Thursday, 29 December 2011

Newest member of our family!!

David and I would like to welcome the newest member of our family

Meet Rhea

(Sorry it is a bad, blurry photo but she moves too fast)

Rhea is a Yorkshire Terrier, 5 weeks old so still with her mother Maggie.  
She will be a companion to Socx our  Jack Russell Terrier

She is named after Rhea a Titan Goddess married to Cronus (king of the Titans)

RHEA was the mother of the gods, and a goddess of female fertility, motherhood, and generation. Her name means "flow" and "ease."

She will be coming home to us on 15th Jan 2012 - I will keep you updated

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


The reason that I am posting this on my blog is because having talked to local people in Luxor, Egypt they believe that these FACTS are exaggerated...........................................

General Eisenhower Warned Us.

It is a matter of history
that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect:
'Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened'

This week, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet.. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended... This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the, six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests Who were 'murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated' while many in the world looked the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center

because it offends some Muslim???


Thursday, 1 December 2011

What a shock !!

Well good grief what a shock when we got back home from our holiday.  I know that the youngsters like to 'enjoy themselves' whilst we are away (that much is given) but the drunken state and debauchery were staggering to behold..........................

Just look at these photos............................. need I say more???

Monday, 14 November 2011

Dinner with good friends

I just had to post this photo taken on Saturday when David and I were lucky enough to have dinner with our good friends Michael and Sue with Lyn and Fraser.  

Michael & Sue, Me, Fraser & Lyn
We had a wonderful evening with good food and even better conversation.  Just for the occasion I wore a sari, a bit 'over the top' but great fun. 

Thank you to Michael and Sue for such a wonderful evening.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Gardening Weekend

This weekend we had a 'work party' arrive to help David and I with getting the 8 allotment beds ready for winter.  Ellie and Tom agreed to give us a hand as long as there was plenty of tea and 'incentives' (mostly cake and scones, jam and cream).

Well thank goodness the weekend weather was fine, it would have been really horrible if it had been raining.  We weeded all the beds and dug out all the roots.  Several beds had loads of carrots, shallots and potatoes still growing that we had to remove before we could clear the weeds.   I hasten to add we had only just acquired these beds as our neighbours felt the commitment to the allotment was too onerous, so they were not our weeds!!

We did manage to clear all the beds on the Saturday and get them all edged.  Tom had great fun setting fire to the debris although at one point it did seem the flames would melt a plastic bin nearby.

On Sunday morning in between the rugby final and the football final we managed to mulch the beds with manure and cover them with black polythene.  All of this would not have been possible without Tom and Ellie's help - thank you so much!

Now my back aches and I feel sore all over so thank goodness that is over, I have told David that is the last time I do the beds, he is on his own from now on!

The funniest thing was when our neighbour telephoned on Saturday evening to ask if we had managed to harvest any carrots before we prepared the beds, I replied that we did have some and would bring them round.   Tom suggested that I take the veg round and then they would bring all the rest of the carrots.  So I duly carried round a couple of plastic bags of potatoes, carrots and shallots - then about 30 seconds later Ellie and Tom appeared carrying 3 buckets of carrots and dumped them on the doorstep!  Chris and Steve were not sure whether to laugh or cry!  We must have harvested about 20 lbs of carrots!  Carrot cake, carrot soup, carrot dips..... what else can you do with carrots?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Sahara Sisters Hafla 2011

On 30 September this year the Sahara Sisters had their annual hafla (party) just for fun.  We love to dance for pleasure and to entertain so our party reflects this and we have so many diverse dance styles from members of our group.

I danced 8 dances with 7 changes of costume and if you remember that Friday was a really hot day and my costumes actually stuck to me, Carole had to pull some of my outfits off me as they were so stuck!  This year a colleague of mine, David Douglas, brought his mobile photo studio and did back stage shots of the performers. So I would get madly changed, rush down to the studio for shots in that outfit, then dash backstage ready to perform.  I used a whole can of the cooling mist that evening!

We were really lucky to have some wonderful guest performers and I nabbed Carmen for a photo with me.

Vanessa & Carmen
Ideal Images Ltd
What was really amazing was we had well over 200 people in the audience!  About 60 of those were dancers which means we had over 140 ordinary members of the public come to our Hafla, that is what I mean when I say that the Sahara Sisters dance for enjoyment.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Corsley Show 2011 Update!

At last I have a photo of my costume that I danced in at the Corsley Show!

