Saturday, 18 April 2015

Making Friends With my Garden Once More!

Where TV advertising took me.

In my previous post, I talked about garden furniture. Well, the saga of the garden started before this - that was only a stopping point on the journey.

Our outside areas have long been badly in need of a good clean. In the shaded parts of the drive and patio, moss had taken hold. We had discussed buying a Karcher previously but had never bitten the bullet so to speak. An advert on TV shouted out that there was a saving of £81 on the ecological Karcher 4.
      'Let's do it!' So off we went to B&Q and there I succumbed. Normally when we go to B&Q or Homebase, I head for the gardening section while OH looks at tools, house things and suchlike.
Today was Easter weekend and the sun was shining enticing me to think about pots and plants. Outside there were racks and racks of trailing plants which I made a bee-line for.This was even before we had got a trolley or the car was locked up you understand.

seeing sense, we went inside to look at what we had come for. Soon a Karcher was loaded on a trolley and I went outside while OH steered the trolley to wherever his fancy took him. In truth, I couldn't steer the trolley and I went off for one of my own. Stocked up with trailing geraniums, trailing dianthus, trailing lobelia, trailing fuchsia and a lavender tree I headed to the checkout with OH and the Karcher. Oh! and compost for the pots.

Two days later, I was in Homebase looking at paint for the garden seat, Pandora and other bits that needed freshening up. After going mad with plants I also succumbed to a box of summer bulbs. 100 days of summer it proclaimed. Oh and a pot for the lavender Tree. At £5 plus an extra 15% off it was a bargain.  I had a whale of a time choosing paint for different surfaces.Oh, the colours! What a rainbow of choice there is now! I was taken with the gold and thought this would do to highlight the relief on the garden seat and perhaps a pot or two.

Back home and garbed sensibly - for me -  in shorts and t-shirt I planted out to my hearts content, eventually going mad with the paint cans as I sprayed not only Pandora a silvery stone but a couple of small pots before giving others a jazzed-up spray of gold. The conclusion is that I am not good with a can of spray pain never mind a brush. I had some very 'designer' drips! Well, when the plants grow and trail down the sides, no-one will notice will they?

This in turn led to re-covering the Director Chairs and finding a new canopy for the Umbrella. See previous post.

In the meantime our small patio and drive took on a 'before and after' appearance and looks like new. A messy job but well worthwile.

All we need now is some sunshine for a spot of garden relaxation. Plus some well-tended plants bursting into bloom.

Rosalie xx

The Power of Social Media and the Internet.

This post is prompted by some unexpected activity this week resulting in a variety of new connections and resources.

Taking to Twitter most evenings, this week I connected with #Wrexham Hour. This is a lively virtual conversation between people and businesses of all kinds. I re-connected to Susan Miller of @allwordsmatter who is working hard to ensure that the Wrexham Carnival of Words is a huge success. I am looking forward to the Local Author Networking Event on Thursday in Wrexham Library. Susan sent me an invitation to the World Book Night celebrations which follow. 

Mrs Picklepot subsequently contacted me privately for information about my writing areas. Last night I had another lively conversation with Mrs Picklepot - what a lovely name for someone who specialises in pickles and chutneys - which led me to Facebook and Wrexham Business Group, a closed group, which accepted my request to join.

On the Wrexham Business Group page I saw that I was already connected to many of its members, one or two whom I had met at 'real' networking meetings around town. One of the suggested connections was someone who appeared to be a new owner of what for many years was one of our favourite restaurants of choice for special occasions and the occasional lunch-time treat. Being a lover of Italy, we loved the Italian menu. And then it changed hands, it was closed at lunchtimes, and the menu became a more cosmopolitan selection. I was intrigued on checking the Facebook page of current Sam Regan that it had changed again quite recently. The Lemon Tree Restaurant and Bar with guest rooms is in the centre of Wrexham. The new menu is billed as being 'Modern British'. Hopefully I can now entice my OH to drop in for a snack when in town, before we catch the bus back from the nearby bus station or walk home.

Mrs Picklepot also put me in touch with Ruth from Martin Rees Jewellers a long-established family business in the old and charming part of town.

This year we have acted early to source a new canopy for our garden parasol. This led to the re-covering of the Director Chairs. Here the Internet takes the leg work out of shopping. I kept coming back to a firm in the West Midlands - The Garden Furniture Centre Ltd. Thankfully they have detailed instructions for measuring the old canopy to ensure it fits. They had a lovely selection of colours, all in a newer fabric than the cotton one we were replacing which did not really lend itself to being left outdoors.
Sample of garden furniture fabric. See below.

Another search took me to The Stripes Company -formerly Deckchair Stripes - which, as the name suggests, specialises in deckchair canvas striped fabrics. Matching up a fabric with a colour for the canopy, we chose the multi-coloured  Paintball stripe and picked out the lime green for the canopy. Instructions followed and orders placed, I hared off across country to the relaxing strains from ClassicFM to the shop only a few miles away to take the old chair cover for a template.  What an Aladdin's Cave! 

This takes me to my next post in a few minutes.

First though, what of the fears of the Internet? How does this affect us?Security?

