Wedding herbs are the in thing for couples 'tying the knot' these days. However, herbs at weddings are nothing new.

There is a long tradition, dating back centuries, of herbs being used at weddings. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, she  bucked the tradition of using herbs and started a new trend for flowers to be used instead.

The use of wedding herbs is, however, making a huge comeback.

Beautiful, fragrant herbs are being used both as bridal bouquets and as centrepieces on the tables at wedding receptions.

One man who is pleased about this revival is herb grower Paul Farrow of Trimley Herbs who is finding his plants in big demand from brides.

wedding herbs
wedding herbs

 

To see the whole gallery of Trimley Herbs images please click here.

Growing Beautiful Wedding Herbs Makes a Change From Delivering Mail!

Paul, a postie by trade, has been growing herbs as a hobby for several years.

He did not expect that the beautiful plants he was lovingly cultivating would one day be used as wedding herbs or that brides would be coming to him for advice about their wedding bouquets!

Paul fell into herb growing almost by accident when fellow postie Chris introduced him to the world of herbs a few years ago.

He was hooked from that moment and was lucky enough to be given the use of an elegant Georgian greenhouse in the heart of Suffolk, somewhere along the coast. The exact location remains undisclosed because it is in a private garden 30 miles away from where Paul lives in Felixstowe.

Paul is very grateful for the opportunity to use such an historic structure in which to nurture his herbs.

 
wedding herbs
 

Award Winning Wedding Herbs

He has become somewhat of an expert on herbs thanks to the knowledge Chris has passed on. In 2015, they decided to contact the organisers of the prestigious Suffolk Show to ask if they could exhibit their herbs.

A Suffolk Show representative came out to look at their plants and wholeheartedly agreed they should exhibit their herbs at the show.

To their amazement, they won a Silver Gilt Award and interest in their business began to grow.

Owing to other commitments, Chris has now decided to stand back and allow Paul to move forward with Trimley Herbs, however, he remains a constant source of knowledge for Paul to draw on when needed.

wedding herbs
wedding herbs
wedding herbs

Wedding herbs are becoming a major focus for Paul as couples return to the older traditions of times gone by.

Properties of individual herbs have great significance for the wedding day and beyond.

For example, Rosemary represents remembrance and fidelity, Lavender – undying love, Lemon Verbena - unity, Thyme - courage and strength, Wormwood represents affection while Yarrow represents everlasting love.

It is easy to see why wedding herbs are so popular when they represent many of the desired qualities of life.

They also bring so many wonderful aromas to a wedding reception when pots are used as centerpieces for the tables.

wedding herbs
wedding herbs

 

www.trimleyherbs.co.uk

If you would like to get in touch with Trimley Herbs, please click on the link above.

Trimley Herbs is definitely at the forefront of the revival in wedding herbs.

While I was there photographing a selection of herb pots that will be used as centrepieces at a wedding this month, another bride and groom came to have a chat with Paul about their wedding and there are more in the pipeline.

While I was there, Chris encouraged me to taste and smell a few of the more unusual herbs. I was amazed at the incredible flavours and aromas.

They have a wide selection of Mint plants such as Pineapple Mint, Blackcurrant Mint, Morroccan Mint and many others.

Although there is huge interest in Paul's plants for weddings, they also have a big future in the culinary world where herbs are being pushed to the fore by celebrity chefs.

So watch out for Trimley Herbs and if you get the chance, visit their exhibit at the Suffolk show on June 1st and 2nd. There is far more to their business than simply supplying wedding herbs as we will no doubt see in the future. 

wedding herbs
wedding herbs
wedding herbs

 See the stunning array of plants grown by Paul Farrow of Trimley Herbs. 

To start the slide show, click on the first small square image.

For details on what Paul does, click here to read about him in another post.

 

Trimley Herbs
 

www.trimleyherbs.co.uk 

If you would like to contact Trimley Herbs, click on the above link to find details.

Jews Burial Ground Ipswich UK 12 Two Gravestones

Forgotten people of the world are many and varied however, some of them have left clues that remind us they were once here.

Some clues are celebrated and looked after well so that future generations can understand who they were and how they lived.

Others are hidden away and left to the ravages of time and, to the rough hand of modern man who, it seems, just wants to forget that some people were ever here.

