As you can see, I’m not feeling motivated to get on with the bathroom and it didn’t help that Willow decided to sit on the new wallpaper, I couldn’t disturb her could I? The video clip shows her reaction to having her back scratched.
I seem to be suffering from writer’s block today, I want to get my weekly entry done but can’t think of anything much that happened.
The week flew by, as usual and of course the weather was a talking point. We were lucky here and didn’t suffer any damage from the wind, nor did we lose our electricity.
On Thursday Mike picked me up from school and we drove straight up to Shropshire, where Mike had arranged to interview a lady for his gardening programme. We then popped back down the M54 to Ikea where we bought some new bathroom fittings.
That reminds me of one of the things we’ve been doing this week, redecorating the bathroom. Not my favourite thing, decorating. At least it’s a small room, so shouldn’t take to long. Although the last time we did it I also re-tiled and it took 18 months because I got fed up with it.
After Ikea we went back to Shropshire, to my sister’s. Mike hadn’t seen their new house yet and we stayed for dinner. Venison casserole, which was very nice, preceded by prawn and avocado and finished off with a coffee and chocolate mouse. All of which was very good. Although, how could I say otherwise? She reads this! No, really, it was very good.
The journey up the motorway had been rather scary because of the wind. We saw some Lorries that had had their curtain sides blown out and the MD of Birmingham Airport was killed by a fallen tree at Bridgnorth, just a few minutes from where we were.
Coming back the wind had dropped and I took the cross country route that we find to be the quickest way.I was weird, from the time we left Shifnal untilwe reached just outside Worcester, the only place with electricity was Kidderminster. All of the villages we passed through were in darkness, with candles in many of the windows. It must be a journey of about 40 miles and so gives an idea of the scale of the power cuts.
Simon is looking to arrange the wedding for later this year, so two important issues there. I need to get some money saved up and I really need to lose some weight. That should be an interesting event. My ex husband will have to speak to me. Lets hope that doesn’t choke him and he and Catherine will (unless one of them is going to be silly about it) see each other for the first time in about 8 years. They never actually fell out, just stopped making contact and although he was invited to Catherine’s wedding he didn’t feel he could make it. So, that could be an interesting day. I would love him to see his only grandchild, so I’m hoping they can both be adult about it.
On the subject of babies, I hear today that eating Trans fats reduces a woman’s fertility by more than 70%, I’d better make sure I stop eating it now. I think thingsmay be a little different soon in George Mansions.
Mike received some unsolicited Junk Mail and it could be I will have to give up writing my Journal soon due to lack of time.
Apparently there is this herbal supplement that will and I quote,
“Re-activate glands and other organs which had practically gone to sleep. You (Mike) will feel as if he has just bathed in the Fountain of Youth and will be able to give his partner (ME) 10, 15 or even 20 orgasms a week “!!!!!!!!
One 72 year old is quoted as say “I’m having sex whenever I feel like it! Almost every day! My wife shrieks with pleasure. She’s crazy for sex now and she does things that she never wanted to do”……What, like mow the lawn? Or change the oil in the car?
Oh, please!!!! Can you imagine living next door to a 72 year old couple who are on a daily basis shrieking with sexual pleasure?
So if I don’t write on here again, you’ll know what I’m doing. Anybody want the address?
Life goes on.
Thank you for the kind comments on last week's entry.
Last Saturday morning I was writing about the loss of our dog Harper. Then, in the afternoon, I went to collect my ‘Rescue Battery Hen’ who is now bearing the name Isabella, after my grandaughter.
I got to choose her from about 30 birds that were there and she stood out immediately. She was quite fluffy and much paler than the other birds. She also had the least feathers. I had been warned that they don’t have many feathers, someone even said they looked like ‘Oven Ready’. I was pleasantly surprised, this batch was quite well covered, apart from the one I chose and even she wasn’t too naked.
I saw her and thought that’s the one, then my head said no, there are better looking birds than her. I tried to make myself pick another but couldn’t do it, so baldy came home with me.
I’m going to keep an online diary, from Isabella’s point of view, describing how she settles in (or not). Don’t know how long I will keep it up but I just felt it might be best kept separate from my weekly Journal.Isabella's Diary
Well, a new year has started and already January is nearly halfway through. I always make New Year’s Resolutions and never keep them. It occurred to me that maybe I was doing something wrong. So this year I have a change of plan.
In 2007 I resolve to:-
Not lose any weight.
Drink more than the recommend amount of wine per week.
Eat chocolate whenever I feel like it .
