Thursday, 24 December 2009

Prep, prep and yet more prep....

....and now it's Christmas Eve so apart from tomorrow's dinner all the prep should now be done!

I'm well prepared for the festive mood:
I've attended and totally enjoyed three Christmas meals, all traditional turkey dinners of course! The first was the usual Wednesday gang plus a couple of extras one of which was Hubby.
The second was a dinner and dance with the Tuesday girls where we were entertained by Neil Diamond(sound alike).
The third was with the x-work team at the place where we always had our Christmas meal, so nice that my traditions don't change much!

I'm well prepared on the giving:
All my presents are bought or made and wrapped and labelled and either under the tree for tomorrow or ready to take for our family gathering on the 27th or delivered to those we won't see.

I'm well prepared on provisions:
I make a list and Hubby does the shopping ;o)

So now all that's left is to get rid of this rotten cold and evil cough and enjoy myself.
I wish the whole world better health and more happiness than sadness for Christmas and the new year and all 2010.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

My head's spinning....

It could be the run up to Christmas, but I've written all my cards which was a marathon event, and I've written the annual report ready to go into some of the cards and that was really hard to write this year but done now. I've bought half the presents and have wrapping paper ready.

Of course it could be that I've had some extra education this week by attending The Royal Institution lecture with Comedian. It was set as if we were all aliens being introduced to planet Earth and the green scientist explained diversity of species and how there are relatively few big animals compared to how many insects there are and how the quantity of bacteria far exceeds the sum total of all other species put together! Then we rejoined Daughter and LittleOne to walk through to Covent Garden for food and Christmas lights and street entertainment, then home. It was a lovely day.

Or it could be the head full of other people's secrets, as the dynamics of my group of friends goes through another transition. It seems like they each confide in me about what has happened, is happening or is about to happen, insights I'll keep to myself.

Or, because it really does spin when I move my head or bend, it could be that I'm getting a cold.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Perhaps you had to be there.....

I was sitting at the steward's desk of the art exhibition when a couple came over carrying a very large picture frame. This had been donated and priced at just £10 so would make a great sale for the charity.

They lent it against the desk and stood back to look (blocking the path of others).
He said "I'm sure it's about the right size"
She said "Well I think it's much too big". This debate went on for some time with him holding his arms out trying to gauge the size, and she then explained to me that they had bought a painting at a boot sale and needed a frame.
He said "We would have to put it in the middle and put one of those borders round it"
She said "Oh no, they only have them in cream now and that wouldn't go"
I told them they could get any colour they liked at The Range.
He said "I know I should have measured it but I think it was this big - holding wide his arms - just didn't think we'd see a frame today".
She said "No no no I'm worried about the height not the width"
The debate went on.

Then as if a light had switched on in his brain, he said "Of course, I've remembered, it's just a bit smaller than that suitcase as we brought it home in that"
She said "So how big is the suitcase?"
He said "Well I think it's about this big" - with him holding his arms out to try to gauge the size
She said "No no no I'm talking about the height not the width".........

Happy to report they did buy it in the end!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Old friends.....

An old friend of mine had moved up to Cumbria, and that's where all the serious flooding is just now, so I emailed to check that her and her family were OK. Got a reply very late last night as her broad-band had been knocked out for 20 hours, but thankfully all else and everyone else was fine!

Also finally met with the ex-colleague, who we'd never met before, but felt like an old friend after the first greeting.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Luxury or just lazy.....

I could hardly believe it when I opened my eyes and saw that we were both still in bed at 20 past 9! Nothing special to get up for, and it is a horrible grey drizzly day but shear waste to just spend it in bed eh? So I dragged my body out of the lovely warm space and decided it was far too late to lounge about in my fleece shirt and jogging bottoms, like I usually do, so I got dressed straight away to appear totally ready for the who am I trying to kid, I put on dirty clothes and now need to undress, shower, wash hair and find clean clothes before anyone other than Hubby should see me. Till then I'll slob in these smellies.

Things I need to fit into today...
1. Make myself presentable (as mentioned above)
2. Ironing
3. Visit the art exhibition with Daughter and children (see below for what this is about)
4. Meet with BBB (ex-boss) to meet a translator we've worked with for years but never met
5. Write christmas cards
6. Catch up with 3 recorded "I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here" (yes I'm a sad but loyal fan)

While writing the list I realised that I hadn't told you about the art exhibition. Well my friendAC, who was also an ex-colleague, organises an art exhibition every year to raise money for EACH (East Anglian Children's Hospice) and every year she nags me to participate and usually I'm too busy but now I'm not working I didn't have a ready excuse, so I've entered 6 paintings and got my granddaughters to enter one each and I'm down for two stewarding stints. Fingers crossed between us we might sell something!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Truly laid back me...

Had a problem with my car last week. The clutch died, but it was sort of convenient as it managed to last until I was in a small shopping centre car-park so I just had to walk about 20 mins to get back to Olympian at gymnastics, then arranged for a friend who lived nearby and was also going out with us in the evening to collect me, have our night out, and also take me home afterwards, so didn't need to stand and wait for the RAC until the following morning...........and would you believe it, I'd broken down right outside a Subway coffee shop, so Hubby and I could sit in the warm drinking coffee while we waited. Poor thing had to be towed to a garage who said it can't be done in a day (sounded expensive)! It actually took them a whole week as they were so busy and the final charge of £250 wasn't as bad as I'd expected either.

