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Archive for June, 2011

How To Write a Love Letter

Thursday Thirteen

I came across a book called Good Old Fashioned Advice by Michael Powell. It includes a section on the proper way to write a love letter. It’s a dying art, but one I think is very romantic because it demonstrates thought and takes an effort when these days it’s far easier to fire off an email, telephone or send a text.

Mr. Powell suggests the following steps will produce a successful love letter:

1. Write from the heart. If you are sincere, honest and caring, your words will find a natural rhythm and music.

2. Use high quality parchment and handwrite in ink.

3. If you have poor handwriting find someone who has good, tidy writing to write your letter for you. The visual impression will create a romantic disposition in the recipient even before they read the letter.

4. Check your spelling and punctuation. As the author says, love may be may be blind but it notices bad grammar.

5. A love letter should not be written lightly because toying with the affections of another is uncool.

6. Avoid purple prose. Simple writing is easier to read and more sincere.

7. Start your letter writing by placing a photo of your loved one in front of you. It’s good for inspiration.

8. Take your time. Don’t rush your letter writing.

9. Listen to some romantic music. The author suggests Chopin, Beethoven, Wagner or Tchaikovsky. I think we could probably go a bit more modern than that.

10. Write as you speak and think. A letter can be playful, flirtatious or witty, but it should carry your voice.

11. Be specific. Point out twelve unique qualities about your beloved.

12. Focus your letter on the two of you and nothing else.

13. End the letter by looking to the future. You want this relationship to last forever and to grow year by year. Let them know your thoughts and hopes for your life together.

Have you sent or received a love letter?

Travel: Lifou, Loyalty Islands

Lifou, which is part of the Loyalty Islands, is a beautiful spot with lots of greenery. The snorkelling is very good here too, although access is down a very rickety and slippery wooden ladder.

Lifou

Once onshore, we walked up a hill to the old chapel on the headland. It was very pretty and the locals had placed flower arrangements inside. They ask visitors for a donation.

Lifou

The white chapel

Here’s one of the locals. The pretty teal color was very striking against the greenery.

Lifou

The snorkelling was excellent. We were there early when it was relatively quiet. Once the other passengers on the ship turned up, the area became noisy and there was a little silt kicked up, which caused vision problems. The ladder access was a bit tricky too.

Lifou

A Doggie Treat On Hot Days

Bella

During the hotter summer days we make our puppy an iceblock. It not only keeps her cool but also helps keep her amused if we have to leave her alone for a few hours. You have no idea how much mischief one puppy can get up to if they’re left to their own devices!!

To make an ice block you need:

1 x plastic container plus lid.
an assortment of doggy treats.

We use margarine or ice cream containers. For the treats we use meat scraps, chopped sausages, cubes of cheese etc. If we have them on hand we also use meat juices/stock to flavor the water.

Method: chop up treats and place in plastic container. Fill container with water and place in freezer. Once the ice block is frozen, tip it out of the container and give to your dog on a hot day. The treats tend to sink to the bottom so you might like to fill your container up halfway, freeze, then add some more treats and water so you have treats in the middle of the ice block.

Do you make any special treats for your pets?

Thirteen Haunted Inns of Britain

Thursday Thirteen

The last time I visited my local library a book called Haunted Inns of Britain & Ireland by Richard Jones caught my eye. It’s full of info about ghosts and haunting, and I found it fascinating. I’ve even visited a couple of the pubs.

A list of Thirteen Haunted Pubs

1. The Mermaid Inn, Mermaid Street, Rye, East Sussex
The Mermaid has several ghosts, including a gray lady. Early one morning a resident woke to find a pair of phantom duelists, dressed in doublet and hose. They thrust and parried with their rapiers until one received a fatal wound.

2. The Chequers Inn, Smarden, Kent
In room 6, the staff sometimes see a clear impression of a person on the bed even though the room is empty. Dogs dislike the room with one dog requiring a tranquillizer to calm him. A female guest was woken by something scratching her back. Another woman woke to find a man standing in the open doorway. She shouted at him and he vanished.

3. The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead, London
Dick Turpin is one of the pub’s ex-customers and he stabled his mount Black Bess here. People hear Black Bess’ ghostly hoof beats gallop across the car park in the dead of the night.

4. The Ostrich Inn, Slough, Berkshire
A landlord used to ply his rich guests with drink, and once they were asleep in his best room, he’d unbolt a special trapdoor and tip them from their beds into a vat of boiling oil below. Then, he’d sell their horse and belongings. He did very nicely until a guest saw his bed tilt and shouted for help. Staff at the pub complain about a sinister atmosphere while loud noises wake the landlords. It’s said one of the victims causes the noises.

5. Jamaica Inn, Launceston, Cornwall
Made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s novel Jamaica Inn. Several ghosts wander the old hostelry. A ghost stands outside near a particular wall. He doesn’t answer greetings, but will slowly dissolve and vanish.

6. The Knife and Cleaver, Bedfordshire
A male and a female ghost reside here. One day a barman watched the pages of the booking diary turn by themselves. Then a ghostly hand appeared over his shoulder. He wasn’t sure which ghost it was and didn’t wait to find out.

7. The Bull Hotel, Suffolk
Doors open and close by themselves. Objects fly across the room and chairs move during the night. It’s said Richard Everard, who was stabbed to death, is the cause of this activity.

8. The Lifeboat Inn, Thornham, Norfolk
The landlady decided the pub was missing a resident ghost and made one up. The staff were shocked when they actually started seeing a tall, dark stranger as described by the landlady in her pub brochure.

9. The Scole Inn, Scole Diss, Norfolk
A husband suspected his wife of having an affair. He murdered his wife in a fit of rage. Fast forward in time and visitors to the inn have reported sightings of a sad lady in room 2.

10. The Fleece Inn, Evesham, Worcestershire
It’s said the ghost of Lola Taplin, a previous landlady, haunts the inn. She always banned food and only served alcohol. Customers have watched their sandwiches tossed in the air and thrown across the room. Ghostly footsteps are also heard.

11. Ye Old Black Bear, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
A headless figure has been seen walking across creaking floors and dragging his chains behind him. It’s thought he is one of the Lancastrians defeated by a group of Yorkists at the Battle of Tewkesbury.

12. The Puesdown Inn, Compton Abdale, Cheltenham
This used to be a coaching inn frequented by highwaymen. One of the ghosts is said to be a highwayman who was shot. He returned to the inn and knocked loudly on the door, demanding entrance. Ghostly knocking is often heard while one landlord saw a ghostly coach pulling into the yard.

13. The West Arms Hotel, Llangollen, Denbighshire
The hotel is haunted by a blue lady. It’s said a woman was killed in a fire that broke out in the pub. If a fire is lit in the front lounge, the blue lady appears.

Have you visited any haunted places? Have you seen a ghost?