Frank’s Photo Challenge – Music


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (Dutch Goes The Photo) is MUSIC.

For this week’s challenge I have plunged way back into the archives, pre-me for one of them, and I think Frank will approve as it was taken in Italy. It’s a photo of my father, another Frank –  Frank Paterson, outside La Scala, Milan in 1952. He was a complete opera fan. And although I haven’t inherited his see-every-performance obsession, I do like a good bit of opera now and again, which leads me onto a short story.

Frank Paterson, La Scala, Milan, 1952

Inspired by this photo, Don (hubbie) and I, whilst holidaying in Milan back in 1995, decided to take in a performance and as luck would have it, one of my faves, La Traviata was being performed. The only tickets left on the day were for standing in the Gods, and in order to secure two of these, we had to go through a right old palaver. After registering at the crack of dawn, we then had to return TWICE more during the day to confirm that we still wanted the tickets! Our fourth and final visit in the evening found us queuing for the actual performance. You’d think that would be the end of the tale, but no!
Having found a suitable point to stand, we waited, and waited, and waited some more for the performance to start. About half the orchestra strayed into their seats, strings were tuned, and strains of the opera score echoed as they warmed up ……… but then a man came on stage, spoke in Italian and the audience were noticeably distressed. A kind lady near us translated. The orchestra were on strike and there would be no performance that evening. You can imagine how we felt after spending the day to-ng and fro-ing!! Just minutes later, another announcement was made. Riccardo Muti, the conductor, had saved the day. He would accompany the main singers on the piano. The audience were in heaven and chanted “Maestro Muti”. An incredibly moving experience and one to be cherished forever more.

My second photo is of The Coliseum London earlier this year, as we waited for Rigoletto to begin. And this DID go ahead, with full orchestra and cast – ha ha 🙂


And finally, a photo of Izthak Perlman, my all-time favourite violinist, who was playing his 70th birthday concert last year in London. (It seemed but five minutes since we went to his 50th birthday celebration concert !!)


For me, music lifts my soul.

And you’d think we lived at the concert hall / opera house, but these are just a few of our rare visits. I’m usually an armchair listener or dancing round the room sort of music lover !! 🙂

Bach Flower – Wild Rose – for apathy


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJune is the month when Wild Roses adorn the hedgerows in their gentle understated way. Each flower has five heart-shaped petals very delicately tinged with the palest pink hue. Some bushes, however, are a little bolder in their pinkness, but these look to me like they are blushing!!  

The essence of Wild Rose was chosen by Dr Edward Bach for apathy. Where life has become same-old, same-old, perhaps where we have out-grown our job or relationship, or where we have become resigned to an illness, apathy can set in. We go through the motions, without wanting more out of life or indeed seeking change. Taking Wild Rose Essence can inject some inspiration into our life. It can help us to start exploring our potential and to take a more proactive role in our own life. Life becomes more colourful as our eyes are opened to new possibilities.   


How to take  

If using directly from the stock bottle, take 2 drops under the tongue or in a little water.

If making

up a dosage bottle, add 2 drops from the stock bottle into a dropper bottle made up of water with a little brandy (which helps to preserve it). Each dose is then 4 drops under the tongue or in a little water. Have at least 4 doses each day. Can be added to any drinks, except alcohol.

You can add other Bach Flower Essences to your dropper bottle. If using Rescue Remedy, add 4 drops instead of 2.     


 Pictures taken recently at ECOS, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Above you can see Slemish in the background. 

Aging with a spring in our step and a song in our heart


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Bog-2017-06-13 - Aging with a swing in your step - Cat catoon

The other day I heard of a music teacher in her early 60s who had given up playing the piano due to having arthritis in her hands. My first thoughts were – how young, but also, having just reacquainted myself with the joys of tinkling the ivories after some years, I felt a sadness. How sad at ANY age to have to give up on a beloved hobby due to dis-ease, which on the whole is preventable.

Many moons ago, what prompted me to explore alternative health was a “mystery virus” (Doctor’s diagnosis) which left me unable to stand or walk. I remember feeling extremely frightened and depressed by the prospect of losing my independence and not being able to pursue my two greatest passions – travel and dance.

Thankfully, by changing radically both my diet and thinking, I made a full recovery. In fact, far more. In the process, I had educated myself in what it truly means to be healthy and the efforts needed on a daily basis to enjoy that level of health for many years to come.

My grandmother died at 89 back in 1980. She didn’t have osteoporosis, arthritis, failing eyesight or hearing, four problems which seem to plague today’s society, and scarily not always that late in life.

She didn’t study health. She simply got on with the joy of living, and nature ran its course. I believe that she was the last generation to be able to do that.

