About Me

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Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Born in the year of the Coronation, I'm a Baby Boomer. In April of this year I decided I too would have a Diamond Jubilee celebration and completely change my life and that of my Husband's in the process

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

The Party's Over

The colour is RED......

The colour of my bank account balance, my eyes, my cheeks, even my feet!

I have spent a million hours cooking and doing all the other chores that kept a houseful of six adults happy over the festive period. There was one major falling out, which resulted in my son and daughter making up and really talking to each other for the first time in years, the odd broken household item (we have a few clumsy bods in this house) and the dog bit me. All in all, a fairly normal Christmas. It's never total 'Peace and Harmony' in this house, no matter how hard I try.

I think the dog bit me because he is now getting very old (13) and cannot adjust to a sudden invasion of people. Mike had gone up to bed and I was still downstairs with the children and their partners, probably being a bit louder than he is used to, so he sloped off upstairs and got on the bed with his 'Daddy'.

When we all wanted to go to bed I went and told him it was bedtime, meaning, get off our bed and go to the kitchen, to yours. He didn't want to and started growling at me, I got hold of his collar to give him a bit of encouragement in the right direction, I had barely touched him and he bit me. Really hard! I was not impressed, so regardless of the bite, yanked him off the bed and hustled him down the stairs, where he got a severe telling off and the error of his ways was pointed out to him. I'm used to the children getting overwrought at Christmas but the dog is a complication I can do without.

Christmas day went without a hitch and dinner was excellent, every single plate was cleared which has to be a first, although we were all stuffed, nobody wanted to leave a morsel.

Boxing day and the day after was wedding dress hunting. I was in town at 8am yesterday, for the start of Monsoon's sale and we got 'The Dress'. which I have to say is beautiful. As they are having a smaller wedding now, seeing as a baby is on the way, a full length wedding dress seemed inappropriate but the dress we found is made of the gossamer of dreams, bound together with silk and silver.

If we do get through the minefield of administration in Germany and get this wedding sorted before they both go off the idea, then she will look like the Ice Princess, marrying, hopefully in a snowy forested mountain setting in Germany. I daren't put a picture on here of it yet, just in case someone sees it that shouldn't but I can tell you, she brought the fitting rooms to a stop when she came out wearing it, all the other ladies in there wanted to coo over her , which made me feel very proud.

Today was for Mike and I alone. It was his first day without work in ages and Simon has gone back to Faslane and Catherine has gone to spend a couple of days with Nan and my stepfather Wilf.

Wilf fell down the stairs the night before last and when all the family went over to their house yesterday for a get together, he was not at all well. He will be 80 at the end of January. Catherine is always very bossy but for once this worked out well. Last night, after the rest of the family had gone home, she insisted that he went to hospital, which he had been refusing to do all day. Nobody can stand up to Catherine for very long and after an hour or so he agreed to go to A&E, where they said he had broken a rib and gave him some strong painkillers. 

Flo had to fly back to Germany unexpectedly today, his band had a booking for a show tonight, which should have been cancelled but for some reason hadn't been. He got a call on Boxing Day saying, 'get your ass over here ', as this was from his record company, he didn't have much choice but as the band hasn't played together for 6 weeks it could be an interesting experience in front of 1500 Punk Rockers!

Mike and I went to the Radnor Forest today, on the border of England & Wales, not too far from Hereford.

The Radnor Forest is very interesting, as it isn't (a forest that is). It has very few trees but it is an incredibly beautiful area of valleys, mountains (large hills) and sheep, with some wonderful old farmhouses, which today all had their log fires going and you could see the smoke rising up in the still atmosphere. In places there was a slight sprinkling of snow.

