Sunday, February 28

3 breakdowns, a road closed and a wedding

Friday 28th February 2003

So, the day is finally here. A 3-4 hour drive ahead of us to Gretna Green on the Scottish Border. We weren't getting married until 2pm but we got in the car at 7.30am because we had booked rooms for us and the rest of our families in Gretna, and we could all get there, have a drink and something to eat before we went to the Old Blacksmith's Workshop to get married.

So, everything we need is in the car. I switch the radio on to be met with, if you're planning to get married at Gretna Green today, don't bother going. (WHAT?) Did someone pay the DJ to say that to piss me off? No, it was true. The DJ continued. A lorry containing chemicals has overturned on the A70 which goes right past Gretna Green and they have closed the road. (WTF?) So we set off anyway. Map out to find an alternate route.. erm, no, that is the only road that goes past Gretna Green. Bugger. We carry on. I phone the registrar to let them know what's happening. She couldn't have been nicer. She told us how to get there an alternate route and that she would marry us anyway no matter what time we arrived because of the road closure. Ahhh thank god for that.

Phone calls are made to various members of the family all heading north and tell them the alternate way in. Family coming from Scotland are ok, their bit of road isn't closed.

About half an hour outside of Carlisle the traffic is stood still. People are sat on the grass verges drinking coffee. People are wandering around the motorway talking to people in cars who have obviously been sat there for quite some time. I phone the registrar again. We were supposed to sign the papers before 11am. It was now 20 to 11. Again, she re-assured us that we could get there as soon as possible and it would all be ok.

So, we're sat in the traffic and I get a phone call from my mum who is travelling with my brother, his girlfriend. Your brother has just been pulled over by the police. Oh bugger! He's got one not legal tyre and no Tax. Oh FFS. He assured them the tax disc was in the post (a likely story) and they let him on his way. 10 minutes later another phone call. Your brother has broken down. We're waiting for your other brother to find us and he's going to tow us. Meanwhile, we still haven't moved our car an inch. We can see the turn off that we need 100 yards up the road, but can we get to it? No! 20 minutes later we're still sat there and the phone rings again. The tow rope has snapped and we don't have a spare. Both of your brothers are rummaging around in the ditch at the bottom of the grass verge at the side of the road and all I can see are bits of rubbish, tyres and other junk being thrown into the air. (told between bouts of hysterical laughter).

We finally move that last 100 yards and manage to get off the gridlocked road and are swiftly heading towards the registrar's office. The phone rings again. Mum: We've made it to B&Q and have just got changed in the toilets there. You mean you all went in to the toilets in your normal clothes and then you came out in your posh frock and the blokes came out in full Highland Dress (kilts included?). Answer, yes. Did anyone notice or say anything? Answer, No. I laughed my head off.

So we finally arrive, sign what we need to sign, go to get changed. I hide from Mark because he's not allowed to see me in my wedding dress and I watch as he leaves. My brother (not the one who kept breaking down) was supposed to be giving me away as my Dad was too sick to travel, hadn't arrived. He had bought new rope at B&Q and was still towing brother number 2. I asked my Father in Law if he would mind stepping in to give me away. He said he'd love to. One thing I hadn't realised is how big my skirt was and I had to very un-elegantly climb into the back of the car, arse first and then my FIL shoved the rest of my skirt in after me.

We made it into the waiting area and my FIL started fiddling with his sporran. (tut) but he pulled out a hip flask and said have a drink, you are trembling. A quick swig nearly choked me, it was straight whiskey. So I had another swig LOL.

We got into position to walk into the marriage room when my mum and breakdown brother arrived, mum with blood pouring down her knee. (apparently she'd run across the car park and fallen over.. daft bat!) The reason they'd had to rush so much is that they'd gone to the wrong place, barged in on someone elses wedding after my brother doing a handreak turn in the car park, to see that it wasn't anyone she recognised getting married and had to find out where we were. My other brother, the one that was supposed to give me away hadn't arrived yet. So FIL and I started to walk through to the marriage room. He kept tripping over my humongous skirt LOL but we made it closely followed by my non-breakdown brother and his family. The only thing missing was the piper. I'd booked a piper to walk us in whilst playing the bagpipes, but he was stuck just outside Carlisle LOL

It was a very relaxed, civil ceremony and we actually had a good laugh during the vows. The registrar was a lovely woman and it was such a light hearted ceremony, everyone was laughing. The tradition is that the registrar has to strike the anvil to proclaim the marriage (The Blacksmith used to do it). My now hubby laughed and said to the registrar 'that was a bit feeble, can you do it again? So she laughed, picked up the hammer and gave the anvil a bloody good belting. There she said, that certainly struck it.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the piper in his full highland dress including massive furry hat, and he piped us out of the Blacksmith's Workshop. I'm not a great lover of the bagpipes (is anyone?) but I think being high on emotions anyway made them quite pleasant (I can't believe I just said that LOL) and it was very moving. Everyone walked out mopping their eyes.

We ended up having a lovely afternoon, lovely meal and a great evening afterwards, and because we all stayed in the same hotel, we all had a great breakfast together in the morning. The kids were well behaved and so were the adults LOL.

