Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Our Wild Life

Last weekend was a busy one yet again but much to the childrens dismay it was without snow. The forecast promised us some more on Friday but in actual fact we didn't get a lot and it was all gone by Sunday.

On Saturday I took Little Miss and her best friend G into Norwich for a Mad Science show in the Forum.  As they are both earning point/hours on their children's university passports they were keen to go. It was really good fun for their age group, static electricity in hair and sparks on fingers. Coffee and cake followed, naturally!

And then Saturday evening saw us all at the cricket club Quiz n Chips night which also combined the presentation of awards for the 2012 season. The famous 5 as we named our team did not finish bottom of the quiz so it wasn't a bad evening all around, and two items of silverware came home with us, as well as a daffodil plant raffle prize - guess which of the 3 I like most?!
Not a clear photo, 2 trophies, 1 empty bottle of wine, 1 plant - successful evening

Little Miss was presented with her "thanks for turning up" certificate and was not too happy about that! Every year the kids get medals but due to financial cut backs this year it was reduced to certificates. As she said on the night " I only played so I'd get a medal so what was the point?!" She's certainly got my commitment to sport!

Sunday was more of a lazy day until the cricket practice in the evening so I did a bit of housework and found 1 dead mouse hiding in a nest in my cool bag under the stairs!! I knew the mice had gone after we'd been forced to use poison, we just hadn't found where they'd gone.
I stifled a small scream and threw mouse, nest & cool bag away!

I continued my housework upstairs and opened all the vents on the windows as we're suffering a few problems with condensation at the moment. I opened the bathroom vent to find a little blockage. What could that big lump be, it looked suspiciously like a little furry dead animal. How on earth did a mouse get in there I thought as I poked it with a screwdriver. Then it turned to face me with it's beady eyes and pointy ears (cue another small scream). Oh yes we now have a tiny bat living in the window vent of our bathroom!

So after the many birds we had in the house over the summer then the family of mice moving in,
we now have bats in the belfry!

Awful photos I know but it was a very awkward bat!
I also had no idea how much poop a bat could produce, heaps of it fell out of the vent (unless of course he has his family with him - all the other wildlife were considerate enough to bring their families with them!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A temporary new team member!

We've had loads of snow here in Norfolk, much to everyone's delight! 4 or 5 days off school depending on which school you go to, sadly someone I still had to get up at 6.30am to check the school closure website, and keep refreshing it until 7.30am when the primary school eventually announced it's closure. I did go back to bed though, it was like Christmas all over again. Snuggly days with the fire lit and not leaving the house.

Number 2 son wasn't too happy when his school closed on Monday and then announced it would be sending a day's worth of work out by email to all students by 10am! Strangely enough their internet connection went down at 9.50am and could not be restored all day..... I'm picturing a small person with some wire cutters, aren't you??

We went for a couple of walks, one during the day with a load of kids (looking like the pied piper) and then a quick walk to the pub one evening for me & the builder. We only ever go to the pub (and hardly ever our local one) in the summer after a cricket match and even then it's quite rare. It took us about half an hour to get there and we sat in front of a log fire with mugs of coffee then walked home - we are such party animals!

I thought I'd include a few pics of the daytime walk, I know I've seen hundreds of snowy blogs this week but everyone has the prettiest pictures and the snow won't last for long.

The same view of the church as in this spring post


fabulous icicles hanging from a thatched roof

pretty cottage in the village
some of the river surface frozen - not a great day for a boating holiday!
And finally the latest member of the family cricket team, sadly I don't think he'll stay around for the start of the season!
I like the idea of heading to the crease with a bottle in one hand and a bat in the other, well maybe I could do with out the bat.... and heading to the crease!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Notes from the asylum... ahem.... I mean spa!

