This site is the bee's knees

Leave a comment

Flanders field

Flanders Field -


This is my tribute to Claude Monet’s painting – “Poppies near Argenteuil” but also a summer field of poppies has become an internationally recognized symbol of remembrance

Blank Greeting Cards available from Smallwoollyelephant on Etsy or from Fine Art America

Leave a comment

‘Sand in Our Shoes’ – Tote Bag –

'Sand in Our Shoes' - Tote Bag -

‘Sand in Our Shoes’ – Tote Bag –

(also Duvet Covers, Shower Curtains, Prints and Greeting Cards)

This is a favorite because as a family we have spent lovely windy days
on this beach that seems to stretch forever

and brought home seashells

also (almost) lyrics from a song

1 Comment

There are no winners

Just thinking about what is happening in Calais and feel for the many people who are caught up in it – the people and their children themselves who are fleeing from countrys at war and their familys back home – hoping for them to have an opportunity somewhere safer but reallising the risks of what they are doing. The problems they have faced and are facing – are so many and so huge. It is impressive in the temporary area in Calais they have organised schools, shops, phone charging points and churches. Desperate but often very educated people.

We have heard some people are walking from the Mediterannean ports where they arrive – all the way to Calais.


les jungles à Calais -

les jungles à Calais -

Le camps de Tioxide.Plusieurs nationalités étaient rassemblées ici (Soudanais, Erythréens, Pakistanais). La plus grande jungle de Calais, qui a rassemblé plus de 700 migrants à été complètement évacuée. Ne restent plus que quelques tentes encore debout, des déchets. Deux migrants démontent la mosquée pour la reconstruire dans les dunes.Tous les migrants des différentes jungles se voient contraints d’évacuer ces zones pour aller s’installer dans les dunes, ou les standards minimums d’urgence ne sont pas respectés, malgré l’insistance des associations d’aide aux migrants. Ces nouveaux camps se construisent aux alentour de Jules Ferry, nouveau centre d’accueil de jour pour les migrants qui ouvrira définitivement ses portes mi-avril.
Le gymnase où étaient logés femmes et enfants. Médecin du Monde y avait installé des cabines d’hygiène et toilettes.

 Photographs by-


Others caught up in this – are lorrys drivers,  waiting outside the ports with loads they cant leave, parked up besides the roads either over here in UK or over in France in the ferry or tunnel terminals and also their familys who they are away from longer than normal.

How do the lorry drivers manage with food and washing or if they have health problems?

Haulage companys are loosing money and businesses whose food and products are being tranported and will possibly go to waste. Hopefully there are not animals in these lorrys.

Ferry ports and the tunnel, are also losing money and credability and familys on both sides of the Channel looking forward to their holidays probably are also spending hours hauled up outside the ports, frightened of being caught up with their familys in what is happening there, maybe older people frightened of being hurt by desperate people.

Other collateral damage – familys living in houses not far from the motorways where trucks are parked up for days in ‘Operation Stack’

There are no winners. Many of us originally came from somewhere else – so how can you not help?

Population Density and Applications for Asylum:

UK267/km2 (population of over 62 million) and applications for asylum: 30,000
Sweden 24/km2 (population of 9 million) and applications for asylum: 50,000
Germany232/km2 and applications for asylum: ~110,000
US35/km2  and applications for asylum: ~90,000

(to put population density in perspective – the population density in India is 426/km2)

World Bank Population Density (figures above are for 2010-2014)
Asylum seekers graphics

Perhaps it is about investing in the countrys where the problems are – so people wont want to run – but in the short term perhaps it is just about the EU sitting down or a bigger organisation involving countrys outside Europe and working out a solution for offering asylum in all countrys – maybe even beyond Europe, taking into account population densitys and economy of all countrys.

Have no other answers or suggestions sadly but with most big problems – you can’t firefight – you need to find real workable solutions with compassion for all the people involved and we need to help resolve and discuss whatever the problems are in the countrys from which people are fleeing.

Wonder about the vaccumn left behind in a country where the young, fit and strong leave.


Leave a comment

Sand Castles and Cherrys

Sand Castles -
Unexpected lovely weekend, day trip to France thru the tunnel, although delays – not too bad – then croissants, visit to very small chocolate factory, crepes, beautiful french countryside and medieval towns on hill tops and always somehow find our way back to the sandy beach at Wissant where there always seems to be low tide..

and today picked maybe 18kgs of cherrys from one small tree renting on a farm near Bodiam Castle. People picking nearby had a schnauzer who liked cherrys too

Leave a comment

Tour de Yorkshire

This completly passed me by – the first three stages of the Tour de France are in England this year and begin in Leeds to Harrogate on the 5th July (York to Sheffield on the 6th and Cambridge to London on the 7th).

This is a link to a competition to win one of 38 ‘Tours de France or just dream about travelling around France (the competition is for UK residents only but a good site for information about France).

My favorite things about visiting France – watching the white cliffs disappear on a ferry heading for France, small bakerys everywhere selling croissants, wide beaches, outdoor markets, pavement cafes, chateaux, gardens south of Paris then long roads leading to the south…..

Leave a comment

Happiest moments (so far)

asked both my mum and dad what was the happiest moment of their lives so far and they both said when they met each other, sort of suspected this – but think its really sweet

for me, its lots of moments – these are some

having my son, passing driving test (after 4 goes), getting my degree, fishing for mackerel (summer, out at sea, clear blue sky) with mum, dad and sister in Greece, sleeping in the ruins of a temple near Athens because we couldnt find a hotel with enough empty rooms for all of us (also with mum, dad, sister and some people we met) – we saw the sun set and warm wind blow cardboard boxes around us and pack of dogs chasing something, we had sweetcorn roasted outside on a street corner for breakfast – cant remember much about Athens thou

being outside on a ferry in the summer watching white cliffs disappearing and a seagull gliding next to the ferry, interrailing round Europe, visiting Schoonhoven (moated small silversmithing town in the Netherlands near Kinderdijk), seeing a dolphin in the sea off coast of Naples and silhouette of Vesuvius infront of us, eating ripe peaches in Italy that you buy from someone selling at the roadside

seeing our Fluf at the back door when he’d disappeared for a week,

travel almost anywhere but first time went to Paris and sitting on the steps leading down from the Sacre Coeur and looking at all of Paris spread infront, visiting food and vegetable markets anywhere to get something nice for breakfast, cycling round all the basins in Versaille when the snowdrops were out, sitting under leafy canopy in Jardin de Tuileries with a coffee and a cake, seeing the water lily paintings in Musée de l’Orangerie, visiting Monet’s garden in Giverny

travelling with my son

visiting Lappland and staying in a log cabin next to a frozen lake, seeing a moose in the wild, skiing, looking for the northern lights (never seen them yet), riding on a snowmobile and a sleigh pulled by huskys

home (where i grew up) and family and home where we live now, all our animals, skylarks swooping on the downs in summer

bonfires in the autumn, fireworks, building leaf houses with my sister when we were small

pulling weeds in our garden and seeing flowers and vegetables grown survive slug and snail attacks

walking, swimming early in the morning when few people around

someone wading in to help me, when got dragged out by waves and couldnt make my way back (autumn swimming in the sea with friends)

Christmas eve, seeing seven lights in the windows passing by in the dark crunching thru the snow