Friday, 29 November 2013

Do they mean us?

Time is flying at the moment and although I have written several posts in my head they never seem to make it onto the keyboard.
But I thought you may enjoy a giggle at our expense!
Sunday is the builder's birthday and we received a call from his sister this week to say she'd booked us an evening out; and it's tonight.
We have tickets waiting at the box office of a small local theatre, she thought the play which is on at the moment suited us perfectly.......follow the link

A journey through cricket/marital discontent???? Does she mean us?!!!
After delivering various kids to various places we are looking forward to a nice evening out, and all 3 of the children are sleeping out so BONUS!!!!!
Have a great weekend.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Ooh where to start?

Hello, I've got behind again! Where exactly has November gone? I was worrying this week as there seems to be a lot of month left at the end of my money! But then I was reminded that it's pretty much the end of the month, how on earth did that happen?

There is so much to catch up on, I've missed reading all the blogs I follow and definitely haven't found time to blog hop around and discover any new ones. I had so much I wanted to blog about but it's old news now really.

I'll do a recap - for my own benefit as much as anything - I seem to have a very foggy brain these days!

Firstly I mentioned how nervous I was about doing the talk for the local Rotary Club but never said how it went. I think it was ok, the feedback was fine afterwards but it could have been out of sympathy as I started my speech with a lot of " I've never done this before...." "Please bear with me..." "I'm no expert on the subject..."
Anyway they were a friendly bunch and only teased me once when I pointed out Gambia on a map of Africa. As it's so small someone was surprised and said "Really?" not really meaning to question me but due to my lack of confidence I then became very unsure and stumbled along muttering "Well I think that's where it is....!" Obviously I DO know where the country I was booked to talk about  is but I think as soon as any questions were asked I went into frightened rabbit mode! I don't think I'll be volunteering to do it again though, despite the free meal!

I also took myself off on a trip to Exeter in Devon to visit my Gran. I did her a disservice in the previous post; she's 93 not 94! I had a hellish trip due to problems on the M25. I'd been told to avoid it but I think I stuck my fingers in my ears and hoped for the best. Sadly the best did not happen! As I approached the M25 lots of flashing signs told me it was closed for a stretch, after sitting in traffic for a while I cleverly asked the SatNav to re-route me avoiding the M25! What I didn't realise was that as I was so close to London it re-routed me right through the middle of the city! Terrified does not come near, that and the need for the loo added to my discomfort! If I could have ditched the car and run off into the distance I would have done, as it was my position in the middle lane on the extremely busy north circular made a getaway difficult!

I eventually walked through Gran's door after driving (or sitting in traffic) 9 hours later. Never let it be said that I was defeated by a simple 6 hour journey!!

Gran lives in a little terrace up a steep hill, no wonder she's kept so fit! The house hasn't changed a great deal since she bought it nearly 70 years ago!

It was a nice visit but sad in some ways as Gran isn't as sprightly as she was, she was a little forgetful and not as able to walk as she was. That may sound obvious but in her late 80's she could walk for miles and wear me out! We managed a couple of trips to see the sea and a couple of meals - despite losing ourselves trying to get from her house to the local pub/restaurant (too much chatter may have been to blame, I couldn't possibly say).

A trip to Exmouth where we admired the view from a little café.
You can just see Gran in the café window
I also managed to cut Gran's hair, not exactly a re-style but I did my best. In her younger days she owned a hairdressing salon and Grandad owned the barber's next door. After he died she ran both for a while before retiring.
When I first left school I trained as a beauty therapist and somewhere along the way she had confused the two. She asked if I'd give her a trim and I did explain that I wasn't a hairdresser and could take her to a salon but no she was insistent I did it. Several times she laughed and said
 I probably didn't have many clients these days did I?
Erm,  that would be none!
I ended up agreeing that I was in fact a hairdresser as I didn't want to correct her any more! I did my best but was a little stumped when she asked for a layered bob! I just used a ruler and cut straight across the back - that's about right isn't it?? 
It was over far too quickly and I was sad to leave her all alone, no family live anywhere near so it's not often she has a guest to stay. She does have friends though and she tries to get out and about.
Little Miss also had a gymnastics competition a couple of weeks back where she won a gold medal for her floor routine. That takes us through to a regional competition on Sunday. We're very proud of her but the 90 minute drive for a 3 minute routine isn't something I'm looking forward to but hey ho, grin and bear it!!
I have been without internet for nearly a week due to a new suppliers incompetence (boy did I lose my temper!) and then our email account was hacked for the second time this year! This time I was recommending all my contacts try a weight loss supplement, a little better than my letter begging for money I suppose! A couple of slightly larger friends took offence at this most recent mail though!! As if I'd really send that!
I will try to catch up with everyone's blogs once again over the weekend, I'm missing it!
Have a great weekend, try to stay warm if you're in the UK.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