This was the first time that I have worn this outfit since I bought it in Cairo this year!!

It did make rather a splash at the show when I walked around the site! LOL  I do love to dress up and this is the ultimate! 

I am so lucky to be able to dance with such a wonderful group of ladies, they have fun and dance for enjoyment and that is the true origin of belly dance.

The lady behind me is Helen, she is so talented having devised the choreography for several of our dances  - thank you Helen.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Corsley Show - Bank Holiday Monday

Wow another Corsley Show has been and gone and I am still tired (totally shattered actually) but overall it was a good show and lots of people seemed to enjoy themselves.

Debbie & Mike Green
I usually spend the whole day in the Horticulture and Craft tent processing the judging of the entries and this year we had over 985 items entered into 196 classes and each class can record a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and highly commended - no way can we do that by hand so Mike Green and I use 2 laptops linked together to put the results on a database that he has created, just the sort of geeky stuff that I like doing.  Well we did have some fun this year, the generator was surging so badly that Mike's A3 printer started to 'smoke' and both the power lines to the laptops got fried!!  Now at this point I should have been panicking but I knew I had a spare power line at home and once that was retrieved all went well................................Well then the public got let into the tent and the queries started about who won what with how many points!!!!  Enough said.

Sahara Sisters
I was so pleased that some of the Sahara Sisters visited the show and danced throughout the day and I did manage to have a dance with them.   The SS had set up 2 gazeebos and linked them together, one was used for changing and the other to shelter from the wind, it was a bit chill at times as the show site is quite high up and exposed.   I changed into my pink performance dress and went for a walk around the showground to drum up support.  (When I have a photo I will upload it).  We had a good crowd watching us dance and them some of the public joined us for a free dance. Good fun.

It takes a committee of 8 just to run the Horticulture and Craft Tent with all the planning that is needed.  The marquee went up last Thursday and was finally ready by lunchtime on Sunday, Show Day, Monday and the tent was cleared by 6pm!  The de-construction is just so fast and all we were left with was 4 tables and assorted chairs ready for our meal before we go home.  Lynn Mills and her family kindly provided the main course and with help we have a wonderful get-together at the end of the day.

So we cracked open the champagne last night and celebrated a successful show!  Planning for 2012 starts on October 24th the next meeting!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Dinner in Temple

On Saturday evening David, myself and Socx were invited to dinner by our good friends Dee and Mike.

Yes Socx was included in the invitation to dinner and had a grand evening with 4 other dogs, Buddy, Libby, Fern and a delightful Jack Russell bitch called Prudence, known to all as Pru.

Greetings were made on arrival with some of the pack getting so excited they had to rush out into the garden for a wee.

Dinner was taken in the kitchen in strict 'doggy' rotation with Libby being first and as visiting dog Socx was served last.  On the menu was spaghetti with non-meat burgers and sun blushed tomatoes piled on top of a dog biscuit crust.  Chef was gratified to find that all bowls were licked clean and checked by all dogs to ensure nothing remained.
Dessert was 'doggy chocolate drops' this is where Socx excelled showing off his various tricks including one that Dee has taught him of dancing on his hind legs.

Socx was enamoured of Pru and spent a considerable part of the evening bothering her to the point where Pru went to sleep on the back of the settee out of the way of Socx.

I should also say that David and I had a wonderful time with Dee and Mike, our dinner was excellent and the conversation flowed.   I only hope we did not outstay our welcome as we were rather late home!!

Pru asleep out of Socx's reach

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Summer Break

David, Socx and I have just returned from our Summer Break.  We took a 'staycation' in Dorset, my home county.  The weather was indifferent but not bad and certainly did not spoil our plans at all - we had no plans!

On the Monday when it really was raining hard we did not feel at all guilty about having an afternoon nap in the car overlooking the beach, followed by tea and cake followed by another nap, even the dog just slept.

We did go out every day and visited some wonderful places in Dorset, Lyme Regis was glorious and we had a very pleasant spot for our picnic lunch on the South West Coast Path.  This was our view as we had our lunch.

Part of the 'Jurassic Coast' - the Dorset coastline.

I just liked the picture of these clouds, proves that the weather was not too bad!

 This is The Cobb in Lyme Regis, we were lazing on the grass overlooking it.

Socx enjoying the sunshine and below with his 'sunnies' on!

