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A Flower Festival – Part 1

I have just returned from a week with Mum.  As the minimum journey time from here to her is over 7 hours it is necessary to go for longer than a weekend.  While we were together we had a real holiday for four nights in a beautiful location in Kent.  We shared a twin-bedded room, as well-furnished as any in a posh hotel, in St Michael’s Guest House at Burrswood Hospital.

While we were there a flower festival was opened by the mayor of Tunbridge Wells.  We watched the practical preparations with interest and growing excitement.  I have never seen a flower festival on so large a scale.  There is a church at Burrswood.  I expected it to be decorated for the weekend.  What I did not expect was the number and scale of the arrangements, which were everywhere in the house and in the grounds as well as in the church.

Altogether there were fifty arrangements of various shapes and sizes.  I took lots of photos with my tablet.  I hope to share some of them in a few posts.

The theme for the Flower Festival was Inspiration.  Members of Crowborough Flower Club were certainly inspired!  They took the location of each planned arrangement and were inspired by words, pictures or the location.  In the Church of Christ the Healer the windows, lighting, and all the fixtures provided inspiration.

In the house there were fireplaces decorated with stunning displays.

Peaceful Pastimes

Peaceful Pastimes

Enjoyable Moments

Enjoyable Moments

Welcome display above the entrance

Welcome display above the entrance

Outside there is a prayer walk, which has words of hymns at points along its route.  These provided more inspiration.  I intend to elaborate on this in a future post.

For the time being here are some more photos of the first few arrangements.

The entrance was decorated with two arrangements one over the doorway and one to one side.

Welcome

Welcome

I am full of admiration for everyone involved in the planning of this event. The amount of work behind the scenes must have been enormous. The flower arrangers spent many hours on their practical interpretation of their ideas in many cases over a number of days prior to the festival. Then they continued to ensure that the flowers were kept in good condition throughout the hot weekend.

Room with a View

Room with a View

The final photo in this selection gives an impression of the beautiful grounds, which are open to the public, and the magnificent setting in the Kent countryside. There is also a tearoom serving refreshments.

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The state of my year

July 29

State of your year

Write up a mid-year “State of My Year” post.

Another prompt from 365 Days of Writing Prompts

This year has involved more time away from home without hubby than usual.  I spent a week away in the winter and another in the spring.  I have written at length about my adventures in the spring already – three posts about the UK Blog awards.

UK Blog Awards 2014 – the Awards Evening

More about the UK Blog Awards

UK Blog Awards – the goody bag

I have recently arrived home after another week away.

My blogging became too time-consuming early in the year, but I continued to keep to a frequent posting schedule until early in June, when I finally admitted that you can have too much of a good thing;  I reduced my posting frequency from daily to three times a week and am watching the statistics with interest.

Mixed progress in achieving my targets

My blogging goals revisited

My craft projects have included sweaters for the grandchildren, hats, a crocheted waistcoat and an owl, which I began at craft group and completed at home.  It escaped the camera and now resides with a friend of mine.  I have also made a cushion and cover to find a use for a piece of canvas-work I stitched a while ago.  My current project is a woolly for myself.  (Hubby doesn’t like wearing knitted garments.)

One enjoyable surprise was when I went into a tent belonging to a wildlife charity to shelter from the rain and learned lots of new things about local creatures.  A crowd gathered and I’m sure everyone heard something that was new to them.

I have joined a writers’ group, continued with my activities in the local community and had some outings either with hubby or friends.  Apart from a nasty virus in the spring, I have been blessed with good health.

As well as reading blogs, I have read a number of books.  I have learned to play some new pieces on the piano – the Christmas present I was happiest to receive was a copy of two pieces by Peter Maxwell Davies.  Other musical activities have included singing in the church choir – singing an anthem most weeks as well as hymns – and another choir with a summer concert earlier this month.

I have been fortunate in meeting new people including some writers and musicians.

A strange experience was when my son took me with his wife and their two children to a garden centre I last visited before he was born.  Had I been blind-folded for the journey I should not have recognised it!

I have just returned from a holiday with Mum and I am looking forward to a reunion next month with a group of people I have not seen for more decades than I care to specify.  After that, who knows what the year will bring?

 

 

 

 

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Blogging and stress

One occupational hazard of blogging is all the other blogs, which demand attention and stimulate thoughts about attitudes and beliefs.  Another is the pressure to keep a blog active with good quality posts.

As an “older blogger”, which seems to mean over 40, I have more life experience than many people and ought to have strategies for pacing myself.  (It is surprising how many older bloggers there are – some older people are “technology-averse” – but many also have more time to write and some are restricted in their mobility.)

In western culture, there are many pressures.  These include

  • to gain educational qualifications
  • to gain vocational qualifications/ professional qualifications
  • to have a good job
  • to appear successful
  • to be popular
  • to be happy (even governments measure happiness!)
  • to be well-informed
  • to have high standards in their hobbies (including blogging)

I am sure you can add others to the list.  This is a blog post, not a dissertation, after all!

Blogging may be a cause of stress (if bloggers set themselves impossible goals) or it may be used to help relieve it as many people find.  In the UK the Time to Change/Time to Talk website emphasises the benefits of blogging.

Many people become stressed trying to do what society seems to demand of them.  Some people also have pressure from the religious group they adhere to.  They may feel that there are many things they have to do or must refrain from doing.  If they feel they have failed, this is another cause of stress.

I don’t believe that this is how life was intended to be, although I am certainly not immune to stress myself.  However I think it is important to examine the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

He is reported as saying, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Whatever did he mean?  Nowadays, many people are familiar with the yoke of a garment, such as a shirt or sweater.  In Jesus’ day farmers used oxen to plough the fields.  These cattle would have been harnessed in pairs to pull a plough.  The part of the harness over their shoulders was a yoke.

Jesus invites us to be yoked with him and to let him (through his Spirit) guide our lives.  He does not force us to obey.  He does not promise that our lives will be without suffering or other difficulties.

His followers are not immune to mental illness, but I believe that as we grow in faith, trusting God to help us, we are able to cope better.  This does not mean “religion” is a crutch.  Living in fellowship (communication) with God gives us confidence in him, rather than looking to ourselves for self-confidence.

What He promises is peace and joy.  It has been said that JOY comes from putting

  • Jesus first,
  • Others next,
  • You last.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…  Galatians 5:22-26

There is a link on my sidebar to find out more.