Monday, May 30, 2011

Rained in Amsterdam rained in Bergen !!

We finally got away. Several hours late after the Port authorities refused to sign the ship off as fixed so we are now running several hours late. The cabin is lovely the food has been great!!
Tom felt a bit off yesterday but is fine today. Have really enjoyed today on a bus tour and a walk around Norwegian seaside Market thank god for wifi at macdonalds!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Beads!!!

Last weekend I was on a roll bead wise and I managed to do something I had not done before, I made two beads on a single mandrel. I only have seven BIG mandrels so by doubling up I was able to make enough beads for two necklaces. The problem is keeping the first bead warm enough while making the second, you have to keep sticking it back in the flame. I got quicker and braver as the session went on. I was in the end able to make the beads quite close together. I even managed FOUR plain beads on one mandrel. After they had been cooked in the kiln I only lost one which broke so I am more than happy with that experiment!!!

These are made from dark ivory glass with silver brown decoration.
These are made from dark ivory and turquoise, with a small touch of black.

Carl is now in Australia, I have heard that he is or possibly has climbed the Sydney Bridge, which looks again like too much hard work to me!! He is also going to go Whale watching before he moves onto New Zealand. He seems to be enjoying himself. Wish it was me!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lets Party!!!!

Saturday we went to Nicky's 40th Birthday party. The poor old girl is knocking on a bit now. We stayed for a few hours in the afternoon and saw the emptying of the first barrel of 88 pints of beer. We had taken dad so we headed home before it got any cooler (sat in the shade was a touch chilly!!)
It was lucky that Tom wasn't drinking as I hadn't realised just how alcoholic the jug of Pimms was !!!
Keith had set up a barbecue and cooked burgers and sausages along with a couple of huge trout. (not that I had any of that) In the end I stuck with the buffet food and Pimms!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

They have landed.

The first leg of his holiday is over, he has now landed in Sydney, Australia. He seems to have been lucky with his flights, this is the second one to arrive slightly early!! I expect they are both tired there is something tiring about sitting on a plane for 12 hours.  Both of the flights I have been able to track on a flight tracker on my iPhone which is amazing technology!!
Just before he left Hong Kong he sent me this picture by email, I am not sure where it is (apart from in Hong Kong) but one thing is certain I would not have any desire to find out what was at the top of those steps!!!!
I hope they have a good few days in Sydney.
We didn't visit Mum tonight but she has text to say that she has stood up twice, so that is progress, hopefully small steps very soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Its Gone Again!!

This weekend has gone in a flash !! Why does that always happen??? Its been quite a productive one. I have been beading and because the weather has been so blustery I have been washing.  I managed to wash and dry all the bedding from Carl's room including quilt, under blanket and sheet and quilt case. Put them on the line and they were dry within the hour!!
I tried a new technique to make a glass topper for a ring. Its quite easy although I did make a mistake on a couple of them, I didn't allow the glass to drop down enough. That said I am very happy with the results!!!
I like this one it reminds me of peacock colours!
This one will go with my necklace!!

Yesterday Dad and I went into see Mum in the afternoon and we were not sure what we would walk into. She wasn't very happy but she was more determined to get out of there. We did some exercises with her and got her legs moving. She was sitting in her chair but I did them I think its the only way we can get her to concentrate and get cracking. Perhaps she has turned the corner.

I have heard from Carl today it seems that they are experiencing some terrible weather. He said that they have never seen rain like it. They are being battered by some big storms, thunder, lightening and winds. He text me to ask if I could look up the weather online as he thought they might be heading for a cyclone and the big worry was that they had booked an evening on a cruise across the bay. As it happens they were experiencing the wrath of tropical storm 'Songda' which was sweeping through the area. The weather info said they had issued a 'Red warning' for rain. I haven't been able to find out what that means, but it doesn't get any worse than a red warning!!! Carl says they have got some spectacular photos !! Sarah has said that they have found a fantastic Cath Kitson shop, I like a girl that has her priorities right!!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Moving on....With a Little Help From My Friends!!!!!

