Thursday, November 27, 2014

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!

This year is really flying by, its nearly December already! I haven't written my cards yet so I was very surprised to receive a card from the Royal household, I have gone up in the world, I hope she is not expecting one in return!!!

This week has seen Beth reach a milestone birthday, it seems minutes since she was born after a long night in labour.

She weighed in at 7 lbs 13 ozs at 5.50am on a cold Sunday morning in November.
As she was our third child we were more experienced, she was quite laid back and easy. She slept well and fed well. She had a big brother and sister who both ran around after her from the word go! Carl used to love to give her a bottle which was a great help .

Now she is a young adult.

This year she was lucky to have two birthday cakes, both made by friends! She likes Stitch so Nicky made her a Stitch cake.

Barb made her a beautiful purple 18 cake.

On the evening of her birthday we went out for a Chinese meal with some friends and family.

Beth was excited to come of age, she got some beautiful presents and lots of money! Thank you to everyone who was so generous, letters are being crafted this weekend, but I know a lot of you this blog!! We managed to keep her surprise present a surprise right up until she opened it. I had wrapped a bag of little gifts, some of them were a clue to the surprise present, the penny didn't drop at all!! so she was shocked when she opened tickets to a long weekend away in Amsterdam (she knows it as well as I do!!) with her friend Hannah. (Thanks Wendy xxx)
Happy Days!!!

I have packed and I am ready to jet off on my winter trip to the Christmas markets. We fly from Luton (International Airport!!!) at lunchtime tomorrow. I think we will get there early enough to have a festive cider in the bar before flying to Hamburg. I can't wait!!

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.......

Take care

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dreary couple of days away.

*******STOP PRESS*******
Forgot to add to the original post that I was lucky enough to have been in fine company!! Thank you Alison for your kindness and outstanding ability to find rose wine in an otherwise not terribly exciting few days!!!!

I have just returned from a couple of days away in Bristol, a city I have not visited before. I was attending a work related conference. To start with its a bit of a pain with three trains to get. I had to travel into London and then get the underground to Paddington before finally getting the train to Bristol. All in all it took me 3 1/2 hours! It wasn't even a very restful journey. The trains were all busy and I really don't understand why there isn't enough space for luggage. The other issue is accessibility it amazes me just how many stations are almost impossible if you have mobility issues or are travelling with a buggy. Even the signs confusing ! Because it was a work function they supplied me with train tickets, although they should have thought to allow some time to get from one train to another, I had one very near miss which would have added hours onto my journey!
We all stayed in the Holiday Inn in the centre of Bristol, which was very nice, standard Holiday Inn hospitality!

We were opposite a massive Premier Inn, I expect the view from the top was spectacular!! The view from my room was less so, I had the view of the car park and boarded up shops!!

In front of the hotel was a huge roundabout, which had an underpass which lead to a place known locally as 'the bear pit' guarded by a black and white bear statue, I am sure in the summer months it may well be an interesting place but it felt pretty dire in the rain :(
On the plus side there was a huge fabric shop opposite the hotel, so instead of having lunch I popped over there and managed to buy myself some sparkly fabric for my New Years eve outfit! Bargain at 50p a metre!

We ate on on the one night that we were there, it was prebooked by the course organisers, we went to new restaurant called Aquila. The surroundings were very nice, but the food was underwhelming and very expensive, big plates tiny portions and simply not very tasty, won't be hurrying back there!! 

Finally I headed back yesterday afternoon, left Bristol at 2pm and when I eventually arrived at Kings Cross there was only one train delayed, which was of course my train! There were hundreds of people waiting for the platform number to be posted up, once it was there was a mad stampede for the train. Considering it was late it was not going to hang around! I was lucky that I guessed the right platform and was towards the front of the queue. people were still trying to get through the ticket barriers when the train left!!

I am started to get excited for our Hamburg trip, I keep looking at the weather forecast last week it was showing a bit of snow for the day after we get back, but that could move, so I am getting ready for every eventuality!! I am also keeping an eye on New York in light of their snow this week, they also have forecast of snow on Christmas day so fingers crossed we get a nice sprinkling to add to the Christmas feel!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nothing to Report!

