Sunday, July 29, 2012

Very Odd weather day.

Its been one of those weekends,  in fact one of those weeks. We have had summer and autumn within the space of a week. We started with some lovely hot weather which was so hot that you had to stay in the shade and drink loads of water to survive it. Then today we had some fantastic clouds, bright warm sunshine and thunder and lightening!!! Several seasons in one hit.

We are into the Olympic competitions in a big way now. Its been really disappointing to see that just about every venue has loads and load of empty seats. I applied for seats in every single release and never got a look in, I am not counting the stupid offer of a seat at the opening ceremony for nearly £2000 each, that offer did not mean that these games were for all. We watched the diving today and all the lower tier seats were empty. Its not only unfair but its not very supportive of the competitors. I hear on the news tonight that Lord Coe is saying that the forces and teachers can use the seats. What about the millions of other hard working people?? Police, NHS and the likes?? It makes me so angry.

I have also been angry this week when my car insurance renewal came in, Tesco seemed  to think that it was OK to charge me £441 to renew with them. I had already decided that I would not renew with them even if they had been the cheapest in the land because they changed the breakdown cover mid was through the policy and didn't tell us until we needed to use it, so they were off my list. I got onto compare the market and found that the RAC were offering exactly the same cover for £169, reducing my monthly payments from £41 to £14. I was good and phoned Tesco to let them know and they were not impressed and tried to slag off the cover the RAC were providing. When I checked the Tesco Policy it was underwritten by the RAC!!!

During the warmer part of the week I rediscovered my love of home made lollies, when I say lollies, I of course mean home made blocks of solid ice on a stick!! I started to get quite sophisticated with the flavours, as you can see from the one in the photo, there is a tint of red in the middle, I threaded a strawberry onto the stick before freezing the whole lot. Unfortunately this lolly did not take kindly to being photographed and when I licked it it stuck to my lip and tongue and it hurt a lot!!!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

77 Years Young.

This weekend we celebrated Mums 77th Birthday. She has come such a long way in the past year. Last year she spent her birthday in the rehabilitation centre at Bishops Stortford. At that stage they didn't think she would be able to come home because she couldn't walk well enough and she couldn't get in and out of bed at night. Well she is back walking enough to get her into a wheel chair and into the car, which means she can go out for something to eat. She has been working with a physiotherapist who comes to the house and has made a difference. 
So we went out on Saturday night for a bite to eat at the Cowper Arms at Digswell. The food was nice but the service was very slow, it gave us all a bit of time to chat!!

In the winter I decided to try and attract a few birds into the garden by putting up a feeding post. I hung fat balls and seed feeders expecting to see blue tits and sparrows, in reality I have attracted the big boys, Doves, Magpies and Pigeons!! They seem only to like one of the two feeders and are really brave landing on it even when the dog is in the garden and the bunting is flapping around. I sat in the garden and watched these doves feeding, they were only a couple of feet away from me!!

We think that these three are a family the one on the left doesn't have its full markings as yet so its likely to be the baby. The three of them are often on my feeding station!! I am currently restocking the seeds at the rate of 2lbs a week!!!

My all time love is orange roses, so last year when changing the garden around I treated myself to a a new hybrid tea rose, it has finally flowered but is a bit of a spindly specimen, with only two buds. Its a beautiful colour so I will have to feed it up for next year.

This pretty little rockery plant is flowering again this year, someone told me what its called but I can't remember its name, its a vegetable name but I can't think what!!! It must be my age!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Graduation Day.

Today we attended Carl's Graduation Ceremony at Middlesex University, Hendon Campus. It was a great day! We decided to travel by train as parking was an issue, so we left from St Albans Station at around 11am. We arrived in Hendon and caught a cab to the Campus, where we joined a huge long queue waiting to register. There were three Graduations planned for today, we were on the middle one so there were still people left over from the first one milling around. 
Carl went to the robing room and came out all set up with his gown and mortar board.

In the presentation marquee we were shown to our seats, a quick look at the brochure and a look around the hall we realised that there were around 400 graduates plus two guests for each graduate so it was pretty packed. We had quite reasonable seats and were so proud when he went up to collect his Bachelor of Arts degree.

All the way through all I could think about was Harry Potter and Hogwarts!! It just looked as if we had walked into the set of the film!

Congratulation Becky and Carl, two Nicky B graduates!!!
The surroundings were lovely, but the quadrangle where we were in the above photo was like a green house, glass roof and lots of people, it was melt down time.
Once we got home we gave Carl a little present to commemorate the day.

You can never have too many pens when you are a newly qualified teacher!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Cat is out of the Bag.....

