Sunday, 27 December 2015


Where does one begin to write a eulogy, my dears, for it is an important summary of a loved ones life. My lady guardian is one of six and to bring together fond memories that are both shared and commemorate the loved ones individuality,  can indeed be a difficult task. However, six memories are a rich seam of information to tap and have delivered some joyous moments of delight on which to reflect, that should lift a mourning heart from sadness to the comfort and joy of having shared the deceased ones life. For in the words of Tennyson "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all",  a fact that has given great solace over the last few days. 

The task of packing up the effects, whilst mournful and truly emotive, should be viewed as a summarisation of the loved ones life viewed in objects that raise, in their handling, fond smiles and tears of joy for a life well spent. Photographs, a captured moment in which to revel; perfume a tug on the olfactory heart strings. 

The poem by Henry Scott Holland, "Death is nothing at all" a reminder to loved ones to talk, smile, laugh and enjoy the life of those no longer with us, for in these very acts do we keep the memories alive and fresh in our minds.  As in the words of the poet, "All is well".

Friday, 25 December 2015

Peace on earth & goodwill to all......

Dear friends, may we wish you a sombre but heartfelt Merry Christmas, and wish for peace on earth and goodwill to all.

It has to be said, my dears, that 2015 has not been our finest year. My male guardian saw the loss of his Mother, our little family the loss of my beloved brother and nought but a few days ago, my lady guardian experienced the loss of her beloved mother. This Christmas day sees a subdued family, awaiting arrival from the Australia's of her beloved twin sister. As I write, my lady guardians eldest sister is awaiting arrival in our capital city. Once united, they will make haste in the carriage to our small estate where the home fires blaze to welcome them all, weary travellers. An emotional time awaits but one that must commemorate a life well spent, with inevitable tears but also joyful laughter of shared fond memories. A life well lived, with an unexpected end but one that, whilst hard for those left behind, was mercifully calm and peaceful. Such as one can only wish for.

We go this way but once, live life to the full in whatever that may mean for you but more importantly, enjoy it. 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Christmas preparations and calamity...

Well, dear souls, the count down to Christmas, the most joyful of celebrations, has begun. Once more my guardians have embarked upon the gathering of small tokens destined for family members. The Christmas cards bound for Australia and America are wending their way across the seas as I write, as do many a greeting bound for various counties within the United Kingdom. I do believe there is nothing more delightful to receive than a hand written card, notelet nor letter. Whilst my guardians and I have fully embraced the electronic correspondence, the warm feelings that one experiences on receiving a hand written missive cannot be dismissed. I do so hope you have sent yours with love and affection to those in your hearts and minds.

Serious consideration has duly been given to the festive feast with many discussions undertaken. The garden has been surveyed for suitable greenery and a small Christmas tree purchased. My lady guardian has this very day fashioned a suitable wreath to adorn the entrance to our home on this small estate, gathered from the garden, red bows become the small bays trees atop the steps to the front door. Paper cut snowflakes fashioned for all to enjoy. Oh the joy of simple country adornments.

Calamity struck this evening however; my mistress had completed her self determined tasks for the day and was enjoying a light repast of home made soup. As she ate she felt what she believed to be a small stone or some such article in her mouth. Alas, dear reader, no for my mistress, on investigation, revealed a portion of tooth that had broken free from a molar. Oh dear, dear me. My poor lady guardian is naught feared of much bar the dentist who she must now throw herself upon their mercy once more. On the morrow she must enquire of the availability of an appointment and trust that her courteous, gentleman dentist does take pity on her. A most anxious evening and night will be spent in fearful anticipation. I know you will wish, as I do, for a speedy conclusion to this sorry tale for my lady guardians sake.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Winter weather and December

My dears, one must send our thoughts and prayers to the people in Cumbria and the Scottish Borders following the most awful of deluges that has seen more rain in one day than has been recorded before. Oh the sorry sight of water rising to waist height and making its way through streets, houses, indeed anything in its way. Why Carlisle has been devastated, as have Keswick and the borders. Why even the best of defences could not hold back such a surge of water, some 14 inches in a day. Roads, power, and the basics for life all paralysed by water. Here in my home county we have great empathy for you, having suffered a similar problem. We are thinking of you.Take heart my dear friends, take heart.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Busy, busy week

Well, my dears, what a busy week we have endured. Now, it has to be said that whilst busy, my guardians have enjoyed luxurious extra hours of sleep and rest each day, thus, much refreshed went forth each day for a mini adventure. Firstly however the business of maintenance for both the house and carriage had to be undertaken on the first day; then, and only then could they sallie forth. Well, my dearest friends, hither and thither they did venture. Not all however was leisure, for my mistress spent Wednesday ensuring our wood supply. With her fellow woodsman, the new, larger carriage was employed to obtain two vast loads of wood, one for each house. Why the new carriage proved its worth; one trip alone accounted for nigh on three trips required of the older, smaller carriage. Such a vast improvement and time left in the day for more to be done.

Thursday evening was a pleasure for my guardians attended a Shakespearian play with a most prodigious cast. A joyous production it did prove to be, much to the delight of my guardians.

Friday was the wedding anniversary of my guardians and they did spend it doing what they do love, walking in the most beautiful woods of our home county. The sights and sounds of natures finest, the leaves falling as if confetti from the roof of natures finest cathedral, the murmuring and burbling of the river and the song of the local birds the music to accompany their procession. Beautiful mosses, the leaf confetti, fallen trees the pew on which to seat oneself. Truly beautiful and a balm to life's frenetic grinding. Only one other person was seen the whole time they were there. Peace and serenity for my dearest guardians, much refreshed by an hour or three spent thus. Thereafter a delightful hour was spent upon the most delightful of afternoon teas, served in a tiny Victorian tea room by the most attentive of hosts. Such choice to be had and truly to be tried to be believed - an experience to be repeated in due course. Then a perusal of a fine gallery before returning to our small estate.

Dear friends, with my dear brother no longer with us, I do so revel in these brief respites my guardians enjoy from their daily work. Their company is most important to me and thus I have enjoyed every moment I can with them, from the later rising time, to an evening of warmth, the fire lit, enjoying a good book or assisting my lady guardian with her latest woollen garment. I have so appreciated every extra moment with them. Alas, all returns to normal on the morrow, much to my distress. I can only hope for another week as this one in the near future.

