Saturday, 24 May 2014

Ten Random Things

I have really enjoyed reading the "Ten Random Things" posts doing the rounds, maybe it's because I'm so nosy or maybe it's just that it's so nice to get to know you all a little better. We seem to build up quite a rapport with fellow bloggers don't we, we get to know their families through photos and family gatherings which are described so well we often feel we were there. But we will probably never meet, that's quite strange isn't it?

Anyway I often see posts like this and want to join in, a lot of the photo word prompts which I really enjoy always make me want to join the club but then I forget where I've seen the link and never actually get going!

But 10 random things would be easy I thought, so without further ado, get to know me a little better.....

1) I like lists, there are hundreds hidden around the house. The Builder hates them as he feels under pressure to fulfil them and so that's why they are hidden!

2) When I was younger I always said my two main ambitions in life were to be able to sing and to see! I had my eyes lasered about 10 years ago and I love it; still can't sing though!

3) Before having my eyes lasered I often wore contact lenses and had them in blue or green so I could change the colour of my eyes. I never ever got used to the fact I wore glasses and if I caught sight of myself in a shop window I was always surprised to see specs on my face!

4) I met my husband when I was 13 and he was 18, he had an 18th birthday party and got his friends to hand out invites to any girls they saw - there were around 5 boys and over 200 girls! And what would I do if my 13 year old daughter met an 18 year old she wanted to have as a boyfriend? Chase him down the road with a shotgun most probably!

5) I have never got on with my Mum, very sad but that's the reality which will probably never change.

6) I firmly believe in supporting those less well off and less capable in life. I will not have a debate about it and I know there are those who find loopholes and maybe don't deserve the amount of support they manage to get. However I still believe that a safety net and support network should be there - I may need it myself one day.

7) I once had dinner with a very famous British film star who, when we were introduced, held my hand and told me he loved me. At that point I uttered one sentence and got all the words in the wrong order, then turned and left the room. I didn't speak one word to him again and avoided eye contact for the rest of the evening!

8) I sometimes say I'm an only child and sometimes refer to my sister. Just to clarify I was brought up living with my Mum who had separated from my Dad when I was 2. However he has another daughter, a few years younger than me, who I see very occasionally.

9) As I was brought up in a 2 female household and had 2 girl cousins who I saw quite a bit, then went to an all girls high school I find boys and men a complete mystery. I spent most of my childhood with my elderly Grandparents so in addition to not understanding men I also don't understand competitive sports, rough and tumble and tickling!! I can see I'm a bit weird now I've written that down!

10) I started to go grey at age 15 but have dyed my hair ever since - it's always been a reddy brown - I would love ginger hair, or as my red haired cousin used to say "it's titian!"

Blimey, I think I could do another 20 randoms!! Who's next?

Have a lovely weekend wherever you are, the sun is shining through the showers here, cricket is on, then it's off, then it's on again - I've made the cricket tea today so if it's called off I'll have to eat 20 blueberry muffins, 20 spiced apple muffins, 2 giant banoffee pies, 2 lemon loaves and a big chocolate cake - anyone fancy joining me for a tea party?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Favourite Corners Of My Home, again

I thought I'd occasionally do these posts as, by nature, I am a very nosy person and I'm thinking that maybe I'm not the only one - I'm not am I?
It also makes me look at my home in a slightly different light as usually I stare at all the unfinished bits and get a little down in the dumps. We started renovating and rebuilding our home in 1993 and if I'd have known it would take so long I probably wouldn't have done it. Don't get me wrong it's not been a constant 21 years, we have finished it a couple of times and then decided to extend a little more. I always think of it in terms of how much is left to do (before we decide to retire and downsize!) when I really should think more in terms of how far we've come and how much we've achieved. It has all been done with grit and determination, scrimping and saving and sheer hard work - we never had much money to throw at the house nor much help!

Anyway it started life like this....

A pair of thatched cottages built pre-1800, we have no other information about when they were built although we did inherit the ancient deeds which are fascinating.

At present it looks like this..
Unfortunately we couldn't keep the thatch or in fact any of the roof and it was far too expensive to re-thatch as the Builder couldn't do that himself. It was actually a pair of cottages downstairs but all one upstairs - quite bizarre!
Anyway this was about corners of my home, I'll leave the renovation story
for when I have a week to spare!
The extravagant curtain rope with huge "diamond" was an ebay purchase, originally from Laura Ashley if I remember correctly.