But who decides which past people or communities will live on through the years by having the evidence of their existence preserved and put on public view?

who decides which past people or communities will live on through the years by having the… Click To Tweet

For example, the  Ancient House in Ipswich UK, a building that dates back to the 15th Century, has had a tremendous amount of money spent on it to prevent it from crumbling away. You can read about the history of the building and the people associated with it here.

 
forgotten people
 

You will see that there is a secret room where folklore says King Charles II hid after being defeated at the Battle of Worcester. This is unlikely to be true. However, what is accepted as being true is that this hidden room was used by Catholics as a secret place of worship during the civil wars.

What is accepted as being true is that this hidden room was used by Catholics as a secret place… Click To Tweet

Knowing this helps us connect with people from the past and helps stop them from becoming forgotten people. We can imagine what it must have been like to have a belief that was so hated, the people had to worship in secret.

The history of this beautiful old building is widely known, discussed, celebrated and respected. It features as part of Ipswich's rich history and is known to tourists the world over. 

Ipswich's Forgotten People - Who Decides Which historic Buildings and sites should be treasured?

Contrast this with the Jews' burial ground I wrote about in my previous post, which you can read by clicking here, and you will see that all historic sites are not treated equally.

If you watch my short film found in my previous post, you will see the history of the thriving Jewish community that once lived in Ipswich appears not to be that important in the grand scheme of things. 

The Jews that once lived in Ipswich are very much in danger of becoming forgotten people, in spite of the fact that one of the women buried in the tiny Jewish cemetery is said to have had her portrait painted by Sir John Constable, a world renowned Suffolk artist whose works hang in notable galleries around the world.

I ask again, who decides which historic sites should be preserved, respected, celebrated, put on show, loved, admired, discussed publicly and treated with respect? Who makes those decisions in a town?

Who decides which communities or individuals should be remembered and which ones left to become forgotten people?

Who decides which communities or individuals should be remembered and which ones left to become… Click To Tweet

Forgotten people

Christchurch Mansion

Above you see Christchurch Mansion, one of Ipswich's best loved and preserved buildings dating back to the 1500s. We know about many of the people who lived here over the years.
They will never be forgotten people as long as this building is preserved and made available to the public to visit. Many of those who lived here were titled people considered to be of great importance in the town's history and as such, worthy of being remembered.
Everyone who lives locally knows about Christchurch Mansion and its history. School children go on trips to this place to learn about the history of their town and the people who came before them. 
But do these children grow up with an honest, well-rounded view of the past and the various people who have shaped their town over the years?

Star Lane Car Wash and an Ancient Jewish Burial Ground with Grade II Listed Walls

Above you see an historic site that does not have the same respect afforded it as Christchurch Mansion. To the left of the shot you can just see the orange coloured brick walls that give shelter to the graves of those buried here. This site should tell the story of a community that came to our shores to work and be a part of the town's history.
A community of people that was at first allowed to live in England, then thrown out by Edward 1st in 1290, then invited back in the mid 1600s by Cromwell. 
The people buried behind the car wash had stories to tell and lives as important as anyone who has ever lived in the town. They are a part of its rich and diverse history. But few people know about them.

The Forgotten People of Ipswich - Who Are They?

The forgotten people I refer to were the last community of Jewish settlers to make their homes in Ipswich prior to modern times.

Jews first came to the UK in significant numbers in 1066 with William the Conqueror. I did not know this until I began to look into the history behind the Jews' burial ground in my old home town.

Why didn't I already know this? We had history lessons at school. We went on field trips to places of historic interest around our town and county.

We learned all about the people who came before us and had a hand in developing our town - except for the Jews who came here. No one told us about them or the little gem of a graveyard where some of them were laid to rest.

I didn't know about that until I stumbled on it myself many years ago in my adult life. Why did these industrious people never figure in our history lessons?

 

 
forgotten people
 
 
The forgotten people of Ipswich - local Jews who have been sleeping here since the 1700s and 1800s while the town gradually forgot them.
 

Jews played a huge role in the economic development of England because the religious laws here at the time prevented any kind of money lending for profit.

Judaism did not hinder business dealings in this way and the lending of money for profit between Jews and non-Jews was allowed.

There is no point in me rehashing the history behind all this when you can read it for yourself by clicking here.

Reading through the article linked to above, it seems clear to me that Jews, brought to England by William the Conqueror, were used to fulfil an economic function that no one else could perform at the time.

It also seems clear to me that they undertook this function because there were precious few other opportunities open to them to make a living in this country due to 'extreme discrimination in every other area'.

Despite the fact that the Jews and their money helped build the economy of the day, they appear to have been hated for doing just that. They appear to have been in a no-win situation.

