Monthly Archives: June 2016

Better late than never…

During our married life, AJ and I have moved ten times within six different counties here in the UK. We’ve loved our travels, especially living in new places and meeting new people, but when we moved into our current house almost twenty years ago now, we both sensed it was home.

I’d always been pretty happy to live a kind of nomadic existence, not really putting down roots anywhere because I knew AJ would likely come home and tell me he’d been promoted in his career and we were off to pastures new. They were exciting and adventurous times, but I’m happy to have those roots down now.

20160523_075020When we moved in here, one of the first things I wanted to do was redesign the garden. It was a good sized space, but the patio and paths were beginning to crumble and looking worse for wear. But there always seemed to be something else in the house that needed attention first, so the garden was put on the back burner. We travelled a lot too, so that took up a lot of available funds 🙂 🙂

20160527_111232Anyway, after we adopted Vivvy last year and following a winter of waterlogged lawns, almost non-existent pathways, and the resultant muddy paws, we decided to take the plunge and hire a landscaper to get to grips with the garden. Poor Vivvy wondered what on earth was happening as over ten ton of concrete was broken up and disposed of in what she thinks of as her domain. When the way was prepared for the new landscaping, she decided to put her mark on proceedings and promptly stepped in the newly-laid concrete bed, much to the chagrin (and consequent laughter) of the landscapers.

20160604_185656Soon the garden of my twenty-year dreams began to take shape and I have to admit to being absolutely thrilled with the result. I’ve gained a gorgeous new patio, another area for planting, and a path that I can actually walk on rather than simply negotiate pot holes.20160615_154819

Okay, so it took almost two decades but then everything worth having is worth waiting for. Now I’m enjoying researching plants to go along the wall edge of the patio, for which I’ll be needing help. So, does anyone have any ideas for plants that will provide year-round foliage, while growing tallish, but not too wide, and offering some colour in the spring/summer months? Any suggestions gratefully received.



Minsters and Dales

Peter, my husband, and I have just returned from a break in York with dear friends who live there. Julia and Chris owned the first house we lived in during a Spanish Idyll but we became and remain firm friends … Continue reading

Debbie Macomber Tea Room

2016-05-23T08-55-30-964Another great day trip close to home is Debbie Macomb’s Tea Room and Good Yarn shop in Port Orchard, Washington.

When I first moved to Jubilee in 2013 I joined the local Red Hat group. I’d never thought I would ever do this, but they were going on so many great day trips. I’ve never been sorry, especially with this lunch trip to Port Orchard.

My pictures don’t do it justice so you may want to visit the website at There is a gift shop adjoining the Tea Room where you’ll find ‘special’ selections. It isn’t a large place and the food is exceptional so I’d recommend you make reservations.

2016-05-23T08-55-30-946Next to the Tea Room is the Good Yarn shop where the colors alone make you want to get creative. Even if you don’t knit or crochet it is an experience to see all the beautiful yarns.

Of course there are Debbie’s books and I can never pass up a chance to buy the latest good read. I selected “Last One Home”. Cassie Carter and her two sisters were close growing up, but all that changed when she ran away and married a man that caused an estrangement with her family.

Now with the end of her marriage she is back in Seattle and working to pick up her life for herself and her daughter. Mending her relationship with her sisters tells the  power of love and family in regaining what they lost.



Give Me A Hammer! by Valerie J. Patterson

I need a really big hammer–but not so big that I can’t lift it!  Must have a smooth, flat surface and be easy to swing with near-perfect accuracy.  I’m thinking I need Thor’s hammer!  Or perhaps Thor and his hammer!

You may be wondering why I would need such a hammer.  Have you ever heard of the video game Whack A Mole?  That’s why I need such a hammer.

You see, there seems to be a family of moles residing in my beautiful backyard.  I mean, it has to be an entire family, right?  Everywhere you walk there are holes evidencing their intricate subsurface tunnel system.  Everywhere you walk there is loose earth that gives way beneath your feet so that you sink into the lawn.

