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.

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?

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.

Girlfriends

Today is National Girlfriends Day and what a fantastic thing to celebrate. I personally think that friendship among women is something very special.

There are those friends who are only in your life for a short period. Perhaps it is during the school years or perhaps during various stages of one’s working life. They keep us going. When those friendships come to a natural conclusion that is fine. Life intervenes and to be honest I think it would be impossible to keep every friendship going.

There are the friends one meets during difficult times. They support you and then as those difficult times ease you both move on with your lives and again that is ok.

There are those friends which one meets through perhaps pastimes, hobbies, shared interest. Perhaps you only meet them during those shared interests, but they are an integral part of the enjoyment of those interests.

Perhaps you have some friends who are years or decades younger and their perspective on life adds to your knowledge as we are always learning.

I was listening to someone recently who looked on her local librarian as her friend as every two week she knows that there is going to be a new book waiting for her which will stimulate her, intrigue her or even get her riled. These books have been chosen by someone who cares and that is the definition of friendship for her.

Then again there are those friends who you may be privileged enough to have had them for twenty years or more. They have become part of the fabric of your life.  That is such a special blessing.

I have been blessed with so many gifts of friendship that I am humbled. Today I am remembering with great fondness but also with a heavy heart some friends who have died. I still go to the phone to ring them or I am just about to send them a text, or message them and even had a card made for one friend when I realise “No “they are no longer here. However, their legacy of friendship remains within my heart.

I have been privileged to have received the gift of friendship from so many.

Happy Girlfriend Day.

 

 

Friendship

Friendship is everything in life, 
Life without friendship is like life without air…
Life without friendship is like eats without food
And
Life without friendship is like body without soul…

(excerpt from Friendship by Qistina Zani)

Imperfections

 

 

The beauty of handmade lies in the imperfections”

What a great thought.. by keeping this thought in mind it immediately removes the pressure of “having to make something perfect”.

A few months ago, I purchased a bundle of fat quarters.  I wouldn’t normally but I decided that the colours would make a lovely quilt.

Before I go any further let me explain what a fat quarter is.  Fat quarters are pre-cut pieces of cotton, which are taken from a yard of fabric which has been cut in two length ways and each piece cut again width ways.  Each fat quarter measures approximately 46cm by 56cm or 18 by 22 inches.

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I decided I would make a quilt top by sewing eight fat quarters together and then I cut those fat quarters into strips.  Any blogs or books which I have read on quilting constantly talk of measuring three times and cutting once.  So, this time I followed that rule!!

The first cuts went great and I joined up those strips and everything looked pretty good.  I returned to the quilt top a few days later and cut those strips up to form narrower strips and again joined them up.

Now I haven’t a clue what I did but I ended up with a quilt top that did not have one matching square, but I did have a few marching rectangles.  How I got rectangles I have absolutely no idea.  It certainly was not what I had intended.

I was very disappointed as I thought I had been very careful with the cutting.  What I have now is a unique lob sided quilt top.  It is very quirky.  Now could I gift to any one?  I honestly don’t think so.

I don’t mind that corners don’t match.  What am I saying? There is absolutely nothing which matches never mind the corners.  So, I have decided that this will make a great reading quilt.    1531125420651

A reading quilt is one of those throws which one needs during winter, when one becomes engrossed in a book and one needs to be cosy.  If the skies are grey outside this quilt will bring a bit of colour indoors and enhance the reading experience even more.

Saying all that I must admit I love my wonky, lob sided quilt top and need to quilt and bind it in readiness for those hours of reading during the winter.So for me the quote ” the beauty of handmade lies in the imperfections” is very apt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Early Morning Dance

Standing on the back step, underneath an umbrella, mug in hand watching the rain.  It was a beautiful scene.  The wooden garden furniture had taken on a different hue.  In the rain the wooden seat seemed to glow as it was washed by the rain.

The rain drops were dancing on the glass table, making a dance as they tapped their way along to the edge.   A bucket had been placed strategically to catch the encore of the dance.

Looking up at the seomra or man shed a spider’s web glistened in the early morning light.  The gossamer web was bejewelled with drops of rain.  There was magic all around as this suburban garden was dressed by the rain.

The air smelt so differently.  It was so fresh and clear.  It was as if the rain has rejuvenated everything.  There was a richness abounding this oasis.

It reminded me of a blog post I read recently written by Honey Barapatre which talked of being rich https://inspireart.in/2018/07/15/being-rich/.

I realised that this morning I was so rich with the sights, sounds and smells brought by this shower of rain.  I have always loved the rain but perhaps because of the long hot dry summer which Ireland has been experiencing this shower of rain was even more special.

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