Sunday, 24 August 2014

In search of Lynne ......

I have so many things to write about,  the Summer is whizzing by and there are things to blog about but little time to put fingers to keyboard!

But today I thought I'd write a short post about our afternoon out to a craft fair where I'd hoped to meet up with fellow Norfolk blogger , Lynne. Lynne writes her blog at Textile Treasury, where she shows us her beautiful makes as well as other things,  Lynne sounds like a lovely person and someone I'd like to say Hello to . When she blogged about a craft fair,  not too distant from me,  on Saturday and Sunday,  I thought this would be my chance to have a day out and maybe introduce myself. I was also very much looking forward to seeing the items which Lynne would be exhibiting .

As usual in this house things rarely go according to plan, well my plan anyway! I thought that a craft fair, which included a farm shop and cafe, would be an ideal trip out on a weekend when the boys were all at cricket- if I stay home Little Miss gets bored and I get cross and the others are out playing games while I just do extra housework.

Saturday was already accounted for as we had a cricket tea to prepare (I supply the cakes and send them with hubby, I don't usually turn up to serve them!) It was the last match of the season and a sumptious feast was all ready for delivery. Little Miss and I were due a trip into Norwich to meet a friend and buy school shoes. But Sunday was a craft fair possibility.

As usual events conspired against us - the constant knocking noise on my car has now got so loud I can hear it over the turned-up radio so it needed attention! As it's MOT time I couldn't leave it any longer, but a friend agreed to check it over - he was only free on Sunday! That's ok, I can attempt the 40 minute drive in The Builder's truck, if I take it carefully down these little Norfolk roads; then I was informed that the cricket for Sunday was called off - apparently they're playing Monday now - oh joy! I thought it was unlikely that the boys would agree to a craft fair but the younger two made other plans and The Builder agreed, quite happily it seemed, to take me. It later transpired he had an ulterior motive but thus far I was oblivious.

After dropping the car off and picking up Number 1 son from where he'd ended up last night we rounded up Little Miss and set off, SatNav in hand. The Builder was very cheerful which was a surprise as it's safe to say, without meaning to cause offence, that arts and craft fairs are not really his "thing"!

Now the problem in these North Norfolk villages is the lack of mobile and internet connection, which at that point in time would have been useful. I had the village name, and the postcode but could only remember that the fair was at a venue with garden in the name. This didn't seem to be a problem as we entered the village and immediately saw signs for the Garden Fete, this was easy we thought and hastily pulled off the road and parked the truck. We realised that after all the shenanigans of the morning it was already nearly 2pm and the fair ended at 4pm! Anyhoo that's not a problem, we jumped out of the truck and followed other people through a field and into a magnificent tunnel under the road (apparently built around 1803)

It seemed a little odd as we came across the bric a brac stall, this wasn't really what I'd been expecting! And then the tombola, with a bottle of ketchup and some Pringles trying to draw us in! The raffle was even less exciting, Little Miss wanted to buy a few tickets at £1 each to try to win a packet of Loom Bands (worth 90p) but we swerved that. The "guess the name of the horse" was a bit random with a real live horse wandering about, as was the man dressed as one of the 118 chaps from the advert! Splat the rat was something I hadn't seen in a while too!

But where were the craft stalls, and more importantly where was Lynne? Time was running out and nothing crafty was to be eventually dawned on us that we were actually at a small village fete in the garden of a hall, not the actual event we'd been hoping to attend! I assumed that I'd got the wrong post code, the wrong village and quite possibly (given our usual travelling catastrophes) the wrong county!

We admitted defeat and retreated back into Holt for a coffee and scone in Byfords - our Christmas Eve venue. At that point we had internet connection and found out where we actually should have been. Sadly by then it was 3.35 and too late to try again.

The Builder seemed happy for us to make our way home via another little Norfolk village, at this point the ulterior motive became apparent. He wanted to catch a rival team's cricket match, not far out of Holt, and check their score. Apparently they are rivals for either the league top spot or both trying to avoid relegation - I pay so much attention I can't be sure! We sat at the village green for a while and watched as other members of our club arrived to watch, at that point Little Miss and I drove home in the truck leaving hubby standing on the boundary - I assume someone will give him a lift home!