Have to say a big thank you to our wonderful neighbours who lent me their car for my Sunday night out and to my BestFriendM who drove on our Tuesday night out and to Hubby of course who took me to collect the car and even paid the bill.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Keeping every compliment....

After a little email conversation my niece said...
You're the cool auntie that, when I remember being a kid, always had everything anyone would ever need in your handbag... It was like Mary Poppins!

Isn't it great to know I'm part of a persons happy memories!!!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Time and tide.....

....wait for no man (or woman)!

Certainly doesn't - can't believe how much time goes by between blogs. I actually think about it a lot but don't find the time to actually do it!

Certainly doesn't - celebrated this week 36 years married to the same man!

Certainly doesn't - both LittleOne and the extra time I now have to play Grandma has reached half a year!

Certainly doesn't - but have to say I'm enjoying each moment of it before it passes!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Holiday 2009 - part 3....

Well we have done so much and been so busy I've not managed to write this every evening like I'd planned to, so I won't go into great detail now or you'll get bored before the end!

Best thing is that everyone got over their colds (some sooner than others) but thankfully it didn't stop anyone enjoying whatever we were doing. In fact the list of what we have done this week is amazing, considering we all feel like nothing was rushed and we are not exhausted by having to force all the attractions in...........
  • 2 days on two different beaches, Poldhu Cove and Church Cove
  • 2 evenings having BBQs, toasting marshmallows and very late nights by the fire pit
  • Table tennis playing and DVD watching at the farmhouse
  • Visit to the seal sanctuary at Gweek
  • Long walks at Travarno Gardens, and to Loe beach and bar - eating blackberries en route
  • Another long walk at Glendurgan gardens and all but me and LittleOne spent some time running and swinging on the 'Giant Stride' pole
  • Dropped Sool at Truro station
  • Lands End (most westerly) and Lizard Point (most southerly) parts of England
  • Plus lots of internetting as the house had free wifi.
and tomorrow we sadly pack up and go home....but we'll spent some time at the Eden Project on the way, so as not to waste our last day!!!

Bet you wish you had been here?

Monday, 21 September 2009

Holiay 2009 - part 2.....

Weather has been really good, chilly but warm enough to eat outside last night on food cooked on the fire pit BBQ style then sit around the fire pit until all the stars were out! Today has been warm enough to spend about 4 hours on the beach - a beautiful beach called Poldhu Cove.

Only two negative things so far, first is that Comedian and Olympian are getting over colds and Daughter and Hubby now have really horrid colds which is definitely spoiling things for them. Second thing is the amount of flies here - Hubby and Sool are having to make regular spraying and vacuuming rounds of the house.

Wish you were here.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Holiday 2009 - part 1....

It's Cornwall this year and way down at the Lizard peninsular......end of the earth as SOOL calls it.

We spent nearly all day in the car yesterday getting here with a few 'comfort' breaks, mostly for LittleOne to have a feed or a bum change, a slight detour and stop to collect Comedian and Olympian as they were visiting their dad in Dorset, then one more 'comfort' break and a quick services-dinner stop as it was getting so late and we finally got here about 8:30ish.

7 of us plus luggage in the one vehicle was a little snug but not a problem. Daughter and Hubby sharing the driving. We had also taken with our in-car DVD player to amuse the children and it was so funny seeing the expression on LittleOne's face when we stuck a screen showing "Over The Hedge" cartoon so he could see it too!

The farmhouse is really nice and full of all we could need. A welcome pack was on the table with tea bags, coffee, bottles one of local fresh juice the other of sparkling water, packet of fudge, packet of biscuits and as pot of jam (all home made locally). We thought this was wonderful, then we opened the fridge to find not only eggs, milk and butter but a tray full of scones, jam and clotted cream.............great start to our holiday having our late night West Country snack :o)

Then it was a good scout round to check out the facilities and choose which bedroom to claim - (well that was the children) then trying to stay enthusiastic for the girls as they wanted to play the new games they had found in a cupboard, but we were all far too tired.......lasted till after midnight - girls were impressed that we arrived on Saturday but they didn't go to bed until Sunday - then all drifting up to our beds.

Today we are having a quiet "around the farmhouse" day.
Wish you were here...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Looking back.....

I had my sisters over on Sunday to go through and share out all the photos I had taken from mum's flat and although sad it was good to reminisce our childhoods through the photos. We each took the ones that were special just to us and I now have another box of the ones that we all wanted, so I'll scan each one and save onto discs for each sibling.......although that could take some time. I've a parcel to post to my brother of ones he might like and a small collection of other members of our family that I'll take to my cousin's next week.

It was lovely to see how family living in Canada kept constantly updating mum on their growing children and grandchildren by sending photos and thankfully writing on the back of each one which child is which and how old they are. What a good idea, I really must do the same with mine by either writing on the back of the ones I have already or thoughtfully naming each digital file for the recent ones, as I don't print out so many now.