It was a  bit deflating to drive home again, but my son went to stay with his new Granny and Grandad and we headed off the next day to Lanzarote. Neither of us had been abroad before and we loved the entire honeymoon. But I won't go into details (wicked wink)

Friday, February 26

7 years on....

Well technically it will be 11 years this summer, but it's our 7th wedding anniversary on Sunday. It set me to thinking how far we have come as a couple and as a family in these 7 (11) years.

Mark and I met on the internet (yes, shock horror!) about 13 years ago and became best friends, even though he lived almost 5 hours away from where I lived. We 'talked' online all the time and we'd speak on the phone every day for anywhere between 2 and 6 hours, although I think our record phone call was 8 hours non stop. Thank god it was on his phone bill LOL. Of course, the first time we met I was told by my Mum, that he was a mad axe murderer and all that jazz, but we met in Chester City centre in full daylight in full public view. We remained friends for two years before we crossed that line. It was a bit weird tbh going from best friends who told each other everything to actually being in a relationship and then living together. But it worked. My (then 9 year old son) got on with him and we were all happy. We'd go out into town, have a good drink and a dance and crawl home at 3am.

We got married in Gretna Green on the 28th February with snow on the ground. My mum was horrified that underneath my lovely ivory wedding dress, I had my knee length black boots on. It was snowy! I wasn't going to have cold feet! LOL

Then his drinking started to get heavier and heavier. 6 tins of beer on a Friday night became 8. Then on a Saturday he'd have a bottle of wine. I know it's only a bottle of wine, but he rationalised it by saying, at least it's not more beer. But on the whole, life was challenging, but good. It wasn't long before I started to dread the weekends. The 8 tins of beer turned into 12 tins of beer and the bottle of wine became the biggest bottle of wine he could find (2 litre sometimes) plus a smaller bottle aswell (in case he wanted more when the first bottle was gone). Then came the arguments and the violent temper. He went into a drunken blackout and could never remember anything. I tried to go to bed early so that I avoided his drunken arguments but he'd come and wake me up. I couldn't talk to him about it  the next morning because he denied it all. He couldn't remember so it obviously didn't happen. He came downstairs one morning to find the patio door laid on the floor outside. He looked at it in horror. I told him he'd pushed me into it and it had fallen out. He didn't believe me. 

It all came to a head one Mother's Day when Isabelle was only a few months old. He kicked off about something and went ballistic. He was already at the drunken blackout stage, and to this day cannot remember what happened, but I can. He was verbally and physically abusive and his parting gesture as he was 'leaving for good' was to headbutt me in the face and broke my nose. I was holding Isabelle at the time, and we were both sprayed with blood from my nose as we watched him get into the car and drive off after drinking 9 tins of beer. I had no idea where he was going, when he'd be back, IF he'd be back, but I did know that I wasn't prepared to spend my life like this any longer. If he can do that to me (especially whilst holding a baby) then I didn't want him around.

My Father in Law sent me a message to let me know that he was at their house. He'd driven 5 hours up to Scotland after all that beer at 1.30 in the morning in the pitch black. A couple of days later we spoke on the phone. He said he'd like to come back to talk. I agreed to talk but told him he'd have to stay somewhere else. I wasn't prepared to have him in the house. And there was to be absolutely no drink involved. 

When he arrived home I was still so angry and wasn't happy to see him. We started to talk. Well, I started to talk. I asked him to listen. I told him everything that had happened over the years, what he'd done physically and verbally, and that I wasn't going to take it any longer. If he wanted to try and make a go of the relationship he had to stop drinking. Until he did, we had no relationship. He had chance to talk and say how he felt, and admitted he was hiding behind the drink at the weekend. he hated the fact that his weekends were lost. He got up anywhere between midday and 2 in the afternoon and was drinking again a few hours later. He couldn't remember Friday night to Monday morning. He was either drunk or hungover. He didn't like it and asked for help and support to fix it. We talked for 2 and a half days. He slept on the sofa during that time and then he admitted he is an alcoholic.

That was 4 years ago this Mother's Day coming. He hasn't had a drink since. I am so proud of him for it. He just stopped. The first few months were hard for him on Friday and Saturday nights, they were very hard, but now he is happy that he's stopped drinking. In fact, he also stopped smoking and went on a health kick. He lost 3 stone in weight by working out, watching what he ate, and generally being more active. He started cycling and running. 2 years ago he did his first organised run. He did the Manchester 10K. He was proud of what he'd done and so was I. Last year he ran the Chester half marathon. This year he has already run a 10K up the Great Orme (bloody big hill in Llandudno) and in May will be running his first Marathon. 

We no longer have huge arguments as if it's the end of the world. He's not a talker by nature, but will now address an issue if he really has to. Our relationship is so much nicer. Yes he still has his faults as you will see if you read back over my blog posts, but so do I and I'm sure I drive him as insane as he drives me from time to time. But on the whole, we work well as a couple, but he has changed so much, particularly in the last couple of years. His general personality and the entertainer in him that I loved from the start is still there, the main changes have been his awareness around him and others that are in his life. He said a couple of days ago, 'it's our wedding anniversary on Sunday, what do you fancy doing? Do you want to go anywhere in particular?' This wouldn't have happened before, even last year. 

