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Midweek supper...


Food to me is about nourishing my body. I work hard and I'm getting older so anything processed is out. I cook every day and eat supper at a dining table with lighted candles. This clears my head from the office dramas and allows me to appreciate my meal and to give thanks. As one gets older, a simple, peaceful life is a type of paradise. After supper I might go for a short walk and if I see a badger or deer that will be a perfect end to my day. Be yourself. Be happy with whatever is your lot. Shut out the noise around you. Peace. Photo copyright SvD. Cumberland sausage and kidney bean stew with roasted bell peppers. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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You Humans Are Very Strange....


This morning. Photos copyright SvD. This sheep looks at the hound and I with utter disdain as we walk past every day. I love the black patch which adds to that look of utter antipathy. The local vicar who is a frequent walking partner dislikes sheep and often remarks that they are 'born to die'. That's usually when I remind the vicar that faith is about peace and love... Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Setting Sun.


Nature teaches us about how irrelevant we are in the grand scheme of things. The sun rises and sets in spite of us. Think about that. Tonight on my walk:   Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Summer Light.


The summer sun has such intensity as it energises nature with an overdose of vitality to flourish, reproduce and bear fruit. One of my favourite books is L'Etranger by Albert Camus and the scene where the protagonist is blinded by the sun and pulls the trigger is a masterstroke of writing, creating an image that is instantly emblazoned on the brain. I used to live in a village where the only exit road meant you drove right into the sun and because the landscape was completely flat the sun appeared as a giant orb on a very close horizon. One had the sensation of driving into Hades quite literally, and for five or more seconds it was impossible to see the road or oncoming cars at all. The summ...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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The Secret to Happiness.


You'll find it the words above. Look carefully. One sentence will stand out and will change your life forever. Good luck. Photo copyright SvD. Blenheim Palace. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Blenheim Palace: an exquisite tonic.


Having dropped in to see my doctor on Tuesday and asking him to find a pulse, he informed me that my blood pressure has hit the roof from stress. I must immediately find a work-life balance according to him. Ha, ha. Perhaps I should have asked him to marry me straight away if only he would promise that I could finally have a rest and spend the rest of my life reclining on sable rugs and sipping champagne while draped in priceless diamonds and little else. Anyway, after snapping myself out of a pointless fantasy and having checked my blood pressure maniacally over 48 hours, I then felt courageous enough to drive down to Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill and home of the Duke of ...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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The most beautiful countryside.


Having bounced around the world, I've  learned to be still. Having gone through every bad experience you can imagine, I've learned to understand what is good. Walk. Think. These are ways of giving thanks in silence. This vista on my evening walk today fills me with gratitude. Peace. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Perception is everything.


Is this an aerial view of a dense forest in some unspoilt part of the world? No. It's the oxygenators, those plants which oyxgenate the water in a pond so that the fish will not go belly up. Can you spot the blue dragonfly? You thought it was a forest. See how our perception keeps us away from the truth? Believe what you want, see what you want, think what you want but never lose sight of the dragonfly and when you blink he'll  be gone. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Love is the answer.


On my walk this morning. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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The path to understanding.


Kundera wrote about the pathway to understanding being a straight line. I have been much derided in my life for planting things in straight lines. So here's Mr Badger tonight hoovering up grubs and surprise, surprise, there's his little trail as he goes through the clover: in a straight bloody line. And they called me stupid. Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Mr Badger goes walkabout.


I worry about this badger as he has decided he's not nocturnal at all. We frequently cross paths early morning and evening. I know where he lives. He doesn't seem to mind either the hound or I and will simply puff himself up and hiss if the hound gets too close. Luckily, the geriatric hound poses no threat and responds to my effing and blinding, returning promptly to my side. This badger is juvenile and I used to see him chattering to his sibling while sitting on the mound of their set. I fear his sibling is dead as badger baiting is practiced in these parts. I hope not because I like badgers and this one is quite a sweet little thing and I am hoping we shall get to know each other (and he s...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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How to live and How to eat.


