Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We have been experiencing the hottest few days that we have seen in a while, its positively steamy out there. This leads to very hot and disturbed nights. Yesterday was one long rush work all day, collected Beth after Watford Football and didn't make it in until 8pm. She came back from school with a message to say that they have had two cases of Swine Flu amongst the pupils. The County and Government line at the present is to remain open and carry on. All a bit scary really.
Beth has a sore throat so we ended up going to see the emergency Doctor last night, she is convinced it is viral, but has told her to come back if it doesn't improve over the next couple of days. She is pretty miserable as this week is activities week, so if it doesn't get better she will miss sports day, plus trips to Windsor an Whipsnade. So I am dosing her with Calpol and giving her today to try and knock it on the head.
Flowers are the strangest of things, Debbie gave me some lovely Sunflowers, they were all treated the same and looked after , now there is only one left, the others have all passed onto the compost heap!! This last one is strong and proud, how come ???
So back into the fray at least my office has air con!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A day Making Lamp Work Beads.

Today I went on a Lampwork Bead Taster day, it was really good fun and very very hot!! We started at 10am, a cosy class of 4 pupils. The tutor showed us how to make a basic bead and as she said after that the only way to learn is to do it. I learnt a few things.

1. Don't put cold Glass into the flame, it spits shards of glass everywhere.
2. Propane gas burners are very hot, it makes your face think its been in full sun for a week.
3. Glass takes ages to cool down, so be careful what you touch.
4. Glass is temperamental, you spend ages making something nice and then it shatters.
5. Its not as easy as you think, I am brilliant at wonky beads!!

All beads start as rods of coloured glass some opaque some clear. We found that if you heat the glass too low down the flame it discolours it.

These are some of the beads I made, I was able to use some bigger mandrels on some of them and I made a couple for my necklace. As you can see they are all odd sizes and 'wonky' but we were only learning.

I am particularly pleased with these two, both wonky but I love the effect of the frit (crushed glass remains) has on the bead. I would love to do more, if I take the advanced class sometime I can then use the studio for the day and bead until my hearts content. (Next time I will hold the glass and mandrel higher to get brighter colours!!)

Anniversary Flowers

We have received some beautiful flowers this week from our Friends and relatives. I have already shown you the beautiful Sunflowers (I have 8 growing in the garden, they always amaze me how much they grow in such a short time!!) Madeline and John sent us a bouquet of flowers and they are outstanding, unusual green Chrysanthemums and some stunning pink roses along with lots of other flowers that I can't identify.

Mum and Dad bought is a huge bunch of Pink and white roses which are very pretty and smell Divine!!
Today I am off on my Lampwork bead course over at the Artshed in Ware, I have never been there before but it comes highly recommended so I am looking forward to it, who knows it might be a whole new hobby, a change of life and a start on the path to riches beyond my wildest dreams , on the other hand I may well be crap at it and Monday morning with be the start of another boring week!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Welcome to the weekend.

Its been a funny week, in all sorts of ways. I have been rushed off my feet with all sorts of things. Today I took the day off work and once I had finished cleaning the house I just slumped, I actually fell asleep on the sofa in the conservatory and had some very weird dreams, the ones that actually feel real and I expected to wake up and find that the things I had dreamt about had happened! So I have wasted a whole day cleaning and sleeping.
Carl has been away on a year six school trip, so I collected him and his washing at 5pm. He had a great time and I was very proud that the staff all raved about how good he was and how mature and responsible he is. I have my fingers crossed that he gets into Uni and that he gets the grades that he needs. I think I have around three loads of washing from his 5 days away!
Yesterday was another odd day, it was our 26th Wedding anniversary, we had decided not to do too much, we had a party last year and to be honest I am feeling exhausted. It has turned out to be a date now that will not be forgotten world wide with the un expected and sudden passing of Micheal Jackson.
On the positive side, Dad is home he has been discharged pending a heart bypass, he seems to be quite bright and they have given him a barrow load of drugs and loads of instructions as what to do if he gets any pain. Fingers crossed that he gets an appointment soon. The first photo is of one of the beautiful sunflowers that my friend Debbie gave me to cheer me up, Roses and sunflowers are my favorite!

Last night we called around to see dad, and on the way back I noticed this tree, its a massive tree and its covered in cherries, how I have never noticed that its a cherry tree before is a mystery. I walk past it every time I visit mum and dad!

There is also a Hazel nut bush and this year its covered in nuts (along with the one taking photos of it!!!) A whole lot of wild life for a town .

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Missing In Action.......

