Sunday, 15 December 2013

Simply a Moment - December

7.45 Sunday. I reluctantly crawl out of bed, shivering, that's not good. I only shiver when I am ill. Joints aching, leg itching. Ah, looks like I am not as healthy as I hoped today. This feels like flu but without the woolly head and runny nose. I decide to wallow in my misery for a while, but first I have to let my chickens out.
On wobbly legs I make my way down the steps into the back garden. They are peering at me through the wire, silently wishing me to hurry up! I open the gate and they stroll out slowly, keeping one beady eye on me while they examine the floor to see if any tasty morsels have dropped out of the sky since yesterday. Goldie stands really close to my feet and waits for me to move. She is convinced that one day there will be a fat juicy worm under them and she is ready! Amber spreads her wings and flaps them, just like we do when we stretch in the morning. Koala whinges, she has the most moaning voice I have ever heard on a chicken and she keeps up a continuous burbling moan the whole time she is awake.
They make me smile as they begin their day of preening and snoozing interspersed with scratching the earth from what was my flower bed. I take myself back up into the house and prepare to spend my day under the bettermaker quilt.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Teeny tiny boxes for sweeties!

On Saturday, Annette and Andrea arranged that they would come in on Sunday and clean my house. I was becoming overwhelmed by the work that was needed and the stay in hospital had just made things worse. Andrea asked me if I knew how to make little boxes because Boo wanted to give home made fudge to some of her teachers and little boxes would be needed.

I turned to my blogging community, knowing that amongst all you crafty people there would be someone to help.

I was right. This is what I found Exactly, perfectly right! I printed out the whole thing and took it upstairs to my craft room and played with some scrap paper. I sent a quick picture to Andrea and it was decided that when Boo had finished helping to clean we would go into the craft room and she could decorate her little boxes
This is the result.

I just love them. I don't have an oval punch to make the handles like the destructions tell me so I used a scalloped circle punch that works just as well. Just big enough to hold four squares of home made fudge - wrapped in cellophane or cling film of course - and so easy to decorate with die cuts or flowers. The very best thing about these teeny tiny boxes? they take about five minutes to make as long as you have a scoring board, a sharp scissors and a glue stick.
One of the best things I have found just go take a look and then have a go

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Why the Mohican chased us - The Caravan Holiday part two

My cousin Eve is two years older than me and when we were teenagers she seemed to me to be very daring, quite the rebel.
On our Caravan holiday we were told that the site was five minutes from the sea. It took us at least 20 minutes of brisk walking so we think the person who told Aunty this big lie must have had a car.

I don't remember it raining at all on this holiday but I think it must have done because this was Porthcawl and it was Miners fortnight and it always rains then.
For those of you who don't live in the UK - Miners fortnight was so called because all the coal mines shut down for the last week in July and the first week in August and most of the families would have been saving for the previous 12 months so that they could go to the seaside. Sometimes whole streets would pack their bags and go to a caravan site for a week. So the valleys were empty and Porthcawl was full.

Where was I?

OH yes. Every day Aunty would send Uncle to the shop where he would buy two sliced loaves and half a pound of butter. He would then be told to "keep an eye on that lot" while Aunty and Aunty Mu and Aunty V spread the butter and then opened several jars of fish paste - these had been in the boxes of food that we had been packed around on the journey down. These sandwiches plus a packet of crisps each and several bottles of fruit squash would be distributed amongst half a dozen bags.
The Baby was strapped into the pushchair, everyone was warned not to forget their towels and the deck chairs and like a camel train we would set off for a day on the beach.

It was only the second day of the holiday when we saw him. Remember that this was 1960/1 and there weren't many people with a mohican hair cut in those days. Eve was never a quiet person and she seemed even louder that day "OOOOOH look at him! Look Mam, he's had his head shaved!"
The boy turned his head and stared at her. We all did that thing where you immediately look down at your feet and scurry really quickly. We had to shove Eve with the deck chairs and the bags because we didn't have a spare hand. The Baby leaned precariously out of the pushchair and said OOOOH very loudly and then laughed.

It must have been this that spurred Eve on because she turned and looked straight at this chap and shouted "hey up, where's Hawk-eye?". His head came up and he began to run at us. Aunty screamed "Bill! Bill! Tell him!" as she accelerated away with the baby bouncing in the push chair. Eve, May Charlie and I all shrieked and ran like the wind, passing the Aunties and poor Uncle Bill who was keeping between us and the very irate mohican.
We reached the beach in moments and felt much safer because there were several burly miners with their families already there. we found our spot on the sand - not easy with Aunty because she obviously had a special colour of sand in mind - and spread the blanket and put down the chairs and the bags. The mohican glowered at us and then stomped off across the beach. We all turned and looked at Eve.

"What?" she asked innocently "What did I do now?" we chased her down the beach and into the water.

We spent the rest of the holiday keeping a look out for the mohican and his pals and making sure we avoided them at all times.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Story telling Sunday - The holiday in the caravans

This Story is brought to you through the invention of Sian at FromHighintheSky. It started three years ago as a lead up to Christmas and then became a monthly thing. I have tried to join in every time because I saw it as a way of recording those family stories that used to be handed down by telling and retelling at family gatherings. The last of my father's siblings passed away in the early part of the year so they won't be around to gather us in and tell the old stories. I am a part of the Older generation now so my stories have to be recorded and passed on.
I told you about the time I went on holiday with Aunty Mary and my cousins here and described the ritual we witnessed before we left. I didn't tell you about the actual holiday.
Me that summer, sulking because I wanted to be somewhere else
This was going to be a posh one. A two week holiday in two caravans in a caravan site two minutes from the beach at Nottage, a small village just outside Porthcawl. So there was Aunty Mary, Uncle Bill, Cousins Eve May and Charlie and of course the Baby. Also joining us would be Aunty V and cousin T  and during the middle weekend Aunty Mu with Aunty K and Uncle R. A pretty normal gathering for a family holiday.
We were told that the caravans were fairly modern and we were lucky to get them so cheaply. Please bear in mind that this was 1960/61 so we didn't expect electric light or shower rooms in the caravans they just were too far out of our price range then.
We arrived at the site Me Eve May and Charlie in the back of the car, squashed into the blankets and sleeping bags and pillows with boxes of food on our laps. It was normally only a two hour journey, but everyone was heading that way because it was miners fortnight so it actually took about five hours to get through Cardiff and then into the traffic jam for Porthcawl.
We stopped at the shed by the gateway and collected the keys to the caravans and the man showed Uncle Bill which ones were ours. The definition of fairly modern had been stretched a bit. They were so obviously pre-war but it was still exciting to be on holiday. Aunty said we girls were to sleep in the smaller caravan with Aunty V, and Cousin T. She said Charlie and The Baby would be in the bigger caravan with Aunty Mu Aunty Mary and Uncle Bill.