Good too to know that my parents had a life apart from us as lots of faces and places none of us knew. Unfortunately these meant nothing to any of us and so they were thrown away. I hope that hasn't done any damage to anyone's soul as believed by some tribes!

Fun to look back eh?
But looking forward now - my nieceS had a baby girl last week, so I've a great-nieceE who is fit and healthy and was given my mum's name as her middle name which is lovely. I'll be going to visit tomorrow for a big cuddle :o)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

More than one day at the seaside.....

Not sure what the pull of the sea is but I'm not alone as Brits flock to the sea at home or abroad all the time. Well I never cease to appreciate how lucky I am to live so near to the coast..........ok not luck at all but chose to live here!

I had a birthday this week and when asked what I wanted to do I said 'seaside'. So with Hubby, Daughter, Comedian, Olympian and LittleOne we went to Aldeburgh and had a lovely long walk while the girls used their scooters and then I was treated to an Italian lunch, followed by ice cream cones on our way back to the car and plenty of time on the beach. The girls really enjoyed being buried under the stones with just their heads showing and LittleOne seemed to really enjoy watching all that was going on.

That evening, as it was a Tuesday, I met the friends I eat with every Tuesday evening, but this week was different as friendJ cooked for us so we had a celebration evening. I had a great day.

Friday was another lovely hot and sunny day so Hubby and I headed to the seaside yet again. Felixstowe this time and first we went to Languard Fort and actually went inside to see the exhibition............we've lived here 26 years and never done it before! After that it was chips on the beach, my favourite, then a walk, then a pub stop so Hubby could have a pint and then an ice cream on the walk back to the car.

And our Daughter has just phoned to say she needs to kill some time at Felixstowe today (girls have a birthday party to go to there) and did we want to go for a walk with her.........of course I instantly said yes!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

About time too...

Enjoyed a great visit today from my special-friendH who has been part of my life since childhood. We have never lost contact and always involved in each other's special events like weddings, meeting each of our children as they have come along and been guests at their barmitzvahs and weddings too and now meeting grandchildren.

Of course we have shared the rough times too, though we sympathise and empathise and hug and weep together as we feel we must but have agreed not to dwell on the negatives!!!

We live about 60 miles apart and meet up at least three times a year, although most of the time it's me driving to hers.......but today she drove here, only 6 years after the last time.
Thank you H, I so loved you coming!

Monday, 20 July 2009


This morning when I flicked on the hairdryer there was a bit of a smokey, metally smell - just for a second - and in my head space where I should have been thinking "oh dear is something burning, do I need to turn this off and grab a fire extinguisher" I actually had the complete image of us as children playing with gun caps in those silly little plastic rocket things that you throw with great force nose to the ground to make the little cap go bang.......but often it doesn't so you do it again and again to give it another chance then take it out and squash it with your foot to make it finally crack, then comes that smell.

It's amazing how smells can bring on such graphic memory images:
- pipe smoke = dad sitting for ages creating his own blend of tobacco,
- burning rubber = me at 10 years old lying on a hospital trolley being anaesthetised for my tonsil op.

Can't actually think of any more just now........but when I do I'll report back.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Not just name calling....

You know how sometimes you can't help calling someone a right "pain in the arse" - well today that's me. No, it's not that I'm being awkward or horrid to anyone I really have a pain today and yes it's my arse!!!

It started after our day on the park last Sunday, but today it is definitely worse. I think I may have pulled a muscle at the base of my spine, just where I bend so walking around is just about fine but sitting down hurts then standing up hurts again.

All drug-free suggestions on how to make it feel better will be gratefully received.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

No sale, no worries......

OK so I didn't sell any of my paintings but I didn't expect to, so it's not a problem. The main point of the day for us is to try to get new members for our art group and we did get a lot of interest so maybe we'll be lucky.

Best thing for me was the cheesy foot - my daughter had been to the event with the children but unfortunately they had to leave before I got there, so they left me a cheesy pastry foot.....I'm such a lucky grandma :o)

Friday, 10 July 2009

Happy events make a happy blogger.....

So sorry that I haven't written for a while, haven't really got into the habit of blogging yet and must have obviously been busy enough to forget.

There have been lots of social events which is really enjoyable, especially during the day when the sun is I don't miss going to work one little bit :o)

I went with my darling daughter and three grandchildren plus a friend of the girls to an interactive art installation for children. It was called The Cloth Place and everything there was made of fabric and the children were told to explore and play freely. So the three girls worked their way through the farmyard which included almost half size cloth cows, pigs and more. For some reason they thought the rats were dirty enough to gather up and put in the washing machine then peg out on the line by their tails, very funny!!! Upstairs was the cafe with yummy cloth cakes and by the hot counter they cooked and served me material bacon, eggs and chips. Then they donned hats and served behind the butcher's, greengrocer's and fish counters. All this kept them totally entertained for a couple of hours, some of which I spent with LittleOne, just finding our own space to sit while children charged around noisily. A great day out.

Met up with the ex-work team for a lunch at our favourite riverside pub and it was so nice to catch up with their news. We've already written the next meet-up into our diaries.

Spent a Sunday at our largest town centre park for the annual summer Music Day, this was also with my darling daughter and all four grandchildren as Sool was performing there.

I've done some gardening this week with the help of Olympian and Comedian, think they worked harder than I did though!

