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

Friday, 28 December 2007

Christmas Comes But Once A Year!

Christmas is a family time, if you’re lucky enough to have family. Maybe I should qualify that, if you’re lucky enough to have family you want to be with.  I do, well, most of the time I do. Christmas was all planned but apart from having a freezer full of party food and the Turkey ordered, I had done nothing and I do mean NOTHING towards it!

School finished Friday and on Saturday I had over 20 people coming for what had started as a Birthday lunch  for 6 for Mum (79). Somehow it snowballed.  It became the ideal  opportunity  for family that rarely see each other to meet up.

Quick interruption in writing there, I heard the refuse collectors. Didn’t know they were coming today and neither did Mike, who has gone to Shropshire to work early this morning. Must have looked a picture as I ran out in my slightly grubby dressing gown, unwashed hair and panda eyes and raced up the drive with my black wheelie bin!!! Reminded me of Lonnie Donnegan’s song, ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’....”Am I too late?”   “ Naah! Jump up on the cart” Oy!

So, Friday afternoon and evening, I cooked up a storm. Went to bed and continued Saturday morning, in-between ins and outs of the oven I sorted out the presents for people we weren’t seeing again on Christmas Day. (Little did I know at that time, it would be everybody)

Saturday 12.30, people started arriving. I was still popping things in and out of the oven, which I had planned to be doing. I didn’t see that as a problem. WHY can I never remember that my friends and family all want to stand in the kitchen at parties?  Soon it was all done and we had a wonderful time, although I had to go and sit down later, as I was exhausted.

It was so good that we managed to have all four children together, in the house and each of their partners. As two of the family are in the Royal Navy, this was a rare event indeed.

Their two grandmas were there plus our new generation of 3 grandchildren. Then we had Mike’s nephew (not seen for years) even his ex partner and their son, who had strangely turned into a tall ,17 year old, with his Dad’s penchant for long, wavy, windswept hair. (In his mid 40’s  his  Dad has only just left that look behind, obviously passed it onto his son).

My sister and her daughter were there but sadly Mike’s sister couldn’t make it as her husband is recovering from an operation.

Then of course there was the great nephew’s girlfriend.  A very pretty girl, with pink hair and facial  ornaments, who was festively named, Holly.

Now we’d only just got used to the idea that this tall, tousled, young man was our great nephew, we were in for another surprise. He and Holly then proceeded to give the two elder granddaughters more sex education than they’ve had at school!  Not for them the allure of food, drink and good company in the kitchen and dining room. No they entwined themselves on the sofa and became oblivious to the family around them. Oh to be young again!!!

Family Christmases have always been important to me and until I was 13, they were spent at my Grandma’s house, which was able to contain her five children and families quite comfortably.


This was the house where I lived when I was born and until I was two. After that I spent Wednesday afternoons  every week there. The  little private school my sister and I went to only did a four and a half day week; it was a throw back to when the school used to be open on a Saturday morning. Then they dropped the Saturday morning but never restarted the Wednesday afternoon. (Hurrah!) I also went there every Friday evening and stayed until Saturday afternoon, sometimes Sunday, which is when I would go to Chapel with Grandma.

I have such happy memories of those times and Christmas, excuse the pun, really was the icing on the cake.


Above is Grandma enjoying her last Christmas in her beloved home. She was born in 1885, what changes she saw. This how she looked at 18.


I was heartbroken when the house was sold in 1966and Grandma and my adored Aunty Dorothy moved into a bungalow some miles away.

Auntie Dorothy as a little girl.

We continued the family get together at the bungalow for a few years but only going over in the evening, after lunching at home, for traditional buffet food and some very funny party games .But it was never the same.  My one clear memory of that time was one of the quieter games where we were all sat down and played, ‘I Love My Love’, you start with the first letter of the alphabet, so for example ‘I love my love because she is ‘A’ttractive’.  This was in the late sixties and my cousin, Stephen, who is the same age as me , had everyone on the floor with a combination of shock and laughter, depending on your age, when given the letter C, he came out with ‘I love my love because she is Crap!’ Ah! Innocent days.

Grandma had died in early 1968, when I was fourteen. They say teenage years are difficult; well it doesn’t help when the foundation stones of your life are removed.

I’ve always been striving to bring back the feelings of those wonderful family Christmases. It’s not so easy when you don’t have a huge house and we don’t have such big families. Grandma had five children and nine grandchildren and several great grandchildren before she died. But Mum’s birthday lunch had some of the feel of those long ago, happy times.


The next day I spoke to Mike’s daughter, who said what a lovely time  they’d all had and we both realised that we felt we’d  already had Christmas and that the actual day was now just going to be presents and a Roast Dinner.

How prophetic were those words.

