Archive | July 2015

Twelfth July Blog


Twelfth July Blog

Sqeezing a last one under the wire.

Creeping Mellow.

The sky is turning
That autumnal shade of blue.
Not everyone notices,
Until too late,
That summer is waning,
Its intensity diminished.
Fledglings, who have fluttered
Untried wings, danced
On the breezes of life,
Are now soaring in
The sky, ready to fly
From nest to maturity.
Swallows sense the season
Change, Africa awaits.
Corn stooks stand immobile
In a sea of yellow.
Harvest approaches,
Praying the sun will
Stay awhile, can be gathered.
Nuts ripen on bushes,
The squirrel feasts,
Stores, keeps, ready
For winter’s pall.
Pumpkins ripen,
Orange Mellowness,
Round, Misshapen,
Flattened, all standing
Waiting, almost ready
For Halloween. But
Not quite there yet.
August, when children
Holiday, play, before
The new term begins.
Then, we can say,
The season has altered,
Changed from intense
Heat to golden brown.
The days shorten,
Life snuggies down
As winter approaches.

Copyright Evelyn J. Stewar. July, 2015.

Those who live in countries where there are seasons, know. They know the ripening of days; they know the precise moment of the first drop of spring melt. They know, by the wind, the rise of the sun, the colour of the sky, and more.

An uncanny sense that tellsm them….. something is different, maybe? But all the same, they know. Often it is a combination of weather, colour, temperature and other tiny things that many do not see, do not recognise. But all the same, they are there, staring you in the face, if only you have eyes to see.

Some people, I admit, go about their daily business. Their minds too full of their job, the children, their family. And such people might not even recognise those insignifcant little details that announce the coming of change.

Perhaps the human race has gone too far away from its original ways. We have lost that telltale information, basiclly the ability to read the signs. Maybe, most will nevet get it back? Who can tell?

Talking to a friend, she said there were chidren who were being sent to boot camps to wean them off of computer games. Raw, vivid, graphically violent games. These will never learn to read Nature’s signals. But what if more become like this? There are inherent needs that only reading Nature can teach. Maybe bring about a downfall of the human condition. I wonder!

This is July’s end, the seventh month in the Western Calender.
Be aafe, take care.


Eleventh July Blog


Elleventh July Blog.

Norman Churches.

Harold lost the fight
To Guillaume, it is true,
And what did we get in return,
Stone churches, one or two.
Well, here in Southern England,
You’ll see them, far and wide.
All of them just look the same,
Sanctuary, where one could hide.
Made of stone, grey flecking,
It looks part flint, you see,
Quite often crenelated,
A lookout post, maybe?
Most towns often have one,
Another close by, as well.
Not sure why there’s so many,
Perhaps to give us, Hell?
Some time, in an old century,
I do not know which year,
A clock was often added,
We worship, in Godly fear.
Windows, plain and patterened
With Saints, and Jesus too,
Glass stained with many colours,
A rich, rewarding hue.
So thank you, Norman Conquest,
For making us write lists, like
Counting sheep and pigs and chicks,
The Doomsday Book, a hit.
But thank you for the churches,
Surviving war and flood
And pestilence, about them,
In the end, you did some good.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. July, 2015.

Yes! The Normans had a lot to answer for. Guillaume le Bâtard, conquérant est une biographie de Guillaume le Conquérant (1027-1087), duc de Normandie et roi d’Angleterre, par l’écrivain Jean de La … Etc. ad infinitum. No, I ido not read French but I suspect it says something like Bill the Conq. who crossed the Channel and kicked our arses ( pardon e moir ) in 1066.

What started this fight, I have no idea ( lost in my brain in the annals of Time) but it sure did us no good, at the time – but got them whole new Provinces to be evil over. Well, they were, in those days. It wasn’t all ‘move over sonny, let your new French pal take possession of your land, your pigs, your cattle ‘ all nice like! I suspect there were rebellious Saxons who fought back, but were eradicated. If the indigenous peoples complained, make an example of them. That was how it was done.

The Normans were very good at taking possession/s. I suppose all conquerers did that as a dominence thing. So, The Doomsday Book was born. Apparently, so I hear tell by greater minds than mine, that they loved to make lists, keep themselves as the upper classes and build castles, to make sure us Saxons did as they told us, and built churches, lots of churches.

