Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Ups and Downs

This is the first time I’m doing Cee’s challenge. She asks us to post photos of the ways people go up and down, and says, “The only limit, is that the person actually has to be outdoors and not enclosed in an airplane or helicopter or elevator.” I have a few photos which I think fit the criteria.

The first is of hubby, just about to fall through the air into the safety net after trying out the trapeze at Club Med in Phuket.

Here is our sweet granddaughter climbing up the Jungle Gym when she visited us in South Africa,

and here she is, coming down the other side.

So many steps at the great Wall of China. They just carried on for ever it seemed. and the wall itself is estimated to be over 4,000 miles from end to end. The Great Wall Marathon is a 7.5km ‘fun’ run, which involves 5164 steps. That should get you in trim, for sure. 🙂

This is me, parasailing off the beach in Phuket. What goes up, must come down….right?  I was hoping like crazy, that this saying was true, and with not too much of a bump either. 😀 ( Do you see that crazy guy with his legs around my waist? He started off standing on my shoulders, and had no harness at all. I was praying that he didn’t fall, or I would have had to work out how to land myself.)

I hope you enjoyed my up and down photos. To see more interpretations of Cee’s Fun Foto challenge, just click here.


The Jackhammer, and some musical memories.

Firstly today, hubby asked me to share this photo, as proof that he didn’t jackhammer the kitchen floor whilst wearing his flip flops, Some of you expressed concern for the safety of his feet, after seeing his bare tootsies in my weekend post for the “Thankful” theme. I even persuaded him to wear long trousers, to prevent any more gashes on his legs, as we were running out of sticking plasters. 🙂 In this pic, he is digging around to expose the water pipes, so that he can move the plumbing for the sink and dishwasher over to the outside wall. Strangely enough the sound of the jackhammer wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, so something to be grateful for.

Yesterday, we went to choose the granite for the counter tops,

so I really feel like we’re getting somewhere. It’s called “Butterfly Beige.” Can’t wait until it’s all finished.

I haven’t done any piano playing since all the upheaval started. My piano is covered in painter’s plastic sheeting, silently awaiting my eager fingers, but I can’t compete with the sounds of hammering, drilling and banging. 😉

I thought I would share with you some of the experiences I’ve had as a musician, especially as an organist, which I was for many years. The very first wedding I played for was for my best friend’s son, and I didn’t sleep properly for days before, as I was so worried I might mess up, after all, you only get one crack at it.  Luckily I didn’t, and all went well, although my nerves were totally finished by the end of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, as they left the church. Organs can be so unpredictable, and on one occasion, I was half way through Wagner’s “Here comes the bride” march, when the power cable got struck by lightning and that was the end of that. Not my fault of course, but embarrassing all the same. I had to transfer myself over to a very much out-of-tune piano in the other corner, and  it didn’t sound nearly as impressive, as you can well imagine. 😦

The very worst experience I ever had, was when I was playing lovely, quiet and relaxing music, whilst the bridegroom and wedding guests were sitting waiting for the bride to arrive. The organ was down a couple of steps in a sort of well at the front of the church. I sensed that someone was approaching me down the side aisle, as I was busy concentrating on my music. Suddenly this rather large lady in a big hat, fell down the steps, which she hadn’t realised were there, right onto the organ, hitting all the stops and buttons and landing on the pedals. Well, that certainly woke everyone up! What a cacophony of sound, as it brought in the trumpets, percussion and most everything else you can think of. People stopped chatting, and glared at me in stunned amazement. I nearly fell off the stool in fright. After I had helped her up, I found out that the rather shaken lady, was the bride’s mother who had just come to bring me a gift and a ‘thank you’ card. How very kind of her. 🙂 I think she was more embarrassed than I was, and it took us both some time to regain our equilibrium.

Then there was the time when I spied a HUGE Parktown Prawn, which is a South African King Cricket, skuttling around underneath the organ pedals. These creatures are on my list of most horrific critters to be avoided at all costs.

My first reaction was to jump up and run screaming into the middle distance, but I had a duty to perform, and as the saying goes, “the show must go on.” What an absolute Nightmare! The adrenalin was certainly pumping, but I had to refrain from screaming, as it’s not something wedding organists are expected to do. 😉 I didn’t see it again, but for obvious reasons, I never ever felt totally at ease, when sitting on that particular organ stool.

