Monday, 12 June 2017

Pink and Blue Clouds and a Castle in Kent

Hello all, I’m back!

I wish I could tell you I went running everyday, cooked beautiful meals and completely redesigned the garden, but it would be untrue, so I had best come clean and admit to being utterly lazy. I didn’t even do much reading, although I did smell lots of flowers. In the midst of all this idleness, Terry and I enjoyed a few nights away staying at Horsham in West Sussex. From there we enjoyed trips to Hever Castle in Kent, a fascinating visit to The Houses of Parliament in London and to Nymans a National Trust property near Haywards Heath. We also spent a few hours in Guildford, a favourite shopping destination of mine. While there, we came across a little corner of Wonderland but unlike Alice, we went up rather than down!  Up to the 5th floor of a department store to be precise where we alighted onto a pink and blue cloud! 

Picture from The Tea Terrace Website
Picture from The Tea Terrace Website; follow this link to find out more. 

I took masses of photographs while we were away, including some of the tearooms which I will share in a later post. Processing them, however, is taking much longer than usual as I attempt to get to grips with Lightroom image-editing software. I’ve used an old version of PhotoImpact for the last eleven years, meaning I’m on something of a steep learning curve. As if that were not enough I’m also attempting to master the settings on my camera. I use a Canon G11 compact set on ‘auto’ but I really must learn to use manual mode and figure out how to adjust exposures, etc.,  If nothing else it should help ward off the dreaded dementia. I don’t say that lightly having watched my dear dad struggle with it for several years prior to his death.

The pictures that follow were all taken at Hever Castle, I hope you enjoy them. 

Terry took the above photograph with my camera and I processed it with my old photo-editing software.



Taken at Hever Castle, Kent
This is the same photographer processed in Lightroom. I think it looks much better, but I’m a complete novice with the software so I know it's far from perfect.  

My poor husband tasked with trying to teach me how to take and process better photographs.

Hever Castle, famous for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn is situated in the beautiful Kent countryside about 30 miles south-east of London. Sir Thomas Bullen, later known as Boleyn, inherited Hever from his father Sir William Bullen in 1505 and made it into a family home for his wife, Elizabeth Howard, and three children – Mary, Anne and George. Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII, executed in 1536 after being Queen for just 1,000 days. It was Henry’s love for Anne, and her insistence that she became his wife rather than remain his mistress that led to the King renouncing Catholicism and creating the Church of England.

Hever Castle, Kent

If you would like to learn more about the history of Hever Castle or Anne Boleyn, there is a mass of information available on the Internet. Alternatively, you could treat yourself to Hever Castle & Gardens produced by Jigsaw Publishing in 2017. I bought my copy at the castle, but I’m sure you would have no difficulty finding it online.

The moat around Hever Castle and the Tudor dwelling within the walls.
Can you make out the Tudor dwelling inside the castle walls?

One of two beautifully illuminated prayer books on Display at the castle both belonged to Anne Boleyn. “Remember me when you do pray that hope doth lead from day to day." Anne Boleyn. 
Book of Hours, c 1528.

These personal prayer books were popular in England from the 13th century until the Reformation. They became known as ‘Books of Hours’ from the short services to the Virgin Mary which were read at fixed hours during the day.  

The gardens at Hever Castle


A beautiful pink Peony, just one of the many fragrant flowers at Hever Castle






Best buddies but only while my ice cream lasted!


Thanks so much for coming over I hope to catch up with you all in the next week or so. 


68 comments:

  1. What a lovely time you had, thanks for sharing the photos. I especially loved the ones of Hever Castle, as I spent a lot of holidays there as a kid. Taking time to smell the lowers is one of the best things you can do....Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Hi Valerie, Hever Castle is lovely it must have been wonderful to visit as a kid – so much space and places to run and play. We sat for ages watching three little boys running in and out of the trees, they were having loads of fun. We sat there like a couple of grandparents with our ice creams (and the ducks!) Love, Barbara

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  2. HeHe! This is gonna be fun...
    Did'nt think we'd see you until the new year
    Barbara...As you were taking a break! :).
    Never mind..here l am, cup of lemon tea, and
    a few fig biscuits! Hope they don't finish up
    in the keyboard...Oh! Crumbs! :).

    Love ALL the photos, especially the one with
    Terry, having a 'Scrub Down' in the lake!
    Most revealing...!
    And, the tea rooms look nice to...love the
    colouring...And, Yes! Very Alice in Wonderland!
    And..the duck..HaHa! Guess what l had for dinner
    yesterday...Quack! Quack! :0).

