Friday 28th January 2022

Telling My Story. Christmas Memories Edition. #FestiveBonBon. 130/2021.

Telling My Story. Christmas Memories Edition. #FestiveBonBon. 130/2021.

When I read that my friends from blogging, Debbie from here, Sue from here, Jo from here and Donna from here too, had a plan for a one-off Christmas related link up, I could not resist.

I am definitely a Christmas ‘Kid’ with memories galore.

Team #FestiveBonBon even has a cute photo and questions. And link up icon IN CHOCOLATE colours. Nice one!

I will do my best to respond, and as I am not only a Christmas sentimentalist, but also have a LOT of photos as memories, then I think I have some ideas.

 

Christmas Tree – do you have one, when does it go up, who decorates it, is there a theme or is it miss-matched?

YES.

  • Traditionally (my traditions) ours went up the weekend before my birthday (30 November) because after that it was close to my Mum’s birthday and we didn’t want to take over her date. BUT more importantly….sorry Mum, is WHO decorates/d the tree?

 

  • EVERY grandchild does. At least those I can corral. Back in the first years/decades of being grandparents I admit I hyped the whole “Christmas at Grandma’s and Papa’s” decorating Sunday (mostly) and asked the parents to leave…or at least help Mr W with the myriad of lights, outside decorations and more to be adoring the house.

 

  • IT WAS FUN…frantic and the best.

Christmas music was played: Holly Jolly Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and occasionally more traditional music – see next question. I still have many CDs and playlists and they are now my car accompaniment during December.

I digress. Not a chronological post. Sorry. Not sorry.

  • Grandkids started happening for us in 1996 – the first born 2 days before Christmas that year. She got to add the star to the tree in 1997. My rule? Youngest puts star on tree. (Sadly, this year in our house, it was 71 year old me!)

 

  • I bought a new decoration for each grandchild each year…so 1996 one had many more than say 2013 born on. We have grandkids born in 1996, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015. I labelled each one with date too. Some had photos in them. Before we moved house, and downsized the Christmas tree, giving our 1994 one to our daughter and her 4, I gave each grandchild their tree decorations from our house in a special box for the family Christmases ahead.

 

Christmas carols & songs.

I have enjoyed singing both the carols of Christmas (traditional and Australian themed ones) since I was in a church choir – I think I went to be social and I loved the singing, and got to learn some teaching skills helping little kids at Sunday School- aged 12 t0 14. Dad always had music playing in house at Christmas but can’t specifically recall Christmas songs.

  • I love to sing and in a group or teaching some kids and I may not have been a keen musician nor able to read music but I could hold a tune and loved teaching songs at Assembly and for Christmas concerts.
  • I particularly enjoy the Australian carols: The North Wind, The Silver Stars are In the Sky and more.
  • Remember for us, teaching in outback NSW was a very hot time as school ends and yet, we still put on traditional Christmas plays, songs and Santa always visited.

I have, as mentioned earlier, a huge number of CDs and even great songs from Hi Five and The Wiggles (all part of grandparenting back then) bring me joy. Santa Wear Your Shorts is one I recall kids singing at school carols too.

In a Rusty Holden Ute is one I remember a class doing back at RPS when I was principal.

I have very eclectic taste. Obvs.

 

Christmas books.

My favourites are always those I read to my kids, then their kids and to some classes. Way back I used to share a golden type book about the story of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. I had a collection of various Father Christmas story books, and Santa Claus ones too. They are now all in other people’s houses, and I hope still being enjoyed.

I loved reading them to little ones and seeing the sense of awe and wonder.

I don’t have any that are mine nor am I really interested. However, I recall a series of short stories, Maeve Binchy perhaps, about coming home and Christmas. Long gone like my memory.

 

Christmas movies.

As mum and then,  Grandma I would watch movie length cartoons on TV as we had broken up for the year, and it was a nice distraction to have on a hot day inside while I probably made Christmas gifts.

And here’s on oldie. Back in the early 1960s Mum and Dad entertained neighbours and friends on Christmas Eve, and Dad would drop me and bro up to local Cinema in Balgowlah to watch White Christmas or something similar. I liked it. I must ask my brother if he recalls. We must have been collected by someone, and with no RBT, and within 2 kms of home anyway maybe having a festive driver do that didn’t matter.

