Monday, November 30, 2009

A Winter Christening.

Today was the first Sunday of Advent and the Christening of my God daughters daughter! (still with me??) Well what a day, it poured with rain, real heavy torrential rain. The Christening was at 3.30pm and by then it was very dark with heavy clouds, when we arrived at the church we were all cold and wet. It was a beautiful service small and intimate, with some lovely hymns. The Vicar asked us to wait until after the ceremony to take photos, so we did and he posed all over again.

The 'victim' was baby Bobbie, who looked beautiful in her outfit. She was tired and didn't wake up for the whole of the service! she slept on peacefully in her mummy's arms, never even opened an eye when she was handed to the vicar!

Here is the little family, Emma, Dave and Bobbie.

Mummy and baby.

Posing with the godparents, Stuart and Kate. Kate is a special lady, she is a paramedic and has the honour of being the lady who dealt with mum and dad during their recent heart attacks. When dad had his aneurysm in 2005, it was Kate who dealt and got him to the Lister hospital faster than the speed of light. This year when mum had her episode, who arrives again but Kate. To complete the hat trick she arrived again when Dad has his heart attack back in June. So we are blessed that she is so on the ball and got them to the hospital super fast.
In her off duty time, she likes to share a drink or two of anything alcoholic!! (we had an interesting experience with some vodka laced chocolate a few years ago which rendered our feet useless!)
Thank you to Laura for the photos, she is fast turning into a super photographer!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Today we went to Milton Keynes, we took Beth to Airkix, the indoor free fall complex. She had asked for a lesson for her birthday. We collected Laura and headed up the M1, Just to make things interesting, Stella (our trusty Sat Nav) decided that that she would take her time waking up. We drove around 5 miles before she bucked her ideas up!
We collected Laura and arrived in plenty of time. We had never been to this complex before, its massive surrounded by car parks and a huge shopping centre. All the car parks were showing full, so we were really lucky to spot a space close to where we wanted to go.
We went in and found that there was also an indoor real snow ski place. There were loads and loads of people on skis, snowboards and toboggans, there was a lounge overlooking the hill with a big fire and comfy sofas, it felt really christmassy.
We went down to the free fall place and Beth signed in, there were online forms and Beth had her finger prints taken (not really sure what that was about)We stopped for a coffee and then went for the preparation talk.
Beth got changed into her gear and we went up stairs for lift off. She was excited and frightened at the same time. We all sat in the viewing gallery and she took her turn. She was full of smiles when she had her go. We paid for a DVD so that she could remember her day out.

We managed to get some shots of her in action, but I have copied this one from the site for the time being!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet 13!!

Well where have those thirteen years gone???I can hardly believe that Beth arrived at 5.50am on Sunday the 24th of November all those years ago. Today she became a teenager, she has been looking forward to the day for some while and was up early to open her presents!
So the one above is from her friend Emily, not sure why she gave her a cactus, but it made us all laugh!!!

Tonight she had her cake and Laura and Carl came around to help celebrate. She was very lucky with presents around £80 in cash, DVD's, CD's and from us a special trip to an indoor sky diving place where she will have a couple of lessons and will end up with a DVD of her experience.

I sent an email to our local radio station asking for a mention for her Birthday, I was thrilled when she got a mention, a big mention which I recorded on my IPhone. So a big Thank You to Hertbeat FM and the Steve Folland show, you made our day!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Time flies.

How come weekends are so short?? I have loads of stuff to do, I start them all and never seem to get anything finished. I start out with big plans and grand ideas, but I only ever get half of what I want to do done. I have some deadlines looming up on me, which is one way of concentrating the mind. I have some parcels to pack and make sure that they are posted this week. I have now bought all I need for them and should be able to pack them up tonight.

The weekend started on Friday when Beth and I went to see a fantastic school production called 'Souled' it was a modern day adaptation of the classic 16th century Elizabethan tragedy Dr Faustus. The adaptation had been done by the drama head and it was a fantastic show, with great acting, contemporary music and some stunning special effects, including pyrotechnics!! Carl came back from Uni to help with the production. It was a really fantastic evening out.
On Saturday Beth was at school to play netball I went to primary school and helped out on the face painting stall. I painted around 20 butterflies, 5 spidermen, two bats and a bear!! Laura and Beth both came over , Beth helped out in Santa's grotto and Laura got a lot of her Christmas shopping done.

In the afternoon we did a bit of a photo shoot, we should have started earlier because I didn't want to use the flash and as the light was fading a few of the photos were blurred. I did manage to get around half a dozen good ones, Laura is pleased with them and so am I!!

