Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Preparedness and on the Couch with Denise Covey …


Timber ahoy! – last Friday  I had the ultimate example of preparedness … and how things might go wrong, or just get stuck for a while … and knowing that I might be ready to return to blogging realised I was not prepared.

Men getting prepared to chop the trees
Dark and Gloomy - the day was too ...
but the thickness of the trees gave us privacy

I am always thinking – ah! that could be great content for a blog post … wherever I go and whatever I do … the brain is triggered into contemplating … that could be a great example ... I could write about that, or at least incorporate it.  Trouble is I rarely settle to write … I ‘keep’ it safely locked away, or squirrel it away in various paper nests!

Denise's caption  header: Cafe Writer

I love the colours here

Denise’s Couch called to me to return on the day Queen Elizabeth II will become our longest-reigning monarch; as at today +/- 17.30 pm Greenwich Mean Time … the Queen will have surpassed Queen Victoria’s long reign of 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes on the throne!!  (63 years and 7 months to put it more simply!)


Was I prepared to return? … as these tree fellers were … no!  The Queen however had had some time to prepare … just over fourteen years from Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936: which must have been a huge shock … a stumbling block – which the family overcame.


She has served us with a willingness that few show … there will have been and will be many programmes on her reign and the Royal Family  - so I’ll just tell one snippet, which amused me …




The Winkle Club in Hastings is a famous charitable organisation formed in 1882 by Hastings fishermen to help the underprivileged families of Hastings Old Town.


Apart from some specially selected local residents, Winkle Club members have included a few very illustrious personalities such as Sir Winston Churchill, Neil Hamilton (American actor) and HRH Queen Elizabeth II (who became a member in 1951, when she was still Princess Elizabeth), who were/are honorary members.


A painting recording Churchill's Membership
Each Winkle Club Member (or ‘Winkler’) carries a winkle shell which they must produce when challenged to ‘Winkle Up’: failure to do so results in a fine which goes towards the local charities.


The Queen and Prince Philip both appear to be in rude health for an 89 year old, and a 94 year old … who still appear to be very much in love – as Victoria was with Albert, her Prince – so long may she reign.


The Winkle statue on Winkle Island -
a pavement area between the town
and seafarers

I am looking forward to being back and being involved again – it’s been helpful to have had this long break – but I enjoy the stimulation.


Denise’s Blog gives us great variety … on Australia, on Writing, on Travelling – she seems to spend a lot of time in the middle of the Pacific on amazing islands! – and on time in cafes … yet her passion is obviously cake, cake, cake and more cake … always tempting us to visit her Café … and couch, as I am today … telling a little of myself …





Trees down, with one lopped
Last Friday we had the Leylandii Cyprus trees cut down – they were pushing the paving up in the housing association flats opposite … and taking their light.  The second sycamore (the other came down 2 years ago) has been heavily lopped.  There was an old flowering diseased cherry that was cut off too!



The men turned up, laid out their gear, started with the cherry tree and demolished that … they then started on the Leylandii – which are prolific growers, and have never been thinned out …


Need for thinning
… these trees acquired a section in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 giving people affected with high hedges (often Leylandii) the power to have the trees or hedges taken out or severely reduced in size.


However the stumbling block occurred – the second of the three trees threatened to fall into next door – remedial action was needed.  Man up tree … from the bottom thinning as he went … it was somewhat time consuming – but led to being safely reduced to ground level.


Summer Pasta Salad
So we never know when those stumbling blocks of life may happen … cutting trees, calling on flat renters to watch bemused, wasting the day away … it all happened really quite quickly.


As I don’t own the place, so don’t have a say, what will be put in their place … is totally I should think unthought about.


I've had way too much fun being out and about!
Enough of that … the lady who is an honorary member of the Winkle Club will later on today celebrate an historic moment in the thousand years that Kings and Queens have reigned over us, while that elusive blogger will return to her writing ways.



I’ve missed you all … and look forward to being around – and thank Denise for waiting for her couch visit …



Let's eat cake together ... one of Denise's favourite - Toblerone Cake



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

39 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Loved the Winkle Club story - and am truly impressed at her commitment and public service. Not an easy job at all.
I am really looking forward to your return to the blogosphere.

Gattina said...

Isn't it amazing that Queen Elizabeth is still there and in such a good shape ? I wished I would be the same if ever I become so old ! I have never seen (or heard) about the Winkle Club ! Although I have been in Hastings so often. How interesting. Here too trees are cut down, and there is a lot of noise in the neighbourhood !
Good that you pulled yourself together and wrote a post !

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Welcome back!
Sad to cut down trees, but if they were tearing things up, it had to happen.

Murees Dupé said...

Welcome back.! You were missed. That cake looks delicious!

Out on the prairie said...