I've also realised that with my birthday imminent and with nothing seemingly arranged, The Builder obviously thought he could probably buy me something suitable at a craft fair, that being the reason for him agreeing to the outing! In view of previous years my work colleagues have much enjoyed making suggestions for this year -  a trip to Lords, maybe tickets for a test match? Or what about a new flask for the away matches.....he wouldn't dare; would he??

So I'm sorry we didn't meet today Lynne, I did try, hopefully there'll be another time!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Liebster Blog Award....part 3

And list of 11 questions for those taking the baton from me on the Liebster Award, which was passed to me by Christine at A Colourful Life
I have two nominees who have agreed/volunteered to take part
Libby at D-Scribes and Caroline at Mrs M's Meanderings
I feel bad nominating people so please don't feel obliged, I know it's time consuming but it is quite fun too. Would CJ at Above the River, Penny at The Hen House, and Tammy at My Journey like to join in?
And please volunteer if you'd like to take part and have the award on your blog, you should have less than 200 followers but I can't see the number on everyone's blog so hopefully I've nominated blogs which fall into this category.
I hope my questions are ok, please miss any out you'd prefer not to answer!

1) What would you do on your ideal day? 
2) What did you want to be "when you grew up"? And did you achieve it?
3 Tattoos and/or piercings; do you have any, do you love/hate them?
4) Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
5) What are you reading right now?
6) Serious theatre or musicals; or do you not visit the theatre?
7) Do you have a secret crush? (famous person or otherwise!)
8) Who knows about your blog, or is it secret?
9) Would your ideal holiday (if funds were unlimited) involve seeing more of your own country or worldwide travel?
10) If you could rescue one item from your house in the event of a disaster what would it be? (family and pets aside)
11) If you were invited to a fancy dress party would you get excited, have a head brimming with ideas and immediately throw yourself into creating a fabulous outfit or do you struggle and wish it wasn't fancy dress?

Well there are my 11 random questions off the top of my head this morning! I was going to think on this for a while but time is getting on and I've been such a slow coach completing this challenge.

The weeks of Summer are moving on very quickly and I feel we haven't really done much.
So here are a few photos of our Summer up to now, photos and few words!

The last day of Primary School, I do have some lovely photos from school and the after party but mostly they also involve other children so I thought  it was best not to post them here.

Apricot harvest

Home grown carrot man!

 Tomatoes doing well despite the slap dash gardener!

An unexpectedly pretty corner of the garden, borrowing the neighbours roses!
veggie patch no longer looking it's best

 Cooking apples nearly ready for a pie, but plums not so good; a bit spotty and some are rotting before ripe
We'll have plenty of pears again though

Bubbles and Poppet have enjoyed being outside this Summer,
not so much in the tail end of the hurricane though!

And our first ever "selfie" taken at my friends 50th birthday party; a stunning out in the woods,
 riverside party. The theme was Midsummer Night Dream
If you look closely you'll see that the bunting in knicker shaped!

I hope I looked a little like Titania (although I know I didn't, I'm not good at dressing up) . We didn't stay late into the evening as The Builder was doing a good impression of Bottom;
oh no that's not the word, I mean an ar*e!!

So that's a little round-up; long overdue - but you know how it is, busy, busy, busy.

We'll have a busy few days ahead as it's results day on Thursday for Number 1 son,
who is not at all confident that it'll go well.
And we have 3 cricket matches before we even reach the weekend, which will be a weekend full of cricket!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Liebster Blog Award....Part 2

Sorry for the long delay, I told you this would take me some time!

In the second part of the award I answer 11 questions set for me by Christina, so without further ado, here goes....

1) What or who inspired to start a blog?
My best friend wrote a blog some years ago and that got me into reading various favourite blogs. My friend has long since given up writing but, over time, I felt I wanted to "join the party". I've actually never told my friend I've joined in, as far as I'm aware no one knows, other than my immediate family, and they're not interested! So I guess my best friend inspired me, although she doesn't know it.

2) Do you have any pet hates?
Yes I do! It's bad English; bad punctuation, grammar and spelling. And incorrect use of words. That's not to say I do it properly myself! And I hate the use of "like" before everything (at risk of sounding like a 100 year old). My kids know that I will always pick them up on that, "were you only like annoyed or actually annoyed?"