Today we went over to Stevenage to buy a few bits and pieces. We called in to see nan and grandad and did battle with the torrential rain. So weekend just about over and a new new week to do battle with is about to start.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Phew Close Shave

This week has had a very exciting start to it, I was facing a busy get all over the place week with regards to meetings and driving everywhere, which started Monday with a 60 mile round trip.
On my way back I had a warning light come up on the car and it went into 'limp home' mode. That meant it cut the speed down to 20mph. That would have been fine except I was on the A1M, a fast motorway where you simply can't do 20 mph without causing a problem. I had no alternative but to pull over and stop on the hard shoulder.

I checked the oil, as when this has happened in the past the oil has been low. (We always regularly check the oil but this car seems to use it a lot even though we have had it fully checked out at the garage) So the dip stick was showing no oil, so I though I had better put some in. I took the filler cap off and started to slowly add the oil when it happened, flames started to leap out of the top of the engine which caused me to spill some of the oil because I jumped. That made the flames worse, Now I was panicking, thinking that I was planning to go away driving this car in a few weeks and there it was going up in flames. I don't remember doing this, but I put the filler cap back , stood well back and called the fire brigade.

I needed to get things out of the car, my bag, and coat as it was cold, I opened the door and slung them up the embankment. It was then I came across a bottle of diet coke, I thought kill or cure, I decided to try and put the flames out with the coke. By this time there were no flames at the top but they were coming from the sump underneath, so I emptied the coke over the engine and the flames went out.

The brigade arrived and checked it out and confirmed my makeshift firefighting had done the trick. They think the engine was so hot that it had caused some sort of flash over and when I jumped back I put oil on the outside of the engine fuelling the fire.They also said putting the cap back on had starved the oil of oxygen and had prevented it doing major damage to the engine. Amazingly the car started and they got me off the motorway. The breakdown people towed me home and the car was checked out yesterday by the garage. They have said that apart for a few singe marks around the area of the fire and sticky splashes of coke all is well. They have cleaned up the engine and surrounding area and given it a clean bill of health.

I have never been so scared, from nothing to flames in a matter of milliseconds. Oddly I have only ever broken down on the A1M once before and it was in the exact same place, last time mum was with me and I remember standing under the sign for knebworth house. Very Odd.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chicken Update..

What a difference a week makes in the world of chickens. Tom and dad took delivery of a new chicken palace on Tuesday. That wasn't without problems, the delivery guy hadn't realised that there were two parts to deliver so he only left one. It took a whole day chasing around to get the 2nd box delivered, by that time it was dark and raining so the construction was put off until Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning they got started on the simple to construct 'hen house, run and nesting box' Not sure who would find it simple to construct, because it took the two of them all day. They were supplied with bacon sarnies and tea by mum and eventually finished it in the afternoon in time for Tom to collect Beth from school.

So eventually the new palace was in place and the chooks were installed. It was the next morning that it became obvious that Phoebe was not a hen, 'He' started with early morning 'cock a doodle doing'. He was really ruling the roost, refusing to return to the run and generally being a rooster. So it was decided that he would have to go, the school said that they would dispatch him as they would be unable to keep him, so in the end dad did the deed and he will be Sunday lunch.

Hettie and Maisie are still fine and today two more hens arrived, brown ones from a nearby farm. When the new hens were put in the run, dad checked the nesting box and found the first egg, produced by Hettie (its far too big for Maisie!!)

Mum promised the first egg for Beth, so she was pleased to bring it home and has decided to use it in her cake making this afternoon!!

The weather has been terrible torrential rain and strong wind, Beth had to battle with the umbrella to go and look at the chickens. Carl should be having great fun, he is camping!! I mean camping in November in England, he must be mad, very cold and soaking wet by now!!! I can't wait until he gets back, just think of all that lovely washing I'll have to do...

Friday, November 13, 2009

What ?? More Scrapbooking????

Here are a couple more layouts from my submission to ATDML, I was sent some Fancy Pants paper to use and I pushed myself into using circles. I am really happy with how this Autumn one above turned out.

Beth was able to try lots of photo techniques at the Football club after school club. I love this photo, the way the person in the background makes it look as if she has a bun on her head!!
Its a lot busier than my usual style, but I am happy with it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ATDML - a few layouts...

This month I have been asked to be 'guest designer' for one of my favourite online shops, A Trip Down Memory Lane, this shop is run by the lovely mother and daughter team, Jill and Mel. It was the perfect chance to use some of the 'funny' photos from the after school club that Beth went to at Watford Football Club back in the summer. The range of papers was Fancy Pants and I found them hard to work with !! All a bit bold for me. I am glad that I risked all and went for it as I am pleased with the results!!

I decided to use some of the photos of me as well, for once I was quite happy with them considering how truly awful they are!! Still its a laugh.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A few photos from Norfolk.

When we were in Norfolk we decided to visit Cromer, a quaint seaside town, with a lovely pier. We stopped for lunch in a Victorian Tea shop, which looked as if it used to be an old school house.
The food was lovely and they served a mean cup of tea!! Beth made us all laugh, she told us that people from Cromer were called Cromanians!!!