Well, they did well, didn’t they? Those churches, most of them, are still standing!

The designs from Europe worked perfectly, to have lasted ( given the odd bomb or two during WW2) almost 800 years ( a lot were built in the 13th century – not sure if some were built a bit sooner -takes a while, considering tools, materials and labour of the day).

I guess some have been slightly altered, re, stained glass windows and modern lifghting, heating and all mod cons. But basically, the outer parts, the real solid parts of these churches remain as they were built, asfar as I can tell. I am not an expert, just an observer.

Taken from Wikki
Viking invaders arrived at the mouth of the river Seine in 911, at a time when Franks were fighting on horseback and Frankish lords were building castles. Over the next century the population of the territory ceded to the Vikings, now called Normans, adopted these customs as well as Christianity and the langue d’oïl. Norman Barons built timber castles on earthen mounds, beginning the development of motte-and-bailey castles, and great stone churches in the Romanesque style of the Franks. By 950 they were building stone keeps. The Normans were among the most travelled peoples of Europe, exposed to a wide variety of cultural influences including the Near East, some of which became incorporated in their art and architecture. They elaborated on the Early Christian basilica plan, longitudinal with side aisles and an apse, and a western façade with two towers as at the Church of Saint-Étienne at Caen begun in 1067, which formed a model for the larger English cathedrals beginning some twenty years later.

A Norman arch c. 1150 in Andover, Hampshire

A Norman arch with zig-zag mouldings above the church doorway at Guiting Power, Gloucestershire
In England, Norman nobles and bishops had influence before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and Norman influences affected late Anglo-Saxon architecture. Edward the Confessor was brought up in Normandy, and in 1042 brought masons to work on Westminster Abbey, the first Romanesque building in England. In 1051 he brought in Norman knights who built “motte” castles as a defence against the Welsh. Following the invasion Normans rapidly constructed motte-and-bailey castles, and in a burst of building activity built churches and abbeys, as well as more elaborate fortificationsincluding Norman stone keeps.
Thought I had better include the above information. Sufficeit to say, most are still used as the churches they were meant to be, today. Some achievement!

Be safe, be aware and be happy.


This entry was posted on July 27, 2015. 4 Comments

Tenth July Blog


Tenth July Blog.

Rain, Lifegiver.

A drop of rain
Upon my cheek,
From above,
As if to weep
And sigh for me
In my solitude.
Heaven’s tears
Shape the landscape,
Sculpt us all,
Infinite ability,
In gorgeous
Neutrality, and we
Are pledged to
Follow each map,
Every rivulet,
Winding between
Valley and hillside.
Remote or close,
It is a positive,
Against all the
Negatives, those who
Gainsay. Spoil crops,
Flood, Yet, rain
Gives life. Drops
That fall slow. Deliberate
Globs of warm wet.
Or hard punches of
Sharp spikes, pounding
From on high,
A dark brooding sky
Heavy with moisture,
Laden with ininite possibilities.
So, come to me,
Dear raindrop,
Sweet heavenly joy.
For you are our saviour,
Without rain,
We die.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. July, 2015.

July, here in Southern England, is noted for its unusual amount of rain. Today, Friday, it is ( what my offspring calls ) ‘pickeling’ down. This means the rain is really pelting down, furiously.

It can fall a little harder on occasion,but not by much. A gentle rain would be better. Easier to accept. Children are on holiday from school and many take their holidays straightaway. Hopefully, many will be off abroad where the weather can be wArmet, drier. Taking a holiday in England is fraught with anxiety. Will the weather be nice? We need the sunshine or it will be hard to entertain children at the seaside/in the caravan, on endless wet days.

July is notorious for its rainy days most years, here in good pld England. Apparently, this year, is one such case. A day here and there of warm sunshine, then the obligatory rain. ‘Rain is needed, but does it have to rain all summer?’ You get the gist.

It has to be said that this July has had many sunny days, maybe more than ‘what is termed normal here’. But never-the-less, we always think we have had more rain than sun.