Christmas day I was expecting, Mum and Step-Dad, Catherine, Flo & Isabella and my sister and her partner. So nine in all. On Sunday afternoon and Christmas Eve, I went and bought all my presents, collected the Turkey which this year was to be a very, large, boned and rolled Turkey breast. Over ten pounds in weight. Mum was cooking a Pork Loin and bringing that over. Isn’t it funny how with hindsight things can turn out for the best?

Late afternoon  on Christmas Eve we visited my daughter Catherine and went to the Opening of the Crib service at her village church. This was very nice and also very sensible, as it was aimed at small children and the lady Vicar made it only half an hour long.  Catherine had  justlet her cats out, only their second time since bringing them over from Germany.

We came back from church and had some cold chicken and salad and then went home to wrap presents.

I got to bed just before Santa started his rounds, feeling that a pickled onion was causing me some indigestion.

At 3am I was woken by a feeling that was not Santa putting a stocking at the end of my bed. I wasn’t sure quite what was wrong but I didn’t like it. Suddenly the bathroom seemed like a very good idea and I got there just in time to throw up all over the toilet.

Cleaning the bathroom, naked, when not well was not how I’d planned to start Christmas Day. I went back to bed. Mike had slept through all this, and I felt a bit better and went back to sleep. Only to be woken at 5am for a repeat performance, only this time much, much worse.

So, in our house, Christmas was cancelled.

At 8 am, after some  frantic phone calls, Mike had to rush over to Mum’s with the food and Christmas was transferred to hers. This is where the meat situation was good. Had it been a whole Turkey she would never have coped with it but we were able to cut the breast in two and sent the larger piece over to Mum and Mum did the same with the Pork, and Mike brought some of that back with him. So we had plenty to cook for when I felt like eating.

I spent the morning in bed, in between bathroom runs (the bug had gone the other way now!) and then got up when Mike returned from work. He cooked our Christmas dinner which we deferred until 9pm, in the hope I would be able to eat something and keep it down, which I did. And very good it was too. I think I may be passing my apron to him next year.

Catherine phoned to say Milly, one of her cats had not returned from the night before and sad to say,still hasn’t.

Mike’s daughter rang to say her husband’s Grandma had passed away at lunchtime on Christmas Day.

Yesterday, on Boxing Day, I signed on to the Net to find that Kim (I Shaved My Legs for This) had lost her brave battle against cancer. How can you miss someone you’ve never met? But that girl put everything in her Journal and the one thing you could not doubt, she was beautiful, both inside and out and I know her family are devastated at their loss. Kim touched so many people’s lives.

Bloody Hell! This is cheery, isn’t it? It’s funny but when I start writing, I never know where I will end up but all in all, this had not been one of my best Christmases.

On a lighter note, there were some fantastic presents. I had far too many to mention them all and was spoilt rotten but I must say, I had a total surprise from Mike, an  electronic piano keyboard, with all the other  backing instruments, if I want them. It’s a Yamaha; I always thought they were Motor Bikes?

Mike’s main present from me was a jacket, dark brown, it says its leather but it’s like a waxed pigskin, with silk quilted lining and also part fleece lined. Very 'Country Gentleman' and will be ideal for walking a dog, if we decided to get one this year. (Hint, hint) I knew he wanted a new one and he seems very pleased with it, he also wanted slippers, which I got him too. Plus books, a CD and some chocolates.

A friend sent me an  Ecard and I just have to share this with you, it’s so funny. She pinched the photos of us from my last entry.  My timing is awful and I had never realised Mike was so camp!  The kids loved it.

Elf Dancing   (It may take a few seconds to load) ****This link doesn't now work.****


Hoping for a Happy New Year for my family and I wish the same to all of you reading this and all the people you love and care about.


Linda. x





Saturday, 8 December 2007

Back Again!

Finally, I update my Blog!

I hadn’t intended to leave it so long but having had a break from it, well, you just get out of the habit.

There have been a few reminders to ‘get on with it’ recently and as it is such a foul morning weather-wise and I have some spare time, it seems a good time to catch up. So I’m afraid it will be rather lengthy, due mostly to the Wedding that nearly didn’t happen.

Catherine, Flo and Isabella have settled well into their new home. Flo got temping work as soon as they were reasonably sorted in the house. Within a very short time he was offered a permanent job, doing something very similar to his work in Germany, The company seem very impressed with him (understandable) and have given him a very good career plan. I know nothing is certain these days when it comes to job security but, for the time being, they have no worries.

Early October saw the day of Simon and Tori’s much planned wedding. The week before was hectic. Isabella had just started walking and I’d promised Tori that if Isabella was able to walk down the aisle, I would buy her a little Flower Girl outfit.

After she started crawling Isabella wouldn’t wear dresses, they prevented her from getting anywhere, she would be kneeling on the skirt. We’ tried her in one for a First Birthday Party and the rage that provoked stopped any attempts to put her in one again.