And then in mid 2000 teens, I found Its a Wonderful Life. I like it so much it IS my go-to each Christmas to remember ‘why we each are important to each other’

Christmas cake.

I love(d) eating small amounts of home made Christmas cake. Made my own for a few years back in the 1980s and certainly enjoyed those my mum made back in the day. I liked the tradition of making them when the kids helped stir the cake mix. For photo purposes only. Neither like(d) Fruit Cake!

I also recall Christmas puddings made by Mum and wrapped in pudding cloth. Back in the day  1950s I recall the threepence and sixpence you might find in a slice of pudding…and not break your teeth. My paternal grandmother kept pudding coins I recall. Mum’s recipe here…and no I have never made it but it’s in Mum’s handwriting so treasured as a memory.

Chocolate nuts or fruit.

Now I can physically barely eat any, but cherries (black more than red) are part of Christmas, lychees  and so are mangoes.  And watermelon. We always had fruit and a variety of fresh nuts on the table. With a nutcracker. Seriously. Only ever used at Christmas.

Christmas traditions

See above…

However, there were some when our kids were young.

  • Christmas Eve I was always tired out – school had just broken up, and husband was finishing off whatever jobs he was doing around the place, so I took the kids to Christmas Eve Mass. I know! I did it because…tradition (and I became a catholic to be same as husband and kids, none of us are no longer practising) and I loved the music and the nativity…and then we got Maccas for tea. Still a novelty in 1980s.

 

  • Home with takeaway & after eating,  and some last minute preparations by kids for carrots out for reindeer, one of my orange biscuits or piece of shortbread for Santa, and quite possibly a can of Coke. Honestly I can’t recall but B liked drinking Coke then.

 

  • Kids laid out their Santa Bag (pillowcases) and Santa Stockings under the tree…and then off to bed. We watched/listened to Carols from Melbourne whilst trying to equalise sizes and presents for kids. Not wrapped ever. But if son seemed to get more (volume wise) I would remove for his birthday in 3 weeks.

 

  • We then waited…and bit the carrots and poured out the water, ate the treats, drank the drink…and hopefully kids were asleep and we left sack at bottom of their beds. Tired out.
  • When they woke in the morning, I was there with the trusty camera and it was a very special start to the day. As the kids got older (7 years difference, so one was 14, other 7) I sometimes actually ‘woke’ them because we often had a busy day ahead.

 

  • I used to make gifts for family, friends and even our doctors…(still do, actually) and one recipe honed by me back in 1990s I call “orange biscuits”. These are still much loved by my daughter and as she was turning 50 in covid lockdown, I made a batch and sent them to her. I “will” make some for her Christmas too. I also used to make Almond Bread. Yum. But not anymore as my mouth couldn’t bear it.

 

What’s on the table?

So many memories here.

  • However, musts for us were Christmas Bonbons to pull open, wear the silly hat, and share the silly jokes. I made placemats some years. Even a Christmas Trivia Quiz.

 

  • There were always festive treats on the table before any food was served! Cherries, lollies (and liquorish allsorts were a must, along with chocolate almonds), something savoury maybe like home made cheesy biscuits and some prawns in mayo on jatz, and some smoked salmon on rye bread would have been served before lunch.

 

  • I used to drink Mimosas too,  Orange juice and champers…As a wee kid though, MY Papa would have cold little bottles of Cherry Cheer for his 2 grandkids

 

  • Then there was LUNCH.

 

  • A mix of hot meal and cold too. So much food.

 

  • Always (back then) hot chickens, leg of pork  and many roast veggies, gravy, and some cold ham, turkey,  and salads with bread rolls. And later, slices of pudding for those who liked it, with home made brandy butter (yum), cream & ice cream and for others, something from the freezer ice cream selections.

 

  • On a hot day we were always grateful for air conditioning if available! And a pool too….

This was at LUNCHtime…and then, by about 6 p.m. we might serve up some leftovers too before, hopefully, all went home (with leftovers) ….sigh. Food coma.

