Saturday, 31 December 2011


I'd like to wish everyone reading this a very happy new year's eve
and a healthy, happy, stress-free, fun-filled 2012.
With love from me xx

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Stress free magic.....

All the shopping is done!
Presents wrapped and those that need to be have been delivered.
Freezer full, fridge full, cupboards full and even the extra blanket box is full to bursting.
Two trees dressed with their twinkling lights shining on old favourite baubles and home made hanging things that raise a smile every time they are unpacked.
Daughter was here today making last minute presents with the children and will be again tomorrow.
Arrangements have been made for me cooking Christmas Day for me, hubby, daughter, M and the grandchildren. Boxing Day we've been invited into our neighbour's for a meal and the evening and same again for New Year's Eve and on the 27th it's 33 members of my family all here at my house for the day!!!
So all that's left is to sit back and enjoy the magic of our festive holiday together.

Wherever you are and whatever your beliefs I hope this time of year is all you want it to be and may 2012 bring you good health and happiness. xxx

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A bit too quiet....

Daughter and her children have been away on holiday all this week, so I'd specially saved all the Christmas gift wrapping and final shopping trips to while they are away to make my life easier....and yes I've achieved all I really wanted to because it's been a lot simpler to leave stuff out till later, a lot less noisy without the regular button pushing on the musical garland, a lot calmer without the fights, a lot easier to plan meals, a lot simpler to stop for lunch when I'm ready to, a lot less Mario, a lot tidier without having to put toys away, a lot less creeping around because of the sleeping toddler, a lot less hunting out specific craft stuff and helping with makes and a lot less tripping in the hall over coats and boots! But I really miss them and can't wait to get back to normal   :o)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

My way (#7)...

Over the years I seem to have developed some very definite ways of doing things and usually it's for a very good reason, so I thought I'd share. 

I put a couple of new pictures up on my wall yesterday and wondered if you knew that by hanging the wooden frame of a canvas on two level pins it will always be level and that for a framed picture if you mark the little metal bit it hangs on at the back with a pencil on the very edge then press it on the wall where you want it to hang it will make a small mark where you need to bang your nail in.

What's your way?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Five big smiles....

Now it's the end of term for the activities that the girls do, it was time for them to display for us.

First smile was going to the music concert Thursday evening where E was on percussion and also in the choir.

Second smile was E at another concert on Friday evening with E on percussion again, this time she had to play various instruments knowing when to change from one to another. Both concerts were good and E was excellent and it is always obvious how good she is for her age as she is one of the smallest in each orchestra.

Third smile was Saturday morning going to see R in her first ever real play for her drama group, it was Aladdin and she was the entrance to the cave and one of the dancing statues and also one of the narrators (the one with the clearest voice I thought).

Two very definite NOT smiles where that E had been unwell all night, so stayed home and missed her last music class of the term and also that no sooner the play had started than O made a run for the door and escaped with Daughter in hot pursuit so she missed her daughters first play :o(

Fourth smile was Saturday evening as R's dance teacher had organised a fun display evening where we all sat around the hall at tables, joining friends and munching on our own refreshments while the dancers put on a fantastic display of all they do and gained trophies and certificates. There was also the fun competition element for child and parent waltz and swingathon style twist (just like R had watched on Strictly Come Dancing) with the judge touching the shoulder of each contestant as they were told to leave until there was a winner. There was also a parade of dancers to win prince and princess prizes plus there was some line dancing and disco too, a very full and fun evening.

Unfortunately Saturday evening had two NOT smiles as well, as E was still not well enough so stayed home with Granddad and M didn't feel well when we got there and O got so restless that M took him to the car to play but we decided they should go home and the easiest way for everyone (except Hubby) was to ask Hubby to come to the hall and then take M O and E home...............thank you Hubby we do appreciate that you did that so Daughter and I could stay with R as she was having such a good time.

Today was my fifth smile and involved just adults. We are four sisters living quite far apart and today SisterP had us all to her house with husbands for a lovely dinner and a good chat. Can't believe we have all reached half-century and beyond and that we have never had an all adult meal together - such a good idea SisterP, thank you so much :o)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Candlelight for romance.....

....or just because there's a power cut?

Have to confess it was the latter, sorry if that disappoints you but the power went off half way through EastEnders so I was disappointed too. Thankfully it was recorded on sky+ so I know I haven't lost it, phew!

Hubby had gone to bed about 10:30pm and the power went off about 20mins later. I just sat in the dark for a moment planning my next move, not a problem as we always have torches in easy to get places and the main power box is often throwing the trip switch so I wasn't really surprised and knew what to do, however, when a voice from up the stairs calls down "Can you manage or do you want me to come down" I did reply "Well if you are still awake that would save me climbing" (he can reach without climbing), so Hubby got out of bed to come to my rescue.

By the time he came down I'd lit lots of candles and the soft warm glow was really pleasant. Hubby then discovered that it wasn't our trip switch it was a general power cut that seemed to have affected all of our street as no inside or outside lights on anywhere. So we sat for a little while in the soft romantic glow and Hubby said "Can't even have a radio on as we don't have a battery one anymore. Nothing else to do so we might as well go to bed and sort out the clocks and timers in the morning." And that's what we did after blowing all the candles out and taking a torch up the stairs.

This morning we discovered it had been off for about two hours, so I'm glad we didn't stay up waiting and also glad it wasn't longer when things like the freezer would have a problem.

And I will let you know if I get to light all the candles again, for whatever reason :o)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

My way (#6)......

Over the years I seem to have developed some very definite ways of doing things and usually it's for a very good reason, so I thought I'd share. 

We all get spot stains on the carpet from time to time, well I'm for ever carrying mugs of tea or coffee from one room to another. I've found baby wipes the best thing for getting them off and it doesn't seem to matter if they are good ones for delicate skin or supermarkets own value range!

What's your way?   

Monday, 21 November 2011

Getting from A to B.....

....via X, Y Z!

On Saturday poor Daughter had a cracked windscreen problem. so they all came here and The children stayed when Daughter and Hubby took the car to be repaired then collect again two hours later. Then collected M from the station (he'd been in London on business) and all here for dinner.

Yesterday M had to be in London again but when he arrived at Ipswich station discovered that lots of the trains had been cancelled and although he did eventually sit on a train fir ages there was much debate about if was going to pull out or not and of course that led to the worry that if he got there would he be able to get home? So Daughter said she would drive him to an underground connection and piled the children into the car and I went along for the ride.

The journey started with very thick fog which didn't really clear for about 30 miles. The girls had got up and out without breakfast so they snacked on the stuff Hubby had quickly thrown into a bag for them. O was awake the whole journey and insisted on us playing the CD of his favourite Twisted Sisters track, "We ain't gonna take it", over and over and over again!!!

After what seemed like a short run of easy driving conditions we hit the road works, gas works it said on the sign. A couple of miles at a crawl while two lanes squashed into one! Can't say how many miles we crawled for or how long it took but it felt like a long time. Eventually reached Newbury Park station and dropped off M then we headed for the nearest Sainsbury's because we had invited ourselves to NieceL's house and needed to buy in lunch stuff.

Yummy note here.....we can't get any Jewish foods in Ipswich Supermarkets anymore so while in a Sainsbury's that does Matzos and Matzo Meal we stocked up :o)

Had a really lovely day with NieceL and her family although it took quite a while for the children to get over shyness and play together, then of course they were having a great time just as we wanted to leave!!!

On the subject of transport, while we were there we heard that NieceS had been out in her car when a group of lads threw a stone at her car and smashed the passenger front window, she was cut by some flying glass and was really shaken thinking about what happened especially as she had her two daughters in the car, a toddler and a baby! Hope the police catch them grrrrrrrrrr!

Anyway back to our story, M text to say it was all running really late and it was now due to finish about 6pm, so a couple of us walked the dog to Sainsbury's (again) to buy stuff for a pizza dinner with oven chips. Then it was time to leave with Daughter getting full direction for an alternative route which would avoid the single lane gas works problem, however, when we got to the main junction it looked relatively clear so we went the more direct route and collect M from the station who had been standing waiting for us for a while. Eventually got dropped off at home at 9:40pm so a long day, but lovely to be with family!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Proud Grandma...

Just a quick catch up starting at last Sunday when Daughter and I went to collect my art group paintings from the art exhibition they had been entered into. Unfortunately this exhibition had been very badly organised only because, I suspect, they had not done it before, but my total understanding wore a bit thin on pick up day when I had to pick up 19 paintings by 6 different artists. The paintings had all been hung randomly around two rooms and they very kindly offered help locating them, which entailed me collecting and wrapping while Daughter and four of their team all running round two rooms reading the label on each painting! I couldn't believe they didn't ask me for the receipts when letting me walk out with artwork and they didn't have a record of one of my members having collected her we all hunted for ages, until I finally rung her! Also after they all hunted for ages for another one I was missing I asked to see the book of sales........out of 450 paintings entered, 19 of which were from my art group, only 15 had sold and one of the sold was by my 9 year old granddaughter E. Her mum and I were sooooooo proud that we kept smiling and giggling and Daughter had to ring home to tell E  :)

The rest of the week has been all normal stuff really. Lots of the days the children were here and we all got to do stuff together or they fought and shouted and we hid with cups of tea till things calmed down! One thing that stands out was when Daughter gave both the girls a reading test and the really difficult words that R was reading with ease proves she is a totally fluent reader (although can't actually remember the reading age that test resulted in).