This week has passed in a bit of a blur. I have been working and then afterwards we have had something to do each evening. This has made the week fly by.
Carl seems to be having fun in Hong Kong, its definitely a place I would like to go to now that I have heard from him and I am happy that he is OK. He has posted a few photos on face book to prove he is there!!!

He posted this one on the afternoon he arrived, the taxi had its own supply of lucky bamboo and very lucky goldfish!!!! Very odd.
Today he has been to a building called the Peak which has fantastic views over Kowloon harbour.

I am very envious of him!

Last night I had a much needed evening with my 'girlfriends' we had a Chinese and a catch up. Madeline is recovering after her hip replacement. She really seems to be doing well. We had a real laugh and we were both crying over certain incidents!!! Sue had a belated birthday present from me and Sandra treated us all to a rendition of 'With a little help from my friends' A charity recording of the song performed for cancer research by the staff of Barclay's Bank. It wasn't half bad and Sandra even managed to get her famous catch phrase in right at the end -'Oh I say' !!!! I will buy a copy its got blackmail potential!!!!

So tonight was the first night in hospital to visit mum for 4 days we walked into her crying and in a dreadful state. It seems that today she had been out of bed in her chair for 7 hours and she was fed up and said she didn't want to go on. He leg is much better no bleeding or weeping and essentially dried up and ready to go. Mum is being firmly encouraged to get herself mobile but she has lost all confidence and seems to give up at the slightest hitch. She doesn't seem to be able to tell us why she can't make her legs work, its a combination of lack of confidence and pain in her knees. She hadn't told the staff about the pain so they have not given her extra pain killers. So its a vicious circle. What is certain is that if she doesn't somehow get it together she will not end up getting home and will end up in a nursing home. I am at a loss as to how I can encourage her to try. She seems unable to make the transition from patient to person who is able to make some effort to do things for herself. I hope this is something that we can overcome :(

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On The Way.

After a day where the car was in dry dock while they tried to decide what was wrong with it we were faced with a trip to the airport in Tom's car. The Megane is a nice car, but its not big on rear passenger space and the boot space is also restricted. Add to that the problems with changing the headlight bulbs (you have to remove the wing to get at the bulb) I was not looking forward to cramming us all into the car. Anyway we braved the traffic on the M25 and headed for Heathrow airport right in the middle of the evening rush hour!
There was plenty of traffic, but for the main we kept bowling along until we arrived at a very packed drop off point for Terminal three. I was having a hard time staying cheerful, on the one hand I am pleased that he has the confidence and get up and go to get to book himself a holiday half a world away, on the other hand its always wrench when they walk away. So we said our good byes and I sneaked a shot......
So there he goes heading off into the departure lounge with his bags looking forward to his adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. I managed to see him off without shedding a tear.
When I down loaded the photo and looked a little closer at it he was performing true to form....
Bless !!! Pulling his usual 'Dur' face!!!!
His flight finally took off at 22.42 and due to the wonders of the modern Internet I can track his flight to the destination and even order a text alert to tell me when he has arrived. I really hope he has a great time but I also hope he doesn't love it so much that he moves away!!!

Today I had an email from the cruise company to say that they had been advised that the repair to the liner was well underway and they were planning to have it all up and running by the time we are due to leave, so more finger crossing is in order!!! While we are crossing fingers think of my poor car that is suffering from a 'flange' defect (?????) here's hoping the flange is repaired asap!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What have I done???????

I feel some what under pressure at the moment, I am pretty certain that I must have done something bad to bring down all this 'poop' on me!!
Last year we booked to take a cruise with Mum and Dad, due to Mums fall they had to drop out leaving Tom, Beth and I to take the trip. We have been looking forward to it for the past year. Well today with around 10 days to go I woke up to the news that the ship we have chosen, the MSC Opera was adrift without power. There were plans to recover her to a Swedish port to try and effect the repairs. as the day went on passengers were flown home from Stockholm and it has been reported that the cruise company has refunded the cruise cost in full and given the passengers a 30% discount on future cruises. The ship this afternoon has returned with the assistance of tug boats to Southampton where they are going to repair her. The cruise due to leave tomorrow has been cancelled. Ours is the next cruise due. Our travel agents tell us that they will contact us if it becomes a problem that they can't fix. I can't believe it (said in my very best Victor Meldrew voice)
Still reeling from the ship situation, I was on the way back from Watford when the car started to play up, it kept cutting out. I limped back to work and called the recovery people. The mechanic arrived and told me that the flange in the ball socket was full of oil (???) and as far as he could see a complete rebuild of the engine was in order. Well that news thrilled me, no holiday and a new engine what more could a girl ask for??? Anyway eventually he towed us into the garage where our usual mechanic sat in the car and listened to it wheezing and spluttering like it smoked 500 fags a day. He said that a complete engine rebuild would not be required, he knew what the problem was and he would fix it in the morning!! I am quietly assuming that if he thinks he can fix it in the morning then it won't be mega expensive, but who knows!!!
So I am feeling like a huge jinx everything I touch turns to poop, step away from the jinx NOW!!!!!!