Now, six months later, she was very wary of a ‘Big Frock’ and the shopping trip to Monsoon was a bit stressful, trying to persuade her that she really wanted this ankle length, silk dress with matching, embroidered shoes. Anyway, she can’t talk yet, so she was overruled.

Tori and Simon arrived on the Thursday, having just moved into married quarters, so a very busy week for them. Then a manic 24 hours of, sunbeds, waxings, facials and new nails. And that was just the men!!

Tori’s back was a bit stressed from the house move and then she picked up Isabella and that made it worse. We had dinner In Worcester on the Friday night with Tori, her parents and the bridesmaids. It was a fabulous meal but throughout I could see Tori was sitting awkwardly.

Saturday morning and the Big Day had dawned. Simon had to dash into town to pick up waistcoats and cravats. He and Brad, the Best Man, had bought their own, matching suits for the day. I’m not sure how much influence Brad had but I was surprised at what good taste one, or both of them had. You should see what they wear when they go out on the town!

Simon spoke to Tori on the phone, she had stayed at the Beckford, which is where the marriage was taking place. He told me she'd said her back wasn’t very good. Someone here is obviously a master of understatement!!

At 11.30, I went to pick up Sam, partner of my stepson. Sam was doing Tori’s makeup. We were also picking up the flowers en route , so arrived at The Beckford at 12.30. The dining room was being laid out and decorated for the Reception but one or two people advised me  on the way through that Tori’s back wasn’t very good and the hotel owner came to warn me that they were waiting for the Emergency Doctor.

I am now getting worried. I’m supposed to be doing Tori’s hair and had reckoned on it taking at least an hour, based on our previous practice. Some of the Bridal preparations were supposed to be photographed for the Album, so there was a lot to do.

Sam and I walked into the bedroom to be greeted by



OMG!!! This is not looking good. Apart from obviously being in a lot of pain, Tori was shaking like a pneumatic drill!

I won’t go on about how stressful the next hour was, while we waited for the doctor to turn up. In fact it was more than an hour because it was nearly 2pm when he arrived.

Let me recap the situation. We have a wedding at 3pm and a Bride, who is on the floor and no way can she get up. Her hair is wet and still covered in conditioner, as she had collapsed in the shower and is just wearing a pair of pants and a duvet.

This is most definitely not looking good!

The doctor was marvellous, when he arrived. He injected her and gave her every conceivable drug that she hadn’t already taken. He also insisted on staying until we could manage to get her off the floor.

The Registrar and her assistant had been informed of the situation and had phoned ahead to see if their next wedding could take a delay. Bless them, they said yes.

At twenty to three, Tori, not without a few screams was placed in a chair and the desperate rush began. Luckily I had brought my own hair dryer, as it has an inbuilt nuclear reactor and dries hair very quickly. That’s what I did, whilst Sam was round the front doing the makeup. Sam had been an absolute rock while we waited to see if the wedding was likely to happen. I think the Gin and Tonic she gave me helped a great deal!

By the time the makeup was done it was just about three o clock and Tori’s hair was dry. The Registrar asked when she could come in to see if things were OK to proceed. I said about 10/15 minutes. Sam and I then did the fastest hairstyle any bride ever had. It was based on the original style but the loose part was only semi straight and the curled part was  only semi curled. We flung some pearl clips in and that was it, done.

Then into the dress. Apart from an ominous ripping sound because someone hadn’t fully opened the zip, there was no further hitch. Don’t think we ever found what had ripped. So the only really casualty of the day was Tori’s beautiful, high heeled shoes, which had to remain in the box. Luckily she had some flat silver pumps, which saved her from being barefoot.

I ran downstairs and ushered all the England Rugby fans out of the bar, where they were watching the match and into the Marriage Room, whilst Tori gingerly made it down the stairs.

I never thought I would have to get a girl drugged up to the eyeballs to get her to marry my son!!

At 3.20, she walked down the aisle and if you hadn’t known, you would never have guessed all the trauma of the previous hours. Tori looked just like any other beautiful bride on her wedding day, No one would have guessed that her preparations had taken less time than I spend every morning getting ready for school.

From then on, it was a lovely day, warm enough to spend time in the garden, even in strapless, floaty clothes. (The men again!)

Here are some of my family photos from the day, it was hard choosing what to put on.


You can see from their faces how pleased the Registrar and Assistant were as she walked down the aisle.


At last, they are married.

Simon's  Wedding Photos 10

Hat on........


Or hat off?


Catherine &Flo.



Me, left and Mike right, in case you couldn't work that one out.

ToriandSimonDancing cropped

I love this, it's a still taken from a movie clip I took. Their first dance as husband and wife. I think their faces say it all.

