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

Sunday, 29 April 2007

So That Was April!

Time to catch up I think, my last proper entry went up to Good Friday.

Easter Saturday we had our first barbeque of the year. I’m quite proud of my Kebabs, although I say it myself, they are good, especially the Salmon and Prawn ones.


Easter Monday Mike and I managed a rare thing, a day together and we went out, to Wales, only this time we went to Mid- Wales. I wanted to take Mike to a place I went in my teens. My best friend‘s parents had a caravan in Penybontfawr and I stayed there sometimes.

I’ll never forget the night we went to the Village Hall, having been told there was a Disco. What that meant was someone with a record player, the age range was from babies to great grandparents. As we walked up to the door the sound of ’Scotland the Brave’ greeted us. We collapsed in hysterical laughter, we were there in our really cool clothes, mini skirts and high heels. After all we were from Stourbridge, famous at the time for Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin, and the discos we went to had strobe lights, oh yes, we were cool alright!

We were quite the centre of attention in this quiet farming village, where Welsh was the first language and we were exotic butterflies, with our long hair, Mary Quant make-up, short skirts and legs up to our armpits.

Somewhere in my loft is a love letter from Llewellyn, son of a local farmer, in it he professes his undying love for me and informed me the biggest event of the week was when he was kicked by a cow and “By damn, did it hurt”. Such happy innocent days. One of our favourite places there was Pystyll Falls and this was where I wanted to take Mike.

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After we’d clambered around the falls, we had tea at the Teashop there 0703100023

and then drove onto Bala, where there is a bustling town and a huge lake. We had lunch in an ancient hotel, the food was fine but dear me, they want to sort out the service. Mike had to keep following the waiter around to pay the bill, we nearly needed to eat again by the time we got out. I wasn’t as if there were that many people there, he just kept running around in a demented way, muttering and sighing to himself, like Manuel in Fawlty Towers.

We travelled home via the mountains and as usual the scenery didn’t disappoint, 0703100036 thank goodness more people don’t realise what a beautiful place Central Wales is. You don’t have to go to the coast for scenery.

On the way back we stopped at the little teashop in Brampton Bryan, opposite the famous 400 year old Yew Hedge. 0703100045

We were going to have tea and cakes and then realised we had both spent our cash, we rarely use it these days, so had to change the order to just tea. Bless him, the lovely man still came out with the cakes and said we could call in another time and pay him. I then remembered I had some bags of change in the car ready to take to the bank, so we were able to pay him after all…in 50p’s.

On the Wednesday I went to meet my Niece Emma for lunch in Wolverhampton, which was a treat as I see her quite rarely and we probably talked more than we ever have done.

Then it was off the Archives to do some family research for a friend.

After that I went to the house of a lady I’ve been talking to via my favourite website Rowley Regis Online, for a coffee. I know meeting people off the Internet can be a bit dodgy but when you are all researching Family History it really would be a bit complicated to groom someone for unpleasant intentions and anyway, she promised me she wasn’t a White Slave Trader, although with her living in Wolverhampton, you can never be quite sure . (she actually lived in the very ’posh’ bit) We ‘d spoken on the phone once, but that was for nearly an hour and I was pretty  sure we would ‘hit it off’ which we must have done because it was two hours later when I left.

Thursday I went to Plymouth to spend the night at Simon and Tori‘s. The weather was glorious 0703130004

and Simon took me for a drive out in his toy, (second car) an old BMW he bought very cheaply on Ebay and has virtually rebuilt and had resprayed. 0703130001

That evening we sat, as the sun set, on the decking at The Waterfront and then had dinner in The Barbican, a lovely evening.

The next day was misty and a little drizzly but still quite warm. Tori had to work but Simon was free, so we went to Cornwall, this was Looe, 0703140010

where we lunched.

Then we went on to Polperro . 0703140017

Later on I returned to Worcester and went to my stepson’s for dinner, which was another lovely evening.

Sadly that was the end of my  2weeks off.