We loved it! we discovered that the two minutes from the beach was actually a 25 minute walk as long as you swung your arms and really stepped out. Eve got badly sunburned on her chest - Oh OH I remember she always called them her Lotties! I have no idea why. Anyway because of the shape of her bathing suit she burnt the exposed tops of her "Lotties". We applies calomine lotion but by bedtime she was itching a lot.
She decided that if she slept in my sleeping bag we could zip her into it and she wouldn't be able to move her hands up to her chest to scratch.
Now this sleeping bag had an extra bag attached to the top where a pillow could be put and it wouldn't slide away from you during the night.
We zipped Eve into the bag and she tried and failed to get her hands to a scratching position. We were delighted. Then, just after Aunty V had turned out the gas lights and we were settling down there was a noise outside the caravan. I sat up and peered our under the curtains, Eve was sharing the double bed with me and she too raised herself, with difficulty, not having hands to lean on.

"OH!" I said," look at that behind you"
Eve screamed, threw herself backwards and kicked with all her might. Her feet went through the wall of the caravan with a mighty crack. This made her scream again and bounce frantically up and down on her back. Aunty V is shouting "What's wrong? What's wrong?" Cousin T who was only little was crying, Cousin May who had been asleep was calling for her mother and me, well I am gasping with laughter and trying to stop Eve from killing herself as she tries to get out of the sleeping bag to run from whatever is behind her.
Uncle Bill arrives at the door and gradually every caravan in the site has the door open to see what is happening.

It turns out that while I was pointing to the pillow that had come up behind Eve's head and being amused, she thought I said "Oh look a bat behind you" and thought it was a vampire.
We did eventually get to sleep and Uncle Bill used that sticky paper parcel tape that you had to wet with a sponge to fix the wall in the caravan.

Next time I'll tell you about the last of the Mohicans and how we did the route from the beach to the caravan in minutes because he chased us. I might even tell you what happened when Uncle R asked us if we could run.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Age Difference

My oldest grandchild is 24 my youngest is 3. This brings a lot of plus points.

"Let me explain. No, that will take too long. Let me sum up. Princess Buttercup is marrying Prince Humperdinck in a little less than half an hour.........."

Sorry wrong script, it's just that every time I write that little phrase "Let me explain", the quote from the film jumps into my mind. Actually that's a little about what I am trying to get at today.

I remember taking my children to see Star Wars. The original film not the recent additions to the set. MY boys were quite young and we went with Mrs Bluefunnel. They were totally enthralled by it and that's where the opening automatic doors like a Jedi started. That and the "These are not the Droids you are looking for"

My children grew up and had children - at least the boys did, had children I mean - and video machines and block busters meant that we could watch Star Wars on the telly. I remember my eldest grandchild telling me the whole story with actions, including the hand gesture that opens the automatic doors. NOw he is grown up and away at University but the Divine Miss Em is at the right age for the first film so I get to listen while she tell me the whole story with actions, including the hand gesture to open an automatic door. She is teaching her mother how to do it too.

I just love watching the process of enlightenment. To see the knowledge going in and then suddenly, and it is a sudden thing, light dawns and they understand.

In the last couple of weeks she has been getting a grip on telling the time on an ordinary clock with hands. She can do digital time easy peasy but the old fashioned analog clock with hands that go around has taken a while but this week she has grasped the concept of after the hour and before the hour and has successfully told the time every day. I want to leap about and wave my arms in the air too

I have seen a lot of gratitude journalling around this month and while I can't be doing it for a whole month I suddenly thought of how grateful I am to be able to see the stages of growth and enlightenment in my grandchildren. I am indeed very honoured to be able to do this

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Simply a Moment - November

It's Friday, Mr M has gone to work and I am sitting on the settee feeling down. It must be the after effects of being in hospital. I indulge in a few moments of miserable thoughts when I hear the sound of a key in the front door.
Mr M comes in!

I was wrong, he didn't go to work because he had booked a day off to get the car serviced and with all the hospital stuff I had forgotten. He is mine for a bonus day! Hurrah!

All miseries forgotten. I have this wonderful face to look at all day
Am I the luckiest person in my world? you betcha!

This post is part of the "Simply a Moment" meme invented by Alexa at TrimmingtheSails. Why not pop over there and take a look now that you've read my little moment

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Story Telling Sunday 3 Pick your Precious, November

This blog entry is brought to you through the inventiveness of Sian over at FromHighintheSky After you have read my little offering why not click on the link and see what everyone else has said. Make a cuppa, it will take a while but I can't think of a better way to spend an hour.


This is my November precious - the cup not the coffee. Actually I have two of them, both are for my use exclusively. Everyone who has been to our house more than once knows that these are MY coffee mugs. They are the perfect shape for keeping a cuppa warm for longer than usual. They are just the right weight so that they don't make your arm ache when they are full - important when you have ME and it is doing its worst. The top is exactly the right size to be able to keep an eye on a toddler while still drinking hot coffee and the best bit of all...
Mr M bought them for me.
He bought them 32 years ago. One of the "boys" in work had some coffee mugs for sale - I know, I know, he works in a steel works so what was a steelworker doing.... they are a special breed are steelworkers, especially electrical steel.

Where was I? Oh yes.