I've been catching up each day on "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here" as it has to be recorded upstairs far away from Hubby! I know it's rubbish but I love it. My night out Tuesday with FriendM and FriendH was cancelled but FriendM cooked for me Wednesday, there were four of us and it was a lovely evening. Thursday was art group then to the truck-stop afterwards, giving FriendD a lift as he can't drive for a while.

Now trying to get organised for Christmas presents buying and card writing etc and so so so pleased to have my laptop working properly again so I can attempt to do most of it online!!!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I'm back....

Yay I'm back online with my own little netbook balanced on my knee thanks to my clever Hubby who in the end had to do a complete rebuild! I guess I'll be tweeking various settings for the next few days to get it back to how I like to use it but it's just so nice to click a button and it does what you've asked and not to have to sit there watching the egg timer for 10 mins each time! I'm a happy person again :o)

Now all I need is something of interest to write about hahaha

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Excuse thE SILence.....

MyLaptop Has DiedAND as youCanSEETHIS smartphone isSO old it SeemsToHave Dementia!!!  So I may beQuietFor AWhile.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

To do's done (or not)....

From yesterday's list....

* Huge pile of ironing, = stood for two hours and done about half
* Clean off the office whiteboard = cleaned and started writing up some fun words
* Kitchen worktops = cleared and cleaned
X Kitchen floor needs washing = not yet!
X Minor clothes repairs on the 3 items = not done and discovered there are actually 5 item waiting.
X Clearing my desk of the junk that was thrown on there after the 3-tier trolley collapsed = not yet
X Tidy and sort out the games room stuff. = not yet
* Leaf raking, as it's that time of year. = total success as I got hubby to do this :o)
X Check if the girls still want to keep the balance beam! = haven't seen the girls to ask
X Knitting more little bows = not yet
* Reading my book = yeah enjoyed about 45 mins
X And of course the christmas shopping preparations = not yet
So don't have to hang my head in shame as not too bad after all.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

To do list....

Had a busy few days so need to catch up with stuff like...

* Huge pile of ironing, I even record certain programmes on the TV upstairs to encourage me to stay and do the ironing but somehow it has built into a daunting tower.
* Clean off the office whiteboard as the girls have answered all my questions on there and think of some new questions to write up for them.
* Kitchen worktops need to be cleared and cleaned. Hate to admit that there is still a pan or two from Sunday's dinner waiting for dishwasher space.
* Kitchen floor needs washing as it's still sticky from the toffee making we did on Halloween.
* Minor clothes repairs on the 3 items that have been hanging on a wall bracket upstairs for ages.
* Clearing my desk of the junk that was thrown on there after the 3-tier trolley collapsed
* Tidy and sort out the games room stuff. It's called the games room as apart from the pool table it also has units that are crammed with board games, packs of cards, juggling balls etc, and is also the storage for all arts and crafts stuff which the children often get out but rarely put away properly.
* Leaf raking, as it's that time of year. Don't mind them all over the grass actually, but they build up all round the water butt and rusting bbq that look so messy and also in the under-cover patio they build up in the corner all round the table and chairs. Doesn't help that a very heavy oak balance beam is stored under there too from the girl's gymnastics days!
* %That reminded me - check if the girls still want to keep the balance beam!
* Knitting more little bows as the girls wanted to put on a stall for Children In Need and little bows to put on hair slides and broach pins was their favourite idea but they have done very few so I said I would do some for them to help.
* Reading my book.......tricky when I sit for short amounts of time and then my lap has either food, laptop or knitting on it.
* And of course the christmas shopping preparations, lists and shop browsing and buying!!! This year 2 of my sisters and I are planning a shopping day together to buy about 30 presents to give in almost a secret santa sort of way. Never done it this way before so fingers crossed.

I'm stopping this list right now as I started off enthusiastically knowing I had a plan but now the list is too long and I'm guessing very little will actually get done and I'll feel so guilty that I'll probably never blog again!!!

Friday, 4 November 2011

It was one of those days....

I've been trying to arrange to see sisterM for ages but we have had trouble sorting out a date and this week I was busy till Thursday or Friday and she couldn't do Friday! Thursday was also M's graduation, a big day for him and he had bought tickets for Daughter and the three children but I was to have O and take him with us to my sister's so the 9 year olds could enjoy the grown up celebrations without an excited 2 year old running around.......however, we got an 8:30am phone call from Daughter to say there was a problem and E couldn't go with them. So Hubby and I went to Daughter's house at 9:30am and sent the rest of them on their way, all looking very dressed up and excited, then I cancelled my visit to sisterM and Hubby took O home to play while I stayed in the house with E, mostly just reading my book.

The others all got back about 2pm and said that it had all gone very well, even though the tickets had been expensive and the food had been quite meager. So Daughter took me home and collected O. I decided to have a late lunch as a dinner out of the freezer realising that actually I hadn't had any breakfast and was very hungry. Went for a big bowl of spaghetti carbonara  (not really part of my carb-free diet) but ate the bloody lot  :o)

My laptop had been playing up and today it was at its worst. It wants to forever do scans or install virus updates which stops it opening pages and often makes plug-ins 'unresponsive' and today it even decided to reboot itself after I had stuff open.....argh wanted to throw it out of the window, but managed to just shut it down and watch TV instead. Then my mobile looked a little low on battery so I plugged that in but of course that is the time to receive texts so I'm kneeling on the floor in the hall to read and reply!

Then this evening was art group and as the day had seemed quite chilly and the room we do art in is never warm I put on a few extra layers, but once in the car I was boiling so had windows open and the dial on November!!!

For the last few weeks I've been giving FriendD lifts as he has an eye problem and mustn't drive so I have to leave earlier and make a slight detour and he is always at the lamppost before me, except today of course and that was when I realised that I had forgotten my phone which was still plugged in at if there was a problem and he had tried to let me know it was tough!!! But of course there wasn't a problem he was just running a bit late and my lack of patience today had made me imagine all sorts! 20min drive and we made it to the hall where FriendS had arrived realised she had forgotten to collect the key from the caretaker's house and left us standing in the carpark while she did that. Finally in and set up but as you can imagine I wasn't in a very artistic mood.

As an art group we have been invited to exhibit as part of a not-so-local-to-me school two day exhibition. I had offered to organise for our art group members by posting the forms and sending one cheque for the hanging fees, collecting all the paintings at our regular meeting, taking them and collecting them on the right days to save everyone having to do it. I had printed off all the paperwork for each member and printed extra labels as the rules had asked for a label front and back and I'd asked for suitable wrapping to protect their artwork while I transport......of course not everyone read the info and as I collected them in I had to ask for extra labels to be added and notes on what changes they want me to ask the organisers to make (like a price change) and one of our members had misunderstood the wrapping request as each of her three paintings were wrapped in brown paper with their label on the outside as if ready to post rather than hang! So I'll have to sort them all out Friday for delivery Saturday morning.

After art we always head for the Truck-Stop for live music, dancing and social chit chat.....but the slip round we needed had been closed and I had to drive a very long way round to get there. Once inside we discovered that the bar is being refurbished and the stage is now against a wall we couldn't see from our usual table but the dance floor is still where the stage used to be surrounded by tables, guess it will be good when it's finished but didn't make me feel like dancing tonight. Major downpour all night and when we were leaving, and another slip road closed so I had a very long detour on the way home too in the very heavy rain.

Was glad to finally end the day and crawl into bed!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

My way (#5)....

Over the years I seem to have developed some very definite ways of doing things and usually it's for a very good reason, so I thought I'd share

Halloween for me is another fun event to enjoy for the children, however, I really do not like mine trick or treating. I'm not saying that I disapprove of others doing it and in fact we always have sweets ready for those that knock on our door but for our children and now our grandchildren there is another way.

We are so lucky as in this house and our first house (where our children were born) we have lived on the flight path for all witches going to their halloween party. As you may know witches are very greedy and always overload their broomsticks with party goodies. So looking up into the dark night sky if you see the flashing light of a broomstick crossing the sky it's time to get ready for a bad rider turning a corner too fast because that seems to be the moment they drop some of their sweets out of the sky right into our garden!!!

We had great fun last night chasing round with our three little ones searching the grass with torches and gathering up all the dropped goodies  :o)

What's your way?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My way (#4)......

Over the years I seem to have developed some very definite ways of doing things and usually it's for a very good reason, so I thought I'd share. 

One of my pure indulgences are my nails, I've worn acrylic coated painted nails for years and although I've always used experienced and talented nail technicians at times I've had to do DIY repairs to see me through to my next real manicure. However, I'm never going to do time consuming (and smelly) repairs on holiday so now in my 'first aid' kit I carry super glue in case an acrylic starts to lift or threatens to pop off it is quickly fixed.

What's your way?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Strolling the Southbank...

