Cricket balls or Scones

England to me has always conjured up afternoon teas and scones.  I still do not know why.  While recently in Shropshire I spent a week of being totally disappointed by the quality of scones.  Invariably they were heavy, doughy, totally lacking in flavour and in most cases the scone could have been substituted for a cricket ball in a cricket match.

On our return journey to the ferry we decide to spend some time in the Jackfield Tile Museum one of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums.  As we  finished we noticed signs for Maws Craft Centre which turned out to be only a short amble down the road.  What a find!  A courtyard surrounded by craft shops and a café.  Each and every shop is different but each worth a visit.IMAG1358

Lastly we visited  “The Tile Press” a beautiful café.  It is located in the building where the tiles used to be made hence the name.  It is bright and airy with plenty of space between tables.  In one corner are sofas so, if it is a “sink in and get comfy” cuppa you are looking for they are ideal.  In another corner is a large table which would easily seat 10 people comfortably.  Then there are tables for two or four people interspersed around the floor.

As we approached the counter I spied a tiered display of scones!  Real scones; none of those mass-produced cricket balls.  We quickly ordered scones with tea and coffee.  I found myself with a silly grin on my face after eating these scones.

They were light as a feather and incredibly moreish.  I found out that Claire is the baker and it was the first day to have scones on the menu.  Weren’t we lucky to find this goldmine?

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The glass fronted cup boards were home to delicious cakes, cup cakes and larger cakes which were equally as tempting.  Each display was more enticing than the previous one.

Now for those who prefer savoury there was the smell of carrot and coriander soup wafting its way which was equally as tempting. Together with beautiful breads and seasonal salads The Tile Press was catering for everyone.

From the bright airy feel of the café, to the perfect cup of tea, to the enticing aromas, to those tempting cakes, and light as a feather scones this is a café not to be missed.  The icing on the cake ~( if you will forgive the pun) was the welcome.

Comparison

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I was sent this today and it is so true. There are so many times when we compare ourselves to others. Sometimes we don’t say it out loud but saying it privately to ourselves can be even more destructive.

It is the last line which has struck me as being very powerful “Gratitude turns what we have into enough”.

Wow, just take a second and think about it…..

 

The Perfect Present

except make that coffee or a glass of wine!

I have to agree with C.S.Lewis. I have been trying to find a cup or a mug large enough to last a chapter of a book never mind a complete book.  However, the shape was wrong, or the pattern was wrong, or it wasn’t china which for me is a prerequisite for any cup of tea. Fussy?  Yes totally.

Then I got a present from another tea loving friend.  Yes, a mug which I can wrap my hand around: the tea stays warm in it and it is CHINA.  How lucky can one get?  Then there is the little extra.  When I get to the bottom of a wonderful mug of tea there at the bottom of the mug is the question “Another cup?”  Now that is what I call a thoughtful present.

Do you find there are people who have this uncanny knack of choosing just the correct present?  They seem to know what would stir the heart.  They have this uncanny knack of picking up something which you didn’t even know you would like.

Now I could spend months thinking about the gift, but I don’t really think I get it right or if I do it really is a fluke.  I do however like the process of trying to figure out a good present for someone.  I have concluded, that having put the time and thought into the gift, irrespective of how it is received, is more important to me.  This way it is not a chore but a delight.

So are you the perfect present chooser?

A Small Gesture

What are the little things which give you a lift? What are those things which make you stop and feel thankful? Now I am not talking about those grand gestures I am talking about those small gestures.

I was in the middle of the clean up  getting ready for the weekend and all those household chores just had to be done.  It was an ideal morning for it.  The sky was grey but with a hint of blue.  The sun hasn’t really got it heat going yet so the house was cool ideal for getting those floors cleaned.  Everything was ready for cleaning.

Andy Williams accompanying me as I set to in the shower room.  The washing machine was given the bass beat as it came to the end of the first wash of the day.  The kettle and teapot, however, were calling to me that I needed a break, but I like to get the work done before breakfast.

While lugging out the hoover I heard the letterbox click.  Although there were no up coming birthdays, anniversaries and no celebrations in the offing there was always the hope that the post might, just might, include something other than bills.  It was my lucky day. Among the bills nestled a hand-written envelope for me with a foreign stamp.  Now that is what I call post.  I put the letter into my pocket and returned to the house work.

Suddenly mopping the floor wasn’t so bad.  Dusting the skirting boards wasn’t going to be ignored as it was just another little job.  Then I found myself with my steps clearing out the top of the china cabinet.  Singing along with Andy.  It was a good day.

Two hours later, chores completed, clothes washed  and hung out, hoover put away for another day and steamer stashed neatly away; the tea was made, and the tray brought out to the garden now that the sun was giving off some heat and it was time to open the letter.  The anticipation is part of receiving a letter in the post. IMAG1051

I slowly opened the letter and I was soon transported to Washington State through the letter writing of a new friend.  So, for me a little piece of heaven was to receive a hand-written letter.  It totally brightened up my day.  It totally gave me a lift.  I felt so thankful that someone thought enough of me to take the time to hand write a letter and then post it to me.  I felt special.

I hope you have experienced something similar and I would love to hear what it was which lifted you up.

Goals or Dreams

This is my last post with the theme “goals”.  Perhaps the use of the word “dreams” rather than goals maybe more appealing  to some.  However, for me dreams are intangible.  They cannot be touched and so cannot come to fruition.