Sunday, 22 November 2015


Well my dears, such a racket to be had; as you know we have, in the past been most fortunate to make the acquaintance of a fine and dandy gentleman called Cedric Pheasant. He has for many years past our small estate each Autumn and always paid us the coutresy of dropping by on his travels for a tasty morsel and catch up with affairs. Over the years we have seen him and members of his family come and go; my what a pleasure it is indeed to see them in their finery, in the most becoming of autumnal shades - the male of the species are quite outgoing and never afraid to wear the brightest of shades. It is always such a pleasure to hear them as they enter the estate, a cacophony of chatter, shouts and wing beating to be heard. Why the poor field fare, thrush and robin families were quite startled by the noise and briefly rose, as one, to leave fearing danger. My, my the noise; however soon all was restored and all settled to breakfast together in the orchard. Such a beautiful sight and sound, a joy to behold.

Much to my absolute delight, my guardians have a week of respite from their formal toil which means the enjoyment of a slightly slower pace, lie ins, late breakfasts and pottering about. This very week my guardians are blessed to enjoy their 33rd wedding anniversary, a fact they plan to celebrate with a bracing walk and afternoon tea in a little establishment near the coast, and perhaps a viewing of some particularly fine art at a local gallery. Thus sated, they will return and we will enjoy a quiet evening as a family.

In between times however, preparations must begin for the festive season, as much to my guardians consternation, and knowing that it comes around with alarming regularity, it appears to be eminently upon us. Oh my. It has to be said however that sense will prevail and whence the festive period is upon us, all preparations will be safely in place.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Wind quartet....

Oh my, my, what a night of weather. We do so hope our Scottish and northern friends have fared well, with the forecasts of bad weather that were broadcast last evening. Why even here the wind was at its most tempestuous overnight, moaning and groaning and sending any apples, left on the trees in our little orchard, crashing to the ground; a symphony from the wind quartet grounded by the bass of the apples dropping.  This morning we awoke from broken sleep to the sound of field fares, blackbirds, robins and song thrushes arguing over the spoils of the nights storm, the sounds of their different voices mingling with the slightly milder wind. There is nothing quite so nice as being ensconced in a warm bed when listening to an overnight storm raging, nor rising in the morning to find that ones home and estate have been lucky and no damage ensued, for which we are most grateful.

My poor guardians however have quite a task upon them in collecting a large quantity of the fallen apples to dispose of such is the harvest this year. I forecast a busy day ahead. They will of course ensure a supply for the wildlife that abounds in our little haven.

My lady guardian will also bottle the sloe gin that has been carefully tended over the last month or so. Neither guardian partakes of alcohol but sloe gin is a desirous gift for country dwellers, plus, with the prospect of a visit from our family in the Australia's again next year, a small stash will be welcome. Our Australian family were quite taken with the small amount my guardians had when they last stayed and, as they are due to visit in Autumn next year, a warming nip may be gratefully partaken. Thus preparations have begun not just for the coming festive season but also with thoughts of autumn next year. Such diligence is admirable, do you not agree?

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A day of rest...

One does enjoy the somnambulant start to the sabbath day should my guardians be fortunate not to have to spend the day in toil. A far slower pace is adopted with a later rising from one's bed. Oh how I do enjoy these mornings. My late brother and I were inordinately fond of a late start on an autumn or winter's morning, which would mean the four of us snugged upon the bed until one of my guardians would slip down to the kitchen to make the first cup of fine English tea, to be enjoyed sat up in bed, wrapped warmly against the chill. My guardians and I continue this ritual whenever possible. My male guardian will don his reading spectacles and enjoy a few pages of the latest tomb, whilst my lady guardian will either continue the crafting of a fine garment or assist me in updating you, my dearest friends. We are fortunate that the bedroom is dual aspect and a very fine view is to be had from either window; one overlooking the orchard and the other, the view beyond the approach garden - both a delight upon the senses. 

Once the time has come to rise and the ablutions performed, a leisurely late breakfast or indeed "brunch" will be partaken and the broadsheets examined, particularly by my male guardian who likes to keep abreast of current news. My lady guardian however is nought so fervent in her perusal, preferring to potter about our domain, tidying and tweaking to ensure our continued comfort.

Slower days are rare indeed, my guardians oft in toil, therefore these rarities are enjoyed to their fullest where we can. Today is one such day therefore I will bid you a hasty adieu. I do hope that your own sabbath is equally as restful.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

All Hallow's Eve

Well my dears, the day did begin most auspiciously with a fine mist withdrawing as night faded, like long tendril fingers through the trees, to reveal a dark and still day, heavy with a moist dank air, redolent of fallen leaves. Such a fine setting for All Hallow's Eve. The trees and hedges are shedding their blazing finery to reveal the bare branches of winter time. Oh how joyous to watch this fine setting unfurl before us from the comfort of a warm bed, snugged most delightfully betwixt my male and female guardians. Bliss, dear friends, sheer bliss.

Once again the air will be fragranced with the spicy aroma of gingerdead men, pumpkins carved and suitable veneration undertaken for past souls and loved ones, with special time spent on thoughts of my brother, for ne'er a brighter soul could one have hoped for and he will be shining brightly this eve, I am sure. This day does also bring the end of summer and light, the harvest completed, moving on t'ward winter. How we do enjoy the seasons and traditions. We do hope you enjoy your Hallow's merriment but do not forget to respect them too, after all it is their day and no end of mischief may ensue.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Ginger dead men and minted hotpot

What a positively exhausting day it has been dear readers, exhausting. My male guardian did rise early and took the carriage to tend to the sick as his work requires. My lady guardian took the opportunity to catch up with the many tasks that ensure the smooth running of our little estate. Firstly however, clad in sturdy wellingtons, she did pay her respects to my darling brother; flowers refreshed and a morning cup of tea partaken whilst enjoying fond memories. Thereafter, seized by the brisk nature of the weather and clear autumn sky, laundry flapped upon the washing line, floors swept, and perhaps the most joyous task of the day undertaken, the making of ginger dead men in preparation for All Hallows' eve. Why our dear home was redolent with the spicy and warming aroma of baking, so tantalising. Once cooled the joyous task of icing little skeletons upon the biscuits began. The simple pleasure this did elicit and much fun too. All left to set whilst a most warming of dishes, minted hotpot, was prepared. Not only is this dish tasty and nutritious, but also excellent in preparation for a late return tomorrow evening, for sufficient is prepared for two days suppers. My lady guardian does declare that the second serving is all the more tasty for being a day old. A most comforting dish, my dears, for dusk did fall at five o'clock this day, with drapes drawn and lanterns lit to prepare the home for my male guardians return. 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Autumnal splendour.