Not do any exercise.
Not clean my car for a whole year.
Spend money like it’s going out of fashion.
Grow old disgracefully.
Then the end of the year won’t be so upsetting as I will probably have achieved most of these things and I won’t be suffering the usual sense of failure.
My closet Pagan side had an airing on Saturday evening. Mike and I went to the farm in Gloucestershire where his family were farming in the first half of the 1800’s.
The current owner held a Wassail, traditionally held on 12th Night but far pre dates the Christian religion. I love the feeling of being attuned with Mother Earth in these events. It’s not involving any sort of worship of Pagan Gods, just a demonstration of love of nature and honouring the miracle of regrowth each year.
We arrived at the farm at 7.30pm and were welcomed with mulled cider and two troupes of Morris Dancers and then we went to the orchard where 12 bonfires had been set around a large old apple tree.
There was a gibbet type construction near the tree, hung with a faggot (I think it was called, a bundle of sticks) which represented the old year. That was set alight and as the flames of that were dying the 12 fires were lit (representing the 12 months of the new year). Cider was then poured onto the ground around the tree, thereby returning the juice to the tree and little pieces of toast, dipped in cider, were hung on some of the branches.
We sang the Gloucestershire Wassail Song and the Wassail Bowl was brought around for everyone to drink from. At which time you were supposed to make a wish. Then we all walked around the tree, three times, whilst musicians played. I say walked, after all the rain earlier in the day, I think slithered and slipped was a better description.
As usual I took lots of photos mostly just by natural light, as the flash killed the atmosphere, the best are above.
The house is quiet without Harper but we do not intend to get another dog for a while. Maybe not until we move from this house when Mike retires properly.
Mike read my entry about Harper last week and said, “Thanks, I’ll never be able to play Seasons in The Sun” again. That’s where the title was taken from.
Hello to Nick, another of my far flung family, who has started reading my Journal. Nice to hear from you. I can see that in future years we will probably all meet up in a Chat Room, rather than actually going to the Family Picnic. In fact, if we all had Web cams, we could set up a virtual picnic.
My niece Emma is in New Zealand now, she will be home next month, I can’t believe the year went so quickly. Where does the time go? As Emma’s grandfather once said, when my sister said “Soon be Summer” He came back with the cheery. “Soon be Winter, soon be dead”
So on that happy note, I think I will go and follow some of my New Year’s Resolutions…….. Pass me the chocolates please!
This week was a sad time. I’ve mentioned before that our dog, Harper, was not well, suffering from Senile Dementia. We've done our best to keep him going and he 's been on anti-depressants and Valium for months.
Mostly he has slept during the day but he’s been waking us at around 5am. He wanted to go outside, but he wouldn’t go back to sleep and would spend two or three hours crying before he would settle down again. One of us would have to stay with him and walk around the house with him until he settled.
Tuesday there seemed to be a change, he was more confused than usual and when he walked he was dragging one front and one hind leg. He also slept even more than usual. He woke us at 3.30am on Wednesday and nothing would pacify him. We knew that it wasn’t fair to keep him going any longer. Mike went to work and this had the result of Harper walking into the bathroom and crying at the toilet. I phoned the Vet and made an appointment.
The nurses who work at our Vet’s are wonderful and were sad to see Harper come in for his last visit but they agreed this was the kindest thing for him. He stood with his face against the wall as if he had no idea where he was.
It’s strange but I don’t feel too sad now he is gone, the worst part was making the decision. I think really that his doggy life ended about a year ago and that I’d gradually got used to him not responding to anything. It was as if we no longer had a dog, he wasn’t up to his walks anymore, the most he could manage was a slow shamble around the Crescent, which would make him out of breath.
Harper lived with us for 14 years and we had him as a ‘Rescue’ when he was about 12 months old. He was found, with a badly broken front leg and when we first had him the leg was still plastered, it wasn’t certain whether the leg could be saved. Luckily it healed well and he rarely showed any signs of the injury.
We don’t know what happened to Harper before he came to us but I don’t think he had been well treated. He could be quite badly behaved and Mike and I have both been bitten by him in the past.
But he has been good fun, with his strange character quirks.
In the summer we often have hot air balloons fly over. Harper hated them. As soon as he heard the gas burner, he’d be off running up and down the length of the garden, barking his head off. One summer’s evening, as the sun was starting to get low in a misty sky, he mistook it for a balloon and went mad at it, which was very funny to see.