I have just had one of those odd sort of weekends, a weekend where I had plans but they didn't go according to plan one way and another!

Working full time during the week means that the weekend is the light at the end of the tunnel the whole reason for living!! So Saturday arrived and I woke at the usual time and decided to go to Lidls in time for it opening - I really know how to live, the pinnacle of my excitement!! So I did my shopping and was back home for 9.30am. - Can this weekend get any better?
After popping to see Dad it was back home to try and make a start on my Christmas wrapping. This year I am trying to be super organised because I have a couple of spells away coming up. business trip to Bristol and a girls weekend in Hamburg. 

(A couple of shots from our last trip, involving snow and Mulled wine!!)

I am particularly looking forward to the Germany trip, we last visited a couple of years ago and we really enjoyed it. We are hoping that this year we won't get any snow (its fine as long as you can just look at it and not battle your way through it!!). We are also hoping that the first weekend of the Christmas Markets will not be as busy as the ones nearer to Christmas. Last time we went we couldn't get near the stalls on the Saturday, we sort of got carried along by the crowds and couldn't actually stop to look at the wares. Worse than that we were right in the middle where the snow from the roofs of the stalls was slowly melting and dropping on us in huge wet clumps!!
This visit it is forecast to be cold and dry which is preferable to snowy and slushy!

Saturday afternoon we planned to go and see our friends Deb and Malc, their son Sam was appearing in my all time favourite musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. The plan was to go and spent a couple of hours before the show with our friends, it was not to be. It seems that our luck with all things water has rubbed off on them. We seem to lurch from one watery crisis to another. I think they were jealous of our watery antics and the variety of workman coming to our address to repair the vast array of issues. We thought that after our most recent disaster where the mains ruptured below the stop cock that they would give up and declare us the victors, but no, they went the extra mile. They went without heating AND water for two weeks and just when they thought things had returned to normal they discovered a leak in the replaced pipework leading to damaged ceilings and a lot of upset. 

Malc had got us all tickets for the last performance of the show, they were brilliant tickets, front row no obstructions. The plan for us to stop at theirs for a pizza went out the window when they again had to switch of the heating and water. Malc had to wait in for the plumber and ended up missing the show. The show was fantastic, it takes me right back to my youth, its the second time this year I have been lucky enough to see it, I can sing every single song and it always brings a lump to my throat when the final scene happens. The whole disappointment of missing the pizza was made bearable by a glass of cider and a chocolate ice cream at half time (Thank you Nanny Cate!!)

So what is happening this week? not a lot so far and not a lot in plan. If I get the inclination I am going to finish some furniture painting and finish the planning for Beth's birthday!! Happy days!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Remembrance Sunday.

This morning I went into town to attend the Remembrance Parade. It was a sunny cold morning and the town centre was packed with people. While waiting for the ceremony to start it was good to see so many people that I knew, some people I hadn't seen for 30 years or more! 

There were hundreds of people including children, some of them on the parade were very little! We stood with our very own  little Rainbow, Bobbie.

She was very good, she knew a little about what we were all here for and considering Bobbie is usually so active and into everything, she was very respectful and quiet. A really good girl!!

Dad was there too, he was able to get in with his scooter, although speaking to him afterwards, he had found it hard to get through the crowds, particularly at the end when he was trying to get away from the town centre.

All the Forces were represented including Police and Fire service as were all the Scouts and Guide groups.

There so many people marching that they went all the way around Howardsgate.

It was a very moving ceremony, the 100th Anniversary, the Last Post, all the people who made it such a memorable event. I think that its vital that we remember exactly what was given up by those that enabled us to live the life of freedom that we now have.

Saturday night the weather was horrible, pouring with rain and cold, not a good evening for a firework party!! None the less, I made the supreme sacrifice and  attended the local three school Firework extravaganza with my mate Jane. I took the precaution of taking flasks of mulled wine with me, I really didn't want to catch a chill and it seemed the only way to avoid it, that and I had earlier in the day had my flu jab, so thought it wise to further protect myself with the healing properties of mulled wine!!!