Despite the fact that the Jews and their money helped build the economy of the day, they appear… Click To Tweet

Not only were they hated for being able to make money when English religion prevented us from using the same methods, but they had much of their wealth randomly stolen by the King, the authority they were directly answerable to, in the form of taxes whenever he wanted money.

He levied the taxes against them whenever he felt like it and took whatever he wanted.

 

 
forgotten people
 
 
William the Conqueror brought Jews to England in 1066 because, according to this article he believed their 'commercial skills and incoming capital would make England more prosperous'. The Jews were not treated very well despite being blatantly used to further the economic interests of this country when our own religion forbade money-lending for profit.
 

The Forgotten People Were Once an Intergral Part of England's Economic Structure

It seems that the commercial talents of Jews were highly sought after but hated at the same time. We wanted the rewards that their financial brilliance could bring to England while at the same time, we appeared to be insanely jealous of their abilities.

It seems that whilst being happy to borrow their money and reap the benefits of that money, we were also resentful of the inevitable indebtedness that came with it.

We wanted the Jews to use their business acumen to our advantage while also persecuting them for it. The ridiculous tussle between need and discrimination went on until eventually, King Edward expelled Jews from England, taking all their property and income from outstanding debts.

The ridiculous tussle between need and discrimination went on until eventually, King Edward I… Click To Tweet

 
forgotten people
 
 
Kind Edward I - was responsible for the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290 after they had been used for many years to bolster the economy.
 

The Coming of Jews To Ipswich 

Cromwell eventually allowed Jews to return to our shores in the mid 1600s many of them migrated to port towns to establish trade.

The Port of Ipswich, was a natural choice and by 1792, the town had a settled community of around 30 Jewish families.

With the help of benefactors Simon Hyam and Levi Lazarus, the community was able to build a synagogue for worship in Rope Walk.

The natural progression was the need for a burial ground and in 1796, they bought a 999 year lease from a local bricklayer on a plot of land enclosed by four walls.

 
forgotten people
 
 
The ancient burial ground today - the green car wash building can be seen abutting the North wall of the site.
 

These are the walls that still surround the graves to this day. The walls that are surrounded by cars and a noisy car wash. 

Walls that were built in 1764 and, are of such historic significance, the government saw fit to give them Grade II listed status.

The full story of the burial ground is recorded here and is worth reading to get a sense of why it seems so unbelievable that a local authority would give permission for a car wash to be sited there.

The Forgotten People of Ipswich are not Forgotten at All

No, they are not forgotten people, they are the neglected people. They are ignored people. Why - who knows? There have been claims that vandalism will happen if people know the burial ground is there.

There is absolutely no history of anti-semitism in Ipswich that I know of.  I have no idea why anyone would think this little cemetery is in any more danger of vandalism that the ruins of Blackfriars Priory which is a stone's throw away and clearly marked by tourist sign boards.

Keeping it secret really just ensures that those buried there will eventually really become forgotten people meaning they will be lost forever.

Keeping it secret really just ensures that those buried there will eventually really become… Click To Tweet

It also ensures that signs can be bolted to the listed walls that should be protected and no one will complain. It is hard to complain about something if you don't know what is happening.

After I wrote my previous post on this, I was contacted by people with similar stories about sacred burial grounds that have been built on.

A writer from the US, who has a website here, told me about an African American burial ground in New York that has a bus station built on it.

Another writer from Canada who has a website here told me of another black burial ground in Ontario that was ploughed over and used for farmland.

There is a link to an interesting  video about it here.

So it seems that the forgotten people of Ipswich are not unique. It is happening everywhere.

The question I asked at the start of this post still remains - who decides which buildings, sites and monuments get to be preserved for future generations to see?

And who decides that it is perfectly ok for some people to be lost in time and become the forgotten people of our world?

Jews Burial Ground Ipswich UK 13 Gravestones

Historic Jewish Burial Ground Neglected and Lost In a Sea of Cars


As people scurry around Ipswich in their cars, many will come very close to a site of huge historic significance. A site that even has a connection to Suffolk's celebrated, world-renowned artist, Sir John Constable.

However, many will be unaware of the sacred, historic burial ground where the remains of the town's once thriving Jewish community were laid to rest.

Why? Because despite the deep and interesting history attached to the site, it appears to be neglected and largely ignored as part of the town's rich and diverse heritage.


 After watching this film and reading this post, if you have any questions, comments or further information on this subject please contact me via the form found here.

Historic Burial Ground Does Not Have A Tourist Information Board - Why?