Hope I am in such great shape when I get near 90. Not sure I would want to work that long. Very nice to hear from you, it has been a while.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Winkle up - LOL! That is truly amazing Queen Elizabeth has ruled for so long.

Christine Rains said...

I will gladly share some cake with you. Cheers to Queen Elizabeth! She is an amazing woman. Love that about the Winkle Club. I do wonder if the Queen carries her shell everywhere. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - thanks so much .. and isn't the Winkle Club story fun - she's out today riding a steam train. I'm definitely back blogging ...

@ Gattina - it is incredible that the Queen is in such good shape - we're lucky ... and so do I hope I'm that fit and healthy. Next time we'll go and check out that Winkle ...

No - no need to pull myself together ... the timing was scheduled - I just needed time out!!

@ Alex - thanks ... it's good to be back. I don't like them cutting trees down - but Leylandii are really somewhat impractical for garden life.

@ Murees - thanks .. Toblerone cake looks good doesn't it.

@ OOTP - oh don't we all hope we're in such good shape - she rides in Windsor Great Park when she's at the Castle and I'm sure rides at her other homes. The Queen is one person who has no choice about retiring ... she has to go on as long as reasonably possible .. and I'm sure she will.

@ Diane - it's fun isn't it the Winkle Up; while the Queen is as sprightly as ever and much more so than many of us.

@ Christine - me too .. a good cup of tea and a slice of cake. Yes - such a good idea to send her cheers ... she's much admired. I'm glad I spotted the Winkle Club aspect ... she'll probably have a pearl with her - a Winkle .. not so sure!

Thanks so much for your welcome back ... good to see you all - cheers Hilary

Karen Walker said...

Oh Hilary, so good to see you here again. I love your blog posts.

Deborah Weber said...

Oh what a fun return to posting Hilary! I must say I'm hereby appointing myself an honorary member of the Winkle Club just so I can carry around a winkle and hope sometime someone asks me to Winkle Up. And I never turn down the opportunity for cake, so I'm happy to raise a fork with you.

D.G. Hudson said...

I think my mother liked the young Elizabeth II as Elizabeth is my second name, so of course I've always liked The Queen. (Not her son, though, after the Diana fiasco) As a Canadian citizen, I've learned more about the monarchy and enjoy reading about the history. I was quite interested in Edward VIII, but didn't like Wallis Simpson. . . I used to watch the Masterpiece Theatre programs about Victoria and Albert.

I saw you at Denise's and said hello! Hope to see more of you at your blogging, just set the pace to suit yourself. And never heard of the Winkle Club, but like the idea of a talisman for the members.

cleemckenzie said...

All of this and cake, too! I'm so glad you're back, Hilary. I've missed your posts that take me through history and food with such elegance.

J.L. Murphey said...

I've got some of my own trees to top off. It's on my list.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - thanks so much ... not far away from posting regularly.

@ Debbie - I think perhaps we should all be honorary members of the Winkle Club - sounds like you've suggested a good idea!! And yes - cake with a cup of tea is always well received.

@ DG - thanks for coming over ... I can understand your feelings re the Queen and re her son - sadly I think he was pushed into the Diana marriage .. but things thankfully have sorted themselves out now. Wallis Simpson always seemed kind of strange .. but we have been better off with the Queen, rather than Edward as King.

I've been back to see Denise and reply to comments on the Couch post - so appreciated seeing you there ... I'll do what I can ... and yes the idea of the talisman is quite fun isn't it.

@ Lee - oh yes .. we have to have cake! Thanks so much for your lovely comment here ...

@ Jo - I know it's that time of year isn't it ... good luck - you've got lots going on.

Cheers to you all - Hilary

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
An amusing post. Congratulations to Elizabeth II. It seems a daunting job being the head monarch and knowing your whole life that being king/queen was your destiny, for all your life. I play with this in my stories. I have yet to write about someone who strives to keep the crown. Maybe in book 3. I'm in final edit stage with book 2, downloaded Scriveners and learning that program has delayed me.

Love Denise, glad to eat cake with you both.
Nancy

David P. King said...

Elizabeth II will be the longest-reigning monarch? That's impressive! My folks have tons of trees around their place, too. Keeps them hidden, and its fun to fell a tree every now and then, when needed. :)

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Good to hear from you! Lots of good things--and that cake at then end looks darn tempting.

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! said...

Hi human, Hilary,

How delightful to see your good self back in the weird and wacky world of blogging!

Strewth and crikey, good to see the mention of Denise on here. A nice way to bring on the return of your eagerly anticipated ongoing blog pawsts, human Hilary.

One must now eat cake. I couldn't imagine spending over 63 years on the throne. One must get a rather sore butt!

Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses,

Penny xx

Melissa Sugar said...