I am looking forward to tomorrow, its Carl's graduation at Hendon Campus, I can't believe that those three years at Middlesex University have flown by, it seems five minutes ago that we were taking him down to the halls and helping him move into his new home. He has worked very hard and has graduated. Perhaps best of all he has secured a job. 
He has known for some time that he had been successful at the interview, but until we reached the end of term he hasn't been able to say where he would be working. So this week he has been at 'his' primary school helping out at sports day and meeting his class. He is starting to look at teaching plans for next term. Its very exciting for all of us. This is a very special first job as he is going to be teaching Year Three at his old Primary School, Panshanger !!! 
Its so strange to think he is going back. The children there now have no idea that he used to be a pupil. When he went on year five and six school trip he took his own year six sweat shirt that all his class members had signed, amazingly it still fit him in the body, although the sleeves finished at the elbows. The children didn't understand why he was wearing one of their shirts and he had to explain to them!! 
So we are very proud to have two children in full time employment in such tough times, we have concentrate on getting number three through her exams next year and onto A levels so she can decide what to do.

On a lighter note, while Carl was away, I thought I would 'try' and get into his car, its one of those small Smart Roadsters which is tiny and very very low. I wanted to give it a go when there were very few people around, well I did it!!! I can't believe it !!! I only managed the passenger seat because the steering wheel is a bit of an obstruction!!

Wha Hay, Small Victories!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Boys are back in Town

Today started quite early with a trip to Heathrow Airport to collect Carl. He has been away on a mega trip to USA taking in LA, San Francisco, Orlando and New York. They seemed to cram a whole lot of activity into the time including visits to famous places such as Hollywood, They saw the New York Yankees play and managed to get themselves a free promotional baseball cap each. They swam with the dolphins and did a tandem parachute jump over California. I knew he was doing that but it came as a bit of a shock when he told me today that the original company they had booked with cancelled after they had an accident in the plane the day before their jump!!! They had a fantastic trip and he is in bed now trying to get through the jet lag!!

I was hoping that there would have been some sort of Olympic decoration up at the Airport, but instead of that there was a whole load of building sites and miserable staff.

Wonky Signs and scant notice of car park entrances. Which resulted in us circling the airport for so long that Carl actually made it into the arrivals area before we could find the car park entrance!!!

The only cheery thing was this huge green man a nod towards the coming Olympics!!

Once we finally picked Carl up we headed for home listening to all his exciting stories. He bought us all a little gift, I had asked him to get me some Ibuprofen (as its dead cheap and come in packs of 500, no questions asked!!) So he got me a 1000 tablets!! He got all of us Hollywood key rings and he got me a replacement for my car aerial !

Independence Day Mickey!!! I have had a few different ones from Disney, I like Minnie Mouse but they are just about impossible to find, I love this one!!!
I have cracked on with the washing and five loads later I am finally getting some of it in off the line nice and dry fingers crossed that  I get the last few bits dried before the heavens open!!!
I am looking forward to seeing all the photos of his trip, he has shown us the video of the sky diving which looked amazing, bring on the rest!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wet, Wet, Wet......

This summer has been a total wash out, its been really disappointing it seems to rain every single day and I am fed up with the constant damp and miserable feeling that goes with it .
The only thing that seems to be flourishing  is the garden. The combination of plenty of rain plus the occasional bit of sunshine means that the garden has gone into over drive with the grass growing a mile a minute so it seems!!

This little plant grows in a tray that I have planted up with rockery plants, every so often it springs into life and flowers, it hasn't done so for a couple of years, but obviously this year it likes the conditions!!

This rose is called Oranges and Lemons, for years it has been hidden under a conifer, but last year we got rid of all the trees in the garden and it seems to be flourishing. I love it.

This is an alium, we bought three huge bulbs back from the Floating market in Amsterdam last summer. They flowered earlier with pretty purple flowers, they are now going to seed. I wasn't sure what to do with them but this morning after a night of torrential rain and wind they have fallen over, so I will have to cut them back. I am glad I managed to get the photos yesterday!!

This little flower is a pink Geranium, its a very hardy little beast and it has self set all over the garden and is becoming  a bit of a weed, I leave it where its not a problem and thin it out where it over runs!!

My all time favourite is lavender, I have a huge bush in the front garden which smells glorious under the front window and I have two further bushes in the back garden. I have also been given a pretty pale lavender plant, which I am going to plant out soon, near to my back door (thanks Karen!!!) The plan is that it will flower and I will be able to smell it gently wafting in the warm breeze, assuming that we ever get any warm breezes ever again!!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Getting into the Olympic Spirit.

This weekend I nearly got ticket for the Olympics. I first of all applied in the first round to get tickets for anything really, just so that I can say I went and watched. Sadly I was not lucky in that round, although friends and neighbours told me how they had managed to get four tickets to the Mens 100 metre finals or even the heats of the Roman Greco Wrestling (what ever that is). So I applied in the next two rounds and still never got a sniff, so imagine my excitement when I received an email from the Olympic Ticket Allocation office advising me that there were tickets available for the opening ceremony, Whoopee I was on my way, until I went on line to buy the tickets, the only tickets left for the opening ceremony cost £3,600 EACH, bargain!!! There went my trip to the Olympics!!!