Not far away, the historic ruins of St Mary Black Friars, a Dominican friary dating back to the 1200s have been preserved and two large information boards tell visitors the history of the site.

Not so for the Jews' Burial ground which dates back to 1796 and is the place where one of Sir John Constable's subjects was almost certainly laid to rest in 1808.

Not only is this historic burial ground and the land around it being allowed to fall into a state of decay but somebody seems to have sanctioned the siting of a busy, shabby,  hand car wash against the north wall of this site, a wall of such historic importance to the town, it is protected with  listed status.

burial ground

This burial ground is so significant in the town's history, it was given Grade II listed status in August 2008.

Given that the Government bestowed listed status on the walls of this burial ground, shouldn't it be protected from the random spray and dirty water run off from a car wash? Is it even appropriate to have a car wash anywhere near it?

If so, what is to stop someone setting up a scruffy burger van in the garden of Christchurch Mansion - a Grade I listed building much prized by the town.

Does a historic site such as this cemetery not deserve respect and care so that future generations may understand our town's ethnically diverse past a little better?

Is it appropriate to have a car wash encroaching on a listed, historic UK burial ground? Click To Tweet

Hundreds of people will park their cars just yards from the grave of Sarah Lyon who, in 1805 had her portrait painted by Sir John Constable. However, despite the huge significance of this, for some reason, the citizens of Ipswich are not encouraged to know this. There are no signs to tell you about the rich history of this site or its link with one of Suffolk's most beloved sons.

While other sites of historic importance in the town are kept in the public eye by blue plaques, information boards and the brown/white tourist road signs, this burial ground is left neglected, hidden behind a car wash as the walls gradually crumble away with time.

burial ground
burial ground

Why Is This Burial Ground Kept Secret?

One reason put forward in the past for not publicising it is that to do so would attract vandalism. I am not sure who made that decision or why it was thought that this place was any more likely to attract vandals than Black Friars, but I will come back to that issue in my next post dealing with the history of Jews in Ipswich - click here to read about how Jews came to be in England and eventually, Ipswich.

The point is, as long as the people of Ipswich are not allowed to know about this place, then they cannot stand up and object to the neglect it is suffering from and demand it be preserved for future generations to see.

Surely if more of the caring, intelligent and sensible population of Ipswich is aware of what is happening then more voices will be calling for the site's listed status to be respected and will also demand measures be put in place to protect it.

 It is ironic that while 'someone' has decided it should be protected from vandalism by keeping it a secret from the people of the town, 'someone' else has decided it is ok to bolt ugly signs to the Grade II listed walls and have a carwash right next to it. Vandalism clearly comes in many forms.

The bricks making up the lower part of the east wall have lost most of the mortar. The metal gate is rusty and looks shabby. The site has a derelict feel to it.

burial ground
burial ground

There are cracks in the walls in various places and when the walls were listed in 2008, it was noted that no maintenance work had been done in recent years.

Is any maintenance work being done now? The lack of mortar in the bottom of the centuries old east wall, an issue that could de-stabilise the entire wall says maybe not.

Even more ironically, the site has been written about in a book, available from Amazon, called Secret Ipswich by Susan Gardiner. From the information given in the book, one would not have to be a genius to work out the exact location of the burial ground.

 

 

I have been aware of this site for many years and have visited it regularly. The decline in the fabric of the surrounding area is blatantly obvious to me. The car park that surrounds the burial ground is a mess. It is a jumble of red block paving and uneven, broken concrete interspersed with mud which, in one area, is made worse by the car wash water run-off.

Is the Neglect of the Burial Ground Bad For the Town's Image?

Ipswich is a place that has been mocked by comedians for many years; it even made the list in a book many years ago called Crap Towns. It is not surprising, in my opinion, that Ipswich struggles with this reputation when we see how neglected important places like the Jews' burial ground are.

The nearby waterfront is, in my view, a horrendous mishmash of half finished buildings and the ones that are finished and occupied are already showing signs of poor weathering. Some of the buildings look grubby and one is still missing some cladding that blew off in the wind last year.

The infamous 'wine-rack', an unfinished high-rise development still blights the landscape years after the developer ceased work.

Ipswich is a place that has been mocked by comedians for many years. I wonder why? Click To Tweet

burial ground
burial ground

It is not unusual to see council bods and others in the public eye congratulating themselves over revamping shopping centres that have been dying on their feet for years while berating critics for not being more supportive of the town. 

However, when people see how shoddy the town has become in certain areas and how badly the potholed roads are affecting their cars, a couple of tarted-up shopping centres are not going to keep the council-tax paying public happy.