The seagull on the window sill was from a stallholder at a craft fair I organised some years ago, I've never been able to track her down since, she had such lovely stuff.

Two hatboxes, one containing all my wedding souvenirs and a Little Brown Bag, a gift from Number 1 son's trip to New York

My wardrobe door handle,
 on old reclaimed door given to us for free
A trio of my babies, they could pass for identical triplets!

A picture we bought on our honeymoon in Sydney, the artist signed it and asked if we'd like a list of food to put out to attract these birds to our garden - we thought it would take a bit more than birdseed to get a wild parakeet in the garden at home!
One of the many cram-packed book shelves in our house, I find it hard to part with any!

A special photo which hangs above Number 1 son's bed, playing cricket against his Dad.
Dad wicket keeping to son batting, a moment which probably will never happen again. I believe Number 1 was about 13-14 years old at the time.

Not a very exciting spot and not exactly a corner but it sums us up quite well. Another bookcase, but also containing a display of miniature, signed cricket bats. And three little embroidered wild flower pictures done for my by my Grandma, they will always have pride of place in any house I'm in. Just out of shot is a framed, signed photo of Freddie Flintoff!
So that's a little bit of my home, I'll post photos of the unfinished corners and cracks another day!
Have a great week.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

It's the little things......

I was going to say I'm easily pleased, but actually I'm probably not!
 However I did have reason to smile last weekend, mainly I was thankful for the weather - yes the torrential showers, grey skies, thunder, lightning and occasional hail stones!
I should explain..... I know that this is the time of year most people are wishing for sunshine and just the odd shower to water the garden and by nature I would be the same. But as a cricket widow I sometimes despair of the fine weather and endless matches,  the many hours spent driving to and from fields dotted around the county and often the country. Much as I like a picnic there are limits and spending at least 2 days every week between April and September eating sandwiches, fruit and cake (and inadvertently taking part in the 'who's mum/wife bakes the best cake and prepares the best snacks' competition.) for three meals a day on each of those days, I reach my limit pretty quickly!
 We start the summer going to county cricket meets where I'm always feeling like a round peg in a square hole surrounded by Boden clad skinny ladies and men in mustard coloured corduroy trousers (I think it's a uniform) but I do have a great picnic with home made salads, quiches and cakes. However come early September I've run out of steam and turn up in my leggings (see earlier post) with a Tesco carrier bag full of budget sausage rolls and a cheese bap.
Anyway last weekend had been making me nervous from the previous Monday as, according to the calendar, we had 7 cricket matches to attend one way or another, between Friday and Sunday. I woke in a cold sweat more than once (some would say it's my age but as ever I blame the cricket!) wondering where I should be and at what time.
Friday dawned and Number 2 son hauled his enormous cricket kit bag off to the school bus, scraping most of the paint of the hall walls and front door as he went. The schedule was that after the school match in the afternoon someone had to pick him and his kit up and drive
 him straight to the next match to play for his club -
possibly picking up a snack from a takeaway if there was time.
 If there wasn't time for food he'd have to starve, my husband prioritises these things you know!!
However due to the torrential rain all matches were called off, cancelled late enough in the day to throw me right into a muddle but cancelled none the less - 1 point to me I believe!
Saturday dawned and Number 1 son had to be dropped off for his match and The Builder and Number 2 son got ready for their match, by some strange fluke both of these matches were played despite the grey skies. 1 point each now.
Sunday was weighing heavily on my mind as Little Miss was due to play in a morning cricket match starting at 9am at a pitch 40 minutes away, and I was on taxi duty. Number 2 son was due to play in his first County match of the year and Number 1 son was playing club cricket, both in opposite directions! I woke early with thoughts of picnics and flasks of coffee but by 7.30am the first call came, Little Miss's match was off - another point to me I believe, I stayed in bed! At 8am the other 2 matches were called off, another 2 points to me and I'm very happy now.
So with a rare moment of time free The Builder agreed to tick an item off
my to-do list of DIY jobs around the house.
He actually doesn't know I have a to-do list, he'd probably leave home if he saw it!
It was a simple job of putting up 2 shelves in the laundry room, I've waited about a year for them. We got a step closer when he claimed an off cut of solid oak worktop which was being thrown out from a job he worked on but sadly that was 6 months ago. I bought the brackets around a year ago but some jobs have taken longer than that so I mustn't grumble
(I will obviously, and frequently)

Anyway saws and sanders appeared and holes were drilled, within an hour I was arranging things on the shelves and admiring them.
I did get a few strange looks when I photographed them!
I am super happy with the result, possibly worth the wait??

