Thursday, 28 February 2013

Oh What a Night!

Well we had our reunion last night and what a night it was, we chatted, drank, chatted some more, ate, drank, then chatted a bit.....
It was so good to meet old friends, some I'd stayed in touch with and some I'd not seen for 15 years! If it hadn't been for Facebook the evening would never have been arranged,
 and with my phobia of losing friends I'll be forever grateful.
I think there were 14 of us in the end, and only a couple who aren't on Facebook - others were invited but were unable to make it. During the evening we sent a photo and text message to an ex-colleague who now lives in Perth, Australia,
she sent a message back to say she would have loved to have joined us!
As I live the furthest away from Norwich, where we'd opted to meet I picked up 2 friends on the way. Given my penchant for getting lost I had a google map of where they lived (albeit only 5 miles from my door!) although I still had to phone from a little lane to get a few more directions! I also hadn't realised that my 1st pick up was a very nervous passenger! We made it to the second pick up despite her occasional yells of "Stop!" and "there's a car coming!" -
 my brakes took a battering but hey ho we made it.

A few of us met in a bar at 7pm - we were late as I'd tried to park in various "permit only" places and then tried to gain access to a carpark separated from us by a wall! All of that I blame on the back seat passenger! I'm surprised the story of my getting lost in the work carpark many years ago didn't surface at that point.....

I had a few butterflies in my tummy but they flew away when we met, it was old times again, the years vanished and we laughed and reminisced until we realised we were late for the restaurant!

Several others met us at the curry house and more chat and drink flowed. We all swapped seats so we could speak to everyone and it was the best night I've had in years. One girl had driven from Hertfordshire to join us and had to drive back that evening.
And to make my night a chap I worked with when I very first joined the Civil Service told me that he'd given one of his children my name as a middle name as he always thought I was a typical English Rose - I nearly cried!

A very dear friend, who I will eventually forgive, told me I always remind her of the comedienne  Sarah Millican - I think she meant in sense of humour!?

We were all sad to leave and had to be turfed out of a pub just before midnight, I taxied three people home, it should have been two but a third person jumped in and said she was sure I wouldn't mind dropping her off as she lived very near to drop off number 2 (she's obviously moved house I thought) - that turned out to be close as in 3 miles away! She talked at me for the duration of the journey about her successful children, her husband, her holidays (every 2 months apparently) and her luxury lifestyle. I didn't want to be out done so began, "we have a big holiday coming up.... " at that point she said "you can drop me here" and hopped out of the car!

I did giggle though, nothing was going to spoil a brilliant evening........... we'll arrange another one and maybe not leave it for 15 years this time.

Me on the far right

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The joys of social media

I enjoy the various social media's available, mainly because I'm very nosey; and very lazy! I would like to be a celebrity stalker but can't be bothered to travel in search of my targets. The fact that I can now "follow" them on twitter and also follow my friends on Facebook usually satisfies my nosiness!

I also have a real issue with losing touch and will spend ages trying to track down people I knew years ago; and I send Christmas cards to absolutely anyone I've ever met! It is something I should curtail as I'm sure not everyone wants to stay in touch with me!

Anyway just before Christmas I got back in touch with someone I used to work with years ago; we had been in a team of 4 in the Civil Service working for a department which if I say it's name out loud everyone will Boo & Hiss! And I would never dare mention the section within that department....

The 4 of us (3 girls, 1 boy) got on so well and had many a night out together at the time. Over the years the 3 girls (now women) left to have families and take new career paths and the boy (now nearly 40) moved on within the Civil Service and we gradually lost touch with him. I finally caught up with him (after a lot of hard work on my part) just before Christmas and we chatted all evening until my voice had gone altogether!

He had lost touch with everyone we used to work with and I surprisingly, had not. That evening I posted a 'photo of us on Facebook and tagged the other 2 members of our team to request a night out, all four of us back together - so much to catch up on.

As soon as the photo went up I had hundreds of messages wanting to meet up (with him mainly, not me!) Someone else took the idea and ran with it, set up a dedicated facebook page and sent out hundreds of virtual invites! There were even messages from Australia from ex-colleagues wishing they could join us.

So next week we are all meeting up at a local Indian restaurant, there will be at least 15, maybe 20 of us and I'm very excited, and also nervous. Some of the people I last saw when I left to have my first baby, nearly 17 years ago. A few I've seen since but not many, I'm sure we've all got older, not all of us have got wiser. But there are none of them I don't want to see , we are all the same vintage, in the late 80's the Civil Service took on a lot of young people and mothballed a few oldies and we really did enjoy working together. Office parties were phenomenal and we were the right age to enjoy them - due to the nature of the job no "outsiders" were allowed in the building so it was a case of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" If you can liken Vegas to Norwich??