Yeah! you're back. I've missed reading your stories. You've visited my blog and I keep checking in and voila ... finally you are here. I have some gift cards that Amazon said you never picked up or accepted. I don't know how that works. I divided them up in $100 increments, thinking you could pick one up as you traveled this summer, but they are still on my account. Email me and let me know what to do. Do I resend the gift card. This only happened once before. Someone didn't claim a $25 card for a long time, but it was a UK card. They just kept in on my Amazon and he finally sent me an email and I think I had it reissued. Let me know what you want me to do.

Anyway, so glad you're back. Hope you had a great summer.

Munir said...

In my memory Queen Elizabeth is still very fresh and young just like back in 1972 when I went to England to join my husband. I also remember Princess Ann as a very young lady and Prince Charles a Young man. Where did time go?
Thanks once again for a terrific post.

Cheers

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary! Loving having you on my couch. And congratulations to Queen Elizabeth. I see she didn't want a big fuss. Good for her. And I'd never heard of the Winkle Club. Always learn something here. And thanks for the shout out Hilary. You know I think the world of you and so pleased to have you come up trumps...and helping me decide what cake to eat today. That Toblerone looks especially tempting to go with my coffee!

I'm off the the wilds of North Queensland soon. It's like a country away, 1200 kilometres, yet still not the top of Queensland. We're a mighty big state. Might be able to post some pretty tropical pics.

See you soon!

Denise :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nancy - lovely to see you .. and yes the Queen has done an amazing job - thankfully she married the love of her life, even though Philip probably found it difficult at times. Also she wasn't destined to become Queen ... interesting though if you can bring that sort of thing into one of your books. I'm going to use Scrivener too ... Coffee and Cake with you and Denise would be fun ..

@ David - yes she's made that accolade - she didn't do anything special .. other than ride on a steam train! This tree felling might have been necessary ... but was lacking foresight and management ...

@ Holly - thanks ... and yes cake and coffee does look and sound a great idea.

@ Penny and Gary - thanks for coming by - I was going to email, just hadn't got there yet! Yes they have couches down under apparently ... I'm sure Denise would love to have you too - Penny?! Good comment re the Queen - she love you Penny - but whether you'd enjoy the Corgis or not .. not so sure! I don't like sore butts either. Lovely to see you ...

@ Melissa - just emailed you re the gift vouchers - they're not there. I've got another $25 voucher waiting ... and I'm not sure how I use it/them from here - but I'll worry about that anon. I can order books that way I think.

Yes had a good summer ... just fairly lazy .. but I needed to get my head into gear and clear this space up! Thanks for being here ...

@ Munir - yes 1972 was years ago wasn't it ... and weren't we all young then. I don't like to think much about the time going past. Thanks for commenting ...

@ Denise - thanks so much for clearing the couch for me! The Queen is very practical ... she did have a ride on a steam train, and the helicopter to get there was delayed due to the low cloud over Balmoral ... so there was a bit of fun and games.

Delighted to have been across ... would rather be there in person, but such is blogging life ... cake and coffee would be good and a good natter with you and other blogger friends at your place.

Lucky you going north ... sounds amazing - your States are huge .. looking at a map yesterday for a new blog post I could see that. I must check South Africa v Aus .. then I'd have a personal view point to relate to ...

Cheers to you all - so lovely to be back here again ... thanks everyone - Hilary

Paula Kaye said...

That cake looks amazing!! The kids and I watched a piece on the news tonight about The Queen! Very fascinating. I have always loved the woman. She reminds me of my Aunt Thelma! Very prim and very proper!! I am glad you are back to blogging. I missed you!

Vallypee said...

Welcome back. There's something to be said for lack of readiness....spontaneity can be refreshing too! Blog on, dear Hilary!

Fil said...

Welcome back Hilary :) Hasn't the Queen done wonderfully well for her years - and she still looks so enthusiastic. Her dedication and willingness to be involved in what's going on around her are a lesson to us all.
We've been cutting trees and hedges here too - letting in light.
Have a great weekend.
Fil
Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

Nilanjana Bose said...

Welcome back Hilary! So good to see you're back.

Cutting down trees? always makes me sad...and the Winkler club story is cute.

Best always.

Lynn said...

So good to see you back, Hilary! I loved the coverage about the Queen's special day and love your coverage, too!

That cake looks pretty tasty.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Paula - oh doesn't chocolate cake always entice! I thought there'd be bits on the tvs ... so decided I could glide past this incredible duration of the Queen's reign - long may she do so. Thanks for welcoming me back.

@ Val - yes spontaneity is one thing .. but I really need to get on with some other work ... so I could have done with writing up the posts as I thought about them or an event occurred ... never mind .. on with blogging!

