Sunday, 14 October 2012

Summer Holiday Time!

I know that most people are turning their thoughts to Christmas, in blogland there seems to be lots of posts about crafty Christmas decorations. I know we have Hallowe'en and Bonfire night before Christmas but everywhere I look there are signs of Christmas festiveness!

I refuse to even think about anything Christmassy; I haven't had my summer holiday yet!

Due to the cricket overload from Easter to September when no one in this house (apart from me) will consider going more than 10 metres away from the nearest pitch we only manage holidays during the cooler months - despite the abundance of indoor net cricket, indoor tournaments, practice sessions and of course the County trials (a little more about that later). And holiday time for us starts on Friday, hooray!

We are driving up to Manchester after school on Friday and fly to Cuba on Saturday morning, to the sunshine - and I can't wait!  Number 2 son has a 2 week half term but the other 2 children are taking a week off school and college - yes we are in trouble with the college about time off at the start of his A level course. It's very difficult to explain to the school that we're unable to go away in the summer school break due to our cricket commitments. They don't seem to understand that in this families list of priorities cricket is much higher up than school and therefore it's more acceptable to miss some school than miss some cricket! It's probably the last time we'll all go away together anyway so a bit of family time lounging on a beach (playing beach cricket no doubt!) is called for.

I can't wait to be on that beach with a cocktail in hand, I love the heat and hate cold weather. One day I will spend all of the UK winter somewhere hot, not everyone's cup of tea I know.

However until they take our bags at the airport and we are sitting in the departure lounge I will be a nervous wreck! We have travelling history you see......

We're lucky enough to have been abroad quite a few times but it is rarely without some sort of catastrophe!

I've been stuck in flash floods and missed the plane

We almost missed our honeymoon flight due to M25 traffic, had security been as it is now we wouldn't have made it - the staff allowed us to bypass all security checks and board the plane minutes before it took off!

On our 3 city honeymoon (flights between each city) - our luggage was lost, there was no reservation for one of the connecting flights and there was no record of the booking at the final hotel.

On the return flight from our honemoon someone had a cardiac arrest and we touched down in Moscow (not allowed off the plane) and the journey became a 36 hour flight!

We booked an ocean front hotel in Florida which turned out to be several miles from the ocean when we arrived. We quickly moved out of the hotel, the toenails on the bedspread being the final straw!

We arrived at Gatwick to find number 2 son's passport had expired and he was not allowed to fly - that is a whole story of it's own as I had a fear of driving but had to bring him home with no map or SatNav and then organise a new passport and fly out to Turkey a few days after the rest of the family! I drove home and cried all the way, it was a great diet though as I lost 6lb's in 3 days!

We had a weekend in Dublin, flying from Norwich - they cancelled the flight so we stayed in a hotel 8 miles from home for 2 nights as we had a babysitter in place.

We attempted a second trip to Dublin and got there, but they cancelled the flight home! We flew into Birmingham and were bussed back to Norwich, not great for me as I developped 'flu and a sickness bug at the start of the journey!

We have had numerous delays on flights but once we actually arrive we have the BEST holidays - well apart from the fly drive in Florida where we squeezed 3 arguing kids into the back of a tiny car and attempted to drive to the Keys - I will never repat that trip, we very nearly dumped all 3 of them at the side of the highway and drove off!

So wish me luck for Friday, if it's an uneventful trip it'll be unusual. I'll look forward to catching up with everyone when we're home, and then we can think about Christmas - not before then!

Ps - just an update about the County Trials for both boys which I mentioned here - it's all going very well & I want to thank everyone for their good luck messages. Both boys are through to the second round of trials which is usual for number 2 son but not for number 1 son who apparently played amazingly well in the net session. So keep everything crossed for them both, I don't expect this year to have a different outcome than previous ones but you never know....

Saturday, 6 October 2012

An accidental collection

The work on our house is nearing the end, can't believe I'm saying that after all these years! The foundations were laid for the extension 7 years ago and my "to do" list at the time was -
build extension
decorate and furnish new rooms
decorate the rest of the house
and to re-do some of the things we did when we renovated the house the first time around,
20 years ago.
The first time we renovated the house it was to convert 2 almost derelict cottages into 1 three bedroom house, we were on a very tight budget and some of the things we'd have liked to have done were just too expensive. So we (and by that I mean I) started to make a list of things we could tackle the second time around. Unfortunately during that 20 year period, 3 children arrived and I began to work part time (for a while not work at all) so money became tighter and life generally got in the way a bit!
After we'd finished the house the second time I thought we'd tackle the garden which is very messy (neither of us have even 1 green finger between us!) and then lay a nice cobble driveway and then live happily ever after - the whole lot should take about a  year shouldn't it?

So 20 years after we started and 7 years after phase 2 we're actually seeing light at the end of the tunnel! And it's looking good. The laundry room now has a replica pamment floor, we re-installed the belfast sink but now with a solid wood worktop which I'm in love with. There's a new fridge freezer which dispenses ice - probably the best toy the kids have ever had! and the 200 year floor bricks we'd stored outside for the past 20 years have been cleaned and laid at the entrance to the extension.

a little niche in the wall we found

please excuse the washing hanging up!
It's a little hard to photograph as it's a long narrow room, but I'm really pleased with the results.
There are still a few more things to do - put the cupboard door on, finish the painting, oil the worktop etc - that's my weekend sorted!

I also unpacked my old bottle collection and arranged them in the entrance


my favourite conical shaped Schweppes bottle

This is not an intentional collection, I try not to collect anything as I think I may have an obsessive tendency and wouldn't stop until I had a full set of anything! These are all bottles we dug up in our garden, and there were many more than just these ones too! We have quite a long garden and along the left hand side is a row of farm cottages who's gardens back onto our boundary. It appears that many moons ago everyone buried their rubbish, and mostly they threw it over the fence into our undergrowth - that or the previous owners of our cottage like a drink or 10!

The bottles range from earthenware beer bottles from the local Steward and Patterson brewery to torpedo shaped glass bottles and my favourite is the conical Schweppes bottle shown in the last photo, I really ought to do a bit of research to learn more about them, I may have one worth millions!

Sorry for the random positioning of these photos, they seem to re-arrange themselves when I preview or publish, why is that?

Have a lovely weekend everyone - I'm trying to catch up with all your blogs as we're 2 missing this weekend. The builder is away on a music (read drinking) weekend and number 2 son is on an RAF cadet weekend sleeping in a tree most probably. I'm off to the cinema with number 1 and Little Miss later, feeling very guilty that my other child is sleeping rough for 2 nights wearing heavy and probably damp army issue clothing and only armed with a pot noodle for sustenance!!