Before & after head & neck cancer & adapting to no family at Christmas time.

 

One of the BIG Christmas Days…where Mum – see waving hand would have cooked a lot at home and brought it with her and Dad. Happy & sad memories here as my Aunty, back, second from right, would not be with us the next year.

Christmas memories.

  • They started at Dapto in 1950s for me, with the old fashioned Christmas lunch and all the spoiling that grandkids (me and bro) get. Then to dad’s Mum in Wollongong  for Christmas dinner/afternoon tea. Not as enjoyable though.

 

  • By the time we moved to Sydney however, and in early 1960s, my parents agreed we no longer wanted to spend Christmas day in the car, so Christmas would be at our place, and relatives were welcome to our place.

 

  • We became adults, and after marrying B & I  had a child by 1971, so Christmas and having the lunch at Mum and Dad’s was great as we were staying on school holidays and then over time, we moved to sharing some of Christmas Day with B’s family.

 

  • We bought a house, had teaching roles  and stayed in Sydney from 1978, with a second child added, and we still trekked to my parents most times until one day, Mum tired of it all, 1985 when her sister died suddenly, and I was given the family gig. It was fine, even though the reason my mum stopped was borne of grief and the need to pass the baton.

 

  • I probably did this closer to 2010s ish in our family if they wanted to do Christmas. Sometimes it became very complicated with extended families so we might share present opening instead on Christmas morning.

 

  • Over the next decade, we would have hosted, or gone to my brother’s and sometimes to my husband’s family. It becomes complicated for sure as families grow, change and move away.

 

  • Early 1990s we had a brand new  (big!) house and wanted to share the new space, and did Christmas then.

 

  • Grandchildren’s arrival changed so much for Christmas traditions, see above, but none more memorable than 1996, when the parents of newborn J, had ‘day leave’ from the hospital to have Christmas Lunch.

 

  • Grandkids, families changing and more meant that there were MANY more variations to Christmas Days until 2014 when, as we had sold our house in Sydney (and all those Christmas memories 1997-2013) our daughter did family Christmas.

Now?

The stories are as above.

And with no further ado, I am going to use this post for a Special One-Off Edition of Telling My Story!

The Christmas Memories One for the LAST #LifeThisWeek “Wishing”

I hadn’t thought of that till now. Thank you ladies!!

 

 

All I want for Christmas is…

The writing of this post has given me a better and greater appreciation of my Christmas memories as a 72 year old, and for that I am

G

R

A

T

E

F

U

L

May your dreams and hopes for Christmas and the Holiday season come true.

May you all go well.

May you be happy.

May the new year hold good health for you and yours.

I am very grateful for the blogging community always.

And for my continued good health post head & neck cancer!

Denyse.

On Monday 13 December 2021, @HeadandNeckCancerAustralia’s Virtual Choir for Christmas will be launched.

A first for Australia! I am in it too.

 

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It’s Great To Be Outdoors. #SundayStills. 78/2021.

It’s Great To Be Outdoors. #SundayStills. 78/2021.

Terri here has now  moved into her new abode and I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri is in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday.

I would not have said I was an outdoorsy sort of person in my past as I enjoyed cosying up, reading and more at home.

But that has changed BIG time since I retired from teaching over 10 years ago.

I love to be outside….and enjoying the various sensory experiences as I walk, notice and take photos.

Here are some photos from my past life as a Sydney sider,  and some from when we first moved to the Central Coast of NSW, doing exactly that.

Back in 2008, I has the privilege of introducing my grandson to the sand, the water and the experience of being “at the beach” at Manly N.S.W.

And here he is again, before he started school, having a ferry ride around Sydney Harbour. He is enjoying the view at Circular Quay before we started.

 

Then, below, I had my own solo excursion before we left Sydney for good. Making memories is very important to me.

Back to early years of caring for grandchildren at Glenwood.

We had some great times with Miss R who is featured here:

And when we first moved to the Central Coast we even had three grandkids for short holiday. Quite tiring but memories made!

What a privilege it was to witness this little one’s exploration of a rock pool.