They’ve taken to tunneling beneath my beautiful stone patio and are leaving mounds of earth behind causing the stones to rock and shift.  They’re tunneling–apparently they’re very hungry while digging tunnels–and they’re eating healthy plants along the way because two of my Azalea bushes have bit the dust.  Among the other plant casualties is one of my thickest grape vines that they’ve managed to eat through and kill.  This does not make me happy.  I used to have a lovely apricot Azalea tree, too.  There are only a few remaining live branches left because they’ve eaten through the roots.

So, I need a very large hammer so that when they venture to stick their vile little heads above the surface of my once beautiful lawn I can whack them on the head!  It might sound a little drastic, but I’m frustrated and nothing else has worked!  Besides, unless you have better solutions to suggest, I can get a good workout whacking them on the head!

Until next time, I hope the only pests in your outdoor space are butterflies whose fluttering wings add grace and beauty to your world!

PS…no moles were harmed during the writing of this blog!



  I’ve thought a lot about what I might blog about this month and came up with nothing.  So as I’m lying in bed thinking “this has to get done”, I thought about this last few weeks and how emotional … Continue reading


Heat and Penny

Well we got some really hot weather here in the last week, into the mid 90’s.  I finally dragged the AC unit out and wrestled it into position after much swearing and sweating.  But I’m glad I did.  As I’ve … Continue reading

A Bit of a Soapbox

Jillian here. I’m going to get on my soapbox about childbirth. As you all may recall, my nephew’s wife was pregnant and due to give birth soon the last time I blogged. I’m happy to say that the baby got here safely and is home and happy.

BUT I do have some concerns about the trends in childbirth I have seen recently. Specifically, the eagerness of doctors to perform C-sections and rush the process along.

My niece’s doctor started telling her he was going to induce her if she hadn’t had the baby before her due date (!!)- how weird is that? Most first babies are late and here he was going to induce her before her due date?

He had her show up at the hospital at 9 pm on a Sunday night- her baby hadn’t even dropped yet. They asked her to go ahead and sign a consent for a c-section… just in case. They hooked her up to the pitocin around 11:00 pm but had it going very slow until the doctor got there around 8 am when they turned it up. So, she stayed up all night, really, for no reason. Now, we  have an exhausted mother before we even get to the pushing stage.

She labored through the day and around 4 pm, the doctor started saying he was going to do a c-section by 5:30.

This had me in a uproar. It seemed to me that they were always going to do that. He timed her labor to take place during his work hours and even though she was progressing and the baby wasn’t in stress and she wanted to keep going, he wanted to get that baby delivered before he went home for dinner. Or, from the outside looking in, that sure seemed like what was happening.

His reason for the c-section? The baby hadn’t dropped into the birth canal.  Well, guess what, dude, that baby wasn’t ready to be born. Why go in before her due date?

It seems more and more to me that doctors want to have babies be born at their convenience, not when baby is ready. My advice for them is not to go into obstetrics if you want to work 8-5.

My sister said she was glad I wasn’t in California that day!  LOL!  Me, too. I was irate enough in  my texts to her as all this unfolded. 🙂

One of my son’s friends is pregnant and her doctor is already telling her that she may have to have a c-section. She’s five months along. Another friend’s doctor asked her to schedule an early c-section (first baby) because the doctor was going on vacation.

I know we have some nurses here but this is a layman’s perspective. I also know c-sections are wonderful when needed but I think they have been overused for convenience or for more fees to the doctor. I have a young friend who had one (and she needed it) but she couldn’t hold her baby because he weighed more than they wanted  her to lift after surgery. She was upset about that but in her case, it was necessary. I am only soapboxing about the ones that seem done for reasons other than distress.

