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

Saturday, 29 April 2006

George Mansions Hotel

I decided that, as The Queen has a Birthday Portrait done each year, I would have one also. 



This picture has been specially chosen, as it was taken in the week of my birthday and I found something to be taken alongside, which actually makes me look young and small! The tree is to be found in the churchyard at Much Marcle, Gloucestershire and is about 1500 years old.


What a thought that is! Imagine what periods of history it has lived through. It started life circa 500AD, which I think was classed as the Dark Ages when I was at school and it has already lived through 300 times my present life span. Amazing.


Sunday evening brought a phone call in the continuing saga of my accident-prone stepfamily. My mother, having married into it, obviously doesn’t want to be left out, as she has now started hurling herself to the ground in car parks and getting carted off to hospital. My stepfather has fallen downstairs twice since Christmas and my stepbrother almost died in a car accident the summer before last and is only just really getting over it.


This week it was the turn of my step niece, who competes in Show Jumping around the country. On Sunday her horse somersaulted, whilst taking a jump and landed on Emma 2 (Not to be confused with my niece Emma 1, who is in Australia at present) Emma 2 has ended up with a fractured pelvis, in no less than 5 places. I hope she makes a speedy recovery and is soon up and around.


Simon and Tori stayed with us until Tuesday and then they both went back to work. Tori to London and Simon, to Faslane.


Simon had to have a couple of days in the simulator, where they pretend things are going horribly wrong and he then has to put them right. He will be stopping off here tonight to say hello to his sister, before continuing on to Tori’s.


He has been told he is being drafted to another submarine that is having a refit, so will be based in Devon from June. That means he won’t have to go to sea again for at least 18 months.


Catherine and Flo arrived on Wednesday evening. They are both well but Catherine is looking quite different from the girl I saw get married in March, she’s put on a lot of weight, it’s a good job they decided not to wait for both of their brothers to return from overseas, or rather, in Simon’s case, underseas.


I have to keep typing this in snatched moments, it is now Saturday morning and I need to go shopping soon, as it’s 15 adults and a toddler for dinner tonight. The weather seems to be set fair, so I’m going to barbeque. Kebabs, burgers and sausages and a large bowl of Coronation Chicken, should please everyone. My sister has offered to do some salad, so that and a large bowl of buttered new potatoes means I can get some gardening done today and only an hour or two of food preparation.


I plan to take some photos of Catherine and will do an extra entry this week, as I want to record our last time together before she becomes a mother.


If all goes according to plan, the next time we will meet up is when I fly to Germany, the day before the baby is due to be delivered on the 14th June.


Catherine and I have just been discussing the oddities of my mother. She never washes her own hair, she goes to the hairdressers once a week and that’s it. She has straw hair. Catherine and I have smooth hair and if I don’t wash mine every day I wouldn’t dare go out. At 53 and going through the menopause, I still have greasy hair and the odd teenage spot!


Catherine can’t understand how my mother has never had to shave her legs in her life. Mum has dark hair, so you would expect it to be necessary. I, on the other hand, seem to have inherited my mother’s dark hair but my father’s hairy legs. How unfair is that!

I just said to Catherine I had legs like Godzilla, only I think I was in the wrong Monster Movie, I think I meant King Kong, although, I have to admit, they are looking a bit scaly this morning.


The new neighbours children are very sweet and keep talking to us when we are gardening. Lauren, aged 5, wanted to know from my husband, if two men got married, were they gay? Mike said, well they would probably be quite happy.


Must dash, Sainsbury's is calling.


Sunday, 23 April 2006

Sailor's Return!

It’s been a long week!


Easter Monday started fair, the wind dropped and we decided to try to reclaim our garden. Every winter it gets out of control. The soil is very heavy clay, apart from the herbaceous border, which has pretty good soil, unfortunately it is backed by a Leylandii hedge, which takes a lot out of it, AND needs a death defying trim each spring. (Death defying because it is about eight feet high and on a slope)


Mike went up the stepladder, with the electric hedge trimmers, the steps slipped and he cut his wrist. No surprise there! Mike cannot go in the garden without acquiring some sort of injury. In fact he can’t do the washing up, any form of housework or decorating without acquiring some sort of injury. Can you see a pattern emerging here? After 22 years of marriage I have learnt to take no notice, unless he gets a doctors note, even then I will still require him to perform these duties, as I am not doing them all on my own.


We went to Homebase bought a different type of ladder and returned to do six hours of none stop gardening. At the end of the day, you could see a difference but there is an awful lot still to do. From midday until four there were people on the field at the bottom of the garden on motorbikes and quad bikes. The noise and fumes were unpleasant to say the least, I shall be keeping an eye on their activities and if necessary finding out if we can do anything. Our next-door neighbour was very upset about it.