    And, there's one King l know quite a lot about...
    Henry VIII...And, Yes! Anne Boleyn, was executed,
    1536...so, that would be nearly twenty to four...!
    She certainly 'lost' her head for Henry...! :).
    Love the film....'Anne of a Thousand Days'.....
    So if anyone has 2hrs 10min to spare, and, has not
    seen it.......
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9stck0qnCc

    I suppose l'd better welcome you back Barbara....
    Everyone else will....! HeHe! Bless! :).
    Tell you what..These fig biscuits don't dunk very
    well...!!! :(.

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    1. Hi Willie,
      I did think about having a few more weeks off, but I knew you would be missing me, and it’s no use pretending otherwise!!!

      Glad you like the pics. I agree it’s a good photo of Terry. Bless him, he was trying to be patient with me as I fiddled with my camera, but really he just wanted to take photos not be in them! I’m driving him mad with questions about Lightroom. He makes it look so easy, but nothing comes easy to me. This time next year, I might just have a clue about what I’m doing (don’t hold your breath!)

      I loved that little duck, if he could have sat on my lap he would have done. If you eat one that tastes like ice cream you will know I met him before you – and I hope you feel very guilty!

      Thanks for the link; you are providing me with some excellent films and an education. :)

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    2. Lightroom! Lightroom! What's that...!
      A room with a bigger bulb! :).
      HeHe! I stick with my Brownie 127....
      Point..and Click! Done! Send the film
      off to some shed, down in Cornwall....
      Three months later...you've got two out
      the twenty~four back..! :(.
      Eat yer heart out David Bailey...! :).

      Oh! if you have'nt seen the film..make
      sure you do, it's a classic...Richard
      Burton...! Brilliant! :).

      And...strange about the duck...Kept answering
      to the name...Vanilla! And finished up as a
      Vanilla Slice...Boom! Boom! :0).

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    3. How come you can make me laugh even when you mention ducks and a Vanilla Slice in the same sentence??? I know I shouldn’t laugh, and yet I still do. It's just the way you tell it!

      I might be glad to borrow your Brownie 127 by the time I stop stressing about these photos, I’m going to need a holiday to get over it all. :-)

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  3. Oh Barbara, how enchanting is THIS!!!!!!! And I know, we have big ambitions when we find that we'll have TIME for all that reading, cooking and decluttering. But what our bodies and minds often need IS to be lazy and do nothing. We need to energize and it looks as if this fabulous trip did just that! How lovely are each photo depicting those special moments. Nature and architectural beauty are a winning combination, and you have plenty of that in England! And you, YOU look marvelous!

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment Anita. You might not believe it, but I was thinking of you as I struggled with Lightroom! Your beautiful photographs (and those taken by Terry) put me to shame, and I’m determined to improve. Hugs Barbara

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  4. Welcome back!
    Beautiful shots of the castle and the area. The second shot of you is definitely better. Improved color and lighting. Switching programs is always challenging. I've used PhotoShop for years and wouldn't want to switch now.

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    1. Hi Alex, thanks for your kind words. I’m sure I will love Lightroom when I get used to it, but there is a lot to learn.

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  5. Dear Barbara - what beautiful photos. Loved seeing Hever Castle. It looks like somewhere I would so enjoy visiting. I think you do a great job with your pictures friend. That one of the peony is breathtaking. Glad you had a lovely time off...it is always wonderful to get away and relax a bit. Fun to see both you and hubby...nice to put smiling faces with your words. Hit the link on the tea room - gorgeous colors and looks like a delightful spot to savor a delicious cup of tea. Thanks for sharing. Glad you are back - Hugs!

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    1. Hello Debbie, I’m absolutely sure you would love Hever Castle. It's a wonderful place to visit full of history and very beautiful. Thank you for saying you enjoy my pictures. I always have fun taking them, but I’m never satisfied with the end product, mostly because I’m not up to speed with all the advances in processing. I’ve come home from holiday with new resolve and this time I’m really going to try to improve. Hugs to you, Barbara

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  6. So much history, so many places I'd like to visit. At least I can see pictures like yours and get a taste (literally and figuratively!)

    Glad you're back and that your time away was refreshing.

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    1. Hi Bish, thank you for the welcome back. I do feel much better for a few days away (although I would never say no to a few more).

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  7. Welcome back. We missed you!
    It sounds like you had a wonderful time away. Lovely pics!
    Maybe Anne should have stayed a mistress........

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    1. Aww thank you Sandra. I missed all my lovely blogging buddies while I was away. I absolutely agree re Anne – silly girl what was she thinking. :-)

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  8. Lazy? I think not. All this touring around is a lot of fun but work. Your photographs are always so lovely, they make me want to return to England for another visit.

    I am looking forward to your tearoom photos. I love a good tearoom, which my aging aunt introduced me to as a kid visiting my dad's family. Later, I took my Kiddo on the tearoom tour as well.

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    1. Hello Alex, you should come – the spring is always lovely but then so is autumn, Christmas time is nice too and the summer is always very special!
      There is nothing nicer than a good tearoom, the more old fashioned the better with proper cups and saucers and pretty teapots.

