Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Looking After The Girls

This is a picture of Millie with her favourite book! We have read it over and over again.
All those who have read Sam's blog will know that his wife, Kaiko, has a full time job now and he has been looking after the girls. However, for the last week or two he has also been offered work for two days a week on a temporary basis.
Friday is no problem as that is my day off, so I was able to take Amber to school in the morning and pick her up again in the afternoon. I decided to take Millie to the local library where they have a mother and baby session a bit like a play group. I went in with all the other Mums and sang the songs with hand actions and supervised a collage (ours was the best!) They all had a story and then had drinks and fruit. Followed by another story and then it was time to go! All that for 50p! very good value, I thought.
The other mums looked at me bemused! Of course they knew this child could not possibly be mine!
I rather enjoyed the time in the library and intend to go again next time I have Millie. She walked a long way home but I had taken the push chair just in case she refused to walk, as she sometimes does and my back would suffer if I had to carry her.

However on Thursday, I had to work. So Grandad had to look after Millie after I had taken Amber to school. I was just a bit worried about him but I needn't have, as when I got home for my lunch, Grandad & Millie were sitting at the table painting! Grandad was doing quite an intricate painting and in all the years we've been together, I had no idea that he was such a neat painter! 
When I went to my second job, I wondered if his patience would run out. However, he collected Amber from school and took the two of them quite a long way to the park and lifted them on and off swings and roundabouts. He even had to climb up some netting to rescue one of them when they got stuck!
They were all three of them falling asleep around tea time.
I think this child minding is giving us a new lease of life!

Monday, 28 April 2008

My Mother

This week, David Mcmahon  in his Weekend Wandering asked us "Who was the most important person in our childhood?"

Without question I can say that my mother was the most important person in my childhood.
I was born slap bang in the middle of the Second World War, in our living room, where my mother had a bed, so that she could get under the table in case of an air raid. Thankfully there were no air raids while I was being delivered, as I think my mum would have had severe problems getting under the table anyway. Nurse Wright, who was the mid wife, had put on a nice clean apron and as I was born, I splattered her with my first poo! She exclaimed , "Well out of  all the babies I have delivered over the years, none have done that to me before!" 
We lived in a small industrial town for my early years in Lancashire, which is now called Cheshire! I seem to have a problem with counties and kingdoms changing names!

By the time I could remember anything, the war was over but food rationing was still in force and I can definitely remember us queueing for every item in the shops and also handing in the ration books, and the coupons would be taken out. I never went hungry as my mum used to make delicious omlettes out of egg powder sent over by the Americans. We used to have salad stuff from out of the garden and fruit because by now we were living in a cottage on the edge of the town, with a lovely garden and fields all around us. There was always bread and milk but by todays standards, we had very plain food and not many sweets.

I really loved my Mum and I know that she did her best for my younger brother and me. She taught me to sew and knit and helped me with reading and spelling. She could make a really tasty meal out of nothing! She played the piano fairly well and I loved all the pieces she played, particularly her Chopin and a piece of music that had me spell bound called "Rustle of Spring" by Sinding. I used to ask her to play it over and over again. If I hear the music now, it brings a lump into my throat.

You might think that my dad was away fighting or that he was not living with us, but he was........ he was there. Because he had a Ph.D, he was excused fighting or going down the mines, but he was in the Home Guard and had to guard  Runcorn Bridge with a rifle.
However, my Dad was a scientist and was not very good with children. He seemed to be in a world of his own and was very remote. I did not have a good relationship with him, but will leave that story for another time.

For some reason I was an insecure child, and was forever worrying that some thing would happen to my mother. My brother was treated exactly the same as me, but he didn't have any of these worries, so I'm wondering whether I inherited a worrying gene or something! My mother was the same! Some nights I crept out of bed to see if her bag and coat and shoes were still there, just in case she had left. I'm afraid that she did sometimes threaten us with that, as she probably had her hands full with all the problems there were in that particular era. Anyway, I loved her in spite of "the threat" when we were naughty. Children in those days were treated so differently and what we would think of as child abuse today, was quite common then! I thought of it as normal.
You can see from my baby picture that I am looking worried even then!!!!!!!

There were other people who were important to me during my childhood, but Mum was the person I loved most. My own children loved her to bits and I'm sure she lives on in all of us.
I have many of her things scattered about my house and quite often on Mother's Day, I buy a little plant or something to remember her by. I will always remember her Birthday, her Wedding Anniversary and the date she died.

