Saturday, 30 March 2013

Weather report...

Easter weekend and it's still snowing here in Suffolk, not settling but crazy nonetheless :)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Theatre matinee today, yes twice in the same week! Both were about World War 1 and both very moving.

Today was Birdsong at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich.
Can't seem to paste the page in so it fits, maybe because I'm on a tablet not a pc, so I'll just put the link in here

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Hired Man....

My neighbour Trish and a few of her friends are very regular theatre goers and they have invited me to join them, last night was the first one.

The Mercury Theatre in Colchester, The Hired Man. A musical and the whole cast had great voices, although a few of them lisp which is distracting. The acting was superb really highlighting the highs and lows of their tough lives. All four of us enjoyed it even though the theatre was freezing, and I loved being out to the theatre again after so many years.

I was going to link to the right page, but thought that the theatre may delete the page when the play closes so then the link wouldn't work, so going with a rough copy and paste which is enough to remind me what I've seen.


by Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall
Director Daniel Buckroyd Designer Juliet Shillingford Lighting Designer Mark Dymock Sound Designer Tom Lishman Musical Director Richard Reeday
Cast includes: Julie Atherton: Jamie Barnard, Jenni Bowden, Jill Cardo, Rachael Gladwin, David Hunter, Oliver Izod, Kit Orton, Matthew Rutherford, Chris Staines, Mark Stobbart and Gary Tushaw


“Not to be missed”
The Daily Telegraph
“It dares us to feel pity but commands us to feel respect – simply awesome”
The Stage
Acclaimed for its epic, nostalgic, funny book and rousing, romantic, award-winning score, The Hired Man is arguably the finest new British musical of the last thirty years.
Set against the backdrop of the Cumbrian lakes in the early years of the twentieth century, it tells the timeless, moving story of a young married couple and their struggle to carve a living from the land, just as the traditional rhythms of English country life are being swept away by the gathering storm of war in Europe. It’s haunting, thrilling, stirring stuff.
Now the Mercury Theatre’s new Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd has reassembled the creative team behind his critically-acclaimed 2008 touring production of this wonderful show, which captivated audiences throughout the UK before transferring to New York.
The Hired Man is based on the much-loved novel by Melvyn Bragg, and brought to life by the heartbreakingly-beautiful music of Howard Goodall, the EMMYBRIT and BAFTA award-winning composer of stage musicals including the recent West End hit Love Story, and film and TV scores including themes for Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley, Mr Bean and QI.
Running time approx.
2hrs 30mins including interval

Monday, 25 March 2013

Construction - part 7....

Sorry if you've dropped by to read the next excited progress report, because this time I need to have a moan!

Yesterday Hubby started putting some drawers together and the two units either side of the cooker are now complete, except they still haven't brought the handles, so I had to put some brown tape strips on them so they can be opened. When we first ordered the kitchen we chose the handles that were on display in the shop and Barbara very kindly said we could have them for free as they were leftover stock. Then when Mark came to take specific measurements he said we may not like those handles (guess he doesn't like them) and to not feel obligated when we see them if we change our minds. Of course if we change or minds they will then need to order replacements, but they still haven't delivered them!

Second main moan was also highlighted when Hubby was working on drawers. When Charlie was here to do the worktops he did a great job, however when he cut the hole for the sink it wasn't exactly over the cupboard so he had to cut a gap out of the two joining sides of that cupboard and the one beside it for the half sink to sit, ok so far, however the plumbing below that Hubby and M moved to get it all ready now has to be moved again and we are now not sure that the runners for that drawer has enough wood to screw to!!!

My other moans are to do with how things don't look exactly how I wanted them to which I know is me being over fussy. When we ordered the sink and taps it was out of a catalogue even though I kept asking Hubby that we see them first but we didn't. I wanted a textured or brushed stainless steel (like I had before) as I find them so much easier to clean, however the new sink has a brushed edge but the main bowls and draining board are not so it's going to need all water marks polished off all the time grrrr plus the taps are a brushed stainless steel and they look really yellow against the shiny silver sink so they are going back and being replaced, but of course as luck would have it when Charlie was here he very kindly removed all the surplus packages so we haven't got the taps box and will probably not get our money back for them!

And finally (for now) I have to mention the worktop edge. Charlie has done a really neat job of the joins, which is a pet hate of mine, and the veneer on the cut edges, however along the entrance into the kitchen space we have rounded front worktop on the right and square cut edge on the left as there was no other way to do it. Hopefully when it's all done I'll learn to ignore it.

Right well that is moaning over and yes I'm really proud of Hubby's hard work and I know it will be lovely, but this very prolonged winter weather (looking at a snow covered garden yet again) and kitchen chaos now in week seven and today having no electrics as Peter is in the kitchen fitting a new consumer unit, just meant I needed to blow a little steam here, hopefully you won't hear any more negatives.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Freezing cold and hot pot....

