Sunday, 29 July 2007

Oliver is 1 year old

Yesterday we went to Oliver's 1st birthday party.
To me it was not only a time of celebration, but a time to give thanks for this little boy.
When born he was a very sick baby as seen here just 12 hours old and in intensive care.
I will not say more as that is Janie's story, not mine.
At the time we had people praying for him in many places in America, France, Africa and many places in England.
The second picture showns him as he is today. A beautiful, lively and very bright little boy.
We know we have a faithful God whatever the outcome but it is extra wonderful
to be able to thank God for this renewed life and the medical staff who spotted, intervened and treated within minutes of birth.
At the time I took the picture in intensive care I prayed over Oliver that he would have no lasting memories of his trauma and the numerous tests he had to go through.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Thanks for your Concern

So many of you have been asking about my garden after our recent storm, and in view of the horrendous flooding in the UK at present, many have asked if we are OK.
Yes, we are fine, thank you. We are not in a flooded area and we do feel so for those who are. Hundred's of thousands are without running water and have no electricity. Thousands of homes severely flooded.
There are still flood warnings out for towns along the Thames river to the West of London as the water drains down from higher ground and the water surge builds up on the river and more heavy rain is forecast on Sunday.
The Red cross have been handing out food parcels and the Army has been delivering water to specific locations. Apparently nothing like this has been seen since war time.
So our prayers go out to all affected.
As for my garden, I have had to severely prune some shrubs. The damaged leaves are beginning to curl up and turn brown so I imagine this will affect the Autumn colours.
Even though the leaves are badly damaged on some of the roses, they are coming into their second bloom of the year.
Also there are parts of the garden that were not damaged by the flooding and hail storm.

See here the pink and blue Hyssop in the herb garden. Hyssop was used in Biblical times to paint the the doorposts in blood.

Looking through the Fennel

Second flowering for a Rose that was sheltered

Thursday, 26 July 2007

I Phoned a Precious Blogger Across the Pond

On Sunday evening I telephoned Susan of Penless Writer
I was excited to call and Susan was blown away at receiving a call from England.
Susan and I have E-mailed back and forth but how was I going to get hold of her telephone number without her knowing so that it would be a surprise.
I managed to do this and couldn't wait to pick up the phone.
Susan has given me permission to copy here the post that she wrote on her blog.
She has expressed so well my sentiments that I could not do it any better.
So curtesy of Susan's blog I pass on the following.
Sunday afternoon, after church and dinner, I decided to lay down on the couch and take a nap. Something I rarely do during the day. The phone rang and Mickey answered it and said "Honey, it's Barbara from England". Now talk about waking up fast!!!!

Sweet Barbara called me. WOW!!!


This totally knocked me off my feet and thrilled me beyond belief. Almost speechless, which for me you know is rare!!

Barbara and I have e-mailed back and forth quiet a bit but I never expected a phone call from "across the pond".

Barbara and I have a lot in common. We are both in our late sixties, both have long, successful marriages, both mothers, and grandmothers and both have worked outside the home extensively. We both have done extensive traveling and love to travel.

The truly amazing thing is that we both worked for the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association in the 60's!!! Me here in Tulsa and Barbara in Liverpool, England.

Now I ask you what were the chances of that?

We share our strong Christian faith and heritage having served Jesus for years.

We adhere to the belief of Victorious Christian Living, that we truly are "more than conquerors through Christ Jesus our Lord".

Barbara had such a sweet, very British accent of course. I love that!! I have always found the British accent to be so proper and impressive and she certainly was.

Be sure and go check out Barbara's blog if you haven't. She has one of the most lovely English gardens. Oh, how I would love to sit and chat and share a cup of tea with you there Barbara!! I told her I thought the chance of her coming to America again (she has made many visit here) was better than the chance I would ever come to England.

Thanks again, Barbara for blessing me so with your sweet call.
I was v ery blessed to read these comments of Susan's and it made it all so worth while to know how much she enjoyed the call.
N.B. Barbara has only worked outside the home on a voluntary basis

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

A Day on the Lee Navigation Canal

We had a really enjoyable day on the barge yesterday. Our friends Dave and Val have had this boat built and are taking a year out to travel the length and breadth of the British Waterways.

Yesterday they were berthed only 30 minutes from our home so we met up with them. The weather was cloudy and drizzling with rain but we did not get heavy rain until we were back at the mooring at the end of the day. It is so peaceful on the canals as maximum speed is 4 miles per hour.

You can check their blog if you wish under NB ZINDAGI

This is me at the helm

Now it is Alan's turn

This is Dave taking a picture of me taking a picture of him

A few photos of the inside of the boat

Val's herb garden

Passing another barge

Approaching a lock gate

Look at the hanging baskets of flowers hanging from the footbridge over the lock

Another lock

Leaving the lock

Alan closing the lock gate

I did not count the locks we went through but there were very many. Obviously the hillier the terrain, the more locks there are.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Life Goes On