@ Fil - good to see you .. and yes hasn't the Queen done so well and she certainly (usually) never looks bored or fed up. She has a lesson for us all - hard work and dedication doesn't do anyone any harm ...

I know trees need to come down ... and it's happened - glad you've got more light though ...

@ Nila - thanks so much: it's good to be back ... I know but Leylandii are actually rather wrong for this little country ... as we found out here. Isn't the Winkle Club story fun .. loved finding out about it!

@ Lynn- thanks so much ... glad you saw something of the Queen on her steam train ... my bit here is miniscule - but at least I recorded the passing of the milestone. I know the cake does look good ... I just feel I now need a glass of wine!

Cheers to you all - and thanks so much for commenting ... Hilary

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Glad to see you posting! And I loved the Winkle story. Queen Elizabeth is an amazing lady.

Whenever neighbors chop down trees here, it's always *so* unsettling to me! Affects my view. :) But right now I have a dead red maple in my front yard and so I need to get someone out here, too!

Jean Davis said...

Welcome back to blogging! I definitely vote that we have a slice of that utterly tasty looking Toblerone Cake to celebrate your return.

Suzanne Furness said...

Isn't that a marvellous milestone. I haven't heard of the Wrinkle Club, a fascinating story. It is lovely to see you back on the blog, hope you have had a nice break, look forward to hearing what you have been doing. I think Toblerone cake sounds gorgeous!

TexWisGirl said...

life gets in the way of blogging sometimes. wish i had more time for blogging these days.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Welcome back! It's great to hear from you again. I actually thought about you when I read about your queen reaching the milestone for the most years on the throne. Amazing! My grandmother and I watched the coronation on TV... it couldn't possibly be that many years ago, could it? (Sure doesn't feel like it!)

Love the Winkle Club story.

Cheers, and have a super weekend!

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations to the Queen! Hadn't heard that phrase, rude health, before -- I like it!

And welcome back! I'm the same as you, always looking at things with an eye to possible blog posts. I kinda want to join the Winkles now :-)

Poor trees! Hope they plant some lovely new ones soon.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elizabeth - thanks so much .. and I'm glad I kept the Winkle story for a few years! As I walk round here .. everyone seems to be using their machines - tree surgeons everywhere. I can believe it'd unsettle you ... but perhaps I've chased that dead red maple out of your yard!

@ Jean - the Toblerone cake does look so good and it would be delicious to have a slice of ... welcoming me back.

@ Suzanne - our Queen is quite extraordinary and I enjoy (usually) having the Royals around. The Winkle club (not Wrinkle - Freudian slip I expect!?) was such a fun find - I had to write about it at some stage. I'll be posting up fairly regularly I hope!

@ Theresa - your ranch keeps you busy ... and blogging is great fun - but can be time consuming ... still I shall be here and I'll enjoy your photos.

@ Susan - it's funny how we connect with bloggers when something triggers that connection .. I always think about you and Sparticus when radio hams are reported on or in something I'm listening to ...

I remember watching the Coronation from the side of the Thames at a Rowing Club ... with one of my father's friends who owned a tv. No - it's not that long ago .. it's all a dream!? Not ...

Not surprised the Winkle Club story tickled your chuckle buds ...

@ Deniz - you've thrown me a wobbly .. I thought 'rude health' was a common phrase and if I'd been asked I'd have associated it with Shakespeare - no such luck apparently ... so you're right not to have heard of it before - still it seems to ring (sort of) true?

Thanks .. it's difficult doing anything without thinking about a blog post, or two ... I think we should all join the Winkle Club ... or create our own.

I'm not sure what they'll do re the trees ... there is lots of tree planting around I see ...

Cheers everyone and have good weekends - it's soggy here! after a few lovely days ... Hilary

Rhonda Albom said...

I was excited to see the Queen get this new honor and record. I hoped to see a big celebration, like the Diamond Jubilee. But there was none. Our news pointed out, it with mixed emotion for her, as it represents her father's death.

Welcome back Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rhonda - yes people have commented about the lack of 'celebration' ... next year she'll celebrate her 90th and there's a lot going to be going on for that. There were quite a few things happening and certainly if one had been in London - we'd have seen more (or been aware of them) - a flotilla on the Thames; the skyline was lit up from the early evening ... etc etc

Cheers and thanks for the welcome back - Hilary

Sai Charan said...

Enjoy reading this story!! :)

I love the way you used the phrase, "squirrel it away in various paper nests", brilliant :)

Welcome back to blogging, you were definitely missed, glad you are back and I enjoyed reading all your latest posts!! :)

Cheers,
Sai :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sai - good to see you around ... I'm delighted you picked up on one of my 'cheerful phrases' squirrel away ... and that you enjoyed the recent posts - many thanks -cheers Hilary