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  9. Hever Castle! I finished yesterday "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory, the story of Mary Boleyn. I loved the book and I would definitely like to visit the castle.

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    1. Hello Anca, I’m sure you would enjoy a visit to the castle, especially if you have an interest in Henry VIII and the Boleyn sisters. My sister lent me The taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory, but I’ve not had time to read it yet – I must get it down from the shelf and put it by the bed (which is where I do most of my reading). Thanks for calling in and leaving a comment, Barbara

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  10. Such beautiful images you've captured of your vacation! You've made me want to visit that castle. Welcome back, so glad you had a great time away.

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    1. Thank you Lee, that means a lot. I hope you get to visit one day.

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  11. You went to some truly glorious places. Thank you so much for sharing some of the magic.
    I agree that the photo edited in lighroom looks better to my uneducated eye.
    It sounds as if your break was wonderful. After all we are human being, not human doings.

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    1. How true that is and sometime it’s good to just be!
      Thanks for your comment, Barbara

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  12. Love the photos of Hever Castle!Oh, the swan and little cygnets!!! I wonder where my ancient photos from decades past are? You and terry had perfect weather... What a lovely break! The Blue and Pink Tea Terrace looks enchanting! I hope you write a whole blog about Guildford! I loved going there every year when we were in England.Your posts always cheer me! Lovely photos of YOU in pink and blue, Barbara!

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    1. Hello Colleen, I miss seeing you on your blog. I hope life is treating you kindly?
      We were so lucky the sun came out on the first day and continued to shine throughout the week apart from one heavy shower when we were visiting Nymans. We watched big black clouds rolling in over the hills and took cover inside the house, by the time we finished the tour the sun was shining once more. Terry then went off with his camera to photograph flowers covered in rain drops while I happily meandered in the gift shop! I didn’t leave empty handed either having found a really lovely book about Beatrix Potter (I will share some pics in a later post)
      We rather took Guildford for granted when we lived in that part of the world but not anymore. We spent a couple of hours in the shops and then walked along the river, sat on a bench and reminisced! I didn’t realise I was wearing pink and blue until you pointed it out! It was just a ‘happy accident', but it does rather match the title of the post. :)

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  13. What a refreshing delight, Barbara! I absolutely love all your photos, and I feel as though I took this tour right with you! Thank you so much for sharing. And you look radiant! :)

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    1. Hello Linda, thoughts of my blog are never far from my mind when I visit a new place so in a way you were there with us! :)
      Thank you for your sweet comment, hugs.

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  14. "Summer afternoon - Summer afternoon... the two most beautiful words in the English language." - Henry James.

    I think your photos (all different software permutations included!) sum this up very well!

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    1. Hi Sue, that Henry James knew a thing or two! :)

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  15. Hello Barbara, your break sounds perfect. It's so nice to take time out and do exactly whatever pleases you. Your photo editing is spot on. Oh such splendid scenery, very peaceful and serene. Love the swan and cygnets. Cheers now :D)

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    1. It was wonderful Sue, very relaxing. Thank you for your encouragement re the photo editing, I’m feeling pretty insecure at the moment! :-)

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  16. So lovely to have you back, to be able to join you in a virtual tour thanks to your wonderful photography.

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    1. Thanks Tracy it's lovely to be back. I've missed everyone!

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  17. What a treat that was to take a tour of Anne Boleyn's estate and the surrounding gardens. The 2nd photo of you is more vibrant and clear, just my opinion.

    I'm also inspired to read more literature on Henry VIII and his wives.

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    1. Hi Sharon, I’m really pleased you enjoyed the tour. I’m struggling with Lighroom, but I can see it is going to be an amazing tool once I can get to grips with it. Thanks for coming over, Barbara

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  18. I just remember hearing about Hever Castle from a documentary on Henry VIII's six wives and another just about him in recent weeks, so seeing it in more detail (the films both focused more on Hampton Court) is really special and very imely for me. Thanks!

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    1. Hello Jeanie, I must have missed that documentary which is a shame because I always enjoy them. Thanks for your comment, Barbara

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  19. Lovely photos Sister. We went to those tea rooms some years ago, it was lovely then, but looks even better now. How come you have better weather than me when you go on holiday?

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    1. Thank you Sue, I’m quite pleased with them, but I must stop shaking the camera! :-)
      The tea rooms are lovely, and the view from the windows breathtaking. We do miss Guildford and surrounding areas, although we had to move away to appreciate it.
      As for the weather, we say exactly the same thing to our friends Jean and Cliff, but we were luckier than them this time. The hotels were all rather warm though, they don't seem to be able to turn the heating down!

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  20. Looks like you had a wonderful time!! Love the pictures of the castle!!