Had a lovely day in London yesterday with daughter and the children. I was ready for 8:30am but got a text to say the girls had only just got out of bed so would be a bit later than expected   :o)

Our drive to Newbury Park station was easy with the girls playing a 'watch out for things' game while munching breakfast and O happy listening to their Horrible Histories cd and not letting anyone sing along with him! Unfortunately the station car park was closed but we found a roadside spot just round the corner so no problem. Walking round to the station I started playing the stop-go-forward-back game with O so he wouldn't keep running ahead without us, very funny when all 5 of us were doing it in the street.

We took the underground to Embankment station (Central line to Mile End then District), which O loved and because the girls were standing he wanted to stand some of the time to see if the movement of the train would make him fall over.

We had a bit of a walk to where the "October Plenty" procession was starting from but unfortunately when we got there we had actually missed it, which nobody minded as it had been such a lovely walk on a really sunny day licking ice-creams, so we carried on walking to Borough Market where the procession was ending for the "Apple Day Festival". We had a good look at lots of food and drink stalls then headed to the other end of the market, past people in costume, one of which was a very tall 'Green man' covered in fruit and vegetation and his face painted green too. This area of the market was packed with people gathered round a stage where we saw minstrels playing and dancers, including a 'bear' performer too! According to the programme they also did some plays but I think we missed them too.

Hunger was the only thing on R's mind so we walked around a bit and debated lots then finally found a lovely place to stop for a yummy lunch. O got restless once he had eaten enough so he dragged daughter out and left the girls and me to finish then we met them back at the market.

When we were ready to head home we left the market with a huge meringue that E wanted, a tart that daughter wanted and O asleep on daughters back. R and I made a quick detour to get her some sushi that she wanted and I was amazed that they could all eat more immediately after having lunch hahahaha.

As we were now at London Bridge station we tried the Jubilee line back to Stratford then the Central to Newbury Park and in fact that did seem so much quicker! O was getting more and more daring and wanting to change seats every five minutes but we did insist he only changed when the train had stopped. Made us laugh that his running about seemed to put all the other passengers on alert to catch him if need be!

Getting back to Newbury Park at such a good time I text my sisterM to see if they were in and wanted to make us a cuppa.....she could have lied and said they were out (I would never have known) but they didn't and so we called round for a welcome cup of tea and natter about their recent holiday.

Finally dropped home before daughter got her lot home for dinner and bed. I'd left them knowing they were coming over the next day (that's today) and with a promise that the girls could sleep over tonight.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

True gem....

Hubby and I have been married 38 years today :o)
When I looked on the internet it seems there is no traditional gift, however, the modern gift for 38 is anything to do with Beryl............oooooo that's me !!!
Always told him I was more than a semi-precious gem and today perhaps I'll even wear a ribbon as his gift.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Food for thought...

Seems the past week has been all about food....last Wednesday hubby and I went to stay with friendsL&K arrived for lunch and we went out for dinner in the evening then stayed over and had breakfast with them then left. We got home late afternoon Thursday (after buying my new lovely bright yellow mac) and out as three couples for a meal in a pub in Woodbridge that had a special deal on, FriendM insisted on paying for hubby and I as we had done some gardening for her daughter a little while ago.

On Friday our daughter was here with the children and we were treated to a three course meal cooked by the children. They need to have a main meal at a late lunch sort of time as they have a mixture of dancing, swimming, orchestra and trampolining to fit in between 5pm and bed so need a good meal to see them through! R made a crudites starter to go with the challah bread they had all made. E made a great lasagne and garlic bread served with salad and O made the apple crumble. All really lovely!

Saturday hubby and I took our friendsP&A out to dinner, to a pub they had never been to before. It was our treat as they had looked after our house and garden while we were away and as it had been so warm and dry they had done lots and lots of watering so well deserved a thankyou!

Sunday was just hubby and I so I spent a while chopping all sorts of veg to make a beef casserole, putting all the discarded peelings etc into a pot for soup. Actually daughter did call in with O and E and O thought that dinner was smelling so good that he kept saying how he was hungry until I put some of the casserole into a bowl for him.

Today my first job was to clean the cooker and while I was doing that I felt like baking something. As a total carb free experiment I tried Banana muffins using coconut was an absolute failure hahaha
Then daughter arrived with O and E and I made lunch, and then O wanted a bath, then I helped E with painting a canvas while daughter and O went to collect R from her sleep over, then played with O while daughter took E to her oboe lesson, then they were all back here wanting to go home for dinner but O was taking a nap and he is evil if you wake him, so there I was making dinner for 6, thankfully I make extras most dinners and freeze them so all home cooked except for R who wanted the chinese takeaway leftovers, E wanted the lasagne, hubby had the chilli and rice and some was taken from each of them for O while daughter and I had the soup......not posh but enjoyed by all for a change :o)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

My way (#3)....

Over the years I seem to have developed some very definite ways of doing things and usually it's for a very good reason, so I thought I'd share. 

I seem to be finding it harder and harder to thread a needle even with my expensive verifocals on, all that sucking the end of the thread then poking the needle and moving it around so the colour of what is behind it changes hoping that will help and then more sucking! So now I often pinch the very end of the thread between my thumb and first finger of my left hand and with my right hand lower the eye of the needle over the thread and that usually works well......or if there's someone else in the room I get them to do it   ;o)

What's your way?

Monday, 10 October 2011

Hello out there...

I've been poking round the back room of this blog and on the stats 
page it shows that people have been popping by from United States, 
United Kingdom, Russia, Greece, India, Germany, Latvia and Poland 
so I wanted to say hello to you all...
Hi, hello, Zdravstvuj, Yassou, Namasté, Vanakkam, Namo namah, 
Grüß dich, Sveiki, Dzien dobry.

Forgive me if I've got these wrong as I've just relied on google and forgive me if I've used the wrong gender or formality but I'm guessing that anyway your English must be really good if you are making sense of my cockney that has the occasional Suffolk accent slipping in.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Nothing so special as kith and kin...

Had a really lovely family day for our son's birthday. Our son and his fianceD came and so did our daughter, her partnerM and the three grandchildren and we all went out to our favourite Italian restaurant for a late lunch. Then when totally fed and watered we came home for tea and cake, yummy birthday cake specially made by fianceD's sister, a rich chocolate cake with double chocolate fondant icing and she'd also made some yummy cup cakes with a sort of pineapple cheesecake type icing on the top.

After all that sugar the children got a bit carried away with a throwing toys around the room and at people type game which then progressed into a chasing each other game including uncle who did most of the chasing and children who did most of the screaming and giggling. Eventually they calmed enough to actually play a good game of Kubb in the garden but from my safe sofa I did see them all being chased again by uncle who was holding the water squirting bottle!

And now...son and fianceD have just left, the grandaughters are on the computers upstairs, O is quietly playing and eating a sandwich and us four adults are sitting about looking exhausted!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Sitting on the see-saw...

With the good weather it has been easy to keep up with the laundry.....but you wouldn't believe the huge pile of ironing that's waiting!

Looks like all 1,000 of the chamomile seeds I'd planted have germinated.....but don't really have the time/energy/compost for all the pricking out!

The "shall we have solar panels" debate is on again - a see-saw ride all of its own!
If you have solar panels and have any advice please let me know.

Booked an appointment with a new nail technician now my previous one has given up. Always a struggle to find a good one so fingers crossed.

Caught up with some recorded TV on Tuesday but only because my usual night out with friends got cancelled.

I got two new members to join our art group a month ago, but they didn't come back again last night.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Now th-air's a good name....

Just as a quick follow up to our holiday, today we had our Daughter, M and the children here for lunch and we gave the children the air-plants each in a little pot and some sweets and Daughter and M had some Belgian chocolates. The children loved the plants and after customising each round pot with felt tip faces they named them Airdward, Lucair and Airdwina, very clever and so cute :o)

I did notice that the chocolates didn't last long either as they all dived into the small bag.

The coach trip adventure....

Friday 30th September - Monday 4th October

OK before you get smart and point out that this is my fourth holiday this year, in my defense I will say that two of them have only been three nights away from home and the other two were only a week each so put those together and it's a total of a mere 20 now you actually feel sorry for me don't you!

Hubby and I were away with two other couples, M&P and T&F. We were taking a coach trip for three nights in Lille and included a full day trip into Bruges.

We had the usual early morning pick up and a couple of changes of feeder coaches then onto our final coach at Dover then onto the ferry and off at Calais and to our hotel, which was on the outskirts of Lille but thankfully near the Metro. Our driver reminded us of a local performer we often see called 'Hat-Man' so that became his nick-name even though he never wore a hat. Our tour guide was a lady who was possibly a bit older than us and obviously very experienced in French ways and the ways of Lille in particular and she had  lots of information to give us over the coach speaker....although she used 'ermmmm' as very frequent punctuation so I kept listening for that and not taking in the info!

We decided not to sign up for the additional trip into Ghent, not only because it was quite expensive but also because Hubby and F especially were hating all the hours on the coach. That turned out to be a lucky decision for M as she was really unwell on that morning so wouldn't have done well on the coach, at least her and P could spend the morning in the hotel and meet the four of us in Lille later when she was feeling better. We did a lot of walking around seeing the buildings from outside and inside if they were shops or restaurants. The weather for this time of year was amazing, 25/27 degrees C, unbelievable! I bought three air-plants for my children as it's so hard to find small gifts for them, especially as this is our fourth holiday (oops promised myself I wouldn't mention that again).