Had a lovely day out with Daughter, E and O. It was really cold and windy, we could feel the wind pushing against the car. First stop was Parcour, for the children. O was in the first group and E was in the third group. The hall was cold but nowhere near as cold as outside. While the middle group were running and jumping around on crash mats we walked round the corner to the play park......shiverred for barely 5 minutes when E and I had to walk back again, Daughter and O came back very soon after!

When we were done there it was off to Museum of East Anglian Life
We were meeting up with lots of other home-ed families and we first met in a room full of tables and chairs and we hurridly ate our packed lunch that Daughter brought.
I've loved this museum since we moved here more than 30 years ago and took our children often. One of the things I love most is that it's not one large building it's a collection of barns and warehouse buildings and cottages and ponds and bridges and lots of outdoor space between the exhibits, brrrr not so good in this weather!

We headed home with just enough time for Daughter to have a quick cuppa then dash off again, only to find that Hubby and R had gone shopping, so frantic phonecalls and a gulped coffee and Daughter flew off to get R from the front door of Sainsbury's then get E and a fast asleep O home and get R to her dance lesson!!!!

Meanwhile I had lots of tea and tried to warm myself up.

Our lovely next door neighbour-friendsP&A then called in to look at the kitchen progress and invite us in for dinner :-)   She had had beef in the slow cooker all day served with mash and veg and good company so a great way to warm up!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Construction - part 6....

Quick update on the kitchen but I'm thinking I may not put any more progress photos on here as it will no doubt spoil the grand reveal when it's done! I'm such a tease :-)

Yesterday the worktops went in and what a difference it makes, the whole shape of the kitchen is now defined. We did have the professional in for this job as one of my pet hates is noticeable joins and they use special tools which of course hubby doesn't have, nor does he have experience which does make a difference. One problem was the "professional" cut the worktop for the sink slightly left of where it was expected to be which looks fine from above but below means the pipework doesn't match up, so hubby and M will have to bend pipes yet again........although that will have to wait a while as neither if us like the taps that arrived as the brushed chrome looks yellow against the sink, so replacement taps should be here Monday.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Celebrating round numbers....

Like most people who celebrate birthdays and anniversaries etc I always try to add a little extra for the decades even if it's just sending a card with the big number on! In fact I've a "mark the decade" birthday later this year but will be on holiday on the day so if I get a big badge I'll wear it because nobody there will know me hahaha

Anyway I've totally gone off the reason I started writing this. I just happened to catch sight of the stats for this blog and the pageviews total has reached 3,000. Now that may not be a big number compared to others but actually may be huge compared to a select few, it may represent 3,000 readers or just one regular visitor who has dropped in for a chat 3,000 times, I don’t really check the stats so don't mind what they mean, I just thought it's a big round number so ought to be acknowledged.

Now I'll go and clear up the streamers and balloons. Would you like the last sausage roll?

Monday, 18 March 2013

Construction - part 5.....

Hubby was out all day yesterday, so a well earned break from all the DIY.
But with the end of last week and cracking on early today there's plenty to show you...

Lots more plumbing.

Which has meant no sink since last Friday. Thank goodness we have a downstairs loo with sink!

Nearly all the base units have been put together and stand roughly in their new home.

And then more boxes arrived!


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Beyond the kitchen....

Yes there has been stuff going on other than the great kitchen build.

Very proud of E as I've enjoyed two County Music concerts she has been in, first one she was choir and second one she was on percussion. She has also been for an audition for a very prestigious young musicians project "shaping the musicians of tomorrow – pushing the boundaries of what young musicians can achieve." Performer, parents and grandparents now anxiously waiting for the result!

Daughter, children and I did try to go out somewhere this week for some much needed fresh air, but once they were here and we were ready to go the sky went black and there was an icy wind with hail and sleet so we stayed put and played games. Poor R had a streaming cold so in the warm was the best place for her.

It's been a bit of a challenge sorting out food without facilities. We've had picnic lunches in the lounge with Daughter and the children, we were treated to a home cooked meal next door, lots of my cooked and frozen dinners to microwave and there have been the inevitable takeaways although only fish and chips twice and once each for southern fried chicken and a chinese so not too bad. We were bought some years ago an electric frying pan, don't ask me why they thought we actually needed one, and of course I've never used it but could never actually bring myself to throw it out....well it's now been used a couple of times :-)

Last Wednesday night was the usual friends meeting for pub grub which was lovely. Thursday hubby and I nipped out for a pub lunch too, so we are definitely not starving. This is starting to sound like our life revolves round food hahaha

I've just finished knitting a cowl/snood which I thought I'd probably not wear this year but it's still so cold outside that it has been worn.

Yesterday's excitement was watching three tree surgeons take down a massive tree that was down the hill halfway down our road. We had a great view from our bedroom window and we all kept going up to check on progress, especially when O was here he stood on a chair by the window with me chatting about all sorts of tree/wood related things.