We had just set up home together, Mr M and me and my three children aged 15, 13 and 12. We had found a house where the rent was HUGE, we had an old ambulance as our mode of transport and it did 15 miles to the gallon. Work for Mr M was 30 miles away so he used 4 gallons of petrol per day to get to and from work. We had no money after food and light and stuff and he came home one day with these two mugs. He had paid 50pence each for them.
I have used them ever since. One of them has a tiny chip out of the rim, close to the handle so it doesn't get in the way. Everyone knows my mug and everyone knows how to make a cup of instant, that I will like, in it. they really would be the thing I would pick up and take with me if there was a hurricane. Now you must excuse me while I drink that coffee. It will still be hot and I can read your stories while I sip.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Just like a Jedi Knight

A friend asked on Farcebork "Is it only me that does the Jedi gesture when approaching automatic doors?"

We told him no.

Mr M does it too.

It made me laugh today because the question had reminded me of it.

So next time you approach the automatic doors of any shop, see how hard it is not to become Obi Wan and make that small gesture with the right hand just as the door open...

And then see how hard it is not to grin like a Cheshire cat because it works!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sharing a cuppa

Come on in! It's so good to see you again, have you had a good month? Tea? Coffee? Vimto? I have some home made banana bread which is delicious - oh you're not allergic to nuts are you? There are pecans and almonds in it.

Sit over that side of the table then you won't have to move...... oh that doesn't happen any more but I still tend to push people around the table to that side. It's from when my parents lived here. I could guarantee that if anyone came to visit that as soon as they sat down at the table my Dad would appear in the doorway, pushing my Mum in the wheelchair to take her to the bathroom. You can see by the space that anyone that side would have to stand up, push in their chair and then move to this side of the table to let him through. He would just stand and glower because of course we should realise.

~sigh~

Now where was I? oh yes, are you well? have you been busy? I have been burning the midnight oil recently because I managed to get myself elected as Webmaster for the family history society, yes I know, it is a bit of a laugh, given my ability to kill computers but they needed someone who wasn't afraid of technology and also had the time to devote to getting the new web site up and running.

Oh I'm not doing the coding or the tricky stuff no we have an excellent web designer/builder for that. No, I am the one that talks to him and tells him exactly what we'd like and then he tells me what we can have and I say "Do it". I have been streamlining spreadsheets and culling databases and getting information ready to put into the various sections. All exciting stuff.

Oh my goodness! look at the time, let me just put the oven on for the tapioca pudding - do you like tapioca pudding? I have just re-discovered it and I make one at least once a week. Mr M will eat anything so we enjoy a little pudding after our meal some days.

Oh, do you have to go? It's been lovely to see you again, I love it when people drop in, I still can't go through the door on my own yet so having people call in is just wonderful - oh I am getting better, I went to see Fascinating Aida last week with my daughter and son-in-law. We had to walk through Cardiff and I didn't even get a twinge of a panic attack and I was good fro the whole evening. Even coming out into the dark wasn't a problem so there's hope for this old bird eh? You will come back won't you? Oh that's great, see you next time!

This post is part of the meme started by Abi over at Creating Paper Dreams why not pop over there right now and see take the chance to visit all the other wonderful people who are offering the chance to sit and have a cuppa. Why not put your own favourite cuppa beside you and join in, you will be very welcome I know.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Simply a moment - October

It is Tuesday evening. Our friend has just left after a very successful meeting about the games convention we are running in Newport next year. I am throwing together a meal, Mega burgers for Mr M and Fish Toppers for me. Mr M is not over fond of fish while most meats make me itch - we are having chopeed up new potatoes with chopped mushrooms and sliced onion tossed in a little canola oil and lightly fried. We are both hungry so I don't want this to take too long to prepare.

My mind goes over the things we have discussed about the games con. The master plan of the main hall with those trade stands that have already booked marked on it. Looking good! the decision about where to put the people who will be giving talks. Possibly something to do with Dr Who, possibly some other fantasy or sci fi things. We have to confirm the presence of a Dalek, we should have the Ermine Street Guard and possibly some storm troopers AND some Starship troopers. the proofs of the badges and tickets look good and the Name of the Convention is to be Dragondaze. A ripple of pride as I remember how that name was invented 30 years ago, by me, at the very first games con held in this town. I feel immense pride that after 20 years we are again putting on a con and that this time all proceeds after costs will go to a super charity. Barnado's young carers will benefit and will also be at the event.
"What are you grinning at?" asks Mr M, breaking into my thoughts. The moment has passed, the food is ready. I dish it up and as we sit down to eat I begin to tell him what I was thinking about.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Just have to get this written down while I remember

Last night, long after we had gone to bed and should have been sound asleep, I woke myself up coughing and then choking - I must have swallowed some drool the wrong way..... yeuk!

Anyway, as I settled back down again a soft voice, furry with sleep said "That was really weird." I had obviously woken Mr M, well, it was a really impressive coughing fit. "What did you really say?" he asked, making me open my eyes and wonder if I was really hearing him. "What do you mean?" I asked back.
"Well I am sure I heard you say 'It's a chocolate caramel!' but why would you say that? were you dreaming?"
I tried not to laugh, honestly. I failed. and by trying not to I made it worse. I explained that I had been coughing and choking and he said "Oh, good, because that didn't make any sense." then he did that not-really-awake-so-I'll-just-burrow-further-into-my-pillows thing and was soon snoring gently.

I chuckled a little more and soon was fast asleep too.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

October Story Telling Sunday - My precious

Story Telling Sunday was thought up by Sian over at From High in the Sky Why not pop over there and take a look at all the other wonderful stories. Make yourself a cuppa and grab a biscuit, you could be there for some time - after you've read my contribution of course.