I have been just a touch preoccupied this week. Things have not been brilliant. It started on Sunday when we were expecting to celebrate a rearranged Golden Wedding Anniversary for Mum and Dad. This time Dad had other ideas. He started to get pains in his chest in the morning and around 7.30am he was taken by ambo to the hospital where they treated him for a heart attack. So for the second time we had to cancel the celebration. This time we had the cake and flowers and we had to cancel.

Dad spent the night at the QE2 before being transferred to the Lister hospital in Stevenage for an angiogram. The hope was that they would be able to fix the problem with stents, which they could fit there and then. Unfortunately they have found more blockages than they can deal with by this method, so it looks like he may need a heart bypass operation. Not sure of when this will happen they are having a meeting on Monday to decide.

Its been a tough week for all of us. Fingers crossed that he gets the treatment quickly and gets well soon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home Again - Good Week

Well I have a very nice Conference in Brighton, The hotel was great I had a fabulous regency style room with the most comfortable bed in the whole wide world. As an added bonus I had a balcony with a fantastic sea view, who could ask for more. (We also had fabulous weather as well)

Above is the view from my balcony!

At the end of Regency Square was the remains of the old West Pier, it was burnt out a few years ago,it had been closed since 1975 and there had been no money to restore it, when is magically burnt down. The problem has not gone away because to completely remove it from the sea at this point would cost millions, so it seems to be staying as an interesting land mark in its own right!

We did have some outstanding weather so here is a nice shot of my conference buddy Stuart, sunning himself on my balcony, Ah bless him!

We got back yesterday after a horrendous journey home on the M25, as usual it was a car park for most of the journey so the trip down took around 90 minutes and on the way back it was 3 1/2 hours. Next time we will stay an extra night and head home on the Saturday morning.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The last day !!

The last day is here and we are winding up at conference. It's been a good week with loads of great debates it's sad it's nearly over !!
Last night I was force fed cocktails (half price happy hour) they were delish and very alcoholic !! I slept well last night !!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Hello from a very sunny Brighton! I arrived after lunch with Stu and Sharon we are here for the Unison national conference. This is my second time and I am looking forward to it. We arrived to blazing sun and a bright blue sea it looked tropical . The hotel is very nice with a balcony and a sea view an old regency style building. It's a stones throw from the conference centre.
So hoping for a good first day tomorrow with lots of loud card votes !!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Up Up and away!

We decided to buy Tom a taster flying lesson for his birthday, tonight was the night! So after a very busy day we went to The North London Flying School at Panshanger airfield. There he had his first ever lesson in a two seater Cherokee airplane.
To start with he had a lesson with the pilot where he explained the theory behind flying and all about level horizons. Then it was out to the aircraft!

I did find the wearing of Hi Vis jackets a bit strange, what purpose did they serve??
Here he is installed in the driving seat, donning his earphones.
Chocs away!!
Landed back safely.

One man and his plane.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Getting into Water colours.

I have painted a couple more pictures, I am really enjoying this change in craft direction, its something for a change. I don't seem to be able to paint anything but flowers at the moment, but I'm happy with that!! I suppose they are fairly easy as they are meant to be sort of irregular, I had thought about a sea scene, but I can't draw things like boats beyond kindergarten representations of boats!!!

Last night I went out for dinner with Karen 'over the road' it was great to catch up again. When the kids were small and we were both leading different lives we used to chat out the front, now they are growing up we just don't get the time. So we had a laugh and a nice dinner. We will have to do it again !
Yesterday I booked myself in for a taster bead making course at the end of the month, I am really looking forward to having a go, I hope I can do it, I can see another hobby coming along here! (just need more time to do all this stuff)

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Pretty Purple Plant below......

Is not a Plumbago, its a Chilean Potato vine, very lovely it is too!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Something new

I have always wanted to have a go at painting, but I simply can't draw, so I have never really got any further than wanting to have a go. Last week I spent some time with Emma, who CAN paint, I got a few pointers from her. She showed me how to sketch flowers (mainly from pictures that were hanging in the chalet, table mats etc) I found it helpful to have something in front of me to refer to. Flowers seem to be the perfect starting point, small, intricate, colourful and not too much to mess up! So I am sharing a couple of my first attempts.

The flowers above are my very first attempts, I was able to copy some flowers from a book I found at a boot sale, I also found a fantastic brand new set of Daler Rowney paints at a boot sale as well. It gave me a chance to play around with shading and brush techniques (Not that I have any proficiency in either at this stage!!)