Harper had certain words that he didn’t like and we don’t know why. They were words that just came out in conversation and Harper’s reaction to them was surprising to say the least. These words were ‘Coroner, Elgar and Ja Ja Binks (a Star Wars character). His response to these words was always the same. He would do a deafening, high pitched, bark, which would set all the, glass, china even the fireplace ringing with the sound of it. I’m ashamed to admit we would use these words sometimes to show visitors his ‘party piece’ although it didn’t seem to upset him, he always seemed like he was doing it with a smile on his face and a sense of being a clever boy.
You could never be sure what he wouldn’t like. I will never forget the day he caught sight of a man up the road who had his head under the bonnet (hood) doing some maintenance on his car. Harper walked around our sitting room on his two hind legs, so he could get a better view, looking rather like ‘Skippy The Kangaroo‘, whilst barking wildly. He obviously thought the car was attacking the man.
He’d didn’t like people being on horseback either, which could prove difficult when out walking him. Many’s the time I’ve had to leap into a ditch , or behind a bush with him before he noticed an approaching horse, leaving Mike to explain to the bewildered rider our suspicious looking behaviour.
Our cat, Merlin, is missing him as he was very attached to Harper much to Harper’s disgust. Merlin would follow him around the garden, jumping up to nuzzle him under the chin. They would walk to the pond and have a look at that and then carry on to the bottom of the garden to have a look at the brook. They would stand side by side but Harper always gave the impression of being embarrassed by his feline companion and would try to walk away, Merlin never took the hint and would stay glued to his side. Yet Harper obviously had a fondness for Merlin and would go and cry at the back door to let us know when Merlin wanted to come in. I’ve had some very deep, searching looks from Merlin since Wednesday.
Thank you Harper for all the pleasure you gave us, there'll never be another quite like you.
A Happy New Year to everyone.
It’s been a long time since I wrote an entry, time has just flown by and it seems to have been the busiest Christmas ever. I can’t possibly recall everything that happened, or record it here but will try to put in the main events and the things that left their mark.
Sunday 17th was the family Christmas drink, when members of my father’s family meet up to exchange cards. Sadly the numbers that attend are dwindling, for two reasons, one is because this tradition was started a long time ago and so many of them are no longer with us. The second reason is, so many of the family now live elsewhere. But it was nice to see those that were there.
Christmas for me really started on Thursday 21st. It was my first day off school and in the evening we went to the Black Country Living Museum. We were blessed with a cold and frosty evening and spent a magical time walking around savouring the sights, smells and sounds of the place. If you’ve never been and have only half an interest in the past, then I suggest you go. I would have liked to have Fish & Chips for our evening meal while we were there. The village has a genuine old fish shop and they fry in dripping, which makes them crispy and unlike anything you get today. But the queue was so long, we were not prepared to wait. Instead we decided to sample the Hog Roast, which for £3.00 for a large bap was excellent value, there must have been half a pound of pork in it and it was cooked to perfection.
Victorian style Carol Singers were singing in the village centre and as usual ,the characters living in the cottages were totally in part and were preparing and cooking the type of dishes typical of the turn of the 19th/20th Century, all by candlelight or gaslight and cooked on a roaring range.
Saturday 23rd our friend Catherine ( otherwise known as our adopted Radio daughter), who now lives in France (Hello Catherine!) came for dinner and stopped the night. We had a lovely evening catching up with the gossip and carried on until we all started falling asleep. She bought me a lovely present, a clutch bag with flowers on it.
Earlier in the day my step-daughter called in to exchange presents, she had come up from Bath tocollect hermother, who was going to be staying with her for Christmas.
Christmas Eve, my step-son and his girlfriendcame round to exchange presents and I then spent the rest of the evening frantically wrapping presents. In the end I had to give up and go to bed, so Mike’s presents were wrapped Christmas afternoon, while he was doing his radio programme.
Christmas morning Mike and I went over to Hopton Wafers, a village about half an hour’s drive away. Mum & Wilf had stayed there overnight, in a cottage in the grounds of the village pub ,they were having their Christmas lunch there and were stopping Christmas night too. My sister Val and her partner Mal met us there and we had champagne (not Mike), then Mike went off to work and I came home with Val & Mal.
The afternoon was spent cooking. I was doing a Turkey breast and a Beef Wellington but we decided the Turkey would be enough and the Beef could wait until Boxing Day. I don’t know what sort of Turkey this breast came from, I think it was really an Ostrich! There was some confusion in the Butcher’s when I went to order it. I normally have a 20 pound turkey from them but this year, as it was just four of us I thought I would just have a Turkey Crown. I know what Turkey Crowns are, I’ve had one before, it’s the two breasts left on the wishbone and ribcage and makes a very nice meal thank you.