3) What magazines subscriptions do you have?
Sadly I have none, I used to get House Beautiful which started as a 6 month subscription gift from a friend; I managed to keep it going for 2 years which my husband thinks was a mistake on the publishers part! Although I enjoyed reading it/looking at the pictures I did find it overpriced and just made me dissatisfied with my own home.

4) Do you avoid walking under ladders or have any other superstitions?
No, I'm not superstitious at all. Although I think I believe in Karma.

5) Describe the art on your living room wall.
I like this question! The art on the wall is very varied, I would love to invest in very good art work when I see something I love but funds have never permitted me to do so.
We have this which is just a print called Maternity, I saw it years ago and bought it for our first home, where it seemed huge on the tiny wall.
 We have this watercolour, painted for us by my sister in law. She painted it from a series of photographs we took the year before in Wales, her partner framed it and they gave it to us as a wedding gift, inside is a wedding invitation, so they told us.
 I love this one.

We also have a signed photograph of Sir Ian Botham doing something memorable at Lords I believe!
 A gift I gave to The Builder one Christmas.

We also have a trio of tiny watercolours depicting scenes on The Norfolk Broads, I bought these from our local Post Office years ago and made them fit a frame I had, that's why they're a little wonky in the frame!

We also have a couple of other watercolours, one a local scene and the other a village cricket pitch which I gave to The Builder as a 1st wedding anniversary gift (paper) - and which I forgot to photograph.

6) The last concert you went to?
Embarrassingly that would be The Boomtown Rats at the local university common room, not that long ago. Actually I'm not embarrassed, they were great and I wasn't allowed to see them the first time around (late 1970's)

7) If you would invite one person to dinner who would it be?
This is the hardest question and took a lot of thought. If we're talking a famous person there are many, maybe Bono (because I love him) or Stephen Fry because he's so interesting and intelligent (I wouldn't be able to chat to him though, I'd feel so thick) but actually it would be my Grandad, just to ask him if I've done ok.

8) What are you wearing right now? 
Now I could go and change or I could lie; but if I'm honest it's leggings and a baggy jumper, I do have black pearl earrings in if that helps?

9) What type of holiday do you enjoy most?
Very definitely the beach and the sunshine. I like to see new places and maybe when life's stresses have diminished we'll sight see more but right now it's relaxing somewhere sunny. I love to swim and snorkel, the only thing we all do together really. I once snorkelled a long way out to sea whilst pregnant and towing a toddler behind me who was tied to my middle with a rope! I always feel happy in water.
Me on the left, snorkelling with the kids in Mexico;
 I know what you're thinking "that's an attractive look for a middle aged lady"!!

10) What is the naughtiest thing you have done as a child?
I was never that naughty, just moody and stroppy! I did once get sent to the headmistress for hiding in the cloakroom at playtime (this was infants school), I actually didn't go to see the head and hid again as the head was my Aunt! I didn't get told off for that and assumed they never found out - it was a tiny school of course they must have known!

11) Do you have or did you ever have a role model?
I don't think I have. My biggest influence was probably my Grandparents who I spent most of my time with but I don't think I wanted to be like them. I did admire Auntie Dorothy, with her big coiffured hair (with a slight blue tinge) who dressed immaculately and went to Italy to buy her shoes (in the days when no one went abroad).
My very working class family used to laugh about her, she had no children and had staff to help with housework (although they lived in a relatively small flat above their shop). Once, when we met her in the high street, she told my Grandma that she would have to lay down for the afternoon as she was exhausted, due to her having to "prepared a turnip" for supper! My Grandma walked away sniggering and muttering but from that day I wanted to be Auntie Dorothy!

So the final part of the award is where I set 11 questions for 11 fellow bloggers; however I don't want to land this on anyone who may not have the time. Let me know if you'd like to take part and I'll link you in the part 3. Libby at D-Scibes has already joined in with her first list which makes great reading, so hopefully she'll answer my questions next....when I think of some!

Hope you're all enjoying August so far, whether that's your Summer or your Winter!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A Proud Mum Moment!

Can you see my gleaming smile from wherever you are? It's not the sun it's me, beaming!