Friday, 25 April 2008

A Little Playground Drama!

Another littler corner of my garden! 
Back at school this week and I feel so much better! I don't usually say this as I do love my holidays, but working with children certainly helps to take your mind off other things!
Some other colleagues have said the same thing.

In the playground during one lunch break, a small girl, aged five, came up to me and slipped her little hand in mine, looking very upset.
"That boy is trying to take away my most precious thing!" She said.
"Where is it now?" I asked.
The girl said, "I don't know!"
"What is the precious thing?" I asked, feeling I was not getting enough information.
"I don't know!" She replied.
"Has the boy taken it?" I asked.
"No." She replied.
"But he wants to take it?" I asked.
"Yes" she said.
"But you don't know what he wants to take?"
"No" She answered.

Well I know it is the start of a new term, and I was not really into school just yet, but I was feeling a bit perplexed! I noticed the girl was getting a bit bored with this conversation and her eyes were following friends around the playground as though she wanted to move on. The boy in question was also playing with a different group of friends and didn't look as though he was involved in a squabble or anything.

"Are you Ok now?" I asked.
"Yes," she said skipping away!
I am still none the wiser about that situation..... but if only our little dramas could be smoothed away in such an easy, swift manner!

Now I have to announce the award that I kindly received from Momma some time ago and I should have passed it on to others. Well I will do so now! You are all great!
I would like to pass it on to:-

UPDATE ON SON IN LAW. Out of hospital now, pain & sickness under control. Last body scan showed no sign of tumour else where in the body. Waiting to be admitted to a specialist hospital for a biopsy & possible brain surgery. Thanks to all who have been praying and thinking good wishes. Please continue!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


In Weekend Wandering this week David asks us "Have we ever felt lonely?"

I think that loneliness is a state of mind and the times that I have felt utterly alone, I have never really been alone at all, but have usually had people with me or around me. I have been in situations where I am completely alone and yet I am at peace with myself and can't say that I feel lonely in situations like that. In fact being alone sometimes can be uplifting if there is peace in your heart.

I remember, as an adult student, being in an art class surrounded by other people yet I felt really lonely. It was my wedding anniversary (I can't remember which one) but earlier that day, my mother had rung me to say that the results of a biopsy had proved she had breast cancer and she had to go in for emergency surgery. That was in the days before the good success rates that we have now. I had told one or two friends of my fears, but they had not reacted in the way that made me feel they understood, and it was just like I'd told them that I had a cold and that it wasn't really very important! But is was to me! 
That particular story had a happy ending as my Mum survived well into old age and died of something else.
But I did feel lonely........... before I knew.

I remember staring at the curtains of a waiting room screen. Red and orange and lime green scrolls of abstract pattern. Not a good combination of colours at all but forever stamped in my brain. "It's cancer," the consultant said, as if he was saying "It's an in growing toenail." That was six years ago and Harry had just been diagnosed. We were there together but I felt so alone that you couldn't imagine. I guess Harry felt the same, but he never talks about how he feels, so that makes me feel even more lonely.
One year later we were back again, to be told, "The operation has not been a success, this time we cannot cure it, only treat it." More feelings of intense loneliness in a crowded place.
This is like a repeated pattern in my life. When bad news comes my way it brings intense loneliness. Only when others have suffered the same thing do I feel it is shared to some degree.

Going back to a time when I was only twenty something and I'd just given birth to our second child, our daughter. We were glad to have a daughter it made our family complete. It was just what we wanted and now we had one of each. I'd felt elation after our son was born, but what was wrong with me? I felt nothing! Just excessively tired and uninterested, "Just let me sleep" I wailed, only I couldn't sleep. As the weeks went by the post natal depression washed over me and I felt more and more alone. "What is wrong with you?" every one asked me. "You should be happy." There was even the comment, "You should be ashamed. Well I was, wasn't I? I didn't need to be told. 
She was five months old before I could really enjoy her and nearly one year before I felt  any thing like I was normal. Depression brings about the worst feelings of loneliness that you can ever imagine if you haven't been there.
These have been my worst feelings of loneliness and it is always good to meet other people who have experienced the same thing as me because then I think "Yes," that person really knows the situation and has been there. 