Maybe we should buy matching anorak's and trainers now? LOL

I haven't said anything here that would bother me if my hubby were to read it. And I do love him, warts n' all now that we don't have the drink to contend with.

Thursday, February 25

A me day?

Today is going to be a me day.

That's what I decided last night when I went to bed. I have spent the last three weeks on and off running around like the proverbial blue arsed fly. Yesterday I was helping out in school all day and came home with a whopping headache although there were 30 beautiful hand made daffodils that I helped the 4 and 5 year olds make for St David's Day. (We live in North Wales so St David's Day is celebrated here, even though I'm totally English and know nothing about Welsh history having moved here 14 years ago).

My extra patchwork squares arrived yesterday morning, so that means I can now get on and finish Isabelle's patwork quilt (she keeps standing and stroking the work in progress). So I thought today, I'll get that finished then pop over to the material warehouse to get some wadding and backing material. I can have this quilt finished by the time she gets home.

Then the guilt kicked in. Hmmm, perhaps I should just clean the bathroom first before I start. I am not a housework lover by any means. I do what I have to, when I have to, so a quick lick with a cloth around the bathroom would ease that horrible little voice sitting on my shoulder shouting, you can't have time for yourself... you're not allowed. Do some housework. But I want to do this quilt... I nip upstairs and clean the bathroom. And the little shit voice on the shoulder starts again. You have to get the new tyre for your car remember. You've been saying you'll get it done all week. Bugger. Don't forget to book your MOT, it's nearly run out.. you're running out of time! Oh, and while you're getting your tyre, don't forget you got dumped on Mark asked you to get the tyre people to take the tyre of his motorbike wheel so he can get it cleaned up and all nice and shiny.

In order to do all this, you will have to go to the bank. Oh, and don't forget to put that cheque in while you're there. No, don't just go to the cash machine, you need to put that cheque in the bank. Yes I realise it's only £20 and it is payday tomorrow, so you can manage without putting it in, but it's been sat by your computer for a week already!

Ah, and don't forget you need to get milk, bread and something for dinner. You do have to keep feeding them you know. Yes I know it seems like you're always in the kitchen preparing food, but if you don't feed them you end up with a very loud whining noise coming from the kitchen and when you go in to see what the noise is, you are met with very large pitiful eyes and a bottom lip sticking out so much it's almost dragging on the floor, and that's just the hubby. 

Oh and while you're in the kitchen, don't forget to get on with the washing. I realise your washing machine was broken and out of action for a whole week. But just look at the mountains of clothes that built up in one week. Yes I know you think that a family of 10 moved in for that week judging by how much washing there is, but it's not going to jump in the washing machine all by itself you know.

Shut up you horrible little voice. Where did my 'me day' go?

Monday, February 22

To infinity .. and beyond!

Listen to that.. go on, just for a minute.. stop and listen.. 

silence! absolute and total silence! It is bliss!!

Whilst I absolutely love and adore my 4 year old daughter with every ounce of my body (that's one helluva lot of ounces btw), this morning is absoulte heaven. She has gone back to school. 

Although Isabelle is only 4, she's what you'd call an old 4 year old. She's growing up in a pretty much adult world, and can converse with you at any level. She has a great sense of humour (although her made up jokes are particularly bad), she will say things or do things just to make you laugh. I have just spent the last 9 days with her, just me and her alone until 6pm when her Dad gets home from work. She talks incessantly. Moreso than me (which may be hard to belive for those that know me!). She is a sponge for knowledge. She has to know everything (the in's and out's of a ducks arse as my late dad would say). She wants to know, how, why, when, what if... As much as I love passing information on to her (thank god for google!) when you are asked questions for 11 hours a day it gets tiring. Very tiring. My poor brain aches. All hail to the school teachers! 

This week we have baked, drawn, created, gone to the cinema, painted and various other activities that I can no longer remember, just to keep her occupied. I have to teach her to sit and chill out occasionally and that life doesn't have to be run at a billion miles an hour (although that's how her dad does life too). She constantly has to 'be doing' something. I have a pile of paintings (at least 30) that I can't throw away because she remembers every single one. And this week she has been making bags out of two sheets of A4 paper, cellotaping them together then making a handle for them. She has made at least one for everyone in the house. She has also made notebooks (again from A4 paper, but folded in half to include 6 pages each, with a pocket on the front and two crayons in) for everyone in the house and Russ's girlfriend. She has drawn so many pictures I've lost count. Yet again, we have to keep them all because she remembers every single one of them. She then goes to great lengths to tell you what is in each picture and why. 