Tuesday was another gardening day but we went off to a local garden centre first, to fetch some potting compost and bark chips. As my car is a hatchback we went in that and so I was driving. I’d gone a little way up the road, when I had to cut down a side street back to our house. Mike was a bit puzzled by this early return home. The reason for it being, I had just realised I’d gone out in my slippers! Now I know I’m getting old.


Another six hours of gardening and at least parts don’t look like a field now but still a lot to do.


Wednesday was lunch at the house of one of my colleagues, we had to take a dish each. As it was Queen’s 80th birthday on 21st April, the day after mine and I was born in Coronation Year, I did Coronation Chicken, I thought it was appropriate, the ladies all thought it was very good, which was a relief.


Thursday was my birthday and the day Simon was due back. His girlfriend and I spent much of the morning sending texts to each other. We were both worried that, as they were due in at 9.30am, he was in some sort of trouble, as we still hadn’t heard from him by lunchtime.


I finally got a call at 3pm. All was well he’d just been busy closing things down, or whatever it is they do on submarines. He sounded annoyingly alright considering he’d been shut away for three months and even said it felt like he’d only been away a couple of weeks. Tori and I had been driving ourselves mad with worry for the last few weeks. I was convinced he would have gone crazy with claustrophobia and thumped an officer but everything was fine.


This is the badge he gets to wear to denote that he is a submariner, not worth a lot in itself but a considerable amount in his pay packet.


Simon also passed all his Boards whilst on the trip, which means he is now a Petty Officer and gets to wear an Officer style uniform, (Fore & Aft) which I’m sure will suit him better than the bellbottoms (Square Rig), which I think looks rather camp.

Hello Sailor!


In his team of 5, the other four were all Scottish, as Simon isn’t, they nicknamed him Jock! Is that called irony?


We went out for a meal in the evening and  one the waiters heard Mike say it was my birthday. They made a big fuss of me and at the end the brought out a specially decorated  pudding, with a candle in the top. How polite to not try to guess my age and put the right number of candles in .


The newspapers this week were full of the fact that the Labour party paid £7,700 to have Cherie Blair’s hair done whilst hubby was electioneering. I have one thing to say to that………..You were robbed luv! Ask for a refund!


We were expecting my mother and Wilf over for dinner to day and in anticipation have defrosted half a cow to roast. Unfortunately Mum had started with a streaming cold this morning, so they won’t be coming. So it will just be Simon, Tori Mike and I. Anyone want a beef sandwich?



Friday, 14 April 2006

Abroad Thoughts From Home.






With apologies to Robert Browning and Clifford T Ward for the title of this week's entry.


My one and only niece is travelling around the world and having a wonderful time. She's seen here with her friend Jaqui wearing dresses they had made in Thailand. They were wearing them in Singapore and went to Raffles Hotel for Singapore Slings. It’s hard to imagine that this young lady in the blue dress was once the hours old baby I held in my arms, just at the time Mike and I started going out. It makes me realise how long we have been together, more than 22 years now. Where did all that time go?


Catherine & Flo are settled into their flat and the kitchen is now fully installed. I asked her this week about getting the phone line in, so that we can chat via the Internet and Web cam. We had expected there could be a 2 week delay in get the line connected but I can’t believe that, in Germany of all places, in the town they live in all the lines are used up, so they have to wait for one to become available!!


It reminds me of the house we moved to when I was 10 years old, the phone there had a party line. What the heck was that about? We didn’t have an option, we had to share a line with the people over the road. The evenings I wanted to phone my friend Karen and picked up the phone and found they were on it. Then you would have to wait a decent interval before you picked it up again. Of course you could hear everything they were saying, so if you felt they had gone on too long you would stay on the line listening, just to make sure they got the message. Thank goodness we’ve moved on a bit.


You don’t get crossed lines any more. They were good fun.


Harper (dog) is waking us at 5.30 every morning now. We have to let him in the garden and then he insists he comes up on the bed with us. I’m now finding it almost impossible to get back to sleep. I think he’s getting really senile, as he has taken to screaming if he wants something. This is way above the whining that he was so good at, this is a full volume scream. It can mean anything, like open the door, where have you gone? I want a biscuit, why are you in the toilet? He doesn’t appear to be in any pain and his tail will be wagging while this is going on. I think he will have to see the vet again soon but I don’t want to until Simon is back home, just in case he needs an operation and doesn’t pull through. Although I don’t think there is anything really wrong, he’s just old, he will be 14 this year. Harper is Simon’s dog and he would be distraught if anything happened while he was away, which is another worry.


