Monday, May 27, 2013

A Weekend Away!

Tom and I have just had a weekend away, nothing unusual there except its the first time since we have had children that we have been away on our own. It was a bit of a last minute decision and we had trouble finding a place to stay. It was Bank Holiday and half term so it was going to be busy. Tom wanted to head to Whitby to see his sister. After searching the web for something in our price range I finally found an apartment which happened to be in the same village as my sister in law, more than that it was in the same road as my sister in law!! We could see their house from our apartment!!
It was a beautiful two bed roomed place with the most comfortable bed in the world!!! Three nights of absolute comfort, I would go back there for the bed alone!!!

Don't think I have ever slept in a brass bed before!! The only disadvantage is that its a bit of a shock if you touch the cold brass with your feet during the night!!!

We were very lucky with the weather and although it was chilly in the evenings it was beautifully sunny during the day. We sat by the beach on Sunday afternoon and caught a bit of the sun. It was great to people watch, the beach was packed!!!

As the day  turned to evening and the sun started to set the light changed and everything was washed with golden light. We were treated to a stunning sunset over the sea.

The colours were gorgeous ! I love the little figures on the beach !

We had a nice time looking around the shops and eating out. We also got to chill in the apartment and I finished Beth's crochet blanket. I will now be able to make a start on the purple one that Laura would like me to do! So our first weekend away together went very well we even had things to talk about, just like the old days!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Signs of spring

The weather continues to be pretty dire, I am sitting here on the 22nd of May freezing cold and trying to resist the temptation to put the fan heater on again. It really feels as if we will never get any decent weather this year. I would have hoped that by now I could have left the back door open and be enjoying a bit of early evening sun set.

Tonight I popped around to see Mum and Dad and Dad said that there were baby birds in the bird box, so once the adult birds flew off, we went and had a look. This year dad has put the box down a little lower so it was easy to lift the lid and peep inside. He had already taken a look yesterday and thought that there were six birds, but when I took the photo and counted the open mouths there were seven of them!! They are so tiny and make really tiny squeaky noises. They are all snug in their feathery nest. I hope that they all make it into fully fledged adults.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Trip into London.

It seems only five minutes since we received our invitation to attend a celebration of Marriage service at Westminster Cathedral. Yesterday we set off on the 12 o'clock train. I had prepared well, with our invitation and a map of the area. The journey into Kings Cross was easy and the transfer to the underground and trip to Victoria was fine. When we got out of the station, it was mayhem. There were roadworks everywhere and building sites, the area was being redeveloped on a huge scale. My carefully prepared map didn't look anything like the real thing. So it was over to my trusty sat nav on my phone to try and get us to the right place. We set off, walked by the theatre where Wicked was playing, and eventually found the road we wanted. Unfortunately we were at the wrong end of it and had a bit of a trot to get to where we needed to be!! In the end we came across a lovely bar called 'The Brass Monkey' so we stopped there for our lunch and a drink.

When we finally found the Cathedral we realised that you could virtually see it from the station and had we have gone straight on we would have been there in five minutes instead of the 20 that it took us!! We wouldn't have found the bar if we had gone directly there, so every cloud and all that!!!

The Foundation stone of the Cathedral was laid in 1895 and the building was opened in 1903. It is built in the Early Christian Byzantine style by the Victorian Architect John Francis Bentley.

The Cathedral was not like any other I had been in, inside its a strange combination of religious and darkness. There is a lot of marble, but it was the dark grey and black kind which made everything feel generally 'dark'. We found a seat and when the service started I was surprised to learn that there were 600 couples with twenty thousand years of marriage between us all!!!

We were given a commemorative booklet to remember the day. The service was a good combination of service and singing. We were able to renew our vows. It was quite a moving service thinking back to our Wedding nearly 30 years ago! What was more amazing was that it took only five minutes to do communion, which wasn't bad considering there was over a thousand people to serve.

Afterwards we had a cup of tea and chatted to some other people who were there. Not everyone was celebrating big anniversaries the couple in front of us were celebrating their tenth anniversary and they had their beautiful toddler daughter with them, she did very well to survive what was a boring event for her!!