Do you remember this post from ages ago (2012)? And then further disappointment when Number 1 son was once again overlooked for County selection. My nerves were in tatters as he decided to trial once again during the winter of 2013; he'd trialled for the County team since he was 9 years old and failed to make it every year despite his younger brother being selected. There are lots of aspects to selection it seems, not all of them based on your ability, if you get my drift! 
It can be very elitist and so, so unfair at times.

Anyway in this Autumn of 2013 I was able, at last, to write this post and we were all over the moon at the tenacity and talent of our biggest boy. As he's a man of few words and is very laid back his reaction was a little tame but I'm guessing he went to bed with a very cheesy grin that night.

Well yesterday was his debut for the County Under 19 team, to say I was nervous doesn't come anywhere near to describing how I felt, I was nearly reduced to tears before we got into the car! It was a long trip to Woodall Spa in Lincolnshire for an early start. We left home, all of us, at 7am and I panicked all the way that we would break down/get stuck behind a lorry/tractor of which there are hundreds on the road to Lincolnshire or just generally be late!

Number 1 son hid his feelings well but I'm sure he had a few butterflies in his tummy. 
Norfolk fielded first which meant he was under a little less pressure, he didn't have too much to do as he wasn't selected to bowl.

Fielding in the background

Then after tea it was Norfolk's turn to bat, The Builder whispered to me that Number 1 may be an opener - which means he'd be in the first pair of batsmen to take to the field. I had palpitations at this point, as Number 1 exited the pavilion he looked over to us and said "I'm having 1" very confidently. I didn't know what he meant, was he aiming to get only 1 run? Apparently he was very confident in his ability and asked to face the first ball of the innings which means no time to settle into the crease
 (middle of the pitch, where they run) - and that he was batsman number 1
 (how appropriate that his name is Number 1 too ;-))
 Listen to me gone all crickety!!

To say I was a bundle of nerves doesn't come close, I was hot, red, shaky and terrified.
But he hit it and scored 4 runs as it went to the boundary (edge of the pitch).

Oh my goodness did I clap, and relax ever so slightly! I had worried so much as this season, for his club, he's faced some terrific bowling and got out for 3 ducks (0).

And guess what happened next, I can't quite believe I'm typing this (and as I write it I'm welling up a bit) he batted right through to the end of the match, scoring a total of 81 runs, he didn't get out and was the highest run scorer!

Could you hear us cheering?
Being clapped off the pitch by team mates and opposition

I so want to say to the selectors "Look what you've been missing over the years" but I won't!

So sorry to be a cricket bore, it 's not something you'll see often! We've had a lot of stresses over the past few weeks (which are set to continue and put a dampener on the Summer hols for a few more weeks yet) but nothing, and I mean NOTHING will put a dampener on this!
He has worked so hard at his cricket and tried his best every year, for so many years he absolutely deserves it - his debut couldn't have gone better and we are so very proud of him!

I'll be back with the next bit of the Liebster Award post very soon, have a great weekend!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Liebster Blog Award