Sponsorship is growing, please consider donating to this worthy cause!!!

Carl is now in training for this venture, his sponsorship is starting to take off, but he could really do with raising a bit more. He has plans to run some lucky guesses so the Cubs and Scouts can take part for one pound a go. Every little helps!!
So please pop along to his Just Giving page (HERE) and support his venture. Thank You

Sunday, May 15, 2011

One Step Closer..

Today Mum has made a step forward, she has been moved out of her cosy bay on Lemsford ward and into a new ward in The Princes wing. This new ward is a step forward as this is the place that you go to have more physiotherapy, intensive physiotherapy. Last time she never made it into this ward, they decided that she would never be able to learn to walk in the short amount of time that they were prepared to allow and bundled her off to the QVM.

So she had just been transferred when we arrived and it was all a bit strange for her. She has been on the same ward for nearly eight weeks and now she is starting over again, getting to know the staff and getting to know the new routines. On the plus side she is in a bed near to her friend Mary who transferred to Princes to weeks ago. I expect they will be able to swap hospital stories!! Mary has already told us that she now can get up everyday so that is perfect inspiration for Mum.

Mum is still on anti biotics, but the wound has not bled for about 4 days. There are still 4 clips to be taken out but all in all I am pleased that she has taken a huge step forward!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beautiful Flowers!

Since Tom has been a house husband he has been able to spend more time looking after the garden. He is gradually getting there, his weed identification skills are improving. His greatest success is the clematis planted against the side fence. He has spent ages nurturing them, trimming them and generally looking after them. He has been rewarded by a couple of stunning plants bearing beautiful blooms. If he keeps at it they should flower on and off throughout the summer!
I, on the other hand love roses. This year the front of the house is covered in roses. We have a fragrant bush of pink Roses that smell glorious. The bush has been there for a few years and I am not sure what it is called anymore. Growing along side is a purple clematis but this year that has been overtaken by the roses.

In the other corner growing up over the porch is a dark red Dublin Bay Rose. It is a glorious rose with almost luminous flowers. I am not usually a lover of red roses but this one is exceptional.....

It really stands out and I hope with careful dead heading we will have flowers all summer. We have lavender planted underneath, so I am looking forward to some warm weather and the fragrance hanging in the summer air!
To end with I would like to thank the low life who stole our planter from the front garden last night, they obviously didn't know what to do with it, so the needlessly smashed it on the pavement. We have rescued and replanted the plant. The pot is now safe in the back garden .
I hope that their collective fingers fall off and that they suffer from crabs for the rest of their life!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Le Weekend!!!

The above photo is for my friend Karen, she is an Ace Baker and I was telling her about another friend (Anna) who has made this cake for her daughters birthday. It looks stunning and if there is a baker who can pull it off, its Karen!! So take a look at this BLOG full of great cake ideas!!

My week has been a strange and somewhat difficult one. Mum has had good and bad days in equal parts. She has been out of bed just about every day and on one day they even hoisted her to her feet and she stood for the first time in 7 weeks. Once upright she was able to move her good right leg, but not the left left , still its good progress and we keep reminding her of that. Just when we feel that we have got her boosted up again and keen to fight on, the lady in the next bed passed away during the night. Its terribly sad, she had been ill and we saw her go down hill in front of our eyes. The problem with her passing away is that it has an effect on everyone else in the bay its all very sad.