Lots of people who took part in Rinda's Summer Scavenger hunt chose to photograph themselves with their camera as the "portrait of you with your favourite crafting tool". I hadn't realised that my camera was a crafting tool. I thought it was an essential part of what I wear, like knickers or a bra. The sort of can't-go-out-without-it item. I know that from as far back as I can remember I have always had a camera. I couldn't afford the film or the processing very often but it was always close at hand even when I was in primary school. I was told by the teachers not to take it to school but it was mostly hung around my neck and they gave up.
Having said all that I am nothing more than a snapper. I don't take photographs to make a beautiful picture, like my college trained photographer son-in-law. I like to snap something as it happens, I like to capture the memories of the occasion.
With Admiral and Lady Bluefunnel on The Matthew
Having said all that I then searched for a picture, any picture of me with my camera and this is the only one I can find that is on the computer. The one I had in mind was taken nearly 30 years ago when I was using my second hand Zenith 35mm camera, just about the best one I have ever had in my opinion. That camera had been dropped in some very exciting places. The Square in Hameln on a Sunday morning when we were waiting for the play and the clock. The park in Leamington Spa when waiting to visit a friend in hospital. The Arndale centre in Manchester and outside the town hall in Rochdale to name the ones I can remember. As it was made of metal it just dented but didn't break. I still have it and would use it again tomorrow if it wasn't for the convenience of digital. My present camera is an Olympus SP-550UZ. it doesn't have go faster stripes but it does have a nifty zoom. It has been either set on auto or scene since I was given it (A present from an old friend who hopes to turn me into a photographer) but as you can see from the picture it hangs around my neck and falls into the hands just perfectly.
Oh it is so much a part of me that the one Sunday we went into Morrisons to do the shopping the lady on the check-out said "I nearly didn't recognise you without your camera". I had put it into my pocket because of the rain and it was still there.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Let's go on The Matthew

 I warn you I am going to be talking about my birthday treat.
We went on the Matthew! you know, don't you? the replica of the ship built by the Bristol Merchants and sailed across the Atlantic in 1497 by John Cabot. Now I'll bore your ears off with the details.

In 1495 John Cabot a merchant in Bristol managed to get finance to build a ship that would sail west across the oceans and discover a new way to the orient and the spices that were so eagerly sought. In 1497 he took 107 other people with him and a ship full of chickens and goats and off they went. After 55 days they bumped into land and they decided to call it Newfoundland.
Fast forward to 1994 when a trust was set up to build a replica and sail it across the Atlantic for the 500th anniversary.

We went for the day with Mrs Bluefunnel. Please note the badges we are wearing because they were made specially by Mrs B. Hers simply says Mrs Bluefunnel which to anyone else is not funny but to us is hilarious - oh and she was thought to be a tour guide because of it and got asked questions while holding the door for Miss Em in the Ladies loo.


The Divine Miss Em with a mouth full of Werther's Original and a badge that says Heiress. This is because Admiral Cunard Bluefunnel has said, in front of witnesses, that when his ships (please note the use of the plural here) come in, Miss Em is the Heiress.




Mr M was and is the Navigator. He has this uncanny ability to look at a map and then put it away and still have it in his head. This is why we never get lost we only ever mislay a turning and get ...distracted.
Admiral Bluefunnel had his badge hidden under a pocket flap because he thought he should be in disguise as this wasn't one of "his" ships. He thought he might be asked to drive it, he said, and was relieved when he was told that the River Pilot would be on board so he didn't have to worry.
Even the wet weather didn't spoil our day, in fact the colourful umbrellas were very pretty. Miss Em sat happily under one while muching on her apple, her biscuits, her werthers and other snack like comestibles. She was extremely careful about litter and made sure she put everything in the bin without EVER being asked or told. She is a joy to take out and as Mrs Bluefunnel said at one point "I had forgotten how much fun it is to wind up small kids" This was after they had terrified her by saying that her seat was up in the Crow's nest and then when she Miss Em said she thought a drop of rain had fallen on her Mrs B told her that it was bird wee! When she realised they were teasing she didn't get upset or sulky but after that everything they said was thought about and quietly verified with Grandpa before being believed.
She saw and photographed herons, lapwings and a deer that she spotted on the bank. She also looked at lots and lots of joggers and agreed with what Wicked Uncle Cliff had told us last year, that you never see a happy jogger. She would peer at them on the bank, running through the trees and then look at me and say "no Grandma, he didn't look happy." After our fabulous trip we went to Smiley's Fish and Chip Shop in Bedminster and had fantastic fish and chips and talked about the fact that any of the people in the street could be related to Mr M and we wouldn't know, because this is where his ancestors came from.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Family Portraits Two

I was looking for something, a picture of my Uncle and aunt when they came over from Canada. I haven't found it yet but I did unearth these pictures of my children in Primary school.


 Now they are not sitting in age order because my youngest son inherited all the tall genes and was a good three inches taller than his brother when this one was taken in 1975 so the ages go from left to right 8, 7, 10.
They all look very blond and I am still taken by how beautiful they are - a mother's eye.






This is a year later. My daughter had decided that because she pulled a funny face the year before she should do it again! Youngest son still wearing the glasses - don't you just love the crazy angle? at least he was wearing them. We had three pairs for him the ones he was wearing the pair that needed repair and would be taken in to the opticians soon and the pair that was at the opticians waiting to be collected. we did this for ten years and he soldiered through it because he wanted to get rid of the squint without surgery as much as I did.

My daughter has moved on to secondary school but the photographer has still put the tallest on the right - better composition eh? This is 1977 so ages 10 and 9.
Eldest son was developing his wry sense of humour and delighted in long and rambling jokes and he could always get his younger brother to do most anything he wanted, but just let anyone try to harm them and they closed ranks and were united against the world.

You can tell I am quite fond of them can't you?


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Where else can I be?