Last week was Beth's last week at school, the five years have gone so fast. All she has left is her exams, so its been even more tear filled emotional times.

Thursday night they had 'leavers Mass' It was so sad, I spent most of it trying to blink back tears and not listen to what was going on. A group of girls from Beth's class sang Lean On Me so beautifully that half the audience was in tears, including the head of year who was sat in front of me. It really only seems like yesterday that we were at the year seven Mass and Beth was taking up her flag from Panshanger school.

I wish Beth all the luck in the world for her exams and I will be pleased once they are over!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Time Flies.

Well here we are half way through May, April is a dim and distant memory. I have decided to try and take a photo a day and found an app to help me. Its called project 365 and as a bonus it reminds me everyday and it saves the whole month as a print sized photo. Its been good to look back at. Its amazing how fast the time goes it seems a long time ago that we were on our cruise.

Its not easy getting a photo a day particularly when you are only doing the normal mundane everyday things, so having a camera on the phone really helps. I also found another app that records where you are so a couple of the photos have the location recorded as well. It will be good to look back and see what I had been up to. 

Dad is now out of hospital and feeling a lot better, he has spent a few days getting himself back up to speed and settling back at home. Mum is still in the care home but the plan is to bring her back on Friday and hopefully she will settle back and start to improve. The good thing is that the care home seems really quite nice, although she is getting fed up with the place and the noisy TVs and people who 'interfere' as she says. I think she gets fed up with all the coming and going of the people around her.  She has played a few games of scrabble this week and has finally got up and walked around a bit. She spent a week not walking because 'the staff didn't ask her to walk' Turns out they didn't know she could walk as she had not told them and they assumed she was in a wheelchair for a reason!!! Its a case of use it or lose it, so she really must make the effort to keep going. 

Beth and I went for a photo shoot at the weekend. Groupon had a voucher for hair, makeup and a series of photos. So we went up to Shoreditch in London for the day. We decided to have a brunch at a local restaurant and then headed for the studio. 
We were met by a lady who was if I am generous very theatrical and over the top, she made us welcome and served us drinks. We sat and looked through magazines to decide how we wanted to achieve our 'look' . Then Beth had her hair done and I had my make up done. For the first time in my life I had false eyelashes!!!! Surprisingly they didn't look too bad!
Once we were prepared we went into the studio and got our clothes out. We had to take five changes of clothes so we ended up lugging around a suitcase full of 'stuff' . The photographer decided what we would wear at what point and 90 minutes and loads of shots later we were done. We were very pleased with the results and ended up with some lovely photos and we had a great day out in London.

If you get the chance to have a go, its a great chance to get in touch with your inner super model!!!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Typical Bank Holiday Weekend????

On Thursday the 2nd of May 2013 I was able to tick another thing off of my 'list of things to do'. It was local County Council Election day and I had always wanted to go to the local election count. A friend was involved so I asked if I could attend and watch just for the experience. He went one better and signed me up as a scrutineer. So not only did I get to see the count I also got to check that the right votes were going on the right piles. I watched and spotted 4 papers that were accidentally put on the wrong piles, so I was able to challenge them and have the mistake corrected. Exciting stuff!!! So after the count I headed home finally getting into bed around 2am.

At 4.45am I was woken by the phone, Dad was not well and I had to call an ambulance to get him to hospital. I ended up spending the rest of the day at The Lister in Stevenage. The Doctors got things sorted out and started treatment and pain relief. He is still in there now but hopefully getting closer to coming home. 

We were left with a problem, because Mum is cared for by Dad, she is not able to fend for herself at night. Until now she has refused to go into respite care and this has led to Dad becoming more and more run down. This time she was left with no choice. The hospital put their Clinical Navigator on the case and she sorted it out with with Social services. (I think the job title is a brilliant one!!) Mum was found a place at a care home in Hatfield. She was not too happy to be going but it was the right thing to do. She seems to have settled down OK but she wants to be back at home as soon as possible. I want to make sure that Dad has fully recovered before being thrown into the deep end again.