There have been many other times I've been lonely, like when I was lying in hospital after being concussed through being knocked off my bike by an elderly car driver, who ran away when she saw what she'd done. I was left alone in one of the busiest streets of the city, with lorries and cars racing all around me. Well I didn't know anything at the time or that a stranger had helped me and stayed with me & wrapped a child's nappy round my head to stem the flow of blood. The loneliness kicked in when I was lying in hospital without visitors for 2 days and nights, as all the family were living a long way away and Harry was working somewhere far off and couldn't come and see me hardly at all. Looking at other people's visitors made me feel alone, though I wasn't alone, I was in a busy place. But this wasn't as bad as receiving bad news or facing the death of some one I loved. That too can be a very lonely experience.

So true loneliness seems to be when you feel that no one is there for you or there's no one who understands your situation and has nothing to do with being on your own at all. Unless, of course, you know otherwise. In which case let me know.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The Garden Centre.

This was the post that was supposed to go in just before the bad news! It is about a trip we did in the holiday!

When it comes to entertaining children and taking them out for a few hours, many things are expensive. However we decided to go to a local garden centre as I had a few vouchers to spend from a Christmas present. It was a sunny day, though rather cold but we packed sandwiches & took drinks. We looked all round the plants and indoor store where there was a little pet corner and a fish house. The children thought it was a bit like going to the zoo and they were happy enough looking at these things and then running about up and down the walkways outside.

When they were hungry the girls found a lovely double seat on chains that swung back and forth and they had their sandwiches there while swinging. Sam and I sat on a bench nearby and started on ours. While we were eating a robin came very close to us. "Quick take a picture!" they all said. By the time I put my sandwiches down & fumbled in my bag for the camera, the robin shot off out of range and went into a green house. I thought I might catch it later and sure enough the cheeky rascal came for crumbs right next to our feet, but every time I pointed the camera at the bird, he flew away. This happened many times and I never did get a photo of it.

It did occur to me how naughty we were taking our own food and drink, when the cafeteria was open and selling the same things, but "beggars can't be choosers" as we keep telling the children when they ask for lots of things. Besides they really liked the picnic and nobody challenged us.
The pots did look lovely but I didn't think my tiny garden could possibly take another one, so I bought another small ornament for another little niche. My garden really is so small and it really made me smile when I thought of my recent post on a Tag, when I popped a picture from a local park on the post to brighten it up and several people said they thought my garden looked nice! In reality, it would have been swallowed up several times in that picture of the grass & trees!

On the way out, I treated the girls to a pretty butterfly each (fridge magnets) that they have stuck on many different sites, but never the fridge! They seemed very satisfied with their trip to the garden centre and Sam & I enjoyed it too.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

It's A Tough Life Sometimes .......

A few days ago I wrote about my daughter coming to visit unexpectedly to escape for a while from a husband whose behaviour seemed to be changing for the worse by the minute. Even when she had travelled for six hours (there was a big hold up on the motorway) to get here, he phoned and asked her to get the doctor for a home visit because he had a headache and was being sick. It looked at the time like he was making her pay for leaving him for a few days. There is a full account in my post. Click here.

Well, at the time that she was here, I felt a bit torn between two feelings. First that Deb is my daughter and is being put down all the time, by husband's critical and increasingly aggressive behaviour and that he is acting in a more and more bizarre way. So I was naturally annoyed with him for making her unhappy. Secondly, there was a niggling feeling that he might be seriously ill.

Now she has rung in a terrible state telling me he has been rushed to hospital with a suspected brain tumour. He has had a temporary scan that shows a "mass" and he will need to be transfered to a hospital that will be 20 miles from where they live for further scans, a biopsy and to see whether it is operable or not. This is further complicated by the fact the car that she had repaired while staying with us, has now broken down again. The alternator that the garage here put in has let her down and she has to pay for a new one. The garage here, says that they would need to see it & test it before they could do a refund. That is the end, really it is.

This post is a rant at life's unfairness, as Harry is already battling with cancer & the treatment has left him grumpy! I feel it is a release to just get this off my chest! 
Deb lives 200 miles away and has 2 kids and does child minding that she finds difficult while she is so distraught, but has to continue with as they have a mortgage. 
I have just committed myself to look after the 2 girls while Sam works two days a week and his wife already has a high powered job in another town 30 miles away!
I must keep my two jobs going as at 65, I would not get other employment if I let these go. The thing is, we all need the money from these jobs to pay our way and now I feel I just want to be with Deb & to put my arms around her and not just have the two of us crying down the phone all the time.

I know we need to all keep calm and to go about our daily business while all this gets sorted...... but it is really hard and I'm really sorry I can't be my cheerful self just now.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

A Trip to the Museum? Or was it Play School?