Well I'm back from the asylum spa feeling fully refreshed and massaged to within an inch of my life! We were determined to get there come hell or snowdrifts! Once we left our respective villages in Norfolk though the roads were completely clear of snow and ice.
 I spent 3 and a half days shuffling around in my slippers and dressing gown (a la zombie) being guided to the next venue. I have been told what to eat and where to eat it (rest assured there were no diet rations). And pointed in the right direction for some very low impact exercise classes (I do these regularly, once a year, as I like to keep my fitness levels up!)

I have been swimming and have been steamed (if it's good to steam your vegetables then it must be good for me right?), I have gained a pair of HD (or was it 3D?) eyebrows which were waxed, plucked and threaded to ensure I felt I had my moneys worth and I have gleaming toenails.

But most of all I spent quality time with my best friend
(who I now realise is hyperactive - or possibly just verbally-hyperactive!).

We enjoyed a fab 3 course breakfast delivered to our room each day...

And due to a few problems last year they gave us a much upgraded room as compensation, the view was gorgeous!

Especially at night!
They even arranged a lovely sunrise for us....

So once we were fully institutionalised we were returned to the outside world and had to make our way home through yet more snow -
 I was rather hoping we were snowed in and forced to stay another fortnight!
So as you will gather, this is a post from a very brain dead blogger who has managed to leave her swimsuit and mobile 'phone charger at the spa and who has lost her house and car keys in the few hours since she arrived home!
Oh well I may have to go back to get them - it wouldn't do to be without my very old, slightly thinning and perished swimsuit at this time of year would it??
Sadly I did return to this....
This cannot be 3 days worth of washing can it??
And this -this I like though!
Our back garden
I hope you're all enjoying the snow and it's not causing too many problems.
Take care on the roads.

Monday, 14 January 2013

A little piece of heaven

After the hectic birthday weekend and tonight's pamper party
 (which went down really well with the girls)
Sipping a cocktail while waiting for a manicure
I'm going away for my own pamper party, with my best friend and it will be our own bit of heaven. We're off to this spa and I've been looking forward to it for 364 days!
We've been friends for around 25 years ago from when when we both worked in a care home, we both found ourselves there more by accident than design, she was a nurse but had a 2 year old daughter and a husband who worked shifts and I had trained as a beauty therapist for 2 years at college but strangely an unqualified auxillary in a care home earned more and my boyfriend (now husband) and I wanted to save to buy our first house. We hit it off from day one and I babysat for her daughter regularly. We talked about one day going away to a spa but the cost was far out of reach for both of us, time moved on and I got married, she made my wedding dress and accompanied me up the aisle as maid of honour, her daughter then 6, was my bridesmaid.

There was a very funny moment at her house when I had a dress fitting and only the front of my wedding dress was in place - knickers on show at the back - her daughter whispered to me " don't worry I'll stand very close to you walking into church so no one else sees your knickers!"

Anyway that daughter is now 28 and I have 3 of my own but we eventually made it to the spa in the end, and what a place it is. We book it year on year, for the same few days (there's an offer on in January) and I am so excited, not least to be spending some chatty time with my friend.

Our lives are still very different, she has re-married and lives a very grown up kind of life - I'm chasing kids and am constantly in a muddle! She is tall, very slim and very well dressed - I am none of the above! I touched on my dress sense here, it's not good! On one occasion my friend suggested a shopping trip and then proceeded to shove me in a changing room and ask the assistant to keep me in there until I came out looking more presentable!

She has also been known to raid my wardrobe and throw away some of my well loved (well worn) clothes - I felt they still had a few good years in them despite the holes/fading/colour running - and of course they no longer really fitted me, but by and large they still looked good on - in my opinion!

But when we get together the chatter will flow, usually non-stop!
This is a card she sent me just before we went one year an it pretty much sums us up!

So I will return home on Friday, some of the frown lines replaced with a couple of extra laughter ones and with nails and face a-gleaming. It will all be worn off by Sunday but by then I'll be looking forward to January 2014....