The food and service at the Beckford was excellent, as was the attention of the doctor and the kindness of the Registrar.

Sammy Southall, the photographer, an old friend, was good in adapting to a rather different schedule than the average wedding and I think we were very lucky having such a great team, who did everything possible to make sure the wedding happened.

Simon was kept away from Tori, which was a good thing, as he wouldn’t have managed to look so happy on the pre wedding shots, had he known what a drama was being acted out upstairs.

You can see some of the official photos (3 pages) by clicking on this link Sammy’s. Here is one of my favourites.



What else has been happening?

Well, after 24 years together, 23 of them married, Mike and I finally got engaged. I’d never had an engagement ring and just before Simon’s wedding he bought me one. It’s beautiful, an emerald cut, solitaire diamond, in a claw setting. Mike drove me to Bevere Green to give it to me, which is where he first proposed to me and of course, I said yes!!

We've had a new kitchen fitted. How easy is that to say? How difficult is the reality? Cooking meals in a microwave oven balanced on a breakfast stool and washing up in the bathroom. But it’s done now and I’m very pleased with it.

Catherine and family have driven back to Germany, to see Flo’s family and to pick up their cats, who are now able to enter the country.

I’ve bought some Calendar making equipment and have been out and about taking photos for a Rowley Regis Calendar I’ve made for some of my Family History friends. This is Haden Hill House, Kitchen and Rowley 034 the grounds are a public park now but for centuries belonged to the Haden family. Kitchen and Rowley 036 The Tudor Hall was nearly demolished but has recently been restored and stands next to the Victorian House built by the Haden Best family.

The War Memorial in Powke Lane Cemetery was just catching the sunset as I took this photo and I though it made an inspired picture for  November.

Kitchen and Rowley 044 - Copy


As for J Land, I’ve been catching up on some of my favourites but I’m concerned for Kim (I shaved My Legs For This) nothing from her since mid November. I think her 3 week Chemo finishes in the next day or two. I hope she soon gets her strength back.

I must put some more family photos in soon from the wedding. If I don’t have time before Christmas, I hopeyou all have a lovely time and see you in the New Year.







Monday, 3 September 2007

A Difficult Decision



The picture above is one I took on holiday, it is Mertos Bay, Kefalonia. Mike and I had a wonderful time while we were there, despite the fact we had a fire on the hill behind the hotel and a minor earthquake.

While we were there I had a lot of time to think and I made some decisions. One of them was that, in order to get on with the things I want to achieve, I am going to have to give up J Land, at least until I have completed some of the tasks I have set myself.

I’ve been writing for over two years now and have made lots of lovely friends in that time and learned all sorts of interesting things from you. But, I have realised that it is taking up too much of my time. I love reading about your lives and thoughts but it’s reached the point where reading Journals is stopping me from living my own life and that just isn’t right. And how can I write and receive such lovely comments, if I don’t read the commenters Journal in return? I never started writing to get readers and comments but somehow it just happened

I can’t just be selective and read one or two, how could I ever pick a small number of favourites? So, for the time being, I am switching off ALL of my Alerts and will not be writing any more, unless something really interesting happens.

Take care,

Linda xx.

Monday, 6 August 2007

The German Invasion

I just wrote this entry without any photos and decided it looks dull without any pictures. Here's one from my vast collection, someone mentioned it this week> These days it's mainly old people's bungalows, surrounding a park. A fitting name you might think. Apparently not. It originally got its name from when it was full of hovels inhabited by poverty-stricken Miners. A classic examples of Black Country Humour.




First of all, thanks for all the lovely comments and good wishes. We’re just about dried out enough know to walk down the garden without boots but I don’t feel up to starting on the clearing up yet, it makes me want to cry every time I have to go down there, I’m not sure I can summon up the energy to even make a start.

My greenhouse is intact, amazingly but is a sight to behold, there won’t be any tomatoes or cucumbers this year and as for the runner beans, I think the two rows have about 14 leaves between them. We’ll just have to write off this year, although I think we may still have some apples, despite having been submerged for a while.

One thing I won’t write about but will mention as a reminder to myself. I’ve seen one neighbour in a new light and it isn’t very flattering at all. I find it hard to believe how grasping and inconsiderate some Church Goers can be, which probably explains why I stopped going some time ago.

I will put some photos on when I have a bit more spare time but the last two weeks have been taken up with Airport Runs (delayed flight!!). Painting and cleaning Catherine’s new home. Clearing their very overgrown garden, which unlike mine, isn’t covered in mud, entertaining Flo’s Dad & friend, who came over in the Removal Van and now, I'm unpacking. And throughout all that time helping to deal with a confused, overtired, teething, frustrated (because she can’t quite walk yet) 13 month old Isabella. I’ve discovered new depths of tiredness. I now fully understand the expressions ‘Tired to Death’ and 'Sick and Tired’. I really did think at times I was either going to die or throw up.