The health of a town is not just about shopping centres and commerce. It is about spirituality, history and preservation.

The neglected Jews' burial ground is proof of how a Grade II listed building can rot away in… Click To Tweet

 
burial ground
 

 

Everything I have written here is my own opinion - of course others may not agree. I welcome any comments people may have, particularly readers in the USA. Is this kind of neglect of historic places common where you live?

For more information on the Jews' burial ground and why it was listed visit www.ipswichsociety.org.uk/newsletter and 

www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk .

Should this historic burial ground be teated with more respect by the local authority than allowing a car wash to operate there?

Junk Jewellery

Junk Jewellery is an obsession with me.

Why? Because making junk jewellery is fun, inexpensive and helps recycle waste.

When people give me presents, I am just as grateful for whatever wrappings, boxes or tissue that come with them.

Only last month my lovely friends in Brighton sent me flowers that came with gorgeous red tissue.

After I had arranged the flowers, I set about turning the 'junk' they were wrapped in (the stuff people often screw up and throw away), into jewellery.

One of my favourite things to do is make something from the detritus of people's kindness and… Click To Tweet

My theory is, it will always remind them of their own kindness and let them know how much it meant.

So that is why I turned the tissue in the pic below into the junk jewellery you see bedside it.


 

junk jewellery
junk jewellery

Junk Jewellery is surprisingly tough.

People often ask me how I can possibly make a wearable bracelet out of paper and even flimsy tissue paper.

I use all sorts of things to glaze my beads but I have also been developing my technique for heat-glazing them - which is what I did with these tissue paper beads.

Watch out over on my other website. www.funcraftstodoathome.com where I will eventually be posting a tutorial on how I did this.

If you live in Suffolk, UK and want to learn how to make junk jewellery from scrap paper, visit www.the thrifty thistle.co.uk where you will find details of paper bead making classes.

junk jewellery

Wear Your Junk Jewellery With Pride!

The pieces you see here were made from very small discarded paper bags. You can make junk jewellery from practically any piece of scrap paper - it's surprising how many beads you can make from an opened out paper bag.

So the next time you buy a birthday card and take it home in a paper bag, don't screw the bag up and throw away.

See it as a precious craft resource and make a beautiful junk jewellery bracelet to send with the card. Have fun!

If you want to know more about my junk jewellery process, leave a comment or fill in the contact form.

paper pendants

Paper Pendants made from food packaging are easy and fun to make.

You can also use your own abstract artwork to create the pendant front. The paper pendants you see above were made from card cut out of a cereal box.

They were shaped and moulded by a sophisticated technique which requires the most inexpensive tool in my craft room - an empty toilet roll tube.

And I created the channel through the back of the pendant, where the stringing material goes through, by using another amazing technique involving a skinny, flexible birthday cake candle.

Oh yes - I have all the latest crafting gadgets in my craft room! 

If you want to find out how I created these paper pendants, visit www.funcraftstodoathome.com where you will find a step-by-step video tutorial explaining how I use my very unsophisticated tools to create these bright, chunky and durable pieces of jewellery.

The vibrant color of the paper pendants here is from an abstract painting I did and shoved in the drawer where most of my art ends up.

I have stacks of abstract paintings that I routinely use in my craft projects.

And that's great for me because whenever I get the urge to splosh acrylics around, I know that I will be creating more resources to choose from when I need bright splashy images to punch out for a project.

The paintings you see on the right are some of my 'works of art' that will never make it onto anyone's wall.

They are the result of my many creative sessions where the curtains and floors were very much in danger of being hit by flying paint.

These pictures are evidence that during such sessions, some of my acrylic paint does in fact end up on the paper.

 

paper pendants

The fun for me is in the doing rather than striving to create 'a painting'. I am arty but I have no discernible artistic talent for producing stuff that sells.

But I don't care because I love having a drawer full of colorful images to use in my crafts.

And that is how I produced these paper pendants. Anyone can paint, all you need is the courage to splosh and have fun regardless of outcome.

As a crafter, making paper pendants and many other beautiful things, I don't throw much away!

I have a stash of junk paper, card and tissue that saves me a massive amount of money.

When I see people buying expensive craft paper and other materials, I shudder. Many of the projects I see on line are (in my humble opinion!) too perfect and samey.

By that, I mean a gazillion people are using the same scrap booking paper designs by the popular designers in that field. I prefer my projects to look unique and not so perfect.

I see many people producing lovely cards, albums and scrap booking projects that all have the same kind of 'pretty pretty' but clinical look.