The Summer Scavenger Hunt devised by Rinda ended today and I had completed it a couple of weeks ago but.... BUT, yesterday we went to the free book shop, which has closed now, and then for a little ride up to Morrisons for tea.
Her in Newport there is a pub called The Handpost. This has, in turn, given the name to the area that surrounds the pub. While we paused at the traffic lights by the pub we chuckled over the fact that the cafe in the row of shops was called That Cafe. and decided that it was a great name because when someone says meet me up the Handpost you can say "Oh yes, let's meet in That Cafe" and you will be actually giving the name. Well it made us laugh.
I was craning my neck around to try and get a picture of the sign but there was a car in the way and then I spotted the notice above the door
Now that made me laugh but I did have time to snap it as the lights changed and we were underway again.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Family portraits

Rinda asked us if we had ever had a family portrait taken over here at Gallo Organico and it set me thinking
Several people said that family portraits weren't really a thing that happens over here in the UK and I wondered if the ubiquitous School Photographs were what stopped us going to a photographer's studion to have a special picture taken. After all why fork out to a studio when you know that your children will be photographed every year from the time they start school. The more I think about it the more I am certain that the school photograph is the reason I never took my lot to a studio. They were photographed together from the time that the youngest started school.
The closest we have come to a portrait picture is when Miss Em took a picture of us on holiday

Now when you consider that she is only eight and a half I think, with a little photoshop to remove the people behind us and stop the pole growing out of my hat, we'll have a picture that could grace a Christmas card. Although Mr M hated the top I was wearing so perhaps it'll just go in the album for this year.
I told him I was only intending wearing it until it was worn out and he said "I decree that top worn out and no longer wearable." 
"If he hates it that much," I thought "I'll put it in the charity shop bag right after it has been washed." And I did. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Simply a moment - September

Simply a moment was devised by Alexa at Trimming the Sails - why not go over there and read all the other moments, after you've read mine, of course

Time 8.40am 16 September. I glance a the clock as Miss Em comes through the front door. There is something important about that time today. She gives me a hug and tells me that Daddy is collecting her from school this afternoon and then she is away down the hall and out through the door in her eagerness to be in school. Her Daddy waves his hand briefly as he rushes to keep up with her.
I glance at the clock again and my eye goes to the envelope on the shelf below the clock. Of course! 45 years ago to the minute the Midwife was telling me "You have a beautiful boy!"
Memories of the shock I felt make me blush even now, because I had been so certain that this baby would be a girl.
"Gosh, he's a big baby," says the midwife and she cleans him up and measures him, "Let's see 24 inches long. Well he's going to be tall! Now come on baby let's get you weighed." She paused for a moment and rested the baby on the bed before heaving the scales up so that the cloth sling was unsupported. Then she let him down onto the bed again and gave me a look.
"Nine and three quarter pounds, that's the same as a Christmas turkey!"

The assistant midwife chortled, I roared with laughter and the Midwife allowed herself a small grin.
Now my youngest child is 6'6" tall, drives 40 ton articulated lorries for a living and still gives his Mum plenty of hugs.
Many happy returns, Mark.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

F...F...Find something else to do

A friend said something on facebook and it reminded me of another story. So I thought I should get it saved.

When my eldest son was in Secondary school he joined the camping club and every year the club went to Brittany for ten days. He saved his pocket money and we gave him some money and his father also contributed.
The coach was due to arrive back at the school at 9pm so all the parents were waiting. And Waiting.

The coach and the three cars and a minibus finally arrived at 11.30pm as the ferry had been late because of bad weather.

All the children came down off the coach saying Hi to their parents, calling to their Mums and Dads and shouting to friends.
Eldest son stepped down from the bus saying "I lost five francs on the ferry!"
I gave the stupid response "Where?" He gave me a Look and said
"in my coat, but it's alright Miss lent it to me" and carried on to the back of the coach to get his rucksack.
I thought about it for a moment and then found the teacher and paid her the five francs back and still stunned by the loss of his coat we took him home.
The following day we went to see my parents so that he could give them the gifts he had bought. He regaled them with tall tales of how everyone had managed to get into trouble except him at different times and then began a long and convoluted explanation of a football game.
Granny went to make a cuppa but Grandad was still there as were young brother and elder sister. I think he got so caught up in the telling that he forgot about the adults and described how one of the other team members had become a little more physical than was needed in a tackle.
His voice raised as he remembered the tension and emotion of the moment
"So I told him to Fu....." Granny walks back into the room and he became aware of four adult faces just waiting for him to over-step the mark and say that fatal F word.
"...to Fu...Fu.. find something else to do!"
We cheered

Friday, 13 September 2013

Works Barbecue!

Most years the company that Mr M works for has a barbecue for the workers. Last year they didn't do it and I believe there were Complaints!
This year it was back and I should have told you about it on the day it happened but I had another story to tell then. Anyway we attended the barbecue, or B - B - Q as Miss Em insists on calling it. Me, Mr M, Mummy and Miss Em. Biker Boy was working so Mummy had his drinks tickets and ice cream tickets.
We took our chairs and let Miss Em loose on the inflatable assault course
She was nearly too quick for me to catch her on camera

"Sit still and wave!" "wait till I cover up my knickers! You don't want to see
 my knickers do you , Grandma? Why are you laughing?"

Mr M supervising two colleagues as they work on the Krypton factor.
They had to fit a pile of different sized blocks into a cubed space.
All three work in logistics. Well it made me laugh

Mummy taste testing the burgers and declaring them good she
did the same for the hog roast.

Miss Em could not believe she had ever been before and had to be shown the scrap book pages from previous years the next day after school. Yay for scrapbooking. She then had to look at pages from scrapbooks of Mummy when she was eight but that's for another day.
So a good day was had by all even though the alcohol brought out the wasps in their thousands. I didn't get stung. It was ok because the paramedic/ambulance depot is next door to the venue so I was safe.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Off to a New Adventure

I have just given my eldest grandchild a hug and sent him on his way to Liverpool where he will spend the next three years at John Moore's University doing Outdoor Activities and Environmental Studies

Having completed his DofE Gold award a couple of years ago and spent the last two years using all his spare time to encourage and assist others to complete their Gold awards this is a natural progression.

This will be the first time he has left home. He has been away on climbing expeditions in North Wales and canoeing down various rivers but home has always been with Mum. Now he will be living up North. Thank goodness the people are really friendly!

I am so proud of him and even though we didn't see a lot of him he is going to be missed.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Foot in mouth - another place we can't go back to

On Saturday we had a lovely day out with Mr and Mrs Bluefunnel - a nice cuppa after the tour of the house and then to the OK Diner for lunch. After that we headed towards Wales - we like to go home that way rather than down the main A49 with all the big trucks.