Well, dear friends, are we not quite the most fortunate of people? The countryside has been transformed in to the most beguiling of paintings on our very own doorstep. The dazzling array of colours that greets one as we pull back the drapes these last last few mornings has been most becoming. The fields have been ploughed and the Autumn rain this very morn has turned the fields into sections of piped and glistening chocolate as the warm sun caresses them. Each field is bordered by country hedges that present a spectrum of colours through deepest glistening green of the holly leaf, and yellows, orange, gold and red of beech, field maple and more, with accents of red, black and burgundy from holly berries, sloes and the finest of blackberries.  If one is lucky, one can still squirrel out the odd filbert. Huge tree tunnels present frames for breathtaking countryside vistas that are peaceful and calming. Autumn winds blow and the somnambulant summer is chased further away. Pheasants abound along country lanes and great care is required when outward bound in the carriage.

My lady guardian, with her sister, did take the carriage this very morning, bound for a most delightful small town on Exmoor; small but perfectly formed with quite the right balance of artisan and necessary establishments to make it thus self sufficient. A most enjoyable morning was had with the journey outward and homeward bound admired by each sister, country dwellers both. My lady guardian finds the English country side beauteous and calming, sanctuary from the hurly burly of every day life.

As we write this missive, the sun is disappearing behind the landscape, chasing shadows across the fields; the air begins to cool and we are preparing for the freshness of the night to creep in as the shadows lengthen. The end of British summer time and the clocks fall back one hour this night. The joy of an extra hour's rest ensconced in a warm and comfortable bed, the breeze through the window redolent of log fires and Autumn. We are blessed indeed with these simple pleasures.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Dear to my brother's heart....

Dear to my brother's heart were warmth, comfort and regular meals. Our small family of three have kept true to his maxim by beginning the preparations for autumn and winter. The larder is full of the gardens bounteous produce in the form of pickles, preserves and jams; the process of making sloe gin has begun, the cold box in the garage has been packed with the most delicious of concoctions, as well as a glut of pears, some apples and more. The chimney is swept in preparation, all manner of laundering undertaken and the last few days of truly warm weather allowed to blow its warmth through our home before we begin the slow but steady onslaught of autumn and winter weather. The nights have begun to draw in and the windows are shuttered for the night as early as seven o'clock.

The garden has truly taken on the air of autumn, with early mists and the smell of autumn leaves and bonfires. My guardians have cleared an overgrown bed in the front garden in preparation for newer planting. My brother's grave is beautifully tended and I spend time daily appraising him of our endeavours for I am sure he keeps a watchful eye upon our efforts and, one can only hope, wholeheartedly approves.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Time passes....

Time has passed in the blink of an eye. My heart broken guardians buried my dear brother in a favourite spot in his beloved sanctuary garden where his spirit is free to roam. We are bereft, devoid of his peaceful calm demeanour and comforting presence. His soul mingles with those left behind, to comfort us with memories of happier times. I am lost without him, and find myself waiting in the belief he will appear, only to remember he has gone. Home is where we find our solace and comfort in knowing he is here with us.

My lady guardian firmly believes in the words of Anatole France, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

Sunday, 20 September 2015

My darling brother.....

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
                                           Mary Elizabeth Fry

My darling brother died yesterday in the arms of his beloved lady guardian. He had crept quietly in to her life and wrapped his soul around her heart and head, as I strode wilfully t'ward our male guardian. Oh what sorrow. A gentle, peaceful, more loving gentleman, one could not find. My poor lady guardian is calm but truly devastated, they shared a bond that saw female and feline live as one; where she went, he would follow, as one. Such a chasm that I will endeavour to fill for all of us. 
Goodbye little man, man of peace. Gone but never forgotten.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Here is autumn.....

Well my dears, autumn has announced itself in the most ardent of fashions with the recent spell of inclement weather. The temperature has begun to drop overnight and in the morn one can feel the cool fingers of autumn feeling it's way toward us. The breeze has turned the corner away from us and the wind has taken its place. One can still feel the dying embers of summer but the autumn door is widening. Not yet, dear friends, is it time to light those fires, for there is more to come. The apple harvest has begun and the leaves of our neighbours fine pear tree are turning the most becoming shades to herald the new season.

I am most fortunate to tell you that my beloved brother continues to enjoy his food and the comfort of his warm bed. He still undertakes his perambulation about the sanctuary garden, albeit at a much slower pace and not always every day, some days being better than others. He has become particularly fond of the comfort of closeness to our guardians and thus spends many a night lain across the top of the pillows on which they rest their heads. Here he can feel the warmth and love from them without the risk of a nudge by an errant limb. They, for their part, find great comfort in absorbing the gentlest of purring amidst their slumbers and dreams, as in the words of Shakespeare "such stuff as dreams are made on" and great comfort to all parties. I, for my part, find much joy in absorbing these scenes to store in my memory for eternity. 

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Another weekend....

Another weekend and my darling brother holds his own. He has particularly enjoyed the most amazing of summer days today, venturing out to sit with my guardians and I in the sanctuary garden. The bluest of blue skies, with the busy sound of harvest on the air. Here in the sanctuary garden all was calm and peaceful, enjoying the quiet of the day spent with those we love, my male guardian perusing the broadsheets, my female guardian working a woolen garment for the winter months, my brother and I sat with them enjoying the warmth of the sun warming our bones. Truly a delightful day, one such as memories are made of.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

As I write this.......

As I write this missive, my brother is ensconsed upon the garden bench enjoying the fresh smells of a rain drenched garden. He continues to hold his own, enjoy his food and slowly potters about the sanctuary garden. Much care and attention is paid to his every requirement, even the addition of midnight snacks on demand.