Nowadays, we haven’t got the luxury of just letting Nature do its stuff. Sadly, Mother Nature is no longer 100% natural. It has been compromised by man: polluted and tampered with.

As a result, if we wish to live long, active, meaningful, and joyous lives, we really do need to take an ACTIVE role in our own health, not just now and then, but on a DAILY BASIS.

Our culture is such that we have been programmed to believe that disease is a normal consequence of growing old. Creaking joints, fractures, and reading glasses are all considered part and parcel of old age. This does not, however, have to be the case. Our bodies are not designed to suffer arthritis, or macular degeneration, or dementia in our twilight years. Our toxic food and lifestyles all contribute to this state of dis-EASE.

I heard someone recently say that we didn’t live longer; we died longer. A very sobering thought. It’s all very well prolonging life, but is it worth it if there is no quality to it?

We are advised to save for our retirement.  What if we also invest in our personal health bank? A daily habit of self-care, through our eating, lifestyle and thinking can provide a bright and sunny future.

Let us age with a spring in our step and a song in our heart 🙂

Frank’s Photo Challenge – Unusual


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (Dutch Goes The Photo) is UNUSUAL.

Go to

And join in the fun. 🙂 🙂

I’m away in Northern Ireland at the moment, without my main camera or access to my archives, but did come across a strange sight on Sunday when walking around the People’s Park in Ballymena, and managed a few shots on my small camera.

I thought I was imagining things when I looked up the slope at what seemed to be a giant apple core, but as we got closer – it was indeed an apple core alongside four other apples in various states. The idea was to represent five historical apple-related stories, namely Adam and Eve, William Tell, Sir Isaac Newton,  The Beatles (Apple records label),  and Steve Jobs (whose company is Apple).

it’s not everyday one comes across a giant apple, let alone five of them  – so I thought this might be a good candidate for UNUSUAL 🙂


Healthy Elephant Wisdom #11 – Tuning into Nature


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A little bit more commonsense thinking from my elephants, Herb and Ginger

Blog 2017-06-08 - Elly Wisdom - TUNE INTO NATURE #2 - picmonkey

Herb’s and Ginger’s tips on Tuning into Nature

For elephants, spending time in Nature is a spiritual and emotional “going home”.

It’s a place

😊 To be

😊 To relax

😊 To recharge

😊 To slow down in time to Nature’s rhythms

Nature’s prescription for stress, depression, not feeling oneself etc!


Here are a few tips

Enjoy a daily dose of Nature

  • a walk in a wood (where you can hug a tree without anyone seeing)
  • a pootle in a park
  • a laze on your lawn (barefoot is especially beneficial but make sure that it hasn’t been treated with nastic toxic chemicals)

Blog 2017-06-08 - Elly Wisdom - TUNE INTO NATURE #1 - picmonkey

Whilst there ………

  • Leave your work, worries and PHONE at home.
  • Enjoy the stillness.
  • Refill on Nature’s energies.
  • Calming, strengthening, rejuvenating.
  • The sun warming your face.
  • The gentlest breeze caressing your cheeks and tickling your nose.
  • The energising flow of chi through your feet.
  • Delight in all your senses coming alive.
  • The scent of pretty blossom and greenery.
  • The enchantment of birdsong.
  • The crazy curves of trunks (trees not elephants!!) and branches.
  • The flit of a butterfly or squirrel.
  • Feel the stress dissolve ……………………


Be wise like an elephant

Herb and Ginger



Frank’s Photo Challenge – Weather


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Frank, whose fab blog “Dutch Goes the Photo”, has set “WEATHER” as the topic for this week’s Photo Challenge. 


The first photo was taken just outside Waterloo station, London a couple of weeks back. We’d had a glorious day, but as we approached the station, the sky went all dappled and dark. Weather brewing ………

 London - Cranes at Waterloo, May-2017 (3)

The second photo was taken one November several years ago on Brighton sea front.  Crazy winds which whipped the sea up into a frenzy!!  These people were braver than us. We kept at a safe distance !!

Brighton with Mike, Nov-2010 (10)

Apple and Ginger on the rocks – recipe


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Apple and Ginger on the rocks

I love drinking water but sometimes it’s nice to have a change, and during summer, it’s good to jazz it up a little. Whilst others are sipping alcoholic cocktails, I prefer a fruitier keep-my-head sort of beverage which refreshes and hydrates, whilst also being yummy.

The other week I went for lunch with friends to a restaurant in Brighton and enjoyed a fruity mix of apples, cucumber and ginger. I’ve tried to recreate it here. It’s very simple.



4 small apples

small knob of fresh ginger (Add more if you like it extra zingy)

0.5 – 1 large cucumber

Juice of 1 lemon.

Filtered water.

