Sunday, 29 November 2015


As you may know, in the Christian calendar today is the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas day and marks the coming of Christmas.  It is a time of preparation.

If you have been a long time reader of my blog you will know that I always mark the four Sundays of Advent each year.  This year I have decided that I will share a little with you each week about four different topics.  Peace, Hope, Joy and Grace.

Originally I had planned that the first post would be about Faith, but at the moment I am instead drawn to Peace.

What does Peace mean to me?

It means many things.  Harmony, quiet, stillness.  You might also think of peace as being the opposite war.  We reach a peace treaty, we seek peace.

Of course we all hope for peace in the sense of not being at war, and for goodness sake we all know that we need peace of that sort in the world right now.  For everyone we need peace, no matter your religion or faith, creed, colour, sexual preference, tall, short, thin or fat.  We all surely hope for and look for peace.  I am right there along with you, desperate for peace.

Flipping the coin a little though to look at another meaning of Peace what do I find?

Walking along by a body of water, the sea, a river, a lake.  That is very peaceful for me.  Seeing a big open sky, with nothing around where you can really see the sky in all of its glory.  Quiet times in the garden, with the birds flying around and singing and looking at the beautiful flowers.  Baking.  Crocheting.  Staring into space and doing nothing.  Laying in my hammock in the garden in the summer and just watching the wind rustle the leaves in the trees.

Such peaceful moments.

I find the quiet moments of stillness when I am alone.  There is no noise.  No television or radio.  I am not writing with the tap tapping of the keyboard.  Just the quiet when I can think and be.  Recently the radio in my car has only been working intermittently.  Sometimes it just cuts out and there is no radio to be had.  Usually I drive along with it on at full blast and often sing.  Now though I have times of quiet and of peace.  I am enjoying it more than I thought I would.  Although it does make me worry about how much longer my dear little car will last!

My thoughts can be my own and can flow as I wish them to and can take me to different places, to consider different things.

So as Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas and as we surely need peace in many of its forms, this week I am going to spend some time seeking peace, being peaceful and hoping that I can in some small way bring peace to someone else in the world.


Friday, 27 November 2015

Five On Friday

Taking five to admire a fountain...

This is the Emperor Fountain at Chatsworth House.  You can read more about it here.  It really is quite the most amazing fountain that I have ever seen.  I was captivated by it.  As you can tell by the number of photos no doubt!

As much as I would like to say that I only spent five minutes looking at and photographing the fountain I can't.  It was much longer than that!

These two pictures - above and below - were taken just moments apart.  I haven't done anything to the pictures, it is the sky and the light that has changed.  That is all.

If you get the chance to see and gaze upon this fountain it is well worth taking five minutes to look at it and contemplate what you see.

Thank you for stopping by and for joining in Five On Friday.  I hope that you all have a great weekend.  If you can, don't forget to visit some other Five On Friday posts!

Happy Friday!


p.s. don't forget to check who you are swapping Christmas cards with and get in touch with your partner.  The details of the swappers can be found here.


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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Chatsworth House 2

Following on from my post yesterday, I have the rest of Chatsworth House to share with you today.  Well, the rest of it that I photographed!

These incredible vases - the ones that look like towers - are called Tulip Vases, the tulips went into the little round pieces that you see on the corners of the different levels.  This type of porcelain is called Delft Ware.

I was interested to see this painting as it is by the artist William Marlow - you can read more about it below.  The interest in Marlow?  Well we have two of his paintings at Basildon Park where I work.  You can see them here.  It was interesting to see more of his work and in a different style.

Again, above you can see modern art paired with beautiful antiques.  Below though is a wonderful antique.  This isn't a violin.  Or a fiddle.  Or any other sort of musical instrument.  It is in fact just - I say "just"!! - a painting.  Isn't it incredible!!  This really amazed us.

Flash photography was allowed, which surprised me as it usually isn't, but it did make taking pictures difficult as in the darker areas when someone else's flash was going off it didn't help others photography - and probably didn't help theirs either - so these pictures don't really show off just how spectacular the beautiful pieces are.

Another little treat for me is the piece of furniture below.  It is very similar in design - although not identical - to one that we have at Basildon Park - you can see ours here.  It is called a Confidante Sofa.  So that the ladies can sit next to the gentlemen, but keep the arm between them, thus maintaining propriety!  Prince Charles has a Sofa identical to the one at Basildon Park - we believe that his is Chippendale!

You might recognise the portrait above.  This is the famous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, whose story was told in the film The Duchess.  Also - dare I say it again! -  filmed at Basildon Park.  I was actually really surprised at the number of links between the two places.

This beautiful table is made of different stones and minerals.  Work of this type is called Pietra Dura and is an Italian term meaning "hard stone".

Below is an amazing painting by artist Lucien Freud of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire who died last year.  She was Deborah, one of the Mitford Sisters.

So much exquisite porcelain and other ceramic pieces!

The beds were of course incredible.  The canopies were especially beautiful.  Although I would still need a lot of persuading to sleep in a four poster bed.  I don't like the idea of being closed in!

This painting was, I thought, especially beautiful.  It isn't necessarily "pretty", but nevertheless it was incredible and fascinating.

The damage that you see below - probably caused by sunlight attacking the fabric!

You can see what I meant about incredible bed canopies can't you!

Looking back down on to the main stairs.  You can see someone trying out one of the round chairs with pointy bottoms that I showed yesterday.

This table top is made of malachite.  It didn't photograph very well as it is covered in a piece of glass, but it was beautiful.  I find it a fascinating material.

You know that I love an incredible ceiling!

Yesterday I mentioned something called "Blue John", well, this is what it looks like.  It is a mineral, only found in The Peak District.  It is blue and yellow and looks spectacular when the light shines through it, or it is lit up as this vase is.  Pieces made from Blue John are incredibly - for that read astronomically - expensive!  This piece would run into many thousands of pounds I am sure.

I leave you today with a beautiful lion.  There was a pair of them, probably larger than life size and just incredible!!

I hope that you have enjoyed the visit to Chatsworth.