Much to my consternation, my brothers requirement of regular meals and snacks has had a somewhat alarming result on my own physique. I perhaps carry the, ahem, odd pound more than I did. Alas, one simply must be the perfect hostess therefore I am required to join my brother at meal and snack times, to keep him company, you understand. Dear friends, this is of no consequence in the face of my brothers health and I will bear it stoically, as does he.

The sanctuary garden is looking particularly delightful,  for my guardians toiled long and hard yester morn and afternoon to bring the boundaries and hedgerows to their current crisp state in preparation for autumn. My lady guardian was particularly delighted with a most useful piece of machinery light enough for her to wield throughout the day without the requirement of my male guardians might for assistance that he had purchased for her. Thus they were employed in joint toil mowing and trimming the sanctuary garden in to its current fine state for the delectation of my brother as he enjoys the air. Long may he do so.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Time waits for no one....

Time is passing by and my beloved brother, whilst growing weaker, holds his own. His food is enjoyed, as is time quietly spent in the sanctuary garden upon the bench, feeling the breeze upon his face and listening to the quiet business of country sounds. Many a rest period is taken when he quietly takes himself of for a nap and most importantly says his good nights to my guardians with time spent at the foot of the bed, whilst he waits for their slumber, then quietly takes himself to the comfort of his bed. Much joy and comfort is taken everyday that we all have together and great care to ensure his every requirement. Long may he remain in comfort with us, those who love him, for he is our darling boy.

Monday, 3 August 2015

My dearest brother...

It has been an increasingly anxious time due to the health of my beloved brother. It is fair to say that he is holding his own, with the help of medication and regular trips to the v-e-t. In the meantime, our close knit family are making the most of every day and enjoying each other's company. Truth be told, we  none of us know how long we have on this earth and should take the time to enjoy life's rich bounty. 
For the time being, he remains happy in himself, with a good appetite but tires easily; rest is important, as is enjoying the warmth of the sun and little forays around the sanctuary garden, or as far as he can manage. My guardians are monitoring his health most diligently and a further trip to the v-e-t is booked for the end of the week. We hope and pray that we have him for as long as is possible for he is a most loved member of our family and we cannot imagine life without him, such is his personality and charm.

Friday, 17 July 2015

The v-e-t

As you know, my brother is now the grande age of 15 and has, largely, benefitted from good health. Latterly, however he has given rise to some concern with a marked weight loss, raging hunger and, more recently, jaundice. Today, my dear guardians took the decision to take him to the v-e-t, much to my brothers aggrieved consternation - apparently he shouted at them the whole way, most unlike him! Whilst my brother fears them, the v-e-t that my guardians frequent, are nought but the kindest and best of persons. A somber young veterinarian examined my brother most thoroughly, ran blood tests and took time to listen, most ardently, to his symptoms. In the blink of an eye, he had the results of the blood tests returned to him and two courses  of medication prescribed that my brother must be ministered for the next ten days. Dear friends, such are my brothers good manners and dignified demeanour, that the somber young man did declare him a lovely, fine fellow, commenting on his decorum whilst tests were undertaken. My dears, breeding, as they say, does out and he disported himself most becomingly under duress. My bother, as I write, seems calmer and is indeed resting after the stress of the day. Sadly, he must return to the v-e-t in five days time for a review of his health, a fact that my brother is currently choosing to ignore, taking pleasure from the joy of once more being in his beloved home, surrounded by those who love him and are willing him well.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Home grown food

Well, my dears, my lady guardian has been most delighted by the kitchen garden produce this week. Three potato plants were dug to gauge the success, or not, of this years planting and oh my, what a resounding success they have been. The most delicious of white and red potatoes were divided for supper last evening, though truth be told, there was more than one suppers worth in the trug my lady guardian did bring home.  As well as this was some most tasty home grown beetroot, leaves as well, that will make a most delicious salad with a little feta cheese. My lady guardian was also delighted with the Cavello Nero greens, such a tasty vegetable and addition to ones table and can be eaten as my guardian in laws partake of them, lightly steamed, or as my guardians had, chopped and made a late addition to a butternut squash, sweet potato and carrot soup; added in the last ten minutes to the cooking that adds a little something. A very tasty meal indeed after a busy day spent decorating and general maintenance. 

My dear brother continues life at a slower pace, as indeed do we all, and has enjoyed the weather, both rain and sun, from the garden bench in the sanctuary garden where he can survey our guardians going about their business. He has not lost his appetite and, indeed, utilises his vantage point to ensure he is strategically placed with a most winsome look upon his face should either guardian venture in to the kitchen. 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Abundant summer

Why the weather has been typically English this last few days; warm and wet. However one must delight in the fact that this brings forth such joyous rewards. The kitchen garden is gloriously abundant with all manner of vegetable for our delectation and the flowers about the estate are quite, quite stunning. Roses abound with their delectable scents - my lady guardian firmly believes that no rose shall have space in the garden unless scented -, honeysuckle, glorious shades of pink, acid green, white and blush red hydrangeas, echinops in the smokiest of blue / green, mock orange, geranium and so much more. Simple arrangements in pretty jugs are arranged about the house, so quintessentially English country, my dears. 

The freshest of produce is bought from the kitchen garden, with such delight taken in the pleasure of home grown food, why last evening a most delightfully aromatic ratatouille was partaken by my guardians (not to my brother nor my taste it must be said, fortunate however that ones palette is so much more advanced to allow one pleasure in seeing my guardians enjoy such a simple meal).

Whilst my lady guardian maintains the household , our male guardian is painstakingly making his way through the house painting the windows a clean shade of white. The contrast between white frames and the lush garden planting beyond is most becoming; a naturally composed Constable.

Much thought is being undertaken around the fruit produce which, assesing the trees, is going to be abundant this year. My guardians are considering how best to cope with such a glut and many a discussion as to the best option is being considered, with juicing high on the agenda where possible. Time and investigation will tell. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

A life well lived

Our dear guardians have travelled many hundreds of miles today, the saddest of journeys to say goodbye to a loved one for the last time. A small family funeral, a poignant eulogy full of shared remembrances and joyful laughter amidst the tears and sadness. It was a long life, enjoyed to its fullest for, nigh on all, of the nearly 89 years. "We are here for a good life, not a long life" correct in its sentiments, for the relative was fortunate indeed to have both.