I usually had to play for about fifteen minutes before the bride arrived, but on one occasion, it stretched to almost an hour and a half, as the bride’s uncle had taken the wrong road and was on his merry way to Edenvale when he should have been in Hurlingham; poles apart! A search party was dispatched, and eventually one of the groomsmen found the lost sheep and guided him to the church, but not before my poor fingers were almost falling off, and my sizeable repertoire, just about exhausted. I still had to play all the wedding music, and I didn’t get paid overtime either. On one occasion, the bride forgot her bouquet at home, and someone had to rush off to get it, whilst I of course was left to entertain the fidgety congregation.

I’ve seen several brides faint, a few rings misplaced, and also witnessed some very strange wedding attire, like the bride who got married in black whilst her groom was all in white. The six foot bridesmaid looking very Goth, in a witch-like outfit, and black lipstick, sported ‘Doc Martins’ on her rather large feet. I have been playing my heart out, with the bride and groom already present, as the minister was frantically phoned whilst he was at home mowing his lawn, having entirely forgotten about the ceremony. He arrived very late, and looking decidedly hot under the clerical collar and also somewhat dishevelled. Mind you, I have to confess my own guilt too. One time I arrived at the wrong church, and had to drive all the way home again in order to check my diary, as there was no-one at home to answer my distress call. After driving like a ‘bat out of hell’ and jumping a few red traffic lights on the way, I arrived at the correct church just as the bridal car was about to turn in, and I’m ashamed to say, I rather rudely shot in front of them at the stop street in order to rush down the aisle and onto the organ seat just in the nick of time. The minister was getting very agitated as you may well imagine.

There was a certain Dr. of Divinity, of South African radio ‘fame’, who used to be quite popular as a wedding minister. Dr. Reg Barrett, since deceased, never bothered to learn the names of the couples he was marrying. He just used to say, “Repeat after me, I full name, take you full name to be my lawful wedded wife or husband.” Of course, it had to happen that one day, the nervous groom said exactly those words, instead of substituting  his and his intended’s names. This very flamboyant man, always ended the service with the same adjuration to the newlyweds, “Go forth and multiply in many different ways.” Whatever that may mean! 😆 I hope you’ve enjoyed my musical memories, and I haven’t even started on the funerals, which is a tale all on its own.

Tasting stars****** Blog of the Year 2012 Award.

I guess this is going to be another “Thankful” post. Legend has it that French Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Perignon exclaimed, “Come quickly, brothers; I’m tasting stars!” when he first tasted his newly created champagne for the first time. I have no idea how true this is, but that’s exactly how I felt over the past few days when various fellow bloggers nominated my blog for the “Blog of the Year 2012 Award.”

I did have four stars, and six is the maximum for this award, so  when Rommel of ‘The Sophomore Slump‘,  Arnel of ‘AllThingsBoys Blog‘ , Newsferret one of my South African blog friends, Gerry of ‘Gerry’s Space‘ , and Maxima of ‘Hillsofherchastity‘ blog, also gave me nominations, I was really “tasting stars.” Thank you all so much. I’m truly overwhelmed that you enjoy my blog. I love blogging, so the pleasure is all mine.

This award was created by ‘The Thought Palette’ and the ‘rules’ are very simple:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/   and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

I think that the most important part of accepting awards, is passing the joy around, so I am nominating some more of my favourite blogs. I hope you will all be as delighted as I was to receive an extra star for your badge.

Ioanna of ‘Lifeportofolio.’

Marsha of ‘Streaming Thoughts.

Gunta of ‘Movin’On.

Island Traveler of  ‘Thisman’sjourney‘.

Lynne of ‘On the go with Lynne.

Frizztext of ‘Flickr Comments‘.

Clanmother of ‘A backward look forward‘.

Cathy of ‘A nomad in the land of nizwa‘.

Amy of ‘The world is a book

Dianne Gray of ‘Dianne gray author’

Paula of ‘Lost in Translation‘.

The Wanderlust Gene of ‘An inherited itch to wander‘.

Naomi Baltuck of ‘Writing between the lines‘.

Judy of  ‘Northern Narratives‘.

DellaAnna of ‘The Passion Dew’.

Tom of ‘The Palladian Traveller.’

Congratulations to you all, and thank you for the amazing amount effort that you must put into your wonderful posts.



Jake’s Sunday Post: Natural Resources

“The nation behaves well, if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation, increased and not impaired in value.”   ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Jake’s Sunday Post theme this week is natural resources, and there are so many ways one could approach this challenge. Wiki defines the term like this, “Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form…………..Some are essential for our survival, whilst most are used for satisfying our wants.”