A Sunshine Award

A little while ago the lovely Tammy over at My Journey nominated me for the Sunshine Award.
The sunshine award is an award given to those who inspire us
and bring sunshine into our lives.
I was really touched as I've never had anything like this before, the idea is to answer 10 of Tammy's questions and then set 10 of your own and nominate fellow bloggers. I'm not sure that I ever inspire anyone but I hope I may have made you smile from time to time!
Tammy's questions, and my answers are here, it's taken me a while to think about them and then several days weeks to actually write it all down!
1) Why do you blog?
I think it's because I used to read so many blogs and found lots of people I thought I'd really get on well with, and I wanted to join in! It seemed a bit like having a pen friend abroad in school days, exciting to find out what they'd been up to. I feel I've made friends, albeit virtually, with lots of new people all over the world - I'd never have met them without blogland.
2) Why do you follow the blogs you follow?
Probably for the reasons above, people I think I'd get on well with in real life, people who make me laugh and sometimes inspire me. I seem to be drawn to people who write about themselves and their family life.
3) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is a tricky one as the goalposts constantly move! I'll be 53 in 5 years time and in the dim and distant past we thought we'd be retired to "a place in the sun" by then; however life kind of got in the way. Children came along, all those years ago we thought we wouldn't have any, then maybe just one small one - heaven knows where the other two came from! So in 5 years time I expect to be still here with probably only a 15 year old at home, an 18 year old on his way to Uni (maybe?) and a 22 year old doing something that makes him happy, I hope!

4) Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Maybe back on track with the original plan? Living part of the year in sunnier climes and hopefully both of us retired. I hope the children are settled and happy, it's such a worry about where they'll end up and what they'll do.

5) If you could relive one day would you?
I don't really have any regrets, well not major ones anyway! I would have liked to have had more fun as a teenager, I was very sensible and cautious! I wish I'd have enjoyed my babies more, I was so incompetent and unconfident as a new mother I struggled to enjoy it. I'd also like to see my maternal grandparents one more time too, and introduce them to the great-grandchildren they never met.

6) What thoughts pop up when I say America?
I found this the hardest to answer. One word that popped up first though was "patriotic" something we're not so big on over here in the UK.

7) City/Country/Mountains/Beach, where do you prefer to live?
Another tough one, my first thought was beach, but I'm thinking of a beach somewhere sunny. I don't like to be cold. However where I live now I have the best of 2 worlds, maybe even 3, we live in the countryside, near famous rivers and quaint little English villages but we're only around 7 miles from the beach, and a pretty one at that. We're not far from the City of Norwich either, with it's lovely cathedrals and university - "a fine city" If I had to choose one place though it would probably be a beach front cottage on a sunny shore somewhere.

8) Do you have a bucket list?
No not really, other than to live in a beach front cottage...... you get the idea!
I would have liked to have travelled more and hope to do a lot of it in the future, there are so many places to see.

9) If you could do any job what would it be?
This I really can't answer, I have no idea at all! Can I be a professional "lady who lunches"? That sounds so shallow! I guess I would have liked to have done a job that was more worthwhile, and really "made a difference".

10) What is your most favourite way to relax?
Well basically I'm lazy, I like to lie down and read, maybe read in a hot bath (I do that every night - not so relaxing when there are two boys fighting outside the door). I like to relax (with a book) on holiday, or if money is no restriction I'd have a weekly massage!

So that's a bit about me, I'm basically lazy at heart (and I moan about my lazy 17 year old!!, if only he knew) There are no very deep answers but hopefully I don't seem too shallow, maybe I am??