A bo-ho, individual rougher kind of look is what I go for and so using recycled paper and packaging scrap that was never meant for crafting is much better for me.

I love that I can produce beautiful objects from paper that most people would throw away.

If you would like to get started with making something pretty from junk, follow the link to www.funcraftsathome.com and follow my easy step-by-step tutorial.

Paper Pendants - Links to some of the products I used to create mine.

If you have been over to www.funcraftstodoathome and watched the tutorial video, maybe you would like have a go yourself. I have pasted some links below to help you get some of the products I used.

Please note - I receive a teeny weeny commission from Amazon when anyone purchases a product I have posted on my site. However, you have my word that I only post products I feel happy to recommend.

metadata

Metadata revealing information about you may be hidden in the pictures you post online. 

It is good practice to remove hidden metadata before you post any pictures on the internet, especially if you use smart phones or other devices that embed GPS information into the images.

There are several different ways you can remove metadata but I have found one very simple way that ensures all the recorded metadata has gone.

There are several different ways you can remove metadata from pics but I have found one very… Click To Tweet

In the above video, I show the method I use to get rid of unwanted metadata in my pictures before I post them anywhere online. This kind of data can be anything from what camera or device you used, to the exact location where you took it.

If the security of anyone in the pictures is an issue, for example, you may not want to publicise where your children live, then removing the metadata is important.

You can also check to see if you can change the settings on your camera or device so that GPS data is not recorded. That way, the location will not be available in the first place.

However, if you are posting pictures you took while the settings were allowing GPS metadata to be recorded, you may want to get rid of it before you send your pictures out into the world.

metadata

How much easily readable private information is embedded in your pretty pictures online?

For more information about metadata myths v facts, click here.

For more insights into reasons why you might want to think twice before posting pictures with all the juicy meta data intact, click to read this disturbing New York Times article -  Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live.

My way of removing metadata is just one method. There are many others.  I find my way quick, easy and very effective. I am not relying on an app to do it, I am removing the metadata myself  by creating a whole new document that has never been in my camera.

What are your thoughts on metadata? Do you take care to remove it before posting family pics?

What are your thoughts on metadata? Do you take care to remove it before posting family pics? Click To Tweet

Friday Blog Booster Party

e mail scams

E Mail scams - have you ever been a victim of one?

I have had quite a few hilarious E Mail scams  come my way over the years. They have kept me entertained as I marvel at how such wealthy people (who can't wait to share it with li'l old me!) cannot get to grips with English grammar and the spelling of such simple words.

E Mail scams - have you ever been a victim of one? Click To Tweet

For example 'may I please to have mother her maiden name and you bank accunt information thank yo'

'may I please to have mother her maiden name and you bank accunt information thank yo' Click To Tweet

Er...let me think about that for a minute...NO! Oh ok then, my mother her maiden name be Rothschild and my bank 'accunt' information is 1234 GO FCUK YOURSELF!!!!!

Who are these people trawling the internet and sending out this crap to people? E Mail scams probably do catch out some people but I really have no idea how. Here is one I received just this week.

scam emails

I was a little offended that he addressed me as 'sir'. It made me suspect that despite wanting to give me lots and lots of his money, he had not spent time getting to know me well enough to realise I am a madam and not a sir. It also upset me a little that he thinks I did a 'kind respond' to him at some point. Could he be getting me mixed up with someone else?

Surely not because it sounds as if I am the only one he has sent this letter to. After all, I am the chosen one who obviously has enough financial expertise to successfully invest $10,600,00 USD on his behalf.

It was a little worrying that he felt the need to spell out $10,600,000 USD in words. It was almost as if he thought I may not be able to comprehend big numbers with lots of zeros.

It was a little worrying that he felt the need to spell out $10,600,000 USD in words. Click To Tweet

Well of course, I am in the habit of mistaking ten million dollars for ten thousand. I do it all the time when I am playing around on Wall Street. I have a box full of spare zeros that I removed because they were confusing me at the end of a sum. 

Well of course, I am in the habit of mistaking ten million dollars for ten thousand. I do it all… Click To Tweet

My maths teacher always said, if you have spare zeros at the end of a sum, don't bother asking me what they're for, just chuck 'em in this box and move on. He gave me the cutest little box and I never bothered him again.

My maths teacher always said, if you have spare zeros at the end of a sum, don't bother asking me… Click To Tweet

So, anyways - as the money was legally placed 'in international bank', I decided that this e mail was probably legitimate. I mean, had he put 'I illegally placed this funds in international bank', I would have been suspicious. And also, the poor chap had been ill.