This is a photo of another small corner of my garden and has nothing to do with this post!

I had promised to take 5 yr old Amber to the museum the other Saturday while the other members of the family had to be somewhere else.
It was the first warm, sunny day after weeks of rain and cold, so we decided to take a picnic. At the very last minute Grandad decided to come too.

We caught the bus to the city centre and the cheerful, kind driver smiled at Amber and let her go free and of course, we pensioners used our bus passes.
Grandad suggested that we go to look at squirrels in the nearby park. Amber said, "But we're going to the museum!"
"It's on the way, Grandad explained and we had to climb a very steep hill and when we got there we were very out of breath and there wasn't a squirrel in sight!
"I want to go to the museum!" wailed Amber.
We turned back down the hill and Grandad was disappointed to be leaving the park so soon. "It's a shame we have to be inside on such a nice day," He remarked, a bit acidly.

We arrived at the Museum and went inside and Amber raced round the different sections while we quickly followed, our eyes trying to adjust to the rapidly changing scenes. Just as we got interested in one thing, something else caught Amber's eye and she wanted to move on.
We came to a children's play area with books and dressing up clothes and children's toys. I read stories and helped Amber to change into an Indian sari and pretty fairy outfits. She stayed there a long time and I noticed Grandad looking at his watch rather a lot.

When we got hungry we left the museum and sat on a bench outside to eat our picnic and started to open our food and drink containers. Before long a pigeon with a bad foot came to join us and ate some crumbs and it wasn't long before more birds arrived, several with damaged feet and they had difficulty walking. We started to speculate what had happened to their feet. Had someone who hated pigeons managed to stamp on their feet? Or did they get their toes torn off in some kind of netting? We felt sorry for the disabled birds and tried to give more crumbs to them. Eventually lunch was finished & we tidied our rubbish and went back into the museum.

Grandad was looking forward to browsing round this time to look at the things he was interested in. Amber led us back to the play area and when she had tired of that, stumbled on an art corner. "I want to draw a picture," she said. So we sat down and we coloured pictures. She signed her name and even left a comment on a little card. "I like butterflies, love Amber x"
We spent so long colouring, dressing up and having stories that it was time to go! Amber had a Birthday party to go to at 4 o'clock and I'd promised to get her home in good time.
Reluctantly Grandad left the museum and I suggested that he came back during the week while I was at work. "You can stop and look at everything you like," I enthused.

We had to pay for Amber on the way back. Isn't it funny how one driver can be really pleasant and kind, yet another more grumpy and not so generous?
We arrived home in plenty of time to get Amber dressed for the party and I made a pot of tea."Do you know?" I said, "I had such a lovely time at the museum!" Amber nodded enthusiastically. Grandad gave me a funny look as he'd not really seen anything! He never did go back during the week, though.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Desktop tag

I have been tagged by Mother's Pride  & also Dusty Spider, asking me what is on my desk top. I haven't the faintest idea how to do this as I am using a Mac & Cath's instructions were a bit different. Anyway Sam came to the rescue, but I HATE asking him! I don't think I could have done this on my own, so its a "one off". Its the very first post I ever did, titled, "Gordon Benett!"

So I have to pass this request on to 5 unsuspecting bloggers!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Hair Raising Styles!

This week David Mcmahon  asked us "Have we ever had a hairstyle that makes us cringe when we think about it now?" There is a link to "Weekend Wandering"  so that he can check your comments.

Nearly all my hairstyles from the past make me cringe! I think that hairstyles date a person more than anything else, when looking at the family hairdos in photos from the distant past!
I have never been really satisfied with my hair as it is very fine and straight with fly about tendencies as you can see from this recent photo!

Apparently when I was born I had masses of it and it was very black. However this all dropped out early on and became mid brown.
My photos of early years, during or shortly after the war,
revealed short hair cut in a straight bob, with a ribbon tied into bows on either side. Some times there was just one bow and I have school photos where I looked decidedly bedraggled with the bow hanging out. Nowadays, I don't think schools would be so unkind as to take photos of children like that anymore. In fact the photos the children at school have taken these days, usually show them in a very good light, from what I have seen.