I’ve just been catching up on my favourite journals, well I’m still in the middle of it if I’m honest and I had to stop at one of Dawn's hundred’s of entries for the last week. Lol! (Slow down girl, I can’t keep up). Dawn likes Memes, now I’m not a great fan but I do enjoy some and I just had to try this one out.

You take your christian name and Google it with the word ‘needs’, as in ‘Linda Needs‘. You then put the first ten results with those words in your Journal. The first one was about playing this game, so I’ve ignored that one, here are the next ten.

1.To really thrive, Linda needs to be a part of a loving, committed marriage

Yes, I have to agree there, pity I had to pick two duffers first!

2.Linda Needs Mental Help. At one point I offered to smack her!

Yes, I can relate to that, I can be a bit odd at times.

3.Linda needs a new best friend. She had some kind of falling out with her old best friend

No, can’t agree with that one, I have several close friends that I like to spend time with, can’t say I have a favourite. In fact it’s just occurred to me that I do different things with each of them. I don’t think one best friend could provide such a fulfilling friendship and even stranger, I don’t think they would all get on together if I took them all out one day. This is quite a complex thought and not one I’ve considered before.

4.I've heard from Linda and the kids back in Haiti, and we really need your prayers

Hmmm! Can’t really comment on that.

5.Linda Needs a Manufacturer. ... Linda needs help... Comments

Yes, I need someone to manufacture me lots of money and some help in the garden wouldn’t go amiss.

6.And while lighting on Linda needs to be bright, lighting on the LCD screen needs to be subdued....

Oh no, can’t agree with this one. Linda needs to be seen by subdued light, bright light is NOT good!

7.Linda needs to provide various reports on her managed systems.

Do I?

8.I know you are pointing out the double standard that the press applies but Linda needs to be gone...

Well that’s nice!

9.Linda needs to create an image from a host server running an Oracle home to new target servers in...

Could you run that one by me again?

10.Looks like Linda needs just about $1K now. ... I will post a photo of Linda later and then I bet...

I will willing post a photo of me, in the nude if required, if every viewer is going to send me a £1,000.

Mike’s working up in Shropshire this week and that means late dinner, which I had better go and make a start on.

I’ll be back with photos soon.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Lazy Summer Days.

The garden is still a mess and will stay that way until its possible to walk without falling over but we are safe and dry in our house and that’s the most important thing. Especially as Catherine & Isabella arrive tonight. I shall go to collect them from East Midlands Airport.

Today I have done nothing much, got up late and rested and played about on the computer.The next few days we will be busy cleaning and painting their new home.

Today is my baby’s birthday. Simon is 28, he was born in the middle of a heat wave and it was 90degrees F in the delivery room in Shrewsbury Hospital. He was a bouncing 9 pounds 15 and a half ounces. I think we’ll call that 10 pounds.

In the nursery he looked ridiculous alongside the other babies, with a thick head of red hair and twice the body size and length of the others. It looked like someone had sneaked a 3 month old child in there.

He also cried the longest and loudest and didn’t stop until he was 11 months old. Any thoughts of another child were quickly forgotten, I could never have gone through that again!

Messy Simon

He grew into a very, sweet, small child but as he got older developed an unhappy knack of being incredibly accident prone and forever getting caught in the act in any act of deceit, which small boys (and bigger ones) are prone to. He always knew it was just a matter of time before Mum found him out.

Simon Simon and his saxaphone

This year he is getting married and has achieved,  a very responsible, highly paid career and I’m very proud of him.




Happy Birthday. X.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Clearing Up.


Above is the sight that greeted me Saturday morning.

Its Monday afternoon now and all is quiet here, the brook is back where it should be and the chickens are safe, for the time being in their house. Their house had to be retrieved from 2 doors away where it was in the middle of a sort of ‘Log Jam’ of trampolines, next door’s Wendy House and numerous 6 foot Larchlap fencing panels.


A quick check of our garden showed we had gained a heavy wooden shed base, ; 0706210023 

 a large canoe, a golf bag, complete with balls, various beach balls, a greenhouse heater, fencing panels, 0706210018

plastic flower pots and a family sized paddling pool plus a ride-on child’s army jeep.

Everything is coated in mud 0706210014

and the lawn really shouldn’t be walked on, you just sink through it. Unfortunately, it was necessary to walk on it while we set the chickens up with a home again. As part of the lawn is a very steep slope ,the inevitable was bound to happen. Oh no! Not an earthquake on top of everything else…… No, just me going down on my ample backside!