It is one of life's absolute pleasures, drinking in her enthusiasm and her zest for life. I did struggle with 'which is the biggest planet mummy?' and other questions on the solar system because I just never learned about it. (thank god for google again). And then she launched into telling me why no one lives on Mars and Jupiter, but that she really wanted to go and live on the moon. She'd take her hat and gloves and scarf of course because it's really cold on the moon (apparently) and she'd have to have an oxygen tank so she could breathe (she really does know far more about the universe than I do! although I do know there's no atmosphere on the moon) and she then spent time designing her house that she would build on the moon. Of course she'd have to take tools with her because there are no shops on the moon to buy them from. She's got it all planned out. But then she'd like to move to Mars because it's a very pretty colour. She couldn't possibly go and live on Saturn, although she'd like to because of the pretty rings that Saturn has around it, but they're made from gas and rocks and you'd really struggle to get through them to land on Saturn in the first place. (yes, this is all from a 4 year old!)  If she carries on yapping at the rate she does, I may well send her into orbit anyway LOL. 

On another note, I've started my patchwork quilt. OMG how therapeutic was that? Although it did involve Isabelle's creativity (she wanted to choose which squares went where, and I had to explain about not getting the same pattern square or the same colour square in the same place as the last row), I really did enjoy doing it. Well, I did until I ran out of squares! I definatley underestimated how many squares I'd need. The next lot should arrive tomorrow. Mark was really impressed and told Isabelle that she has a very clever mummy (aww bless him) followed up by his 'whiney little boy face' saying he wants a patchwork quilt for himself. What? You're a grown man! yes, but I really really want a quilt for myself so I can snuggle up under it on the sofa at night. (oh good grief) OK, I'll make you one when Isabelle's is finished. To which he put on his really excited face and rubbed his hands together and said to Isabelle, mummy's going to make me one too.. hooray! (insert rolling eyes here). But at least I have another quilt to make when Isabelle's is done, and it'll keep me busy.

So now I'm off to put the kettle on and enjoy a bit more silence before I get stuck into trying to clear up this whirlwind / tornado stricken pig sty.

Friday, February 19

A call to all crafters

Do you craft? Do you make things? anything? Knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, quilting? baking?  any other craft?

If so, this website needs YOU! 

is a brand new forum based site bringing all aspects of crafting into one place. Somewhere all crafters can post messages, learn new skills or share their skills with others. Get discussions going, join in current discussions and share your knowledge base with those less knowledgeable.

There are so many excellent blogs out there with some brilliant craft makers showing the things they have made. But the only problem is it takes so long to trawl through loads of blogs to see them all and then have no real way of asking questions, so I thought I'd try and bring everyone together in one forum so that you can showcase your work and knowledge. Obviously this will never replace blogging.

I'd love you to come and join. Please don't leave me sitting there all on my own. Registration is free.. yes.. FREE... so come on over and join. and then invite all your craft making friends too.

I'd appreciate a quick blog message about it too if you get time. The more people that join, the more successful the Crafty Corner will be.

Come and be in at the start of something good.

At the moment, the forum is a free forum hence it not having it's own domain name, but if it takes off, I'm more than happy to buy a proper domain name for it.

What have you got to lose? Nothing.. so come on over :)

Thursday, February 18

Oh wow!

A short while ago, Heather at Notes from Lapland came up with a lovely idea of a Secret Post Club. (click the link to read the original post). Basically, Heather does all the backbreaking (or should that be finger-wearing-out?) work of each month, assigning each member of the club with another member of the club. Each in turn chooses a gift to send to their assigned member. Once the gift is received you can blog about it, or not, it's up to you. I've chosen to blog about it.

My gift arrived this morning and it was absolutely beautifully wrapped, as you can see. (sorry about the blur, my camera phone is a bit pants)

This is what was inside the beautiful wrapping.


Isabelle was so pleased to be included and had her own little parcel to open, which she LOVES. She is a princess and sticker aholic so the sticker book was a big hit.

I am in love with the absolutely gorgeous photo album. This is right up my street so to speak, and had I seen it in a shop, would have bought it myself. Very rustic and very me. And the photo printer that my hubby bought me for Christmas will now be put to fine use printing out plenty of photos to put in my new album. Did I mention that I absolutely love it? LOL The chocolate will go down a treat too, although I can see myself fighting for it.. I may just have to hide it.

Thank you so much to Beki at The Ramblings of an Everyday Mummy I can't even begin to tell you what a great choice of gift you made. xx

If you want to join in the Secret Post Club, pop along to Notes from Lapland by clicking the link I posted at the top and let Heather know you'd like to join in. We all love getting gifts through the post, and you can make someone's day by sending one.

Thanks Heather for setting it up.

The busiest picture in the world.. ever

I have a VERY creative daughter. Not surprising really as I'm quite creative myself and will try anything. 

My 4 year old's obsession with paper and cellotape is getting beyond a joke. Two reams of paper and 2 or 3 rolls of cellotape a month is going a bit far. But who am I to quash her creativity? She comes out of school with a whole weeks shopping worth of boxes cellotaped together in her latest creation and the teacher shaking her head at me, mouthing, sorry. The problem is, where the hell do I keep all her creations? She never forgets what she's made and will ask weeks later, 'where is the so and so I made?' eek.

As it's half term, she has gone into drawing overload. She's been making 'book's for everyone. This is three sheets of A4, folded in half then cellotaped together and then she's made a little pocket on the front to keep the crayons in. Bless her.. a work of art for each of us. it kept her occupied for ages.