 PS I have packed wine in my overnight bag - I'm not ready to detox just yet!!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A birthday weekend

Today our youngest turned 10, another milestone as she leaves single figures.

Last night she had her best friend over for the evening, sadly he has decided not to attend her beauty pamper party on Monday as he's not too keen on pink hair extensions and red nails!
So they made pizzas together and played games.

But today didn't start too well unfortunately, we heard crying coming from her room at 7am - it's a little bit of a tradition in our house to wake the birthday person by sneaking into their bedroom and loudly singing a very out of tune "Happy Birthday to you"; and as we hadn't done this she thought we'd forgotten it was today! Of course she had been the first awake!

We took her downstairs and had snuggles in front of the fire and a special breakfast while we waitied for the boys to stir.....

Girl after my own heart!

Then at a more teenager friendly time (10am) she went back to bed and pretended to be asleep so we could wake her with a song! She pretended to be asleep and all was well in the end! Apart from the tuneless "happy birthday" of course!
After lots of present opening, and a few suprises, particularly the friends who popped in with a card to find us all in dressing gowns at 11.30am - not sure who was most embarrassed -
we went out for birthday lunch/tea.
It had to be early afternoon so as not to interfere with the cricket training tonight - blooming cricket gets everywhere!
We ate at our regular birthday treat restaurant in Norwich - Mambo Jambo's. Mainly because
 Little Miss loves the barbecue ribs! It is lovely and they make a fuss of birthday people.Playing Happy Birthday over the speaker system a la Catherine Tate!
 I think for the next birthday we may have a change of venue though as now we're 4 adult meals and 1 childs it's getting expensive!

So now we just need to get ready for the pamper party tomorrow after school - 5 girls for hair and nail paints please. (and I may just be the 6th guest as that's right up my street!)
Hope you've all had a good weekend and haven't been snowed on too much - we've had none here as yet. I'm away with a friend on Tuesday so don't mind getting snowed in
when I get there but not before!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Seal Colony

Last weekend we eventually made it to the coast to see the baby seals, first time for me and the builder but not for the kids. There are many grey seals on the North Norfolk Coast but we wanted to see the breeding colony at Horsey where, around Christmas and New Year, seals come ashore to give birth. Apparently the colony has grown considerably in the last few years.

We have often been to the beach in the summer and seen a couple of seals pop their heads up above the water - usually scaring bathers and swimming dogs!

I'd seen many postings from friends on Facebook so off we went on Sunday afternoon, a little later than we intended and only the three of us (boys not interested in fresh air, apparently!) It was a much easier trip without the boys I have to say.

Horsey is around 30 minutes away and we parked on the roadside as apparently it was very busy further on and police were moving cars on. There were hundreds of seal watchers on the beach we were told.

We had a long walk along the beach and it was a bit "fresh"! But it was worth the walk, lots of mums and their pups on the beach and a few dads still in the water popping their heads up from time to time.

It was a lovely sight to see and I'm so glad it wasn't yet another year we missed them. We were on the beach too long though and the mist rolled in, I'm glad the builder took note of which steps we'd come down from the car (identified by which graffiti we passed)
 or else we'd probably still be there! That mist was thick!
the groynes on the beach and in the sea vanished in the mist - a pea-souper!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Coffee and cake with a friend, that's what the note said.

I received a perfect Christmas gift from my Sister in Law. Money is rather tight for all of us and we agreed not to spend too much for Christmas 2012, but through the post about
 a week before Christmas I received this....
And anyone who knows me well would realise that there is no gift better suited for me, I will do almost anything to go out for coffee & cake with a friend!
 The voucher is for the Assembly House in Norwich, a place I last visited when I was about 15 (roughly 4 years ago!!) to take a course in make-up & how to generally turn myself into a lady
 - so that was clearly a waste of money! 
My addiction to coffee shops and tea rooms means that you will often find me in them alone sneaking a quick scone and cappuccino whilst the family think I'm  a) at work or b) at Tesco's (the 2 places I while away most of my time)
Why did I not know that The Assembly House was gorgeous and oh so posh?
Sorry this is a bit dark but you can see the very high ceiling and fabulous chandeliers
And what better friend to take than the only one who had an extra day off school?
meet Snowy, apparently my new grandchild, from build a bear!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

2012 in review

Happy New Year!