One of the world’s most used, non-renewable natural resources, is oil, and it’s being used at a rate much faster than nature can create it. I was fascinated to see several pumpjacks, popularly known as a ‘nodding donkeys’, when we were travelling through the countryside, on our way to Mount Rushmore.

Another natural resources has to be our magnificent wild animals. Sadly, because of man’s greed and ignorance, some species, like these rhinos, are becoming in danger of extinction. Rhinos have been around for over 50 million years, but the world population of rhinos has dropped by 90% in the past 30 years. Since the start of the “poaching epidemic” in South Africa in 2008, the country has lost over 1500 rhinos. Because of a belief by some people, that powdered rhino horn has the power to cure many medical conditions, from impotency to cancer, it is selling on the international market for $60,000, and is more expensive than gold, platinum and cocaine.

I love to visit our wildlife parks in South Africa, where the emphasis is on conservation and the protection of  various endangered species.

The big cats are definitely my favourites.

Water, as we all know, is a very necessary natural resource, but for those of you who don’t like to drink it neat, here is a pic of the Cave Spring Hollow in Lynchburg TN, which has been the water source for  Jack Daniel’s whiskey, for over 140 years.

Of course, we all have to eat to survive, and yesterday, I paid a visit to our favourite local grocery store. On display were many examples of natural resources which had been grown and harvested especially for human consumption.

In spite of Thanksgiving a couple of days ago, there were still plenty of these left. It seems that turkeys aren’t in any danger of becoming extinct, at least in America,

Many more sources of protein are available from our natural resources under the sea,

and I bought some of this lovely fresh salmon for dinner this evening.

Of course, when all’s said and done, I’m sure you’ll agree that the most precious of all our natural resources, which needs to be nurtured, protected and treasured, are our children, for they are the hope of the world tomorrow.

To find links to more posts on Jake’s fascinating theme, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

On reading this theme, I at first thought of my wonderful and loving family, my good health and the fact that I have been able to travel so much, but then I looked around my home here in Florida, and decided to rather focus on my kitchen renovations. I remembered that Tilly Budd commented that she’s always fascinated to see DIY projects, so Tilly , this is especially for you. I hope you don’t get as big a fright, as I do every morning when I walk out of the bedroom, to be greeted by this sight in my lounge area. 😀

My kitchen is a mix of old and new at the moment, so things are getting better. I’m just holding the electric screwdriver to impress you. 🙂

Hubby is a serious power tool fiend. 🙂

I was very thankful that he thought to move one entire old cupboard unit around the corner into the dining area, so that I didn’t have to store my pots, pans, dishes and cutlery on the floor.

I’m thankful that we have an enclosed verandah, which at the moment serves as a workshop, and extra storage space.

Despite hitting lots of snags, such as corners that weren’t at all square, floor that wasn’t quite level, and a space for the pantry that was half an inch too short, and required the removal of the dry wall, the work is progressing nicely, and I was very thankful when the first few cupboards were installed, and I could put all our groceries away again.

At the moment, hubby is just working out how he’s going to get the extremely heavy double wall oven up into the cabinet next to the fridge, all by himself, and I’m extremely thankful that it isn’t my problem to solve. 😕

Actually, as I was typing that, he called me to help him, and sure enough, his engineer’s mind had worked it all out. Using one of the old cabinets, and some cardboard packing, one piece at a time, we gradually raised it high enough to slide into place. I think the Egyptians built the pyramids sort of the same way. 😀

So, I’m very thankful that bit is over, and tomorrow, I should be able to use my oven for the first time.

There’s still so much more to do. as that entire sink unit is coming out, and moving to an outside wall, so I’ll keep you updated when it’s looking a bit more decent. I’ll be extremely thankful to be able to take the dust sheets off my piano, and also the rest of the furniture, and put my home to rights again.

Now, I think I’ll go and make my workman and nice cup of tea, for which I know, he’ll be very thankful. 🙂

Ailsa’s ‘Liquid’ travel theme.

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
~ Mother Teresa

For Ailsa’s theme, I have a few photos to share, all involving the uses of that most necessary liquid commodity, water. Click on any image to see slideshow.

You can click here to see other bloggers interpretations of Ailsa’s theme.

Thursday’s Windows – Pinocchio

Sandra Conner’s Thursday’s windows has come around once again.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I decided to post a shop window in Venice for the theme.

You might be wondering what Pinocchio has to do with Thanksgiving. Well, really not a lot, except that he was first seen floating through Times Square with his 44 ft nose, in the 1937  Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Photo from The New York Times Photo Archives.