At times like these, it is all the more important to return from ones responsibilities to ones small country estate, full of appreciation for the love of ones family and the comfort of home. My brother and I will give comfort to our weary travellers as they recover from the arduous journey. It is always such a joy to welcome them safely home.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Pesky critters.....

Oh, my, my dear friends such news! There has been great delight this year thus far in the bountiful produce from the shared kitchen garden but my, oh my, such calamity. Why there have been not one but several pesky creatures availing themselves of this most delectable of foodstuffs. Mr's Mole, Blackbird, Badger and Squirrel, stand up and be counted. Well, our male guardian in law reminds one of Mr MacGregor faced with Peter Rabbit, such is his determination to stem the tide. Boundaries have been walked, calculations made and this very weekend my lady guardian was summoned to take part in the erection of the kitchen garden defences. Through the mid day sun and beyond they have toiled to erect a most sturdy of fences to protect against marauders. Under the guidance of our male guardian in law the defences have grown. Woe betide the creature bent on breaking through; you have been warned.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Simple quietude

Many an evening latterly has been spent in simple quietude, my lady guardian working upon a knitted garment and my male guardian in the restorative pages of a well penned tomb. The glorious sounds of summer birds and my brothers most gentlest of purrs breaking the silence. The why's and wherefore of family relationships have been the topic on many an occasion this last week. Harper Lee could not have been more right when she stated " you can choose your friends but you sho' can't choose your family". Alas, some families are the modicum of decorum and delight that one could only wish for, whilst others quite frankly are beyond comprehension. H Jackson Brown commented that " good manners sometimes simply means putting up with other people's bad manners". Alas, many a family has the proverbial skeleton in the cupboard which is apt to raise its head at times of stress.

For my brother and I, the human forms of death and dying appear so much more complex in my guardians world. Alas, we can but comfort them in the hour of their need (although my brother reminds me, this really should not coincide with ones mealtimes, which he would indeed find most distressing)

Saturday, 20 June 2015

In the blink of an eye........

What a glorious week of weather we have had. Why, yesterday was a quintessential English summer day; sunshine, a gentle breeze and the warm air laden with the aroma of summer, quite delightful. It was a day for rest and reflection. Life has sped along and we find ourselves older, although not necessarily wiser. Our male guardian has sadly lost a member of his family this very week, a sad time indeed. At times like these one is apt to reflect and consider. The comment oft noted by our elder relatives, " time goes quicker as you get older", does indeed seem to be the case. Shakespeare is brought to mind at times such as these in his seven ages of man. My lady guardian has the most delightful poem of W.H. Davies, "What is this life, so full of care, we have no time to stand and stare". Do take the time to read it in full and consider these wisest of words for we are all guilty, are we not, of jumping on to the treadmill of life and only jumping, or falling off, when it is too late to take the time to "stand and stare". Therefore some time spent in quiet reflection has been the order of a number of days this week, as well as rejoicing in life itself and the possession of it. The hurly burly of the working day, somehow paling into insignificance for time spent together in the quiet loving embrace of ones sanctuary, home. My brother and I, both in advancing years, have ensured we have given comfort in plentiful supply to our guardians. The cycle of life passes at an alarming rate of knots within the blink of an eye. Do take the time, dear friends, where you can to stop and stare.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Apologies, dear and patient friends

My dearest friends, please accept my sincerest apologies, why I really do not know where the time has gone. Such a whirlwind of activity over the last month, why I am quite dizzy at the memory.
Indeed, where does one start. Perhaps, in the words of dear Colonel Brandon, at the beginning.

As many of you are aware, my guardians share a kitchen garden with my lady guardians sister and husband. It comprises five 6 x 3 metre raised beds, a small raised bed and a recently dug squash bed of a similar size, plus a strawberry patch, two beautiful fig trees and a small apple tree under which to sit and enjoy the fruits of ones labour (often with a tasty morsel and a well earned cup of the finest English tea). There are also two greenhouses in which tomatoes, peppers and aubergines are grown through the summer. It was a venture embarked upon with great zeal by both estates and, in it's second year, is proving most fruitful. To gaze upon it is a wonder but, more importantly, to feast upon the produce is a delight. Much to my lady guardians delight, there are murmurings of livestock in the form of a few chickens; what country dweller does not like the sound of a contented brood clucking about the garden. Oh, the excitement but, one must be patient, much to my guardians consternation. The sisters remember a childhood with home grown vegetables and chickens, and a plentiful supply of chicken manure for the compost to complete the circle. Delightful, quite delightful. Many an hour has been spent planting, weeding, nurturing, watering for the delight of fresh produce now and through the winter. What a warming thought. A well stocked larder and log shed are such comforting thoughts as we move through the cycle of seasons, with time spent through spring and summer in toil to keep one hail and hearty. A simple life with simple pleasures, bliss. 

Despite the summer weather not reaching its fullest potential, my lady guardian has taken every opportunity to throw open windows and doors. Within the house, a thorough programme of sorting and cleaning is underway. Why, one is fearful of being caught up in this frenzy and ensures ones safety by finding a quiet, safe place in which to rest until the dust has settled for another day. I am assured by my lady guardian, that the current frenzy is quite, quite different from "the spring clean" that was undertaken earlier in the year, but I confess dear friends, I cannot see how! 
The seasons are moving swiftly and one can understand the activity, why I can barely believe that we 
are mid way through the year and soon to celebrate the summer solstice. Tempusfugit, dear friends, tempus fugit.

As my lady guardian and I compose this missive for your delectation, we gaze out upon the apple, plum and damson trees and can see the ripening fruits. We appear to be in for a bumper harvest and the larder may indeed need sorting to accommodate such largesse. 

My lady guardian, a keen home crafter, has begun knitting a fine woolen garment for the cooler months. A most becoming fairisle pattern is emerging. No doubt my brother will examine it closely on completion and test for warmth and comfort.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Well, my dears.....