Today, the ‘norm’ has returned, with a vengeance. It started out dull, cloudy but dry. By mid-day it started, as my offspring says, ‘pickeling’ down. And it has been that way all the rest of the day and evening, ‘pickeling’ hard. Quite cold too, I hasten to add. We get very wet Julys some years, but not as chilly as today. Or so it seems from memory, though that could be faulty. And the forecast is set the same over the whole weekend.

So for children, out of school for a few precious weeks, the summer has begun. How many of those weeks will be sunny? Who can tell? I, for one, would like lots more weeks of glorious summer, but farmers may see things a different way.

Enjoy the summer friends, holidays or vacations. And, as always, be careful out there.


PS. That was yesterday. Today has dawned bright but windyi. Tomorrow set foR cloudy with showers. Cannot win!

This entry was posted on July 25, 2015. 4 Comments

Garden Friday–Summer’s Stars

Wonderful Montbrecia and a garden bear!


Montbrecia - Guenette photo

Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of colour before me. Who could ask for more? (Bev Adams – Mountain Gardening.)

Our garden star this week is Montbrecia. We were given bulbs for this plant a few years ago and had retained no memory of what it was or how it would bloom. (Though I’m sure we were told.) Last year, these amazing fronds appeared drooping with gorgeous, flute-shaped, brilliant, orangey-red blossoms. This summer, the plant is even more of a show-off. The hummingbirds are in love with it and the whole patch is like a war zone as the buzzing little creatures zoom in and out.

I resolved to find out what the heck we had growing out by our bean trellis. Many thanks to Maggie Flostrand. She gave us the bulbs as well as reminding me of the name. Lovely in flower…

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Wild, Dark and Silent.

There is inspiration here. Though I have not, as yet, read these books, I intend to mak a foray into this part of fuctional Wale.

Ninth July Blog


Ninth July Blog.

“””” A light wind, hotter than a blast furnace, crested the dunes. Light sand and dust particles constantly rose into the air, landing somewhere further down, raining on the sand gecko who blinked his eyes incessantly to avoid the dust. His feet, one back, opposite one front, were raised for a few seconds. The sand was the temperature of the hottest oven. The tiny lizard rotated its feet every few seconds so that contact was short. This was how it survived the desert.

A vast tract of yellow ochre, and red with shadows of rich mahogny, that was the desert scene. Not even scrub this far in. Shelley shifted gears on her 4 by 4. It could handle the terrain. However, no sense taking chances. If she got stuck on one of these slopes, she could sink in, or, more likely, slide back to the bottom of the gulley. Or, at worst, the vehicle could turn over, crashing ignominiously, with her inside it. Either way would be ruinous for her, and the expedition.

She gunned the vehicle forward. It responded powerfully, cresting the dune with ease. Shelley let go the breath she was holding in. Another small milestone. That was what it was all about, after all.

The distant horizon was fuzzy, but the purple mountains were distinctive. Pity there was no short cut to reach them. Desert driving was not her style. She hated the dust that, no matter how tight the windows were, still seeped into the vehicle. Wearing a scarf across her nose and mouth was uncomfortble, stuffy. The A/C had long since given up full power. Was just a phantom of its former self.

How long had she been driving, she wondered, glancing at her watch. Four hours or so, and perhaps another two to go. At this rate, she would barely reach camp before the sun set. The headlights were dusted up, she was sure. Glass became pitted against this stuff. Driving in a desert night was definitely not recommended. Constant driving up and down sand dunes at dusk, was bad enough. But at night, these mounds took on strange shapes. Shadows confused the mind, causing a person to make wrong decisions. You could really go off course, night driving. End up nowhere near where you expected to be.””””


My last blog, I set a scene in a rainy town street. This piece has a totally different feel. Dry hot desert. Nothing could be further from the last one, than this. Just flexing my writing muscles. Does anyone else do much of this, I wonder? It seems to help free me from my usual course. A new track to follow, if you will. Cleans out my mind, gives me new direction, even if it never becomes any more than this piece.

The Colours of Green.

When the sun beams down
On garden bright,
The colours of green
Glow in the light.
Pale Sap Green,
A brilliant hue,
Beneath the leaves,
A dark greeny blue.
I can see Hookers Green,
Both light and dark,
And Olive Green blends,
From stem and bark.
A Green Gold, crests
Foliage tops,
Emerald, Intense,
The greens really ‘pop’.
Viridian, strange,
And Phthalo Green,
Terre Verte,
Pervades the scene.
All of these colours
I hope to employ
When I begin painting,
Oh, water-colour joy.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. July, 2015.

