Frank’s Photo Challenge – Alley


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Frank’s photo challenge this week is “Alley”………………….

I’ve opted for some photos in my home town of Dorking, Surrey, which seems to be built around a network of alleys!! I took the first picture today.

The other two were from a while back. Not the best quality but they make me smile.

The first is a sort of disinterested standoff by one of the many local feline guardians of the alleyways. No password was required on that occasion – ha ha!! 🙂 🙂

The last photo is of a different cat , “guarding” the other end of the same alleyway. How cute is he / she?  (Note: when in doubt, always include a photo of a cat!!!)



World Elephant Day – 12th August


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In recognition of World Elephant Day, here are a couple of collages of my favourite elephant photographs, plus an old cartoon from 2014.

May we give elephants the love and respect. No more poaching, no more mindless killing. These wise and gentle creatures deserve so much.

Elephant - PicMonkey Collage - ENP

ELEPHANT - Collage Elly Parade London 2010

World Elly Day - redone

It’s raining cats and dogs


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A very rough sketch of yesterday.

Honey and Lily witness it raining cats and dogs in Dorking.

HOPING for sunnier days ahead (come on weather – it IS supposed to be summer !!!)

Untitled - picmonkey

Have a lovely Thursday, everybody 🙂

Judith and her ellies xx

Blackberries – in a hedgerow near you


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Blackberries seem to be out early this year. If you pop down to a hedgerow near you, you are sure to find lots of these delicious fruits.

Try to avoid heavily polluted bushes – i.e. those beside busy roads and railway lines (although, sadly most of them seem to flourish by railways!!).

Be wary of pesky nettles, which jealously guard the berries and try to catch foragers out, and if you don’t get stung, the vicious brambles can be quite unforgiving too!! Does Mother Nature really want to share her bounty??

This weekend I took my mother’s old wooden walking stick out with me – one with a curved handle – to hook brambles and pull them toward me. The stick is now beautifully stained with a little purple!!

Freshly picked, blackberries are oozing full of antioxidants, so are yummy AND health-giving.

I like to top my morning green smoothie with a handful …………. DEL-ISH-IOUS 🙂 🙂


Frank’s Photo Challenge – Golden


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Back to Nature this week with some golden blossom, confettied on the ground. I spotted his in Carmona, Spain.

This is in response to Frank’s photo challenge this week = “Golden”.


ZZ Carmona (1)ZZ Carmona (2)

Spiralised Courgette Pasta —-


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Courgette Noodles (1)


For those of you following a gluten-free diet, pasta can be a bit of a tricky area.

There are alternatives available, such as those made from rice, lentils (red pasta), buckwheat, peas (green pasta) etc but often if you don’t get the cooking time right, it can turn into a bit of a gloopy mess.   (Hint, bring the pasta to the boil slowly. Once it has started boiling, turn off the heat, stick a lid on, and allow the pasta to continue cooking sans-heat for a few minutes, but do keep an eye on it. Drain immediately and serve.)

For a rather delicious change, and ideal for those wishing to get more vegetables into their diet in a fun way, spiralised courgettes can masquerade quite nicely for pasta (although for the die-hard pasta-lovers, it really won’t do!)

The spiraliser that I bought a couple of years back could, I am sure, double up as an instrument of torture, so my advice is TREAT WITH RESPECT. I’ve had a few near misses. Definitely, it’s one to keep well out of the reach of children (and adults prone to doing something silly).

Skewering a courgette between the blade and handle secures it. You then turn the handle, which results in the courgette being pushed into the blade, and VOILA – you get a nice big bowl of courgette strands, a la spaghetti.   (The funny mushroom towers at the back of the plate are the bits left over from spiralising the courgette!)


You can eat it raw, or if preferred, lightly steamed.

Add lots of delicious pasta-related toppings – perhaps a tomato sauce or pesto.

I often just make a light dressing of chilli oil, lemon/lime juice and tamari then add in olives and chopped up bits of salad, as shown in the photo.

Enjoy 😊

Courgette Noodles (4)

Frank’s Photo Challenge – Three


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (“Dutch Goes the Photo”) is THREE.