By the time we had walked home we were thoroughly soaked but warm on the inside!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, don't work too hard and remember, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here starts on the 16th of November, its what Winters were made for !!!!!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Laid to Rest

Today exactly eleven months since Mum passed away we were finally able to bury her ashes. It has been a long time to get to this point and it hasn't been easy. We were keen for her to be nearby, but the council cemetery was full and they had to rearrange some of the older parts and place new memorial stones. The new arrangement works for us. Its a nice place to go to and its not too far away.

The admin side of things took the council an age to sort out, we had been promised that we would be able to scatter her ashes in April but with several delays caused by a variety of reasons we arrived at today's date.

Father Norbert, our local Parish Priest carried out the final blessing on a windy and wet afternoon. He made all the difference, he knew Mum and knows the rest of us, so it was a personal service. He even sung part of the blessing in Latin and we all were able to bless the grave with Holy water. Mum loved pink so I tied three beautiful pink roses from a bouquet that my friend Debbie gave me and left them there after the service .

Just for good measure after what had been a pretty horrible day weather wise, the sun came out and we had a beautiful pink tinged sun set.

This week has featured lots of stories about the anniversary of the first world war, a terrible time in history which has been made very live and personal by the research that has been carried out into some of the soldiers. It has made me think about my family history again, I really must jump back into my family tree. I plan to go into town on Sunday for Remembrance Day Parades. 

I want to send my love and support to two special ladies, Karen and Tina. You both have done so well, keep it up xxxx

Sunday, November 02, 2014

This is Halloween!!!!

Its hard to believe that a year ago we were in Florida, so much has changed in this past year. I was still to have my hip done and was barely able to walk. Things are so different now, I can walk well, although its been really really hard to get rid of the limp and most of the time if I don't concentrate it comes back, Still on the plus side I am not in any pain and it has transformed my life. 

I have always loved Halloween and this year it was quite sad because all my children were too old for Trick or treating. We decorated the front of the house and we had a few groups knock. I decided this year that if they were 'big' kids I would give them a trick and a treat. so once they had taken their sweets I gave them a good honk on my air horn!!They all took it in good part including the one lad that jumped so much that he dropped his sweets!!!

I think Beth did a particularly good job of her Pumpkin this year!!!

Beth also excelled herself in the make up department, we went to a Halloween party last night and Beth did all of our make up!! Its amazing what you can do with latex, toilet paper and lip gloss!!

Cracked Porcelain doll. 

I think these were pretty realistic!! (particularly at night !!)

Madeline and I were some sort of witches!! I was very pleased with my dress which had in a previous life been a prom dress, but I bought it from a charity shop for £3!The hat was a bit dodgy, had a brim with a mind of its own!! I hope you are impressed with my red eyes in the photo above, its all natural, I have had a horrible week of eye infections which have been really debilitating, I am pleased to say that they are now starting to recover!!

Carl's outfit was inspired he went as 50 shades of Grey's Christian, of course he had to Halloween it so Beth provided the bullet hole in the head!! Harry went as a zombie cowboy!!

John was the butcher of Abbots and Tom was a ghost

Grace was. well I am not sure what Grace was but she looked very good with half her face missing!!

The week after next we will be marking the centenary of the start of the first world war. I will be laying the wreath in the garden of remembrance at work. There has been a lot of coverage of the Poppies at the Tower of London on the news, thousands and thousands of people have visited the Tower and this week during a rare Indian summer where the temperature reached 22 degrees  the crowds became so big that they had to close the underground station at Tower Hill. It really is a spectacle to see.

Tomorrow Beth starts her new job, so we wish her well and hope that this is the start of a long and exciting career.

I have another one of those busy weeks coming up, with meetings all over the place and a fair bit of travelling to, so I hope the weather continues to hold and that I have trouble free travelling!! I also plan to meet some friends for dinner on Tuesday evening and I want to wish another close friend all the best for her operation on the morning of the 4th xxxxxxx