But when I began to think about the goals I have set for myself I realised that they started when I noted down, without any rules , those funny, impossible, madcapped, and personal dreams in my trusty journal.  They were outlandish, they were trite perhaps to others, they seemed impossible or some were just wishful thinking.  BUT they were my dreams or aspirations.

 

“Keep your heart open to dreams.  For as long as there’s a dream there is hope, and as long as there is hope there is joy in living”.  Author unknown

 

The dreams were personal but once they were there in front of me having been given colour they began to become achievable.  Well, perhaps not all of them.  Yes, I still have those dreams that I will never see come to fruition but hey that’s fine with me.  I still enjoy the dreams.

I will give you an example.  One of my dreams which has become a constant in my journaling is to dance.  Now let me explain, I may have the rhythm in my head, but it never actually reaches my toes.  It is official that I have two left feet.

This doesn’t stop me loving and admiring the beauty and strength of ballet; the rhythm, costumes and history of national dances: imagining myself dancing on Strictly come Dancing or Dancing with the Stars; watching young people performing modern dance with such innovative moves; trying to do the moves from Hairspray on the Wii; or imagining me attending a 1940s themed dance and dancing the jive, the jitterbug  or the swing.

(I am sitting here typing amid tears of laughter as  my dream of dancing the swing ends in me standing on my partners toes, missing the swing totally and bringing everyone around me crashing to the floor.)

I have enjoyed the process of trying to turn those dreams into attainable goals.  Researching how I can do something and through that research perhaps realising that the goal is not something I need or want.  Sometimes the research has led me down a totally different path which has proven to be far more enjoyable and enlightening.

One thing I have learnt is that I agree with the quote from C.S Lewis “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”

These dreams or goals do not have to come to fruition; sometimes just starting the journey is enough.

 

Goals or perhaps….?

The recent post on Goals dated August 7th has led to me receiving more emails than for any  other blog post.  I was amazed and humbled that people would take the time to post a comment or to send me an email.  It was a surprise to me that the topic was engaging with so many.

Three different emails voiced their concern over the use of the word goals.  It is a word I have and difficulty with myself.  For some people the word goal sends shivers down their backs and it certainly used to with me.  Goals can sometimes seem to be these insurmountable objectives  or aims which cannot possibly be achieved.

There have been many times when the goals I have set for myself have not been achieved and I have beaten  (verbally) myself up over  the failure.  However many times those goals were not my goals but goals which others thought I should be aspiring to.  One lady always perceived the word goal as being a “male” word.   She doesn’t know why but it has led her to ignore the word and use the word “objective” instead.

Yet another lady wrote how once she substituted  the word project  for the word goal and since doing that she has achieved much more.  While another lady  uses a journal to tease out what she would like to achieve.  She usually starts this in September and uses word picture and together with actual pictures to set up what she would like to TRY and achieve.  She states that it is the trying that is so important to her.

Now I must admit I really like the way this lady thinks.  I like the idea of word pictures but I must say I really like the idea that it is the journey that is so important.  Many times I have found myself deviating from the goal I had set and finding something so much more enjoyable or something more important to me even though I hadn’t realised when starting out.

One email had me laughing right out loud.  This lady wrote that at age 60 she retired and only set one criteria for herself.  That was, that she was having a year without setting targets, goals or whatever.  She is now 72 years of age and still doesn’t set any goals  but on reflection has achieved so much that she ” couldn’t possibly list”.  She is busy, lives life which has included hospital stays and burying her partner but she states ” that I will never be confined again by goals.  I am a happier person without them.”

All the correspondence I have been privileged to receive, has shown me that first and foremost we are all different.  Secondly, goal setting is not the prerogative of any one age group.  Thirdly the title “goal” has different meanings for different people.

The Oxford Thesaurus  gives the following variations to the word goal: “object”, “aim”, “purpose”, “end”, “objective”, “target”, “ambition”, “ideal”, “aspiration”.

The last suggestion has led me to the word “aspirational” which according to Bloomsbury English Dictionary means ” a desire to achieve something especially self-improvement”

Thank you for reading. A special thanks to those who have posted comments on my blog or who have emailed me directly. Thank you.

Goals Again

I received an email from a lady who follows this blog. This is the first time I have received an email from her.

Her email refers to my recent blog on goals and she queries how I can possibly say that goals are for everyone irrespective of age. I quote with her permission “ how can you possibly infer that goals are for everyone. I can honestly say that goals are only for the young in order to make the most out of their lives..”

She saw goals as huge life changing ideals. They were to be set, worked upon and accomplished in order to progress in one’s career. There was no need for anyone to make goals otherwise. She did not see how retirees or stay at home mums, could possibly have goals to make, as these people were “not contributing to society”.

I was taken aback by this email. Firstly , that goal setting was the prerogative of the young. Secondly, the idea of stay at home parents could not possibly have a contribution to make to society  nor could retirees which is an idea I totally reject. Where did these ideas come from?

Wow, I was flabbergasted. After exchanging a few emails I learnt a few things about this lady. Firstly, she is articulate with a great turn of phrase. Secondly, she is a retiree of two years having been a teacher for over forty years. Thirdly what I would have thought of as setting goals she saw as mere trivial dreams. She also concluded that I must have more time on my hands if all I could really blog about was dreams but she would still continue reading my blog.

I think I will keep to my goal settings and just show the world I can do it even if I am a retiree having been a “stay at home” Mum. 😊

What do you think? Are you a goal setter? Do your goals help you to get the best out of life? Or perhaps you don’t need them. I would love to hear what you think.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Image may contain: text                                                                                                                     courtesy of Sue Gaskin.