We had lunch in an ancient coaching inn, sat beside a log fire which was in a fireplace the size of my office. I have a strong belief in the healing of the spirit and that's what I think I did today. In fact I think if anyone has  problems, a day out in the border lands of England and Wales can be a wonderful tonic. There is something truely magical and soothing about the area. All of the towns on the border, from North to South, have a strange similarity and for the most part, have been left wonderfully intact. Here's a link to a property we really liked the look of, I can't believe the price, you could just about buy something grotty in Worcester for that.

Property For Sale - Cromwell Lodge, 45 Hereford Street, Presteigne, Powys - Mc

I have taken a number of photos with our Christmas present, a Fuji Finepix S5600. I mention the make in case someone is looking for a new camera. I haven't had time to read how to do more complex things with it yet, all of the pictures above were taken on Auto but I must say I'm very impressed.

To all my friends whom I know in person, a very Happy New Year  and  to all the friends I know through my Blog a very Happy New Year to you too.


Saturday, 17 December 2005


If you don't understand the title, I'm quoting Noddy Holder from what must surely be his Pension Fund, seeing as that record has been dragged out every year for the last 30 something Christmases.

And to me, that is what Christmas is all about. Tradition. The same old, safe, things. Nothing too surprising, unless it's something wrapped underneath the tree.If you're lucky, a loving family around you, the usual, excessive amount of food, helped down by the best wines your budget will stretch to.

In our house, it also means watching The Amazing Mr Blunden, this year on DVD, rather than the slightly foggy video copy recorded from the telly about 15 years ago. As usual I shall cry when the pretty, teenage, Lynne Frederick (Peter Sellers widow, herself, no longer with us) is distraught at being sent back to her own time without her brother. As she screams 'I won't go without Jamie' and berates Mr Blunden for always being too late, I will be  there, trying to deal with the tears running down my face without  anyone noticing but Mike is normally having a similar problem. Diana Dors is wonderfully horrible as the  murderous housekeeper.

Although the main part of the film takes place during the summer, it starts of on a snowy winter's night, where an impoverished family are trying to make the most of Christmas after their father had been killed in the First World War but everything comes good at the end. What more could you ask from a Christmas film?

Whether you believe in 'The Christmas Story,'  or not, surely the message is still just as important. It's a time to demonstrate our love to one another, something we hope we do all the time but sadly, in the traumas of day to day life, that message isn't always coming through loud and clear.

Unfortunately the pressures put on us by the Media and the High Street stores, turns what should be a happy and joyous time into something more akin to 'going over the top' at The Somme.

Every year I say 'That's It! Next year I shall scale it all down but I can't help myself, I love everyone to have a pile of presents to open on Christmas Day, even though some of them are only silly little things, each one has been bought with all the love I feel for the person receiving it.

This year Mike will be on the radio from 3 till 6 in the afternoon, instead of his usual Breakfast Show, that means we can't eat until the evening, which means a change to our usual routine. A few weeks ago, we thought my son wouldn't be here on Christmas Day, as he will be very busy on his submarine getting ready to go to sea.

As I thought it would just be Mike and myself, plus daughter and boyfriend, I had the temerity to think of making things a little easier for myself and not cook the usual Ostrich sized turkey. I asked the 'Germans' what they thought about Beef Wellington. Wonderful, they said.

Jolly good, this would be a special meal but so much easier.................................... Deep inside my brain little voices were saying 'What are you thinking?' 'Where's the tradition in Beef Wellington?' 'Grandma would never have served Beef Wellington!'

That last thought was very true, it would never have served 12 for lunch and supper for 30. What size bird she used to buy I have no idea but there was always plenty to go round. No wonder it had to go on the night before to be cooked in time!

I was not happy with myself, I felt I was letting myself down but , 'Fear not, said she, for mighty dread had siezed my troubled mind'. My son was about to save the day!

I received a text saying son and girlfriend would now be arriving on the 23rd and staying till Boxing Day. The Royal Navy have decided he can come home for Christmas after all.

If I had nagging doubts before, I was now into panic mode. He wasn't going to like the Beef Wellington idea. Even though he's not keen on roast dinners, my son is a traditionalist. I don't know where he gets it from, he's like my dad in some respects. 