It seems that every time we hit a Bank Holiday we end up in hospital somewhere!!!

I did get a few spare minutes at the weekend to make some presents for Beth's teachers. I can't believe that as of next Friday she finishes secondary school, apart form doing her exams. Where has the time gone?? Once her exams are over she is a free agent for the summer. She will be starting Oaklands in September doing a child development course. (Fingers Crossed she gets great exam results!!)

Sunday, May 05, 2013

An evening with Cork and Canvas.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love all things crafty, I will have a go at most things and I particularly love papercrafts and glass work. I have a stack of completed scrapbooks and a stock of cards waiting to be sent. I have recently taken up crochet and I have very nearly finished my second blanket (for Beth) I have another one to make for Laura. The one thing that I would love to be able to is paint and sketch. I have tried and I am useless!!
So when I heard an advert for Cork and Canvas on Jack FM, it got me thinking. I spoke to my Aqua Zumba mate Jane and we decided to book an evening with them. We booked for the 2nd of May at a pub called Brookmans in Brookmans Park. 
We arrived early and had a bite to eat in the pub, I had Liver parfait with brioche and I can honestly say it was the very best that I have ever eaten!!

The class was held in a room off of the main pub and when we went in it was all set up with easels, aprons and paintbrushes. We sat down and we were shown step by step how to reproduce the demonstration piece.

This is the painting that we tried to copy or interpret in our own way!!
The instruction was very good, just at the right pace for us as beginners. The class was full and everyone got stuck in and followed the instructions!

Here is Jane Da Vinci  starting her first blue segment.

Here we are taking a quick creative break between shades of blue!!

The photo above is a during shot and it doesn't look anything like the end product!

We then painted in the houses in different colours and added the roofs.

In the end we were the proud owners of our very own masterpieces. I love the way that while they are similar, they are also totally different.
The night absolutely flew by and we both really enjoyed ourselves, we sat there concentrating with our mouths open and tongues sticking out.

So if you fancy a great night out encouraging your creative side and a wine or two, check out Cork and Canvas and see if there is a class near you!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Been busy week - again!!

This past week I have been trying my hand at something new. We have reached the time of year where Beth wants a few teacher presents and I wanted to try a new skill. I have seen these picture around for a while and thought they would be fun to do so I dusted off my decorative paper punches, bought a few box frames, used some of the ton of paper that I have stashed away and gave it a go. I am really pleased with the results. 
I have loads of stuff to use for the ingredients, the box frames are harder to come by!!

This one I made using some lace that I have had for an age and some pretty buttons that I have had in the cupboard for a good while.

With this one I tried some brighter colours and I think that looks good as well. Both butterfly ones have a sprinkle of glitter on them as well, so look a lot sparklier in the flesh.
I am going to try with some heart shaped punches and see how that looks.

Yesterday was quite a difficult one, Dad was taken ill overnight so I ended up going into the Lister with him in the early hours of the morning, he was in considerable pain from a blockage in his bowel. We sat in hospital for hours while they started treatment and reduced the pain. He had all sorts of tests and scans while they tried to decided what to do. This has happened at least twice before once resulting in an operation and the other time medication eventually sorted things out. Today he feels pretty rotten while he waits it out. They can't leave it too long as it can cause pretty serious problems. 

The down side of all this is that there is no one to look after Mum so after a lot of calls yesterday between Social Services and a lady at the hospital with the fantastic job title of 'Clinical Navigator' , mum was found respite care at a place in Hatfield. She is not happy about it but its the only way she will be safe, she can't manage on her own, I can't move in around there and its far too much for Dad to deal with when he is well, so trying to cope with everything when he isn't well will be terrible. 
We dropped her off yesterday afternoon and it seems to be a very nice place, an old manor house with big airy rooms and its seems a lot of staff. Mum has her own room with a riser chair and hospital style bed. Initially she is in there for two weeks and then we will see how it goes. If she comes home I will make sure that Dad gets a break and that she goes in for the odd week here and there. 
I am not sure if this will be any easier in the long run as already she has called today for us to take extra things in!! So I will have to do a trip to Hatfield and then go on to Stevenage.