We expected Simon to be back on Good Friday but we haven’t had a letter confirming this, so we have no idea what is happening. How strange to think that when he last saw the world we were in the depths of winter and when he steps on land again he will find we are well into spring. (I wish someone would tell the weather that!)


I used a phrase this week that has been a joke in our family for about 18 years. It always brings back memories. My sister was married to a man, who was the son of Polish immigrants. His father Boleck (I think that’s how you spell it) was very dry, to the point of being dour. He was a dear little man but I don’t think he ever quite adjusted to England.


My sister made a birthday cake for her daughter’s birthday (4th I think) Boleck turned up at the end of the party and as the cake had already been cut she tried to describe to him what a wonderful creation it had been. She had been so proud of it. Boleck looked at the remains of the cake and said " I see you try your bestest" This still cracks us up now if one of us has had a go at something and it's turned into a bit of a pig's ear.............Like some of Mike's DIY attempts. 


I think Boleck had a rather pessimistic view on life. On another occasion, one Spring, my sister commented on the improving weather, saying "Soon be summer", he replied "Soon be Winter, soon be Christmas, soon be dead" What can you say to that?


There was an amazing story I read this morning. A Jack Russell had gone missing from his owner’s house in Kidderminster. The owner drove 500 miles around the area looking for his beloved dog. It turned out the dog had been with him all the time. Somehow he had climbed into the engine compartment of his car and got stuck. He ate the clutch cable, which I think is how they found out where he was. Apart from being hungry and thirsty, he was fine. Happy ending there but it does ask the question. How stupid was that dog? Why didn’t it make a noise?  


I’ve had news now that means we shouldn’t expect Simon back for a while yet. I feel very depressed about it, as there has been nothing official at all, we just know it won’t be this week. This has upset a number of plans and means his girlfriend is sitting alone with wasted leave that she is unable to alter. I feel so sorry for her, it’s her first experience of him being away at sea.


Just to depress myself a little more, as I now have it in my head there is a problem. I decided to have a look on The Royal Navy website. I came across this.


“As a result of operations in a hostile environment submarine losses may continue - in peace and war. We should respect the courage and sacrifice of the crews who operate boats in such a dangerous environment for long periods.”

I don’t want my son to be in a hostile environment, nor to make any sacrifice!




I certainly don’t want him to make a sacrifice for arrogant men in their thirties who sit in their flash cars with the kids, in the DISABLED spaces by the door at supermarkets. Just so wifey can go in and get his Lager without messing up her hair!


Wednesday I went for lunch with a friend I used to work with, I picked her up from her house and we went to a lovely old pub a short distance away, in a village with a green and duck pond. It was an absolute picture, there were people feeding the ducks and clumps of daffodils all around.


We both had Greek Salads in an attempt at healthy eating and ever mindful of trying to lose weight but the Feta cheesehad been marinated in olive oil. Although it was very nice I don’t think it was a very healthy option after all.  Neither was Sue’s large glass of white wine (was it Sue?). Although she was four pounds lighter after she paid for it.


We nearly had an incident on the way to the pub. I was doing about 50 mph on a straight, but rather narrow country road. There have been a number of fatalities along there and it’s not a road I feel comfortable doing 60 mph on.


A large 4x4 was behind me and obviously wanted to go faster. Suddenly I spotted a male Pheasant on the nearside grass verge. I just knew that instead of going the way he was facing, he was going to turn round and walk across in front of me. They really are the stupidest of birds.


I took my foot off the accelerator and my car slowed to a speed that I could do an emergency stop from. Sure enough, pea brain turned and started to stroll across the road. I then had to brake fairly sharply to avoid hitting him. Of course pea brain 2, travelling behind, had to brake really sharply because he was too close to me. He blew his horn. So I blew mine and gave him a cheery wave with a couple of fingers (I was taught road rage by a world class road rager, my mother!)


I know you shouldn’t endanger lives for the sake of a Pheasant but he should have been at a safe distance from me, then he wouldn’t have had a problem. I wonder if I can get a sticker for my back window saying " I slow down for Pheasants!"


Happy Easter, or do we call it Spring Festival now?



Saturday, 8 April 2006











I seem to have entered a reflective period in my life. I don’t know if it’s the huge forthcoming change in my status in becoming a grandmother in a couple of months, but I think it’s more than that. I seem to be comparing the person I was, with the person I am now.


Forgotten memories keep flooding into my mind, so much so that I seem to have trouble paying attention to the here and now. I wonder if the change has anything to do with the alteration I made to my diet, after I found I had been suffering from an illness that makes starch & sugar virtually poison to me. Whatever the reason it’s interesting, as is the return of something resembling a waistline. If I could just manage to cut out wine completely I think I would see a huge difference. The problem with wine is the sugar and yeast content. Within minutes of having a sip the palpitations are back. Make mental note to self SAY NO!




