month ago,
She stood in my doorway and squealed.
Then she admitted when I arrived at
  the airport in Bordeaux  last summer....
she hadn't recognised me.

If you don't live near a Slimming World group
 and would like to try it,
You can get a huge amount of information online.
Recipes and tips.

There are members here losing a stone in a month.
It's quite amazing to watch.
The group started at about 18 members and
 only these few months later we are almost 60.


There's an Afghan dog moved in a few doors away.
Well, not on her own.

You don't often see them these days.

She is identical to the dog we had a few years back.
When we first moved into this house she moved in with us.
Funny...seeing the one walking along the road made me really nostalgic.
Here's our Honey..sitting on Arundel river bank all those years ago.

We miss her.
She was quite bonkers.

Either she used to take off and we would spend hours looking for her
Or she just sat down on a walk and refuse to budge.
We'd either have to drag her along or collect her on our return.
She would be sitting in exactly the same spot we left her.
Kind of defeated the whole object of dog walking. LOL

Still miss her.

Bamboo Furniture

Been busy on Victorian Bamboo this week.
My tiny lounge has three chests of drawers and
three bamboo bookcases in various stages of
Plus a few bamboo tables, 
2 French bedside cabinets

 and 15 vintage galvanised metal pots.

Hard to keep a tidy house.
I've always found that hard,
there always seems something
more urgent to do LOL
......even more so these days.

we both had that awful cough/cold bug and 
I actually crashed out in bed 
for a day.

I had been meaning to read this about 
all the best blogs for interiors.
at last I got around to it.

and this one is amazing
their slogan?

 Oh joy,
I think I found something that
 could have saved me from
a life destined to live 
under a pile of rubbish and household dust.

It's from the apartment therapy blog
which in itself is utterly brilliant

Here it house saviour


I had to go down to Emsworth on Tuesday.
My accountant lives nearby and I went to collect my end of year books.

Emsworth is a small coastal town a few miles south of Chichester.
It's really pretty with some  very old cottages and houses.

ha ha..I bet they get loads of takers

I would imagine it was a smugglers haunt in days gone by.

I usually take my camera with me and go for a walk.

It's picturesque.
........ Was bitterly cold...and very beautiful.

Creative Writing Group

After two years our creative writing group, 
or The Bloomsburys,
as I refer to them,
is still going strong.

Its a lovely group of people
led by "The Guvnor"
who was for many years
A Sunday Times journalist.

Not sure whether
I've come very far....
but its been great fun trying.
Here's a piece I wrote a while ago
 that I was asked to record for a magazine for the blind.

It was based on a great little cafe in Kemp Town in Brighton.
I went for a latte there after a funeral in the winter of last year.
Needed to warm up and collect my thoughts.
The church, St John The Baptist, was across the road.

It was where my parents had married in the '50's
 and my dad's funeral was held.
We  all went to the school that was next door.

A lot of history in that little area.
Means a lot to me.

Metrodeco cafe 
By Brenda Nassarian 

She could feel his tension as she walked in. 
Rod was seated at their favourite table. 
When he looked up, she noticed dark circles under
 his eyes and a worried set to his expression.

 She gave him a questioning look but his only response was,
He went to the counter.

Ellie took off her coat and sat down. 
She had a tight nervous feeling in her stomach. 
As she glanced around she recalled  
the first time she'd found the Metrodeco cafe. 

It was two years ago almost to the day. 
She'd been walking along the prom at Kemp Town
 and a raging storm had blown up as if from no-where.
 The icy rain had  stung her face and she'd pulled
  the brim of her felt hat down over her eyes.
 She could barely see where she was going and
  struggled along bracing herself against gale force winds.
 The steamed up windows of the cafe were a
 welcome sight and she was almost catapulted through the door.

Dragging  off her saturated coat and hat she
  exhaled deeply with relief, sinking into the one vacant chair.
 She had looked around the quirky high room decorated
 mostly in an Art Deco style.
 A seemingly random collection of chandeliers ,
 some heavy wooden, some fading gilt,
 hung from the once grandly ornamented ceiling,
now crumbling plaster.
In the corner of the room
 stood a 1950's gauche looking teenage mannequin.
 Sporting a black felt 1960's floppy hat her modesty
 barely covered by a minuscule bright orange scarf .

The tables were relatively uniform, 
but the chairs were a motley grouping. 
 Gilt and leopard print at one table,
 gold faux bamboo with gaudy fabric at another.
 Ellie sat on chrome with woven jelly-like plastic seats
 which she thought surprising comfortable if not exactly aesthetically pleasing.

Across the black painted floorboards stood
 an elaborate cabinet piled high with decorative tea packets.
 Intrigued, Ellie had picked up the menu and
 looking at the teas and quietly chuckled over "Devil is a Woman," "Iron Godess of Mercy" and " Graham Green and Chocolate"alongside
 the more traditional Lapsang Soochong and Earl Grey.
  There were black teas, oolong teas and green teas before even starting on the coffees.

Having at last decided and ordered, she had casually glanced at the man sharing her table. His appearance as eccentric as the surroundings.
  He was reading an art book, his head bowed,
 his forehead furrowed in concentration.
 Ellie's assumption that he was an art student 
wasn't too far off beam. 
As it turned out he was a fine art tutor
 from the local Art Faculty.

A clap of thunder and a heavy gust of wind,
 lashing the rain against the  building 
 made the man look up. 
He had caught Ellie's eye and smiled.
"Think we'll be here for some time"
Ellie had smiled back and her eyes
 lingered longer than she intended.
 He wasn't her usual type. 
Her preference was for the neatly coiffed, 
lean smart clothes horse  attired in expensive designer suits.
 Rod had blond shoulder length, floppy hair , 
that he constantly pushed from his face. 
When he had gone to the counter
 for a refill her eyes had followed him with interest.
A suit, granted. But burnt orange?  With DMs?
He had caught her looking him up and down and by way of an explanation,
"Been to a wedding, well the Registry Office, at least  "

And that was it. For the next two hours they talked,
 laughed, tasted the teas and arranged to 
meet by the pier in the evening. 
They had been together ever since.

Her life changed  in a big way. 
It was now filled with visits to art galleries
 and obscure cinema venues where they watched
 subtitled films into the night. Dinner at 
 restaurants in interesting remote
 locations and late night walks along the beach.

Their  relationship had gone from strength to strength
 and she had thought them ecstatically happy. 
Until a few weeks ago, when something shifted.
 Rod appeared worried  and wouldn't discuss it.
 He was constantly distracted. 
hen he disappeared for several days without explanation. 
Ellie felt sick when she received the text 
"Meet me ....usual cafe  4pm"

She looked up now watching him buying the coffees.
 As he turned around she could see he was frowning.
"I'm sorry Ellie. I didn't know how to tell you. 
I'm being made redundant "
"Oh no that's awful"
"They've given me a couple of months .....I was trying to find a new job."
"Why didn't you say?"
"Didn't  want to worry you. I've found something though.......just heard I got the's in Edinburgh."
"Rod that's so far away. 
I would never see you"
"That's what I wanted to talk you about......
that's why I'm feeling such a bag of nerves"
She glanced down at the small
 black box he had put on the table
"Come with me.......marry me? "


Have a great day

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