Thursday, 30 July 2015


Good Morning to you,

I have travelled on many different roads, but I have to tell you, travelling on the roads of New Delhi is a totally unique experience and it certainly isn't for the faint hearted.

There are a number of ways to get through the experience. For instance,

you can close your eyes and listen to some soothing music and ignore what is going on around you


you can read a book and keep your eyes firmly fixed on the text and not be distracted by the sounds you will hear.

Of course, if you are brave enough, as George was, you can watch the comings and goings of the New Delhi traffic, but even George found it difficult to follow the rules, because just as he thought he understood them, a car would appear and travel up the wrong side of the road.

The most constant sound you will hear is the tooting of car horns. A toot to get out of the way, another toot to say you are there behind a car and finally a toot to say you are over taking. I have to say, I did not work out what the double toot meant... probably best to leave well alone. So much tooting.... so as you can imagine, driving is certainly not a relaxing experience.

For the first part of our journey to Agra, we had to do battle with the New Delhi traffic, in all its shapes and forms.... 

with its mix of cars, motor cycles and young men pushing their wheel carts

to the many auto rickshaws which are always in abundance.

New Delhi is a city which is always full of hustle and bustle and there are always so many people
 out and about, even at eleven
 or twelve o'clock at night.

So as you can guess, driving out of New Delhi was going to be quite an experience.

Having said that,
you can imagine my surprise, when
 after the hustle and bustle of New Delhi,
 we found ourselves travelling along a
 three lane expressway,
 which was devoid of traffic.  
There were no auto rickshaws, 
there were no motorbikes carrying families, 
there were no cars.... 
for quite a few miles there was just us, 
which seemed very strange, almost eerie. 
It was as if everyone else knew something 
we did not know
that they had forgotten to tell us.

Then finally, we spotted a car on the other side of the expressway.... so a photo was in order, but still our road ahead was clear.

There was the odd spot of colour, which came from the pink of the bougainvillea

and the odd colourful house dotted along the way

and then slowly, but surely, the traffic  began to increase.

First there were a few cars and then

before we knew it, we were bumper to bumper.

A little way further and we saw the sign post for Agra.

We passed  the magnificent Red Fort which had been built in the 11th century.
You can find out more about the Red Fort

We passed the odd tractor, believe it or not this one was being pushed through the busy traffic, 

even a horse drawn cart, which surprisingly, was not nervous of the cars,
 passed us by

as did the cows.

Even an elephant... only teasing, no not a real one, but a stone carved elephant.

We continued through the busy streets of Agra, getting lost now and again, because the sat nav did not recognise many of the smaller streets 

until finally, we turned the corner


found the peace and tranquillity of the Oberoi Hotel. 

We checked in and were shown to our rooms
 and when we walked
 onto the balcony, 
this was the sight we saw,

The Taj Mahal.


Take care and I will see you again next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


Thursday, 23 July 2015


Good Morning to you,

'I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down
and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all.'

Joni Mitchell

I do so love travelling and visiting new places.

I also love the sense of adventure that travelling gives me.

..... and before I begin travelling, I even love the mundane things which I need to do, such as taking the suitcases out of the loft and dusting them off.

I love packing my clothes, probably a few too many times. Putting this in and taking that out, three or four times, possibly even more, before I decide I have the right combination of clothes.

I love deciding which outfit to wear when travelling, but it always has to be casual and it most certainly has to be comfy

..... and when the time arrives,

I love the tingly feeling I get when I arrive at the airport.

I love the hustle and the bustle of the airport

and I love, love, love seeing all the adults and children, so excited about their own family holiday. 

I love checking the departure board, to see the different countries people are  travelling to,

and I am always thrilled to find that our flight has not been delayed but is on time.

Once we have boarded the flight.

I love settling myself in to my seat and unwrapping my blanket, sorting out my book and my Ipod and looking to see which films are being screened during the flight.

..... and then I wait.

What am I waiting for?

I wait patiently until the flight takes off and as we climb higher,

I see the most beautiful sights below,

and then I see the first glimpse of clouds.  

Just a few fluffy clouds pass by at first,

and then,

as the plane climbs higher,  
 few more clouds appear,

until we rise above the clouds and
 we see
the most beautiful blue sky.

Whilst below us,
 clouds are swirling and others 

seem to be floating like big puffy meringues.

Once we fly above the clouds
I am very excited,
as I know I am on my way

to see Natasha and her husband
 and then
 to visit the most beautiful sight I will ever see in my lifetime.

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday
when I will tell you more about my visit to India.

Thursday, 16 July 2015


Good Morning to you,

Have you been wondering what I have been up to during the past few weeks?

I am bursting to tell you.

George and I have enjoyed the most wonderful holiday in India.  We spent a whole month with Natasha and her husband and were thoroughly spoilt and I have to tell you, we loved every minute of it.

We arrived home a couple of weeks ago and both of us have been adjusting to jet lag..... it's awful isn't it. Each morning I would wake up absolutely starving. I know that sounds a bit extreme, because I am never starving, but my stomach was crying out for food. The time difference meant, that whilst we were in India, we would have eaten breakfast and lunch by the time we awoke in England.  So my stomach was rebelling, as it could not understand why I had not eaten my normal ration of food. 

I am pleased to say, we are finally back to our normal eating regime..... breakfast at 8.00 am, lunch at 1.00 pm and supper at 6.30 pm, or there abouts and my stomach is very happy and content. 