Extra cucumber, cubed

Thin slices of lemon

Optional: Ice cubes for serving

Optional: fresh mint leaves


  • Juice the apples, ginger and cucumber.
  • Add the lemon juice (I juice separately using a lemon-squeezer)
  • Dilute with a little filtered water (I find it more refreshing if diluted)
  • Add cucumber chunks and slices of lemons
  • If using, add some mint leaves
  • If you want this drink chilled (if say it’s a sweltering hot summer’s day!), put in the fridge for half an hour before serving. If you like to drink a juice straight from the juicer, so that you don’t lose any of the goodness, put the ingredients in the fridge for half an hour BEFORE juicing, so that they are chilled beforehand.
  • Serve with / without ice.

Makes 2 small drinks.

See also my Summer Lemon and Lime DrinkDSC_0938DSC_0948.JPG

Frank’s Photo Challenge – Old


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Frank, whose fab blog “Dutch Goes the Photo”, has set “Old” as the topic for this week’s Photo Challenge. 


Whilst clearing Mum’s house out last year, we had the dubious pleasure of also sorting out the garage! That was no mean feat!!  The word “cluttered” did not start to describe it 😊  Mum was not one to throw out and there was quite a cornucopia of old things, including a large heavy wooden chest, an impressive (and VERY heavy) workman’s bench which found a home in a young neighbour’s garage, as well as ancient light sockets, rusting tools etc!! Resting on the rafters above was a box, which we took down and opened. Quite a few pictures, mostly uninteresting but then ………………. We found something very special indeed. It was a framed pencil drawing of my father’s mother when she was young. I never knew her but recognised her from the handful of photos I had been given by my uncle many years ago. I confess, I felt incredibly tearful at finding such a treasure. The frame was crumbling, so the picture is in a temporary frame to keep it safe, and now stands in my study.

Below are my treasured pictures of Annie Paterson, nee Morris (ca 1905 – 1910), Manchester  

It brought to mind the wonderful quote by Linda Hogan ………..

“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” 

Annie Paterson ca 1911 (4)Annie Paterson nee Morris (approx 1911)

Annie on the leftAnnie Paterson nee Morris (poss with Alice Heald in Didsbury). Date maybe 1905-ish)



Save our environment – Elephant style


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The UK government is wanting to reverse out the fox hunting ban of 2004.

They are also quite clearly backing the fracking (or whatever they wish to call it) industry, and ignoring renewable energies.

This is what Herb, Ginger, and family think ………………

HnG - Save the foxes - May-2017 - V0



Bach Flower Essence – White Chestnut – to calm monkey chatter


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A few years ago, I remember seeing the Horse Chestnut trees looking very unhappy. Their leaves were mottled badly with brown as if they had been scorched by some form of radiation. I later learnt that this was in fact due to a leaf-mining moth, and the prognosis looked bleak indeed. They had a death sentence hanging over their heads. The thought of no more Horse Chestnuts made me feel very sad.

Blog 2017-05-26 White Chestnut Essence - Chorlton Park, Manchester - May-2017 (1)

“Oh there the chestnuts summer through

Beside the river make for you,

A tunnel of green gloom, and sleep 

Deeply above………..”

so wrote Rupert Brooke in his poem “Granchester”.

This year I have been pleasantly surprised to see the Horse Chestnuts standing tall and proud and very green. I do hope this is good news!  

I managed to photograph an avenue of them in Chorlton Park, Manchester, which has particular meaning to me as I went to junior school right next door and walked past these trees many times during my formative years.  The wind was playing up a little but I’ve done my best. (I shall remember 2017 as the year of the never-ending wind !!!) 

Blog 2017-05-26 White Chestnut Essence - Chorlton Park, Manchester - May-2017 (2)

Dr Edward Bach used the flower of this tree for his White Chestnut Essence. This is probably one of the most used of his remedies as it is for worry and obsessive thoughts. In our stress-filled lives, we tend to dwell too much on certain thoughts, hanging onto them well past their use-by-date, perhaps going over and over a conversation we had that day or fretting over possible scenarios of something yet to happen (or not!). These thoughts take hold and it’s nigh on impossible to evict them!!  Stagnant thoughts can sap our energy and zest for life. White Chestnut Essence helps us to release them gently, thus allowing space for fresh thoughts to FLOW in and out, which is so important for good mental health and wellbeing.   

Blog 2017-05-26 White Chestnut Essence - Eynsham Hall, Oxfordshire, May 2013

This is a lovely remedy to keep by the bedside, to take before sleeping or during a tossing-and-turning night, but if you are prone to a bit of “monkey chatter” at night or other times, it’s even more effective if taken several times a day, for a period. (Note – some people have instant results, others need to take it for days / weeks. Just go with the flow!!)  

Wishing you happy mental and emotional health.

Judith xx