Thursday, 30 June 2011


The best laid plans …… and it all started so well.

Actually, it wasn’t the perfect start to our holiday – Mike  finally succumbed to the nasty coughing virus he had so carefully avoided last winter  and, being the generous soul he is – he passed it onto me the day before we left. After a quick trip to the medicine cabinet to make sure I was fully equipped with steroids and antibiotics for the trip we packed the car and left home at 8.20a.m.

Half way across the ring road I realised that I had forgotten my sun hat – “I’m not going back” says Mike. We decided to call in at M&S but they weren’t open so ended up buying the biggest straw hat in Sainsbury's for £4. That will have to do!

Back on the road we sailed through the bottleneck which is Kingskerswell in top gear – no traffic at all – brilliant. I switched on Tom Tom who told me our ETA in Dover was 1.16 – great. After a a slight delay on the A30 at Exeter we were soon winging our way eastward past my home town of Ilminster looking pretty in the sunshine.

It had been forecast to be a very hot day and it was 68F when we left and slowly increased the further we drove.

A comfort stop around 10a.m. was required and we pulled in to a cafe – Jolly Somethingorother. Not good! I didn’t even fancy a cup of tea so chose a cold juice from the fridge assuming that would be fairly clean. Mike drank his coffee without a second thought and we left passing a vintage Rolls Royce in an adjacent room – weird.

Now on the A303 with the temperature outside rising despite there being no sunshine, we entered Wiltshire and the traffic increased alarmingly until we were down to a slow crawl and then  … STOPPED. The Straight old Roman road across Salisbury Plain was chocablock with cars, caravans and lorries. Then it dawned on us – “Glastonbury”. This was the aftermath of the music festival with people heading home; we eventually passed several old bangers, splattered in mud from the festival, parked on the sides of the road with young and not so young passengers sitting on the road sunbathing. By then the temperature had climbed to the high 80’sF.

Tom Tom’s ETA had now increased to 2.10 but that looked optimistic in light of the queues in front. I was feeling rough and we were both coughing in unison and just a little bit panicky. Discussion led to us wondering if we missed the boat (!) we were covered by our insurance.

Eventually, as fast as the traffic jam built up it disappeared as if by magic; we reached the M3 and Mike found 5th gear again. We called in to Fleet Services for a quick toilet stop and found half the Glastonbury revellers there – a wonderful sight in their muddy wellies on their feet and bare chested   ( the men that is). The place was heaving inside and out but surprisingly, no queues for the loos. It was very hot 91F and we were happy to get back in our air/con car.

The M25 was the next hurdle to overcome, traditionally manic and home to many accidents; it did not bode well as we joined it to see the speed limit was down to 40 MPH. Still, the major part of our journey was over and we should arrive in good time after all – barring accidents!

Thank goodness, no accidents, traffic eased after we passed Gatwick and it was a lovely ride down into Dover. The terminal was found, we offloaded our luggage, Mike parked the car and we embarked. Eurodam 002

A much better experience than Southampton, lots of staff, very clean and tidy and check-in took less than 5 minutes.

Now to find our stateroom – 8013.

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Yes another cruise, this time to the Baltic Sea to celebrate Mike’s 70th birthday. We were going to London to see Les Mis ( again) with Alfie Boe but, as Take That are in town next weekend a hotel room could not be had for love nor money! Well, not the sort of money we can afford.

So, when we received this very special offer on a cruise to places we have never been, Russia, Norway, Finland, Sweden et al, we could not  refuse.

First stop is Copenhagen – Denmark

Then on to Warnemunde in Germany from where we can go to Berlin.

We will probably stay in the port – it looks interesting-

Then onto Tallinn in Estonia

Tallinn Estonia

Umm, hope it isn’t snowing!

Then  we dock in ST. Petersburg ( Leningrad that was). for 2 days as there is lots to see. such as The Hermitage

I will have a very sore finger from taking loads of photos that’s for sure.

Then, whilst tucked up in our super comfortable bed we travel to Helsinki in Finland.

Another overnight trip takes us to Nynashamn in Sweden from where we can get to Stockholm

Stockholm -  Sweden

Finally, two sea days will bring us back to Dover and the end of our voyage.

Full report to follow on our return.

Au Revoir


Friday, 24 June 2011


Well, you’ve seen some Photoshop work – here is another programme I use – Serif Drawplus.

I use this mostly for making cards for friends and family. These are just a few of the “PINK” ones.


An anniversary card for a dear elderly couple to which I added “diamonds” to the centres of the flowers.



A Congratulations on Engagement card including their names on the champagne label.



A card in memory of a dear forum friend known as Dragonlady. She loved to paint and go hiking.


A wedding cake


A Diamond Wedding card for a couple to whom I was a bridesmaid aged 5.


A card to show appreciation to our pharmacist who is an extra special person. She also has purple and pink hair!


Now, I want to share this one with you. My husband will  be 70 on June 30th  and we will be celebrating on a Cruise to the Baltic.

It is only a card – not a promise……………………………image



Red heartRed heartRed heartRed heartRed heartRed heartRed heart

For more pink go to see Beverly here -

How Sweet the Sound

Friday, 17 June 2011

PINK Saturday / PINK Photos

Last week I showed you some flowers given the Photoshop treatment.

Here is the original photo of one very tired fairy snoozing in Mummy’s arm


amelia before

And here she is sleeping  wrapped in a pink flower.


Here is my photo of a wild English rose.

wild rose naturel

Here is a birthday card done for a friend


Finally, a beautiful rose – Silver Jubilee

Copy of Gallery 021

Given the canvas treatment.

canvas rose cup

And then becomes  a handmade card



For more Pinks go to see Beverly’s Blog – here


Happy PS to you all


Friday, 10 June 2011


I thought that you might like to see some of my ‘flower fotos ‘ given the Photoshop treatment.

