Thursday, July 31, 2008

The other side of Lourdes!!!

Tonight I received a couple of photographs from my friend Kathryn who went to Lourdes as part of the Church party. I had asked her to try and snap a few of Carl in action. She has sent me this photo!!!! Not sure if this is a true action shot, seeing how he is asleep in it!! This was during a mass, I think he was using it as a time to catch up with his sleep and it was possibly mass 25 of 50!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Town Monday - The ghost of Burnham Green.

I have been thinking about local ghost stories, there doesn't seem to be too many but the one I remember being told about is the ghost of the headless horse that haunts Burnham Green and the surrounding area.
During the English Civil War a farmer, by the name of Pennyfather, lived at Welch’s Farm and was a staunch Royalist. It is said that the Roundheads attacked his farm and decapitated the farmer placing his head on a spike in the stable yard as a warning to all. It is also said that the spike still existed in 1981. Pennyfather’s favourite white horse would not be lead away quietly and was also decapitated. Now a spectral horse, which is believed to be Pennyfather’s, haunts Whitehorse Lane. It has been seen on several occasions and was described by one witness from Tewin Orchard as ‘pure white’ and standing fifteen hands high. This witness believes that she saw the horse early one evening in the 1960s. At first she thought it was a living horse grazing in the orchard behind her cottage but it later disappeared when there was no where for it to have gone. Many locals have seen the headless horse and people say that you can not make any animal walk along the lane at night. At the top of the lane is the White Horse public house which opened in 1806 and is named after the legend.

An alternative version is centred around the road to Harmer Green from Burnham Green is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a headless horse. Whitehorse Lane which is at the end of Harmer Green Lane is similarly haunted so it is possible that they are the same ghost or there has in the past been a confusion of tales or locations. Many of the roads in this area are sunk deep into the landscape due to erosion over the centuries. These roads are believed to date from as long ago as the Bronze Age. It is on one of these roads that the headless horse is seen and it is said that the haunting relates to a battle which took place there between the Saxons and the Viking invaders in the year 1002.

Now I have driven and walked down these lanes (not walked at night) and I have yet to see the famed headless horse. If you look carefully on the picture of the pub you will see that it shows the headless horse, a rather gory picture involving blood where the head should be!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Busy Again.....

Yesterday the 'boy' returned from his pilgrimage in Lourdes. It was a boiling hot day and for the first time ever his plane arrived early, 20 minutes early, so it was panic stations. We were still on the way to the airport when he text to say he had landed. So we drove straight to the front of Stansted and awaited his appearance, and waited and waited. Finally I got another text and he told me he was likely to be 'a while' as it was taking ages to unload all the people with mobility problems. So we went and sat on a hard standing of a nearby farm in the boiling hot, covered in storm flies, waiting for his call.

Once we collected him we went for a gorgeous lunch/tea with Debbie and Malcolm. Malcolm has been itching to have his hair dyed blond and when we arrived he was sporting a very fetching base ball cap with long blond locks. It felt like at any minute I would be hearing the twang of banjos!!! Really scary!!! Deb laid on some lovely food including strawberries with chocolate sauce and we had a great afternoon. I am a little concerned about Malcs fitness regime. Tom and I have decided to be 'Anti Malcs' eg. He does millions of sit ups, I'll do none, He can't sleep, Tom can sleep for England, easy really!!!

When we got home I had all of Carls washing to do, 4 loads of clothes, which were quite special as he had bough home some holy water which had leaked in the case!! He bought us all little gifts, I am very pleased with my Rosary beads in my favour green colour. Beth has a Lourdes teddy and Tom has a pen on a rope, seeing how he is always losing his at work!!! Nan and grandad had holy water and sweets.

Today Carl was at Scout camp, so I drove him there all 95 miles in each direction. Again it was very hot with the car temp showing 32 outside while we were cooking on the M25!! I feel exhausted and I need another weekend off to recover!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In the swim.

I have given in and bought a swim ticket. They are really good value and Beth still really loves to go swimming in the school pool. I think it will help us get over the hopefully long hot summer. You can't beat sitting at the side of the pool in the full sunshine, getting splashed by the swimmers and listening to their excited screaming. Carl is still doing a bit of life guarding down there so it'll be home from home.
Carl is enjoying himself in Lourdes, its very hot and he has been very very busy. He said that it has been much harder work than he expected but he has enjoyed it. Today he was involved in a pilgrimage procession through the town to the Basilica. He took the part of Jesus and had to carry a cross!!!! (The thing is that his Deputy Head teacher said that he would be perfect for the role Carl said he wouldn't do it!!! She must have won him over) I really really hope that someone has taken photos!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It is done!!!!

Beth was responsible for opening the assembly and the children went on to compare their time at Panshanger with what they might be in the future. Beth took the role of Coral's mum. Coral was the only child in the nursery who refused to go home!! It was very emotional as I had expected, its the end of an era. The sketches were funny and not sad so that really helped everyone. Once we got back to the class room the flood gates opened and all the children were in tears and a fair few of us were as well. In the end Tom and I decided that we needed to go and we offered Beth a medicinal McDonalds by way of a bribe. That did the trick and we made our exit.
I just wish our holidays were starting this week. When we got home from school our postman had just been and had left us a package containing our holiday folder and tickets, so we have that to look forward to. Two weeks today!!!!