Well, my dears, what a busy time it has been if I do say so myself. Why, a positve whirlwind. It must be said however, what a glorious month is the month of May! Such an exciting time of year, such joy in just being. Why, the countryside around us is burgeoning with growth; lime green, lush green, crops putting forth, cowparsley in delightful abundance spotted with campion and bluebells. How my heart does sing to see the natural beauty of this great country. The skylark, high in the sky singing it's melodious song and the swallows and swifts swooping and a fluttering all around. The sky on the whole is blue with puffy white clouds high above us. Such is the wealth in nature.

My guardians have been busy amidst the estate, tidying, mowing and planting and they begin to reap the rewards, particularly in the sanctuary garden where my brother and I are oft to be found, enjoying the warmth of the sun on our ageing bones, such a pleasure.

The kitchen garden has been largely planted and the crops are bursting forth. Further beds are being created, of which we will benefit this autumn, for a fine bed of squashes has been planned including, to my delight, one or two pumpkins for carving at Halloween. Important to maintain tradition, you understand.

As I sit with my guardian producing this missive, the sun bears down, a light breeze is flapping the laundry upon the line and the droning of the bees in the apple blossom can be heard. Birds are a Twitter and my male guardian is enjoying respite from his toils in the garden with a restorative cup of tea and a leisurely chapter of a favourite book. "Oh to be in England", dear friends; I am inordinately fond of dear old Blighty. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Early one morning.......

My brother and I have spent a most delightful time in the company of our female guardian. Sadly, our male guardian was detained overnight in good honest toil. On her return from her own duties, my lady guardian visited her relatives who live nearby. Once this was completed we were able to spend our time as we pleased. We therefore took the opportunity to review the orchard and sanctuary gardens, wandering hither and thither, a snip here, a tweak there. The new plants watered to ensure they bed in and a restorative cup of tea partaken on the garden seat to enjoy the evening spring sunshine. Clearly, our neighbour felt an opportunity for some essential guarden duties as, no sooner had we retired, than he commenced the mowing of his estate lawns. Such is the beauty of the longer evenings that I do declare he mowed until the clock struck nine o clock; granted it was quite dimpsy  by then but, one rejoices in the lateness of the hour to be able to contemplate such activity outside at that hour.  Quite quite delightful. 

Our lady guardian partook of an early light supper before embarking on a thorough polishing of the wooden furniture. I do so enjoy the most delightful aroma of the beeswax polish that lingers in the sun warmed home and the lamps glowing in the polished furniture as night ensues. So quintessentially English, do you not think? A delightful evening was then spent enjoying the merits of a good book to the strains of Bach. Quite delightful.

On rising at half past the hour of five this morning, we have tripped through the orchard to admire the emerging blossom in the quiet of the morn, with only the sweet sound of the birds to accompany us. Such a joyous and restorative way to start the day, always accompanied by a cup of the finest English breakfast tea to awaken ones senses. Bliss, dear friends, such bliss.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Glorious Easter Day

Well, my dears, what a glorious day it has been; we do so hope yours has been the same. My guardians, my sister and I awoke much refreshed after a splendid sleep; it is true that I, perhaps, require slightly less sleep than others and more regular refreshment but, nonetheless, was grateful for the opportunity of a little longer to rest. As the sun rose in the sky it was a beautiful spring morning, doors were opened and windows thrown wide. A line full of my guardians woollen, winter attire fluttered in the spring sunshine and a leisurely breakfast was enjoyed. The garden received much attention with lawns trimmed and raked, edges neatened and a general tidy up undertaken. Morning coffe was enjoyed outside, as was afternoon tea upon the terrace. Joyous birdsong and much fluttering accompanied the day's work, such a joy to behold. Most important of all, drapery in the home was not drawn against the night until well past eight o clock. Now that Michaelmas and Easter are behind us, we will rush full steam ahead t'ward summer. Next stop, cow parsley in the lanes and the early Sping Bank Holiday May Fair to enjoy.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Such consternation!!

Well, my dears, such consternation! Barely had I sent my missive to you all than a breakfast debate was had on the merits of Hot Cross Buns versus Easter Biscuits. Well, what can I say, merely to apologise for forgetting to mention the merits of a fine Easter Biscuits. My lady guardians twin sister will atone the longing for a Moores Easter Biscuit when they are unavailable in ones adopted country. These little morsels of spicy joy are stock piled for a visit to be enjoyed at leisure. My male guardian however swears by the merit of a buttery Hot Cross Bun.

Whether you are a biscuit or a bun person, do enjoy your Easter festivities.

Happy Easter, dear friends

My, my, how time does fly, why I have barely drawn breath and Easter is upon us. As I sit contemplating the day with my lady guardian, we can look out upon the estate which is blossoming forth with the damson and apple trees. Such a joyful sight to behold as we sip our morning tea and consider the day. We await the arrival of our male guardian, a little weary from a night of toil but no doubt with some tasty morsel for our delectation. My brother, as you are aware, partook of an early hot cross bun and I must say, I very much anticipate that we shall be enjoying this most delightful of Easter treats very shortly. The ritual celebration of Easter is a delight to behold and certainly has a most enjoyable feast of titbits to tempt one, does it not? 

Whilst my male guardian enjoys a well earned rest, my lady guardian will spend time in her own toil in the kitchen garden with her relatives. You may remember this joint venture embarked upon last year to the benefit of both estates. This weekend heralds the start of work in earnest to bring it all together once more. What a delight to spend one's time producing one's own food, and enjoying the fruits of one's own labour. Why my guardians still partake of onions, potatoes, leeks and purple sprouting from last years endeavours. Quite marvellous.

If the weather is clement then the task of renewing some of the hedging on our own estate will also be commenced. In the words of Hesiod "toil is no source of shame" and a weekend spent thus will invigor and delight, preparing for the fruits of one's own labour as the summer arrives. 

A weekend of blissful toil for one's own delight brings to mind the words of Ruskin "There is no wealth but life" with perhaps with the addendum from Einstein when he said "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." Happy Easter, dear friends, Happy Easter.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Easter cometh......