You will have seen my prolific posts on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog about raising funds for Dreamflight to take sick and disabled children to Orlando, Florida. there is a button to the secure Just Giving site. I have however found, as I was advised I would, that I can raise more by going face-to-face with my paper sponsor sheet where people will dig into their pockets and give small change. Not everyone like to give card details online. Personally, I use Pay Pal wherever I can as I don't have to enter my details everytime.
This is where texting comes in and why I set up a free text code LLGW80 to 70070. Our Lancs and Lakes Gold Wings region (GWOCGB) is supporting myself and another member to raise funds as we fly off Bethesda Mountain in Snowdonia on the longest Zip Wire in Europe on May 9th.

Rosalie xx

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Riding the rapids on the River Dee, Llangollen

No, not me or us, but brave canoeists on the water and a brave man hanging from a rope above.

With two wedding anniversaries falling quite close together, it was time to catch up and celebrate with friends. We settled on the Chain Bridge Hotel, Berwyn, Llangollen. Since its transformation under new owners a few years ago, it has become once again one of our special places for lunch. Especially as our friends lived quite near. We find now that with more time on our hands we enjoy lunch and a relaxing afternoon rather than a late dinner.

Turning off the A539 through beautiful Llangollen, we travelled down a narrow road, eventually coming to the sharp turning over the narrow canal bridge, which took us into the lower car park between the canal that is shielded by a huge wall of rock, and the raging River Dee.

We always comment about the time many years ago when we were going there for a New Year's Eve dinner. It was dark. It was cold. It was foggy. Very very, foggy. My OH was driving as he doesn't drink alcohol which meant that the rest of us could.
With hearts in our mouths as the edge of the canal loomed frighteningly near to the side of the car, and keeping a careful silence whilst our skillful driver inched his way down the road, we eventually arrived safely into a parking place. There was no space to turn round for our return journey; our hearts were in our mouths as OH backed all the way up the road between cars and the canal edge where the water was still and silent, waiting to catch us if we slipped! With relief we reached a turning space and headed safely home. 

Today, we remembered this and laughed. My husband always responds that we were no where near the edge of the canal! The hotel is once again a busy venue for walkers, ramblers, and simply for anyone who wants a quiet lunch with the soothing sound of the river rushing by under the panoramic windows. 

The railway line from Llangollen now extends to Corwen. A 'Thomas Tank' steam engine pulling many coaches was in the station high above and in front of us, outside the ancient black and white station house which led out to the A5. The historic chain bridge was nearly restored.
"Look", I cried out, "the chains are in place". (Last time we lunched there they hadn't been.)
The pleasant Bar for lunch
A brave man in safety gear was abseiling along the wires as he checked the nets underneath. That reminded me of my sea-level traverse in Anglesey many years ago when undergoing a team-building session as part of a management training course. All he had above him was a thick wire but at least he had a safety net underneath. All I had was a blue sky above and a roaring sea below as I flung myself off the rock to cross an inlet.

Now, I jumped up again, camera at the ready. Coming rapidly down the swollen river which was running fast, was a large canoe full of canoeists. Once under the bridge, the current flung them into the side of the bank. Then came another. What excitement! And the man was abseiling back along the wire to the other end. 'Thomas Tank' blew his steam as he puffed out of the station on his return journey.

In finishing, I must add that the food was excellent as was the wine list and our friend enjoyed his Wrexham Lager. I suspect that is why he chose the Chain Bridge Hotel when given a choice!

Rosalie xx

More photos on Facebook

Rosalie Marsh. Author, Speaker, Educator.

Rosalie's Chatter

Friday, 27 March 2015

I received this book for review and am happy to respond.
Although this excellent guide is aimed initially at those in the financial planning sector, it is in fact a useful tool for anyone starting up or currently running a business. The fundamentals are the same and can be adapted to suit the situation.
The author speaks with authority from experience. Importantly, he speaks from the heart and is not afraid to relate his own experiences - adverse or otherwise. The first-hand account covers a wide range of issues and topics for consideration. These must be incorporated into a business plan. The chapters cover important aspects for consideration of administration, recruitment, outsourcing, the delicate subject of ‘how much to charge’, networking, communication and technology, to name but a few.
The book also covers various legal aspects that are important.
I would like to have been able to reach the chosen chapter when I clicked on the link in the Table of Contents instead of being taken to the front of the book. I found this frustrating.
However, that aside, all in all it is a worthy addition to the bookshelf - virtual or otherwise - of anyone wishing to succeed and move with the times in best business practices.

Rosalie Marsh. Author, Speaker, Educator. Rosalie's Chatter

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Amazon review for 'Where does the Iguana Sleep?'

I was asked by the author to review this charming children's book.

A charming and enchanting story which will rouse the curiosity of any child. As well as being an absorbing story in itself as the child excitedly sees new creatures before coming upon the Iguana, the story lends itself to other areas of exploration. There are opportunities to build in more discovery activities about Mexico, activities about the Iguana itself, and more.
The illustrations which accompany this well-written story are fresh and bright. The colourful drawings are simple and to the point. You just have to turn the page as Joey seeks to find where his new discovery sleeps.
I am though a little confused as to why there are two different book jackets. The illustration inside the book is, I feel more appealing than the one used as the cover. Overall though, a wonderful addition to any child’s library.
I have posted the review on both the Amazon US and UK sites.
You can find out more about where the Iguana sleeps here:

Rosalie Marsh. Author, Speaker, Educator. Rosalie's Chatter