Grace and Beth decided that they were more than 'good friends' they spent the whole of the afternoon hamming it up for the camera!!

In this shot they are recreating the famous scene from Titanic!!

Big Hugs!!! (With Laura and Maddy looking on!)

Here we have the 'men' returning from their exploration of the pier.

Beth and Grace at it again, Laura looking on. It was great to see Laura enjoying herself , she seemed to have a great time and I think it did her some good.

At the end of the day we discovered a little sweetie shop, I love the way John even put his glasses on to get a better look!!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Welcome to the chicken girls!

This morning bright and early (well 10am on a Saturday is pretty early!!)Tom and Beth went to school and collected the girls! When they left they were expecting to collect two chickens, both aged around 6 months old. When they came home they had three!!
We have been assured that they are all girlies, but I must say we are all very suspicious of one of them, she looks like a cock, although if she is a he, he doesn't make 'cock-a -doodle- doooo' noises (yet !!!)

So here we have Grannnnnny with Maisie, aka Afro Chicken. This is a little bantam, all fluffy and pretty. She is grey but has the most beautiful blue feathers on her cheeks.We love Maisie!!

Here is Beth giving Maisie a cuddle.

Cute little Maisie, with her spectacular hair do. Its hard to tell front from back!!

Here are the other two, the one closest to the camera is Phoebe, We are concerned that she may be a Cock, the man at school, thinks she may well be a cross breed which is why she looks bigger than the other chicken. Apparently they start to crow around 17 weeks and Phoebe is older than that and hasn't started crowing (Yet). Phoebe is very confident and was first out of the coop to investigate the garden,she is not pure white, she has flecks of gold in her feathers. she likes Beth's boots and followed her around the garden.

Lastly we have Hettie, she is pure white and follows Phoebe around, although it was Hettie who first investigated the greenhouse and ate some bird seed that was hanging around in the wild bird feeders.
They are all used to being handled so we need to continue to do that to keep them tame.
We went up to the garden centre and bought them food and water bottles. Beth helped grandad clear out the coop and put lots of straw in there to keep them warm.
Finally we ordered a new hen coop online which will be delivered on Tuesday, it looks quite spectacular. It will arrived flat packed so Tom and Dad will attempt construction!!!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Chicken Weekend.

This week Tom has been helping dad with his garden, since coming home from hospital he hasn't been allowed to do any heavy work, so Tom has spent a few days with him doing the 'donkey work' . He also needs a fence panel replacing, so they needed to clear the bottom of the garden to allow the fencer to get in and sort that out.
Last week Dad decided that he would like to keep chickens, he used to have birds when he was younger and thought it would be good to have a few again. He plans to put them at the bottom of the garden.
When we were in Norfolk Beth and Laura went to a farm and were allowed to handle some tiny chicks, a couple of days old and all fluffy and yellow! Beth and Carl have always wanted to have chickens in the garden so Beth was really excited when she realised Grandad was getting some!

So Beth goes to school last Monday and speaks to the teacher who looks after the school farm, she asked him where they get their chicken coops from as her Grandad wanted one. By the end of the afternoon Beth came home to say that there was a spare coop at school and two 'spare' chickens, Mr Short said that Grandad could have them, they are young and just coming into lay. So what started out as an enquiry has resulted in a mad rush to get everything ready for their arrival on Saturday morning.

Beth is excited as she has been told she can name them!! Watch this space for more exciting chicken stories!!

Beth with one of the little chicks!

Monday, November 02, 2009

One of Those Weekends

It has been a typical post holiday weekend consisting mainly of washing, washing and more washing. I am always amazed at how much washing we generate when we are away from a washing machine for a week. The weather wasn't brilliant so we have been subjected to the noise of the tumble drier on top of everything else!
I had some things of my own to complete but failed miserably, always something else got in the way, the trouble is I am working to a deadline and that is fast approaching, I need to concentrate and got sorted, it always seems harder to do when the evenings are dark so early.
Its back to school today as well, so back into the usual routine with the slog up to Christmas. I do like this time of year but its so busy with loads of school functions.
Yesterday Beth had an audition for Blood Brothers a production next year at the Barn, it went OK although she doesn't feel very confident. The director was lovely so we will wait and see if she gets a call back.
The other big news is that we have booked our holiday for next year and thanks to Mr Tesco and his club card points we will be having two weeks in Orlando with Virgin holidays for the grand total of £890!! Bargain!! I am so pleased that we decided to collect the points, this Christmas, if it can't be bought from Tesco I am not buying it!!
Finally while out Trick or Treating on Saturday we came across this fantastic pumpkin, just one of many really professional designs, its great to see that Halloween is becoming an art form!!!