I hope you're all enjoying the Summer? Thank you for all the comments and kind words after my down in the dumps posts recently - Gran continues to be the same, but I've managed to see and speak to her a few times.
 I disappeared for a while there but I'm back. Lots of things have got in the way of blogging but I failed to photograph most of them and if I just write about what's been happening
 it may turn into a very loooong post!
Anyway a little while ago Christina from A Colourful Life passed the Liebster Blog Award to me, thank you very much Christina, I'll do my best!
The Liebster Blog Award is a blogger- to- blogger nomination which promotes blogs with less than 200 followers. I know some people prefer to be award/list free, but I'm really happy to receive it.
It's also reminded me that I was passed The Sunshine Award by Tammy (who's blog link seems to be broken just now) a while back and although I produced the required post I didn't attach the award to my sidebar - I'll put that on my to-do list.
This task is as follows -
1) Write 11 random facts about myself
2) Answer Christina's 11 questions
3) Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 questions
Gosh number 3 just ain't going to happen, Please take the baton if you feel you have time and would like to, I'd love to read your lists. I'll complete the task in bits , starting with my 11 random facts - this part seems easy!
Here goes..... (I did a random 10 list a while back so I'll apologise now if I'm repeating myself!)
1) I love live music, although don't go to as many concerts as I'd like. From one a couple of years ago I sent a text to Number 1 son saying "Mum's in the mosh pit" to which a fast reply came "how can that even be possible?"
2) I've always had long nails, even in school. I hated having them cut and they're as strong as, well, nails!
4) I wanted to be a make up artist for TV in London, but before I got the chance I met my husband and the rest is history.
5) I have a huge phobia of losing touch with people. I would write to someone I'd only sat next to on the bus if I could.
6) I love to swim, the only sport I'm really willing to do!
7) I absolutely do not understand the rules of cricket, despite sitting on the boundary for approximately 35 years! It doesn't help my addled brain that the rules are slightly different in every age group; and I have people IN every age group!
8) I'm a bit strange when it comes to hanging out my washing. I will not hang any underwear on the linen line, and socks can only hang if they're in pairs and all facing the same way. I once left my best friend alone in my house while I popped out for 10 minutes and returned to find she'd hung all my bras on the line!
9) I think I could easily live in a health spa!
10) Where I actually want to live is in a house not far from the beach, in more sunny climes.
11) My love of reading comes, I think, from an inspirational and very dramatic English teacher at High School; similarly my hatred of Maths comes from a very useless teacher at High School.
Not the most interesting of lists I'm afraid, I'll do the next part where I answer
Christina's questions as soon as I can.
We're in Lincolnshire tomorrow as Number 1 son has his debut in the Under 19's County Squad.
I have never been more terrified in my life!!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Life is a roller coaster, apparently!

It's been a funny week in this house, so many ups and downs that I'm starting to feel a little queasy; and I want to get off, please.

The two boys have both finished school for the summer break and are spending their days sleeping, when they're not playing or practising cricket. Little Miss is due to leave primary school on Wednesday but is a little under the weather and home with me today. High temperature and a sore throat, I think this is the first time this year she's been off poorly. I hope she doesn't have to miss the leavers assembly tomorrow and the disco on Wednesday, although after loving our village primary school and helping and volunteering to fund raise there over the past 17 years we have had to make a complaint about them in the last couple of weeks. I NEVER complain about school, I'm very laid back and tend to tell the kids to rise above issues and get over it. Maybe I've been too laid back in the past but once I get a bee in my bonnet (yes the wasps nest is still outside my bedroom door if you were wondering) I don't let it go. I have telephoned, written and emailed the head teacher and failed to get any response, so now I'm really cross! Only two more days to go, so I should try to keep calm!

Number 2 son, who captained his club Under 15's cricket team to a win in the Norfolk ECB cup (I think that was it's title, I pay very little attention!) took them to the next round and won again. They now have to go to a National finals day in Warwickshire next Monday. So that was a huge achievement and we all get a day out on a coach!! (that reminds me of coach trips to the seaside when I was a child with my two elderly Grandparents!)
Number 2, mid-bowl
But then I made yet another balls up at work and have spent the week worrying about the consequences! I was given a new job to do many months ago and have not really had any training so I keep making mistakes, and when I get things right I worry that they are actually wrong but no one is there to help. I'm not good at this anymore and actually want to leave and lock myself in the kitchen at home baking cakes!

But we did have the cricket club boat trip and that was a bit of fun on a very warm evening. The whole family went but, much to their embarrassment, I decided to drink a whole bottle of wine and giggle a lot. The stress of the week finally got to me, and I don't normally drink at all!

 Some of the lovely riverside houses, you can see what they're watching on TV from the boat!

Some of the photos got decidedly wobbly after this!

On the river we passed St. Benet's Abbey, a very picturesque spot with lots of history attached.

Although not much remains this was apparently the only Abbey not closed down by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries 

The history of the Abbey goes back much further than that and attracts many visitors. 
You get a very good view from the river and there were walkers around it that evening too.
 The wildlife is suburb around these fields too.