So in the next week I will crash diet, dye my hair, shave my legs, ebay a new frock and no doubt have a few butterflies in my tummy, wish me luck!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

We're in the news!

After all the snow and now the rain we knew it wouldn't be long before the water started to cause problems.

The area we live in is The Norfolk Broads, a series of lakes connected by rivers which are believed to have been formed from the effects of flooding Mediaeval peat excavations.

There is a lot of low lying land and houses with river frontage usually cost a phenomenal amount of money despite the risk of flooding!

The river is very high at the moment and has broken it's banks in a few places, there is one road in our village which made the news this week. The road leading down to one of the local pubs, our (seasonal) fish & chip shop & leisure pool as well as several holiday homes has flooded. It's flooded from start to finish! It made the news as the pub owner was rowing his boat up and down the road to avoid being knee deep in water!

The road!
This has happened before, I remember the local darts team (many years ago) being rowed to the pub for their match!

But this is nothing compared to the floods of 31st January 1953 which affected Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. This has also been in the news lately as we have just past the 60th anniversary, I didn't know too much about it but have seen many photographs displayed in museums and even shops and cafe's around the coast. There were very high tides and wind of hurricane strength, people living near the sea were evacuated but some didn't have time. It's thought that 80 people from Norfolk lost their lives in the flood when the sea broke through the inadequate defenses.a defenses have been improved and added to various spots around the coast in the hope that this will never happen again.
We've also been in the news latey because of the local disused RAF radar station.
picture borrowed from the web
It's in a neighbouring village and I cycle (or more often drive!) past it on my way to cricket all summer. It's been a fixture on the landscape since the 1940's I believe, mainly established during the second World War. RAF bases are all over Norfolk although they are gradually disappearing.
RAF Neatishead is mainly underground and dealt with air to ground radar for the south of the UK.
Operations from there were scaled down and eventually ceased around 10 years ago. There is however an RAF museum on part of the site and you can tour the underground control centre.
It's been on the news as it's up for sale... on ebay!!  If you're interested in buying a piece of history it's here, just need a mere £2,500000.00 to spare - it is a lovely bit of countryside though. I almost bit when I mis-read it as £25.00!!
Have a great weekend everyone, I'm on full sporty taxi duties this weekend as The Builder has gone away on a lads/1980's** music/drinking weekend -
 he left the house dressed as Crocodile Dundee (don't ask!!)
But by way of light relief Little Miss and I are off to a baby shower this afternoon,
never been to one before so should be fun.

** edited later to show 1980's not 1930's !

Monday, 4 February 2013

A tour upstairs

I thought I'd better do a housey post before everyone thinks our cottage is just
infested with mice, birds and bats etc!
It's not all doom and gloom, we've not found anymore creatures sharing the cottage with us,
not yet anyway!
Well apart from these.... I ventured out to a local discount store last week as they had a guinea pig hutch reduced to half price (slight shop damage). And Little Miss's gunea pigs have lived indoors for a year now (and their spilled food is probably what attracted the mice).
 I thought it was about time they went to live outside.
It's a lovely 2 up 1 down hutch, and they seem to have settled into it well.
I didn't bargain for this though.....
terrible picture taken on my ancient phone
Even the builder has gone soft in his old age and agreed with Little Miss
 that it's really too cold for them outside just yet.
So I thought I'd show a couple of rooms which have been decorated more recently, we renovated the cottage originally about 20 years ago but at that time there were just 2 of us and we didn't anticipate filling it with children. In fact we weren't sure at that time whether we'd have any children at all!
Over the years the house has changed dramatically, rooms have changed use, been divided, knocked through to be made bigger and additions have been made to the building.

Little Miss spent much of her time on Sunday sorting her room and was very keen to show it off.
She cleared away a lot of junk and sorted some things for the charity shop.
Then we re-arranged the furniture, she was adamant we move it but I wasn't sure it would work. It's not a bad size room but it's very awkward. A radiator and chimney breast are on opposite walls which restricts what will fit there and on the other 2 walls there are windows, very low windows which means nothing will fit under them.
However I think her plan worked, I see a future in interior design for her!

And of course there has to be a cricket room! Number 2 son had his bedroom done a couple of years ago when we remodelled the room. It had previously been our bedroom but had to be divided into a smaller room and a hallway when we added the extension.
And as he's cricket mad it was decorated on that theme (with just a hint of The Simpsons!).

It's hard to catch his room when it's not a complete mess, he really is the most untidy boy on the planet! Again he has a very low window and a chimney breast
which makes arranging the furniture difficult.
So there's a little insight, we're not living in a mice infested hovel, well not all the time!