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 Our rotten, falling down trellis has just been replaced by a beautiful hand made, wrought iron trellis which fences in the pond with elegance.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.