Life goes on with each new day bringing it's different challenges.
Our Canadian guests have returned to Calgary.
We are spending a day tomorrow sailing on a stretch of the British Waterways in our friends barge. We had initially thought we would spend more time with them but their schedule did not fit in with ours so a day is better than not seeing them at all. Although the forecast is for rain I am sure I will have plenty of photographs.
Tuesday begins our time with "Soul in the City" (see a previous post). I went to have a look around the library area this afternoon and it is hard to see the shrubs for the weeds and the Columbine is covering everything. So looks like it will be hard work. We are praying for a good raport with the kids and opportunities for good conversations with the folks around.
Our weather continues to misbehave. We have had some more flooding in the garden but nothing like last week. Others have been less fortunate. In Berkshire which is west of London there are homes with 5 feet of water in their living rooms. A hospital on the South Coast had 18 inches of water in their ground floor wards. Barges have drowned under bridges on canals and in some places cars have become emersed under bridges. Friday was the first day of the school summer holidays and there were 40 miles of stationary cars on the M5 overnight as the roads were impassable.
In London 20 Underground stations were closed and 140 flights cancelled at Heathrow. There are many places holding their breath waiting for rivers to overflow some more as the water seeps down from the hills.
So we count ourselves very fortunate to have nothing more than a flooded garden.
Apparently we have low pressure from the jet stream that has been sitting over our country for some weeks now with not enough wind from the South to shift it.
So here are some beautiful photos from my garden taken before the storm and the first 3 I took today to show that not everything was damaged in the storm.
I will get to sorting my Oxford photographs sometime soon.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Blackwell's Book Shop, Oxford

I still do not have my photos of Oxford sorted yet but to be going on with I have a couple of photos of an amazing bookshop in Oxford.

Blackwells Bookshop was opened in 1879 and was 12 foot square. It is now Oxford's largest book store. There are 200,000 books in stock catering for every subject, discipline and interest.
There are 4 floors in all, the top floor being given over to second hand books. The whole place is a book readers dream. We made 2 visits and of course there is a coffee shop where one can browse the books before buying if wished.

The above photo shows The Norrington Room that was opened in 1966. This is a vast subterranean chamber which is actually under Trinity College. It has a place in the Guiness Book of Records for the largest display of books for sale in any one room in the world.
It has 3 miles of book shelves.

For an avid book reader like me who just loves books, it can be heaven and hell in equal measure. I did spend quite a bit of money.

The above book I found in the second hand department. It would not interest many people, but to me it was a treasure. It is an account of a Royal around the world Tour in 1901 as seen through the eyes of one of the ships Mates. As you will see below, it is written in long hand and he was obvioulsy an artist too as it is illustrated throughout with his artwork.

Next came the biographies

Then my purchases to help me in a deeper study of the times of the Bible

And lastly some books for Grandson Oliver. There are a number of books that I cannot show you as they are Christmas presents.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Back from Oxford

Hi! Everyone - I'm back home, for a little while at least, and have missed you all.
I want to say just how thankful and grateful I am to you all for your heartfelt comments and concern over my garden after the recent bad storm. It's nice to know that people care. The only permanent damage will be on the evergreen shrubs as all the deciduous ones will grow again next Spring.
I continue to be aware of the folk who had their homes flooded so am not over concerned about my garden.
Our trip to Oxford was wonderful. Our accommodation was superb. Oxford is only 1 hour and 45 minutes from home so we have visited before but this is the first time we have actually stayed there and really spent time taking in the beauty and history. I have 116 photographs so as you can imagine they will be distributed over quite a number of posts once I can get them all filed and organised. I plan to give you some history and interesting facts also.
I will do it all as soon as possible but it won't be as quick as I would like as life is quite busy at present.
We arrived home late Saturday afternoon and after unloading went straight out to do a weekly shop before going to a do a study of Paul's letters to the Phillipians in the form of a book club group. This worked very well and proved very interesting with everyone's contribution. Then today was our church picnic.
Tomorrow I have a family from Alberta, Canada coming to stay, along with 2 dinner parties this week.
The following week brings "Soul in the City" an outreach initiative where young people from churches across our Borough get together to work in the community. I have the job of supervising and helping a group that will be cleaning up around our local library, weeding and tidying up the surrounding garden. There will be activities for families in the park in the evenings. The young people sleep and eat at the school belonging to our church and spend their mornings in Bible study and worship and prayer before going out to serve afternoons and evenings.
Also during that week we are hoping to join our friends on their long boat on one of the canals if we can fit it all in .
So I will be posting and visiting you but maybe not as frequently as normal in these next couple of weeks. Hope you are all having a good Summer so far.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The Worst Storm in my Living Memory

Just 1 hour after posting my blog yesterday saying that we were having some sunshine after so much cloud and rain, we had the worst storm that I have ever experienced.
Our garden is a wreck but we are fortunate as we are aware that there are many thousands in this country who will not be returning to their homes for a long time.

I have never come across this before. The hail stones were so large that they tore through the leaves of trees and shrubs and have left them looking as if they have been eaten.
The leaves obviously will not recover at this time of year and I am hoping that this damage will not cause disease to take hold.The hail stones even stripped paint off the painted benches.
Just a few 100 yards away the lightening broke up the concrete pavement.
I had not seen lightening like this before. There was so much fork lightening that it was bouncing around and looked like 3 or 4 strikes at once.

This is how it started as the hail stones began to rain down

Looking out from upstairs

The hail stones have melted but look what it has left behind

Flooded borders

Flooded lawn and garden

The pond has overflowed and we don't want to lose the fish

My footprint in the hail stones on the Patio
In being such a keen gardener I have always said that one can plan and work and do one's utmost, but in the end Nature has the last word.

I will now be gone for a few days. We are off to have a City Break in Oxford.
Photographs there will be.
Have a good week everybody

Monday, 9 July 2007

Roses in the late Evening Light

The colours do look different at night don't they? We are thrilled to have had some sunshine the last 2 days. These pictures were the last of the June blooms. There will be a second showing but they are never as good or prolific as the first.