We stopped at the cheese shop, as you do - or at least as we do - and had a little tasting session before purchasing some tasty comestibles. Because the shop is quite small I bought our cheese and then went outside to wait.
Pretty soon Mr and Mrs B came out and Mr B had his "I-won't-laugh-it'll-just-encourage-her" face on. I raised an eyebrow and asked "what?" as they climbed into the car
"Foot in mouth" said Mrs B
"Oh yes, bigtime!" said Mr B
They buckled up and we headed out of the carpark. Mr B composed herself and explained. This is what she told us.
"The lady behind the counter is not small. She was discussing dieting with another customer and said
'I rely on the fairy on my shoulder to tell me when to stop or refuse food'."
Mrs B paused here to wipe her eyes, before continuing
"Before I could think, I could hear the words in my voice and realised that I was saying them out loud, I said 'Oh, yours doesn't work either!'"
"I grabbed our cheese and got out of there before she threw us out" said Mr B
Mrs B compounded her crime by saying "I laughed so much a tear ran down my leg."

Now this I feel qualifies for a gold medal for foot in mouth.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Storytelling Sunday Three? - September

Storytelling sunday was begun by Sian over at From High in the Sky This year the theme is Pick Your Precious.
Pick Your Precious is about celebrating the little things you love: those souvenirs, bits and pieces, things from your past you can't bear to throw out. You know, the special little something you have tucked away in a drawer or up on a shelf? Or the thing you love most in a room? Or the object you would save if you knew you had to leave the country? Your favourite things. Why not pop over to Sians place when you have read my story, there you will find loads of other stories.

This month my story is quite short and my precious is very small. It lives in a corner of my hand bag and is mostly not thought about at all.
It's a lucky pebble, given to me by Mr M about ooh I don't know, twenty years ago.
We know it is lucky by the markings on it. Those white lines go all the way around the pebble, that makes it lucky. there are more than one, that makes it lucky. I did not find it myself, it was given to me with love, that makes it lucky. It can only be found on a beach, that makes it lucky. You can only have one at a time, that keeps it lucky. When someone gives you a new one you must take the old one to a beach and throw it out into the sea so that the mermaids can refill it with good luck for the next person.
My lucky pebble is probably due for a refill about now but I like the feel of it when my fingers touch it unexpectedly in my bag and I have grown fond of it in a funny way. One day Mr M will find a new one and then I will return it to the mermaids, filled with love and memories for them to turn into luck for someone else

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Berrington Hall - then Lunch

We had a day out with the Bluefunnels today. Our turn to drive so we get to choose. We took them to Berrington Hall, just north of Leominster. A fabulous property with grounds by Lancelot "Capability" Brownand the house was designed by his son-in-law. Built in local red sandstone and a really lovely place to visit. Now owned by the National Trust.

It has just about the very best Ha Ha we have ever seen.
Pardon me? You've never heard of a Ha Ha? Well let me explain.
A Ha Ha, or Haw Haw is basically a ditch with a wall on one side between a pasture and a lawn to prevent stock animals getting onto the lawn. Designed so that when you stand where Mr M and Mr Blue are standing and survey the view it looks as though the sheep or cows could walk righ up to the house because you simply cannot see the ditch. At Berrington Hall you can get within ten feet of the edge before you can see the ditch at all. Mrs Blue was impressed.

We enjoyed the house very much and then we went to the OK Diner for lunch. This is our end of the Summer treat. I had the beer battered cod, Mr M the all the way burger. Mr Blue had the Club sandwich and Mrs Blue had the Cheese and Mushroom burger with a salad. Delicious!! then we headed for the cheese shop in Monkton
 a brief stop to buy some lovely flavourful cheese as special treats and then heading for home through the wonderful Welsh countryside of the Wye Valley.
A stop at Bronllys Castle where we discussed just how difficult it would have been to storm a castle that was built on top of a slope like that. A quick reminisce from me over the fact that now there is a posh stiarcase for intrepid explorers to climb but when we first visited there was just a ladder pinned to the side of the slope.
Mr M insists that it was a wooden staircase but I think he had his rose coloured spectacles on because it was just wooden slats for your feet with thin wooden sides to hold on to - I think there were some bits of string to cling onto as well. Now we are all going to get down to some serious healthy eating and try to get fitter for next year. We still have a couple of days planned for this year. It's their turn next to choose and drive - I wonder where we'll go.....

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Come in for a cuppa - August


Each month I join up with Abi at CreatingPaperDreams where she invites us all to sit down and have a cuppa and a chat. You know me, I love to chat so as soon as I heard the sound of your footsteps on the path I would be rushing to open the front door and invite you in. I would ask you to ignore the dust and mess, we have been away twice this year and I decided that this lovely hot weather was just too warm for housework.
I'll ask you whether you prefer tea or coffee - and then warn that everyone who says "I don't mind" will not be able to tell which it is.. I would introduce you to the Divine Miss Em. She spends time with use when both Mummy and Daddy are working and we have a project at the moment.
I'll explain that we spent a week in a caravan in west Wales with Miss Em and she took a lot of photographs. Now she is compiling her first scrapbooking album - With Journalling!
I grin slightly as she disappears upstairs to continue with her next page and whisper to you that she has been reading some of my very old scrapbooks from when her mother's age was still in single figures and thought that every piece of writing had to say something funny. I tell you that we have now talked about this and she can see that something funny on a page or two is good but too much funny can be tiring.
I offer you a choice of sugar free chocolate and cranberry brownies or chocolate and blueberry brownies and stifle a shriek as I realise that the beetroot that has been cooking quietly should be done.
I explain that we are now approaching "That" time of year when fruit and veg are being harvested and I am making chutneys and relishes and pickling beetroot. Soon I will be doing pickled onions so they are ready for Christmas. I will not be making jam because neither of us can eat it any more. I tell you that the reason I do the chutneys and stuff is for Christmas presents. I have always tried to make for Christmas, I explain and while it used to be oven gloves and knee quilts and peg bags and such now it is pickles and chutneys and relishes.
We will probably still be sitting at the table chatting when my daughter arrives to take Miss Em home so you will have the pleasure of meeting her before she whirlwinds through and disappears down the road.
You will tell me that you have to leave and I will be genuinely sad to see you go. I will make sure you know that you are welcome any time - even if I am pickling something! I am sure that next time you come I will have something that needs taste testing.
I will watch until you disappear around the corner and then reluctantly close the door before going to the kitchen, putting on the latex gloves and skinning those beetroot - after putting the jars into the dishwasher to clean and sterilise.

