Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward

What does reward mean to you?

Reward is filthy with possibility: it could be your third grader’s beaming smile after reading her first chapter book, a steaming mug of chicken soup after a long run in the cold, a photo of your brand-new baby — your reward for patience during nine months of construction, or your extended family gathered around the dinner table.

I waited until I was 53 to go overseas for the first time!
What utter joy and delight!
I was paid out for an accident that left me seriously injured.
No better reward!

I went over and made incredible memories with the best friends in the world!

I went to London, Oxford, Cambridge, all over the Cotswolds, Bath,
Weymouth, Wool and Corfe Castle in Dorset,
Hertford, Brighton,
Cardiff and through Wales by train to Holy Head
A Ferry to Dublin, Ireland
Toured all over Tullamore, Connemara, Cork,
visited Castles, Gardens, Abbeys and a fjord!
In Italy I went all over Tuscany for a week
Then Minori, Amalfi; Rome, Venice, Lierna, Lake Como, Milan
Took a train across France and back to England

I have gorgeous, iconic, evocative photos
of fabulous places and scenery.
I fell in love with almost every place I went
the bonds of friendship are the greatest reward!

Cardiff: Lunch at Jamies Italian with Jax and Julie

With Julie in Cambridge

With Julie in Cambridge

At Joe Allens Restaurant, Covent Gardens, London, England, with Jax, Julie and Mandy

Vonny in Viareggio

Tuscany: here with Vonny in Viareggio

Oh, and by the way, I did this all with an undiagnosed fractured ankle!
Absolute agony and ecstasy!

Want to participate? Each Friday, we’ll provide a theme. Publish a new post with a photo interpreting the theme. Include the pingback to this week’s challenge to share your post with the community. Learn More


Bloemfontein: South African Judicial Capital

Hubs had to go on a business trip to Bloem. It went on longer than anticipated, so I boarded a bus and went the loooong way around to join him.
We stayed in a Guest House on a smallholding on the outskirts of town. It was a slightly larger than normal room, with a microwave, bar fridge and sink. Along the veranda outside the door were a few tables and chairs facing the garden. In the corner of the L-shaped building was an open-air lounge with lovely sofas to lounge on. A mid-chest high wall was topped by roll-up canvas and plastic blinds. The inner side of the walls formed a bar-like ledge lined with bar-stools. This was for conferences as well as relaxing. Plug points were placed at intervals for laptops. It was a lovely place to lie back and crochet, and also surf the net. In the middle of the little garden was a picnic set. Sitting there in the full winter sun was glorious.
On the other side of the Guest House building is the owner’s property. Luxurious and huge! An enormous paddock is home to a stable block and individual paddocks for the horses. Patrolling the area are two emus. Made me grin to see it.
Just around the corner from the property, was another owned by the same people. They have lions, cheetah and other animals. I didn’t visit, but we’re woken by the roaring lions every morning! Actually, at night, they serenade the countryside too!
We returned home for the long weekend. Delicious to be back with the family, our precious Grandies, especially little Stacy not even a month old. My cat was thrilled to have me home, and so was the Parrot. It was better than any Guest House!
We returned to Bloem on Tuesday for an indefinite period. Leaving the baby was wrenching! These are precious days as a baby starts becoming aware of and responsive to her surroundings. She’d started giving tentative smiles, had expressed great delight in being in mum’s and my arms. She has me wrapped firmly around her little finger!
We decided to go self-catering this time and are totally enchanted with where we are staying! A beautiful double-storey cottage, with stunning decor. Silver vases and candelabra, huge, soft towels, percale linen, and fabulous fresh, generous and imaginative continental breakfasts. Upon our late arrival, we were presented with a sumptuous home-cooked, complimentary, meal.
Tonie has a large property divided in three parts. The Buildings are on a third, and two large encampments make up the rest. In the large encampment are a 2 Egyptian Geese and a little herd of springbok, a ram and his harem. The other enclosure has 2 duikers, a tiny steenbok and a flock of ducks. The buck are habituated, and come to the fence to greet you, snorting happily. Roaming freely around the whole property are a flock of raucous guinea-fowl, rabbits, ground squirrels and a mongoose or two.
One little fellow has completely enchanted me. A Butcher bird has become Tonie’s free-range pet. He spots Tonie and swoops down, fluttering just above his head to the wall, where Tonie places a small chunk of cheese. The Butcher bird has taken to doing this with me too after just a few days here. It is so amazing!
I love Bloemfontein! It is a very pretty place, built in, around and on top of little hills. The people are friendly and don’t appear to care where you are from, nor what language you speak. I haven’t been anywhere much. We have gone into the malls for a few meals, and browsed around. Great shopping here. I’ve also located two yarn shops and spent some money!!! I have seen a Creative Talents Shop giving workshops. An embroidery shop. Fabric warehouse. Bead Shop. OH!!!! I think I may have discovered heaven on earth!!!!
Tonie has brought me a pile of Decor and Travel magazines that have been delicious to look through.  I brought lots of wool, crochet hooks and knitting needles with me. All my patterns are on my laptop, so I am in a really great place! BUT! I miss my family, two and four-legged ones! Only a few more days and we go home!

The villages of Bagni di Lucca

The most beautiful places in the world!

Bella Bagni di Lucca

It is 2 years since I began Bella Bagni di Lucca. In that time I have tried to visit all the villages that make up Bagni di Lucca. They are scattered along the Lima River and in the mountains on either side.

Here are the villages I have visited so far, in alphabetical order. Click on the name to see more of the village.

























La Villa.














Monti di Villa.




Pieve di Monti di Villa.


Ponte a Serraglio.




San Cassiano.


San Gemignano




Vico Pancellorum.


I hope to make my way to the villages I have missed over the next few months. I know I must see Crasciano, Mobiano, and a few others. Let me know of any more you want to see.

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Dinner with the huntsmen of Casabasciana

This is the village I stayed in

Bella Bagni di Lucca


The name Casabasciana probably comes from the Roman settler called Bassius, who built his house here. The town is perched on the side of the hill about 4 kilometres up from Fabbriche di Casabasciana on the SS12.
My friend and I were invited by Heather Jarman from Sapori e Saperi to join the dinner put on by the Squadra di Cacciatori , the hunting team from Casabasciana, an offer too good to refuse, especially since the proceeds of the evening are to be used to renovate a building in town to provide help for some of the older residents.
We went up to the village in the late afternoon to discover the delights of Casabasciana.
The streets of the village are narrow, winding and steep.




There are lots of lovely old buildings to see.









I spotted a small statue of the Madonna in an alcove opposite the main church.


She was…

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Craft Mania

The trip to UK and Italy has lit a fire in me!

I haven’t stopped crafting since getting home 22 May.

I’m having a ball!!

I’ve made hats and earwarmers

3 hats and 2 earwarmers (1) (640x427)

4 pairs of fingerless gloves

2 scarves

made 2 diaper cakes

IMG-20140226-00346 IMG-20140226-00350

3 pairs of booties

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a faux-fur throw

a baby receiving blanket

Potchefstroom-20141004-01178 (2)

a Taggie Teether, or more

20140217_134508 Taggie teether

a Bear Cumfie Blankie

Teddy Cumfie

2 stuffed toy rattles: a car and a train

4 Altered Bags

a Cable knit bag

Cable-knit handbag with leatherette band

produced a 30 page photo-book on my travels

made baby clothes

crocheted baby clothes

made toys and baby accessories

made Christmas presents and decorations

and I’m still busy :-)!
I’ll be posting photos soon