Friday, November 6, 2015

Flowers and Pets in Sheffield

Sheffield holds special memories of flowers and pets with my blogger friend and host, Liz Bishop. We met on the wide world of blogging  and  found that she was a Malaysian , now a British citizen.

As her guest, I enjoyed 5 days of her hospitality visiting parts of the Peak District and making new friends in Annie and John Stirling, Kathryn and Barry Newton. My dearest friendship was forged with her two canines, Syd and Axa, both from rescue homes that have found  a wonderful friend and owner in Liz, whose care and attention for them speaks volumes of a heavenly friendship.
Those  few days of the doggies greeting a sleepy-eyed me  each morning will forever be etched in my memory. How they rushed to get into my room, waggy tails like beating a souffle, is so heartening . I've never had such a wholesome and genuine greeting ever! Then, they settled down to lie by my suitcase while I lingered, still keeping my bed warm.

As Liz's passion and work is flower arranging, she brought me to two ngs ( National Garden Society) Open day in Handforth and Tytherington,  parts of Cheshire. We attended a flower demo in Oxton, Nottingham  and witnessed 6 different styles of flower arranging by a regional arranger. With Kathryn and Barry, Liz drove us for a day out to York. It was my first to the beautiful city. And a lunch date at Betty's Cafe and restaurant , among so many teas during this 5 week holiday in the UK, this was mandatory!

The days passed fleetingly and soon it was time to stay with my dear friend, Wanphen in Beccles, Suffolk. I bought some doggie treats for Syd and Axa for they lurve treats and they deserve every bit of them too! I see them on facebook and know they are well.

I'll be catching up with Liz in the  new year as she'll be guiding 18 ladies  for a visit to our lovely country, Malaysia on a 2 week holiday. Guess what, she and her friends will be showing the Gardening Society members in Singapore and KL their artistic skill in flower arranging. So, with many thanks for a wonderful stay, we promised to keep in touch . Waiting for June 2016 to come, quick!

In Liz's front garden

With Kathryn and Barry Newton in their garden

Country road , Peak District 
First time holding 2 leashes. Syd and Axa are good doggies, I  know they  would not do a mile dash with a newbie like me!

The lovely doggies  are content to relax .I shall  terribly miss their morning waggy tails welcome when I leave Sheffield.
There's no stopping Syd and Axa as they wolf down their meal. Nothing is ever left behind - you wouldn't have known it had food in it within the last minute!! Syd wins  paws down!!

  Gimme more, is their daily mantra!
Our morning walk - Syd is usually off the leash. Axa can be a little unpredictable, so Liz keeps her close by as many other canines do their walks like them. I got to see the different breeds with their owners. Well- behaved dogs:)

                    Hearing the quacking of ducks, Syd  too wanted to check them out himself!

After each walk, Liz washes the paws  of the doggies.

Syd decided to make it a threesome! He's adorable and would not miss out on any memorable moments. 
John Stirling was the Chairman and founder of The Freshfields Donkey Village in Peak District. Was really touched he gifted me a book on the play, The Really Useful Donkey Company when he and his wife, Annie  popped by to say goodbye the day before I left for Beccles.
Annie Stirling welcomed Liz and I with her fabulous scones and sandwiches and tea, of course!
Axa and Syd  are so companionable.  They do not let loneliness creep in 

ngs  Garden Open day in Handforth, around Cheshire. The lovely clematis trails strikingly  above my head.

Cakes and teas to complement a visit to ngs Garden Open day. It is a  real treat as volunteers happily see to our needs.

The sun's out . So too are families to grab the opportunity to support ngs Garden Open day.

Owner of Brooke Cottage, Barry Davy  gave up teaching Science to branch into garden design. We admired his great effort.

One  is truly tempted with all the spread of goodies.

A spacious garden and we were tempted to linger .

 The orchids got me thinking of the ways to weave my own magic when I get home.

The bright  red oblong perspex pieces added to the striking arrangement of a red themed floral arrangement.

Picking the lucky  raffle winners who would take home the arrangements.

Liz's ad on the side of her car. Just  pull it off and store it when not in use.
Betty's Cafe - Restaurant
With Annie Newton, York Castle
York Minster , cathedral of York
Delectable spread at Betty's
Compact and beautifully designed garden at Handforth. Owner has utilized every imaginable space to showcase his creativity.
Lovely colours
With Mr Cordingley, the owner of Hathaway Cottage on ngs Garden Open day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Old ties rekindled

The last time I visited Winnersh was 10 years ago. I could not head to Berkshire to stay with my former midwifery colleague, Hazel though I've been in and out several times in the UK.

This July I was determined to make a special effort and scheduled my 5 weeks to spread over a bigger community of family and  friends in the UK. I achieved it all:) 

This time round, Michael, her eldest child is getting married in December. So time has flown  and we are  busy in our lives, doing so many things that left unrecorded will be forgotten as we grow older.

My first visit to Hazel and her husband, Ben was in Brighton . That was in 1983. I can still remember Ben having my  eldest daughter his  broad shoulders. Now Sharmini is an independent lady carving a niche in her career and being a dutiful daughter.

From Winnersh, I bade good bye to Hazel and Ben. He was a little concerned and he reminded me to keep safe as I  told him there's a BERSIH 4 rally that I would like to be there.


The raspberries  are ripe for picking  for our dessert.

Hey! sway and be hippy happy! Guess what, I bought myself one after a trial session on Hazel's. Gotta get those creaky joints oiled!

As the evening grew a bit chilly, the fire in the 'stove'  kept us warm as the wispy smoke danced in the dark. A little bit of spotting the stars as they appeared. 
With the wood glowing, wine glasses topped up, and Ben's presence, the evening was all ours.

Lunch in the open  - taking advantage of the summer.

Hazel showing me the Braille exercises. Great learning and enthusiasm. 
At Winnersh town square
Outside the Town Hall, Winnersh

It's his happy day out at Dinton Pastures Country Park. I found it a delightful park - wildlife and humans co-exist.

Delightful  swans, mallards, coots  dipping their beaks in the lake.

How low can you go?

Just wishing we could hitch a ride on the bird's wings!

Can you spot the gargoyles?

We brought our lunch and  snacks .

 A pleasant little walk up to the castle. The long grasses dance in the afternoon sun.

Nothing like smiles for the album

English Heritage that has stood the the test of times

Ruins of Donnington Castle
All quiet 

Huge artichokes

A relaxing walk by the canal