I hope everyone is having a great day, wherever in the world. Watch out for traffic, toys in the grass, the Zebra herd, the slippy pond edge, whatever. Be Safe.


This entry was posted on July 21, 2015. 6 Comments

Eighth July Blog


Eighth July Blog

By a Road, Darkly.

The tarmac gleamed. It had been raining all day and was saturated. Orange street lights and yellow shop illuminations, shone in the puddles that hugged the potholes in the road, causing shimnering reflections that gave the impression of an early Christmas, though it was barely autumn.

Cars spashed along, the relections danced as droplets fell back into the momentarily dark liquid. Only to be eradicated when the next vehicle passed through. Summer’s mad heatwave had eased, though even with the rain, it was not yet cool. People walked with a purpose. Those going home from their daily toil, were late. Others already fed, were heading out for an evenings entertainment. The pub, a few doors down, was filling up, its doors continually opening and closing as new customers entered.

Suddenly, a woman screamed. Then a loud male laugh ensued as a car drove through a deep puddle along by the curb. A horn from the car behind, hooted as the driver screwed back out into the oncoming traffic. Other horns blared in unison. It was no night for niceties. People wanted to get home and out of the rain, thinking about the roast pork they were expecting, or the fish and chips they would pick up when closer to home.

Harvey Sental pulled his hat down lower, flicked his lighter, setting the new cigarette glowing as he drew a deep breath. He had tried to giving them up, but was finding it hard. So few people smoked these days. He knew it was bad for his lungs, the early morning coughing alerted his senses to the cancer scares. But the doorway where he stood viewing passers by, was womb-like and a cigarette was mother’s milk right now. A balm to start the night shift.

Ash dripped down his mac. He brushed at it, automatically. Maybe he could stop, he thought. But not tonight! Tonight was more important than giving up the weed.

Curls of blue smoke, lit by the neon sign above the doorway, strayed Heavenwards, giving away his poisition. Harvey stepped back. There was just enough space for him to lean right up against the door, taking him out of sight of the flats across the road. The windows opposite were dark, presumably no one home. But Harvey Sental knew different.

His quarry, for that was how he saw Novac Lentavich, was behind one of those windows.. A small-time crook, was Novac. With one difference. Harvey believed that Novac held the clues to the disappearance of a young girl. The police had been searching for Alison Croucher for days. The Family had contacted Harvey, for the sole purpose of finding Alison, feeling that a P. I. would stand more chance of locating the girl than the local constabulary. They had money, loads, from what he could tell. His contacts were good and already information about Novac had set him on a path.

Raindrops began falling again. More of a deluge this time. Water slanted inside the doorway. Harvey felt wetter than ever. He would have to make a move soon.


Just a short atmospheric piece. Sometimes it gives one a good feeling about writing. Knowing that this is juat a vignet. Something to blow away cobwebs, start one on a new path. A refreshment, if you will, in the writing game. A piece that tales one on a different trail, with new ideas, other scenes, descriptive challenges. I am in the mood to shake things up. Explore new artistic environments. Use different words, if possible and other locations. Spring cleaning the writing mind, if you will.


Darkness pervades
As the falling night
Townscapes, awash
With orange light,
From street lamps,
Shop windows,
Homes of weary workers,
Blazing, as entering donains.

Countryside, sinister,
Dark shapes loom,
Trees herald a horizon
Barely illumined
By night’s indigo sweep,
Before the moon’s
Eternal rise.
A mist, etherial
In its ghostliness,
Unseen by those
Safely in their
Cottages and mansions,
Sweeps across field,
Hugs moorland,
Swirls branches, like
Some unknown demon.

Olden times, the night
Gave fright. No street
Lights to cheer
Late travellers.
None moved where
They were not
Impressed to do so.
Only a risen gliobe
Poured pale light
Over a vastly darkened

How lucky is
Modern man,
Living in cities
Where light
Pervades over all?

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. July, 2015.

Stay safe, my friends and enjoy your days.


This entry was posted on July 20, 2015. 2 Comments

Seventh July Blog


Seventh July Blog

Time Devotion.

