Awards

Lazy Poet’s Winter Garden

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Hellebore, my friend,

Tilting up your Winter smile.

Stay with me, till Spring?

Hellebore

Use your imagination, said Jude.  I really didn’t need to.  They were just waiting for me to notice them, so I could enter the  Winter Garden challenge this week.  My Lazy Poet friend Gilly found some too.  We now have a chorus of hellebore!

Six word Saturday

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This is my last Awards post.

Why, you might ask?  I may never receive another and then the problem won’t arise.  But the fact is that I write a travel blog, and truly love doing it. When I began my blogging adventure, the concept of Awards was an amazement to me.  Then it did what it was supposed to do and introduced me to some wonderful people.  LOTS of wonderful people.

It is a point of pride with me that I respond to and visit every single person who places a like or a comment on my blog.   I will always do this.  And it will lead me to more wonderful people. Trouble is, it has a kind of snowball effect, though I hate to mention that word after the winter some of us have had! So I will wear my Awards with pride, and I will maintain an Awards page to thank those lovely people who have heaped honours on me.  Thank you all so much.  But I won’t be posting any awards acceptance posts after today.

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Got to end with killer shoes!  This Seven Awards in One was passed on to me by Sherri Matthews. Talk about go out with a bang!  Sherri is a lovely lady who stays positive and full of warmth despite the difficulties presented by her daughter’s Asperger’s Syndrome.  I’ve learned a lot and laughed a lot alongside Sherri.  She is a pleasure to know.

Shelley at Living with Shadows was kind enough to bestow the Dragons Loyalty Award on me too. Nothing like a bit of fire on a winter’s morning, or even a chilly Spring one.  Shelley has her own health issues, but escapes into fantasy when she can.  If you can find the time, and haven’t met them, please go and say hello.

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I couldn’t leave without a few Spring flowers by way of apology.  Enjoy your weekend, and don’t forget to share six words with Cate at Show My Face. My word count says 340.  I must have gone wrong somewhere!

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The Award Fairy is simply worn out!

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I have to admit it.  I have been so naughty this year, I really don’t think Santa will be coming to call.  What should I do to make amends?  I could start by acknowledging a few kind people who have bestowed awards on ungrateful me.

Women's skirt awardA good place to start, don’t you think?  It made me smile and pretty well sums up my attitude to writing.  Sandcastles in Portugal– isn’t that a lovely image? Alicia loves crafting so I’m sure many of you will enjoy her blog.

Whilst on the subject of Portugal, I’m long overdue a visit, and delighted to say that I’ll be back there on 2nd January, in time for Epiphany.  Alyson Sheldrake of Algarve Blog is a powerhouse of activity, and the creator of the Blog of the Year 2013 award.  If I don’t speed it up I’ll be just in time for 2014!  Aly’s artwork is legendary in the Algarve and you can visit her at either of her blogs.

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Now you might wonder why I have awarded myself one of the six stars that go with this award.  Pure laziness is the answer!  I did warn you that Santa had crossed me off his list, didn’t I?  Michelle at Kidazzleink shone on me twice, giving me a star and the WordPress Family award too.

Like this cute snow fox

Do you like this cute snow fox?

I’m sure you all know Cee!  She is an amazing lady who illustrates Cee’s Photography with a rainbow of colour, and produces challenge upon challenge.  I owe sincere thanks for being included in her Sisterhood.  And Valentina, a fashion concious lady at  Low Rise, High Hopes kindly gave me the Best Moment Award.

And his companions

Cuddly snow bunny companions

In the true spirit of naughtiness I have no intention of fulfilling all the rules in the above awards.  Why should I bore you when you’d rather see another photo or two from Chatsworth House?  But if you follow all the links you can introduce yourself to the people you don’t know, and surely that’s the point?

All quite happy together!

Happy together, like the blogging family

My awards all appear in my sidebar, or on my Awards page.  Thank you very much to all concerned, and I do hope I haven’t missed anybody out.  So now that poor old Award Fairy can have a nice rest.  She must have earned some time off for Christmas!

Lumiere 2013 : Durham

IMG_1252Last night I had a fantastical journey around the city of Durham.  It isn’t every day that you find an elephant trumpeting and snorting in a city centre, but this was definitely one of the highlights of Lumiere 2013.  Where do people find the imagination and “know-how” to produce light installations like this?  I have no idea, but I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle.

From the other side of the bridge, he shakes his tusks at me!

From the other side of the bridge, he shakes his tusks at me!

I thought I was going to be in for a disappointment, because the Park and Ride was already full when I arrived in Durham at 16.30.  No right-minded person attempts to drive beyond the outskirts when an event such as this is taking place.   But not being in your right mind sometimes pays off, and with a bit of frustrating driving and a hike at the end, a suitable slot was found for the car.

Was it worth it?  Of course!  The sight of the Lindisfarne Gospels marching across the face of the Cathedral to rousing music can compensate for a lot!  It was the only feature to be repeated from Lumiere 2011, and in a year when the Gospels had been on a summertime visit to the city, they were wholely appropriate.

My favourite part?  I could have loitered in the Cathedral cloisters endlessly (in fact, I did, and lost my husband for a little while).  Did you ever see anything more magical?

The frocks shimmered in the dark and then began to change colour

The frocks shimmered in the dark and then began to change colour

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I was spellbound!  The setting was perfect, the colours enchanting!  The night was bitter but for a while I didn’t notice.  Overall I think that Lumiere 2011 was more spectacular, but as I ended that occasion with a black eye, I was more than happy to celebrate light with Durham in 2013.