Thank you for the help uploading the photos Roshni!

I started writing this blog in March 2012 after years of reading other peoples. I am very computer illiterate and have no clue how other bloggers arrange their photos so beautifully!
 I only have a point & shoot camera with a few settings but I'm getting the hang
of taking more pictures. Not really getting the hang of uploading them in an arty way though!
 It's been more fun than I imagined back in Spring & I've loved "meeting" so many new friends from all over the world, and quite a few from Norfolk!
 January saw Little Miss turn 9 and we welcomed 2 new members
into our family, Bubbles and Poppet!

February brought us some snow and saw us charging around the diy stores looking for an extra sledge. Sledging down to the hill to the river was compulsory! One or 2 went to fast and ended up in the water, thankfully not one of us.

March saw Number 1 son turn 16 and quickly head into a very difficult few months as his GCSE exams got into full swing.

April saw us attend our friends Easter Egg hunt which I blogged about here. The same people we visited on Christmas Eve.  Always fun and ever so slightly strange! Cricket also began to get into it's Summer stride and the pace of life went up a notch.

May brought us a visit from my Gran, a very active and fun lady at 92! We had a week of days out and cream tea's. She was over the moon to be here to see Little Miss take part in a gymnastics competition, and win 1st prize.

Number 2 son had his 13th birthday in June, we had a sleepover for 6 boys in the "penthouse" garage. No one slept at all and most were carried to their parent's cars lunchtime the next day, unconcious. I did clarify that they were all very tired and had not been at my medicinal sherry!

By July we were in the middle of full-on cricket for all age groups (over 50's right down to under 9's) I managed to avoid the ladies club match. Have I mentioned that I hate cricket??!
Feeding the ducks when the boys were on the pitch
 But Little Miss & I did manage a little fruit picking and jam making - in my spare time of course!

In August Little Miss and I made it at the last minute onto the cricket club boat trip and had a super evening sailing the Norfolk Broads. We also went to London twice for the Olympics, a brilliant few days we'll never forget

Number 2 son had a week in Spain with friends and came home a lovely shade of gold - lucky boy.

Then into September and lots more cricket, due to the wet weather there was such a backlog of matches every waking minute seemed to find up at another pitch, sheltering in another pavillion and making more picnics. At the start of the season picnics are very organised and civilised - deckchairs flasks of coffee & hot choc. Homemade salads, sausage rolls & cakes fill the various cool boxes. By September it has turned to chaos and we grab a pork pie at the nearest service station on the way to the match, chuck a blanket in the boot of the car and get fish and chips on the way home!

my view of the pitch from the car! - the usual cricket season weather.
In October the boys started their County Cricket trials to try to gain a place in the Norfolk squad. Number 2 son hoping to keep his place and Number 1 son hoping against the odds to get into a very strong existing squad. We also went on holiday, hoping for the first time to have an uneventful trip. In Cuba we met Hurricane Sandy and had the most eventful holiday ever!
Eventful not least due to the gherkin incident! His brother offered him £5 to eat the pickled green thing on the side of his plate - never let it be said he was beaten by a small green thing!
November saw another flurry of work on the house and at last we started to move into the extension which had been started in 2005!

And then December, a mad rush of school parents evenings, plays, carol concerts, musical interludes, book group Christmas dinners and then Christmas itself.

Most of the events above I've blogged about already and some I haven't. No doubt 2013 will be more of the same, especially the cricket!

I'm looking forward to meeting more of you in 2013, I so enjoy reading about what everyone is up to in their own corners of the world.
See you soon. x