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!!!