Back to school and another course of swimming lessons, ohdeep joy! There are a lot of ‘issues’ at the moment and trouble with children outside school which is being brought into school .Then one of my little precious charges, of whom I am incredibly fond, really upset me by stealing something that was very precious to her Teacher. I guessed who it was and confronted her about it, she broke down in tears and confessed. It’s not really her fault, it has a lot to do with her background and not being taught the right ways of the world. I’m hoping she will return the item but I felt it was something that she trusted me enough to confess, something she wouldn‘t have done in September.

Last weekend was my birthday and we went to what is probably the most beautiful restaurant in Worcester, The King Charles. King Charles 1 is supposed to have escaped from a window there, after the disastrous Battle of Worcester, the panelling and ancient, black woodwork is brilliantly counter balanced by lace tablecloths, silver and crystal and very comfy chintzy chairs. I’ve wanted to go there for years and finally managed it. I wasn’t disappointed.

The next day was our Wedding Anniversary and we were invited to Shifnal for dinner at my sister’s, as usual it was a very entertaining evening with good food. On the way there I had heard Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, which brought back a teenage memory and I had to share this with Val. I reminded her of Mum’s singing and how she would drown out the radio with her own words and tune, to whatever was playing, a cause of great annoyance to us both as this was long before the days of having your own music centres in your bedroom, so the house radio was our only real source of music.

Now my Mother comes from the Black Country, were they dow spake loike the rest on ya. So my Mother’s version of ‘They paved Paradise, put up a parking lot’ was………‘It aye very nice to put up a parking lot.’ After a few glasses of wine this is a very amusing story.

We went to town yesterday to see a friend at a book signing and bought a copy and then had lunch, is it any wonder I’m fat with all this eating? Then we walked back via the racecourse to have a look at the German BeerFest. It was like a tent with beer, not much Fest at all and the singer was so depressing The Samaritan s had a stall in the corner. In fact I think my Mother could have done a better job. We didn’t stop.

Today I did a Reflexology treatment on my next door neighbour, her baby is due on Thursday and she is really fed up. She was amazed to find her treatment reduced the swelling in her feet by about 25%.

I think that brings me up to date, time for a bit of telly. I have some more lovely photos which I will post later in the week.




Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Putting My Feet Up. (Ha!)

I know it’s a bit lazy but I really don’t have time to do a proper update at present and I have some beautiful photos to put on, so it will just have to wait a little longer.


On Sunday I was out for the day with a friend I met through my Rowley Regis Online site. That site has been the biggest help for me in my Family History Research and although it may sound macabre, on Sunday, Sandra and I went Grave hunting and clearing. With a lunch at a pub of course.


I had to write up our day on my RRO Blog, so that other members could see what we had been up to. It is also of great interest to those RRO Members who live too far away to visit the Family Churches themselves. We even have Australian Members whose family were transported for petty crime in the 19th C.


So until I get round to doing a proper entry, here is a link to how two slightly  crazed, middle aged grannies spent their Sunday.



Saturday, 7 April 2007

Good Friday

I wrote this yesterday but as I still couldn’t use the Add Pictures button I uploaded the photos to Flickr, which is so much better than trying to use AOL’s File Manager and without the small file size restriction. I didn’t have time to sort the photos last night, hence the delay in posting. The advantage of Flickr is, if you double click on the picture, it takes you to straight to Flickr and above the photo is an ALL sizes button, so you can see the pictures larger if you want. The one of Alton Towers in the last post needs seeing larger, then you can see the old stone bridge and the horses grazing in the distance. Of course this morning, after weeks of not working, it now does, so pictures are in both formats!!! Dear old AOL. Even better, I've just tried to put captions on and the error is back, so have a look and make up your own stories!!!!!


10.04.07. Finally got to put the captions in!


As always, the good news in life is counter balanced by the bad. I was so relieved to hear the 15 Navy personnel had been released and returned home. I never believed their treatment had been as good as we were lead to believe. The interviews today confirm this. I wish I thought this was the end of it. I feel it is the start of something much worse.


For those that know them in J land, Jeanette and Kim have had bad times and bad news this week, much love to them.