Saturday afternoon we went to have a look at Hylton Road, where the BBC Studios are. The temporary flood barriers should have been erected here but the Environment Agency didn’t get them in place on time. I don’t know that they would have held this amount of water back but for the people living there, who have now been flooded out yet again, it would have been good to try! I'm sure that's what these poor people, who were just evacuating their homes thought

0706210006 0706210008

If Friday night was surreal with the Mayor and Leader of the Council walking through my kitchen, (thankfully its not an old house with a back passage, that could have made another news story entirely), then Saturday night was bizarre!!

Again I was cooking the dinner, when the phone rang. I answered it and it was somebody called Chris Vallance from BBC Five Live. He said he’d seen my Blog and could they have a Live interview from either me or Mike. I volunteered Mike, as that’s what he does best, well it’s the only thing really. He also wanted to use a photo of mine on their website. I had no objection to that and here’s a link to it. BBC Five Live

Mike did the interview and then the phone rang again. This time it was BBC 24’s Betty Redondo. I passed her on to Mike and he ended up doing another Live interview. They used one of my photos on screen while they were talking to him, which was exciting. Think I might have to start a career as a News Photographer.

There hasn’t been much to laugh about but yesterday I had to admire the fortitude of Anita Woodhouse, who did the most sterling job of reading out all the road closures on BBC Hereford and Worcester, for hours on end. Not once did she crack when she read ‘and in Upton Upon Severn, Minge Lane is only accessible from the bottom entrance’

The forecast is for more rain, I hope it isn’t going to be much. I realise how very lucky we have been compared with so many people who are having the most miserable time, many without, homes, water or electricity. No matter how lucky I might have been it still doesn’t alter the fear a massive body of water, rushing passed your house generates. The knowledge that there is nothing you can do against this unstoppable force, other than just hope for the best is mind altering.


I didn't have time to upload this before now but this short clip gives some idea of the force of the water. It was just a short distance away from our house.



Saturday, 21 July 2007

The Aftermath



The above pictures are of the brook at the bottom of my garden, last weekend.


Apart from some aches and pains and a few bruises, from the chicken rescue, I’m OK today. I’m grateful that my home is safe but the devastation that I am hearing about today is almost unbelievable.


This is how the gardens were looking by the time I'd finished rescuing the chickens, I have to realise now I had been putting my own life at risk. That is next door's large Wendy House. Those posts you can see are holding six feet tall fence panels.

I’ve just heard Mike on his Radio programme talking to a lady who is stuck on a Narrowboat on the River Avon, they are tied to a post in floodwaters and are in fear for their lives.

I could cry for all the weddings that aren’t going to happen today.

Last night the flood waters made it up onto the patio, this meant the chickens had to be moved into the garage.


Thankfully I never followed up the bee keeping idea, that's my beehive floating by.


Our road was flooded at the lower end and the end house was in danger of being flooded, people were trying to organise sandbags.

I've heard this morning she had about a foot of water in but Malcolm, our neighbourhood Super Hero, got her carpets up last night and has been helping mop up this morning.

By the time I started cooking dinner it was very late. Mike popped next door again to see if Becky was OK, as she has three children, one only a few months old. Her husband is stuck at his place of work in Gloucestershire.

Mike walked back in and called “Stand by for the Mayor and the  Leader of the local Council.” Sure enough they then passed through my kitchen to have a look at our flood. I was at this time on my second glass of wine, tired, emotional and in need of food. My hair was still dripping wet. I think it was a surreal moment for all of us.

We missed a party in Cheltenham last night. Tonight we are supposed to be having a special meal in Worcester City. That won’t happen. We can’t get into Worcester, in fact we are almost cut off from the rest of the world.

Our personal flooding is abating now but the rest will get much worse. It’ takes days for the flood waters to pass down the River Severn from Wales. I don’t like to think how much worse it can get.

Simon is safe at his Dad’s but I’m not sure he will get here tomorrow.

What a happy start to the holidays!

Other photos :-

This is the road at the other side of the playing field, just yards from our garden.



. 0706200042

The Wendy House is now gone!


Nearly on the patio!

Friday, 20 July 2007

WTF is up with this weather!!!!!

I've been practising my Anglo Saxon this afternoon.


That’s not all I’ve been doing. Today is the start of the six-week Summer Break from school. What would you expect me to be doing? Sitting on the terrace enjoying a long cool G & T, gradually building up my tan for when we fly to Kefalonia next month? Yes, that would be about normal.


But….NO! We have had the rain from Hell here today. It hasn’t stopped once, not for a blithering moment and it hasn’t just been rain, ooooh no!


(Cue Marks & Spencer’s Advert with that bloody woman, with her, by now, annoying Irish accent)


“This is not just rain (breathy pause) this is S & M rain.” Only a Sadomasochist could enjoy this.


