Thursday 29 November 2012

Skywatch Friday

I recently discovered picmonkey, do you use it?
There's so many editing tools available to enhance your photographs, I chose "gritty" to create the effect below.
I like the way the bare branches of the tree stand out against the clouds in the sky.

Looking over our garden wall to the village church in the distance.
Linking to Skywatch Friday for the first time, click here for more sky views.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Grateful for Ben's reprieve.

If you've visited my blog at all over the past four + years you will probably have met Mr Ben, my English Cocker spaniel, and know that he is a very important part of my life.
Today I'm posting even more photographs of Ben, photographs that just two days ago I thought I would never get the chance to take.
You see in the wee small hours of Friday morning Ben suffered a massive seizure.
As the Senior Partner steered us through the dark, deserted roads to the emergency veterinary clinic in Bayeux I tried to prepare myself to say goodbye.
Matty, Ben's favourite medic, was on duty that night and he suggested that the reason for the seizure and the smaller episodes that have been occurring recently would suggest that Ben has a brain tumor but the clinic did not have the scanner needed to confirm that diagnosis.
We would have to go to Paris for that.
He administered an anti inflammatory and a mild sedative and we decided to leave Ben at the clinic for the rest of the night.
As you can imagine, back home, we didn't get much sleep. when we returned to the clinic at 10.00 am imagine our amazement when Matty brought Ben out to us in reception.
Bright and alert (Ben, not Matty who had been on call throughout the night!) he was ready to come home with us.
We decided not to go to Paris for the scan but did take with us some medication that apparently aerate's the blood, allowing the brain to function better, which Ben will take for 12 days.
After that he'll have a check up to assess the situation.
Since being home, Ben is more or less back to his normal self.

Ready to go home now!

His appetite is good and, as these photographs show, well up for a Sunday walk through our beautiful Normandy countryside with us today.
This is what we are giving thanks for this weekend.

Linking this post to Mrs Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday
where the letter B is in the spotlight this week.

Jenny Matlock

Friday 16 November 2012

Homemade Bread Day.

November 17th is Homemade Bread Day and later on today, to celebrate, I'll bake a crusty loaf to eat with homemade soup for lunch.

I really enjoy eating baking fresh bread and of course we can buy beautiful baguettes and pains of various types locally, but really, is there anything to beat the smell of baking bread as it wafts through the house on a cold chilly morning in November?

I only started baking my own bread last year after being inspired by TV cook Lorraine Pascale.
The blog post that I wrote back in February 2011 has been the most visited of all my posts, receiving over 2000 hits since it was published!

Click here to read how she inspired me to get started
and perhaps you'll be baking bread today, too?

Joining Beverly @ How Sweet The Sound
for this week's themed Pink Saturday
"We gather together"

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Sand Sculpture for Wordless Wednesday

This amazing sand sculpture situated in a corner of reception
welcomes guests to the Marriott Hotel & Spa, HHI.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Historic Bluffton.

Whilst staying in Hilton Head last month we were delighted to discover that the 8th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival was taking place and that the highlight of the event, the Streetfest was happening on our 33rd wedding anniversary!

"Located just across the bridge from Hilton Head Island, Bluffton is a quaint, charming town. Antebellum homes, historic churches and unique shops line the moss-shaded streets of Bluffton's downtown historic district, offering a taste of Lowcountry living. Bluffton, a town whose name refers to its location atop a scenic bluff along the May River.
source: Visit Bluffton.

Calhoun Street in the heart of Old Town Bluffton, is lined with beautiful old homes and antique emporiums, it leads down to the May River and was the place to be on this beautiful, sunny day.

We had an enjoyable time browsing the booths of over 100 hundred local and regional artists and saw some wonderful pottery, ceramics, water colours and photography.

Many local restaurants were also there serving wonderful low country cuisine and seafood specialty dishes.

The Church of the Cross, at the foot of Calhoun Street was consecrated in 1857, the rose coloured glass in the windows came from England.
When Federal troops marched into Bluffton in 1863 they burned most of the town but spared the church, services resumed in 1870.
Since 1975 The Church if the Cross has been listed on The National Register of Historic Places.

Later, we took a one hour guided cruise along the May River.

Sadly, no dolphins came out to see us, but we enjoyed learning about the Bluffton Oyster Factory, seeing some of the nearby islands and learning a little of the area's history from our very informative Outside Hilton Head guide.

Joining Smiling Sally for Blue Monday.
.Smiling Sally

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Sunday 4 November 2012

Loggerhead turtle shells

Back home again after a wonderful time in Hilton Head, SC.
The weather was amazing, high 70's the whole time, except for the day before we left when Hurricane Sandy made it's presence felt with overcast skies and waves crashing along the beach.
On those sunny days the Senior Partner and I went for long walks along the shore stopping now and again to watch the tiny sandpipers dash around to avoid the waves whilst digging for insects and worms.
On two occasions we also spotted dolphins swimming quite close to shore.

Loggerhead Sea Turtles nest on the beaches of Hilton Head Island between May and August. An adult females will nest every two to four years, coming ashore between 4 and 6 times per season to lay eggs. Loggerheads typically nest at night, crawling to a dry part of the beach where females will dig a nest cavity with their rear flippers and deposit an average of 120 eggs. Once the eggs have been laid, the female throws sand to disguise the nest from predators and slowly returns to the ocean.
After about 60 days of incubation, the small turtles within the eggs begin to hatch. During the cool night, the 2 inch long hatchlings emerge from the nest, orient themselves towards the brightest horizon, and crawl towards the ocean. Once in the water, hatchlings swim many miles offshore where they will spend the next 25-30 years of their life growing to adulthood.
Coastal Discovery Museum, HHI, South Carolina.

The empty turtle  horseshoe crab shells that wash up on the beach fascinate me and they are the subject of my mosaic this week.

After all these years of beachcombing I always believed that the shell belonged to loggerheads.
Now, Keetha has corrected me and proved me wrong!
They are horseshoe crab shells!
Thanks Keetha for putting me straight.

I had hoped to join Mary @ the little red house for Mosaic Monday
but like thousands of others along the East coast of America
Mary is still without power and can only access the internet using her phone.
If you get the chance please stop by the little red house and give her a hug!