We all devote time to various parts of our lives. The amount we apportiono for each part may be different, depending on whakind of lives we are leading at that particular moment: this also depends on what age we are and where we live, and also lincludes what our particular country is. Each is different in Its own way and can govern how we spend time. What rituals and influences are involved, the climate, finances and much more.

However, I cannot really speak for others, only myself, my country, my weather conditions, my rituals ( for want of a better description).

As a child, most of us have no idea what the adult world is about! This is good because, if we did have an idea, at such a tender age, we might never want to go any further. So, at this time of our lives, most of us begin to grow. Start to oiunderstand more of what, in the coming years, will be expected of us, to a certain extent. However, time manages to keep us young enough, for long enough, to build a thick skin for the most part. { There will be some who fall by the wayside, quite early on in life. Tragic, but sometimes Nature decides that, for whatever reason, few will be forfeit). The stronger ones will kgrow, mature in the learning time where we are not really children any more, nor are we fully-fledged adults.

Next, the time of procreation, when we are undoubtedly at our strongest, most vital. Reproduction is the name of Nature’s game. Some never take part, for whatever reason, so more fall by Nature’s roadside. Not that it matters. Enough use this time to produce the next set, and the cycle moves on. It is at this time we are at our most formative. We build, we produce, we survive.

Comes the settling time where we get comfortabe in our skins, building on the previoup stage of our lives. Time still stretches for us. We enjoy what we can, our partners, children, friends and our jobs. Life is sweet, mellow. We all know that old age is getting nearer, but shrug it off like some too warm overcoat, stuck in the wardrobe, facing us every day. But we close the door and forget about THAT time to come.

If we are lucky we are still blessed with good health. The odd morning cough doesn’t worry us. That annoying twinge in the knee is just a twist gained when walking over a rough path with the dog. It does not mean anything. Everyone gets a little pain now and again. We do not see it as ( to quote: “The shape of things to come”). Our teeth are still strong. Oh, one had to be pulled, but that happens to everyone, right?

Wrong, my friend, it is the beginning of the slippery slope. Not quite there yet, maybe, but definitly on a downhill path of time. The time when children bring the grandkids round of a Sunday. You say goodbye with that old chestnut, nice to give them back at the end of the day, chiding ourselves that we are not as young as we used to be. Time, that ever present spectre, is not so kind any more. Maybe we should get fit. Join a health club. That should beat time, get us back some energy and strength.

Wrong again! This is where time really puts the boot in. Watch the t.v. during the day, read more, potter in the garden, get a set of dentures There is no clocking in. Our time is our own. Until TIME tells us
“time’s up, pal”.

Time, incandescent,
Drifts slowly on a
Tide of infinity.
Its ethereal presence
Felt graciously at first,
But as it moves, picks
Its stream, edging
Towards destiny,
It becomes less
Of a friend,
More of an enemy.
That blight that gnaws
At vital parts of you.
Small nibbles
Make ragged edges.
The marks then tear,
Rip you asunder so
There is little left
To pick over.
The old say
‘Time waits for no man’
Has a great truth.
We live, we grow,
Then we are no more.
Hopefully we will be

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. July, 2015.

My time .talking about time, is done for today.  Keep smiling, be happy and remember, let’s be safe out there today.


This entry was posted on July 17, 2015. 4 Comments

Hummingbird Magic

These little darlungs come to see my friend in Ontario, Canada, every year. Sadly, on the times I visitefd, they had all flown South to escape the bitter winters. This reminds me of happy days spent with very dear friends.


Hummingbird in action - Guenette photo

“Some of my old memories feel trapped in amber in my brain, lucid and burning, while others are like the wing beat of a hummingbird, an intangible, ephemeral blur.”
(Mira Bartok from The Memory Place)

I’ve wandered my garden for weeks with my camera at the ready in the hope that I might capture a hummingbird in the wild photo. This morning I was in the right place at the right time. I hope you take as much pleasure from these two photos as I have.

Hummingbird - Guenette photo

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Sixth July Blog


Sixth July Blog.

The joys of looking.

It can be anything to anyone. A guy who loves motorcycles, a lady who loves trying out new recipes, a teenager who has suddenly found makeup, or a lad who is wrapped up in the doings of his favourite football team. The list is endless.