Today I finally finished sorting out all the 'house clearance' stuff and it should all be gone to the various charities by the end of next week.

And tomorrow I'm at another of the parks for another summer event where I will be exhibiting some of my artwork and helping to man the stand run by the art group I go to........hope the rain holds off!

This isn't everything of course, but I've run out of time to write anymore as I've another pair of baby trousers to make out of the sleeves of a no longer needed jumper, so as you can see I've been busy and it's all been relaxed fun - just the way life should be :o)

Friday, 19 June 2009

Memories and meatballs.........

I think I had a bit of a dream this morning. That may sound odd but I’ve rarely had dreaming sleep or if I had then I’ve not managed to remember them when I wake up, so to have snippets of images in my head when I wake take me by surprise and need a lot of concentration to make any sense of.

Well in the early hours of this morning when I was almost ready to wake but far too cosy to stir I must have slept enough to be aware that I was with someone, I think I was a child and the someone with me was also a child – perhaps. I took their hand and said that we could visit dad now and he would be looking forward to the company, so we walked together hand in hand along the corridors. When we got to the room it was a hospital ward and dad was there in bed eating spaghetti and meatballs (that bit was really clear). Then we noticed that mum was already there beside dad’s bed, so we smiled at them both and walked on!

I don’t know what any of this means, I could guess but will never know for sure, however, this dream reminded me of when I was just 10 years old and rushed into hospital with acute appendicitis, not pleasant but my recovery was aided by the fact that my dad was in the same hospital at the same time, in fact in the same bed just the ward above. At first we had the nurses running messages between us and my poor mum was run ragged trying to visit us both and look after the home and my four siblings, she certainly was supermum! I can’t remember what dad was in there for and don’t remember him looking or acting ill, but I guess he was. As I improved I would nag the nurses until I was taken to my dad and I’d sit on his bed while he peeled grapes for me.

Tonight we are having meatballs ;o)

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Give it time...and a vine...

Now don't fall off your chair when you read this, but I actually did a bit of gardening today! Our rotten, falling down trellis has just been replaced by a beautiful hand made, wrought iron trellis which fences in the pond with elegance. So hubby and I spent quite some time re-attaching the grape vines to it. It was so tangled in a heap on the ground that we had to trim loads off which will mean a meagre harvest this year, but that won't be a problem as they are always tiny and full of seeds that we never feel like eating many - oh Tesco how you've spoilt us!

One year I decided it was such a waste not to eat these deliciously juicy (about two drops in each) fruit, so picked to make jam. I completely filled two carrier bags with bunches cut direct from the vine then sat for hours on end lovingly picking each grape from its stalk until they filled my large saucepan. After boiling down with just enough sugar I embarked on the sieving process. From saucepan through a colander into a second saucepan to remove the bulk of the seeds and skin without losing too much of the pulp. Next through the wire sieve pushing with the back of a spoon to extract as much as possible from the skins. Finally it needed to rolling boil until it reached setting point.

For those of you who have never made jam the test it to put a drizzle onto a cold plate, leave to cool for a few seconds them push with your finger to see if it wrinkles, however, if you lift the plate and it runs to the edge then no pushing is necessary and you continue to boil. I have to confess I tested until I lost the will to live and gave up. I removed my dozen jars which had been washed, sterilised in boiling water and dried in the oven and poured from pan to jars........just one and half jars in fact!!! Yes the two full carrier bags had reduced itself down to just one and half jars of jam that wouldn't even set!!!!

I tried making fruit leather one year too, but that story would read much like this one, so now we generously give bags of grapes to all our friends who smile politely and say how kind we are to share :o)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous...

......mum’s favourite word. Mum picked up this word from her boyfriend and although she often moaned about him she made a conscious choice to try to see the best in him and enjoy his company and never do anything to hurt or upset him. My mum had the most positive attitude of anyone I know, if she was lonely she made herself go out for a walk, if she needed help and none of us were available then she had been known to knock for a neighbour or even ask a stranger. Mum loved to socialise and dance and chat with friends and bravely walked in alone to join clubs. She loved making people laugh.

I hope I can be like my mum.

So the last five months have been very sad and stressful for me, but now it’s time to look for the positives! I have received so many lovely cards and messages offering sympathies and support. How lucky I am to be surrounded by people that love me. Also need to mention how busy I am because my lovely daughter is including me in some of their activities or creating activities we can all do (she bought me lunch today)! And more good news to share this time is that on Sunday, in her very first gymnastics competition, Comedian came away with a silver medal the flames of life and they will burn out the rubbish sad events! Memories will never burn.

Friday, 5 June 2009

My horoscope...

If we didn't have obstacles, we wouldn't have challenges. If we didn't have challenges, we wouldn't have opportunities. Without opportunities, we would have no ability to make progress. So, we should be grateful for obstacles. Problems? Why, they are the staff of life. Oppressive situations? Blessings in disguise! Of course, that's all a bit like saying that we should feel glad when it rains because it makes the crops grow. A little sunshine is nice too, though. No matter how much it has rained in your life lately, the outlook is brightening.

Monday, 1 June 2009

The Good, the bad and the ugly!.......