So here we are staring another weekend in the face, I have lots I want to do, but no doubt I won't get any of it done!!! Happy Weekend!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Buddy the Pigeon!!!

For around the past month or so we have had a very curious visitor, a pigeon that we have called Buddy. We are not sure if Buddy is a male or female, but we think 'he' may well be one of the birds born in the tree in the garden last year. He has been hanging around for some while, he always appears to be hungry and has even tried to eat the fat balls left out for the blue tits!!
Last week he went one step beyond and flew into the house, as bold as anything he sat on the back of the sofa and waited. Beth was more than a bit worried and locked him in the conservatory. By the Tom got in there Buddy was behind the sofa and he didn't seem to be in any hurry to run away!
Tom in the end encouraged him to fly out with the aid of a broom!!
So birds flying into a house is considered to be good luck particularly if they escape unscathed!
Because of his unusual appearance, he has a white dot on the left of his neck, we have seen him back looking for food, there are a few pigeons around, but he is the only one with the single spot. So we'll have to see if he comes back again next year.

Monday, May 09, 2011

My New Necklace

So here it is in all its glory, with all its handmade imperfections but I LOVE it!!! I am not saying that in a big headed sort of way, but I have spent the past few months trying to perfect my skills and this is the first major product. I have always loved the big hole beads and people are always commenting on my 'usual' necklace, so I have decided to make sets that will go onto a silver chain.
So now to source silver chains and away  go!!!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Reflexology,Reiki and New Beads!

I am still trying to perfect making a heart shaped bead, I am finding it a bit difficult, I am not sure if its the press that  don't like or if its just that I am not cut out to make hearts. These I made yesterday and although they are getting better they are still not what I can see in my minds eye. I might sell the press and look at another shape heart.
I have also tried out button making and I like it!! I can see that this technique has lots of possibilities I made these yesterday and I now have lots of ideas about what I would like to make in this shape. Mind you it took ages to melt the glass yesterday so perhaps I had the regulator setting wrong.
I think its about time I made something with my beads so I have made a set of turquoise and ivory beads and I intend to clean them up and wear them 'pandora' style on a silver necklace with some silver spacers. I hope to sort that out later today.

Last night I went out with my friend Tina, we went to a holistic therapy place where they offered taster sessions of various therapies. I was booked in for reflexology, Reiki and tarot reading. There was also a talk on Feng Shui. It was a nice relaxing evening apart from the journey to and from the place. Tina was driving and she was talking and distracted. We went a fair distance out of our way to get there, but on the way back she excelled herself and we ended up going home via Enfield!!! I think we doubled our journey home.

So what were the therapies like?? Reflexology was was lovely, very relaxing and not at all ticklish which I was worried about. I would have that done again. Reiki was something I had never had, it originates in Japan and is channeled healing again very relaxing. I enjoyed that and felt quite relaxed afterwards. Its definitely something I will look at doing again. Tina had crystal healing and Hopi ear candles, so there is more to try next time!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Nearing resolution.

Yesterday Keith and I had another meeting at the QVM hospital in an effort to sort out the complaint that we made to them when Mum was resident a couple of months ago. We made our complaint they had a meeting with us and listened to what we had to say. We then waited for them to reply to us in writing addressing the points raised. That never happened despite us chasing things up it went into a big black hole of nothing. That was until we asked our MP, Grant Shapps to take up the case on our behalf.
As soon as he sent them a letter things started to move, there was a lot of back pedalling and yesterday we met with them again to allow them to explain how the whole process had gone wrong. They are unable to keep track on complaints so they simply don't try to. If they are not continually chased up they stop and move onto something more exciting instead. Yesterday they presented us with a list of things that they have changed to address the problems that Mum had in there. They range from asking staff what they think they could do to improve (that came back as address the lack of staff) They are now listening to what patients say, so if they say they do not feel well then that is perfectly acceptable they will not feel forced into doing something that they don't feel well enough to do. They have a more integrated approach to care with the physios forming part of that after all washing and getting up is a physical activity and will aid recovery. Finally they will now tailor a recovery plan to each patient based on their requirements and not what they think their requirements are. So if you have never run a marathon what is the point in trying to get you fit enough to run one now??? In mums case she needed to be able to walk enough to get her home, not climb stairs as she is never going to have to climb stairs! So as they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, it is very likely that Mum will end up back there once the QE2 has finished with her. Lets see if they do as they have promised!!!!
I would also like to thank Sue for obtaining a souvenir Royal Wedding Plate for Mum, she obviously knows all the best shops!!! Thanks Sue.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Making Buttons.