At 3pm Mike rang to say he was leaving Gloucesterimmediately. He had just finished his programme and knew I needed help dealing with the chickens.


At 5pm he still hadn’t returned and as I was talking on the phone to Flo, whilst at the same time keeping an eye on the garden, the conversation was brought to an abrupt halt as I saw the brook had broken its banks.


The chickens were rescued, one at a time, in a Sainsbury’s bag for life. They never knew the many uses these bags could be put to!


My girls are in the shed and the hen house, by now, will have floated somewhere, as has everything else. Never, in living history and probably since man has been on this planet, has this place flooded like this. I have probably used up a lifetime of swearing.


Mike finally arrived home, normally a 50 minute journey at 6.45pm.


The lady at the bottom of the road, who lost her husband in a house fire 10 years ago, is now just about to be flooded andshe has her 93 old mother living with her.


We are a bit higher up the road but I am not confident that we will keep the water out of the house. With previous floods its been a bit of fun and everything has been back to normal in an hour or two. We thought we were safe. We’ve had to seriously revise that idea.


It’s now 8.30 and its still frickin raining. We just walked across to the playing field, to try to assess the situation. The road that crosses the brook at that point is impassable, as is every road that crosses the brook. There were cars everywhere, roaring around, turning, trying the next crossing but were thwarted at each attempt. The area known as Dines Green is cut off from the rest of Worcester and I’ve heard many villages are also.


There must be so many people who just can’t get home this evening.


I’m waiting to hear Simon has arrived safely at his Dad’s in Mid Wales.


If I’m still here I will post photos later. I doubt I will get much sleep.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Merlins May Be Magical..but they're not Big and they're not Clever!!!

OK!…….So what’s with the weather? I really have had enough. The garden has become so over grown it’s almost met in the middle. The brook has been up and down like a whore’s drawers and there hasn’t been a whiff of a barbeque for weeks.

Two weeks ago, our neighbour knocked at the door and said, had we seen the clouds? We looked out and saw a bizarre circular formation above our houses.


By half past eight, it looked like this 0705200005 and then the heavens opened.

I had a disturbed night as the rain was so heavy most of the night. I got up at 6.30am and looked out of the office window and could see there was a little bit of water in next door’s garden, from the brook. I assumed it had spilled over a little in the night and was going back down now. I mentioned it to Mike and went off to the bathroom. A couple of minutes later, he came running back in and said we had to move the chickens as the water was coming up, FAST!

The annoying thing was, it was now quite sunny but the water was rushing up the garden at an unstoppable force. So, dressed in our dressing gowns and old shoes, we had to go and rescue the hen house complete with occupants, which was now half submerged. Wading up to our knees, we had to get them over a narrow bridge, usually this is done with an empty coop and we are able to invert it so the narrow top passes easily through the handrails. This time it was complete with occupants and so had to be lifted clear of the handrails. Not easy and slipping about on wet wood didn’t help.

On the way, I noticed our cat, Merlin, was sat on the bench by the pond. The bench was now encircled by water and I wondered why the stupid cat had gone through the water to get there. When we finished with the hen house I realised that Merlin might still be on the bench. I waded back down to look. By now there was a very distressed cat who was just about to be submerged by water. It then occurred to me. Every morning he goes to sit on this bench. It must have been dry when he sat there but the water came in too quickly for him to escape. It was a good job I’d seen him, the bench was totally submerged soon after I saved him.

This was taken from my office, Merlin sitting on top of the hen house after his escapade. He's still wearing a shocked look! 0705210018 The brook. 0705210011 Can anyone recommend some good plants for a heavy, moist soil? 0705210010

The brook went back down but a few days later we had another night of torrential rain. This time it came up in the middle of the afternoon. I was in the office and a neighbour came round to alert us. The chickens were still on the high ground, so perfectly safe and all the cats were in. Then I noticed next door’s Cairn Terrier, Merlin was standing in the middle of the flood and appeared to be stuck. At first I couldn’t understand why and called him to encourage him to move. I realised he was trapped on a raised bed and the water was rising up to his little fat tummy. cropped His owners were out and so, yet again, I had to go wading through the water to rescue another Merlin.

The floods have subsided now but the weather hasn’t improved much.

No trampolining today! 0705210017

Catherine and Isabella have arrived from Germany and we are trying to find them somewhere to live and a car for Catherine. They have been here a week and I can honestly say, I’ve barely had a moment to myself in that time, so apologies if I haven’t read your latest entries yet, I will get there, I promise.

Here is a short clip filmed this morning, I was feeling arty, so went for the watercolour effect.It’s a lovely mother and daughter moment.


Isabella asleep. 0705310004


A very special thank you gift for me, from Catherine & Flo, some David Austen Roses. 0705310008



And thank you for the all the lovely comments on my last entry.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

I'm Still Here.