The Good...
SisterM, SisterS, SisterP and I went to Dublin for four days. This was the very first time that we had been away as sisters together and it was fun. We are all so different and the differences do matter but underneath we are sisters and love each other warts-n-all.

We had bought the 3 day freedom pass at the airport when we arrived and this covered all our buses from the airport transfer to the hotel, the hop-on-hop-off city centre tour bus we used a lot, the long bus ride back from Dublin Bay and all our other bus trips right to the airport transfer back on Friday – great value at 25€.

Apart from shopping down Grafton Street we also went to Bewley’s restaurant for afternoon tea a couple of times, Jameson Whiskey distillery for the tour and tasting, St Patrick’s Cathedral where we enjoyed a choir from the University of Wisconsin (unexpected bonus), found a great old traditional Irish pub called O’Donahugh’s, a trip to Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Learey) in Dublin Bay for a walk by the sea and an Irish night at the Arlington Hotel which included a three course meal, four man band and 5 ‘river-dance style’ dancers. All good fun.

SisterM got told off on the airplane going there for talking during the safety announcement, SisterS got told off for letting her case travel into the aisle on the bus, we all got told off for giggling loudly on the tour bus while the driver was giving his commentary and SisterM told me off for no reason when I was talking to SisterP – so you can see we behaved like kids :o)

Overall for me it was a total success and I hope we get to go away together again some time!

The Bad...
3am on Sunday 31st May 2009 we were woken by the phone and it was SisterM to tell me that mum had died an hour earlier!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a shock.

Mum and SisterM had been out together for their usual Saturday morning shopping trip to Sainsbury and although SisterM said later that mum had been a bit slower and a little more breathless she thought all had been fine. Mum had been her usual jokey self and had spent some time reading all the rude birthday cards to buy the few that she needed.

Mum had felt ill and very breathless in the early hours and had pulled the red emergency cord in her flat. She told the person that rang her back how she felt and they sent paramedics immediately. When they got there she was lying on the floor having had a cardiac arrest. Neither they nor the hospital could revive her. SisterM rang us from the hospital where she sat with mum for a while.

SisterM had said there was no point us going to the hospital but I couldn’t just sit at home so Hubby and I drove to SisterM’s house arriving just after 6am, SisterM and Brother-in-lawA were already home and later SisterS and Brother-in-lawK arrived and so did SisterP and Brother-in-lawR – we needed to be together!

The Ugly...
There are five of us siblings and our brother has unfortunately married the sister-in-law from hell. I was told that she had been stirring up trouble again trying to turn NephewE’s ex wife, Niece-in-lawE against our family. She even quoted a horrid something I am supposed to have said. Niece-in-lawE knew without a doubt this wasn’t something that I would have said or even thought so she gave Sister-in-lawS ‘a real mouthful’ on the phone (Niece-in-lawE’s words) and said she wanted nothing more to do with her.

We were all so relieved that BrotherR and Sister-in-lawS didn’t feel the need to come to SisterM’s even though she had told them we would all be there when she broke the news. Later in the morning when I’d gone with SisterM to mum’s flat Sister-in-lawS rang SisterM’s mobile and started saying that BrotherR wanted to register the death and do lots of other stuff so SisterM cut her short and told her to put BrotherR on the phone – what an interfering cow! Hopefully after mum is laid to rest we never have to see them again!!!

And closing...
Can’t believe that Hubby and I have lost three parents in five months and together with all the trauma around losing my job and Daughter’s suffering from LittleOne’s birth 2009 has been the worst year so far of my life! Please please please let it get better from now on.

Friday, 22 May 2009

End of my old life......

Last day in the office - just came in to hand back laptop, mobile phone etc
BBB is here and we have drank tea and chatted like always.
Does seem odd but happy to walk away now and ready for my next adventure!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Busy birthdays....

Although Comedien and Olympian don't actually turn 7 for another week, this weekend we celebrated (they are with their dad next weekend). Saturday morning Olympian and I went to gymnastics and Hubby collected Daughter, Sool, Comedien, Dynamo and LittleOne - so by lunchtime we were all at my house! After lunch they opened their presents from Daughter and Sool and from each other and their main present was a kareoke machine!!!!! Can you guess how the afternoon was spent eh? We rounded off the evening with a Chinese Takeaway feast.

Sunday was the big party - they had chosen to have a Cave and Animal party. So their bell tent was erected in our garden to be the cave and it was filled with soft toy animals. Comedien, Olympian and Dynamo were in animal fur costumes and Daughter wore an animal print headband and even I managed to find a top that was a sort of animal print too.

Daughter and I loaded the table with mostly home cooked food and Hubby had printed off some caveman and Flintstones posters to stick up round the place. 1pm and our home filled up nicely with about 40 lovely people (about 50:50 adults to children). The children all amused themselves and each other - all getting along well even though some are friends from home-ed groups, some from gymnastics and one relation and various ages too! Meanwhile the adults chatted lots and drank lots of tea, made by various people and many of them taking turns to cuddle LittleOne as this is his first social function too!

All too soon it was 7:30pm and all the guests had gone and Hubby loaded the car with Daughter's family and took them home...........then I had less than an hour to clear up before going out myself, you should have seen me go through the place like a whirl-wind, I do work better under pressure!