Early teenage years shows me with permed hair! Can you imagine it! Crinkly curly hair. I was so into curly hair then and thought I looked brilliant.
Later on, I had a huge pink streak put in my hair. That was during the mid teens. During the sixties, we wore winkle picker shoes and hoops under our skirts and yards of netted, frilly underskirts that we dunked into sugar & water, thinking that it would make them stiffer. This was followed by bouffant hair styles, which were furiously back combed and then smoothed over at the top & lacquered down. Hair used to get split ends during this terrible treatment and had to be a bit longer on top so as to cover all the knots. We used to rock'n'roll into the night & my poor Dad never saw the end of his TV programmes  as he had to take me to different dance halls. Sometimes I came home on motor bikes and there were no crash helmets in those days.
Well, getting back to hairstyles....... when I was a young mother, my hair had grown shoulder length and was coloured bright mahogany red. I used to pin it up into a pony tail and then back comb it into a bun & pin it into shape. I kept this style for quite a long time, as it was neat & tidy. My son, who had started school, by then, came home crying because an other child had told him, "Your mother has a bun on her head." He obviously thought the child meant a currant bun and was most offended!

During the eighties, I wore my hair in an Afro style, tightly permed. This really looked appalling on me, but I thought I looked the cat's whiskers! 
Well, the time slipped by & now my short tresses are silvery & tend to spike up a bit. I don't think many older women can wear their hair long & look stunning! However if this provokes an out rage of ladies who know better, then I shall be very pleased to have caused it and look forward to hearing your opinion on the matter.

This brings me back to which hairstyle was the most awful? Probably a cross between the Afro and the pink streak! Or maybe its the latest one?

Monday, 14 April 2008

Tagged By Flick & Here is A Pic!

I have been tagged by Dusty Spider and I am passing on this meme & am choosing five others to pass this onto in the hope that they have not been picked by anyone else in the mean time. 

1.The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. The player then tags 5 people, goes to their Blogs and leaves them a comment telling them they've been tagged and asking them to read their Blog.

Q. What were you doing 10 years ago?

A. I was living in the same house and had the same jobs as I have now. How sick is that!

Q. Name 5 snacks you enjoy.

A. I try not to snack, but I LOVE crisps and cheesy biscuits & oat cakes & dried fruit & chocolate!

Q. Things I would do if I were a billionaire

A. I would make sure ALL my family had everything that they needed in life, I would give to favourite charities, involving children all over the World & people who are struggling overseas........also people in this country. Not sure where I would move or do with left over money.

Q. Five jobs that I have had

A. hairdresser, shoe shop retailer, dinnerlady, teacher's learning support assistant in special school & normal primary school, playworker in after school club.

Q. Three bad habits

A. I panic when technical things go wrong, like computers, heating etc.
I am impatient when starting a new project & want to get on with it right away.
I am fairly untidy.

Q. Five places I have lived

A.I have lived in Cheshire, when it was called Lancashire!
I have lived in a small town ten miles from here, when it was little more than a village.
I have lived in this city since 1970. I have never named this city. It is south of Birmingham & is within fairly easy reach of the east, west & south coasts. My son calls the county Wessex!

Q. Five people I want to know more about:

Rod Stewart, The Queen, Tony Hancock (bit too late!), John Williams (guitarist) and Judi Dench.

Now for the fortunate/ unfortunate people that have the pleasure of being tagged!

Laughing Alone In The Dark

Crazy Cath

Mean Mom


A Mother's Place Is In The Wrong 

Sunday, 13 April 2008

A Little Corner of My Garden.

This is a picture of a little feature in my garden and I took the photo myself and managed to get the picture into this post without help. I am feeling VERY pleased!
My garden is only small, but it is packed with little ornaments and things and I intend to post a view every now and then. Now that am able to snap & post!

Friday, 11 April 2008

The Unexpected Visit.

It's always lovely when my daughter comes to visit with the grandsons. Sometimes the boys' school holidays coincide beautifully with the school where I work, but this last one was completely out of sync.
After thinking that we wouldn't be seeing each other this time, she suddenly announced that she would visit after all and would leave husband to his own devices and come on Saturday and go home on the following Tuesday, which was the last day of the the boys' school holiday.
Its not a happy marriage and I think she comes to escape and have a bit of peace (if you can call our house peaceful, that is.) You know what I mean, though, a little time out of the unhappy environment!

Anyway, after a tiring journey of six hours that should have only taken half that time, she was surprised when her car engine completely cut out just outside our house. Luckily a neighbour, who happens to be a mechanic, looked at the car and told her that the alternator had broken and obviously she would need a garage. He also told her she was lucky that it didn't cut out on the motor way as it could have done. The thought of that was terrifying.  Anyway it was late on Saturday afternoon by then, so no chance of getting to a garage until Monday.