Already I have had the first week of my Easter break, it goes too quickly.

On Tuesday I picked up my sister and we went on a trip to Pontblyddyn in North Wales. We were looking for the grave of our 2 x great Grandfather Paul Louwet/Lewett, who was Belgian and married a Welsh lady, Margaret Williams. I recently acquired a photograph of the gravestone and because of its distinctive shape, thought it would be easy to find. Sadly, it wasn’t. There is a section in the churchyard that has been cleared of headstones and the stones laid around the turfed area. These stones are moss covered, so almost impossible to see and read, and then there is another section which is so overgrown it’s not possible to get in there. We didn’t find the grave but we had a good day out and a very good lunch at The Druidwhich is an old stone Inn opposite the churchyard. I think it was the first time Val and I have been out on our own, just the two of us, for more than 30 years.

Wednesday morning was a hair appointment, which turned out to be a bit of a disaster, I was booked in for 10.30 for a cut and a retouch of my highlights. I’d also booked my induction for my new Gym at 12.15. It was only 5 minutes walk away and I’m never more than an hour and a half for my hair. Of course on Wednesday Martin was running late and didn’t start on me until 11.10, which I don’t think is acceptable, 40 minutes late is not professional. So I just got my roots done and didn’t get the cut. I feel like a right shaggy sheepdog at the moment.

I did the induction at the gym, which I enjoyed and went back for my first session today. It’s a 30 minute work out, just for ladies, 3 minutes on each piece of apparatus and you have to go 3 times a week I’m hoping I’ll do better at this than at the Gym I previously went to.

Late afternoon Wednesday, I went to Stratford upon Avon, to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. I’d found on The National Archives website that there were some documents in Stratford relating to my Hadley family. They were huge old parchment indentures to a lease on land in Rowley Regis and although I haven’t yet worked out the exact link, the land is where my Hadley’s were living 60 years later and the John mentioned in the Indenture dated 1691 has to be related to the John I have got back to born around 1700. It was quite awesome actually handling these ancient documents and seeing the signature of a John Hadley who is probably my 7 x great grandfather.

If I have the connection right it means that the actual owner of the land, Isaac Tunckes bequeathed it to his daughter Mary, who married William Hadley, father of a John Hadley mentioned as a benificiary, who is probably the father of the John I have got back to. This makes Isaac Tunckes an ancestor also. He lived in Harborne, Birmingham and I suppose explains why my later Hadley’s could often be found in Harborne for weddings, several miles from their home in Rowley Regis.


This morning I went for my first full session at the Gym which I enjoyed. When I’d finished I walked up into the High Street to get some flowers and on the way saw Tony, my current ‘pet’ Big Issue seller. I think he’s about my age but looks older after years of being homeless and whatever else went wrong in his life. I started talking to him last yearand he seems a gentle, intelligent man. He has a dog he adores, which he rescued as a puppy and because of it was unable to use the very good Shelter we have in Worcester. He’d rather sleep in the elements than give up his dog. Last year Tony had Pleurisy and as a result was put on priority for accommodation in a sort of ‘halfway house’ scheme. He was housed in time for Christmas, which I was very pleased to hear.

Today his dog was muzzled, which concerned me. Tony explained that last night he had gone to the local shops and left the dog tied outside. These shops are near the school I work in, it’s quite usual to see dogs tied to the garden railings there but it is a rough area and at night I suppose things are quite different. Anyway Tony heard his dog barking and went out to find a bunch of teenagers tormenting him, when Tony tried to stop them they kicked the dog in the face and beat up Tony, I noticed then he had a black eye. These teenagers are probably children I worked with, or the brothers of them. I sickens me, it makes me angry and it makes me cry. Why are people so vile?