Year 6 Leavers Swim and Barbecue

Last night we had the leavers barbecue and swim. It hardly seems possible that Beth is one day short of finishing year 6 and moving onto secondary school. Every year the school holds a celebration and the children and parents join in. After the barbecue we had a game of children versus parents rounders. I cunningly stood on the right to field as I thought most of the children would be right handed. It was a good plan but flawed as I had failed to take into account that over a third of the class are left handed!! This resulted in me nearly having to take action to catch a ball heading my way. Luckily I reacted too slowly and it hit the deck!
Maggie the school secretary is an ace cake maker and again she produced a cake that reflected their time at Panshanger. This included her famous signpost with the names of all the different schools that the children are going to.
Today has been very emotional with a funeral of a friend who has a daughter in Beth's class. Beth went to the church service but went back to school for the cremation service. I feel like I have had a tension headache all day.
We rounded the evening off with a great meal out with our friends Rod and Tina, this was to celebrate Tina's birthday. It was great to see the twins Emma and Stuart and Emma's 'man' Dave. By the time we got back Beth was exhausted. Just the final day and leavers assembly to go, tissues at the ready!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Divided by a common language?

Travis has commented on the word 'Plonker' and I hadn't realised that it was one of those words that hadn't crossed the ocean as yet! Anyway according to the dictionary of English slang it means ' Fool, idiot, a despicable person' It can also be used to describe a certain part of the male anatomy!!
This has been in popular use since it was used on a more than regular basis in one of our all time classic TV comedies, Only Fools and Horses. Rodney was always being called a Plonker by his brother Del Boy!!

My Town Monday - Lord 'Charlie' Brocket!

Champagne Charlie Checking out Jordan!!

The Auberge Du Lac, Beautiful Restaurant.

The house and Champagne Charlie in Action!!

I have been absent for a couple of weeks mainly due to events happening on the weekend and not being organised enough to research and prepare beforehand.

This week I am going to tell you about another of our colourful characters, Lord Charles Nall-Cain, the 3rd Baron of Brocket. Known locally of Champagne Charlie.

Brocket's parents were Ronald Nall-Cain and Elizabeth Trotter. His father died when Brocket was nine years old. The title of Baron Brocket passed to him at 25 on the death of his grandfather, Arthur Nall-Cain, 2nd Baron Brocket, at which point he inherited Brocket Hall, which was in a bad state of repair. He converted his home into a hotel and conference venue. Today he still owns the hall in Hertfordshire through a trust which leases it to a German consortium. The lease expires after fifty years.(It is now being used as a very swish golf club with a gorgeous restaurant in the grounds)

Brocket, an Old Etonian, served in the 14th/20th King's Hussars as a Lieutenant in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. He became known as a playboy, and collected classic cars, once owning forty-two Ferraris. With the collapse of the classic car market in the mid 1990s, his vehicles were losing money, and he tried to offload them quickly. He became famous after being jailed for conspiracy to commit car insurance fraud in 1996, having dismantled and hidden four of the Ferraris, claiming them to be stolen.

Whilst in prison he was stabbed before being moved to Ford Open Prison. In 2004 he was a contestant on the third series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. Finishing in fourth place, his new found fame made him a popular TV celebrity, making almost £1 million in offers. His autobiography, Call Me Charlie, was published in hardback in September, coming in the Top 10 best sellers.

Locally he is viewed as a bit of entertaining lovable 'plonker' !!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sports day another 'Last'

Beth has just competed in her final ever Sports day at Panshanger primary. It was a great day this year the Children's council decided on the games for the circuit part of the event. For the first time we had Space Hopper races and building block competitions. The teams were made up of buddy groups from the juniors and for the third year running Beth was a member of the 'Active Alligators' So far they have been triumphant twice so this year the pressure was on. The team was fiercely competitive and went all out to win every single event in the circuit part. This they did and romped home clear winners for the third time!!

They also do traditional sports events at the end which are not compulsory, but every child takes part because they want to, three legged race and flat running. The three legged race was a bit of a problem as she got detached from her partner!! The running race she ran flat out and won!! So Beth has gone out on a high, my last of 18 sports days, its all too sad.

Roll On the Holidays.

This week has been a rather emotional one and next week is set to be worse. It started with the sad death of one of my friends at the age of 46, not totally unexpected but a terrible waste and a terrible indictment of the services that are available to people who are not able to fully look after themselves or the small people that they in turn care for. The funeral will be on Tuesday morning.

Another friend has found out that her mum has now got terminal cancer, after what we had thought had been successful treatment. She lives some distance away so my friend is unable to visit her until school is out on Wednesday.

School is another trauma. I have been taking my children to Panshanger school for the past 18 years without a gap. Because of the age gap between my kids I had one in year six when the next one started in reception. This time I don't!!!! 18 years is a long time to be going to a place to suddenly be cut off from it, so I am feeling very sad about that but trying not to show it too much because I know that Beth is feeling very upset too. I think that next Wednesday will require quite a lot of tissues and loads of blinking!