This parade has been held almost every year since 1924, when Macy’s Department Store held its first Thanksgiving Day parade. It has been cancelled only twice, during World War II, when rubber and helium were needed for the war effort. This year will be the 86th annual parade, and once again, Pinocchio will be there amongst the sixteen giant balloons which will be marched down the parade route. They’ve certainly scaled down his nose this year, and he no longer looks as though he’s been stung by a whole hive of angry bees. 🙂

Photo from Google Images.

My son and grandchildren are there in the thick of it, and he informs me that later today, they are expecting fifty people for Thanksgiving dinner, and twenty of them are small children. 😯

To see more posts for the challenge, just click here

Blog of The Year 2012 – Twinkle twinkle

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”William Arthur Ward

Well here I am on the eve of  Thanksgiving Day, and I thought it was a good time to show my gratitude to three more of my special blogger friends who have nominated me for this very special award.

Emily of Hoof Beats and Footprints, Hope the happy hugger, and Gunta of Movin’on, have enabled me to add three more stars to my badge.

Thanks so much to you all. I feel really honoured to know that you enjoy reading my blog so much.

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/   and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

I follow and enjoy so many blogs, but I will have to choose just a few, otherwise I’ll be sitting here all night. Here are my nominations. Please don’t feel under any obligation to accept the award, but I do hope that the nominations will tempt some of my readers to visit your blogs.  After all, that’s what these awards are all about. 🙂

Gunta, back at you. 😉

Hopethehappyhugger, ditto. 🙂

Emily, another ditto. 🙂

Cathy of “A nomad in the land of nizwa.”

Scott Marshall at “Land-Sea-Sky-Lathail”

Suzanne at “A window into the woods.”

Madhu at “The urge to wander.”

Francine at “fgassette”

David Kanigan at “Lead. Learn. Live.”

Essenga at Ese’s Voice

LuAnn at “Paint Your Landscape.”

Rommel at “The Sophomore Slump. “

Deepali at “Detours by Deepali.”

Dallas at “Crazy Train to Tinky Town.”

Nicole at “Thirdeyemom.”

Roly at “Comedy in Crisis.”

Tilly Budd at “The Laughing Housewife.”

Gilly at Lucid Gypsy

Adrian at “Cornwall a Photographic Journey.”

Phil  at “Phil Lanoue Photography.”

Vladimir at “Wind Against Current.”

Jake at “Jakesprinter Sunday Post.”


Frank at “A Frank Angle.”

“The Photographic Journey of Bulldog.

Elizabeth at “Mirth and Motivation.

Nia at “Photography of Nia.”

Before you go off to read all these amazing blogs, here are a few thoughts on Thanksgiving.

Not being an American myself, I was wondering how this celebration came into being, and discovered that it originated in 1621 when the 102 Pilgrims who sailed from Plymouth England, landed in the New World. After experiencing a treacherous winter when almost half of them died of disease, they met up with an American Indian named Squanto, who taught them to fish, cultivate corn and get sap from maple trees. This resulted in a successful harvest, and Governor William Bradford set up a thanksgiving feast which the Pilgrims shared with about ninety Indians. It only became a national holiday in America in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln was president. Although Thanksgiving is an American tradition, thanksgiving celebrations can be traced way back to ancient civilisations, such as the ancient Greek, Chinese, Jewish, and Celtic cultures, who at this time of the year, held festivals to give thanks to their gods for a good harvest. So it seems that giving thanks has always been considered a good thing to do. 🙂

I remember when I was  growing up in England, my Sunday School used to hold a Harvest Festival. We all had to bring fruit and vegetables as well as some non perishable goods. These were displayed on a platform which was decorated with wheat sheaves, and then all the food was distributed to the needy. I think it’s a wonderful idea, and it certainly taught me as a child not to take things for granted, to be thankful for everything I have, and also not to waste food. I’m not sure where the poor unfortunate turkey came into all of this, but it’s said that about 90 per cent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. The supermarkets have been doing a roaring trade in turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkins lately. I’m sure there will be plenty to eat at the club tomorrow night, and I’m so looking forward to sharing Thanksgiving dinner with the many new friends I’ve made here.

On a more sombre note, I’m thinking that those poor turkeys have quite a rough deal towards the end of the year. In a month’s time, it will be Christmas, and then we’ll all be having them for dinner yet again. They must breathe a sigh of relief if they make it through to New Year.

(pics from Google images)