The event runs biennially and the organisers seem to have learnt since 2011, when the crush around the Cathedral was sometimes frightening.  This year there is restricted access to the city centre between 16.30 and 19.30, when you need a ticket to get beyond the barriers.  There is plenty to see elsewhere and maps are provided online, or handed out at the event itself.  (having printed one off, I forgot to take it, but the programme guides were readily available)  I suspect they will run out over the four day festival.

Some brisk walking took place around the city, passing excited groups and families with smiling faces.  There are lots of nice places to eat in Durham and after a meal in Bistro Italiano, it was time to enter the city centre for the finale.

I'll leave you dancing!

I’ll leave you dancing! (courtesy of Michael- his shot is better than mine)

Do visit if you can.  I’ve included links to the programme and the interactive site is full of suggestions for a good time.  It won’t be repeated till 2015!

Six word Saturday

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In the blink of an eye!

I haven’t been very mobile this week- a combination of injured foot and the dreariest of weather.  So there was real joy in my stride as I set off, on a glorious sunny morning, to meet an old friend in Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Normally we bundle into the nearest coffee shop and just talk, but it was much too lovely to be indoors.  I suggested we walk down to The Quay and the vibrant riverside.  We arrived just as the siren was sounding at The Eye, otherwise known as the Gateshead Millenium Bridge.  At midday the bridge tilts open, or blinks.  What a wonderful sight!

Click on a photo to see the bridge in action.

We sat outside The Pitcher and Piano with a perfect view, but some of the time we barely noticed it.  The important thing was our friendship and just being there together.

You all know that I love a good walk, but I’ve never mastered the art of bicycling.  Someone who has is The Cycling Scot.  Colin is a gifted travel writer with a great fondness for cake.  He’s written some great stuff over the years but his blog is fairly new.  I’m sure he’d appreciate a few visitors, so please do say hello.  He recently received the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, which he has kindly passed on.

As usual, I’ve far exceeded my six words.  Perhaps I really should abandon this challenge.  Next Saturday I won’t be here as I’ll  be visiting my lovely daughter in Nottingham.  Thanks Cate, for all your tolerance, and for being my hostess at Show My Face.

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Fulfilling a promise

Team Member Award

Team Member Award

What can you say about Viveka?  The best thing to come out of Sweden since Abba?  Well, you wouldn’t be far wrong.

Who else could induce me to pass on an award within days of receiving it? (with a gracious curtsey)  The lady is simply irresistible, so if I want to remain a member of her team (and I do!), I simply have to fulfill a promise.  Thank you, Viveka, for awarding me the Wonderful Team Member Award.  May I present you, in turn, a small bouquet of Spring flowers from my garden.

I hope that you will always be one of my guilty pleasures.

I don’t feel the need to pass this on to individuals.  There are a number of people who always comment on my posts, as I delight in reading and commenting on theirs.  If you are reading this you are almost certainly one of that much cherished group.  Please accept my grateful thanks and feel free to pass this on if you so wish.  Viveka has kindly provided the rules and regulations in her post.

I hope that your week has been full of promise too.

Best Moment Award

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Awarding the people who live in the moment,
The noble who write and capture the best in life,
The bold who reminded us what really mattered –
Savoring the experience of quality time.

I am absolutely determined (well, a little bit anyway) to clear all my “unfinished business” before I go to Poland.  What do I find, loitering in my Inbox, but a Best Moment Award.  It’s a pleasing shape, isn’t it?  Reminds me just a bit of Rafa’s Barcelona Trophy, but not quite so heavy.

No, I wasn't there! I very naughtily pinched this image from Zee News. Hope I'm forgiven.

No, I wasn’t there! I very naughtily pinched this image from Zee News. Apologies.

Moment Matters were kind enough to bequeath me this award, and then, just the other day, lovely Letizia of Dutch goes Italian nominated me again.

I misunderstood initially.  I didn’t read the verse properly and had it fixed in my head that this was about a “best moment”.  How to choose?  So many best moments!  And maybe, if I’m lucky, some best moments still to come.

Those incredible blue doors always bring back a magic moment

Those incredible blue doors always bring back a magic moment

This one conjures a blogging friendship and a freezing day

This one conjures a blogging friendship and a freezing day

How many times have I looked back at this wonderful moment

How many times have I looked back at this wonderful moment

Golden moments in Warsaw's Stare Miasto

Shared golden moments in Warsaw’s Stare Miasto

A truly amazing moment at the Festa dos Tabuleiros in Tomar

And a truly amazing moment at the Festa dos Tabuleiros in Tomar

Haven't we shared some beautiful moments, at home and abroad?

Haven’t we shared some beautiful moments, at home and abroad?

A very special wedding

A very special wedding

And some wonderful sunsets

And some wonderful sunsets

We've danced and we've sang

We’ve danced and we’ve sang

And made wonderful memories

And made wonderful memories

But now it's time to return to Poland

But now it’s time to return to Poland

Where I hope to be making more beautiful moments to share.  Thank you for indulging me.  I’m going to pass on this award to some folk who have shared best moments with me.

The world according to Dina

Gallivance

East of Malaga

Writing between the lines

Photography of Nia

Going Dutch

I’ll be back in a week or so, but then I’m going to the Algarve, so all will be peaceful for a while.  Enjoy!