Unfortunately our hotel didn't serve any food all weekend, although they advertised a full menu, so we had to train into Lille each night, but we made good use of the hotel bar and stayed until 1am on the first night and not much earlier the two following nights! In Lille we went looking for the famous military citidel/castle but that was closed too so T and I had to take photos through a gap in the huge wooden doors! Our last morning, Monday, was free time in Lille and it also transpired that most of the shops don't open till late on Mondays! Our day in Bruges was good, with lots of Belgian chocolate to buy and waffles to eat!

I know we laughed a lot but right now I can't remember anything specific we were laughing about. Over all P made a good job of taking care of the euros-kitty and I was ticket monitor on the Metro. The down side was Hubby ended up in pain when his sciatica flared up and P has hip pain and the rest of us stiffened up each time we spent a while on the coach, so M said to me today that even though people think that coach trips are for old people perhaps they really need fit people....I said that I thought coach trips MADE their customers into old people!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

My way (#2)...

Over the years I seem to have developed some very definite ways of doing things and usually it's for a very good reason, so I thought I'd share. What's your way?

When I open a bag of frozen food, peas or cocktail sausages or whatever, I never tear or break it open or even cut the corner, I always cut right across the top then use this strip to tie round the bag when putting the remains back into the fed up holding wet defrosting food bags while rummaging in drawers for those blessed bag clips that never stayed shut anyway!

Not staying long....

Had a lovely day yesterday seeing all my family, even though they were not staying long!

When I first came down there was already a text message inviting me to join Daughter and O for shoe shopping, So I was collected at 9:30am driven into town and also took M in for his meeting. O really wanted purple boots and we didn't hold out much hope but he came home a very happy little boy as he got what he wanted and in only the second shop. We had to go back into the shopping centre for O to have rides on the cars in there then off for coffee and cake (I didn't have cake actually had some will power instead). We didn't stay there long but long enough for M to meet us there and we all came home together.

M got dropped off then the rest of us were back to mine for lunch. They couldn't stay long as Daughter needed to pick up the girls from their friends after a sleepover, so a quick sandwich and O had a quick game on the wii and they were off.

Mid-afternoon Daughter was back with the three children as she needed to empty some of her car into our house to make room for giving people a lift tomorrow (which in fact is now today) for a day out.....but they couldn't stay long as M would have dinner ready for them. But long enough to empty the biscuit tin and play a game or two of Kubb, plus some grumpy arguments between the girls as they were so overtired and grumpy horridness seems easier when your tired than anything else. They also managed to play ball and frisbee and O had the quickest bath ever......and then they were gone again!

Early evening and we had a lovely visit from our Son. We don't get to see him often as he lives just over 200 miles away. He is really busy so got to us later than planned and couldn't stay long as he has (had) a very early start! So Son and Hubby went out for meal, but unfortunately I had other plans so couldn't join them. Daughter joined them though, once her children were in bed she joined them for dessert in the pub. She couldn't stay long though as she'd left M in charge.

Meanwhile I was in another pub with FriendH who said she could stay long as her teenage daughter was home alone and she'd promised not to be late.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

My way (#1)....

Over the years I seem to have developed some very definite ways of doing things and usually it's for a very good reason, so I thought I'd share. 

Washing on the line..
* Garments need to be inside out to save the sun's bleaching from spoiling the right side.
* Pegged under the armpits so you don't get those horrid stretched marks on the hem or shoulders.
* Pants and boxers only need one corner peg so they hang discreetly.
* Tights can be attached to the line by the waist but also add a peg to each toe for weight to save them blowing over the line and getting tangled.
* Colour coordinating your pegs to garments is (I've been told) going over the top!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Typed on behalf of....

Hello I'm O, I'm only 2.5 years old but I know how to have fun. I knew I was going to spend the day with my Grandma and Granddad today as mum was really busy teaching music which I like but I do sometimes get in the way and then she was off for a long drive which I don't really like anyway. I asked if they could come and collect me instead of being dropped off and whoopee Grandma came to my house and I got to ride in her car for the first time.

As we were getting out of the car Granddad arrived on his new motorbike and I got to sit on it before anyone else......oh I really want a motorbike of my own! So to satisfy my need I had a ride round on my little bike with stabilisers instead (not the same though).

I'd taken with my recipe card for apple crumble which I really wanted to make, so that's what we did first. I weighed out the flour and butter and made them look like crumbs, and also made a bit of a mess but think most of it stayed in the bowl. Then after Grandma peeled and cut out the cores I chopped all the apples, yes all by myself. Grandma said "mind you don't chop your hand off" and I just said "silly" and giggled. Granddad opened a tin of peaches to add because there wasn't enough apple as I'd eaten lots. After I put the crumble on top I asked Grandma to put it in the oven as it's too hot for me but I did get to play with all her oven gloves for ages.

I put some music on in the lounge, of course I know how to put a cd on, then me and Grandma went dancing round the lounge wearing oven gloves, not sure why Granddad was laughing we were really cool.

Outside then to water the plants with the squirty bottle, but unfortunately did a little squirt of my own so had to go in to change my trousers! When it was time for lunch I asked to sit on the worktop, just for a change, and I ate most of my sandwiches up there - Granddad's ham was the best but I ate some of the eggy one too. Then it was time for the crumble and I got out the ice-cream to have with it just like the picture on my recipe card, it was really nice even if I say so myself!

Full up from lunch but Granddad said it was time to move some plants, he'd had 51 little trees delivered and we had to put them round the fence line where they are going to be planted. Yes 51 pots to move and I can only just about carry one at a time, what were they expecting? Well while Grandma and Granddad were getting hot I felt a bit chilly so asked Grandma to get down the basket with hats and gloves in so I could have a good sort out. I handed Granddad a set of cap scarf and his old bike gloves and he put them on, back inside and out again with a set for Grandma and she put them on too, and finally a set for me (kept the softest scarf for me obviously) and we all carried on working much better dressed than before.

When that job was done and the old people came in for yet another cup of tea they looked tired but I really needed to get another project underway, so out came the play-doh. Grandma and I had a great time with that, she's really good and making the shapes I asked for even when I kept changing my mind and doing all the squeezing for the growing hair on the people bit (too hard for me) so I can cut it all off and make her do it again. After a long time I'd had enough and said she could put it all away for me as I'd much better games to play with Granddad on his computer.

OK I have to admit to feeling a bit tired by now and Grandma had put the TV on my favourite channel so after rummaging through the biscuit tin and declaring "only more creams - Granddad buy different ones" I did take one and sat for a while but actually sitting inside my makeshift tent was much better so sat for a while longer. I'd got really into a good episode of Rastamouse when Grandma had dinner ready so she put the TV on in the dinning room and I sat with her for a TV dinner. Then just as I was starting some more of my lovely crumble mum came to get me, but I can always rely on her to stay for a cup of tea (they do drink lots of it) so we didn't have to rush off home even though daddy phoned to see where we were!

I've had such a lovely day but I'm so ready for my bed now. So thank you Grandma for blogging this as I couldn't have concentrated any longer to do it myself.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Southampton holiday....

Monday 12th - Thursday 15th September

Hubby and I had a short break with SisterM and Brother-in-lawA. We had been told about a luxury B&B in Southampton by SisterP as she had seen it on a TV program. Setting off mid-morning and stopping for a lovely pub lunch we arrived at the huge security gated property and was greeted at the door by the host who showed us our rooms and around the rest of the house too.

M&A had said we should have the Executive Suite (as it would take her too long to get to the loo in the night) which had a huge bedroom with eight windows in a bay and window seat cushions. The lights and radio etc were all on hand held remote control and a small wall panel, the TV was inside a cupboard and the remote raised and lowered it (although very squeakily) and there was a balcony with a river view in the distance. Through the large dressing room was the bathroom with double sinks, large walk in shower and enormous jacuzzi bath tub, that has its own TV installed in the wall. All very lovely but the WOW and giggles came when we saw the Caribbean Room that M&A were to had a huge plastic shark hanging above the bed and the walls were painted with sunshine and palm trees and there were large plaster shells stuck in the walls and odd model characters sitting in the bathroom, M was a bit concerned at him watching her pee!

There was also a nice dinning room for breakfast and a really good size lounge with very comfy leather suite and a bar with the worst fake leopard-skin covered bar stools - Dell-boy would have felt totally at home :o)
Add to that a heated swimming pool, hot tub, fully equipped gym, a games room with pool table and pin-ball amongst other boys toys, very well landscaped garden with huge fountain and sun decks just about covers it all I think.

During the four days we had a bit of a mixture weather wise but it didn't really stop us doing what we wanted to. We went out to The New Forest and stopped at Beaulieu and Lyndhurst and was about to go into the forest when the rain came, so we went back and sat in the lounge reading etc. By M's special request we headed into Dorset and went to Monkey World and The Tank Museum then onto Lulworth Cove to watch waves (that bit was my special request). We went for a local walk to find the marina and river side and we also took the local ferry (which is bright pink) across to the village of Hamble for a walk around, and on our way home we stopped in Winchester for a walk and to find lunch. Once, way in the distance,we saw the Marine College workers/students coming back single file over the river along a metal bridge in their bright yellow high-vis jackets and helmets looking to me just like the 7 dwarfs so I couldn't help myself singing "High-ho high-ho it's off to work we go", very funny. We found lots of lovely places to eat, apart from the lunch in Winchester which took ages to arrive and was not very nice but you cant win 'em all eh?