Actually when I look at the photo's I realise that they are, after all, just two shelves!
But they've made me smile anyway!
 We also managed a trip to a tea room just along the road, dodging another shower. You can't beat a cup of tea and a homemade scone, especially if it wasn't made in my home.
So all in all I won at the weekend, thanks to the "perfect" weather!
 Hooray for rain I say, I expect I'm alone in that!

It's a different story this weekend though, all the cricket seems to be on, three matches today and two tomorrow. I was on Number 2 son's school match duty today, I wasn't too cross as it was in a favourite town of mine, with a very favourite deli come coffee shop.
 I know I should be on the boundary cheering (or clapping politely as it's cricket)
but I have a Little Miss to entertain so what can you do?
Holt is a beautiful place and one which I generally only see on Christmas Eve, I didn't realise how busy it could be on a Summer Saturday.
"Entertaining" Little Miss with cocktails and scones!
Lots of houses faced with flint stones, very common in North Norfolk in particular, and very pretty.

Oh and we saw a little cricket, lovely ground isn't it?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, it's a sunny one!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Gifts from afar

Just a quick post to say a HUGE "Thank You" to Christina of A Colourful Life
I love the way Christina writes about her family life in Glasgow,
where she lives with her husband and 4 little people.
 I'm not sure if Christina feels the same but I think we'd get on very well if we should ever meet.


Anyway I entered a blog giveaway which Christina hosted a short while ago, for a peg apron which she had made and which I thought was very pretty. I do like pretty and colourful things in my home, sometimes just to cover up the unfinished building work! I didn't have a preference out of the two apron's Christina was giving away as they both looked lovely.
And it seems I was lucky enough to win;  ♫ I'm so excited, I just can't hide it! ♫ 
(you're singing along aren't you?)
I never win anything so I also need to say a special thank you to Alistair
for picking my name out of the hat "Thank You Alistair"
Yesterday, through the post, arrived a beautifully wrapped gift, just for me!
And without further ado her it is, ta da!

 Oh, and what is that you see? An extra gift it appears, of one of my favourite bars of chocolate!
Is it just for me? Oh yes it most certainly is!

 It's already in my handbag for later this evening when I'm on taxi duty. I take Little Miss to gymnastics then have an hour and a half to kill so as a treat (how sad am I?) I pop to the nearest Tesco where they do a take away cappuccino, then head back to the gym to drink it and read my book. But tonight there will be added chocolate!
 I expect you can hear me smiling from there can't you?
And even though I didn't choose the pattern don't you think it matches my ironing board in the laundry perfectly? For some reason the photograph has blurred the multi coloured stripes on the ironing board but take it from me, they match!
(I have had a little DIY done in the laundry and I love my new shelves, I told you I was sad!) But I'll show off the shelves in another post!
So once again Thank You to Christina, I'm a very happy lady!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The end of an era