It is for certain, that quite a lot of us human beings, at one time or another in our lives ( sometimes more than once) become enhranced with a hobby. One of my hobbies is painting. Currently, due to space and mess, oil paints, that I used to love using, and chalk pastels (dusty at worst, all over the place) have now had to be put aside. But,…..water-colour, my nemesis, is now avilablemto me, time permitting.

Not only is there a joy in trying to paint a good (or even just aoassable) water-colour picture, but there is another added joyous time, ( a bonus, if you will) as most other people and their hobbies also find, the looking at, the discusing of, the thinking about, of your very own favourite pasttime. For me, it is choosing, new paints and equipment.

Sadly lacking for many years due to doing other things, money also being part of the problem. Now I have a little to spare for such frivolous items and how glorious it is to go through the web site of artists materials and drool ( well, almost) at the various colours and equipment, on offer. Brushes, drawing books, new items, new colours. The list is almost endless. It is like a holiday, where the sun shines, the food is delicious, the wine intoxicating. A joy to behold, a love to endure. Each hobby has that quintessential aspect that holds the officionado in thrall.

I do have a 12 full pan water-colour paintbox. Good quality, bought from a reputable artists materials shop, but so long ago. Don’t get me wrong. They are still good to use! Because I bought quality at the time of purchase, or as good as I could afford ( same with my artists quality colour pencils- best to buy quality products, even if only one or two at a time).

Now, prices have skyrocketed, but I have found a site with quality at what I can afford. Picking and choosing colours I do not already own in my old paintbox, colours that I would have trouble actually mixing. Viridian being one such colour, phthalo blue or green for others, pale yellow, Indian red, some of the browns. Don’t get me wrong, I can mix up a wide-ranging colour wheel myself, but some colours are hard to interprete, to repeat. And whereas, when using oils, white can turn darker colours pale, with water-colours, that really does not work well. White will make some colours more opaque, which is often not quite what is required. Water-colour should be like it says, a colour that is watery, not muddy or murky which the white would do in many cases.

I am now also finding this site gives me little videos of the various materials. I am buying new colours in half pans, because this is cheaper. However, the paints will be easier to use if set in a box ( will not slide around in use). Joy, again. On closer inspection, I find empty metal tins to secure my half pans, at a cost. More than I wnt to lay down. But, more joy, a new, lighter, modern design container in plastic. I am not prejudiced against plastic. This one is a fair amount cheaper, folds up to quite a convenient travel size ( should I ever want to take it outside). Unfolds so that there are many places to mix colour. I would have to check on the half pan (the demo was of full pan, but was informed it took half pans as well).

One demonstration on a fully loaded water-colour set showed something I have had before (when making cards), and had forgotten about, a waterfilled brush. Handy for certain things. So,, not only but also. I know most people are not really enamoured of painting. Some maybe because it seems a slightly scary hobby, at first. Some might want to try but are afraid of not producing anything that looks like a painting. A childrens’ water-colour set is cheap and easy to start with, and who cares, except you? If you’ve a mind, try it out. You have nothing to lose. I taught elderly and disabled and they enjoyed what they did.

What I am saying here is that, if you love comic books, keep them in order to refer to at some point in time, if miniature furniture is your thing, if you like to snowboard and are interested in new innovations, or whatever your hobby, be it fly fishing, gardening, hat making, knitting….there will always be a joy in looking at things pertaining to what interests you. Looking costs nothing ( well, maybe reading a book costs a little). I like to look, and looking at painting gear is making me feel joyful.

Many Hues of the Rainbow.

Indigo, deep as a stormy night,
Cadmium red, in a dress, so bright.
Ultra Marine, a Seascape dark,
Raw Umber, colour of forest bark
Olive green, of Greco/Roman hue,
Viridian, a type of greeny blue
Like vases, weathered, in the day,
On copper or gold where mold holds sway.
Carmine crimson, like veinal blood,
Indian Red, like a desert flood.
Gambodge Tint, so thickly yellow,
Lemon, softer, lighter, mellow.
Ivory black, like a polished grate
In olden times, now Paynes Gray pate.
Colours of the rainbow, and lots more
To paint a great picture with brightness galore.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. July, 2015
Be happy dear people. Be careful.


This entry was posted on July 14, 2015. 4 Comments