To the horror of my guests, I ate snails at my wedding reception while they had to settle for chicken breasts stuffed with pistachios. The marriage didn't last but my love of snails did. I remain particularly fond of the little blighters especially when a crusty home-made bread and a merlot accompany them. Mix parsley finely chopped with lots of garlic and far too much butter, a splash of cognac, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake in a very hot oven (220 degrees C) until bubbling. PS This is not my recipe but classic ESCARGOTS A LA BOURGUIGNONNE. Worry about tomorrow tomorrow. My idea of happiness. Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Decorative Pillows

Decorative Pillows
Boy, have I been waiting a long time to get into this subject. Nobody ever warned me… no father, no brother, no friend, no priest, no doctor, no mortician, and no lawyer. Excuse me if I missed your profession. I am mad. LOL Marriage is a good thing. Children are good thing. Good is a good thing. But kids grow up and mommy isn’t as busy as she used to be. Kids clothing and needs leave no room for individual expression. More time for hair and decorative pillows. I never knew they existed. Now there is nowhere to sit down and just be a guy without sitting on one of those damn things. Doesn’t let my butt get fully on the seat, chair, cushion, bench, sofa, or bed! If you dare to move it you get “...
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Make hay while the sun shines.


The neighbouring farm slaughtered their lambs and for the past six weeks has allowed the grass to grow in the field where once the ewes and lambs lived. Tonight the farmer is cutting the grass which he will leave to dry in the field for a few days and then he will make bales of hay to store in hangars over Winter.  The farmer needs to be assured of a good dry spell otherwise the hay will rot and won't keep over the Winter months. Today in London moped muggers were raiding luxury stores. The thieves must be congratulating themselves on their easy pickings. Elsewhere in our green and pleasant land, a farmer is still at work at 19h15 as I write this and if he doesn't  diligently plan to make ha...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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The Oldest Book in the World


“The gold in one’s heart is far more precious than the gold in one’s purse.” --Confucius While doing research on fortune cookies, good luck and fate for my upcoming novel, I came across some interesting tidbits about the I Ching. First, I learned it’s the most influential book in China. Most families have a copy of the revered book of wisdom because they feel it brings them good health and prosperity. The I Ching, also called “The Book of Changes”can be traced back as far as 7,000 B.C. when a sage by the name of Fuxi (please don’t try pronouncing his name if you’re in an office full of people.) had many lessons to share about fishing, hunting and marriage. He began to use mystic symbols that...
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'I've lost me mum!'


There is an expression in Latin that the mother determines  the destiny of a child (hence the reason we blame our parents for f.... g up our lives). I was reminded as I found this fledgling probably out learning to fly on his mum's instructions and trying to go incognito from the hound and I as we walked past tonight and what was really going through his mind was 'where's mum? Help!'. I hope this little mite found his mum and she taught him how to fly. I still wish I had a mum. Photo copyright  SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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The Mysterious Clover


Clover grows wild where I live and only once have I ever found a four-leaf clover (in twenty years!). Clover seems to grow in straight lines and will run all around the periphery of a field. I often marvel at the design on the leaves......Although all the leaves appear identical, they are not. Look closely. A good lesson of how nature can't clone itself. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall
Democrats and Republicans. It’s nasty. Partisan wars. Character assassination is the glory of media. Good and evil. The other party is evil. The other party is never good. Satan’s trap has been laid for our own self-immolation. Debate is no longer an art. It is Schifty accusation with the twinkle of self-righteousness in the eye. What can we do? Pews are being asked to choose sides outside. Inside the message of the pulpit remains the same. Serve one another and serve the poor. Cherish the Truth of the Word. Don’t change it to suit the morays of the times. Forgive sinners, but don’t validate their sin. Agree to disagree so you can still hold hands and pray together. Tradition is not evil. Ma...
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Rams in the mist.


The sheep have been shorn of their Winter coats and the lambs are still frolicking in the fields. Every day I think they will be gone to market but they're still suckling at three months and always staying close to mum. Despite there being a couple hundred ewes and hundreds of lambs, even when separated, the lamb will run to his mum when she calls. The rams are kept in a separate adjoining field and now they are shorn, look quite ethereal. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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Do your own thing.


Each of us is unique. Why not discover how. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

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