 

And this is me now, at my happy and meditative place: the great outdoors:

And to wrap this post up, the headland in the distance is that very same place where Miss 2 discovered the rock pools, some 5 years earlier.

Do you enjoy the great outdoors?

I liked getting the chance to share about this too, thanks Terri.

Do follow #SundayStills. Terri’s blog is linked above, it’s fun place to post and share.

Denyse.

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Sunrise AND Sunset. #SundayStills. 75/2021.

Sunrise AND Sunset. #SundayStills. 75/2021.

Terri here has now  moved into her new abode and I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri is in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday.

I got a bit cheeky with this photo prompt and have made it about Sunrise AND Sunset.

Into my memory bank I go for these images.

Sunrise.

I have deliberately not included the post from my morning seeing dawn arrive and then the sun rise over the ocean on A.N.Z.A.C. Day because it’s already here. It was, as sunrise is for me, a magical experiences.

 

No sun, yet, as first swimmers enter the water at Manly Beach Winter 2014

 

 

A few more gather: “the Bold and the Beautiful” sunrise swimmers…..this group of men and women, swim around to Shelley Beach and back. If you have read Julia Baird’s book Phosphorescence, this is her group…and some others I know.

 

 

What I was waiting for….

 

There is a story to this photo. I got in the shot (not realising) of a professional photographer. He forgave me. We are now Instagram friends. @robmulally

 

My shadow. After the sunrise. Published before, but I love the memory. July 2014 at Manly. Manly is part of the area where I lived 1959-1970 so it will always feel like home.

Sunset.

And then the sun set…here on the Central Coast about three years after these shots above.

 

At The Lake at North Entrance.

And gone…bye bye sun…and it was the last day of the year too.

 

On another occasion, after the sun set, the gorgeous pink remains. Over the water at Wallarah Creek Bridge.

 

I still feel a thrill when I get to witness the sun’s arrival and departure.

It connects me with the world at large too.

Do you have a preference?

Sunrise or Sunset?

Denyse.

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In The Pink: A Colour Challenge. #SundayStills. 72/2021.

In The Pink: A Colour Challenge. #SundayStills. 72/2021.

Terri here has now  moved into her new abode and I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri is in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday.

I cannot ever pass a camellia without going “wow”. I loved this pink one from the former house we rented. It just grew and gave me joy in some of my worst times pre and post cancer diagnosis. In fact, looking at the date 16.5.2017, I took this photo on the day before I was given my diagnosis.

 

On 17th May 2017, this woman in pink, my Oral Surgeon, was the person who told me over the phone that cancer had been found in the biopsy she had done the previous week. Fast forward about a year…and here I am sharing with her my gratitude for how she not only broke the news but that her nurse has ensured I was sent to the best person possible for my particular cancer. I was still to get my upper prosthesis here.

Way before the cancer diagnosis came the birth of our youngest granddaughter in early 2015 after we had moved away from the area where our families lived. Coming back for morning tea one day, this delightful snap was taken by Miss M’s Mum. In the pink!

 

I have become that person who stops the car now (only me in it driving, makes the decision easier) and when I could see this crepe myrtle reaching for the sky, I reached for my Iphone . Magical pink against the sky

 

Miss GD now  9 back here with her Mum’s car keys. It’s interesting, having 6 granddaughters, only some favoured pink if ever. Glad to see pink, also glad to see all colours. I know some little girls do get fixated for a while. She has some pink, red and purple going!

 

This granddaughter, now in her last year of Primary School, came to us each week for one to 3 days from age 5 months. She LOVED this jumper she has on. The owl on this pink jumper was a favourite. I miss it too.

 

 

Now this photo is a favourite of mine. Meeting author Trent Dalton to tell him how much he was right, and that I should finish listening to Boy Swallows Universe. I actually met him and he knew who I was. Hence, pre covid: April 2019, hugs were fine! Whar a great cover in pink, red and blue.

 

A gentle pink in this bloom seen on a visit to Hunter Valley Gardens, about 50 minutes drive from home. Pay to get in but the blooms and displays were worth it.