Anyway, Mom and Baby are fine. It’s Great Aunt Jillian who needed a chill pill.  🙂




Rain or Shine, the Beach is Always Fun

The weather is warming up again here in the Pacific Northwest after a couple weeks of gray. We had an abnormally warm March and April, which means that the snow pack that recovered this year (from 19% of normal last year) is melting too quickly and we may yet again be in a water shortage situation this summer. I have to say, these past couple of years have held some of the strangest local weather I’ve seen in my XX years here. 🙂

However, as true PNWers, we didn’t wait for the sunshine, opting to head for the coast the weekend before Memorial Day for some rest and relaxation. I am a true believer that, rain or shine, life is always better at the beach. And we got very lucky, renting a home just steps up from sand, with awesome views of the tidal changes and sunsets.

It was a weekend with our youngest daughter and her family and one of the most relaxing I’ve ever had. We streamlined the food so very little cooking was done. I walked on the beach several times each day.

And my husband and I became miniature rock hounds. I’m working on some research for a story and runes are an integral part of it, so when we started finding these small, flat, round stones, I realized I had an opportunity to make my own set of runes for inspiration while I’m writing the story (or stories, as I hope to turn it into a series.)

But the highlight of the weekend was our six-year-old granddaughter. Since they live further away, I don’t get to see her often, except for our weekly Skype visits. Her curiosity and her ability to reason things out continues to astound me. And smart? Whew! She’s reading well above her level and her math skills are strong. I couldn’t trip her up on math addition into the 100’s. When we played checkers, she almost beat me…and that was only her second game!

The beach always, always rejuvenates me and this weekend was no exception. I think, if I could live at the beach year round, I probably would. But I wonder if it would seem as special to me as it does now?

A New Friend

Hello.  Thought I’d better pop my head over the parapet to introduce myself. I’m new here and rather nervous, but my owner says you are all friendly so I mustn’t be afraid. (Deep breath…)

2016-06-02 20.49.37I’m a travel bear, bought for my new owner, Kit, by a friend because Kit was so broken-hearted when Bunny was bunny-napped whilst on holiday with her and her sisters on the island of Rhodes last September. Bunny was never found, never returned. I heard rumour he didn’t want to come home because he much preferred soaking up the sun all day on a deckchair on the beach. I can’t say I blame him and I do hope for his sake, and for Kit’s, that that’s true. I’d hate to think he’s still spinning round and around in that great washing machine in the sky…

The lady who gave me to Kit told me before she tucked me up in my little cardboard box that I’m going to have a lot of fun because Kit loves to travel and party a lot and that she will always take me wherever she goes. And it sounds like my adventures are going to start soon; in three weeks’ time, she’s off on her travels again. I only hope she remembers to take me. I’m sure she will and, as she also has Thugs Bunny whom she takes places too, I’m going to have a companion so I won’t get lonely when she’s not there. Gosh, I’m so looking forward to my new life instead of being stuck on a glass shelf in a shop in the middle of nowhere (well, in Wales actually, wherever that is) because the other Travel Bears that shared that shelf with me weren’t very sociable and rarely spoke to anyone.

However, between you and me and the backyard fence, I’m not so sure about her family. They’re a funny lot. They’re mad, in fact. Total loons. I’ve reached this conclusion very quickly. You might recall back on Easter Sunday it was Kit’s mother’s 90th birthday. The “proper” family gift was to be a group photo of this grand old lady with her family down four generations, the photo to be enlarged onto a canvas and framed. Well, I caught a glimpse of this photograph and this is it!


What do you think? Totally mad family, yes. I going to have some fun in the future  with this lot, I can tell.

Oh, I haven’t t2016-06-02 20.50.31old you my name, have I? I’m Mr Tumble. Kit gave me that name because she had great difficulty pulling open the box I was sleeping in when she unwrapped me and I tumbled out to the floor. I’m all right, I didn’t hurt myself. But from that moment she picked me up and gave me a squeeze and cuddle I knew I’d come to a good owner.

Well, that’s it for now and hope you’ll have me back soon to tell you all about my adventures with Kit.

PS: And just to put the record straight… here’s the real family group photo, with Mum in the middle with her four children on the sofa with grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered around. It is a shame that one grandson and great-grandson (little George – who’s not so little now) were unable to make the party, so I’ll have to persuade Kit and her loony sisters to organise a summer bbq so we can do it all again.



Mr Tumble