Why, the first quarter of the year is behind us, dear friends, and Easter is nearly upon us. Spring and Easter, new beginnings, fresh green shoots abound and lighter days.We cast off our winter mantle and go forward towards summer. As one grows older the words "tempus fugit" hold more meaning and sharpens the mind towards enjoying life, for more is behind than in front however robust ones constitution, I speak of course for myself. You may consider this a morbid statement, however, it is merely a recognition of fact and a reminder to ones self to enjoy life every single day. Whilst planning for tomorrow, one often forgets to enjoy today. I do believe however, that my fellow felines and I are a great deal better at this than you, my dear friends, and my human guardians. When the sun shines, we stretch blissfully in its warm caress, lie in comfortable torpor, soaking up the warmth. If it rains, why we find ourselves a snug warm nook in which to nap until more clement weather returns. I am reminded of the great writer, Oscar Wilde, who said " To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."

Do not however, dear friends, take this to mean that I live a life of decadence and debauchery, dear me, no. Yes, my guardians and I live comfortably but this is due to their solid, hardworking nature and acceptance of a life of toil to bring these rewards. Many a year has been spent thus to enable the comfortable situation in which we now find ourselves, a fact that I celebrate daily and am truly grateful for. Therefore my bidding to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, as regular readers will acknowledge, is paramount in my recommendations for a happy life.

We will sniff the primroses, gather dew between our toes and watch the sun go down with a heart gladdened by these simple pleasures in our country life. 

In the words of Henry Ward Beecher, "The art of happiness lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things" and if I am not mistaken, I do believe that is the most delightful aroma of an early hot cross bun being toasted! Do excuse me dear friends, duty calls........

Sunday, 15 March 2015

May the Lord deliver us, spring cleaning has begun!

There are times, dear friends, in a mans life when the complexity of the female brain is somewhat baffling. Please do believe me when I say that I am not complaining, dear me no, far from it, for I live in quite the best of splendour. No, dear friends, what perplexes my simple male brain is the marked frenzy of activity know as "the spring clean". Take, for example yesterday; it began well with the usual early rising and ablutions of my male guardian before he took the carriage and spent the day in toil. In ones mind, one envisages a gentle, somnambulist type of day, enjoying the spring sunshine and usual routines,  a stroll through the estate, afternoon tea taken in the garden tucked away from the chill spring wind, and an early light supper before retiring for the day. But, dear friends, what was I thinking! Clearly, I had misread that meaningful glint in my lady guardians eye as she sipped her morning tea, mistaking it for goodness knows what, for it is a specific look of intent that settles there. Oh my, the day that ensued. Windows and doors thrown wide, no corner safe from cool caresses of the bracing spring weather that was enjoyed yestermorn, no stone unturned to brush out the last vestiges of the winter months. Cupboards sorted, floors swept, washed and restored, lines of washing cracking in the brisk wind. Why, my coat was quite ruffled. And so it goes on, for today there is no rest on this special day, being Mothering Sunday. I fear that today brings a repeat and must ensure a place of safe haven for myself. I will, of course, once this frenzy is complete, compliment my lady guardian on her housekeeping for we are fortunate gentlemen, are we not, to be the benefactors, residing as we do in warm, clean, fresh and comfortable homes, presided over by our delightful female loved ones, for which in truth, I am truly grateful. A warm and comfortable home, surrounded by those we love, is quite the best one could wish for, is it not? 

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Busy bees...

Oh my, what busy bees the dear guardians have been this very week;  hither and thither, why I am quite, quite exhausted by all the activity. Why my dears, my male guardians carriage returned to the carriage makers for a thorough review and some general repairs dealt with, and the small city whence this was undertaken visited by my guardians for some new footwear for my lady guardian. Once their business was concluded, and a light repast enjoyed, they returned home to the estate. 

As is necessary for all of us at times in our lives, a number of health checks were undertaken to ensure our guardians remain in robust health, thankfully reassuring.  The front boundary hedging required a good cut and thus saw my guardians occupied mid week, confirmation of their very good and robust constitutions with a day spent in heavy labour. A large and very satisfying bonfire was enjoyed by both my lady guardian, and her sister, with the debris from both estates; such was the intensity of the fire that my dear guardian did come away a little singed around the edges - do not fear dear friends, no injuries were had, merely the smell of  singed hair that alerted both ladies to the proximity of my guardian to the leaping flames! Nevertheless, a most satisfying time it was and all of the garden debris from both Estates dealt with in one fell swoop. 

A day of rest was also had with the added excitement of a visit to a local establishment to see a "motion picture" one afternoon, such is the joy of technology and the decadence in an afternoon spent thus.  A most delightful afternoon was had enjoying the simple pleasure of losing oneself in fiction and a little tasty morsel or two partaken. Most blissful.
My darling guardians have also enjoyed the pleasure of rising at a later hour, breakfasting in a leisurely fashion, the warmth of a late fire and the joy of a good book (or two!). Sadly, as with most things in life, this leisurely pace comes to an end and the normal routine will return after the morrow. At half past the five O' clock hour every morn, my guardians will rise to go about their usual work and routines along with many other such hardworking souls; the back bone of our society.

Sunday, 22 February 2015


Dear friends, what a day. The weather has been most inclement, why, it continues as I write this missive. Sadly, this has meant that my lady guardian has spent a large part of the day inside, quite abhorrent for a staunch country dweller such as she is. The rain has brought forth torrents of muddy water from the fields once more, despite a most becoming white frost this morning. Alas, this beauteous state did not linger and was replaced with clouds pouring forth cold, driving rain; such is the Great British weather during these winter months, nothing if not changeable. 

This has meant, however, a fire lit early to warm our home through, nourishing food and warming drinks to maintain the spirits. 

The day began wrapped warm in bed against the cold air, a cup of tea apiece amidst the wrapping paper. A delightful leisurely breakfast, the broadsheets and good coffee. Onwards to supper, home made and all the more delicious for it. What more could one ask? My lady guardian was most happy with her day, delighting in the comfort of our home, spending time appreciating the patina of warmth and charm a home bestows upon its inhabitants, all for the price of a little tender loving care over the years.