This morning at 4.30am Carl had to be taken to school for his trip to Lourdes, he was up packing last night and then we couldn't get to sleep because I was worried we would over sleep. I have just heard that he is at the airport and ready to go. Tom is catching up with some sleep !!

So you can see why I am looking forward to my holiday, two weeks in Holland with Miss Debbielou and her family (who has also been through the emotional trauma of leaving school as her school has broken up already!!)

Once this week is over I will be able to concentrate on my holiday preparations !!!!
I'll leave you with a happy photo, Megan and Beth a pair of happy 11 year olds, where has that time gone???

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Candy Floss Hair!

I have spent the past weekend with some online pals, we hire an adult education centre in Loughton in Essex and have scrapping and crafting fun. I seem to take loads with me but never do that much! The time is spent having fun, eating chocolate and doughnuts and drinking the occasional alcoholic beverage. This year our plan went a little wrong, I was supposed to sharing with Jen, but our room sprung a leak in the ceiling, so I moved in with Dougie and Jen moved in with Jill.
Anyway over the weekend I only managed three layouts but I did have a lot of fun and it was great meeting some of my online friends in real life!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Meeting Dawn Bibby!!!!

Friday the 11th of July was a very entertaining day, my Friend Karen (pictured above ) was invited with a friend (me) to a QVC craft day at the Queen Elizabeth Conference centre in Westminster. We travelled up by train and had lunch in a pub opposite the houses of Parliament. When we arrived we received a huge goody bag full of new and unseen crafty things. We went upstairs and were greeted by a whole room full of tables featuring all sorts of crafts that we were able to have a play with.

We started on Rosemary Merrys table, making a tag book. We had a go on most places, and came away with a ton of freebies.

I got to speak to Dawn Bibby, who tells me that she can't ever remember using a 'green holographic wheelbarrow' on any of her cards, and if she did it was a long time ago when the die cuts were naff!!!!! I did manage to get her to sign a card to that effect!!! (she has ruined the green holographic wheelbarrow fan club!!!)
It was a great afternoon, we didn't leave until around 5.45 and by then it was pouring with rain, we didn't care we had had a great time and came away with armfuls of goods. Thanks Karen for inviting me!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A little taster!!

Here are the first few photos from Jenn. I must say that I am pleased with them!! Can't wait to see the rest. This weekend I am going to have a great time. I am going to a reception in London for QVC. My friend Karen has been invited and has asked me along as a guest. It will be all about craft products, just up my street. I will then be going to spend the weekend at an Adult Education centre called Debden, where I will be crafting and partying the nights away. I will be sharing with my ace photographer Jenn. Can't wait, hope the rain stops sometime soon!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

I feel all at sea!!!

Yesterday Tom and I had a 'cream tea' for all of our friends to celebrate out Silver wedding anniversary. It was a little after the date but its the best we could do. Our original wedding was a blazing hot day with little breeze and no clouds in the sky. Yesterday in contrast we had torrential rain, with thunder and lightening!! Non the less we had a great day. The only minor irritation was the music, the CD player was on strike and the lack of music really wound me up.
I would like to publically thank my friends Debbie and Karen for their input.
Debbie kindly supplied all the helium balloons in shades of cream and purple. She even gave me a lesson in the intricacies of helium balloon inflation (I had no idea that there were different shaped nozzles depending on the type of balloons!!)
Karen supplied my anniversary cakes, and they were stunning!! Beautiful home made death by chocolate the smell of which made my mouth water. The cakes were topped off with gorgeous floral displays. (I have licked the outside of the containers as it was hard to scrape off all the chocolate and I couldn't possibly have put them on the table covered in chocolate could I?)
Because I am usually the one that takes all the photos I asked a friend to step into the breach and take photos on my behalf, this is why I feel all at sea, I have the grand total of 6 photos of the event!! Jen (Thank you Jen!!) has all the rest on her camera and I am going to have to wait until Friday before I get to look at them. (Unless she puts me out of my misery and sends me a couple to keep me quiet!!!!)
We received some beautiful gifts and vouchers, I will be doing my thank you cards very soon. At the end of the evening we had a clear around and Laura and Rod both got stuck in and helped us sort out the mess and the packing up into the car, while being rained on.
So to all my friends and family who attended and read my blog, thank you very much for helping make it a day to remember!!
This is the first week I have missed out on My Town Monday, I did think about it but ran out of time!

Friday, July 04, 2008

I've been to the Beach!

Tonight our school held its first ever Beach Party, we are a few hours from the seaside but tonight the beach came to us. The PTA fund raiser had a huge sand pit, swimming and paddling pools, a bar-b-que,face painting, coconut shy and best of all the Hertbeat Radio Mega slide!!
Beth loved that, and she went on there loads and loads of times.
The children did a display of line dancing as taught to them by our caretaker. This was followed by a group of young guys playing very passable hits from the likes of Oasis, brilliant!!