Strange Encounter

The latest post from Mr Campbell Wallace – he’s an amazing human being, having battled serious illness and undergone transplant surgery he now lives his life – his ‘Second Chance’ – if the blog interests you I recommend obtains a copy of his book – aptly titled ‘Second Chance’ available in kindle version or paperback via the links on his WordPress site … Wise words for anyone facing transplant surgery / serious illness / treatments and their families & friends … Hop over to campbellwallace.org to read more about this incredible man … Lizzy Clark

Mr Campbell Wallace

Good Day My Friends Good Day My Friends

Three items on this post firstly the link to the interview I made at St Georges Hall Liverpool. I would appreciate you sharing the link with friends and enemies, either way; it should have a suitable effect! I would be interested in your opinions of the video; please let me know.

Incidentally during the week after Liverpool I was attending an event and became part of a strange conversation. A lady cheerfully informed me she would happily receive an organ donation, but no way would she put her name on the donor register. I have an open mind about people’s opinions, although this woman baffled me. She thought her opinion was some twisted joke. Believing, she was in some way ‘winding’ up my intolerance spring.

The donor/recipient relationship is holistic and delicate. We should be careful of opinion as sometimes there is a risk of damaging…

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Patience is rewarded

Patience … or, Some things are worth waiting for

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In August of this year we took a boat trip across Poole harbour to Brownsea Island.  We were on holiday in Dorset and thought it would make a nice day trip.  In addition, we were hoping to spot red squirrels which are native to the island.  It was definitely a ‘factor 50’ day, clear blue sky, sunshine and only the lightest breeze – perfect!

There was a tour guide in the church who was more than happy to explain all the features of interest as well as recount the history of the island and its former owners / inhabitants.  We were happy to linger in the church and enjoy the coolness of its interior – a very welcome respite from the heat of the day.

I asked the question, do you see many squirrels?

The answer ‘The last squirrel I saw was about two months ago, it came into the church and ran over my foot’.

‘So will we have a chance of spotting some today do you think?’

‘Today?  oh no, its far too hot and there are too many people about, you won’t see squirrels today’ came the reply from the knowledgeable guide.

We stepped outside, my granddaughter feeling a little disappointed as she, like us, had been looking forward to ‘squirrel hunting’.  A walk around the churchyard followed, a beautiful and peaceful area, perfect for a final resting place.  It was while we were exploring around the church that two photographers were spotted, in full camouflage gear, with huge telephoto lenses and tripods.  My curiosity got the better of me and we moved closer to the clearing where they had set up their gear.  All was quiet and still, a handful of people, like us, waited patiently.

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‘What are we waiting for?’whispered little Alice…  ‘I don’t know – but we’ll wait and see’

Sure enough, we were rewarded, a red squirrel came into the clearing and proceeded to scamper about, darting here and there, I struggled to keep up with it and couldn’t see how i’d be able to capture it on camera.  However, it then discovered a store of food and so the scampering stopped and the photos were taken.  What a wonderful 20 minutes, although it was  shaded area, the bright sunlight shone through the canopy of leaves and highlighted the little fellow’s red colouring.

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I managed to take several photos and when the little fellow was joined by another we were overjoyed.

After the ‘show’ was over, we walked away and continued with our exploring of the grounds.

Acres of woodland, grassed areas for picnics, Brownsea Island is truly an oasis situated in Poole Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world.  Take advantage of the restaurant and tea room too.  There’s also an interesting exhibition centre which details the history of the island and its occupants as well as an activity table for the youngsters to draw and craft.

As we sat and waited for the boat to take us back to Poole, Alice turned to us and said ‘She was wrong wasn’t she? ‘The lady said we wouldn’t see any squirrels and we saw two, she was wrong wasn’t she Grandma’

Yes Alice, she was wrong.

Patience provided it’s rewards for us that day.  Happy Alice Squirrel Hunter!

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Words and pictures by Lizzy Clark

How does your garden grow?

 

How does your garden grow?

What do you picture in your mind when you think of the word ‘garden’ ?

The typical suburban cultivated plot with a lawn in the centre of flower borders, shrubs and trees, perhaps surrounded by a neatly shaped hedge?

Large expanses of green such as one finds in our National Trust owned Stately homes of England – sweeping drives, tree lined avenues, the majesty of established mature oaks, sycamore, rowen, beech trees, manicured lawns, landscaped acres designed perhaps by Capability Brown with rose arbours, herb gardens, orangery?

Perhaps a cottage garden, roses around the door and flower beds full of colour from hollyhocks, delphiniums, cornflowers, snapdragons, red hot pokers, honeysuckle climbing up trelliswork, a brick path leading you from the gate through this sea of colour to the neat front door?