A fond Bon anniversarie, my dear lady to you and your twin sister in the Australia's, may you enjoy many more.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Happy Birthday, dear guardian

Happy Birthday to our dear lady guardian for tomorrow. We must not forget, either, her twin sister in the Australias who will be a year older than her twin for a number of hours whilst the earth rotates. Such a gleeful joke to be had when one's family live across the world. We really are quite amused by this little fact. Tempus fugitive indeed, for I know my guardian, largely,  does not feel her age and is at her happiest undertaking some physical activity. "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there", the opening line of  L.P. Hartley's The Go- between and one so true. Looking back over my lady guardians life, despite her young years, can see changes in all walks of life. Why, the very technology we are using for this epistle was not even invented in the year she was born. My, my, how the world has changed, for better and worse in varying stages. The importance of a life well lived, however long or short, cannot be mistaken. Shakespeare, in his wisdom wrote "All the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his act being seven ages". The importance, however, is to enjoy every day, indeed, as no doubt both my guardian and her twin sister will do so on the morrow; thousands of miles apart, bound by family ties and a shared birthday. The joy in knowing a small token of affection and birthday wishes have been sent with love, for each other's delectation, how simply divine, dear friends.

So, to our dear lady guardian's twin sister, we wish you a fond Happy Birthday, dear lady, knowing that you will waken in a few short hours to celebrate ahead of our own beloved guardian. One year older for eight whole hours. I do declare, the hilarity that this simple statement doth cause is quite breathtaking.

Nota bene; we apologise for the lack of imagery but I believe the statement "technical difficulties" is one to be used at such times. We do so hope to resume our normal missives with imagery as soon as possible.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Winter months......

Well, my dear friends, we may be in the depths of the winter months but planning aplenty forges ahead. What to grow in the kitchen garden, of course a priority, but also many a show and tell session regarding the cutting garden as well. Dreaming of the bounteous and fruitful baskets of produce a delight to entertain these cooler months. A new trug, a gift to my lady guardian for the festive season, will no doubt provide sterling service, along with a sturdy basket to transport the wares from one estate to another. Much excitement this week regarding a larger and more sturdy wagon to transport all manner of items was purchased by our lady guardians brother in law. My, my such a joyous thing to behold. The very first journey will be to purchase some fine compost to enrich the kitchen garden, a must for any serious gardener. The benefit of the larger wagon meaning only one trip is required to transport this important produce. 

Planning also for the continued upkeep of the estate; a little like the forth bridge but we a merely keepers for our time. An old home requires love and attention on a regular basis hence the annual review of the estate, with lists drawn to prioritise the work and tradesmen required. Following on from the new windows last summer, is the internal decoration of all, yes all rooms. My guardians are modest in their requirements and therefore the walls will be freshened with paint only. New drapery is required in the dining hall and my lady guardian will set to once the material has been chosen and purchased. The estate garden as always requires upkeep and my guardians will fit this in amongst the other requirements. 

The joy of winter however is the quiet evenings spent enjoying the fruits of one's own labour; the fire burning in the grate with logs cut by ones own hand, a nourishing meal all made from one's home grown produce and the benefit for one's mind and body in ensuring the continued supply of both. February can bring some of the harshest weather therefore a plentiful larder and log shed are warming thoughts in themselves.

My lady guardian has spent these evenings fashioning a crocheted blanket for the expected first born of a colleague; with care and attention a delightful blanket is forming before our eyes. I do believe one should test these things before they are given, alas my lady guardian is most strict about this matter and keeps it firmly packaged away from my brother and I.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ladies and Gentleman, may we respectfully introduce...............

My sister and I have great delight in presenting to society our new Australian cousins, for the first time. Such delightful young things as you can see and SUCH beauty. One could fall deep in to those beautiful blue eyes, and, Oh, those matching coats. Such darlings. As one grows older one appreciates fine young things for their grace and energy. Why, as you can see, such is their energy that even the modern day technologies have difficulty in capturing them at speed. I am sure you will agree, they really are quite lovely.


Speed of light - yes there are two kittens here

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Great news, a happy occassion

Oh, my dears, such delightful news, I cannot tell you! As I sadly reported last year, my lady guardians twin sister lost her beloved companion, Oscar, a dear old gentleman. Since then their home has clearly not felt like a home without the comforting presence of a resident feline. Clearly this was to be remedied at some point and I am quite beside myself to tell, that yes, there has been a new arrival of not one but two felines in to the Australian household. The household is once again complete and in the safe hands of two young felines. Wisely, the Australian family have obviously noted the splendid balance of feline attributes from our very own therefore both a male and a female kitten are in residence. So wise to follow such a perfect example, do you not agree. We will, of course, keep you apprised of any updates on these delightful new arrivals as we receive news. Due to the wonders of this new fangled technology, we are due to talk to our Australian relatives this very weekend. Oh, the excitement of it all, I am beside myself with joy. One very much hopes to post a likeness of these delightful additions if our relatives are in agreement and technology allows. Til then, my dears, til then.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Beauty amidst the inclement winter weather

My dear friends, whilst I was about my duties upon the estate this afternoon, the sky brightened between the rain clouds and the wind, and the sun shone brightly forth. My lady guardian, who was accompanying me, and I paused to witness this golden glow across the countryside. What a joyous sight to behold amidst such inclement weather. Here again, I believe in the maxim oft attributed to Kurt Vonnegut " Enjoy the small things in life because one day you will look back and realise they were the big things". So apt my dears, so apt! What a joyous celebration of golden, do you not agree?

I do so hope you are as beguiled by nature and the elements as my guardian and I.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year one and all

One can hardly believe it but, yes, another year has passed and oh, what a year, my friends, what a year. It has to be said our greatest achievement was the inception of this, our electronic messenger. With great trepidation we undertook our first shakey steps in to the world of technology. My, what a world it has opened up to us. We have managed, with a little effort, to maintain contact with family and friends without any due concerns. We have relayed news from our modest abode and enjoyed the rural quietude this affords; such bliss. From the frothy cow parsley hedgerows to the glossy red berries and leaves of holly, tending the newly established kitchen garden to the warmth of the logs on the fire, cut by our own guardians fair hand. We are unashamedly country dwellers, however as you know, we have been known to enjoy the odd foray into some of our smaller, but beautifully architectural, cities. We have been fortunate to enjoy visits with relatives from the Australias and the Americas which has given such joy to our guardians and their family (it has to be said, only tolerated by my dear brother!)

Now, 2015 awaits us, all of us. May we wish you a truly Happy New Year and look forward to updating you throughout our trials and tribulations in 2015. We begin the year as we intend to carry on, quietly.