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  21. Hi Barbara, what a beautiful picture of you sitting there so sweetly! I agree the Lightroom version seems much more vivid with richer colors. All the pictures look great--gorgeous castle and flowers and that swan family--all perfect. I'm glad you enjoyed your social media break. My internet has been a bit off lately (so frustrating) and every once in a while I'm reminded of life before the internet which I realize was at a slower pace entirely. But like you I can't keep away for long!

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    1. I laughed when I saw that photo. All I need is a little fishing rod, and I would look exactly like the gnomes that once reside in my mum’s garden! (They were gnomes made of stone – not the real thing!)
      It's funny how the Internet has become such a part of everyday life but there are times when I just want to pretend it doesn’t exist. The problem is I miss it and always come scurrying back.

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  22. Sometimes just relaxing and being idle is just what we need! I wish you the best of luck learning the new software and with learning the manual setting on your camera. I am sure you will get better each time you try them.

    Such beautiful gardens and flowers. I would love visiting that castle. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

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    1. You are so right Stephanie. It did us both good, but I’m afraid I always suffer from a guilty conscience. My mum and dad didn’t believe in wasting time, and it rather rubbed off on me!

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  23. Welcome Back! Nice to see you! It's good to be lazy! LOL! What a wonderful trip you had! Gorgeous photos! Love that duck! LOL! Big Hugs!

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    1. Thanks so much, it is lovely to be back with friends. I loved the duck too but he very soon turned his back on me when all the food was gone! :)

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  24. Dear Barbara, such a pretty trip! Pink with blue make my favourite combination. (Gosh, that tea room. I'm swirling with envy.) I must confess I'm lost when it comes to tech stuff. Looking at your picture, photo-editing is something you've learned very well. Terry must be proud! I take blurry (*ahem abstract) photos which my sisters tease me about.

    I can imagine how worried you must be about your dad. (*Hug)

    Your ice cream buddy is adorable and you and Terry are absolutely rosy and radiant.

    Welcome back!

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    1. Dear Claudine, I’m not sure Terry is exactly proud (yet) frustrated is probably a more accurate description. He's spent years learning how to take amazing photographs and to process them properly, now I expect me to teach me everything he knows in a matter of days. Poor bloke probably regrets the day he ever said I needed to update my way of doing things. :)

      I’m so sorry I mislead you about my dad. I was very worried about him and upset too, but he died many years ago. I didn’t make that clear in my post, so I’ve gone back and changed it. It just shows the importance of reading what you’ve written before publishing it.

      Thank you for welcoming me back, I certainly missed everyone.

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  25. What a lovely adventure! I adore all your photographs. Welcome back to blogland xx

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    1. Thank you so much Yvonne, I appreciate the welcome. Hugs Barbara

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  26. Hello Barbara, what beautiful photos. You certainly visited a very picturesque part of your gorgeous country. Its great to have you back in blogland .... I do know what you mean though about planning to achieve lots & then not really managing to somehow ... happens to us all !!!! Have a lovely weekend Barbara. xx

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    1. Hello Julie, the time went so quickly, but I’m sure the rest did us both good. The chores always need doing again no matter how many times I tackle them, so I’m refusing to feel guilty! I hope the sun is shining on you. xx

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  27. I thought I was the only one still using old fashioned cameras. But you're still better than me.

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    1. I have enough trouble trying to send a text from my phone never mind taking photos! :)

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  28. Such lovely photographs. Hever Castle looks a wonderful place to visit. I am so pleased you enjoyed your time away.

    I love the one of your ice-cream buddy and also seeing the photographs of you and your husband.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks Jan, Hever Castle is well worth a visit if you ever get the chance.
      My ice-cream buddy was attentive to my every move – until I stopped eating, then he dumped me and moved on. :)

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  29. The Lightroom photo turned out clear and crisp. And...
    The swan and baby photo is picture perfect. So serene.
    Hope you had a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks Sandra, I’m pleased with the swans. It took a few attempts and a sprint along the river bank, but it was worth it.

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  30. Your photos are just beautiful! What an amazing place! Glad you had some time to relax and just enjoy! Thanks for visiting me on IG! Happy Summer!

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    1. Thanks Diane and happy summer to you too.

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  31. It's so, so lovely to have you back! Tanks for the beautiful photographs. xxx

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    1. That is so kind of you, thank you.xx

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  32. A few days away does you the world of good, I think. It certainly looks like you had a wonderful time. Lovely photos :)

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    1. It was great! Sunshine always helps. x

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  33. Dear Barbara I almost laughed when I read that you have been utterly lazy during your break. Well so have I πŸ˜€ Looks like the weather calls to being lazy. It is too hot to do anything

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    1. I had such plans and did none of them. :-) I felt much better for a rest though, and I hope you do too. It was very hot again yesterday, thunderstorms forecast for today so it might freshen it up a little.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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