Some of these would make beautiful wallpaper or fabric prints don’t you think ?

For more fabulous PINKS – go visit Beverly at -



lily postered




Have a fabulous weekend

JJRed heartRed heart

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Personalised Greetings Cards A to E

I love making very individual cards for friends and family and here are a few.

A friend who was a jockey on his 60th.


A card for friends who love to walk and also love Calpe ( the rock is in the background)


A dear friend who lives in her beach hut – weather permitting


A special friend who really is superman


Again with Calpe rock in the background. A place we all love.

Brett a very special birthday


A commission for a friend’s aunt who lives on the Norfolk Broads – the boat designed by her husband



Calpe rock again with Deryck in his convertible VW Golf.

deryck 11

An Arsenal fan at 80

ed 80

More another day


Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Day Out

“ Shall we go for a drive somewhere?” said Mike.” It’s a beautiful day and we have nothing planned”

As always I avoided eye contact and said “ If you like”. What is it with me? I never ever want to go anywhere but, when I am dragged, kicking and screaming out into the real world, I love it. Of course Mike knows this and never passes comment, well, rarely passes comment – he is not a Saint!

So, I started throwing obstacles in the way – I must go and feed the fish before we go -


They were hungry and came up to feed -


Including my new babies who are learning that they  must compete with the bigger ones.


“Where shall we go , do you fancy Exmouth or Sidmouth “said Mike The next dreaded question which always follows the first. Now I bet you are thinking what a miserable cow she is – how does he put up with it etc. etc. So, I had better explain myself briefly.

I am a depressive and have been one all my life although it was not recognised in my younger days and then, when it was recognised it was a curse. You never told anyone you were depressed, you were ill with any illness on earth but not a mental illness. O no, you must hide that at all costs – which I did.

Then in 1998 I had a total breakdown and have been unable to work since. I officially retired in 2009 so it doesn’t matter who knows now plus, it no longer has the stigma it once had.

I am much better and lead a fairly normal life  and I love my family and my computer and my dear friends. So, after spending such a long time at home, my “safe place” I do find it difficult to go out and become enthusiastic about most things. That’s OK, everyone in my life accepts who I am and I don’t have to pretend. Well, not often!!!

So, what next? Any other diversions that could be made?

“ I’d like to collect my glasses from the opticians” I said. Fine we will do it on the way says Mike so ………… off we went.

An hour later and £35 better off ( yes, I got a refund) we hit the road.

I suggested a visit to Lustleigh, not so far so we would be home quicker, but Mike drove past the turning. We turned off the motorway for Exeter and stopped at the first pub we came to The Cat & Fuddle as we were hungry. A very large pub but the food was expensive frozen stuff. Would not revisit.


Further up the road there were several nice looking pubs – needless to say. Hey Ho!

Despite deciding on Exmouth we found ourselves on the Sidmouth road ( Tom Tom was being very quiet in the glove compartment). But I saw a sign for Budleigh Salterton and that is where we went. Lovely little seaside village

There is a  pebble beach which slopes steeply down to the sea; we didn’t go down but remembered the time when as kids we would have  run and slid on the stones without a care in the world.


Boats laid on the top of the beach, safe from the highest tides except, perhaps a tsunami. They have to be winched up from the sea which must be exhausting.



Budleigh Salterton and East Budleigh both won Britain n Bloom gold awards in 2010 and I’m not surprised – everywhere was immaculate and flower displays were well in advance of mine.

I photographed the weedsSad smileValerian and Daises DUH..


A picturesque stream runs down the main street


A charming Tea Shoppe with Very posh china


And a super Icecream shop – amazing choice of flavours.



We eventually went back to the car which showed a temperature of 85F! No wonder I was flagging walking around. We hit the road to Exmouth but took a diversion via Sandy Bay ‘cos it sounded nice.

Well, it was quite nice but not what we expected – the biggest caravan park in the world I reckon! There were hundreds of them, all stacked in neat rows and looking quite pristine.


There was a nice sandy beach but a long way down and too far for this physically challenged old lady!


It was very busy and full of happy families who were getting redder by the minute.Ii bet there were a few painful back s and necks that night.


Then back in the car and on to Exmouth.

We parked in the wrong place so just had a stroll along the prom and back but it was too hot to do very much. We did notice how clean and tidy it looked.



Then homeward bound albeit VERY slowly due to an accident on the M5. All roads in and out were jam packed and we spent ages trying to avoid going on the motorway, as did most others I guess. Eventually we drove through the city centre and decided to stop for a drink on the water-front and let the traffic clear a bit.

Some lovely boats moored by the quay


A nice little bar to sit outside  & enjoy a glass of red.


Good God! What is that -


HUBBLE BUBBLE PIPES – IN EXETER! Well I Never! The smell of the tobacco was lovely, reminded me of Holland House a pipe tobacco Mike used to smoke. The demon in me so wanted to try it but sense prevailed but it  looked so satisfying  - glad i didn’t after reading this -

“ Each hookah session typically lasts more than 40 minutes, and consists of 50 to 200 inhalations that each range from 0.15 to 0.50 litres of smoke. In an hour-long smoking session of hookah, users consume about 100 to 200 times the smoke of a single cigarette] in a 45-minute smoking session a typical smoker would inhale 1.7 times the nicotine of a single cigarette. The water used to filter the smoke does not remove harmful cancer-causing chemicals from the smoke as is believed by some.!

O.K. Mike , let’s go home for tea.