Well having missed last week's post altogether, I am now a day late in posting this week's, but I guess that's just how it goes sometimes. As you may know, I was missing last week because I paid a flying visit to UK for a family funeral. I was able to stay at my sister Jean's house for the week, and three of my sons came down from the Midlands to join us. Despite the occasion, it was lovely to meet up with family and friends, both close and more distant, and we had fun trying to match all the small people to their respective parents and grandparents. Such is the size of our family, that we can never keep up with all the extended families. So from that day came my Smile for this week, and I shall treasure it as such photos are few and far between.
This is me (centre back) with my four remaining sisters. I am 'the baby' at a mere seventy years old, and the one front right celebrates her ninetieth birthday in June. Between us we have around 400 years, which is quite something, don't you think? And although we have just given thanks for the life of a very dear brother-in-law, we all still have the 'Sargent smile', Sargent being our maiden name.
Going to the funeral, I traveled in my son's car, and we had some time to spare, so we went by the scenic route, first crossing from Poole on the Sandbanks ferry, and then driving around the hill where the ruins of Corfe castle still stand proud.
This was home territory for me as a child so it brought back lots of happy memories. We then followed some lovely green, leafy roads lined with lush grass and cow parsley, so different from the dry scrub land out here. Our destination was the sea-side town of Weymouth, a lovely spot, which I have also visited on many, many occasions.
After the services and refreshments, when all the 'Good-byes' had been said, my boys each had to drive back up to their homes in the Midlands, but it was a glorious day, so they decided to spend a couple of hours on Weymouth's sandy beach first, and I went down with them. Needless to say two of them ended up in the sea, while the third one, and I at least got our feet wet. The sea was surprisingly warm, and had I had more suitable clothes with me, I might have had a dip too.
Two of them then headed northward, while the third one drove me to back to Jean's house, and stayed for a rest before continuing on to his hotel at Stansted, ready for an early morning flight to Denmark where he lives and works.
The next day, Jean and her husband had arranged to drive our sister Brenda home, about an hour away, so I went along for the ride. Again the countryside was beautiful. I have never seen hawthorn trees quite so laden with may blossom, and they seemed to be everywhere. Brenda lives in a very pleasant ground floor flat with patio doors opening onto a small communal garden area. Each day she puts a plate of food out for the birds, and we sat and watched as a beautiful but greedy wood pigeon made sure he got his share first. But a pair of blackbirds dared to come for theirs too.
Brenda has always loved pansies, and she had such a pretty tub of them just outside her door.
Thursday was my last day, so Jean and I did some shopping in the morning, and after lunch I sat doing my knitting while she made a card for her great-grand-daughter's birthday.
There is a big Sainsbury's near her house, and I wanted to see their new season's clothes, so we walked there, keeping away from the main road, and using footpaths along the river. I am usually there in the autumn when the bracken is tall and rusty, so it was nice this time to see the new green stems gradually unfurling in the warm sun.
There were lots of wild flowers, especially buttercups,...
..but all the paths were lined with this type of tree. It wasn't a true willow, but it had lots of catkins that were ripe and tuning into fluffy seeds so the air was full of them.
They were also on the heath opposite Jean's house, and looking out of her window it was like seeing a snowstorm. It played havoc with her husband's hayfever, but surprisingly I was not affected by it too much at all.
I flew home the next day, arriving quite late, and then we had a very busy weekend as I had a choir concert on Saturday evening and another one Sunday afternoon. I had to do some basic shopping and washing Saturday morning so I was not able to watch all of the Royal wedding, but I saw highlights, and thought what a lovely couple they made.
This week has been all about the kitchen. The start date was postponed from Monday to Wednesday so I had another couple of days to make sure everything was ready. By Monday night it was quite empty.
It was really strange to see it like that. The dark room to the right is the larder which will cease to exist when the work has been done. Much as I like the idea of it, it is too narrow and difficult to manage, so it never really worked for me.
The men arrived Wednesday morning and by the end of the first day, the wall was reduced to a heap of rubble. The house is well built, and it took a lot of knocking down. Now the rubble has been removed, all the new electric sockets and switches are in place, and there is a new suspended ceiling with spot lights. That is an added bonus that wasn't in the original plan.
This weekend we are going to clean the walls a bit, ready for the shells of the cabinets to be built on Monday.
I feel quite disorientated without a kitchen, but it is exciting to see the new one taking shape.
When I was sitting out at the back with a cup of tea one day, I noticed that the chumba (prickley pear) at the back of our neighbour's garden, is starting to flower. It is an amazing plant, and I think it is a special decorative strain of it, which somehow manages to avoid the white fly that decimates its plainer relative. It is covered in flowers, and although they only live for a day, there is always another one ready to open the next day. The bees love it, and bury themselves right inside each flower, coming out covered in pollen.
I decided to walk down the road and round into the green zone to get a better photo of it, as it was hard to get much of one over our railings. It is a rough old bit of ground, but I managed to get there. The chumba has spread a lot since last year, and now comes right down the bank and onto the floor.
The flowers are red, often fading to yellow with a mass of yellow stamens in the centre.
While I was down there, I also went to the pomegranate tree that I had photographed with a zoom lens from our back yard. The flowers are already turning into fruit , so as some of you had commented on them last time, I am including this shot. There could be quite a lot of fruit this year.
I am so late posting because we had our third choir concert this evening. It was at the camp site where we go for fish and chips each week, and it was nice to have one on my home territory for a change. It gave me the opportunity to encourage several of my friends to come along. It was a good concert and we were given a standing ovation at the end, which is always very gratifying. But now I am tired so I am away to bed, as soon as I have linked up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World.