As did this following drawing. I had to share it.. it is soooo busy. As you can see (I hope) it's at the park. Now.. she is starting to read and we had to discuss silent letters, as in 'k' at the beginning of know. I've told her it's a quiet letter and so you don't say it. So her word 'park' has a quiet 'y' at the end of it. Methinks we need to discuss quiet letters some more lol.

So in the picture, she is on the slide. Her brother Russ and sister Eve are on the see-saw. The mass of people in the middle are me and my friends on the roundabout (god only knows why, I never liked the roundabout LOL). Daddy is on the swing and the rest of the people are her school friends. The big blobs half way up the left hand side are roller skates ready for when she and her friends want to go home. And the spider is actually the sun LOL. All that said, I think it's a pretty complicated picture for a 4 year old.

She is very proud of this picture.

Wednesday, February 17

The Princess and The Frog.. Review

Today I took Isabelle for her very first trip to the cinema to see Disney's latest film, The Princess and The Frog, so I thought I'd do a review for anyone thinking about going to see it.
I was a bit apprehensive about taking Isabelle with her only being 4 and a half, but she did pretty well. She got a bit antsy half way through but then settled down again. She thoroughly enjoyed the film and I've had to print out pictures for her to stick on her bedroom wall and some others to colour in. She particularly likes Prince Naveen as the Frog. Good old Orange Wednesday's meant that I only had to pay for my ticket because if you text FILM to 241 if you're an orange customer it's 2 for the price of 1 cinema tickets every Wednesday. Both seats only cost me £5.60!

If you don't want to know the plot, please don't read on, it will spoil it for you.


The story centers on Tiana, a 19-year-old girl in 1920s New Orleans who encounters a talking frog. In reality, the frog is the semi-egotistical Prince Naveen, who has been, well...turned into a frog by Dr. Facilier, an evil voodoo peddler. When she agrees to kiss him, the result is that she becomes a frog too, and from here they embark on a journey across the lush Louisiana landscape to seek out the voodoo priestess Mama Odie, the only one who can help them. Along the way they meet up with Louis, an alligator jazz enthusiast, and Ray the Cajun firefly. 

As always with Disney films, the animation is wonderful. The characters are great and you like them immediately, although I'm still scratching my head as to why one of the main characters is a jazz trumpet playing alligator. The music, again, is wonderful, with plenty of jazz thrown in due to the setting being New Orleans. 
It is a typical boy meets girl, meet adversity, win the day in the end and live happily ever after Disney Fairytale, but hey, what's wrong with living in fantasy land for an hour and a half (97 minutes to be precise)? 

There weren't any real stand out songs in the film like there was in The Lion King (Hakuna Matata) but that's not to say they aren't good.

The baddie was a Black Magic Voodoo expert and Isabelle wasn't too keen on his team of voodoo dolls and shadow monsters, but she accepted them as being part of the film. In all fairness, the voodoo dolls were very colourful and looked like a bit like clowns, so I guess only adults would get the voodoo connection. I just hope that the shadow monsters don't come back to haunt her tonight.

There wasn't as much humour in it as there was in The Lion King or Pixar's Toy Story, where they aim a lot of the humour at the adults that wash straight over the kids' heads, it was more your typical Cinderella, Little Mermaid production with humerous parts in it and it did have Isabelle laughing out loud several times. I'm sure that this is going to be another of Isabelle's favourites when it comes out on DVD. 

It is a very likeable film with lovely characters in. I love Mad Mama Odie, the blind voodoo witch who reminds me of The Oracle in The Matrix, and when the frog pair ask her what they have to do to turn back into humans, she gives them a cryptic answer.

I asked Isabelle her favourite part and she said... the end bit.. I won't give it away though ;)

Monday, February 15

Humble Pie...

Yes I have to eat humble pie, but in this instance, I really don't mind.

On Friday night with Valentines Day looming for Sunday I prepared myself for a non event. Mr most-unromantic-person-in-the-world hubby came home from work and said, Oh, it's Valentine's Day on Sunday isn't it. I nodded. How about we go for a drive out on Sunday and get some lunch somewhere? (me trying to hide shocked look) He continued, it's no good me trying to take you out for a meal at night as we can't get a babysitter, so I thought it would be nice if we all went together. Yes, I said, that would be lovely.

Sunday morning arrived and a huge card was waiting for me. Shock, followed by even more shock when I read what he'd written inside. It wasn't a last minute from the garage or the Spar card either. He'd written a lovely message for me. Now I'm really not sure who this hubby is. This has never happened before. Even when he's got a card to keep me quiet because he can't stand the grumbling if he hadn't bothered, it's always been under protest and a token gesture with just a kiss drawn inside. he outdid himself by a long way this time. He'd also got Isabelle a small card and she spent the whole day guessing who it could be from bless her. She never once thought it was her dad.

So we drove out to find somewhere for lunch and found a lovely really ye olde worlde tea rooms / restaurant. We were expecting to just eat something light, soup or something, as funds are a little low (as always) but it was only £10 each for a 3 course meal, which we opted for. It was absolutely delicious! With the starter they bought a single red rose for me and a beautifully wrapped present for Isabelle (a game for her to play). The Eton Mess was scrummy and Mark sat making noises to himself as he devoured cheesecake in butterscotch sauce. Isabelle plowed her way through three scoops of ice-cream (the little piggy).