And now today Daughter, LittleOne and the girls are back here so the girls can concentrate on going through all their prezzies properly! They will have more when their presents from me and Granddad arrive (ordered on-line and partly arrived), then they will have more again at their daddy's next weekend so a very long birthday indeed.

Quote of the day from Conmedien........"The best thing about parties is there is always lots of leftovers for lunch the next day!"

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Small person, big humour.......

Last night I was driving home with Comedien after her gymnastics session. We were chatting about how windy it was and I said I was surprised my washing had stayed on the line, "Some things could have blown over fences as far as the Tesco roundabout" I exagerated.

She smiled and said "Actually Grandma, has Tesco got automatic doors?

I could instantly picture where her imagination had taken her.......then we laughed and laughed!!!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Better but still not normal....

.......whatever normal is of course!

Main thing is that my very special and brave Daughter is on the mend, although somewhat slowly all progress is good.

I'm coming to terms with not going into the office, actually went in yesterday which felt odd, but just for the morning as we had our team leavers lunch at our favourite pub on the river. BBB paid for lunch as they have promised him £50 towards it to go on expenses, which I don't get as I've not been there long enough (well I have in reality but that's another whole story). Also a big surprise when BBB pulled out a bottle of wine and cards for each of us as a thank you for services supplied - he is such a sweetheart and I will so miss working with him.

After yet another session at gymnastics with Olympian I met up with my Tuesday friends and the main topic of conversation was the previous weekend, which was a girly sleepover at BfriendM's house. This included a really lovely three course dinner BfriendM cooked us then out for a bit of a pub crawl and long walks in between then home again and partied till 4am then finally to bed. The morning is always amusing as we are definitely not the party animals of the night before, more like the walking dead, but another long walk along the prom to the cliff top cafe for breakfast (at lunchtime) blew the cobwebs away for a while, but we all headed home soon after.

Hubby had been away last weekend too - his was a bit of male bonding on a walking weekend up in Yorkshire and as he had done the driving he was knackered too. So we both blurted out all that had happened then fell silent for the rest of the evening :o)

Only other thing to mention is my lack of efficiency lately - sitting at a desk all day I had a routine, checked my diary, sent out cards on time, paid bills on time, made phone calls when my PC went ping to remind me and all that.......but my life is no longer automated so I'm going to have to find another way!
All suggestions will be seriously considered.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Don't want to blog today........

I really wanted this space to record all the fun and happy times we have...

- so I don't want to blog that I'm sitting in the office today without having a job anymore
- and I don't want to blog that yesterday's funeral had only 6 members of real family there
- and I don't want to blog that un-real family were picking over the house like vultures
- and I don't want to blog that my precious Daughter isn't feeling any better
- and I don't want to blog that Hubby is hurting and I'm not in a good place to give him support

so I won't!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Wife's worries......

3:34am and I squint at the clock across the space where Hubby should be - guess he's gone to the loo, so I listen a bit but can't hear bathroom noises. Oh dear if he's gone down stairs because he couldn't sleep then I'm sure it must be because he is worrying about our Daughter's poor health or feeling really sad about his father's funeral which is later today or turning over and over in his mind all the sorting out of his father's finances and belongings he has to do as he's been made executor or worse still a combination of all these worries and emotions relating to all of these things. So I get up and creep down the stairs, feeling oh so sad for him. I walk into the lounge and there he is under a blanket on the sofa watching a very old Startrek and my sympathies ooze into a flurry of words, asking what is wrong and if I can help in any way................but apparently the problem was my snoring, so I crept back up the stairs with all emotions replaced by guilt.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Mum's worries.......

Bank holiday weekend so had my darling Daughter over with her family at our house for each of the three days, she has been going crazy stuck in her house all this time. Hubby is still playing chaufeaur as she can't drive and I'm sure there were lots of fun and amusing things I should be writing down to remember but the main thing on my mind right now is worrying as my very precious Daughter is still suffering a lot and had to be rushed again to the out of hours clinic last night to be seen by a nurse as she was in so much pain yesterday, turns out it's another bladder infection, so yet more anti-biotics. The nurse wasn't sure if it was OK to take this one while breastfeeding and he looked it up in the book and said "can't see anything that says it's not so it should be OK" which didn’t fill Daughter with a whole lot of confidence then when she got home and showed me and I told her that was the one I was allergic to so she really didn't want to take them………but she looked it up on the internet and found evidence that it was safe to take while feeding and did take it but still had a terrible night although thankfully feels a bit better this morning. Hubby is taking her shortly for yet another appointment at the hospital so hopefully they can still do the tests needed to give her the all clear and remove the catheter. She'll feel so much better when that's gone I'm sure!

Meanwhile, her best friend is taking the girls to a first aid course and then I'll take Olympian to gymnastics this afternoon. But for now I'm logged on to work and as our department closed down last Thursday I'm really not sure if I should be doing anything!!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Social me.....