See you next month!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

They've got the builders in

From my kitchen window I can look down into my garden and make sure my chickens are ok. because we live on a hill the land falls away from the back of the house. This gives us the bonus of a cellar (you have to drop your voice into your boots to say that word in this house - long story but it was the late and wonderful Wheelchair Steve that started it). It also means that the house behind us has one bedroom window that looks straight into our kitchen - or if you live in number 1 That Street, my kitchen looks straight into the bedroom.
It has not been a problem for the last thirty-two years because the boy whose bedroom it is never opened his curtains from the time he reached the age of ten and before he was ten he was only in that room to sleep.

He grew up found a lovely girlfriend and moved to Cheltenham. Then his mother died and he and his sisters cleared what they wanted out of the house and sold it. The new owners have a lot of work to do because it had been neglected for a long time. They got the builders in. Polish builders. There is an Alley at the back of our house. the three houses in our block plus Number 1 That Street have access but the land actually belongs to us and to our neighbour Debbie. Try explaining that to someone who has unbolted the gate from the wall because "Is lock!"
"Yes" said Mr M "To keep people out"
"Is commune!" said the builder.
"No!" said Mr M being very quiet. "Is Mine. You ask and I will unlock." He pointed at the gate. "Fix this!" he tapped his watch and heldd up five fingers "Five minutes or I call Police"
He meant it too.
They fixed and every day I go and ask "Open?"
"yes please"
Entente cordial my.........

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Simply a Moment - August

Simply a Moment was started by Alexa over at Trimingthesails A chance to stop for one moment to look around, listen look without and within and record that one precious simple moment in time. Why not take a look after you have shared my moment

I am sitting in front of the computer ready to transcribe another of the letters from my aunt in Africa. I begin to read through the letter just to familiarise myself with her writing - to make it easier. I am swept into the countryside in what was Nyasaland as she describes her journey to the Northern province and her trip to Nkata Bay. I can almost smell the distinctive smell of the lakeshore and hear those 1950s colonial voices as she describes sailing on the lake and how "absolutely outrageous" were the things the "blokes" from the Rhodesian Royal Airforce told her to make her laugh.
I type happily and feel a pull of reluctance to come back to earth when I finish. I glance at my emails and see that several cousins have replied to my message asking for their approval for my plans for the letters. So far they all agree that putting them into the local archives is a good thing because of the social history aspect of the contents of the letters and putting the transcriptions onto the family website for all of us to have access is, apparently something that is awaited with eagerness.
Only four more to transcribe and then They can go on the website together with the photographs and I can start on the letters from Uncle in Canada - This thought brings a huge grin to my face as I save the file and start a new document.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Holiday Journals

Ruth over at EverydaylifeofasuburbanSAHM Has asked if we keep a holiday Journal, if it is a scrapbook and how we do it.
To quote Inego Montoya in "The Princess Bride"
"Let me explain, no it will take too long. Let me sum up"

The earliest holiday scrapbook I have was made in 1968. There are just a few postcards and no journalling. The first journal was done when the children and I went with my cousin and his wife - the Bluefunnels - to Scotland for three weeks I wrote about it and showed the pages starting here.
Ever since then I have taken a note book on holiday with us and made a daily entry. When we get home I photocopy the pages then make an album using notes and leaflets and entry tickets and other ephemora. I also make a single page for the annual album. I put the copies of the journal pages into the album so that the person looking has the choice of reading the entries or just looking at the pictures.

I tend to keep the holiday albums together and recently made a space in the guest room so that if our guests feel like a little light reading before settling down to sleep they can glance through an album. I did wonder if anyone bothered until recently when a guest told me at breakfast that she had really enjoyed "going through the Lake District last night before I went to sleep."

So that's how I do it. A notebook for the journalling and make an album when I get home.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ystradfellte - Story Telling Sunday, My Precious

Today is Story Telling Sunday, a meme started by Sian at Fromhighinthesky. This year the connecting theme is "My Precious" and on the first Sunday of every month we all tell our story about something we have that doesn't necessarily have a monetary value but is very precious to us for some reason. When you have read my story why not pop over to Sian's Place and see what wonderful delights await you.

Ystradfellte is a tiny village in the Brecon Beacons. The only reason it is known by anyone other than the people who live there - the landlord of the pub, the Postmaster and the three men and a dog you might see in the lane - is because just up the road about a mile away there are caves, Porth-y-Rogof caves and they are, so I am reliably informed spectacular and difficult. Not being a mole or a hobbit I cannot confirm this.

Thirty-three years ago I met Mr M. I have told that tale before so I'll skip that part. We spent two months getting to know each other and by the time of my birthday, at the end of September, Mr M said he wanted to show me some of his favourite places. My children were doing other stuff - the boys with their father and my daughter off with Rangers so on the Friday afternoon we drove off in Edie, my ambulance. I had no idea where we were going.

We went to the Car park that is just above the caves and took a slow stroll down the river to the first waterfall. If ever you are in that area I highly recommend a visit to the falls they are so beautiful. We came back to Edie and drove down into the village. We went into the pub and this is where I totally fell in love with Mr M all over again. Let me describe the pub first.