The journey from India to London was a long journey and we arrived at 7.00 am as we travelled through the night. We did not have to wait around in London too long before we boarded our final flight to bring us home. When we arrived home, we were tired, but I have to tell you, we were also excited. We did not want to go to bed, as we wanted to talk about our holiday and all the wonderful experiences we enjoyed.... we felt like children at Christmas time.

We also wanted to see how our garden had grown whilst we had been away. So our suitcases were left in the hall whilst we went into the kitchen to make a much needed cup of tea.

With tea in hand, we opened the backdoor and walked in to the garden and we had a wonderful surprise. Whilst we had been away, the garden had grown so much.  Apparently the weather had been mild and in true English style, it had rained quite a lot, so the garden had flourished in our absence. There was colour everywhere.

I was so pleased, that I thought I would share some photographs with you.

One of my favourite flowers in the garden are roses and in my opinion, you can never have too many.

For instance, this rambling rose Golden Showers, it blooms and it blooms and it blooms all summer long and whilst it can grow to great heights, if pruned properly it can be contained so that it does not get out of control.

Which is what I did in spring, I cut the rose back quite hard, to encourage new growth and I was rewarded with so many beautiful flowers. There must be about twenty or more rose buds on the branches, ready and waiting for the warm sun to unfurl their petals.

Here you can see it growing happily amongst the clematis Richard Pennell. The buds are the late flowering clematis, Jackmanii, which always produces masses of velvety dark purple flowers.

If I had to choose a favourite rose, it would have to be this David Austin rose, St Swithun. The fragrance has a strong myrrh scent which I love and the flowers are stunningly beautiful.  

.... and although it only has a few buds and a couple of flowers at the moment, next year the flowers will surround Bacchus and what a treat that will be.

.... and the foxgloves, well they have grown to new heights this year. Some years I dry the seeds and sprinkle them around the garden, but in other years  I allow the seeds to be blown by the wind and they pop up in interesting places around the garden..... they are always a nice surprise.

As you can see they look very much at home amongst the Johnson's Blue geraniums and the pink Endressii geraniums. At the moment I am looking for a Kashmir White geranium to add to the garden.

I love planting flowers which intermingle, because as you can see I am not a fan of formal planting.   I think it would be fair to say I am a great lover of the cottage style of gardening. I love closely planted flowers which look as if they have been in the same place for years.

This Star of India clematis I planted a month or so before we left for India, as a reminder of our wonderful holiday. I thought it would look lovely growing up the trunk of the cherry tree. I had not expected it to flower this year, but the conditions were perfect and I was gifted with some lovely flowers.

The colour of the flowers are a lovely shade of pink. When you look closely, it is as if someone has loaded a brush with paint, then brushed the outer edges of the petals first, then, with the remaining paint, decided to paint fine lines down each petal.... so beautiful.

I love the green of this Lady's Mantle.... isn't that a fabulous name for a plant. I love that firstly, a mound of lush leaves appear and then the lacy flowers pop up through the leaves. I often pick the flowers and add them to arrangements of roses. Yes, I have to admit, the plant can be a little invasive, but I don't see that as a problem, because it is so easy to dig up the young plants, pot them up and give them to friends. I love cottage garden plants, because I get so many free plants which I can move around the garden or give away to friends.

This white washed terracotta pot did not survive our winter this year and was a little worse for wear. As you know I hate waste, so I decided not to throw it away or use it for crocks. Instead I placed it in the ground on its side and planted some low growing Campanula.... it is very happy in this spot and is thriving.

The white French Lavender is doing well and the Penstemons, which I have around the garden in a range of beautiful colours, from the delicate Apple Blossom to the pinker Pink Endurance and Amelia Jayne. I love the wine coloured Raven Penstemon, as it always stands out in the garden. Some plants are in flower and some are almost ready to burst into flower.

I think, before long, I will I need to find something for my little cherub to stand on, because he needs to stand at least eighteen inches taller, now that the flowers have matured and reached their full height.

The shady part of the garden is doing well.  The ferns have grown and spread so much, giving us a lovely feathery looking carpet.  We missed the flowering of the Rubra Plena peony, which is a rich, deep burgundy colour and one of George's favourite flowers. When peonies flower, they are stunning, but the flower of this variety does not last very long.

Lavender surrounds this centre piece, which the bees love, they fly from one flower to another morning, noon and night.

.... and finally a beautiful plant which self seeded itself, in probably not the right place, but I really don't mind.

this lovely Evening Primrose.  When dusk falls, the colour stands out amongst all the other flowers.

The garden is continually evolving, in Spring time I dig up a plant from here and plant it there.  I really do get a great deal of satisfaction from gardening.

How about you, are you a keen gardener? Do you enjoy getting your hands in the soil?

Before I leave you I just wanted to say, I have lots to tell you about our visit to India, but I really need to organise my photographs.  I took quite a few and they need a bit of sorting out, but when organised I promise I will show you them and tell you all about our visit.

Just a little teaser..... what is the most famous place you would associate with India..... Agra to be precise..... yes that's right, The Taj Mahal..... how lucky were we to visit such a beautiful place.

As I mentioned I have so much to tell you about our fabulous visit to India and promise to do so in the coming weeks.

So until next Thursday, take good care of yourself.

This week I will be joining,

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