Wednesday was probably the best weather we’ve had so far this year and Mike and I decided to spend the afternoon gardening. I was given a tray of Cowslips last summer but the ground was so dry and hard, I couldn’t plant them down in my little Wild Garden.


This week the soil was just right for working and I got them planted alongside the Primroses and Snakes Head Fritillaries. The Bluebells are showing now and the area is under some lovely Silver Birch trees, which give dappled shade in the summer but the leaves aren’t quite bursting through yet.


Abigail and Emily thought it was great entertainment and kept scratching around where I was digging, hoping for a nice juicy morsel to be uncovered.


Other trees are started to show leaf. Catherine’s Horse Chestnut, growing down by the brook, looks as if it is sprouting alien life forms at present. She grew the tree from a conker when she was about seven years old. For years it lived in a pot, so wasn’t able to grow much, then about four years ago I decided to plant it by the brook, in the hope that it will grow into a lasting legacy for later owners of this house. I hope we are still here for Catherine’s daughter to come and see the tree her mum grew.


I was hoping to hear Simon will be back in the country for Easter but we haven’t heard anything yet, so I’m not too hopeful now.


A friend sent me this picture with an Easter Greeting. I found it amusing but perhaps that’s my weird Black Country sense of humour.




It’s the Grand National this afternoon but I won’t be watching, or placing a bet. I used to do both but I can’t cope with the death of such beautiful creatures anymore. I’m sure more die now than used to.


About 20 years ago I worked for an Insurance Broker who specialised in ‘Bloodstock’

Insurance. We insured a horse called West Tip, he was with a local trainer. West Tip was very fancied to win the race in local circles and we had to increase his sum insured in time for the race. I was talking to the trainer’s wife the day before and she said if the going remained the same he would win. I put a bet on him and he won. I was very excited but I just don’t have the same feeling about horse racing now.


We went up to our local pub last night and shortly after we arrived Mike T came in. We really like Mike T, he is so funny, in a slightly manic way.


I don’t know why, but my Mike and Mike T have started this thing of laughing hysterically at each other when they meet up. Considering one is in his 60’s and the other his mid 40’s, it is a bit strange. I’m not sure what it’s all about but it usually amuses the other locals. Any strangers think they have come to a mad house.


When they had calmed down Mike T told us a joke, which he got completely wrong, so it took ages but I shall record the correct version here, as I can never remember jokes and I thought this one was funny.


Two pieces of Tarmac went into a bar and ordered drinks. One was a piece of Country Road Tarmac, the other was a piece of Motorway Tarmac. They got into an argument about their various properties and which was the harder of the two.


The Motorway Tarmac was insistent that he was the hardest because of all the juggernauts he had to carry.


Then a third piece of Tarmac came into the bar and ordered a drink. This new Tarmac was Red.


Motorway Tarmac ran outside. Country Tarmac followed and asked why he had run away, seeing as he thought he was harder than anyone else.


Motorway replied, “ I am hard but that Red Tarmac is a CyclePath!


The other joke I can remember is: -


How do you make a duck into a singer? Put him in the Microwave until his Bill Withers!


Our new neighbours blocked up the sewers, they are flushing things they shouldn’t down the toilet. So Thursday afternoon was spent unblocking it as they had caused a blockage just below our manhole inspection cover. What a smell! I can honestly say I know a bit more about their business than I wanted to!


The Dyson blew up yesterday, which follows the washing machine from last month and now my hairdryer sounds at half speed and keeps overheating. Why do these things all happen together?


I was amazed to find the replacement Dyson I wanted was available for a hundred pounds less from Tesco Online than it is from Argos or Curry’s, I shall remember that in future.


We broke up from school yesterday for two weeks. We now know that our Head Teacher was successful in getting the job of Head for the new school, when we merge with the infants in September.  I feel a little more confident now in keeping my job. She said on Thursday in a meeting with the other teaching assistants that I walk on water when it comes to computer skills, so I think I’m well in there.


As it is my birthday during the holidays I left school with a pile of cards, presents and flowers. It’s always nice to know you are appreciated.





Sunday, 2 April 2006




I'm spending today on my own, as usual for a Sunday, so I'm sitting here with a coffee and taking advantage of the quiet time to catch up with my journal.