We all have different ideas of gardens, often shaped by memories of childhood.  Our gardens take on different characters throughout the changing seasons.  In the UK we see distinct seasonal changes – in the winter many plants lie dormant, no growth, as they reserve their energy, rest and await the warmth of the sun once more.  Dark days, many trees and shrubs mere skeletons having shed their leaves, the earth hard and cold from  frost and often snow.  Springtime and the sun rises higher in the sky and stays for longer each day, warming the earth and triggering growth, we see young green leaves, blossoms on trees, hedges fill out, new shoots push through to soil to reach the light.  Summertime and many gardens are alive with colour, long days, plenty of sunshine and a few showers produce the best blooms, bees are frequent visitors as are the butterflies and many other species of insects – the garden is literally bursting with life.  And the days become shorter, the temperatures drop, as do leaves, growth slows down as autumn leads us once again into winter.

So how does your garden grow?  do you feed your garden with fertiliser and nutrients?  Tend it well, nurture shoots and young plants, provide support in the form of canes and trellis, water and feed regularly?  If you do all of this you will have a garden to enjoy, flowers will attract bees, vegetables and fruits can be harvested for your nourishment, you will have created a pleasant environment enjoy, play and relax.

Neglect your garden and the rampant weeds spread and choke the plants, taking over and turning your garden into an unruly wilderness.  But what is a weed?  Simply a non native species – usually introduced by man.  Take for example the Rhododendron – introduced into this country as its flowers and blooms were admired and it was thought to be ideal for large estates – it is however considered a weed, a pest, its rampant growth chokes trees and prevents the growth of native plants in the same environment.

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What of the common Dandelion?  how many kill these and remove from their gardens?  Yet the dandelion roots make an efficacious tea which can be used as a diuretic, the young leaves are edible and tasty as a salad leaf providing valuable iron, and the yellow blooms are a source of nectar for bees, of vital importance as they are one of the early flowering plants.  So is the Dandelion truly a weed?

I invite you to think about your life as a garden.  Do you have some in your life who are like weeds – enter your life uninvited and outstay their welcome, imposing their way and stifling you, restricting your growth?  Have you thought to cultivate your life garden to grow the right crop, keeping those within your garden that are beneficial, enjoyable, bear fruit and weeding out those that are no longer needed?

Something to think about while you’re mowing your lawn, watering the flowers, picking fruit, weeding under hedges, enjoy the result of your labours

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and perhaps contemplate what work, if any, is needed for the cultivation of your life garden…

Lizzy Clark

Bridge the Gap

Bridging the Gap

Bridges – oh how we need them.  Their purpose?  to connect – to ‘bridge the gap’.  Bridges enable us to do the impossible – cross over water, traverse ravines, travel shorter distances.

Without bridges many would remain isolated – or face a long circuitous route to their destination.  Bridges connect two halves of a city for example.  Many towns and cities have close relationships with bridges: Nottingham – River Trent; London River Thames; York – The Great Ouse; Cambridge – The Cam – and the list could go on.  We have road bridges, rail bridges and foot bridges enabling us to cross to the other side – and yes, there are also ferries but these are slower, and can’t serve so many people at a time.  Ferries or River boats are rooted in our history – take the Thames, many were the boatmen who ferried passengers up and down as well as across the river in Tudor times probably for centuries prior to this time and to this day you can take pleasure cruises along the river or cross on the Woolwich Ferry.

Some bridges are sturdy and functional, some more decorative – most owe their construction to the brilliance of victorian and edwardian engineers – Tower Bridge, Forth Rail Bridge.  More modern constructions are themselves works of art, take the Queen Elizabeth road bridge over the Dartford Crossing – it sweeps across the river and roads below in a wide, elegant arch – a wonder to perceive.  The Humber Bridge, constructed in the 1970s across the Humber Estuary, at the time of its conception it was the longest single span suspension bridge in the world!  I lived in Lincolnshire as a child and I remember vividly seeing the progress of the building of the bridge on regular Sunday afternoon drives.

I can’t write about bridges without mentioning the fabulous iconic Golden Gate bridge over San Francisco harbour, and the ‘double decker’ bridge by which you approach the city of San Fransisco from Oakland – what a spectacle that is, as one crosses the bridge by car or coach, the sight of the sky scrapers of the financial district and the lights of the piers along Fisherman’s Wharf is itself a wonder to behold.

As I write of some of my favourite bridges, lets not forget those of the city of Nottingham, my current home – Trent Bridge – a simple road bridge made famous by the Cricket Ground in its vicinity and the two football stadiums whose floodlights are also visible from the Bridge – Notts County’s ground and the home of Nottingham Forest – all within close proximity to Trent Bridge.  County Hall, the civic centre for Nottinghamshire County Council stands along one bank, an impressive site when viewed from the river – which flows under the heavy iron works of the Lady Bay Bridge, and passes along the Embankment, with a footbridge connecting Wilford Village to the City.