 

This beauty…now gone, was potted by me here at home in April 2021. It did not last because some pest got into the leaves. Glad I found this photo of a pink gerbera when it had just rained.

 

I suspect these beauties were captured by me in all their magenta glory at a nursery. Resplendent in both pink colour and petal features their mandala qualities get me in every time.

 

I love using these paint sprays but they make a mess. However, I like their brightness, check that pink,  and do my best to keep the areas covered where I spray. So effective with overlapping too.

More small index cards prepped

Using a pink border for this memory collage of the three granddaughters who stayed at our place for care while parents worked.

 

Great magenta background, bright pink is awesome,  for displaying my favourite line and drawing pens: Unipin.

 

Well. What IS this? It is a pink wax model of the eventual upper prosthesis that now resides in my mouth post-oral cancer. The hands are those of this clever man, my prosthodontist who has been at each of my surgeries and he planned how my mouth would eventually get some teeth after the reconstructions had been completed over time by my head and neck surgeon.

 

Again from the house we used to rent, this splendour was part of our spring and summer. Pale pink fragipanies with a bit of camellia sneaking in.

 

My art and craft fun has helped ground and centre me over the past seven or so years. I discovered the fun and intracies of mandala designing and colouring in 2016 and made ONE every day of 2016. So many were framed and given away, others have been laminated into placemats and some I cut up (shhh) and use parts of them for bookmarks. Each one has served a great purpose for my health and creativity so sharing is what I like to do. Look at that pink with orange and yellow and green

 

I never wore much pink if ever and my daughter was like me, far more wanting to be in blue or non-pastels. However, I began enjoying bright pink wearing it for the first time in 2010 and have found I love the brights in pinks a great deal. Celebrating recovery at the beach a couple of years back..”in the pink”.….a term for wellness!

Is pink a colour you wear?

Denyse.

 

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Nature Is Pretty In Bright Pink. 52.1/2021.

Nature Is Pretty In Bright Pink. 52.1/2021.

Now I am back! Again. Loving BRIGHT as a Squares Challenge!

Becky encouraged me to do this too, after I saw the challenge elsewhere  and it didn’t have to be every day…so here I am.

https://beckybofwinchester.com/2021/04/01/bright-square/

Being Square is Fun!

Join in this lovely challenge and post a photographic square daily for one month every quarter. The theme changes every quarter and is announced on this blog a few weeks, occasionally days, in advance of the challenge month. The challenge months are January, April, July and October.

I am going to admit something here. I love using my Iphone ProMax and its camera gives me soooo many great shots, that I have started finding nurseries to visit just to photograph flowers. Oh, and I did buy a few of these pretty in bright pinks for adding to a place outside to brighten our mornings.

I also stopped the car in a street with many beautiful camellias this week as I was visiting my Dad.

So, Bright is it. Pretty in BRIGHT Pink.

Thank you Becky for this challenge which I found got me right in. I will be back in July to see what you have in store. Oh, and I also learned how easy it was to add my name and copyright.

Cheers from Australia.

Denyse.

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Bright Blue Sky & Sea & Me. 49.1/2021.

Bright Blue Sky & Sea & Me. 49.1/2021.

Now I am back! Again. Loving BRIGHT as a Squares Challenge!

Becky encouraged me to do this too, after I saw the challenge elsewhere  and it didn’t have to be every day…so here I am.

https://beckybofwinchester.com/2021/04/01/bright-square/

Being Square is Fun!

Join in this lovely challenge and post a photographic square daily for one month every quarter. The theme changes every quarter and is announced on this blog a few weeks, occasionally days, in advance of the challenge month. The challenge months are January, April, July and October.

Today Was A Picture Perfect Autumn Day.

We live on the northern end of Central Coast, N.S.W. Australia. Our suburban living is offset by being very close to parts of nature that I never tire of viewing and being part of when I can.

Today was THAT day!

Over the past few day, I had been too concerned with lots of thinking, and delving into the past…and also seeing a pyschologist for the first time in years to help me through another life transition.

So, I escaped…not really, I have permission these days in a relaxed retirement life style to choose my day’s activities.

I wanted to get out of my head and into a space much larger!

Here’s what I saw and did!