Our host and hostess and the two ladies of their staff that we met were amazing and full of recommendations of where we should eat and visit. Nothing was too much trouble for them and the breakfast on offer was lots and varied plus they were always checking if we wanted more. Oh and the bar, we were told, was not drinks for sale as they didn't have a licence but we should feel free to help ourselves to whatever we want, and they would appreciate if we put a donation in the box so they could restock but to go more on supermarket prices than pub prices! One day M came down for breakfast and didn't feel very well so went straight back to her room, this was immediately spotted by our hostess. Thankfully she felt OK quite quickly and we went out for the day and when we got back M&A found a large vase with fresh flowers in their room, we found out later that it was specially put there by one of the ladies to cheer her up! What a thoughtful thing to do!

So a really nice short break and great to spend this special time with my sister. A big thanks to hubby who did all the driving and more and of course a special well done thanks to SisterP for suggesting this place first of all.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Rocking it (gently)....

Myself along with FriendM and FriendH had bought tickets for the Radio 2 "Festival in a Day" at Hyde Park and it was yesterday. The funny thing is I never really did big concerts or music festivals when I was younger but really got excited about doing this.....although there would have to be some compromises!

When we looked at the trains for Ipswich to Liverpool Street we discovered that there was obviously going to be rail maintenance of some sort as every train was showing two changes and taking more than double its normal journey time, so I decided to drive in far enough to use the underground only. I packed some drinks and snack food and checked my garden chairs then put them in the boot, that's when I noticed that I had lost one on my acrylic nails (buggar but no time to do anything about it) then I picked up FriendM and FriendH and off we went along the A12. An easy run really with the added entertainment of hundreds of motor bikes going the other way, obviously on a charity bike ride of some sort.

Parked up at Newbury Park station and marveled that the car park was only £1 for the whole day. Out of the boot came a backpack and a folding garden chair for each of us to carry. Then into the station and we played with rarely used Oyster cards (we can be such country bumpkins hahaha) then onto the platform where they announced limited service on the Piccadilly line but gave no details, so we quickly re-planned our changes to avoid any possible problems. We arrived at Hyde Park Corner and carrying our heavy load walked down to Marble Arch and Oxford Street and found a Pizza Hut where they actually had a table free for us and we sat enjoying a leisurely lunch. Then loaded back up with our packs we set off for the park and tickets in hand walked through their security system......actually rubbish security as they asked each of us in turn "have you got any glass" to which we said "no" and that was it. Just outside of this barrier it was possible to see the big screens quite clearly and it looked like lots of people were going to watch from there for free!

We found a good spot, not too far back and somewhere where no-one would sit directly in front of us and hopefully easy enough to get back to if you walked off to the loos etc without getting lost, and we set up our chairs and settled in while watching Jules Holland and Sandie Shaw. That's when I noticed my nail on the grass, it must have fallen out of my garden chair! As luck would have it I had brought my little first aid bag which contained super glue, so my nail got stuck back on and I was whole again and well chuffed :o)

All this was done in glorious sunshine. Beverly Knight was brilliant also enjoyed Bellowhead who I'd never heard of before and we were even entertained by a couple who could really dance well and performed just near us, but by about Will Young time it had rained so much we were all soaked and most of the 30,000 audience were standing and with umbrellas so viewing was hard but we stuck it out through more artists than I can remember including a brilliant James Blunt. By now it was dark and the wind had picked up and our wet clothes made it feel even colder, so although we had taken chairs and raincoats and scarves we had had enough so decided to leave before the end. Most of the food we had brought but not eaten hit the bin so we didn't have to carry it back, then folded my chair and headed out of the gate, then noticed my nail had popped off again so FriendM stated I was leaving the way I arrived! Tube and car and home was just two hours later! A great day out in spite of the weather.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Just a quickie.....

Not had much to blog about this week and actually not much time to blog anyway as I've been out most nights this week, a nice meal out wit the Tuesday Girls (on Tuesday of course) and Wednesday night had a lovely meal cooked for me when 7 of us sat round my friend's big round table and back to our art group and it was great to welcome two new members.

Also seems to be a bit of an art and craft week. Apart from the art group where I'm still completing the two portraits of R & E I've also had the girls sleep over when they made their own game of twister with the coloured disks and spinner, then when Os was with me and hubby for the day he wanted to be a butterfly so I had to make him antenna and wings and today the girls wanted help making rag rugs. I so love the fact that they are here often :o)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sunny for the bride and groom....

Yesterday was a really lovely day weather wise and social-wise too. We went to a friend's wedding and it was a great honour to be included in the whole of their celebrations. I know from experience how costly these events are and with budget restrictions and the restrictions on numbers allowed at the venue it is often the list of friends that has to be yes I always consider it an honour to receive an invite.

We didn't know many people there, only bride, groom, groom's parents and some friends but we felt very welcome. The church is modern but small and friendly. The bride looked stunning of course, everyone oood and ahhhhd when she arrived in the horse drawn carriage, the bridesmaids had very summery dresses and looked great, the same fabric as the dresses was used for the pageboy/ring bearer's waistcoat and he (the bride and groom's son) looked soooooo cute at just 2 and a half years old.

Of course then follows the usual long delays for the guests while the photographer did her thing but it was a glorious day for standing about in a church yard. Then onto one of our favourite posh places for the reception, giving a lift to the groom's granny too. There were lots of nice touches that made it lovely like how they had put a balloon beside every child's place setting together with sticker puzzle books (great to keep them amused) and more appropriate chocolates for their age than the adults party favours, plus lolly pops and bubbles on every table together with the disposable the little box that confused us - small square box with the lid taped down, so I inspected it and shook it then turned it over to see the advert sticker showing "" yikes were they recording everything we were saying??? We discussed and debated this around the table for some time until the lady on my left decided to actually investigate and broke the tape and lifted the lid, then possibly to our disappointment we found it was a collection of little cards with general knowledge questions and answers to "get the table talking to each other"!

The entertainment was brilliant. I loved the 'crooner' who sang lots of Sinatra, Michael Buble, Rat-Pack etc songs, there was a disco too and then as a special surprise on came a Blue's Brothers tribute duo who are always amazing and certainly get every party I've seen them at rock!

Then it was time for us to leave, not too late as we had offered to take the groom's granny home on our way. Of course I'd also brought home a piece of wedding cake for each of us as I have to confess in believing in the luck of wishing on wedding cake.......hope the bride and groom ate lots of it.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Zakynthos 2011

23rd August - 30th August

This won't be a fully detailed blog of this holiday as so much of it would be the same as our week here last year and in 2008, so feel free to go back through time and read those. Yes it was great to go back and with the same friendsL&K and great to see the Clio Hotel family again as they make us feel like old friends rather than just customers! Not so good is the inadequacies of Greek plumbing and the very small shower stall and waving curtain that nearly always gets stuck to my ample frame, but the power and temperature control of the shower is great so minor irritations are easily ignored.

The highlights of the week are as follows....

Tuesday 23rd
It was heavy rain when we left the UK, so we were all looking forward to our week in the sun, but getting off the plane was like stepping into a furnace and that's how it stayed for the whole week, 34-36C every day and dropping to about 25C at night....phew! We ate at the hotel and stayed for quiz night which was really daft but amusing and out of the five teams we came second and presented with two bottles of wine.

Wednesday 24th
We discovered that today is St Dennis's Day, the patron saint of Zakynthos who although he lived some 300 years ago still walks the streets daily to help the residents. So twice a year he is removed from his tomb presented with new slippers and paraded through the streets! The four of us bought coach tickets for transport into Zante town to join in the celebrations, which was really good and processions, marching bands, priests and dancers walked the streets while on the marina the fireworks kept going off and the big ships sounded their hooters very noisily. Only problem being K stepping back onto L's foot and bending back her big toe nail ouch ouch ouch!

Thursday 25th
Today we got out a hire car and ventured to Gerakas famous for the Caretta Caretta (Turtles) but we didn't actually step onto the beach as L didn't want to get any sand near her toe now sporting a couple of plasters. We wouldn't have seen any Caretta Caretta anyways as they said they are all nesting under the sand and under huge obvious protective marker frames. Then onto Argasi where we found a lovely restaurant and had lunch. Next stop was Keri where we admired the views and light house while having an ice cream break. We did try to stop at Macherado Monastery which should have been open for us to look around but unfortunately was not so we headed back along lots of tiny roads through small villages.

Friday 26th
All we did today was sunbathe or move to the shade and back again, me with my BeBook and hubby with his crossword book and L&K with their books.....we were saving our energies for Greek Night which was just as good as last year in fact probably identical to last year, even to the Ouzo dance that hubby did.