Today the Olympic flames came to Welwyn Garden City, so that was the best chance we have left of getting into the Olympic way of things. We got there around an hour before it was due to arrive and within a short amount of time the place was packed with people.

People were standing 4 and 5 deep on the pavements, there were thousands.

The street vendors were out in force. 

The Police were out in force, I have never seen so many!!!

At last after a wait of an hour the flame arrived, carried by a Deputy Headmistress from a school in Watford, she smiled and waved all the way down the road. She passed in a flash and the moment had passed. We packed up our stuff and the heavens opened, we got absolutely soaked walking from Parkway to the bus station. On the way we met loads of people that we knew it felt like a great community experience. Afterwards it was great seeing all the photos on face book and spotting ourselves in the crowd. I came away with a few freebies, a medal, balloon, flags and a bottle of coke. Not a bad day out!!!!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Frustrated Beyond Belief.

Its been one of those weeks where we have had closer interactions with the medical services than we would really have liked. Back in February Beth hurt her knee in a trampolining 'incident' at school, she hurt her knee and we ended up in hospital. It has taken from February until May for that to eventually heal itself enough for her to be able to walk normally again, when bang on Tuesday her leg gave away and she is back to square one, excruciating pain and very limited mobility. It got worse so we called NHS who helpfully said take her to the Hospital. So we did, they Xrayed her said it was likely to be the same ligament damage aggravated again. They did however refer her back to the fracture clinic for them to look at again. So this morning we arrived at 9.45 for our 10am appointment only to find the clinic was already 90 minutes behind, just how they had managed that when it had only started at 9am is beyond me. In the end we got to see the 'Doctor' at 12pm, a whole two hours late.

He then glibly said well what do you expect me to do???  I said that as he was supposed to be the qualified person here, perhaps we should start by looking at what he could do rather than asking us to guess. He said the result of the MRI scan was OK, showing that the ligament had been stretched and the only way to deal with that was to strengthen the knee. He also said that she needed to make sure that the knee did not give way again, by this point he was really beginning to tick me off, so I asked how she was supposed to do that as it had given way while she was simply walking, not doing anything strenuous. He said she would need to be careful, it was clear at this point his medical qualification must have been in stating the completely obvious. Beth was upset as this has really had a huge impact on her life, stopped her from doing her work experience,  stopped her from working at the pool and has generally interfered with her school life, this arse of a 'Doctor' was not in anyway helpful. The most useful suggestion he made was for more physio, which he told us was out of his control as it was not in his department anymore. I hope that the snotty snivelling cough and cold he has turns into pneumonia and some helpful Doctor asks he what he thinks they could do about it. 

Hunny was feeling left out so she developed a sore on her cheek, so we took her to the vet, who didn't once ask Hunny what she expected the Vet to do. The vet examined her and decided it was likely an infected insect bite, plus her ear was a bit sore, so we ended up with antibiotics, ear drops, and injection and £100 less in my purse. She now seems to be on the mend.

And Chill......... 
Yesterday was beautiful and I managed a couple of hours in the garden, even nodded off at one point, listening to some music that Beth had on the TV. I have been really tired so I must have needed it. Today however I could get really wet sitting in the garden !!! I was hoping to see if I could catch a glimpse of the Olympic Torch as it passes through the town, the weather will have to get a whole lot better before I risk that!!!!

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Life of a Jet Setter.

At last at the weekend we had some nice weather, breezy but best of all sunny and warm. 
I took a bit of time to potter around the garden and noticed that we had a few gaps in our flower beds, so we popped to the garden centre and stocked up on some plants to cheer things up. I am trying to have a garden that comes every year without having to rely on too many annuals, so it was nice to go and look for all those little plants that fit the bill. While looking I thought it would be nice to get some lily of the Valley, but they are not so easy to find, so I may have to do some online research for them. Tom planted them all and watered them in, this morning mother nature has done her bit by supplying some extra water 
to bed them in!!!

Carl has been away for the past few weeks, he has been on a road trip in the USA. He flew to the west coast with his Kilimanjaro buddy Grant, since their arrival they have driven around in a hired RV taking in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hollywood, Palm Beach, Yosemite and all places in between. He organised a surprise for Grants Birthday, a parachute jump!! He said it was a fantastic experience and a 
huge surprise for Grant!!!

 He is very well organised and has left me a very detailed breakdown of his daily activities. Yesterday they flew to Orlando for 8 days there doing the parks before moving on to their final destination of New York. He has been able to keep in contact with me via Whats App, thank goodness for MacDonalds and their free Wi Fi!! The only problem is trying to keep up with the time differences, I have to constantly refer to my phone to work out what time he is in, I expect they are suffering from jet lag this morning!!

Beth is also embarking on a new experience, she is working at Hardings Pre School for her work experience  week, so this morning she has taken herself off, walking to work. She is so excited about doing this as its something she would like to do when she leaves school. I think she would be very good at it!!