My son is the most complex person I know, he was born Conservative and old fashioned and his sense of humour is a delicate thing, he never finds anything about himself amusing, you are not allowed to laugh at his mistakes but he's always the first to point out others. His mission in life is to correct his wayward, embarrassing mother, yet, when he worked with me, thought nothing of wearing a mini skirt, make up and blonde wig and being Britney Spears at the office Christmas Party and topping it off with a Full Monty routine!

I knew he wasn't going to like the Beef Wellington idea.

I phoned him.

Me. "Hi"

Son. "Hello, what do you want?"

(He's sussed me out already!)

Me."You know you said you wouldn't be here for Christmas and I thought it was just going to be four of us, well your sister and I thought Beef Wellington would be a good idea"

Son. Pause for effect " Are you sure about this?" This is said in the tone you would explain something to a backward child.

Me "But you don't like roast dinners"

Son. "That's not the point, turkey is what we have"

Well, I'm glad we cleared that up, we're now having Turkey and Beef Wellington. That should make things a little easier for me! At least this year I have all day to prepare and cook it.

I missed writing last week's journal, partly because I didn't have very much free time but mainly because I was tired and emotionally drained. School at this time of year is enough on it's own, add to that the worries of my daughter over in Germany awaiting her first scan, plus the general logistics of Christmas. My head felt like it had a million thoughts banging around in there and not one managed to come to the forefront for more than a moment, the result was I felt exhausted and mildly depressed.

Things are a littlebetter now but I still don't feel my usual self, hopefully it will improve now I'm getting on top of things, rather than the other way around.

Daughter had her scan on Thursday and I have now met my first grandchild, she sent me a picture of the scan. What a wonderful tool the Internet is. Everything is fine and it has the right number of the usual bits and pieces, we have been given a date in late June.

I 'met' another member of my family for the first time this week. That came as a bit of a shock, as I was in bed at the time.

Just over two years ago I found my mother's Uncle, who died in WW1, on the CWGC website and was able to tell her when he died and where he was buried. He was my mother's mother's oldest brother, his name was Isaac Tromans and he died aged 22 in July 1918 and is buried in Acheux in Northern France. We don't have a photo of him but Mum had been told he looked like a film star.

So there I was, in bed, leafing through The Black Country Bugle, which is a weekly newspaper devoted to the area I come from, and contains, mainly, people's old photos and memories and is a family researcher's bible.

There was a full page article about a woman fulfilling a long cherished ambition of going to vist her great Uncle's grave in Acheux. There were various photos, including one of the young man who was tragically killed. As I started to look at the photo I didn't need to look at the name to know who this was, after all, those eyes look back at me from the mirror every morning. I've often wondered where I got those slightly down turned, almond shaped eyes from. I know now which branch of the family they come from.

Here for the first time, I was looking at my great Uncle Isaac. If you think this photo would have been taken about 90 years ago, you can see why he was thought to have film star looks. In an area where poverty was commonplace and poor diet led to children looking old before their time, you can understand why this young man was considered a bit special. I confess I cried at the loss and the waste.

This of course brings unanswered questions, who is this unknown second cousin, also called Linda. I shall have to try to contact her through The Bugle, as I'm sure we must have plenty to talk about, I wonder if she knows about Joseph (seen in an earlier post), who was Isaac's youngest brother and died from Diptheria in the late 1920's?

My son's Ex girlfriend, who is still very much part of the family, thankfully without any difficulties (not like the Stalker), has just gone on her travels. She was made redundant from her job and is using a little of her payoff to see the World. I hope she has a wonderful time. My only niece is going to do the same thing in February, how life has changed from when I was young. Then, the only people who went travelling were hippies, who mostly went to Morrocco and smoked 'herbal' cigarettses. 

Well, I can't stop here chatting. Time to go and get more things done in preparation.