But then my Dad arrived for a brief visit from Wales, my Gran, his Mum, who you may remember from previous posts has now become quite frail, over the past 12 months. She left her home in Devon and moved into a care home in Suffolk, to be nearer to family as none of us lived anywhere near her in Devon.
Since she's been in the home and had no responsibility and no work to do, she seems to have gone down hill, I guess it's not surprising she is, after all, 94. But it is surprising to those who know her, and upsetting.
Anyway she had been taken into hospital with one or two issues, which in itself confused her enormously. Dad arrived to stay with us and visit her daily, although being in Ipswich hospital she was a good hour and a half from us. He visited her 4 days on the trot and I went with him twice, 
each day the hospital advised she would be discharged and each day they changed their minds! 

On Saturday we visited and she seemed so much better, she even made a speech to thank everyone for their help and support! We waved her off in the ambulance as she was discharged and being taken back to the care home, we watched her leave as she waved and blew kisses to us.
 After a two hour journey where we got stuck some way behind an accident, we were 20 minutes from home when we received a call to say the ambulance had turned around and taken her
 back to hospital as she wasn't well again, with what we do not know!
So poor Gran is back in hospital until maybe later today or tomorrow, or maybe longer I suppose.
I'll try to visit again this week, either the hospital or the home, but I wish she was her old fun loving self again.

taken in 2005
So it's been an uppy downy kind of week or so. 
And I'm a bit tired. 
If you need me I'll be under the kitchen table rocking backwards and forwards!!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

It's all growing over here!

I'll try to do a garden update as I'm quite please with the vegetable growing, however the weeds are growing faster than I can pull them out so parts of the garden are disappointing right now.

The few things I planted in the old bath tub haven't done so well. I usually fill this up with salad leaves but this year tried some beetroot and parsnips; they don't seem to like growing in a tub though.

The lettuce isn't as good as in previous years either, maybe it's the soil I used?
The tomatoes have been doing fine although they are so big now I don't think the grow bag is big enough to contain them, looks like lots of little fruits appearing though so fingers crossed
they'll survive long enough to go red.
The strawberries appear to be loving their grow bag and are covered in lush green leaves,
sadly not one single fruit though!
Anyway the little plot I dug for myself is doing rather better.
I had also planted some of the beetroot in here and it's grown fabulously, really huge. So with that in mind I dug another foot of garden and transplanted some of the beetroot and parsnips from the old bath tub and put them into the plot - they seem to like the move.
So somewhere behind the re-growing bonfire which is certainly an eyesore....

 you find some goodies!

The weeny carrots have been perfect for eating raw in packed lunches, and they were very tasty!
The beetroot I roasted with olive oil and sea salt, my favourite! However The Builder tells me he prefers it pickled so that's my next job, hope they don't all complain about the stinky house!
I will enjoy more roasted beetroot myself and will next time make a mental note to try not to rush off to A & E the following day after a look into the toilet! I am prone to diagnosing myself with deadly diseases and was almost on the phone to the NHS helpline before it dawned on me what beetroot can do to a body overnight!
The fruit trees have been enjoying the rain, we have a great harvest this year, something we haven't had for the past few summers.

apricots - the first lot after a massive harvest 5 years ago
conference pears

Bramley Apples

But also the lawn, or should I say patch of clover and weeds! There has been no time to cut the grass for weeks, every spare moment and spare person has been needed to help The Builder - Number 1 son tried his hand at most things; I say hand - only one hand was available at anytime as the other was gripping his mobile phone. No doubt tweeting his hard work!
An un-mown meadow!
I'm moving the guinea pig run everyday in the hope that they can eat enough grass to save us mowing it - maybe I'm confusing them with a goat?
And talking of growing, Little Miss complained some time ago that I always have a "boys haircut", she can't remember me with long hair.
I have difficult to manage hair, a tendency to frizz in hot sticky weather (and see previous post for the details of this tropical weather hovering around me) It is dyed so that doesn't help the condition so short is best for me.
It's had many incarnations over the years

Ears not suitable for short hair!


But on her insistence I'm trying to grow it, into what I do not know.

Some styles were ok, some erm...not so good!

Why, when I have frizzy hair, did I think a perm and red dye was suitable for a very hot holiday?
The only consistent thing in my almost 49 years is that I struggle to make it do what I want it to - short is still the easiest I think.
 Husband suggested this morning it looked like a mop!

Is it really that bad?

Gosh I've just realised that after hardly ever posting a photo of myself I've just given you hundreds to peruse... I hope you're suitable amused!