Got an email from SisterS yesterday to say the flights for our holiday in August have been changed and the outward flight is now leaving Gatwick at 05:40!!!!! Check-in will be 03:40 so need to be there for parking etc by 3am ish so need to leave home about 01:30 aaarrrrggghhhh that horrible dilemma of do we even go to bed or not :-(

Well hubby is out all day today so I'm planning on clearing our washing while running the machine isn't in his way, so best crack on with that.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Construction - part 4.....

This was so nearly a very tragic update with Hubby in my baddest of books, so nearly but thankfully not at all.

Let me set the scene...Hubby is a self taught DIY enthusiast and he built me a beautiful kitchen more than 20 years ago and it worked so well for me (even though I'm quite short). So right at the outset of the "I need to replace this kitchen" versus "I love this kitchen keep your hands off it" discussions (which started in 2007 and came to a head this year), it came down to my tick list of things I had to have, the absolute main non-negotiable must keep at all costs were my two corner carousels that had integrated doors that spun inside as the carousel turned and therefore took up no floorspace. Brilliant !!!

When looking at all new kitchens not one range had corner units like them. They had similar turning shelves but fully opening hinged double door, or there are the wire basket types that slide along when the door is open or lots of variations on the same theme.

Hubby decided that he could buy a new corner unit, replace the sides with end panels and remove the old carousel and install it into the new cupboard. We both knew it would be a lot of work and I managed to redesign the kitchen so it would only need one of these Heath Robinson affairs.

The new units arrived and the corner unit got unpacked and there was some crashing and banging and swearing and more banging for ages. Eventually Hubby decided to go to bed and his parting words were "you can't have your carousel, it just won't fit".

Well to cut this long long story down to size, I'm pleased to announce that after nearly two days of his hard grafting and my very gentle encouragements and suggestions (*wink*) he got it to fit and work with the old doors. Fingers crossed when the new doors go on they will fit too.

See struggle, struggle, struggle, success!!!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Construction - part 3 ....

Yay the new kitchen has arrived.

Although not quite ready to use!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

With and without mums....

Mother's Day here in the UK, usually a very spring like day, but here today is snow!

My first thoughts are always for my mum who I love and miss.
My first activity though was to send big hugs by text to SisterM's children as this is their first Mother's Day without her   :-(

Of course facebook was full of messages in words and pictures dedicated to mums here and in heaven. My mum, who gave me so much grief when she was trying to master the most basic of mobile phones would have found a message to her on the internet for everyone to see totally amazing!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Very long conversation....

Friday afternoon really horrid heavy rain and fog drive to FriendH in London for one of our overnight catch-ups. Got to hers about 5:30pm and we started our conversation over a welcome cup of tea. We were eating out so into her car and off to her nearest Harvester, a very civilised proper dinner at a proper table (hahaha can you tell I've not had use of my kitchen for some time now). FriendH paid too so that was a lovely bonus!

Home again and lots more tea and talk and photo sharing with stories of her last holiday. There was a bit of help needed with her Sky+ settings which I could do, and she told the long story behind the change of her Virgin media setup happening in the morning and she said the windows man was coming in the morning too to fix something. Always so hard when you work full time like she does to arrange everything to happen on a Saturday. Makes me appreciate my retirement all the more! Eventually up to bed at 2am which is quite early for us.

This morning the windows man was already working away when I got up and he was soon gone so we sat for breakfast (I'm making the most of these meal times). Then the Virgin man arrived and done what he needed to do and told us it would be about half an hour before we could use the new super fast broadband as it had to complete its setup procedure. An hour later it still wasn't working so she got back onto their helpline to be told the networks were down and wouldn't be sorted for another 24 hours, very annoying! Time (1:30pm) for me to drive home :-)
So lovely to spend time together and because we only manage to do this about three times a year there is always so much to talk about that we rarely come up for air.

Meanwhile Hubby had been painting ceiling and walls in prep for the start of putting new cupboards in (all being delivered Tuesday). Did I mention how much I hate making choices and how Hubby and I often disagree? Well wall colour was a big debate for some time and we've gone with white! Thankfully that's one thing easily changed if we don't like the effect once everything else is done.

Monday, 4 March 2013

No excuses...

Still managed to host the monthly coffee morning, not round the dining room table of course but in the lounge. Think there was 12 of us and two babies and a toddler. Many of them had to have a look at the kitchen in progress, so hopefully they will see a huge difference by next coffee morning.

After lunch Daughter rang to ask if she could bring O here while she popped into town with the girls, we said yes so she did and hubby played with him on the wii. Had to have a very serious talk with him about relative ages when he said "Grandma and Granddad you are both really old and nearly dead"!!!

Also my lovely nails technician came this afternoon and we squeezed into the only clear corner of the building site by an open window. I've now beautiful manicured dark blue nails.

Eventually Daughter and children went home, think it was gone 5pm by then and hubby finally got back to his ceiling and walls painting. So I went out and brought back fish and chips to save getting in his way (sneaked back some chocolate to).

Friday, 1 March 2013

Construction - part 2....

Just a quick update to say the plastering is all done and drying out nicely.
And the new cooker arrived this morning and will be connected up this afternoon but will have to stay under a cover for a while yet.