Splashes of colour for needy children.

Nancy Merrill has a ‘Photo a Week’ challenge. This week the subject is ‘Splash of Colour’.

When I was in England recently, visiting my 101-year-old Mil, I saw next to the sofa, a couple of plastic bags, one of which contained balls of brightly coloured wool.


The other was filled with little woolly hats and mittens which she had lovingly crafted for needy children in some far off country.


I asked her about this project, and she said it was organised by the Women’s Institute of which she has been a very active member for many decades. The hats and mittens would be put into prettily decorated shoe boxes, together with other items which little children would love. These shoe boxes would then be given as Christmas presents to children who may otherwise not receive anything.


My dear MiL is herself a wonderful ‘Splash of Colour’ in her community, and over the years, must have baked hundreds of cakes and knitted millions of stitches for various charitable causes. The Women’s Institute was founded two years after she was born, to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. It’s now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK, with over 212,00 members. I hope that she will live long enough to help them celebrate their centenary next year. She looks pretty good for her age, doesn’t she?


There’s a ‘Gator in my backyard.

Since our recent return to our house in Florida, I’ve been rather puzzled by the distinct lack of birdlife. Where was everybody? Even the ducks who used to float by several times a day, were absent. Mr. GBH has only put in a single appearance, just to let me know that he’s still around, and I’ve seen a couple of Great Egrets flying overhead, but other than that, the place has been sadly deserted.

Yesterday the mystery might have been solved, when this fearsome creature was seen gliding right past our back yard.


A sassy Tricolored Heron strutted along the bank, almost keeping pace with him, and seemed to be giving Mr. A the ‘evil eye’. I could almost hear him calling, “Get out of here, and leave the fishing to us birds!”


Mr. A, totally unperturbed, called back, “Here’s  looking at you, kid!” before continuing on his merry way.


I then remembered how much the same thing had happened a couple of years ago, and once ‘Mr. Smiley’ was gone, the birds all came back again.

Sunday Stills: ‘Abandoned’ house; the full catastrophe.

I was rather apprehensive about seeing the inside of the abandoned house which we bought a few months ago. I knew what it looked like in February, but it had been through another hot, wet and humid Florida summer since then, and with the roof still leaking like a colander, so who knew what new horrors might be lurking there. This is what the roof was like before it was redone.


The imposing front entrance certainly belied what lay beyond, although all the notices stuck on the door, did give one a clue that the house had been empty and uncared for, for four years.


The whole roof had to be replaced, and our contractor said to hubby, “It was a very unhappy house, but now it’s happy again.” We now have the smartest roof in the whole street.


One would never guess from looking at the outside, that once through the door, this grim sight would be there to greet you.


The previous owners must have left in a hurry, as they left behind this gorgeous old radiogram, which was taken away by the garbage truck this morning, along with a lot of other rubbish.


The kitchen will of course need to be totally gutted and redone. That ugly piece of wall on the left, is right in the middle of the living area, and will also have to go.


I’m sure you’ll agree that the second bathroom is in need of a bit of a makeover.


This guest bedroom isn’t quite ready for visitors yet.


The floor and windowsill of the other spare bedroom were absolutely covered in dead bees. The poor things must have got in, but couldn’t get out again.


The master bedroom is huge, but that once gorgeous, plush cream carpet is totally ruined, so will have to come up.


The bathroom needs a lot of titivation too, and that awful wallpaper has to go.


Here’s another bathroom in line with the master bathroom, so we’re going to combine the two to make a ‘his and hers’ shower. How’s this amazing wallpaper? Are any of you interested in the ancient treadmill. It’s going for free. 🙂


There’s a really big lanai, half of which will be incorporated into the main living area.


The view is just as we remembered it, and I’m hoping the white pelican that I saw there in February, is still around somewhere.


Well that’s about it. All the floor tiles have to be taken up, and the ceilings sorted out. The garden is a bit of a jungle, but hubby is going to look for something like a machete to hack his way through the undergrowth.


We do have our own stash of bananas in the front garden.


Also, there are mushrooms on the back lawn, so we won’t starve; just joking of course.


Lots of work to do. Thank goodness I don’t have to live there whilst it being done. Hubby is a really keen renovator, and this will be the first house he’s done, without me having to live with the mess. I remember one house in Johannesburg, where I had to literally walk the plank from the front door to the rest of the house, after he’d taken up the worn out wooden floor. He then knocked down a wall and eventually filled the hole with the rubble. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of this house. I’m sure it’s going to be quite a transformation.

Floral Friday Fotos: Coral Tree and Hot Air Balloon

I snapped this shot through the branches of a Coral Tree, whilst waiting to go up in the balloon at Monte Casino in Johannesburg.


That South African clear blue sky seems so far away, as I look out at a grey and gloomy day here in Florida. The Great Blue Heron hasn’t put in an appearance since our return. Maybe I should have sent him a postcard.

Wishing you all a great weekend.



Windows and clouds from Knightsbridge to Miami

I’m now back in Florida, after our week’s stopover in England, so thought I would combine windows I saw in London, with some pics that I took from our plane window as we came in to land at Miami airport.

The Harrods luxury department store in Knightsbridge, always has really stunning window displays.


I loved these with the cloud effects.




A few days later, we were up in the clouds, winging our way back to our Florida home.


After almost ten hours, I was excited to look out of the window and see that we were almost there.


Miami seen from above is quite an impressive sight, especially when you know that before long, you’ll be able to get out of that plane and stretch your legs.


It’s great to be back here, and I’ve finally managed to unpack the cases and do the laundry and grocery shopping. Today we’ll go and have a look at the new roof on our ‘abandoned’ house. Now that the roof is complete and the house is watertight, hubby can get cracking on the inside, which is going to be quite a challenge.

Dawn’s ‘Lingering Look at Windows’ challenge is every Thursday, so do pop over and have a look.





Wordless Wednesday: If you’ve got it, flaunt it – King of Bling

We saw a huge number of flashy sports cars in Knightsbridge, London, but this gold chrome Ferrari 458 Spider, really won first prize in the bling stakes. I chased it down the road, until it stopped at the next set of traffic lights, so I could get a pic.



WPC: Endurance – Bizarre Street Performer

The most bizarre street artist I’ve ever seen, was standing on his head outside Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London. Can you imagine the endurance it must take to stand upside down for hours on end, with one’s head jammed into a bucket?


He gave me the thumbs up, when I put some money in his hat.

To see more examples of endurance for the Weekly Photo Challenge, just click on the badge.


Floral Friday Fotos: Brightening up the London roads

We are now in England at my MiL’s house. She has had a couple of falls in the past week, and isn’t feeling so good. Fortunately she didn’t injure herself, but the shock seems to have upset her equilibrium. She is stuck upstairs at the moment, as she’s feeling too wobbly to get down to the ground floor. I shouldn’t think that there are too many 101-year-olds living alone in a double storey house. We’re trying to sort out a stair-lift for her, and my weekend is going to be filled with family coming to visit, and a big lunch on Sunday. In the meantime, here are some pretty flowers I saw along the road just outside London.


These lovely displays were placed at intervals all the way along the road, which made the route look really cheerful.


Wishing you all a great weekend. We leave for Florida on Tuesday, so it’s all go.

To participate in Nick’s challenge, click on the badge.