Awww, my heart just melted. It must have been awful for him explaining to Bashar al-Assad that he was leaving his employment because of 'the world in general' and by the way, taking 'war equipment's' money with him (to give to me to invest). 

So, anyways - as the money was legally placed 'in international bank', I decided that this e mail… Click To TweetI expect that Mr. Assad said, 'oh yes, that's fine - I know her, she is eminently suitable to set up an engineering company in Asia because she did metal-work at school in her final year. Oh, and she does loads of different crafts. She is great a not bothering to use a ruler to gauge critical measurements; I am sure she would do very well in engineering.'

She is great a not bothering to use a ruler to gauge critical measurements; I am sure she would… Click To Tweet

 

Ok - so this stuff isn't really funny. These people are scammers who have probably conned lots of people out of money. So digging deeper into the meta-data behind the email, I found the info you see here in the screen-shot. 'James Angelone' - or whatever his real name is, seems to be connected in some way to an entity called connichi.de - with German connections.

scam emails

.de is the country code top level domain for Germany. Connichi, according to Google, is an annual 3-day anime convention in Germany, held by the German Anime Association. Anime is a term used for Japanese Animation. Their website is connichi dot de. (I have written dot instead of using . because I do not want to link to it.) You can see from the document above, that @connichi dot de is all over the meta-data behind the scam e mail I was sent. 

I am not suggesting that this entity is sending out scam emails but I am curious as to why their domain is all over the back end of an e mail I was sent offering me the chance to have $10,600,000 USD to set up an engineering company in Asia. It's just weird.

scam emails

If you look at the contact list from connichi's website, all the contacts have @connichi.de after them. If you look at my image of the backend data that I found when digging deeper into the hidden email meta-data, you will see it says (Authenticated sender: gewinnspiel @ connichi.de) 

I have no idea why that domain is all over the scam e mail but I would love to know. There may be an innocent explanation of course.

Oh yes, and when I Googled the meaning of gewinnspiel - I found it is German for 'competition', 'lottery', 'sweepstakes' etc. You know, the kind of words one could associate with scams if one was in a sensible mood. 

When I Googled the meaning of gewinnspiel - I found it is German for 'competition', 'lottery',… Click To Tweet

e mail scams

My e mail and the associated backend info have now been passed to the UK police department dealing with online fraud.

How about you? Have you been sent any hilarious scam e mails lately? I am just off to the bank to see if my 40% is in there yet. I expect it is because 40% of nothing, give or take a few zeros is...er...NOTHING!

http://content.met.police.uk/Article/Mass-market-fraud/1400010736273/1400010736273

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk

Stress busting techniques such as yoga and meditation are used by millions of people around the world to stay calm.

We live in such turbulent times where even turning on the TV can send blood-pressure shooting off the scale and stress busting techniques are badly needed.

We are constantly bombarded with words and images that instil fear and terror into our hearts. My way of dealing with it is to avoid watching real-time TV and reading newspapers. 

I only watch light-hearted programmes that I have recorded so I can skip mind-numbing ads and the intrusion of very bad news at regular intervals.

We are constantly bombarded with words and images that instil fear and terror into our hearts. Click To Tweet

Stress busting techniques have now become an almost essential part of everyday life.

For me, stress busting means a short drive to the beach, where I sit very close to the sea, with nothing in my field of vision except the sea.

Nothing else reaches my ears except the roar and crash of the waves. Giving my eyes and ears a rest from the images and noise of 'civilised' life in an increasingly crazy world seems to give my mind a rest too.

Sometimes, when I sit watching the undulating and endless body of water surging backwards and forwards at the command of a moon more than 250,000 miles away, I fantasize about slowing it down and it helps me relax. It helps me slow down my own thoughts and heart rate.

stress busting

The sea - a calming influence

One day, when I was sitting cross-legged on the shore, right in front of the endless (and free!) stress busting sea, it crossed my mind that I am extremely lucky to live so close to it. Then I started thinking about people who live further inland and how far they would need to drive to use the stress busting technique I take for granted.

So I made a film of the sea that I like to lose myself in. Well, not literally! Oh, and I slowed it down too. I even use this film myself if I can't get out.

If you need to find a stress busting technique that is as simple as sitting back and getting lost in the sight and sound of the sea - try watching this short film. It may not be for everyone, especially if you live near a much warmer, bluer sea!