Now for my questions, and my nominees. However I do like to read these lists but I do appreciate how long they can take so please feel free to add yourself to the list of bloggers taking part or remove yourself if it's you'd rather not take part. Please let me know if you add yourself and join in, I'm nosy like that!

My questions for you are....

1) Where do you call home? Is it where you live now, where you once lived or a place you would like to call home in the future?

2) What did you want to be "when you grew up" or are you not grown up yet?

3) Do you have a secret talent or a party piece?

4) Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? ( a copied question from Tammy)

5) Do you have a "claim to fame"?

6) Any regrets, however small?

7) Is there a band or singer you wish you'd had the chance to see live? Or may see in the future? Or is live music not for you?

8) School, loved it or hated it? Or should have paid more attention at the time?!

9) Favourite season? And tell me what that season is like if you're not in the UK.

10) Did you really have the time to answer all those questions, do you have time on your hands or are you up to your neck?

And I'm sending the sunshine award to the following, who's blogs I've followed for a while. As I said feel free to pass if you are a snowed under type of gal!

Justine at Down to Earth with a Bump
Sarah at Down by the Sea
Jody at About Last Weekend
Penny at The Hen House
Mel at Coal Valley View
Lisa at Jumble and Jelly
Curry Queen at Every Silver Lining

The list isn't really complete, there are so many people I follow and would like to know more about, however these are a few that sprung to mind first, there are many others I'm sure!

I will be back soon to do a bit of a catch up post, there are so many things I had intended to mention, work, again, my trip to see Gran, the fundraiser for Gambia and what the kids are up to;
I'll be back soon, have a brilliant weekend whatever you're doing.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

At Least I'm Well Preserved!

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago but didn't have chance to finish it, I'm still struggling to find time to blog; I am trying to keep up to date with reading everyone else's blogs though - I mean everyone that I follow, not absolutely everyone's on the net!!

I'm still working a lot more hours and worrying about the job for all the hours I'm not actually in the office too. The extra pay will be good though so that's keeping ,me focussed! I know the Builder feels very under pressure to be the breadwinner and as he gets older the job seems to get a lot harder, he's so full of aches and pains these days - a result of many years manual hard work and playing sport even harder!
 I did find a little time for some Autumn preserving - I love making jam and chutneys, especially as the days are getting cold and wet outside. My lovely sister in law bought me all the preserving equipment for my birthday some years ago; as I've explained before my birthdays are notoriously bad! And that year was no exception, I'd arrived home alone after a shopping trip to find my sis in law had let herself into our house (we're so very burglar proof!!) while I was out and had left spread all over the kitchen table everything I would need to make jams and preserves! It was one of the best presents I've ever had and such a lovely surprise - I love my sis in law dearly but she can be as random as my husband, gifts can range from something quite odd which she'd previously won in a competition to a meal for two, babysitter included, at a lovely restaurant.
A lady at work had offered me some home grown, very sour, grapes for jam, I happily accepted the offer and she brought them into work - however there were a few more than I'd expected!
There were two of these tubs!
This year on a wet and windy Sunday I decided it was time to make and put away some chutney for Christmas, out came the books, out came the pan and I decided on some Apple and walnut chutney - mainly for the Builder as I can't bear nuts of any kind. And also time to do something with the 2 tons of grapes which were starting to look a little sad.
First I picked the grapes from the stalks, weighed them and bubbled them up in my pan with some sugar; they were very "tart" grapes.
 They started to turn an amber colour which is so attractive.
Then unfortunately I had to push the gloopy liquid through a sieve as there were lots of pips. I'm sure there must be a proper gadget for this job, sadly not a gadget I own.

Then it was time to pot it into warm jars, I love this bit - I come over all housewifey
and feel productive!

I love them on the windowsill with the sun shining through, the finished jam is a lovely colour
 and the taste is a little like marmalade.
The chutney was finished too (complaints from the kids that the kitchen and in fact
the whole house smells "disgusting"!)
At the same time a little chef was at work on the other side of the kitchen.

It was as I was clearing everything away that I came across all the jam and chutney I made this time last year (and some from the year before)!!
I should add that although I love to make it not really anyone in the house like to eat it!!
Oh well, the charity fair is next week, we'll have to have a preserves stall!
"See" you all soon, and Tammy I'm still working on those questions!