So my humble pie is eaten without any bad feelings, and we had a lovely day.

Friday, February 12

That's my boy...

It's funny really (well to me anyway) that my son is now 19, almost 20, yet I still have 'mummy moment's over him. He's always been the type of kid you had to shove forward really encourage to get him involved in anything. He was afraid of people and new places, and situations he'd never been in before. He was a very timid mummy's boy, even in his teens although he didn't let on to his mates.
He has grown into a strapping young man and his lack of self confidence has now all but gone. I put this down (largely) to my (now hubby) teaching my son guitar at the age of 9. He gave him a few chords and said go and practice. My son wanted to 'play a song' so my hubby taught him to play Smoke on the water and he played it over and over until my ears bled. But my son has moved on from that and is now an excellent guitar player and is in a band. 

He had a gig last night and asked me to go along (as usual) to take some photographs. Now I realise he uses this as a veil for actually getting me to the gig as he knows I love photography, but he loves me to go and see the band play live. His confidence on stage is amazing. To see this once timid little mouse stand up on stage and strutt his stuff doing what he loves gives me a huge mummy moment, even though I've seen him perform dozens of time, I still get the 'that's my boy' feeling when I see him up there.

I'm going to link to their MySpace page but please be warned. They have several of their tracks on there if you fancy a listen. They are noisy and loud! and they do use the F word quite a bit, so if you've got kids around you, beware that they swear. 

Anyway Tha Repetitionz on MySpace if you want to make your ears bleed LOL my son plays lead guitar (listen out of the guitar solo's) and I think the lead singer (not the rapper) has an amazing voice, particularly when he gets going. Try Tequilla Mockingbird (my fave). or Cheyne Stoking (I love the bit at the end of this song if you get that far, and they all do an irish jig on stage to it lol). If you do go listen, I'd love to know what you think... although I think their music is an aquired taste. But I like dirty rock music, so I like their stuff :) The track called Christmas Cover Version is The Repetitionz version of Rage Against The Machines Christmas Number 1, Killing in the name of. It does have the F word in it a lot, but if you can bear it, my son's solo towards the end is pretty cool. (can you tell I'm a proud mummy? lol) It is recorded live so it's not very polished, but you get the idea LOL

The photo of them on the bridge on their MySpace page is one of mine (grin) and so are these.

So I'm busy editing photographs taken at the gig last night, 6 done, 99 to go.. I might be busy for a while.

Thursday, February 11

Happy what?

So, it's Valentine's Day on Sunday. It's a day so many people look forward to, to being loved up, spoiled and generally having a mushy day.

Not in this house.

For three weeks now, Mark has been grumbling on about how it's all a media and consumer hype to rake in the cash from the general public. My protestations of, 'but it's a day to let someone that you love (ie, me) know how you feel about them'.

I'm sure I've mentioned before, in fact I know I have, that Mark is the most unromantic person I've ever known. He is not demonstrative, at all. I'm a touchy, feely type of person. I need to know that I'm loved and there is nothing better than getting a cuddle for no reason. But that never happens in our house. I am supposed to know he loves me by the fact that he comes home every night, or by the fact that he made me a cup of coffee. (also a rare occasion).

I e-mailed the message above to him at work today. He replied (there's an achievement in itself) saying 'oh how well you know me'. LOL

So will he or won't he? Will he bother buying a card despite all his complaints, just so that it makes me happy? Or will he stick to his guns and say it's all a huge waste of time and money?

Time will tell. 

Wednesday, February 10

Back to school....

When I saw the lovely Lollipop Heart flowers that TheMadHouse posted, I thought it was a lovely idea.

So I printed it off and took it to school to show to Isabelle's teacher. She also thought it was a lovely idea, in fact she thought it was an even better idea that I went in to help the children make them. erm... oh.. er... ok, yes.. er... why not. And so I was roped in.

While my eldest two kids were young (I'm talking 20 (cough) years ago now) I used to work as a playgroup supervisor. I basically ran the playgroup. In those days (sounding VERY old) there were no such things as nursery schools for kids under 5, so they all went to playgroup until they were old enough for school at 5 years old. I loved my job. I was allowed to get all these kids messy when making things as long as they washed somewhere near clean afterwards. I then went on to run a creche for about 20 kids from tiny babies to 5 years old. And once my kids got to school age, I ended up working in the schools. But as the kids grew I decided to go on a course at college which then qualified me as a PA/Office Manager, which is what I went on to do. And over the years, memories of kids walking up a line of wallpaper with paint on their feet was shelved to the back of my mind.

Then along came Isabelle nearly 5 years ago and I became a SAHM because none of my family live near enough to childmind. I've adapted quite nicely thank you very much, to being home with my baby/toddler/little girl. 