I ‘buy’ a Big Issue from Tony whenever I see him and take the time to talk to him, only I know I will be never get round to reading it, so I ask him to sell it again to someone who has more time. I’m not a religious person and when I think of the things done in the name of religion I do have very mixed feelings about it all. Somehow, despite my lack of religious belief, my love for a less fortunate human being all seemed quite appropriate on Good Friday. You don’t have to be a Christian to want to follow the same ideals. I don’t relate any of this to make myself appear like GoodyTwoShoes, I just wish the world was a more loving place. And while on the subject, Easter is so much old than the fairly recent Christian celebration, my friend Susie has written about it in her Journal. Susie's Easter

Mike and I actually managed a day off work together today, something of a feat, as since his enforced retirement it only happens about 6 days a year. Mike’s daughter Sue was coming to Worcester to pick up her Mother for Easter, (so much more meat than a Turkey, we usually have my mother for Christmas dinner!) I suggested we take Sue and her two daughters,  Chloe & Abigail, out for lunch. Then I thought it be an idea to invite Dave (Mike’s son) and his girlfriend Sam. These are things Mike would love to do but he just isn’t into forward planning, unless it‘s buying tickets for a Watford match, so its usually down to me to suggest family things. It’s quite rare to get us all together.

As the weather promised to be good, we thought Bushwackers in town would be ideal, it has lovely courtyard garden to eat out in and the food is always excellent, freshly prepared, yet fast. By night it’s a Pick-Up joint, famous for Grab-a-Gran and affectionately known as BushSlappers but by day it’s a totally different place.

Today we weren’t let down by the weather, or the food and had a lovely time, Sue was very entertaining and her trick of tipping her lunch into her lap and then getting it back on the plate without a mark on her clothes was one of her best. However it wasn’t as good as the disappearing fish trick she managed when she and Dave last went to visit their Nan.


Dave & Sue (like the Easter Hat Dave!)

They had Fish and Chips for supper and were sitting in the living room to eat. Sam got up for some reason and walked across the room. At the same moment Sue’s battered fish disappeared. The reason then became apparent, her piece of Cod had somehow become firmly attached to Sam’s poncho and was walking round the room. The relating of this tale today caused much hilarity, as is the way of all the best family tales.


Sam demonstrating the size of The Cod That Got Away.


A better picture of Abigail & Sam.

We have a number of thesetales that are often dragged out at family gatherings, like Mike’s trousers falling down in the Father’s Race at School Sports day. His 80’s Kevin Keegan curly perm and dark glasses. The party Sue gave at home, when we were away on holiday, which was so good the police came three times and of course the shelves Mike put up when we were first married, which fell down in the night.

For nearly 20 years Mike thought it was because his DIY skills were so poor that the shelves fell down. But we all knew that is was really because 4 year old Simon had got out of bed and climbed up them to retrieve some money Mike had confiscated earlier in the day. We felt it was best Mike didn’t know this at the time, as he was so cross. I think I’ve explained before in the car crash incident, Simon is a very bad liar, he forgets to stick to the tale and eventually the truth will always come out. We all nearly died of suffocation from laughing so much on the day that Simon let this little gem out at a family meal. It was made even funnier by the fact it was nearly 20 years after the event and we’d all been in on it. The look of incredulity on Mike’s face at the duplicity of his family was priceless. Luckily he saw the funny side of it.

I said  today that maybe Chloe and Abigail might like to call me Lulu now. I have been known as Nanny Harper, after our dog but as he is no more, it doesn't seem very appropriate. Also I am aware that four grandmothers are just a tad too many and as they are getting older might prefer to use something that sounds better. I'm known as Lulu to Catherine and family, so I offered them the choice of calling me that, which they seemed happy with. This of course promoted some discussion as to whether Mike now became Poppa Lulu? Hmmm, we weren't too sure about that one, Dave said it sounded like a Gangster Rapper, anything further from Mike would be hard to imagine.


Chloe and 'Poppa Lulu'.

We’ve had our ups and downs over the years but our family gatherings could never be called dull. There have been issues and rows but throughout it all, there has always been love.

I can hear Isabella now announcing to the world that she has laid her daily egg, what a voice that girl's got!. They've been moved away from the house down to their Summer quarters, so hopefully we don't getcomplaints from the neighbours.

Time to get some gardening done and enjoy this sunshine.

Happy Easter.