Monday, 24 January 2011

An Unusual Thing

I am not sure if I believe in fate but something which happened recently has made me wonder.  In the last blog I mentioned an unusual thing which happened whilst we were wandering around near The Peace Pagoda, well I need to set the scene.  We walked up to The Cedar Tree following the steps and footpath from the car park below, we went to the tree first because as I have written about in a previous blog or two it is a special place and one which we use as a place of memorial for my two dogs Mika and Nelson.  We had a look at some of the memorials and looked at the ones we had left over 6 months before for Mika and Nelson. 
Roughly the route we were walking to The Peace Pagoda
After a few minutes we then headed towards The Peace Pagoda, and here is where is gets a little spooky.  Rather than taking the path round, we had our walking shoes on so decided to head across the grass which is a shorter route, albeit still a large open expanse of grass.  As we were walking towards the Pagoda, Jamie stood on one of the pictures of Mika and Nelson we had left not in 2010 but in 2009.  The weird thing was what would have been the chances of that happening - us being there that day, us walking across the grass and Jamie actually standing on the picture.  We felt it was very weird, but in a good way.

The picture on the right is the one Jamie stepped on, allowing us to put it back into its position on the tree.
We did, of course, return the photo back to the tree.  We all just felt as though we were exactly where we should have been that day, to ensure the photo was returned to its place.  I am sure there are lots of people who could offer us rational explanations, give us a figure for the probability of it happening, say that it really was just a coincidence (although there were no other photos around if for example some had been blown off) but nevertheless and whatever the reasoning it was and did feel like we were meant to be there to put it right.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (not off my reading challenge)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Buddhism - Jamie's Project and A Visit to the Temple in MK

Jamie has been doing a project for school on Buddhism and this has been really interesting for all of us, as we have all discovered a whole lot more about Buddhism and its philosophy.  We are lucky enough to have a Buddhist temple here in Milton Keynes and I am ashamed to say that we had never got around to having a look around it, even though we have walked past in many many times.  So as part of Jamie's project we headed camera in hand to explore The Peace Pagoda and the Nipponzan Myohoji Temple which are both at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes.  Photographs largely courtesy of Jamie as they were for his project.

A view of the Peace Pagoda from the Cedar Tree
Here are some photos from the outing, there is another blog to follow about a very unusual thing which happened to us while we were walking around, but here are some views of The Pagoda and The Temple.  The only other thing to say is that both Jamie and I were quite caught by some of the Buddhist philosophy and beliefs and I suspect we will be exploring more of those in days and weeks to come.  If you ever do come to MK then I can heartily recommend a trip to Willen Lake, The Peace Pagoda and The Temple - then possibly followed by a drink the pub on the other part of the Lake!!

The Cedar Tree

A memorial to the Buddhist Monk who was head of the Temple and died in a tragic accident about 4 years ago.
A frieze on the Pagoda telling of The Buddha Life and Road to Enlightenment

A view of Willen Lake from The Peace Pagoda

Jamie stood in front of The Pagoda

A statue of The Buddha

TheNipponzan Myohoji Temple

The above statue is called Hiroshima and is by Ronald Rae, it was created in 1988 from 470 million year old Scottish granite and part of the plaque reads "The nameless pathetic, scarcely human form conveys only the appalling history of innocent men, women and children suddenly extinguished by nuclear bombs.  Ronnie is also remembering those today who die in the world's continuing conflicts".

'After Hiroshima' installation by Edna Eguchi Read, "One seems to hear a kind of music in the ash covered things, the chairs, the teddy bear, the tennis racquet......It is the sound of the screams that were never heard - extinguished with all the lives in that death flash" Jun Furusawa, Founder of the Annual Yokosuka Peace Exhibition.

This was moving because it consisted of such normal things, things which would be left after such a tragedy as Hiroshima.
The gardens were lovely and so peaceful......
The Peace Pagoda is just peeking over the top of the hill .... behind the prayer pole .....

Inside the Temple was peaceful and striking.  There were many gifts and donations which largely consisted of food for the monks at the temple.  Lots of images of Buddha and the founder of this branch of Buddhism.

The Samadhi Garden - a zen garden with raked stones, in a variety of directions.

The Memorial Stupa

The Japanese Garden, which represents a microcosm of the world we live in ....