And so I was asked to help in her class to make these valentines flowers. I spent all day yesterday and up till lunch time today with these kids all aged 4 and 5, talking about symmetry and symmetrical (bloody big word for kids this age, let alone expect them to understand the concept of it.. although some did) and they made symmetrical patterns on the petals before threading them onto a lollipop - which the kids got so excited about bless them LOL.

I have absolutely LOVED being back in amongst this age range. In general they are such receptive little sponges, they take everything in that you tell them, and give it right back to you. It's made me realise that this is what I'm meant to do. I was good at my PA/Office role, or so I was told, but you just don't get the same enthusiasm from a bunch of male engineers that you do from 4 and 5 year olds. 

It's so pleasing to be able to make a child laugh with a silly comment, or to get such a positive response when you ask them if they can do something, and if they can't do it, when you've helped them they can then do it for themselves. They are so proud of what they've achieved and you give them the praise and a big smile, and there's such a feelgood factor about it all. You never know what each child is going home to and what their homelife is like, but to see them joining in and so happy at that moment in time gives me a really good feeling.

One thing that surprised me is the reception I got from these kids when I went back in this morning. They've accepted me straight away as if I've always been there. Lots of 'good morning's' were said to me and some were really pleased I was back there today. 

(woah.. talk about a gushing moment there LOL)

So I am now volunteered to go into school each Wednesday to help out. I'm sure it won't be long before I'm there for more than just a Wednesday. LOL. I've got my forms to fill in and send off for my CRB (police clearance) which is not a problem, I've had so many over the years and I'm completely clean.. honest. And there was mention about NVQ's etc and that the school do actually put people through NVQ courses as all my previous child care qualifications are no longer valid because I did them so long ago and the system has completely changed since I did them. But I'd be happy to do the qualifications needed, especially if the school are going to pay LOL. I could very happily go back into this wonderful world of innocence and creativity.

Sunday, February 7

Dear Hubby...

Not that he will ever read this but...

Dear Hubby,

The washing/drying/ironing fairies are getting a bit fed up with the extra work that you are creating for them. They have never known anyone leave their clothes in such an un-washable state. In fact, they are sometimes amazed at how you ever got your clothes off in that particular fashion.

Is it necessary to:
1.  roll your socks up into a tiny ball before you put them in the wash basket/on the floor/in the uplighter?
2.  Take your jeans/trousers/shorts off so that one leg is the right way and the other is inside out?
3.  roll your boxers up into such a tangle it's hard to un-ravel them?
4.  take a shirt off so that the sleeves are still rolled up, the shirt is still buttoned up and one arm is in and one arm is out?
5.  take a t-shirt off so that it's half the right way and half inside out?
    This makes the already tedious job of sorting the washing out into different loads much more of a pain in the ass job and twice as long due to straightening the clothes up so that they can be washed/dried/ironed.

    Is it also necessary to leave several jackets in various places in the house? and several pairs of trainers/boots/bike boots in various other places in the house and then claim you "didn't see them" when the shoe putting away fairies happen to mention that there are six pairs of your footwear kicking around in one room?

    The bin emptying fairy is also getting a bit pigged off with having to empty the bin constantly. Your claims of "I didn't notice it was full" are not believed, particularly when you are seen lifting the lid to get extra rubbish in, or when you 'pop it in the top' thus leaving the swing lid 'swung' because there is so much rubbish in there. Claims of 'I don't know where the bin bags are' are also not believed as you know full well where to find a bin bag to put bike bits in to keep them dry in the garage.

    The washing up fairies also have a small concern at why it seems necessary to use every mug/cup/glass in the house instead of rinsing and using the one you used last.

    Claims of 'I didn't think' are believed, because we are fully aware that you don't think a lot of the time, especially when it's not your responsibility to deal with the above tasks, but a bit of common courtesy would not go amiss occasionally.

    Kind regards

    Your slightly pissed off housework fairy. xx

    Thursday, February 4

    Laughing eyes...


    I still miss your smile and your laughing eyes. I am supposed to take comfort from the fact that you are still with me because I look so much like you, and I have the same laughing eyes that you did. Those beautiful blue eyes that shone when you looked at me. They sparkled when you laughed and smiled, which you did often. Despite deep sorrow inside from what life had thrown at you, you carried on and still laughed and smiled, and I could see how much you loved me when you looked at me, even when I visited you in hospital, the very last time I saw you. 

    Your eyes were different then. They weren't the sparkling blue that I was used to. They were grey and dull, but when you saw me, they lit up and sparkled for one last time. Everyone commented about it after you'd gone. They said it was like a small miracle. You had been so sad and dispondent. They said your soul was dying along with you. They could see in your eyes, the way they'd dulled, that you were going. Yet when I came to see you, they changed for one last time. I have to admit, I was a bit shocked to see your lifeless eyes, to start with but the immediate change when you saw me was uplifting. I knew I'd never see you alive again. It was so very painful for me. And as I said goodbye to you, and told you that I'd be back again the following week on Father's Day I knew I wouldn't get to look into those eyes again. If only I didn't live so far away, you know I'd have been there every day with you. Your eyes changed right before me as I gave you a kiss and told you I love you and I'd see you soon. It was like someone was pulling the curtains over your eyes again. They changed back to grey, no longer the vibrant blue that I knew and loved. You didn't tell me you'd see me soon. You said I love you, and told me to take care and look after myself. You told Mark, not asked, told him to take care of me, you made him promise. I knew then that this was the last time.  Two days later you were gone. I'd never look into those eyes again. They'd never shine with your smile, or say I love you without speaking. No one would ever look at me and adore me again, the way you did. 