Gosh! Am I One, already?

Time passes too quickly, Isabella had her 1st Birthday this week. This entry should have been written ages ago but time and tiredness seem to get the better of me. Plus I have been helping some people with their family research, there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

I have been managing to read all my regular Journals but haven’t had time to comment on many, how do you all find the time to write so much? I get about 20 Alerts a day! Can you slow down a bit so I can catch up with myself? Lol.

My trip to Germany was a little shorter than usual but just as enjoyable, even though, as usual, the weather went off as soon as I got there and we only had a few hours of sunshine.


Where they live.

It was dry when I arrived but had rained earlier in the day, so it was very humid, which is why this mist kept creeping up and down the field behind their apartment.


As usual most days involved cake. The best was when we went to the first birthday party of the girl that Catherine looks after some mornings. Her Mum teaches English at the Schloss (Castle) which is her husband’s family home. 0704300037

(Arriving at my first Birthday Party.)

Catherine, Isabella and I were all invited to the party and after nearly having a heart attack climbing the stairs to their suite of rooms , it was worth it. They have a beautiful home and the views were amazing. As was the cake, all made by Dad.


(Part of the Scloss.)


(Three, enormous cakes, they were twice as big as they look here.)

We had a wet day looking around Marburg, which was very pretty but very wet. I wasn’t feeling too good either as a legacy from Simon, a ten pound baby, decided to rear it’s ugly head. I was in need of medication but Germany doesn’t have the 'Help yourself’ type of chemists, like Boots and Superdrug and if they didn’t speak English I was certainly going to suffer. So over a coffee, Catherine and I explained to Flo that he was going to have to get me some suppositories.

Now Flo’s English is near perfect but there are some words he may not know, simply because they are not words that have entered his world. I had to explain that I didn’t want cream, I wanted the little rockets that you shove up your……….0705100005

(I photographed these horses at Hellens, Much Marcle last week, it was a plant and food Fayre.)

The laughter this caused, nearly made me have convulsions, we were crying with laughter, so much so that the waiter came over to see if everything was alright. We didn’t explain!

All too soon I had to leave my two princesses and return to home. We stopped at Biedenkopf, where Isabella was born and had lunch in the castle overlooking the hospital , 0705010067

(Ladies wot lunch. This Russian top belonged to her German Granny and is over 40 years old.)

it really was like being up in a plane! 0705010056


I still had a couple of days before returning to school and did a bit of grave hunting in St John’s Halesowen. Sadly the large number of family I have buried there were pre 1850 and their stones can no longer be read, or have been removed to line the paths.

St John’s is a beautiful red sandstone, medieval church ,it was covered in scaffolding on this visit but the churchyard was as lovely as ever. I wandered up to a higher part I had not been in before,



with huge old copper beeches and alive with squirrels,



I have never seen so many, they were bounding all over the place, like a scene from Snow White.

Back to school and masses to do and in the afternoons Catherine has me viewing properties they might want to rent. I photograph and email them to her.

Simon and Tori came up for the weekend and came in the BMW, so Mike could have a look. The weather was good and we both had a test drive, with the top down. Mike loved it and I can se he will need reminding, IT’S MINE!

Tori and I went and organised the wedding flowers. Lovely Barbeque in the garden on the Saturday Night

Last week we went to a champagne reception in the Guildhall, Worcester, a stunning venue and a most enjoyable evening, black tie and posh frocks! We met someone whom Mike has spoken to, doing interviews during his work at BBC Hereford and Worcester and I was pleased to finally meet him as I have always had a soft spot for him. His name is John Peters and he was one of two RAF pilots shot down in the Gulf war in 1991. They were paraded on TV by their captors and I feared so much for their lives, I known when I saw poor John’s bruised and swollen face I shed many tears.

John was just as charming as I knew he would be and his wife and I chatted for ages about, who knows what, we’d both been drinking the champagne! But we must have all got on well as she wanted us to join them for dinner after the reception. I know my limits (and Mike’s) we were both in need of a taxi and bed by then.

On Wednesday of this week, I met up with Sue for my belated birthday lunch. We went to a Riverside hotel and sat in the sun watching the world and the boats go by, it was very relaxing. She bought me the most lovely Lemon Lavender, its hard to describe, so will have to photograph it later, it’s so unusual.

We also had a delightful dinner at Colin and Alan’s and I had a Hawaiian Girls Night at Caz’s beautiful new home last night. I had Sex on the Beach. Twice!!!! It’s been a very busy time.

Today I will collect a sample rose from the florist and then take it down on the train to Plymouth, which should be interesting, I’ve never done such a long train journey. Then I will be driving my new car home. If all goes to plan, Mike will ring for an Indian Meal to be delivered, probably around 10pm. ………Phew!!!!!