This week there was a very minor "end of an era", which I imagine will be the first in a long line of end-of-an-era's for 2014, what with the end-of-primary-school, end-of-college, and the dreaded end-of-living-at-home for one (no not me!)
 It did give us reason to reminisce and to ponder the rate at which the children
 are growing up and changing.
We spent several hours gardening at the end of the bank holiday weekend, neither of us are gardeners and I am especially clueless. However I have found myself inspired a little lately (a regular occurrence at this time of the year; it'll wear off very soon) so I've been digging and planting whilst The Builder strimmed edges and mowed the lawn.
Our garden is a little unusual in that it's all one big square, we don't have a front and back due to the arrangement of the house. Our house sits in the corner of the plot, very close to one neighbour and has a narrow driveway from the road but at the top of the drive sits our big square patch of garden. It does have advantages in that it's been perfect for football and that other ball game they play, what is it? Oh yes that'll be cricket! There has always been room for a trampoline, now many years old but which has been worth it's weight in gold for the endless entertainment. There have been swings and playhouses (long gone) but the one ever present, well used fixture has been the climbing frame.
It has a cargo net and slide as well as monkey bars along the top. At the time we bought it I would have ideally got the fabulous wooden one costing many hundreds of pounds, we didn't for the obvious reason that we were broke (some things never change!) We got as many bits as we could afford for the boys joint Christmas gift.
At the time we just had the two boys and most of the garden was a flat, bare, newly laid lawn.
I remember the evening we assembled it so well, in those days the boys went to bed at 7pm (now at least one of them goes to bed sometime after us) and, as it was Christmas eve we decided to enjoy a little quiet moment in front of the log fire and watch a little festive telly. I'm not as optimistic as the Builder, he was certain the climbing frame would take a matter of just a few moments to assemble;
 I wasn't too sure but who is the fixer in this house?
(actually it's probably me!)
We settled in on the sofa, both in our dressing gowns, with cheeses, pate and crackers and also a bottle of Port. I'm not a big drinker and can topple off my bar stool after one glass of chardonnay but I do love a ruby port. The evening went on and we got through a good bit of the bottle, it was getting late and we really must put the thing together, it didn't seem fair for Father Christmas to deliver some boxes containing metal poles and a set of instructions for the boys!
We laid all the bits out in the kitchen and started to assemble it, there were many drunken giggles and the port was pretty much polished off. We may or may not have staggered around the kitchen a little but the end result was pretty good, the climbing frame was big and impressive standing there in front of the cooker at midnight.
Now have you spotted the error of our ways? (apart from being a little squiffy) something we didn't realise until the end; how do you think we got a fully assembled 8 foot high climbing frame from the kitchen into the garden??
Unfortunately we then spent several more hours taking it apart and reassembling it on the patio, drunk and in our dressing gowns!!

Anyway back to the point of the story, after many years of being a den, a pirate ship, a picnic deck and many many other things it appears the big old rusty climbing frame is ready for a skip,

the leg has rusted off! It's only a small thing and I know we've been very lucky to make it last so long, but they were two little tots when it arrived and now one of them is nearly 6'3". And it also made us realise that the days of sitting alone on the sofa drinking port and eating cheese seem to be in the distant past - these days we have to remember the calories
 and anyway we're always asleep on the sofa now!
The times they are a changing, rapidly!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

A Quick Hello from me!

I've been a very lazy blogger lately! I've been to places and done things, even occasionally photographed them but failed to write posts! I'm a bit useless at the moment, I could blame work, or our little business, or the children's exams - A levels,
1 GCSE and SATS, almost all at the same time!
I could blame the cricket, I invariably do; but actually I seem to be lacking
a little motivation more than anything!
I dream up posts in my head then forget all about them, I write many a post when wandering around Tesco late in the evening but where do those posts go? I've no idea!
I'm trying to keep track of posts on all the blogs I follow but I'm failing miserably at that too. Lack of organisation doesn't help, and when it all gets too much and there is a mountain of ironing, cleaning, gardening, baking and all other essential things to do I get scared and leave the house to browse stores and coffee shops!
I did try and pull everything together on Monday, I'd been out all day (shopping for a new dress and meeting a friend for coffee, but that's just between me and you ok?) but once I picked Little Miss up from school I turned into a whirling dervish and ran up and down the stairs carrying the washing, clean going up dirty coming down; I cooked tea and hoovered with the other hand, and whilst carrying the pile of dirty washing I also decided to dust the surfaces. I thought I was doing a superb job until I realised I'd put the duster in the washing machine and polished my surfaces with a dirty pair of boys pants!! Housewifely failure number 17000 I believe!!
Just a small selection of what we've been up to, they probably tell a better story than I can!
 The bird who ended up stuck in the conservatory and then visited the guinea pig cage! (Guinea pigs not at home and yes I know the conservatory needs painting, anyone know a good builder?!)
 The pheasants who seem to be ever present in the garden, I think we have a nest somewhere.


 Our bedroom window view of the mustard field behind the house, a much brighter yellow
 than my poor photography suggests

Little Miss has been cake making again

 Attending my best friends, granddaughter's Christening earlier today.

Little Miss agreed to wear a dress for a couple of hours before being back in jeans and converse boots. Before we could leave home she had to shut down her Skype conference call with several class mates; I don't even know what that means let alone how to do it!
Have a great Bank Holiday weekend, we've had our village boat show today, now an annual occurrence, sadly we arrived just as they were shutting all the stalls down!
Enjoy the extra day off, if you have one,
I'm going to do some housework, and maybe use a duster this time!