She decided to try and make the best of it and to enjoy her freedom over the holiday and not worry about the car or whether she'd make it back to her home town  in time for school and work.
Although the weather was not bad earlier on, it suddenly turned very cold. The two boys were very pent up after their long journey and the thought of her not having her car for the weekend, with its seven seats was a bit daunting. They had been promised trips out!
The next day it was decided to take Harry's car and Sam's and for us to go to a beautiful place that the children love to visit, in a valley, near a large stream and if everyone managed the trip through the woods, there was the treat of a really good children's play area at the end of the walk.

Before we set off there was a phone call from daughter's husband to say he was very ill and needed a doctor. She was not sure if this was for real or if he was trying to ruin her weekend. So from our house she rang her own doctor for a home visit. Apparently he had a really bad headache and was sick!!!!!!! Well I ask you! However there was the niggling worry that it might be serious. She had  already explained that the car was not working, so she couldn't get home. 

Considering the four grand children were such a mixture of ages, 3,5,9 & 11 yrs, they all managed the walk very well, but took a long time to get to the play area, having stopped off to play near the water and look at this, that and the other. Eventually they all got onto the childrens' swings and slides and were having such a wonderful time even though it started to get really cold.  Without warning it started to snow and within minutes the whole place looked magical and white. It didn't last and the flurry was soon over and the snow melted, much to the disappointment of the children.
In all the excitement Millie wet her pants and poor Sam had to carry her home, her wet bottom on his arm as she was much too tired to walk the distance back to the cars. Anyway it was very enjoyable but we were all a bit worried about the sick husband.

Next day, after many phone calls to many garages, daughter's car was taken to the other side of the city to one that promised to replace the alternator by the evening, so we relaxed a bit, realizing that she would make it home in time for work and school, after all!
The car was picked up with a reconditioned alternator, the bill paid and phone calls made to the sick husband who had had an injection & some tablets & an appointment was being made for scans........... A bit worrying !
The boys were so kind and understanding with their little cousins and a good time was had by all, though every one was made to feel a bit guilty about the sick husband. No one knows if he is really sick or whether it was manipulation to ruin the weekend. Only time will tell. He did manage to put a damper on the weekend from afar, though!

Anyway, they are safely home now and we really do miss them all and are slightly worried about the situation, no one likes to see their children unhappy. 
However, when she comes here, she really has a relaxed and enjoyable time and we were so glad to have the unexpected visit!

Friendship Awards!

Crazy Cath has kindly awarded me this cuddly blogger friend award as she says that I make her feel like a child tucked up in bed, telling a story, even if it was about rats! I think that is SO funny. 
Crazy Cath is SO popular that every time I want to award her, someone else has pipped me to the post & gets there first! If I was very clever, I would make her an original..... Now that's a challenge!

I would like to pass this on to Mother's Pride but as she is SO popular too, I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't already have half a dozen...... but never mind!
I also want to pass one on to Swearing Mother because she is probably the one who influenced me so much in the beginning, but may well have half a dozen stashed in her side bar, being a popular person, too. Ah, well.............

This one came from Mother's Pride  and I want to pass it on to Crazy Cath who most likely already has one but this is my attempt to give her an award as I consider her a very good friend! Also to Sweet Irene who I consider a faithful friend. To a new friend, Girl With The Mask and also to to Mean Mom and Momma because they also mean a lot to me. There are so many others I could have given to but these awards are like a virus ............! I'm wondering if my rats are easier to control! 
I am EXTREMELY pleased with them, though, so thank you very much to the senders and thank you ALL for your friendship!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Blog Of Distinction Award!

I have received a beautiful award from Mean Mom  for a blog of distinction! Its the first time I have got a distinction in anything! So thank you Mean Mom! Why did you call yourself Mean? You have never been mean to me! 
Sweet Irene has also donated this award to me, so thanks Irene!
I have been asked to pass the award on to five more bloggers who make me laugh, cry, think or sigh (hopefully not all at once!)
Problem is that usually by the time I get to post this, every one else has already received one! So maybe everyone on my list will already have received this. Never mind..... its the thought that counts!

Monday, 7 April 2008

MAYpole NUTters? NO! Morris Dancers!

I have been crawling about the front room on all fours for much of the day. No, I have not hurt my back and no, I have not been playing with the grandchildren. I am attempting to cut out and sew a pair of Morris Dancing trousers!
Not for me!