Have a look at

I have strayed from Nature this week, and gone for a man-made, or rather Judith -made, trio. I have been reacquainting myself with crocheting this year, and whilst out in the garden today, making up three hexagons, it suddenly dawned on me to photograph my efforts for this week’s challenge. So here they are.

Further down are some I prepared earlier,  embellished with surface crocheting. The end product hopefully will be a bag, but it’s still a while off.

Definitely a labour of love 🙂



Frank’s Photo Challenge – Woods


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This week’s photo challenge from Frank (his fab Blog is “Dutch Goes The Photo”) is WOODS


A month or so ago, I took my music-loving, 92-year-old neighbour, Eva, to visit Leith Hill Place, childhood home of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Set in the beautiful Surrey Hills, at the foot of woodland, this house is a step back in time, full of musical history and a haven from our crazy modern world.

Eva loved it. She recalled seeing RVW around Dorking (our home town) when she was younger; he sported a too long jumper and dishevelled hair!! Nonetheless, an amazing man who produced some breath-taking music, including the beautifully evocative “The Lark Ascending”.

My photos show a stunning tree with the most photogenic roots, beautifully set off by some recent rain ……… and a glimpse of Leith Hill Place, itself.

LH Place (6)LH Place (1)LH Place (2)


Forgiveness and the colour of your kitchen


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Forget me not - Sizergh Castle, Kendal May-2017 (41)

Recently two of my best friends each lost a parent, and inevitably it reminded of my own loss two years ago when my own Mum passed away. Since that day I’ve been thinking a lot about life. On the surface, I must look like I have gone back to normal, but deep down I know that I shall never be the same again.

When it first happened, I felt like I was operating in a surreal vacuum, weighed down with a heavy heart, whilst others’ lives continued around me at a crazy pace, like some dream sequence from a film. The earth kept on spinning, days still dawned over and over, and, to quote Eliot Ness in the Untouchables, “Some part of the world still cares what colour the kitchen is.”  The trivialities of day-to-day life suddenly seemed totally irrelevant.

As one would expect in a vacuum, joy was sucked out and mental function was dulled. Thankfully, mental clarity kicked in after the initial shock had subsided, but it took the best part of two years for my interest in life to be restored, and then only as a shadow of its former self. It’s not that I live under a cloud of depression. Far from it. It’s just that my once careless approach to life has been superseded by a more mindful existence, framed very much by life lessons.   

For two years, I have rerun past scenes in my head. How I wish I had taken more time with Mum. How I wish I had done such-and-such but not something else. The realisation that I can never have those moments again feels like time wasted and brings with it a renewed sense of loss. It is indeed true that life is not a rehearsal. Each moment, each action, each decision, is the real thing.

Reflection too has given me better insight on my mother’s own grief many years before. Widowed at only 49 years of age, her only daughter (me) went to college seven years later, never to return, and just months after this, her own mother died. At an age barely above mine now, she had suffered incredible loss and would live on her own for her remaining 37 years. Recently, whilst I was grieving for my own loss, I found myself not only stepping into her shoes, but grieving for all her losses too. At long last, I understood how her life experiences had shaped her views and character. It made me realise so much about this woman who I had known only as my mother. It was then, whilst looking at life through her eyes, that I could forgive her all the silly things which I had perceived to be “wrong”. It was then too that I started learning to forgive myself for not being fully present all those times in the past, for it was only in loss, that I had started to appreciate the true value of every moment.


Don’t take anything for granted.

Certainly, don’t take life for granted.

It’s not a rehearsal.


Appreciate each moment, including the small and the big things.

Appreciate all the lovely people in your life.

Give these people your time.

They are precious.

So too is the time you spend with them.

The colour of your kitchen does NOT matter.

Forgive others.

Forgive yourself.


This post is dedicated to Mum

And inspired by my lovely blogging friend Debbie – of Forgiving Connects (see her latest blog post here



Frank’s Photo Challenge – Yellow



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


For the last few weeks I have strayed from my roots – i.e. Nature, so this week, thought that I would see what Mother Nature has to offer in the way of yellows.

Voila ……….  

Yellow Collage (2)Yellow Collage (1)