What a relief to have some fun social things to write about for a change :o)

My Wednesday nights have for the past 20 years (or maybe more) been spent with BfriendM. It started because her husband (now ex) worked nights so one night a week I went over to keep her company and share a bottle of Lambrusco and a garlic bread. Now it is a full blown dinner party every week at the home she shares with her chapP. I'd missed going to M+P's for the previous two weeks because of all that has happened but thankfully last Wednesday Hubby managed to take over from me at gymnastics so I could get to M+P's in time for dinner and I took dessert as always. BfriendM's sister H was there too and she brought her new man, (also H which is going to get soooo confussing), for us to meet. We had stories of her recent trip to Rome and heard plans of their trip to Venice and Greece which is happening soon. So lots to talk about and lots of laughs too. I really felt like I'd relaxed for the first time in the last couple of weeks.

Thursday was another social event which I enjoyed even more because it was the final day for my job, which could have been a sad day but instead I chose to take a three hour lunch break and with Hubby visited friends Mr+MrsA then all to a lovely village pub in the sunshine, followed by a little drive round some villages before heading home............yes there is a lot more to life than working :o)

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Mixed blessings...

In the early hours of Sundy morning my father-in-law passed away. Finally now may he rest in peace.

He had not had an easy life. He nursed and lost his first wife to cancer when Hubby was just 8 years old with a not much older brother. He raised the two boys on his own for the next 10 years. When I met Hubby father-in-law was married to his second wife but after moving from London to Suffolk for their retirement he had to nurse her with cancer and it was sad when she lost that battle and he was on his own again. For the last 19 years he lived with a partner who also loved going away on holidays as much as he did so put the sparkle and fun back into his life, but January this year he sadly lost her to cancer cruel is life eh? His cancer was quite advanced by then too so the last few months were not pleasant with his quality of life gone and just surviving day to day until the end. He reached 89 years old, what an achievement!

They are not a close or sentimental family, which I found a bit difficult to understand, but they all got on really well with each other and father-in-law was always there for us as a married couple with young children and would often come over to help Hubby with DIY projects, he was really good at plastering and we made good use of that fact.

Our children never felt pressured to go over and visit but wanted to and when they were old enough to drive or ride a motor bike they would visit their granddad and his partner when they could. When Hubby retired he often popped over to see them during the week. Of course as they got too old to come to our house I would feel guilty that I never went to see them as often as I felt I should, but the pressure was never from them for which I will always be grateful.

My main memory of a special father-in-law will always be our banter, he would criticise me and I would criticise him back, all done in fun, it was our way, a verbal hug from a man who found it hard to show his emotions.

We'll miss you dad xxx

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Remember it's temporary...

Well it's been a very busy/cuddly/stressful/fun/scary/depressing/proud/exhausting week!

Our daughter has sufferred quite a bit since delivering LittleOne, who I have to say is sooooo cuddly, she had to stay in hospital Saturday till Wednesday night because of unhealthy issues that were so painful and immobilising, but in her ususal positive way I only saw a meltdown once.

I've spent lots of time with Olympian and Comedian, running them about and spectator to hours of their gymnastics which has been great. they work so hard. I've also managed to cover nearly 400 miles in the car going between my home the hospital and various errands. Job wise has still been a big part of this week even though I'm supposed to be on leave!

However, it's all temporary......our daughter will heal, my father-in-law will find peace in a better place and I will soon have time to play grandma as much as I like.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

What a busy day...

Had to log onto work for a couple of hours as so many forms still to fill in and I want to take the whole week off to play grandma so a small sacrifice.

Collected Sool and Dynamo for the afternoon hospital visit. Very happy to say that my precious daughter and LittleOne both looked well rested and much more comfortable. Then home where Hubby was cooking dinner and Olympian and Comedian were playing having been returned after a day out with their dad and his dad. They had been to the zoo and were full of Orangutan stories and more.

After dinner the girls and I collected Sool again and headed off for the evening visit. I just love all these cuddles. The girls also collected from home all their stuff needed for a sleepover at my house...........and that's where they are now fast asleep in the room we have here for them.

I've spent some of this evening catching up with phone calls and emails all congratulating on our new arrival and/or commiserating on the job many lovely family members and friends with kind wishes, I'm very lucky and feel so loved! Also an update on facebook for those I haven't the time for direct contact with just yet.

And now it's time for some tele and a cuppa then bed as I guess the girls will keep me busy tomorrow before we go off for our afternoon hospital visit again.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Welcome to LittleOne

Well this has to be the best reason to blog and make you all smile - our new grandson arrived 2:31pm today at a very healthy 8lb 4oz. I've had my first cuddle with LittleOne and he's adorable, well I would say that wouldn't I :o)

My very special daughter did suffer quite a bit - starting with a very much wanted home birth but ending with an emergency ambulance dash to hospital and theatre for a c-section delivery but everyone knew it was the right thing to do so just got on with it. Seeing her this evening was upsetting for me as she is still in a lot of discomfort and it broke my heart when we had to abandon her in an empty room unable to be mobile enough to do what she wants for LittleOne without calling for help each time, however, I know she is a very strong person and will recover quickly. I'm so proud of her! Sool played a major part and did a lot to help and I'm proud of him too.

Meanwhile, I collected three children and headed for gymnastics early this morning for Olympian to have her training. Thankfully Hubby met us there and first took Comedian and Dynamo to the park and later took them home to our house. When we were all home it was lunch and playing all afternoon - occassionally a little heated but mostly fine and some of the time great fun.