But no! I was told I didn’t want a Turkey Crown by my butcher, as it would be too large. Now we like a lot of meat and it’s essential to have plenty left over to have with pickles, for at least a couple of days, so I wasn‘t happy with what I was being told. But he was having none of it, I was just going to get one Turkey Breast, not the double Crown. He assured me it would be from one of the larger birds and not to worry. That’s why I decided to have the Beef Wellington also.
Well when I went to pick it up!!!! And that’s another story, which I will relate in a minute. He brought out this thing and slapped it on the scales, “Just over 10 pounds, is that alright?”
How on earth did that bird walk, I know all his stuff is free range. So if the two breasts came to over 20 pounds, what on earth did the whole thing weigh? How would you dispatch a thing that size? Very carefully I should say! But it was wonderful, probably the best turkey I have had and of course there was loads left over.
As I went early on the Saturday morning to collect my order, I found, as I reached the middle of town, that an empty warehouse was ablaze and I couldn’t get down into Lowesmoor, which is where my Butcher is. There were fire engines and police vehicles everywhere and hoses were being brought across various roads to try to boost the water needed to deal with the fire. The roof had already gone and flames were shooting up high into the sky.
Eventually I found a side road to park in and walked to the shop. By now the queue was out of the door (8.15 am) and then my phone started ringing. It was Mike, who was at the radio station. He had heard the news and was ringing to say, if I hadn’t already gone to the butcher’s, perhaps I should go later. When I told him I was already there, he said I could do an eye witness report for the News. How silly do you feel standing in a queue of people you don’t know, being interviewed over the phone about the fire we were all looking at? The answer is, Very.
When Mike got home on Christmas Day we opened our presents. I had a lovely Rose Bush from Mike, which has my name on it. There is a company in Shrewsbury that will send an unnamed rose, which has been personalised as a gift. It’s not a rose that can be bought normally but other people can also have this rose named for their loved one, so it is semi unique (if you can say that). He also bought me my favourite Chanel perfume, some expensive face creams and a lovely pair of Lounging PJ’s, which I am wearing now. I had lots of other lovely presents, too many to list here.
Late on Boxing Day Catherine, Flo and Isabella were supposed to arrive but they decided to delay their crossing and so arrived the following day. They drove and crossed the Channel from Boulogne to Dover. They used Sea France and the ferry was cold and dirty and they would have preferred to stay in their car.
A busy few days while they were here, visiting people and places and just not enough time to do all that we wanted and on Saturday they went. They spent New Years Eve at Eastbourne, to be nearer the Ferry for the next day. This time they were using Speed Ferries, which is a Hover type of ferry. The one they were booked on was cancelled due to technical problems, so instead of going just after 2pm, they didn’t sail until around 6pmand the crossing was terrible, due to the high winds. I had a text saying they had booked into a hotel in France, as they didn’t feel up to continuing the journey. I hope to hear from them later today, when they get home.
It’s been quite an eventful year, with Catherine getting married at the start of it and then Isabella’s arrival making me a Grandmother in the Summer. To finish the year, Simon & Tori got engaged on Christmas Day, so that’s another wedding to start planning and saving for.
I ended 2006 feeling rather low. I heard some horrific things over Christmas that have happened to people I know. My mood was not improved by the hanging of Saddam . I know what he did but is the world a better place for his brutal execution? How could it be? Should we all live in fear of reprisals, yes, I think so.
I want this New Year to be a good one, when all my loved ones are happy. I desperately want to lose this excess weight I have been carrying for too long and for Mike to give birth to that baby he has been carrying for the last ten years. So I guess that means we will be trying to diet again.
It’s back to school tomorrow, the children aren’t in but it is a training day. I hope the speaker is interesting, otherwise I could be asleep by lunchtime.
Happy New Year to my niece Emma, who is just preparing to leave Australia, to head on to New Zealand. We’ve just realised I shall be in Germany when you come home, so I’m going to miss the party! We shall have to catch up with you soon after. There are some pictures of your Mum and general Christmas shots at the top of this entry for you. I’m not including the one your Mum took of me, she has obviously inherited our mother’s knack of not taking the picture when you expect it but waits until everyone has fallen into disarray and then presses the button!
I still have over 30 Alerts to read for new entries for other Journals, I've been trying to keep up but had very little time on the computer. I've read most of them but have only had time to comment on a few. I hope to get back to normal now.
Happy New Year to you all!