Last Sunday I was on my own but I had some lovely Mother's Day cards. My daughter and step daughter rang me. Obviously my son couldn't from the depths of the Atlantic but his girlfriend did, so I felt loved. I also had a lovely surprise In the card from Catherine. A photo of her baby's face at 24 weeks. Where they live in Germany, these 3 D scans were developed. I think it's amazing and on this one she definitely has Flo's profile.




Poor thing, there's no privacy anywhere these days, is there?


The weather has been horrible this week. I admit there has been some sun, which was a welcome change but the wind! It just never stopped, it was cold and made my hair constantly stand on end, which I hate and every half an hour or so, it would blow up a big black cloud that would deposit icy, stinging rain, which made just getting to the car an ordeal.


This morning, I’m pleased to see, the wind has lessened considerably and I may be tempted to get out in the garden this afternoon, after I’ve watched the Grand Prix of course.


The slight increase in the temperature and a few hours of sun has brought lots of leaves and flowers bursting forth, hopefully Spring ‘proper’ is just around the corner.


I had a new experience this week, something I never thought I would do. I went out on strike. My father would be spinning in his grave, only he was cremated, so I’m not sure what the equivalent would be, whirling up a dust storm maybe? Anyway, he wouldn’t be very pleased.


I remember his reaction when I joined the local Labour Club, so I could go to the weekly disco with my friends. You’d have thought I’d said I was a fully paid up member of the Communist Party.


I didn’t choose to strike, I am a member of UNISON, if I was asked to vote, I don’t remember it. But, 80% of members voted to strike and I had joined the union to protect my interests, so I felt I had no choice but to go along with it. Also, if I wanted to continue working at my school and to enjoy a happy relationship with my fellow Teaching Assistants, then I had to be out for the day on Tuesday.


I drew the line at picketing. I don’t do confrontation. I can go one of two ways. Completely lose my rag and start ranting, which then leads me to abusive and insulting. Or, I start crying. I didn’t think either of these two qualities would enhance any picket line. So I went out for the day with Mike, to the Bull Ring in Birmingham and bought some fish.


The Bull Ring Market is one of the few places in the Midlands that you can buy real fish these days, other than supermarkets and they mostly sell farmed salmon.


What happened to all those lovely fishmongers we used to have? We had a wonderful Mac Fisheries in Stourbridge and I seem to remember Housewife’s Corner had a good selection too, before they decided to put the Ring Road through it.


Some of the Governors of the school came in to cover our duties on the strike day and that has not gone down well with some of the staff. One of the Teaching Assistants is a Governor and at the Goverors meeting on Wednesday night she berated the Parent Governors for undermining our action, there was a right Hoo Haa about it. The result being, I was snubbed by one of the Parent Governors on Friday morning and she is usually very friendly towards me. As I had nothing to say about them covering our duties, I felt it a bit unfair to be tarred with the same brush. I knew this strike would cause trouble, which I do not like one bit and I have a horrible feeling it will get worse, as the situation looks unlikely to be resolved.


I’m not looking forward to my son hearing about the strike when he returns from his tour of duty. He takes after his grandfather and great grandfather (who was Chairman and President of his local Conservative Club, for many years.) I can see I will be in for some name calling and a bit of friendly head slapping. Horrid child!


Catherine and Flo have moved into their new flat and have nearly finished installing the kitchen. I find it very odd that in Germany you don’t get a kitchen with your house or flat, you have to install one yourself and you take it with you when you move! Barmy if you ask me, that’s the whole point of moving house, isn’t it? Because the oven needs a damn good clean, you move to a new house with a cleaner oven!


One of my distant relatives wrote to me this week, to say how much she enjoyed the wedding photos. She is a lady I met through my family research. She lives in Ohio but came to England on a visit with her daughter. I met them and took them on a tour of where our shared ancestors lived and then a trip round The Black Country Museum, with a wonderful fish and chip lunch, cooked in an ancient range, in dripping. Mmmm!


Our shared Hadley family had a yeoman farmer, John Hadley, who made a fortune making and selling iron ramrods to the British Army, during the American War of Independence. With the money he made he rebuilt his farm, which was then called Ramrod Hall. What a wonderful name to have as your family ancestral pile. Sadly it was demolished before I was born andto date no photos have been found of the place.


This American 5th cousin had a bad start to the year. She had developed a worrying cough and they found she had cancer of the colon. They removed a three-pound tumour, which had been pressing up into her diaphragm, causing the cough.


She is having chemo but sounds very positive. She is such a lovely lady, so if you think about it, say a prayer for Sandra and that all goes well with her.


The wind is getting up and it's just started to rain, so it looks like the garden will have to wait again.


I seem to have managed to lose a pound in weight, not much but a step in the right direction, this picture below, fron D's Designs is how I see myself looking soon!!!!!!!