London has a plethora of bridges, Tower Bridge, although now dwarfed by modern office buildings is still an iconic site across the river and the Millenium footbridge which although dogged by design faults in its early days, now provides a stable passage across the river from St Pauls to the site of the Tate Modern Gallery.

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Have a look around your city or town – what do the bridges tell of its history?

Safe crossing!

The Observation’s of Lizzy Clark — Copper Staple Submissions

This is a superb observation of ‘The City’: To be able to interpret our mundane observations of the World in an obscure way is a deceptively difficult task. The twisted observations of life has another name: Comedy. Lizzy Clark certainly succeeds with this submission. The lesson to be learned or thought of is simplistic thought combined with imagery is a combination […]

via The Observation’s of Lizzy Clark — Copper Staple Submissions

Food glorious food

Food glorious food

Food glorious food!

fast food – fine food – convenience food – finger food – junk food – health food – favourite food – comfort food

Where to start?

There are some who have little interest in food, other than to eat in order to maintain energy and life!  I do not fall into that category.  I have always enjoyed food, the flavours and textures – planning and preparation – anticipating a favourite dish.

I find certain food evokes moods and memories, the whiff of certain dishes can take me to a specific time or place in an instant.

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As far as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed my meals, of course the type of food I now enjoy differs greatly to the dishes of my childhood.  So many changes in technology and food production have changed mealtimes.  The home I grew up in had no microwave, few gadgets altogether – not until my teens did we even have a freezer or electric food mixer.  There was no easy quick way for anything in those days.  No ready meals as we know them today.  The nearest I got to a ‘ready meal’ in a household where all meals were cooked from scratch was the occasional treat of a Vesta Chow Mein box meal – basically a dehydrated meal to which water was added, heated up and fried noodles added as a finishing touch!   Oh this was such a treat!

Looking around a kitchen of today – can you imagine life without a microwave, air fryer, george forman grill, electric toaster, sandwich toaster, food processor, blender, juicer, yoghurt maker, bread maker, slow cooker?  Not to mention the espresso machine now deemed a household essential for coffee lovers.

Without the aforementioned gadgets it was still possible to produce very tasty treats.  Many a Saturday afternoon was spent with my mother in the kitchen baking pastries and cakes for the week to come.  Fruit scones, bakewell tart, coconut tart, butterfly cakes, current buns, date slice, victoria sponge, marble cake, lemon curd and jam tarts, my participation increased with the years graduating from cutting out pastry shapes to measuring ingredients and eventually following the recipes myself.  Being already competent in the basics, I excelled in Home Economics at school, and later Food and Nutrition at Sixth Form College.  All types of pastry, cakes and breads were baked, filo pastry stretched so thin you could have read through it, made a tasty apple strudel – hot water crust pastry with its filling of chopped and seasoned meat was the perfect pork pie – choux pastry for light and airy eclairs – sweet rich shortcrust for perfect dessert flans.  And no, I have never made an apple strudel from scratch since that time, however knowing I have made it gives me a certain sense of pride and satisfaction.

Busy lives do not allow the indulgence of time needed to create such delights, with work commitments, domestic chores, family commitments, and other interests taking so many of the day’s precious hours and minutes.

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Meals today while still on the whole prepared from scratch tend to be of the ‘prepare and serve in 40 minutes’ variety.  Thats not to say I don’t attain the same level of satisfaction when creating a meal, I do, whether its beans on toast or hearty chilli I enjoy putting together the constituents of the meal, and savouring the flavours as I eat.  To me food, as with all things in life, is to be savoured, enjoyed to the full!

Bring on the next course!

Dedication

Dedication

I’ve been looking through some family papers recently.  My father has collated a lot of information about our family history, one branch at least, tracing the family name through several generations.  It has been an interesting exercise sifting through the documents, certificates, notes, photographs and newspaper cuttings that he has meticulously filed and recorded.  One particular piece grabbed my attention as I read.  It was the account of the death of my great great grandfather, miller and corn dealer who lived in a small market town in Lincolnshire.