Saturday 27th
L's birthday, so hubby and I arrived before them at breakfast so I could put her card and inflatable cake on the table...she was surprised and it really made her giggle. Soon after we came back to our rooms L&K came to show us the beautiful basket of fruit and champagne that had been left in their room with a birthday card signed by the whole hotel family. I had to confess that I had emailed ahead to tell them today was her birthday, what a great present from them! We walked the short distance into Alykes, sent the men into a pub to wait for us and we went souvenir shopping while L's phone bleeped continuously with greetings from family and friends. Then for the evening we met in the hotel bar to drink champagne and then into town for dinner. I had also taken with a musical candle holder but struggled to get it to play happy birthday until hubby fiddled with it and even then it croaked quite a bit, very funny. Also while we sat there another procession went by, this time from various countries....L asked me if I had arranged this too (joke) to which I took all the credit of course.

Sunday 28th
Unfortunately L said she was feeling a bit unwell today and couldn't go far from her hotel room, so we all stayed and did little. In fact we all ate little too which isn't a bad thing although we all carried on drinking water by the gallon. L&K stayed in the hotel all evening but insisted that hubby and I went out to eat, which we did, but came back with two large bags of crisps for L as I was worried her salt levels shouldn't drop in this heat and she said she really enjoyed them and they didn't upset her stomach more which was good.

Monday 29th
L feeling much better today so after breakfast we took a slow walk from Alykes to Alykanas which takes about half an hour each way along the river. Found a lovely beach bar (run by a cheeky Glaswegian) and took about 2 hours over our lunch break, mostly people watching. The hotel dad had given us two bottles of wine per couple (as he has done each holiday) but with the quiz bottles we were worried that three bottles each would take our suitcase over it's 20kg maximum so we sat on the balcony of L&K's room to drink two of them....actually they are not the best wines so quite a bit of it went down the sink. So at least only four to carry back instead of 6. 

Tuesday 30th
All too soon it's the end of our holiday and time to pack and fly home! Thankfully we didn't need to leave the hotel till 4:30pm and they kindly said we could keep our rooms till we left, so another morning of sunbathing then after lunch it was showers and throwing everything into our suitcase and backpacks then home!

The UK was bloody freezing when we got back!!!

Friday, 19 August 2011


We are off on holiday next Tuesday so today I spent most of the time trying to sort out what we need to pack.

The easy bit is the fact that it's our third visit to this hotel - The Clio - in this resort - Alykes - on this Greek island - Zakynthos  also called Zante.

The hard bit is the fact that this time we are restricted to just one suitcase for hubby and I with a total weight of 20kg. We can also take hand luggage of 5kg each in a back pack, but hubby is determined not to carry more than we need.

So a day of list printing, washing, ironing, folding, list ticking and a trial of stuffing in the case and weighing which came to just 18kg. Hubby seemed relieved!

Glad I got the last bits of washing done as the weather forecast for the weekend is wet and today was gloriously sunny and warm......shame I spent lots of it inside by the ironing board.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Eating out...

Went to visit SisterM today and after a small DIY job for Hubby we went out to eat at their local Harvester. Great to be able to eat out with them, seems ages since we last did, very civilised  :o)

Monday, 15 August 2011

Such a busy day...

Another carb-free experiment, this time something savoury. Ground flax seed plus cheese plus mustard for flavour and eggs to bind. Rolled into balls and flattened and baked to make a substitute for the cheese straw type nibble. Family verdict was good, I liked them too but happy to try again perhaps adding a bit more seasoning and trying to bake them thinner so they crisp a bit more. All-in-all a good first attempt tho!

Made these first thing as I knew Daughter and children were coming over today but Hubby still had to do some shopping with E so we could have some lunch and R had brought her two largest beetroot that she had grown, so we cooked them to have with lunch too.

Daughter+her family of 5 more are all going to a fancy dress party next weekend so they came here to make costumes. All based on Sponge Bob characters, they have worked out who is which character and Daughter has roughly worked out what she needs to do for each one. Have to say today the girls were not in a craft mood and didn't help very much with the sewing etc but were happy to search the internet for good ideas and then costumes to copy and masks to print and colour. They also cut out and decorated the big coins that go into the money bag.

So while I'm called by each for advice or help and running round entertaining O I'd also managed to strip our bed get 4 machine loads of washing and all the pegging out and bringing in done, plus put out a lunch and make a dinner.....I kept forgetting what I was in the middle of before I got interrupted!

While dinner was cooking I played our new game of Viking Kubb with R, ...and I won!

Had to eat outside to save clearing all the dinning room table as they will be back tomorrow for more costume making. Of course the children didn't actually eat all their dinner because we were outside and they caught sight of a baby hedgehog and had to spend a lot of time ooo-ing and ahh-ing right near it.

Then as it was a lovely calm warm early evening out came the badminton rackets for Hubby, Daughter, E & R to play in various twosomes, while O kept them entertained using his racket as a guitar and fly swatter and various other things that made me laugh.

So a very lovely but exhausting day.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Holding hands....

Sometimes we don't get the opportunities to say all we want to say and I do believe that writing stuff down is great when there isn't anyone around just then to listen (hence this blog) but big hugs or walking along holding a hand can transfer a vast unsaid conversation too!

So today the gardening, ironing and other stuff got left because I shared my day with very special people and we held hands  :o)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Getting the timing right...

Yesterday I went to a funeral and also got the confirmation of some very sad family news!
So today I'm looking at how my time disappears on things that are less important than others and trying to work out some of my priorities ........this is not a selfish act but truly meant in honour of those that don't have the time to consider what to spend it on!

Over the years I've always kept some sort of diary, so now you can imagine how many of them there are. I always have trouble remembering when something happened or have to ask "When did we have the extension built?" or "How long ago was that holiday in Naples?" and could often be found rummaging through the old diaries to check but more usually getting distracted by plenty of other memories. So once I'd stopped working  and had time to spare I decided to create my timeline! This would be in excel so searchable and then came the long process of reading through all the diaries and converting those precious memories into data on a spreadsheet. I hadn't got very far in the past two years but I have to say the amount I had done was looking good, all colour coded rows showing things like my most important events in red, to miscellaneous entries in no colour at all, with employment, health, family events, friends events etc all different colours and of course a record of our holidays in sunny yellow!

To be honest it was becoming a chore and I often used to procrastinate on the laptop then realise I had no more time to add to timeline was taking up my time! So today I have decided to stop and I've printed out what I've done so far, (may scribble on it in pen if I feel the need) and will put it in my special folder of family history with a note to say "If you are interested in more go find my diaries". Of course I've saved the excel file in various places so I could add to it later if I feel the need.

About a decade ago I'd decided to compile the family trees for hubby's family and for each of my parent's families. I couldn't go back further than my grandparents as they were immigrants with very few records and were no longer with us to ask, in fact they had died long before I was born. My intention had been to show my children the width of our families and who their cousins were etc. Large families take a lot of data input and because of various computer changes when I was working etc I'd lost the original software and the data files I had were not compatible with other software so I no longer had the details in electronic form, but thankfully I had printed it all out and over recent years had just added more info by scribbling on the paper. As no-one else seems particularly interested in any of it I've now decided that what's there will do and scribbled updates are good enough!

Now actually that I have relieved myself of these expectations I feel a bit more free to choose what I want to spend my time on. I'll probably get to the end of the day and realise I've achieved nothing but I won't feel guilty and at least I'll know I haven't wasted time avoiding stuff either.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Experimental baking...

FriendM is having friends over this evening and making a buffet supper and as we are both trying to stay carb-free to lose some weight I said I would attempt to make some carb-free cake to bring along.

So popped to Asda and bought some of the stuff and then to Tesco to see if I could get other stuff and came back with what I thought would be alternatives to wheat flour, Cocoyam fufu flour, but later found that this is ground from the tuber of the plant much like a potato so high in carbs, also bought ground flax seed but discovered that this is good as an oil/butter substitute......yes I know I should do my research before shopping!

I managed to get some ground almonds in place of the almond flour I was really after and no sign of the coconut flour I'd seen on various recipes, so need to find some specialist/health shop but I so hate going into town if I don't have to.

I first had a go at this yogurt cake but used the ground almonds instead of the flour and lemon extract in stead of the vanilla. It came out quite well, didn't rise much and still a bit soggy in the middle even though it had been in the oven for twice as long as the recipe suggested, but tastes good.

Also made this chocolate cake which is made with beans! I used red kidney beans and again it stayed a bit soggy in the middle but the top looks really interesting as it went a bit craggy and looked prone to breaking up so I split it and put a butter-cream in the middle to try and hold it all together and to help sweeten it as I though the amount of cocoa made it a little bitter for my taste.

I'll try to report back the verdict by tonight's tasters but I know there is definite room for improvement!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Making the best of it...

I had to have a minor op yesterday, but an op none the less so was quite nervous! Well I'm pleased to report all went well.

I do believe though that this sort of event is best coped with having a "look on the bright side" state of mind. So I'd taken my half read book and was quite happy during the long waits. I laughed when the fourth person had to come and ask almost identical questions to the previous three, all with their separate little forms that all look different and have to have all the tick boxes completed, whatever happened to having one folder that stayed with the patient, but hey what do I care if they all have to work harder than need be or if it costs unnecessarily, nothing is going to stress me while I'm here! Not even having to wear funny support stockings...very elegant.

Also had a giggle with the nurse that asked me to remove the nail varnish from one finger and all my jewellery, then asked me to sign the form stating that valuables are left in the hospital at owner's risk. I did point out that if no nail varnish or jewellery was stated on the original letter then that would have avoided this, or even mention this before they sent Hubby home. Maybe I could become a time-and-motion consultant....maybe not!