Jamie at The Stone Lantern

This was a fascinating and informative visit and I am so glad we all had the chance to explore and gain some understanding of the religion, philosophy and culture - it was a lovely and valuable experience.


Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - need to get my reading head on again  (not off my reading challenge)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Book Review - Five Minute Floristry

Five-Minute Florist: Quick and Easy Arrangements for Every Day - Bo Niles

It is probably no surprise that I devour flower arranging and floristry books and will have 2 or 3 out of our local library at any one time - so here is a quick review.

A small book, published in 2005, retailing for about £8.99 this is a good book for someone who doesn't really want to do any flower arranging, but wants to use flowers to decorate their home, BUT this book is a long way from Floristry!  This book is aimed at the interior design style of flower arrangement, quick and easy arrangements which often look stunning but with minimal skill and maximum outlay - for both materials and containers.

That sounds a little harsh but there are also some wonderful ideas to be picked up in any flower arranging book and there are lots in here.  If you were looking for a book to give you some quick and simple ideas of how to get more creative with a bunch of flowers you have picked up on your way home then this is it.  For a keen flower arranger or someone wanting to learn the skills and principles associated with floral design then this isn't the book for you.

It does give a very quick run through of some of the very basic techniques, but this book is all about styling flowers within the home.  There are a lot of containers used, most of us probably have some similar containers at home, but to get the full effect, you would really need to invest in and probably spend some time trawling the flea markets and charity shops and many of the flowers are at the more pricey end of the spectrum.

Again, saying that there are some good ideas and one or two I particularly liked can be seen in the pictures above, I love the use of small individual glasses and the second picture is a great way to use any damaged gerbera..    I also love the way she has used tulip leaves in the very top picture on this blog.

Personally this is a good book to borrow from the library and make a note of some of the ideas, I personally wouldn't recommend it for purchase to anyone but the most basic of flower arrangers.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (not off my reading challenge)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

An 18th Birthday Scrapbook

A couple of years ago I made a scrapbook as a gift for H, who regularly babysits for Jamie and who is very special to Mike and I, a surrogate goddaughter you might say.  Well her sister, also H, is no less special to us so I again wanted to make a scrapbook for her, after conspiring with her Mum and Dad to get some pictures and memorabilia and raiding her photos on facebook, I was ready to go.  I was pleased with the overall result and as with H I encouraged her to feel free to drop in and raid my scrap crap at any point to add to her scrapbook.  One small note here, we were very very sad to hear some news from H and P and just hope and pray that it will all resolve itself very soon.

I didn't take any photos of H1's (!) scrapbook and must get her to bring it around so I can, so I didn't make that mistake this time with H2, so here are the pages I made for her.

The front cover, just a picture of H looking very beautiful ....
Some K and Co papers here, My Sister My Friend ....
A Baby has a Special Way of Adding Joy to Everyday.....the envelope contains the plastic baby bracelet they put on the new baby in hospital, K and Co again.....
School Days, K and Co Hannah - I had used these papers on H1's album so wanted to use some on H2 to tie the two together ....the sub headings are Explore, Create and Think Big ......
A Girl and her Dog, H2 loves animals so this layout is very appropriate for her - the headings are from Elegant Word Art again (I really love her work and it has been such a find to be able to use some of her word art, I've even had a go at creating one or two of my own, but more of that on another blog).  A very simple layout really, but think the Basic Grey rub-on really works well at the bottom of the page, there are a couple of charms under the picture of Millie - who is a really sweet thing, deaf as a post now but so quiet and gentle.
Dressing Up - Now & Then, a really simple layout but I think it works with the great pictures of H2.
A mixture of Stampin Up papers and K and Co on Having Fun, this gave me the chance to use some really girly bits, pinks and pastels which I don't really get the chance to use for boy layouts.
Pals, more K and Co - I think its the Que Sera (?) papers, the sub-heading is take care of yourself and your friends.....
Daughter, K and Co Hannah again and some added memorabilia courtesy of H's Mum.
Very simple, Beautiful Girl and a lovely picture of H2.
Some HOTP papers which worked perfectly and another brilliant picture of H.

H loved her present and it is always such a joy to see her face, especially when she read a couple of the memorabilia bits which were in there.Great fun to do and well worth the hard work when you see the reaction.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (not off my reading challenge)
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