If you need to find a stress busting technique that is as simple as sitting back and getting lost… Click To Tweet

However, for people who are stuck in a big city most of the time, this film may have some stress busting benefit. For anyone who watches the film through to the end, do let me know how it made you feel. Did it make you feel relaxed?

 

Elderly parents
Purple Loosestrife in my parents' garden - which is maintained beautifully by my green-fingered sister. I took this picture while the walls were being plastered inside the house this week. As I took pictures of this and other fading leaves, I had a strong sense of the renewal happening inside the house while the garden falls asleep to rest, ready for it's own renewal next spring.

 Elderly parents can take up a huge amount of time. This is not meant in a negative way, it is simply a fact that needs to be faced if you are someone who cares about people.

Having elderly parents myself means I need to devote time to their sense of well-being. Old age can sometimes bring frustrating disabilities that restrict activities once taken for granted.

Old age can sometimes bring frustrating disabilities that restrict activities once taken for… Click To Tweet

That bedroom needing a makeover can seem like an impossible dream when tired arms can no longer hold a paintbrush. Legs that once carried a busy, capable man are now so weak he struggles to get out of his chair. The bottom step of a step-ladder would be like climbing Everest to him.

There is an emotional price to be paid for the privilege of still having both parents in your own later years. Watching two young spirits struggle with the decline of their earthly bodies is painful at times. So I need to be philosophical and accept the circle of life for what it is. Now is not a time for worry, regret, anxiety or fear - for them or for us.  

There is an emotional price to be paid for the privilege of still having both parents in your own… Click To Tweet

Now is the time to celebrate the sun setting on the young couple who brought my sister and me into this world. We need to make their last years as golden as possible. Every day they have is a gift. They have both survived serious illnesses over the last 20 years and I am sure it was because they were strong for each other.

They still hold hands as they approach their 90s with shaky legs and strong spirits. Only 10 years ago, my father took my mother back to the wooden seat up on the hill where he proposed to her and gave her a ring. They still celebrate their engagement date even now.

Ageing people only look old on the outside. Inside, they are still young. There is no good reason why my parents' house should age with them and be a fading backdrop for the feelings of sadness, or maybe even resignation they sometimes seem to have. The cracked wall in the bedroom that worried my mother so much needed to be made new and smooth again. That old wallpaper needed ripping off so new life could be breathed into the room. I knew it would make them happy and give them hope for all the many days still to come

Life should be celebrated with brightness, colour, warmth and comfort at any age - yes even 87 and 89. Elderly parents need to be viewed as if they were 24 and just married. Am I really too busy to make things happen for them? The things they can no longer do for themselves and therefore seem impossible.

Am I really so busy that they can't ask me for what they need to make their lives feel better? No - my life can wait while I look, listen and act on the needs of two people who deserve my time the most. All it takes is a mind shift to get stuff done.

I can be relieved of my own busy concerns in the blink of an eye because I am in charge of how I prioritise my days. It is that simple. Are Pinterest/facebook/twitter or my work really more important than my elderly parents? Well...uh... no!

I can be relieved of my own busy concerns in the blink of an eye because I am in charge of how I… Click To Tweet

The first steps have been taken - the cracked wall is no more. This week, it was expertly fixed and plastered by a master plasterer and will soon be ready for some beautiful bright silky paint my mother has yet to choose. 

Meanwhile, as we wait for the plaster to dry, I need to brighten up the ceiling with some white silk paint. That will be fun - up a step ladder with no sense of balance. Perhaps a pole and roller will be more sensible.

Then there is carpet to choose before their new comfy king-size bed arrives. My mother is excited about the make-over. My father is too but he doesn't say so - I just know he is.

 We still have lots more to do because my elderly parents do have a future. They are not done with life and life is not done with them. However long or short, it is still a future and they deserve to spend it somewhere that has been made new and pretty.

My father worked hard his whole life long to give us a good home and my mother devoted her life to looking after us in that home. The least I can do is return like for like. If you have elderly parents and are able (physically, emotionally or financially) to drop everything to make them happy - even one day a week - do it. Nothing in the world is more important than life as it is now,  today, because it isn't coming back to give you a second chance.

Recently, I read a brilliant inspirational article that you can find by clicking here. It is called 'Just Do the Next Right Thing' and it is such a simple philosophy. It has certainly helped me to slow down and break everything down into a series of small, manageable steps that I know I can take with ease. 

I didn't think I had time to cope with everything I need to do - but I was wrong. Time is whatever we make it.

Nothing in the world is more important than life as it is now, today, because it isn't coming… Click To Tweet