All of us to the hospital this evening for our first visit, with the three children wearing their "I'm a BIG sister/brother" t-shirts that I'd painted for them. The children were all bessotted by LittleOne and all desperate to cuddle him. Main comments by them all was how soft his skin is. I'm really happy knowing they appreciate how precious our new family member is!

Nothing in life can top I'll say no more.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

There's a recession on you know........

……..and I've been hit !!!!!

Heard at 4:30pm yesterday that our department is to close at the end of this month and BBB and I will no longer be needed. BBB = Best Boss and Buddy. Not sure as yet if we will be 'redeployees' or if there is any sort of redundancy package being offered, but guess if there is we will probably both decide to leave and not sure if that is end of April too.

I'm sorry, I had expected this blog to be light hearted and highlight all that is good in my life, but this job has been one of the best bits and now it is to end it deserves a fitting tribute.

When I told my BFriendM she said "I've never known anyone who has loved their job as much as you" and I always have! I started back in 1993 and instantly got on with BBB and the small team, especially as we were all similar ages so had stuff in common and understood each others daft references and humour (BBB remember the purple loons?). The job started as quite a basic admin role but soon moved on to my taking more and more responsibility until I project managed the department. I felt valued and respected and after spending many years as his wife and their mother it defined who I was as me! Over the years we lost the in-house team who then worked with us as a remote virtual team so it was just BBB and me running a department for a global company that was the biggest UK employer not so long ago. And I have to say we did a bloody good job!!!

So, after doing this job with the same boss for the past 16 years and half expecting outsourcing to happen every time they wanted to cut costs, it still came as a bit of a shock……………we have all been so worried for SisterP's job and then this snuck up and bit me on the bum!!! Not sure if there will be ANY redundancy package and mine wouldn't be much anyway as the first 12 years in this job I was a contractor so less than 5 years actually on the books. Now all the paperwork and negotiations have to begin :o(

I spent a lot of today having to tell all our suppliers that we are shutting up shop and their replies were very uplifting as they showed genuine sympathy and all said really nice things about how they have enjoyed working with us over the years. So many of them are now considered friends and I'll definitely try to keep in touch with them.

Have to say I'm looking on the bright side, no point losing sleep over it when I've more important things to think about - still no baby arrival, but will keep you posted on both.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Naming names

I don't know how you all do it?!?!?
As if it wasn't hard enough to think up a name for this whole blog I now have to rename all my family and friends to help keep their anonymity!!! OK so Hubby was naturally Hubby and our daughter can remain called our daughter but then it got to twin granddaughters, what could I call them as I will often have to talk about them independently of each other and 'the twins' will just strip them of their own personal stories. As you may have noticed yesterday I called one of them thump-sucker and the other curly-locks but what if they stop being those things?

So from now on I think my hard working and dedicated gymnast can be Olympian, as she will strive to make us proud of her, while my fun loving, nature loving, loving all things scientific granddaughter can be known as Comedien as she always makes us laugh too.

Hmmm that solved, now what do I call my daughter's partner? He's not my son-in-law as they are not married so I guess he's my son-out-of-law, Sool for short! And his son, who is the same age as the girls, we can call Dynamo because he always seems to be fully charged and bouncing around excitedly!

We also have a son and he has a fiance, but we don't see them often so I'll probably not have too much to report from them.

There is also a new grandson due to arrive any day now, but I'll have to meet him to be able to call him anything but bump :o)

Well that's the immediate family done and that's more than enough for my tired brain today.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

My very first blog...........

I suppose the first thing I should say on my first ever blog is hello and welcome.
I've been a diary writer for many years but now I spend so much time at a computer that I'll give it a go doing it this way!

I've just had the most pleasant bank holiday weekend. I'm a proud grandmother to twin girls who are nearly 7 years old now and I love them with all my heart! Their mum, my daughter, is so very special that words will never be descriptive enough :o)

Good Friday this year was really good. Hubby and I took the girls to Wembley Arena for the Dancing on Ice show and we all really loved it. We had all followed the TV series (I've followed all four years) so they knew what to expect but never realised anywhere could be as large as the Arena! The weather in London was wet and windy, so we stopped at Brent Cross shopping centre to find lunch without having to walk the streets in the rain. Pizza Hut was the venue that held majority vote and I even got my dinner for free.....well we had wondered why mine was taking so long then the waitres came out and confessed that it had been dropped in the kitchen and could I wait for another to be prepared and I wouldn't be charged, so what could I say! My daughter had text to say they were having a BBQ and it was soooo hot in Suffolk but we were having too much fun to be jealous.

Saturday, my daughter and the girls came to our house for egg painting and chocolate nest making etc, another dry and warm day so we had a BBQ to make up for the one they missed.

Sunday was the big egg hunt round the garden and later lots of gymnastics in the garden as Hubby had made the girls a balance beam to practice on. They are really into gymnastics and amaze me at their bendyness and stamina ('thumb-sucker' more so than 'curley-locks'). Only downside to the day was when I managed to make a bottle of honey explode all over me and the kitchen - but even that was quite funny after we'd cleaned up the dreadful sticky mess.

And bank holiday Monday was a day for doing not much at all :o)