I really do love Dorset, one day I will live there next to the beach.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Sandbanks Beach

Socx & Ellie
Every year Ellie and I make a date to go to the beach, taking the dog with us.  Come rain or shine we have this one day out together just to enjoy ourselves.  With our hectic diaries we have to book the date months in advance and we never know if the weather will be good or not.

This year it had rained each day right up to the Saturday but on the Sunday the day was just gloriously hot in Wiltshire and we set off for the beach.  We always go to Sandbanks beach opposite Poole Harbour, even in the summer they have a small section of beach where dogs are welcome all year round and this is where we headed for.

First dip in the sea!
We were disappointed when we arrived at about 10:30am there was a sea mist just shrouding the beach that came inland about 1/2 mile.  So a quick visit to my neice Debbie to have a cup of tea and bask in the sunshine in her garden, which is only about 2 miles from the beach.

We were very lucky that the mist did slowly lift and we had a glorious afternoon on the beach.

Lunch first with a proper picnic basket and tablecloth and napkins, glasses of juice and sand in the sandwiches!!  I love eating out of doors and this is just the perfect beach for us.

Socx has never liked going in the sea but we put him in and he ran out. 
Then he went in again and ran get the idea!!

Ellie and I just chatted and made plans for visiting, I have always wanted her to live about 20 mins away from us but she thinks 2 1/4 hours away is fine!!  It does stop me from popping in for a 'cup of tea'.

We did get some sleep in the afternoon sun, with appropriate shade for Socx

A perfect Sunday with daughter and dog!
I hope there is more sun to come.......

Monday, 20 June 2011

Theatre in the Rain

On Saturday evening David and I went with friends to see Much Ado About Nothing by the Rain or Shine Theatre Company.  It was an outdoor event and with the rain we have been having recently we dressed accordingly, waterproof trousers and coat, woolly hat, gloves and scarves - I know it is the middle of June!

We were very wise, it hammered with rain but still the actors continued into the dark and stormy night!!  Sounds lyrical but it was very soggy and great fun.  Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy and quite 'light' for Shakespeare so even David understood and enjoyed it.  The audience were laughing at all the right places and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Rain or Shine Theatre Company, Much Ado About Nothing
The play was staged at the Manor House in Corsley so we did not have far to travel.

Started the evening with a supper of casserole and potatoes with chunks of bread.  The casserole contained 1 wild boar, 2 deer and 3 haunch of beef.  Apparently some wild boar had escaped locally and had to be shot as they are a danger in the local woods, so he was very tasty.

Later in the evening we had coffee and hot chocolate with Drambuie, with apple and rhubarb cake (home made by me!)

Great evening out, even with the rain.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A May Sunday

Well what a wonderful day!

A friend called and asked if I would like to take Socx (our dog) for a walk with his ferret.  I did not know that you could walk a ferret on a lead but that is what he does now he has a small harness that fits the ferret.  So Socx and I went round to his house but that is where the problems started, Marcus could not catch the ferret and when he did Socx decided that a small furry creature needed to be attacked and shaken to death - which is after all what Jack Russell dogs do.  I am so glad that Socx is small enough that I can just about hang onto him and the ferret only got a nip on his back.

Needless to say the ferret and dog walk did not take place and I took Socx to the town park for a good run around, sorry ferret!

This afternoon the weather did not really know what it was doing and it was just a bit too windy to snooze in the garden after lunch so I retired to the summer house and 2 hours later I woke up!   So up for a cup of tea and get the garden ready for Lyn & Fraser who came round for a drink by the chiminea.  We were lucky that the thunder did not arrive until later and then the best bit of the day in the low evening sun with all the rain, a rainbow just glowing in the sky.

There is a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow and it is the friends we had just been drinking and chatting with, just grand!

Saturday, 23 April 2011


I do love my garden and this Easter we have been blessed with the most amazing weather so I have spent the last 2 days working in the garden.
Well not working all the time, yesterday I did fall asleep after lunch and woke about 2 hours later but that is what gardens are for!

When Stuart and Eleanor were young children we would go out every weekend for a walk in the countryside or visit an English Heritage or National Trust site.  We lived in RAF quarters and the gardens were never inspiring, mostly a green space with a green oil tank, so they never took a lot of looking after and we had plenty of time to go out every weekend.