From the headland overlooking the sea at Norah Head.

 

Norah Head Lighthouse. Working 24/7.

 

Venturing down the steps to the beach area below.

 

On the sand. Looking south.

 

Closer view of the rock platforms. The reason for the Lighthouse!

 

Great spaces to walk, discover rock pools and just G A Z E in wonder

 

Rock platform required careful stepping but I did it and was rewarded

 

Bright-faced me in blue..having challenged myself to walk out to here.

I came back up those steps wearily but grateful to have been down to the platform after more than a year. “I Do Hard Things” is one of my life sayings now and today, when I ventured further than I might have, I lived up to my mantra.

Hope you find some brightness in your days too.

Denyse.

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Bright Mandala… A Bright Idea. 48.1/2021.

Bright MandalaA Bright Idea. 48.1/2021.

In April I have posted a couple of times for this challenge of squares using the word: Bright. Here is my first post and here is the second.

Now I am back!

Becky encouraged me to do this too, after I saw the challenge elsewhere  and it didn’t have to be every day…so here I am.

https://beckybofwinchester.com/2021/04/01/bright-square/

Being Square is Fun!

Join in this lovely challenge and post a photographic square daily for one month every quarter. The theme changes every quarter and is announced on this blog a few weeks, occasionally days, in advance of the challenge month. The challenge months are January, April, July and October.

What IS the Bright Idea?

Last week I was upset by a person. It was quite a shock to my system as often is when we least expect it. However, in recovering from this unpleasant encounter, I was able to draw upon my knowledge and practice of ‘Loving Kindness’ which I have used many times for myself and others since learning about it from Sharon Salzberg initially and over time with others, including my Daily Calm practice.

Why Do This?

I did not want to hold onto the sadness I felt. I also wanted to send loving kindness to this person, and anyone else, whose life may be affected in sad ways which can engender anger in responses to others.

So, I did what I now do to help me heal…and to send out loving kindness to the world ….and with hope this person would also feel some settling of the emotions.

I Draw and Make Mandalas.

I Love Them To Be Bright.

I Often Incorporate the Rainbow Colours.

I Deliberately Chose Hearts – healing LOVE and Black/White in contrast to remind us we need not be “in black and white” thinking or doing mode.

Here is the final BRIGHT Square:

The words I chose:

May All People Be:

At ease with what cannot be changed

Content within themselves

Living with a loving heart

Safe from harm

Happy within

Well As Can Be.

 

Credit: Denyse: My words (can be shared with permission) and To Sharon Salzberg for Teaching Me (and Many!)

L O V I N G       K I N D N E S S

Do you practise loving kindness?

The first person to offer it to, is ourselves!

Try it.

Happy 21 April all.

Denyse.

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Bright Sight! Lorikeets On The Grass. 42.1/2021.

Bright Sight! Lorikeets On The Grass. 42.1/2021.

My blogging friend Debbie from here   is quite an influencer…of me!

She recently joined up with Becky’s Squares, link below, and I admit I too am a FAN of bright colours and wondered, will I join in?

Becky’s square theme for April is Bright – it’s a challenge where she posts a photo every day. She invites others to join her in sharing their square photos, either every day or as they feel the urge. I’m dipping in and out. from DebsWorld.

Then Becky also  encouraged me to do this too, and it didn’t have to be every day…so here I am.

https://beckybofwinchester.com/2021/04/01/bright-square/

Being Square is Fun!

Join in this lovely challenge and post a photographic square daily for one month every quarter. The theme changes every quarter and is announced on this blog a few weeks, occasionally days, in advance of the challenge month. The challenge months are January, April, July and October.

Last Sunday This Was My Bright Sight!

On Sunday afternoons I often go for a gentle stroll on a cycle/walking path near the local lake. I take my iphone of course. Photo opportunities just pop up for me. Instead of peace on this part of the walk, all I heard was screeching of birds. In Australia, we have  these amazing, noisy and oh so colourful birds called  lorikeets, and the message was out: “good feed here”. I just stayed and clicked away and what a reward of BRIGHT SIGHT I had!

 

Nature makes the best colours!

Denyse.

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