Apart from a bit of a struggle getting the canula in (I've very small veins) I then knew nothing else till I woke in recovery with two really lovely chatty nurses. I said I was desperate for a cup of tea at which point one of the nurses went into raptures of all the different cakes she now fancied, so I had to tell her off as I'd not eaten for about 19 hours. We seemed to chat for ages and laugh a lot as one had a passion for purses and the other for spangled flip flops. Think they appreciated the light hearted chatter as they said lots of people come through either still very sleepily or taking it too seriously or occasionally unwell when they have to get nursey.

Back onto the ward and watched as the other two patients were brought dinner then eventually I was brought tea and toast with jam which was heaven!

Up, dressed and a trip to the toilet to prove I could then Hubby was told to come and get me. So a stay of just over 7 hours. Had a good night's sleep (actually went to bed just after 10pm which is really early for me) and today felt totally fine!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Cousins' cuddles...

Had a really lovely day yesterday, it was a 'cousins get together' and we held it at my SisterM's house all bringing food to share. SisterS and SisterP both came too which was lovely, making 10 of us round the table.

It was a very hot day and I'd been caught in a traffic jam, sitting still for nearly 25 minutes, before I'd even got  a few miles from home which didn't bode well, and that's when it was obvious that my air conditioning didn't work at all yuk yuk very sweaty! But once I was there and everyone arrived it was just what we expected. Lots of catching up chat about whose children and grandchildren are doing what and CousinJ announcing a new grandchild on the way and SisterS moaning how she doesn't think she'll be a grandmother for a very long time yet! We spent ages remembering our mums, four mums between us who were all sisters and reminding each other of their very different personalities and how we all shared events and sleep-overs with the various Aunts. Of course there was the sad news that SisterM had to share (her medical treatment is not working and has been stopped) which everyone took very seriously and sympathetically but thankfully no-one dwelt on as we all needed it to be a happy reunion, and it really was.

Lots of big hugs and kisses and some photo taking and then it was all over. I was the last to leave accepting a final cup of tea, then 64 miles home in my very hot car...but radio up loud and smiling after a really lovely day!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Went to a great concert last night. A Portuguese junk percussion group called Be-Dom. They were amazing, great 'music', rhythms and beats done on old plastic and metal bins, old tubes and bike wheels etc plus lots of hands clapping and finger clicking and stamping and included an enormous amount of audience participation, without a word being said. I don't even know if any of them speak English, there was no need, as full communication was done by hand signals and mime. Some very clever lighting too.

Only downside was I'd bought tickets for me, Daughter, E and R but R was unwell and couldn't come :o(
The concert was only an hour, but non-stop fantastic for that hour so well worth it. Then the three of us sat outside one of the dockside restaurants and had coffee and cake to round of our night out perfectly.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Just another week...

Well apart from the very itchy arm the week was quite uneventful. Bits of housework and bits of gardening and out with friendsM&H for dinner Tuesday night, Daughter came over with the children Wednesday and the girls did gardening and enjoyed using the loppers and a hand saw to cut down a tree, while Daughter and Hubby were sorting out the trailer tent and I was fully occupied chasing after O and keeping him busy and safe.  Art Group followed by the Truck Stop was Thursday night..... so just the usual stuff.

Friday night to Saturday lunchtime was spent with FriendH, who I've known from school days! Again our usual talking till 3am, this time was all the stories that surrounded her very recent 60th. Hubby and I had celebrated with her at the special lunch her sons had put on for her, which was great for me as I had a brief chance to catch up with some old friends I haven't seen for years too. Stayed a little later on Saturday than I normally do as her son popped in and it was so lovely to see him again and have time to chat.

The rest of the weekend was quite quiet here as not only was I still tired from the very late Friday night but Daughter and Children are all away camping - actually a bit too quiet!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bad reaction....

About 10:30am I noticed an itch on my right forearm. When it started getting more and more itchy I inspected my skin to find two raised round bumps near the wrist following the little finger line and a long irregular shaped raised bump on the inside of the arm near the elbow crease.

It definitely looks more like an allergy reaction even though it feels like I've pulled my arm through nettles, but I don't have any idea what has triggered it. I'd eaten two plums and a few peanut things this morning but I'd eaten both of those yesterday and have eaten the plums for the past three days. Very odd that it's just the one arm and only the lower half??? I did consider it might have been something on my shirt rather than ingested, so that shirt went into the wash and I put a clean one on.

I've been using Anthisan cream but the patches are getting bigger and bigger.
It's now 7:30pm and the inner arm patch is now the full width of my arm and almost round, so the diameter of my index finger. The two small bumps have enlarged enough to have joined into one and has almost reached down to join the large bump.

If it's not gone by the morning I'd better see a doctor!

Well the patches are still there and still itchy but I decided not to see a doctor as they are now flatter and not so hot so I think whatever it was is on it's way out of my system. Actually as the biggest area is calming down a bit I can see what looks like 5 pin pricks in a semi circle, so now I'm guessing it was caused by some insect or insects biting me! Little buggar!!!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Just housework, maybe...

Turned out to be a very successful shopping trip with R yesterday, although it did take four hours! A different sort of shopping experience with each granddaughter as one is totally focused on what she wants and where she wants to look for it and the other is happy to drag in and out of every shop hoping for inspiration, the answer to most questions being "I don't know"! Only downside was the horrid rain.

Today so far I've done two machine loads of washing and some is already dry enough to come in again. Quite hot out there today :o)

Hubby has already cut back some of the grape vine, dug around some of the tree trunks and re-felted a shed roof and has now gone off to B&Q (his favourite shop) to buy some beading to repair the table in our Daughter's camper.

I've still got lots I want to do, ongoing jobs, like renaming and saving all my digital photos on this laptop then backing them up (they are in two places at least now). I'd always meant to write a description beside all my old printed photos so in years to come we'd remember who they are and where they were taken.....needless to say I never did! Also I'm some way to compiling a timeline of me! Got loads of old diaries to read through and pick the important or interesting bits out of to add to the timeline but that takes ages (cos I'm old enough to have far too many diaries). I wonder if anyone will be interested in any of this when I'm gone?

Note to self: Password protected computer or internet stuff can't be accessed when I'm gone, so either ditch the security protection or make sure the relevant people know my password!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Neglected but not forgotten....

I know this has been a neglected blog, with the posts being few and far between, but hopefully I will make amends now and try to do so on a more regular basis.

There have been a few things stopping me from writing here one of which is yet another weight loss battle. This has to be just for me, so publicly marking achievements or lack of achievements doesn't help, so I've been writing that on a private space, listing my GABS= Good, Achievement, Bad and Stats for each day. Have to admit that that doesn't seem to help me either! The other thing that gets in the way of my jotting things down is having to be careful of what I say about whom in case it identifies them and/or causes any repercussions, much the same reason I'm hesitant to comment on the other blogs I read.

So a quick catch-up of the past few days....Hubby has been chopping down trees, 26 of them in fact. They are Leylandii that hedged around the play area but had gone completely brown on the insides so cutting them back this year made them all look a bit dead. So Monday they were all stripped of every branch by chain saw and yesterday Hubby spent nearly all day with two friends and two shredders reducing all but the thick branches to chippings in hundreds of orange sacks. Now just 26 trunks to get out of the ground. There'll be plenty of homes for the wood for burning so that won't be a problem.

Sunday night E asked to sleep over and on Monday we went into town to spend her clothes money as she was desperate to own a jump-suit or dungarees and although no dungarees we found two jump-suits in fact, a trousers pair and a shorts pair. Today I'm back into town with R who also has rather a lot of clothes money to spend. Can't believe I'm going into town twice in one week, haven't been for months!

Well they will all be here very soon and I'm not showered or dressed yet (I'm so easily distracted).

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A very special father's day...

I know there have been lots of father's day cards from me to my dad in the time from when I was old enough to make them or buy them to the time of his death, now 12 years past.....but the only father's day card that I will always remember was 1975's. No present that year, just a simple card making no big promises of undying love and gratitude but added to that card the biggest gesture I could ever make.

Three years earlier my dad had shown his objection to my choice of boyfriend by not talking to me! As it happens this boyfriend was a lot more suitable than some had been, he was clean, healthy, polite and respectful and in full time employment - but he was not of our faith! I wasn't the first of my siblings to have a non-Jewish boyfriend, my eldest sister got very close but was then packed off to relatives overseas to "get over it", but I held my ground and that boyfriend has been my hubby for nearly 38 years so far. Holding my ground resulted in silence from my dad for three years, us having our wedding a year earlier than we would have planned (so no savings), mum coming to the wedding without dad (torn between us) and us moving into bed-sits because we couldn't afford anything else!

Actually I didn't blame him, even though he was not a religious man himself and it was more his belief that he was teaching a child right from wrong (in his eyes). He never tried to stop me but he refused to show his approval. I don't think he ever tried to stop my mum from sticking by me or coming to the wedding which was quite a big thing with his Victorian attitude to being the master of his family. It was three very long years without him but we were both pig-headed and I certainly wasn't going to make the first move to have it thrown back in my face. So the first year when I was still living at home was the hardest but then there were two more years after the wedding of knowing I had a dad that couldn't allow himself to be part of my life.