Sam has recently taken up Morris Dancing and must be catching up with the rest of the group quickly as he has been asked to dance in a festival on May Day. Isn't it good that the May family have a holiday all of our own and a day named after us? Of course there is a down side, too, as it is also a call for help! Mayday, Mayday!
We have the whole of April to finish the trousers. The colours are absolutely glaring and bright, enough to bring on a migraine. Each leg is a different colour, so we have to have our wits about us so as not to make a mess of it. No good if it didn't fit in with the rest of the troupe. Is that what you call a collection of Morris Dancers, a troupe? Imagine having one leg differently coloured from all the rest, you'd stand out a bit!

Any way, Sam and his friend Jim, have been going to Morris Dancing Classes for a few weeks now and go down to the pub afterwards to "slake the thirst" that they have worked up whilst dancing. The organizer provided the material but had no pattern. Sam wanted to sew a pair of tailored, smart pants, but friend Jim says he can't be bothered with that and informed us he will lie on a table and get a friend to cut round him, do a quick sewing job and put elastic through the waist. Now why couldn't Sam do that? Why is he the one to have to do it the hard way? Has anyone tried to get a pattern for men's trousers lately? Well it isn't easy to find one, I can tell you.
At one time there were at least three good rag and habberdashery shops within easy walking distance to where I live. Not many people do sewing now, so all these shops have been forced to close down. I used to regularly make dresses for my daughter, Debbie when she was young in the seventies and also for myself.

Well Sam wanted to make the trousers himself, but the pattern is a bit fiddly, so we are sort of doing it together. Not sure who will actually use the sewing machine. I have suddenly realized how bad my eyes are now for needle threading, so maybe he will be useful for doing that.

As I have to keep moving about because of my back problem, I crawl about with patterns for a while, then run to do a bit of blogging, then back to the sewing. Why is it that housework doesn't have the same appeal as writing a blog or doing some creative sewing? I'd like to know how to make housework more creative. Maybe there is someone out there who has the answer?

What can I hear? There is the sound of bells coming from the front room? Too early for Christmas reindeer, or too late depending on how you look at it! I go to investigate and find Millie & Amber have found the Morris Dancers' bells that Sam had hidden in a bag of sewing things and yards of material every where as they wanted "to help." Just as well they didn't get to the cutting out scissors!

Anyway, if you see a Morris Dancing troupe near you, with glaring coloured pants and one of them wearing perfectly tailored ones and another pair that looks as if it has been thrown together, just shout out, "Hi Sam & Jim." They really won't mind!

Award Time Over A Cuppa!

I have been given an award from two different people! One was from  Mean Mom   and the other was from Carolyn  Many thanks for thinking of me. I now have to pass on to other bloggers who I would enjoy a chat  & a cup of tea with! I'd like to chat to every one but will pick out the following as I can't choose you all! No offense meant!

Please would you think of some bloggers who you'd like to chat to over a cuppa!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Standing Up For Myself!

This post will be short today, as I have nine people in my house, four of them are my grand children! So although we are having fun, it is not an ideal blogging situation.

When I was a child I wouldn't say boo to a goose. I was the scapegoat for everything that went wrong in our family, taking the blame and thinking I deserved it.
At school I was taunted when I moved from the north of England, because of my strong accent. I don't think that the city, where we moved to and where we now live, was used to "foreigners" at that time, though it is full of them, now! Because of the taunts, I lost my accent very quickly and even now I speak in a very neutral way, which is a great pity. If I tried to speak with a northern accent now, it wouldn't be real ...... I couldn't do it!

Over the years I tended to be passive and would do what others wanted me to do and it has taken me years to get to the stage where I am now.

I will not be pushed around and I don't suffer fools gladly, either. I go into shops and complain if something is not right and firmly ask for a refund or a replacement and stand my ground.
These days my family send me to sort things out as they know I will not be fobbed off.

So I think that in answer to David's question in his Weekend Wanderings asking "What Is The Most Crucial Thing I've Ever Learnt," has to be, that I have learnt not to be a victim any more.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Ratty Is Driving Me Batty!