    Yesterday should have been your birthday. You should have been 72, but you were taken from me six years ago. You were taken from us all, but I know that your death affected me the most. Six years later, I'm sat typing this with tears rolling down my cheeks once more, missing you so much it hurts. It's supposed to get easier with time, easier to deal with. Whilst I don't cry on a daily basis, I only have to stop and think of you for a moment and the pain of you not being here anymore is so bad, just like it was the day you died.

    I can't talk to anyone in our family about it, although I've tried. They don't get it. They don't understand how it still hurts me so much, afterall, it's almost six years. I should have got a grip on it now. Generally I do, but there are times when I just get so emotional about you not being here anymore. 

    I love you Dad. It's no good wishing you happy birthday because it's no longer your birthday. It's the date of your birth. It's no longer a happy day, it's a day that makes me sad.

    Wednesday, February 3

    It's creeping up on me...

    Age that is.

    I've been for an eye test today. I knew my eyesight wasn't right, particularly in my right eye. As a photographer, the easiest way for me to describe it is that my right eye doesn't seem to want to autofocus properly, particularly when reading or watching TV. I've also noticed that I've been working myself up into a very anxious state when driving at night. I just can't see properly. So I booked for the test.

    Eyesight has always been a concern for us all in our family. My dad wore glasses for as long as I knew, and my mum is registered blind. She is an albino, and has no pigment in her skin and her irises have no colour. She was also born with very poor eyesight and is in fact, registered blind. She does have some vision, but very little. I'm sure it was a great relief when all three of us kids were born without albinioism and with good eyesight, as were 7 grandchildren. My nephew has had to have glasses since he was about 18 months old, and my brother (not my nephew's father, my other brother) had to have glasses last year.

    So, the results of my test, I am long sighted. (eh?) After googling it, the summary is: Long sightedness affects your ability to see close-up objects, opposed to short sightedness which is: a problem of vision that causes distant objects to appear blurred, while close objects can still be seen clearly.

    Thank you very much for the examination, and now on to choosing some glasses. I didn't want anything too obvious, too dark, too heavy, too square, too round, too small, too big.. lets face it, I didn't really want glasses LOL.
    I have a round face and I needed a pair of glasses that sort of blend in rather than shout out and make a statement. All the 'trendy' glasses are small rectangular shape with heavy rims. eek! Also, the price range was going to be a problem. So I started at the £45 sections which actually turned out to be the Grandma section (by Grandma I don't mean young Grandma's I mean 80 year old Grandma's). I was surprised but happy to find out that the price of the glasses actually included the price of the lenses (they didn't used to be like that) and if I was prepared to go into the £65-£85 section, I could buy one get one free.. pair that is, not lens LOL, so that would mean I could have a pair for in the car as I basically need to wear glasses for everything except walking around and sleeping. I have to wear them for computer work, watching TV, reading, close up work and driving. If I didn't get the free pair I'd spend my life running around looking for glasses wondering where I'd left them, in the house or in the car? I'd get to the car and have to go into the house for them. I'd go to put them on in the house and have to go to the car to get them. So a pair for the house and a pair for the car seems a bloody good idea.

    So, on to choosing them. I tried loads on and didn't like any of them. The opticians guy who was helping me choose said, I bet you don't have this problem choosing shoes haha. (cue smack round the head for him!) He was joking and we'd been bantering for a while anyway in good humour so I kindly (and laughingly) told him I own one pair of boots, one pair of trainers and a pair of sandals. It's my husband that is the shoeaholic in our house, owning no less than two pairs of biker boots, four pairs of trainers, two pairs of work shoes and a pair of walking boots. He looked shocked LOL. So, back to the glasses. He was actually very good and agreed with me on the non-choices. He passed me another pair and I tried them on, he said.. yes, that's them, they look gorgeous. I found it amusing that a pair of glasses can be described as looking gorgeous lol but they did look ok, for a pair of glasses that I really didn't want to have to buy. So that was settled, I'd have that pair. So then he said.. what about the second pair? Do you want to go for similar, something different? Oh god, I'd got to go through it all again for another pair. I would have had the same pair again as the free pair, but there wasn't a second set of frames.. oh grrrrrrr. I finally chose a second pair and got measured up for them. We ended up having a really good discussion about books and one of the opthalmists joined in LOL 

    I was told they'd be ready in a week, but I could ring on Saturday as chances are, they'd be in by then anyway. 

    At least no one will be able to say 'shoulda gone to specavers' because that's where I went LOL. 

    It will be nice to be able to watch TV without it all blurring and I'll be able to read any text on the TV because at the moment, I just can't bloody read it. It all blends into one after a while. I hope it will make driving a much more pleasurable experience, because I enjoy driving. I also have a stack of books to read (another one arrived this morning yay!) from the swaps made on