Father's Day 1975 and dad was in hospital (can't remember why but know it was nothing major) and I walked onto the ward at visiting time, mum and a sister already at the bedside and I just threw a card gently onto his legs without saying anything, he opened the card and said thank you............we were friends again and I'd paved the way for three more siblings to marry out and be accepted by him.

Friday, 20 May 2011

My clock moments...

OK you are going to find this a bit weird, I do, but for quite some time I seem to look at digital clocks and see them at exactly 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44 or 5:55 in the night or in my car or wherever! Three numbers together, more and more frequently it's getting spooky. So I started looking at numerology sites and Angel numbers etc to see if it means something and low and behold it does. I'm not a great believer of the supernatural but like to keep an open mind. Most of the sites I've read have shown these numbers are positive signs that my guardian angel is trying to show its presence, no mention of it being anything negative or sinister, so my interpretation has been that with a lot of sickness in close people around me recently then it's a reassuring hug from possibly my mum who only died two years ago!

That's quite comforting and pleasant but this morning was very different. Yesterday I visited my poorly sister and also had two close friends having hospital treatments and they were texting me their progress. In the early hours I stirred and rolled over to see the time, it was 5:05 but all I could see was SOS......that was a bit scary!

What do you think, should I just ignore it as coincidence or look into it more?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Spain holiday - 9th to 16th May 2011

Destination = Pinar de Campoverde, Pilar de la Horadada, Costa Calida, Spain.
Hubby's friend has a villa which they use a lot but does occasionally rent it out to family or friends, he also keeps a car valet parked at the airport which we rented from him too.....all at mates rates :o)

Monday 9th - Leisurely start as we didn't need to leave home till 8am, which is quite late for us when flying off somewhere. Happy to report that flights were on time and no huge queues, although we haven't really got the hang of this Ryanair, cheap flight, no allocated seats, type of flying so we didn't get to the departure gate until after we'd stopped for breakfast so we ended up not being able to find two seats together, but I read the whole journey so don't suppose it really mattered! Actually it amused me that I'd actually chosen a short story (189 pages) that took me almost the exact time of the flight to clever eh? Easy baggage collection at Murcia Airport and our car was there waiting for us. We couldn't actually get the sat nav to work but we had printed directions so got to the villa with ease. The villa was lovely, spacious, very well equipped and on two stories but as there's a double bedroom on the ground floor and a bathroom and only the two of us we won't bother using any of the upstairs. Outside there were sundecks and eating areas and planted areas and an outdoor pool. Our first toe test proved that the pool was still a bit too cold for us to venture into yet but we did have a sunbathe by the poolside. So wanting to get the lie of the land we went for a walk around the village and soon discovered it was like any housing estate but very clean and extremely quiet. Just opposite the villa was a little row of shops all designed to cater for the English ex-pats and tourists. Not totally to my taste for a Spanish holiday but would prove to be convenient, like not wanting to go far on our first night so choosing to have dinner at 9pm in The Portabello, an English style pub run by English people. I had a prawn salad while hubby tucked into gammon and chips and sat happily watching football on the big screens. Also happening back home we knew, was our daughter going off to see a trailer-camper she was hoping to buy, well she did buy it and sent me a photo by MMS to prove that she had succeeded her first ever tow with this very big trailer and it was now on our drive...Well done to her but unfortunately the MMS cost me £2 to retrieve!!!

Tuesday 10th - We both slept well in a really comfortable bed and I love it that the windows have the blackout shutters so the room was still dark in the mornings! We did get another text from our daughter who said they were so excited with their new purchase that they had decided to camp in it immediately to try it all out....on our drive! Then off we headed in the car to San Pedro beach (we'd worked out how to use the sat nav by this time) and headed first for an English breakfast. There was a long walkway alongside the beach and we saw people covering themselves in the famous black mud then lying in the sun for it to bake onto them, not sure what its medicinal benefits are but they all seemed to be enjoying it. Then we noticed a formation fly past, and hubby said we were near the military air base and these were their pilots obviously practicing their display routines, so we settled down on the beach and enjoyed an amazing free air show. We also enjoyed an ice cream (which was very green) and bought our three postcards then on the way back we stopped at the supermarket to get some provisions for breakfasts (really don't want another English fry up) so fruit for me and cornflakes for him. That evening we decided to take the long walk down to another pub that had been recommended, an Irish pub this time! Oh dear it was also quiz night! But the advantage of somewhere to walk to did mean hubby could have a few pints so we stayed and ate outside (roast chicken and chips) but didn't stay long after we'd eaten and walked back up the long hill and settled in with the TV and some Grand Designs (satelite tv with all the English channels = happy hubby).

Wednesday 11th - So started the day with fruit/cereal breakfast then off to find another beach at Torre de Horadada and Playa mil Palmeras. We did lots of walking and driving as it was too windy to sit on the sand, then back for an afternoon relaxing at the villa for a bit of sunbathing, a bit inside, a bit of crosswording and a bit of reading. I wrote and then posted the three postcards, because I do like to do them early in the holiday so they get back to the UK before we do! For dinner that evening we drove down to a restaurant called Treetops (another recommended) and that night they had a steak and wine deal for 20 euros per couple so we both had the steak and shared the bottle! Then back to watch the film Benjamin Button that was in the cupboard on DVD, it was very good but somewhat dragged out a bit. Late evening our daughter sent a text saying she was having a panic and are we near the two earthquakes that have just happened in southern Spain. We knew nothing about it, so tried to find a Spanish TV channel to see if we could get any information, but couldn't.

Thursday 12th - We had a lazy villa day and managed to find some news off the two earthquakes at Larco, which was about 60k from where we were, they said it was the worst they had experienced for 50 years and 10 people had been killed. My brother-in-lawA had also text to check we were OK, reassured everyone we were fine. We had lunch over the road at the Pasty Shack and headed out about 4pm, but all the shops were shut so we headed to the beach and marina at San Javier, very pretty place. Then came back and later had dinner in Restaurant Mary also over the road. I nearly had my paella but they said it would take 40mins to prepare and we'd heard that the Irish pub, Fibber McGees, was having a blues night so thought we'd eat something quicker and head down there. Glad we did actually because the two Spanish guys that performed blues all night were very good.

Friday 13th - We didn't get up till 9am ish and had a very lazy start so no chance of getting to the shops before they siesta! So we sunbathed/read/crosswords etc and finally left the villa about 4pm and headed to Torrevejo for a lovely walk along the beach and through lots of market stalls (all quite tacky). We stopped for an ice cream which I managed to drip all down me (hubby said it was due to the date). Then back to the villa by 8pm. We'd only bought 4 tshirts, two rings and a little train, so I was stressing a bit about having enough gifts to take home. We didn't bother with dinner that night as neither of us was hungry so stayed in and watched The Castaway/Tom Hanks from the video collection in the cupboard, which we both really enjoyed.

Saturday 14th - I got up at 7:30am (an hour before hubby) and checked emails etc online as I'd found a free wifi connection from halfway up the stairs, sitting on a cushion as they are very cold marble stairs. Eventually we went for a long walk on the beach at San Pedro all the way to San Javier (about 5k) then found a lovely beachside restaurant for lunch where hubby agreed to share my long awaited paella (they'd only cook it for two as it takes so long to cook and comes out as a huge flat pan to share) it was delicious! Then of course we had the long walk back. It was about 25 to 30 degrees C all day and I got a bit burnt on my back without realising it. Of course we didn't need dinner that night so had a TV evening again, mostly Britain's Got Talent which was very funny.

Sunday 15th - We were up early and pulled up the blinds to find a very cloudy sky and then some rain so we did nothing but a bit of reading and crosswords till 3pm ish then went for a very windy walk on Playa de la Horadada beach which totally blew the cobwebs (and my new haircut) away! A card on the fridge recommended dinner at the Rebate restaurant, it was excellent (hubby had steak and I had sea bass with garlic oil). The whole place was quite classy and the staff were very attentive. Outside there was a large pond with ducks and baby ducklings swimming and in a nearby pen was an ostrich. There was a wedding reception going on in the function room next door too. On the way back we stopped off at the Irish pub for a Rockabilly band, they were really good and had the totally packed pub bouncing. We didn't stay long though as only sitting room was outside and it was getting a bit chilly. A really lovely last night.

Monday 16th - It seemed too much time to kill before our flight home but not enough time to go anywhere, so we very slowly cleared up, emptied the rubbish and stripped the bed then because we were packed and ready to go in plenty of time we went over the road and had a proper lunch at The Portabello pub, in case there wasn't much at the airport. I even found and bought a book at the pub to take back for the children "Sophie visits Spain" for some language learning. Drove the car back to the airport car park and they drove us right to the airport doors, then took the car to keep it safe till it's needed again (such a useful and easy service). We had a good flight home and we sat together, only because we queued at the departure gate for an hour and half (stupid system). On the bus back to the car park we were saying how we'd travelled without any problems just before having a problem getting out of the long stay car park!!! Sooooo eventually got home about 7:30pm UK time.

All-in-all a lovely holiday and proof that hubby and I can survive a week alone together :o)