In my post, There's A Rat In The Kitchen (Part 2), I made the mistake of saying that the bad smell has never returned. Well that was blimmen well asking for trouble. I shouldn't have been so blase and arrogant!
Almost over night a blasted rodent has gone and died in the roof space where we cannot get at it........ yet again. How inconsiderate is that?
You know when expatmum commented that she had been tipped off by a Chicago rat catcher about a good way of killing the varmints without actually poisoning them, my son, Sam & I were cracking up with laughter for days. You see, she had been advised that if you put coke down for them to drink, they eventually EXPLODE! That is because they cannot burp or fart and the poor beasts cannot get rid of the gas.
At the time it seemed really funny, but anyone who has ever had trapped wind and knows how uncomfortable this is, will remember the pain, even though we humans can burp and fart to release it. You know I was almost feeling sorry for the little perishers, but not any more. I would gladly cause them to explode in this horrible way, if only I could get the coke to to them in the first place. They are completely contained and we cannot get at them without ripping down the ceiling and we are not doing that again. So we are at a loss as to how to do it.
We had wondered if we could hang a small can of coke under the outside vent with a straw going inside, for them to drink out of, but I guess they would need to be trained up to do that!
This time I am not going to let it get me down. We know the smell will go in a fortnight. We can open windows. The smell cannot harm us, we have been assured.
I recently saw a documentary on TV, of children in South American slums, rummaging through rubbish tips to find something that they could salvage and sell. The producer of this programme told us how bad the smell was from this tip and they had to do it every day of their lives just to survive. Eventually some terrible disease would overtake them.
Well, my life is not that bad. They would envy me with my rare two week smells and would think that my life was luxury compared to theirs. I will continue with this pep talk to myself for as long as I can.
In the meantime, Sam has found a funny video on YouTube that might lighten up the situation. Hope you find it as funny as we did!

By the way, my son Sam decided since he spent so much time helping me with my blog, that he might as well start his own - so he did! Please drop by and pester him to write something!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

The Precious Things In Life.

The precious things in life, we probably take for granted. Most of us would say that our families are the most precious thing in our lives followed by friends and pets, health, having enough money to live a reasonably good life. We might add, in a broader sense, clean air to breathe, water to drink, enough to eat, a pleasant environment and work that we enjoy. Oh, and not forgetting freedom of speech, especially in our blogging! Take any of these precious things from our lives and there would be a terrible gap that would cause us grief.
The precious things that I am thinking about today are probably not the most important things in life at all, but are really important to us personally.
My mother's engagement ring is very important to me. It was given to me while she was lying in hospital some months before she died. She was frightened of losing it, she said. She'd always looked after it really well, all the years of her marriage, (getting on for fifty!)  Every time she was about to dip her hands in water, off would come the ring. She never lost it because it was one of her most treasured possessions. So it was a great honour to me that day in hospital, when she asked me to wear it. I felt sad that it had come to this but I slipped it on to my right hand finger, the opposite hand and finger to my own engagement ring. It looked lovely, three diamonds of equal size in a row, side by side. I was scared to leave it off my hand, in case I lost it and for the same reason, I did not take it off when washing up. I considered it to be safer on my finger than in a jewellery box or upstairs drawer, in case we had burglars.

When my mother died, the ring became even more precious to me, so you can imagine how I felt when I glanced down at my hand one day and saw only two stones, one had gone! 
My first reaction was one of absolute horror. 
"Oh Mum," I cried out loud, "I am so sorry!" Now how was I going to find a tiny stone like that? I was upstairs at the time and vowed I would never vacuum again until it was found.
In my mind's eye, I retraced my steps. Where had I been last? I had been sitting in an armchair with a cup of tea downstairs. Surely that was too easy & as I ran down stairs, I prayed to God that I would find it.
I opened the dining room door and a tiny speck of light sparkled on the cushion of the chair, so small that it hardly showed up at all, except for the light shining through it. The stone was minute, out of its clasp.
"Thank you God," I gratefully said out loud as I ran for the cellotape and an envelope! I put the ring inside and stuck the tiny stone into the envelope with the cellotape & sealed it down.
Well I know that the stone was not gone for long, but the chances of finding such a tiny speck of a thing like that, was not at all likely and I had no idea whether it was going to be found again or not.

At my first opportunity, I went to a jewellers and explained the situation to them. It was sent away for repair and cost quite a bit of money, but it was well spent. I had the ring back.
If I'd been outside, I'm sure it would have been lost forever.
However, I can say in all sincerity, that my own mini miracle happened that day and I'm still wearing my mother's most precious possession and mine too!

This post is linked to David at authorblog on his Weekend Wanderings. He asked, What Was The Most Important Thing That I Lost.