When I was much younger I used to collect wild flowers, press them between big books and then display them in a scrapbook. I amazed myself with how much I could remember about them (One of the symptoms of getting older, can remember 35 years ago, but not yesterday!!!) From way back then I had a passion for a plant called 'White Bryony' a member of the deadly nightshade and potato family. So I made my second picture a study of a white Bryony. So I am no where near accomplished but I am pleased with my first attempts, something to build on.


These last few months have been a non stop round of form filling and phone calls. My temper is short and the amount of frustration involved in all these forms is driving me to distraction. Years ago the tax people took away the married married persons tax allowance and replaced it with family tax credits, the only problem is that every year we both have to fill in a book containing 31 pages to get it all renewed. When I say fill in, you have to read it at the very least because any changes in circumstances have to be reported straight away and failure to do so could lead us into an over payment situation.

Add to them a regular tax return for Tom. His is complicated as he claims for mileage for using his car at work, this mileage all has to be accounted for and is tax deductible, but that leads to another 40 page booklet all asking for details that you have to gather from else where. Then just for good measure I have been sent a tax return this year Why?? My tax is deducted at source and I only have one method of earning, seems like another waste of time.
The University form are still coming thick and fast, seems there is a remote chance that there is some corner of our lives that they haven't pried into, plus to give Carl a loan they want two people who can vouch for him to say that he is living here (at the moment) How do other people manage to deal with all of this?? Am I super thick?? (I am beginning to think so!)

Our luck with water continues, over night we had torrential rain, which has resulted in a puddle in the conservatory, we have no idea where it has come from (Outside I can hear you all saying!!) or more precisely how it gained access. We will have to have that checked out. The we found a leak from behind the washing machine. All washing machines are now cold fill, where in the past they have been hot and cold fill. So when we plumbed this one in we were left with a hot inlet pipe free. The pipe has a little tap on it, so we switched it to off and forgot about it. Seems that the vibration behind the machine has caused the tap to wobble loose and it was leaking under the machine and into the back of the cupboards. So a simple task of obtaining a capping device started. Went to B and Q and found that they had blanking caps in 15mm and 22mm, as it turns out one is too big and one is too small. So we trawl the DIY stores here and in neighbouring towns to eventually find a helpful man at Wickes who tells us we need a 3/4 of an inch blanking nut. Great the end is in sight, but no, he could tell us what we needed but they didn't actually have any left in stock!!! We had just about given up when we gave it one last try at a local small hardware store, the man knew what we were talking about and actually had one. So now we are drip free and the washing machine is back in its place, which is just as well as Carl is due home this afternoon from what has been a very wet and muddy scout camp.................Bring on the washing!!!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

In The Car Park.

Today was election day where we got to vote for both the local county council councillors and the East of England MEP's. We walked to the Polling Station and on the way I took these photos in the little car park at the rear of my house.

This is Poppy seed pod, I really like the purple velvet effect on the top. it looks positively furry!!

I need to do some research on this one, it looks very similar to deadly nightshade, but I am sure its not that. I think it may be a plumbago, if anyone knows what it is please leave a comment, I will search on the Internet to see if I can identify it!

I was lucky to snap this one, I really love these big daisy's, they look so pretty. This year I have noticed a lot of them along the sides of the motor ways, a big clump of them move so gracefully. Its a shame that they don't last too long.

This poppy head still has a few sepals attached.
I am toying with the idea of upgrading my camera, but I am worried that moving onto a digital SLR might be a backward move. On the plus side I love this camera, which is a few years old now, but I could really do with the flexibility that a SLR would bring. I suppose I should hang fire until I have 'spare' money, could be some time yet!!!
This week was Tom's birthday and as a treat I bought him a trial flying lesson at the local airstrip. Tom is not good at the fun fair and a merry go round makes him feel queasy, so for a joke I told him that I had bought him an aerobatic taster session!! (we have a little plane always flying around here, stalling and giving us all heart failure!!) Tom said a trial lesson would be fine but he drew the line at aerobatics!!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Little Cutie!

Last week on holiday we were joined by my not so little God Daughter, Emma and her beautiful baby, Bobbie ! Well Bobbie was centre of attention and very cute with it. She is now around eleven weeks old and is full of giggles and character. She seems to be a water baby, every morning Emma took Bobbie and Beth swimming, Bobbie is so chilled in the water she lies on her back and floats. Back at the chalet after the swim Emma took her in the shower to get rid of the chlorine she fell asleep under the running water!!

I love this photo even though its slightly blurry, I didn't want to use the flash and get that washed out look, I love her expression.

In this one she is the image of her Uncle Stuart when he was a baby!

Its all too much, you can have too many photos you know!!