Patio and summerhouse in our garden
Now my garden is so interesting that I am glad to have the weekends to spend in the garden without having to go out.  On a bank holiday weekend it is wonderful to have the weather to just sit and read the newspaper or like this evening we had dinner outside by the chiminea and then I sat out for the rest of the evening just feeding the fire and lighting candles.  I have a lot of candles and lanterns in the garden and it takes about 1/2 hour to light them all but then the glow is magical.

I sit in the small summerhouse next to the patio, light the candles and drink a glass of wine just watching the sky and trying to spot the bats as they leave their roost.

Tomorrow I will have to have a bonfire with all the wood that I have cut down today, my hand is rather sore with using the secateurs all afternoon, so I will have to rest it tomorrow.

Or I could use the chain saw but then there will be more to burn!

Perhaps I will do my sewing in the garden, or sit next to the pond and watch the tadpoles and newts - another favourite activity of mine.   I know that I am very lucky to have such a wonderful garden and this Easter we are all lucky with the glorious weather.

Happy Easter. 

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Night at the Gin Joint

What fun we had on Saturday evening, The Sahara Sisters danced 4 routines at Broughton Gifford Community Hall in aid of charity.

A 'Night at the Gin Joint' was a cabaret of talent and we were honored to be asked to close the show with 'The Hot Sisters' routine Hot Stuff.

 Helen did the routine and found the red sparkly material for our outfits.

This is Helen ready for the 'Little Egypt' routine which she also choreographed.

Just after dancing 'Buttons' the only place we could take a photo was in the car park

This was our swan song, the last time we performed Hot Stuff - we think enough people have seen it and will get bored seeing it too often.

Buy 'Hot Stuff'

Friday, 8 April 2011

Birthday Party

Last Saturday I had organised a 'mid decade' birthday party for my friends and family.  I so enjoyed the chocolate fountain that I had 5 years ago that I wanted an excuse for another one.  

And I was not disappointed!! It was lush.
Me sampling the fountain!

The Sahara Sisters were kind enough to come and dance for us, with me joining in of course!
'The Hot Sisters'
We danced burlesque, Bollywood and Egyptian.  The Sahara Sisters are very versatile. 

Birthday cake
A very kind friend made me a wonderful Birthday Cake which was mostly consumed that evening along with the Sausage & Mash with Red Onion Gravy served up by Melanie. 

That evening we collected money for a Flour Mill for Ameena & Abult in Luxor and we raised £355.50 which with the money I have already saved means that we can buy the mill and truck it back from Cairo.  So a big thank you to everyone who has made this possible, I am looking forward to telling Ameena & Abult when I visit them in May.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Perigee Moon

Last Saturday evening I was driving to Swindon with 3 friends to dance at a 'Hafla' (party).  Part of the route took us along the M4 motorway heading east as I drove over a rise in the road there in front of us was the moon but not an ordinary moon, it was HUGE in the sky.

We were all amazed how beautiful the moon looked and no-one had a camera, so I have found the best photos to show you what we saw.

David said that it was a 'Perigee Moon' which refers to how close the moon is to the Earth.  It was such a wonderful colour and we had caught it just as it broke over the horizon.  The moon was just so orange with red craters and marks, even later that night it was hard to realise that the silver small moon high in the sky was the same object.

This really is the closest colour I can find to what we saw.

It was very distracting trying to drive and look but we were lucky on the motorway to drive towards the moon as it rose in the sky for about 15 minutes.

How lucky we were to see such a moon!

Friday, 18 March 2011


Last weekend David and I visited the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and whilst David went off to see the Ancient World section I headed to the Pre-Raphaelite gallery as this is my favourite period for art.

I do not like all Pre-Raphaelite paintings but this one really caught my attention.

The Afterglow in Egypt by William Holman Hunt
I love her face and the colour of her dress and it looks so rustic and being set in Egypt it also appeals to me.  I would love to have a print of it and hang it in the flat in Luxor, so I was looking on the web to see if I could order a print online and I found that Hunt went through several stages with this painting and that there is a slightly different one, that may have been earlier.

I think that I prefer this one as her dress looks richer and I like her carrying the wheat on her head.

Silver Favourites by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

My love of Pre-Raphaelite paintings started years ago in France when I spotted a poster that really had me fascinated.

Silver Favourites was the first poster I bought for our home

Closely followed by these pictures

Coign of Vantage - Alma-Tadema

Flaming June


The Music Lesson

I get a thrill when I get the chance to see the real paintings.   'Flaming June' is a massive painting over 20ft high and wide, I have seen it once in real life and was just mesmerised at the shear scale of the art.  Wonderful.