I went to Flame Off a few weeks ago and saw a demo by a lovely lady (Julie) who taught us her technique for making glass buttons. I have enjoyed having a go and I am sure given more practice I will get better. I spent so much time concentrating on getting the petals right and cutting the hot glass, that I seem to have lost the basic skill of placing dots!!! I am sure I will get better, I can only do two at a time as I only have two mandrels!!!
At last some good news for Mum after her operation yesterday the surgeon has said that he is encouraged with the wound and that he has stitched everything back up and is hopeful that will be the end of things. He is so sure that he has said that Mum can sit on the edge of the bed for a while today in preparation for finally getting out of bed again after seven long weeks.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Celtic Harmony Camp

Today we decided to take a trip to The Celtic Harmony Camp in Brickendon they were celebrating Beltane festival. This is the beginning of Summer and celebrated by the Celts and nowadays the Pagans. We had often talked about going to this camp as it has interesting things going on, so it was nice to finally go while they were holding a festival.
The first thing we tried was Archery, we bought a bag of gold replica coins on our way in and paid with those. Beth had never had a go before and once she got her eye in she was good. On the way out we had another go and had a competition, we had 12 arrows each and the idea was to aim at the pig and the one with the most arrows in the kill area was the winner. I went first and my first shot glanced off the pigs nose and went into the nearby target, I missed with one shot but the other 10 all hit the target within the 'kill' area. It was a big challenge for Beth and although she did very well and scored quite a few hits, I won by a fair few. We might look into going to the Archery club they hold there.
Beth had a go at pot making and apple juice pressing.
We did weaving and made a Beltane Summer crown out of reeds and Ivy. We then had lunch at possibly the slowest cafe in the world. They had advertised a hog roast but the kitchen was under pressure, the queue moved at a minus speed. We gave our order after the people in front but they got their buns after us!! They were so disorganised! The rolls were nice and we sat under an oak tree taking in the village green with the Maypole and story tellers. The weather was lovely and you almost felt like you were back in old England leaving presents for the Fairies in the woods.
There were pens with farm animals, baby chicks and sheep and goats. This owl was by the Apple presses, it seemed remarkably calm and people were able to approach and touch him. When I tried to take a photo he was a bit camera shy and turned his head!.
It has been a lovely day.
Mum went down for another opeation on her leg this morning and we are still waiting to hear back from the hospital to see how it went. She was a bit down yesterday as the lady who had been in her bay since she went into hospital nearly seven weeks ago has been moved to the Princes wing, which means she is one step away from home good news for her, but Mum had struck up a friendship with her so that will be a loss.
Can't believe its back to work tomorrow. :(

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Feel Good Factor.

This weekend has been dominated by the Royal Wedding. I am still amazed at how many people celebrated and did something. The crowds in London were huge and estimates say that there was over a million people in central London and watching the event on big screens in Hyde Park. We have cleared up our garden but still have some bunting up on the trampoline. Talking of trampolines, Beth and Carl have been getting some mileage out of it, they have been bouncing around and playing a kind of volleyball on it. Beth posed for this beautiful picture!!!
Mum has had a rough couple of days, she was taken back to theatre yesterday to have a central line put in. They have been having a terrible job getting blood into her because her veins keep collapsing, so it was back for the line to be fitted. She is really fed up with everything and who can blame her. She asked for me to take her in a memento of the Wedding but I can't find a single thing in any of the local shops, I thought that there would be things like commemorative biscuit tins and that sort of thing, but nothing. I will have to keep looking.
Carl has decided that he will fly out to Amsterdam and stay for a week with us during the summer, easy jet are doing a return trip from Luton for around £60 so he has booked. Its a long time since all three kids have been on a caravaning holiday with us!!!
Roll on Summer!!!