James Clark was born in Fiskerton on 26 January 1829 and died at the age of 72 on 19 December 1901.  The following is a report of his death which appeared in the Market Rasen Mail:

“Death of an old standard – It is with deep regret we record the death of one of Rasen’s old and respected standards in the person of Mr James Clark, miller and corn dealer, of Caistor Road, who passed away about ten o’clock on Thursday night after a brief illness.  Mr Clark was within a month of being 73 years of age, and up to the 12th instant he was as hale and hearty as one could wish, and looked considerably younger than he really was.  It will be remembered that the weather on that day was of a most fearful description, and that it continued until the Friday.  It appears that during Thursday night and Friday morning the deceased was almost continually at his mill to see that the large volume of water which filled the beck should have as free a passage as possible through his sluices.  It is supposed that he then contracted a chill, taking to his bed on the Monday morning, his demise occurring, as stated above, four days later.  His was a well known figure at the Tuesday’s market, having attended it for upwards of fifty years.  He was one of the most kind hearted and genial of men, and was very much respected by his fellow townsmen.  At one time the deceased and Mr Hill practically regulated the prices of flour in the district, and, be it said to their credit, they never abused the privilege.  Mr Clark came to Rasen in the December of 1849, when he acted as manager of the Church Mill for the late Mr Fryer.  He continued in this capacity until 1864, when he took over the business, since which time the work has been carried on at the Church Mill by him without intermission.  Mr Clark was a habitué of the Tradesmen’s Association’s annual dinner, and at their gathering on Thursday he was greatly missed.  The deceased leaves a widow and grown up family of one son and six daughters to mourn their loss.  His funeral will take place on Sunday at two o’clock.”

He was obviously dedicated to his family and his work and responsibilities.  Such dedication it would seem was the cause of his demise.  It is indeed commendable to note that he was working full time in running the mill and attending market at the age of 72 and had worked at the mill ‘without intermission’ from his arrival in Rasen at the age of 20 until his death some 52 years later.

The funeral report is quoted as it appeared in the Market Rasen Mail – note how the style of local reporters has changed over the years!  The publication of the local weekly newspaper was obviously an event to look forward to in those days:

“The funeral took place on Sunday of Mr James Clark, miller and corn dealer, whose somewhat sudden demise was reported in our columns last week.  The cortege, consisting of a hearse, two mourning coaches and a large number following on foot, left the residence of the deceased on the Caistor Road at two o’clock and proceeded to the Wesleyan Chapel, where a short service was conducted by the superintendent minister, the Rev J Harrop Taylor.  As the mournful procession entered into the sacred edifice, Mr Wilson played on the organ a funereal voluntary.  The hymns, ‘Give me the wings of faith to rise’ and ‘Jerusalem The Golden’ were sung.  At the conclusion of the service, the organist played the ‘Dead March’ in Saul.  At the cemetery the last rites were performed by the Rev J Harrop Taylor.  There was a large attendance both at the chapel and the cemetery…The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Messrs Dixon and Hill, and Mr M Pickering acted as undertaker.  The coffin was of oak with heavy brass mountings.”

We are able to gain a little more insight into the character of the man who was James Clark from an article which appeared in the Market Rasen Mail on 23 February 1929 – I have at this time, no idea what the occasion was for the article, but read it with interested.

“James Clark – Mr James Clark the proprietor of the water mill on the Caistor Road was one of the most kindly men it has been my pleasure to meet.  He was a short man with a goodly well cared for corporation and would have passed easily for an Alderman of one of our ancient cities.  I do not mean that he was red of face and bloated in appearance, (No Alderman is).  On the contrary, he possessed a benevolent face, fair and finely chiselled features, kindly eyes and his mouth seemed as though it was put there in order that at any moment it could pronounce a benediction on those who were ready to receive it.  His speech was rather of the monotone order, pitched in a minor key, but remarkably sympathetic in expression.  He never seemed to be flurried, but spoke slowly, and always had himself under control when he conversed with others.  He has pity for needy ones and a poor but honest man who wanted a stone of flour for his family or some barley meal for his pig ‘on tick’ until say next week, could invariably find a responsive chord in the heart of the generous miller.  Mr Clark presided over Fryer’s Mill with a quiet unruffled dignity, but the charm of the man lay in his good nature and the gracious manner which he dispensed to all who came to him for counsel or sought his help.”

A detailed description of a man’s character and personality which, although brief, paints a picture of a man and his life.  It is worth noting here, that this is a man who is four generations removed from myself, yet through these printed words I can imagine the type of person he was, and how he lived.  There are no other documents which give more information other than official certificates of birth, marriage and death and a couple of portrait photographs. I visit Market Rasen several times a year, organising events at the Festival Hall, on Caistor Road, near to where the mill used to be.  The building still stands, no longer a mill, it has been turned into apartments.  I can imagine it though, as it was, standing proud, larger than its surrounding buildings.  Many of the old cottages remain that would have housed mill workers, hotels and public houses have been updated over the years, but echoes of the past can be seen all around. As I walk around the small town, along the high street, across the cobbled market place, I can’t help but think about James Clark, his family and his dedication and duty – to the end.

Lizzy Clark