If Catherine, in France, has time to read this, much love to you and if you are over here and have a spare minute, try to pop in.

Merry Christmas Everyone. xxxx


Saturday, 3 December 2005

This time of year it's difficult to cram everything in and I was very tempted to give up writing my journal but as I am writing it for friends and family abroad and myself as a record of my life (because I can never remember anything), I decided I must persevere while I can.

Apart from visiting my friend with the nutty boyfriend, I don't seem to have been anywhere much except school. It's very busy there now as Christmas production and Christingle Service preparations are paramount. I designed the tickets for the Christingle Service on Friday, yet.....hold hard,.... what's this I hear.

No! It is not to be the Christingle Service but The Christmas Service. Well here's a turn up for the books. Our Year Head has said he doesn't want a Christingle Service as it's modern claptrap and he want's it to be a Christmas Service, in the old tradition.

Well!!! Stripe me pink and knock me down with a feather. All I've heard lately is, Don't call it Christmas, it'll offend 'some people'. Call it Winterval, or Winterfest instead. Well I'll tell you who that attitude offends, it offends ME! 

If anyone reading my journal agrees with this potty, so called political correctness twaddle, then please leave right now, you are not welcome in my journal. The exit is over there on the right, behind the red cross.

Sorry, that gets my dander up more than almost anything.

Now, where was I, oh yes, what a rarity, someone standing up for old Christian traditions. I designed him a very attractive ticket with a little nativity scene as a reward for his support of traditions and he seemed pleased, its hard to tell sometimes if he's smiling, or just has wind.  

I had a surprise on Wednesday night, Mike had been out working all evening, so when we went to bed he took the local evening paper up with him to read. He suddenly gave astart and said 'Look at this!'

There was a small photo of him and alongside it it       said turn to page whatever to read about 'Star DJ'. Now this came as a bit of a shock, after 22 years of marriage to suddenly find myself in bed with a Star DJ.

I wish I'd known earlier, I might of taken advantage of it, like offering to  High Street Jewellers to model their expensive diamond necklaces when attending the Mayor's Ball or the like. Or maybe Jaguar would like me to drive one of their cars for a year. No, I think I'm getting carried away here, it was only The Worcester Evening News.The actual article was about the quiz he went to last week, the one where he went to the wrong pub, well, several wrong pubs really!

At home my time has been taken up with finishing off a family history project and it has been a mammoth task, for a new found relative in Corby and my great uncle's family in Massachusetts (is that how you spell it, I never manage to say it right either). Luckily they both are from the same branch, so it made it a bit easier to get both done in time for Christmas. But, Ouch! £6.50 to post the one to America, I finally got it posted today.

Never mind, it will be worth it as the American branch know next to nothing about their roots, their father was one of those poor Home Children, shipped off to Canada in 1916, when he was only 10.

 I know they will be thrilled to have some sort of Paternal line now but I'm very sad I couldn't have done this in Uncle Leonard's lifetime. He was over the moon when he was able to come to England in his later life and meet all his half brothers and sisters and their offspring. He adored my daughter Catherine and I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, as I know how much this family research would have meant to him. From the age of ten until his 70's, he had no blood relatives, other than his own children and it was a loss he felt very keenly.  

Catherine is well and was off to the Frankfurt Christmas Market today, if they are still liviing there I think we will have to try to go next year.

One of the other things I have been doing is restoring a photo I recently found of my Mum  in her Granddad's garden, note the pigeon loft in the background. Until recently we only had a very pale version of this picture. I have managed to remove most of the cracks and splodges and she will have a print of this to go in a frame, as it is a picture that means a lot to her.

I have also made a version with holly and Christmas images, which makes a lovely card for her but I can't work out how to get that on here.

Not much else to report. Mike (The Star DJ)'s just returned from a trip to Watford to see his beloved team play badly. So time for a glass of wine and our dinner I think.