The floor was huge slabs of welsh slate, the edges rounded and smoothed with years of wear. The walls were whitewashed with wooden plank panelling up to about half way - I was going to say tongue and groove but that would be far too up market. The wood was blackened by years of smokey fires and pipe smoke and where the clientel had leaned back against the walls the patina was a much lighter colour. There were two benches with high backs either side of the fire and one of these was occupied by an odd young couple. He was wearing a cowboy hat and jeans that had argued with his cowboy boots so they stopped half way below his knees. She had bib and brace overalls, a check shirt and the biggest trainers I had ever seen.  A huge fireplace dominated the wall opposite where you came in but what took your eye immediately you entered was the bar.
It was a hole in the wall. Now this wall was five feet thick. So when you went to the bar and ordered your drinks you stretched across and gave the lady your money and then she pushed the drinks as far across as she could reach. Then you stood.... I stood on tiptoe and stretched as far as I could to reach them. Wonderful!
Next to the bar were three old gentlemen. Two sitting on the bench against the wall the third on a chair facing them across their table. When we came in we had the sudden silence as everyone turned to look at us, followed by the expressions of disappointment when they realised that we were strangers and would not add information to their conversation. And what a conversation. We learned a lot when a local couple came in and were greeted happily by Cowboy and Girl. "Did you see the fire engine?"
"Yes, what happened? We didn't see any smoke"
As they got their drinks we made ourselves small and tried not to cruch our crisps to loudly so that we could listen
It seemed that during the day a prize bull belonging to a local farmer had fallen in the river and the Fire Brigade had been called to the rescue. The Gent on the chair was doing the talking with little asides from Cowboy.
Oh I should say that Cowboy and Girl were playing darts and every time he walked to the dartboard to remove his darts his cowboy boots made a loud hollow clumping sound across that wonderful slate floor. He would throw his darts, dunk, dunk, dunk. Then walk the three steps to collect them, clump, clump, clump. Then girl would throw hers, dunk, dunk, dunk, but her trainers had soft soles so she squeaked across, squeeeak, squeak, squeeeak. This was the accompaniment to the story.
The rescue equipment had been brought from Brecon but it wasn't enough because of where the bull had gone in. "They should have driven him down into the shallows" said Cowboy and that's when it happened.
A high pitched squeaky voice from the corner where the three men were sitting said "I would have shot him, skinned him and ate him by now, he'd be in my freezer!" But the mouths on the three men didn't move!
This was when we realised that what we had assumed were a pile of coats in the corner with them was really a fourth man, a tiny little man whose head only just came above the table top and when he leaned back he disappeared!
The discussion continued about the rescue truck from Merthyr having to be called too and again the conversation stopper "I would have shot him, skinned him and ate him by now, he'd be in my freezer"
Each time this tiny man spoke the rest of the bar would fall silent and wait to make sure he had finished even Cowboy and Girl paused in their game of Darts although as the evening progressed we learned that they were brother and sister and the children of the tiny man.
As new people arrived the tale would be re-told and the silence would follow after the fatal words "I would have shot him, skinned him and ate him by now, he'd be in my freezer.
We were reluctant to leave but eventually we went back to the car

park above the caves and snuggled into our sleeping bag still chuckling. The following day we went into the post office and on the shelf was this tiny souvenir mug. Mr M bought it for me and every time I look at it I can hear the boots and the darts and that voice from the corner
"I would have shot him, skinned him and ate him by now."

We went back last week and the bar has gone. The room has been opened up and made into a boring-could-be-anywhere restaurant bar. The Carpark where we slept now costs four pounds a day to park there and the post office has moved and has a tea room attached. And yet... and yet it still has that feel to it. I am sure that Cowboy and Girl are still around even though they are now in their fifties and life still goes on just the same but with the advantage of mobile phones and... oh wait, no there's no reception there at least not for our two providers so as I said life goes on


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Taking a grandchild on holiday - Lesson One

I know it looks as though I have her on a pink lead but it is just the fishing net. We were discussing the tide coming in. She drew a line in the sand because she didn't believe the water was creeping up the beach and she was totally in awe of the fact that as the series of waves got a little bigger each time the water came a little further and didn't go back as far. I told her to ask her mother about the seventh wave being a big one.

Lesson one begins with the words Do Not Take a Grandchild Away Without Its Parent.
You can guarantee that homesickness and missing Mummy will happen at bedtime every night. We had the most glorious weather, really enjoyed the places we saw and are really, really glad to be home and sleeping in our own bed.
Actually I kind of amazed myself because I managed to keep the homesickness at bay until Thursday, when usually I can only manage three days before I just want to go home. I will put up some more pictures as soon as I have sorted them . I will be doing an album for the holiday so I might put pictures of the pages up.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Simply a moment - July

I am just about to play Farm Heroes Saga on Facebook when I notice that I have a message. I click on the icon and begin to read

I haven't made a friends request as I wanted to send this message first. When I left Wales all those years ago I was a very angry and bitter person and said and did things which, in time, I came to regret - foremost amongst these was falling out with your good self.

I realise that this is from someone who really hurt me, someone I haven't thought of in nearly 20 years, someone I had vowed never to speak to again. He was one of the guys that regularly played in the Role Playing games sessions that took place in our house.

I read the rest of the message and there is just something about the words and the way he uses them that makes me believe that he is being sincere. I show it to Mr M without commenting and he stays silent for a minute. "Sounds like he's finally getting those chips off his shoulders", he says, turning back to try and complete another level on Candy Crush Saga. This confirms my reaction to the message. I begin to type

"So where's this friend request?" I ask "I can't accept you if you don't send it can I?" I click reply and within seconds I get an answer.
I am so glad to have him back on the Christmas card list

This post is brought to you through Alexa at SimplyAlexa when we all take a moment to describe a moment in our lives. Why not pop over there and take a look at some of the other simple moments - I will.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The one about the book of maps

I read Mitra's blog and it immediately reminded me of a trip we made to Nottingham way, way back in the 1980s.....................probably around 1986.
That was when I had my shop. You didn't know? oh sorry, well, I had a shop called Armchair Adventurers and it sold role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons(tm) and Runequest, Call of Cthulhu and stuff like that. We also sold 15mm and 25mm wargaming figures and the fantasy wargaming figures as well.

I needed some dwarves and I needed them urgently. Mr M suggested that we could go to Nottingham where Asgard Miniatures had their workshop. We could go by train, pick up the figures, spend a while having a look at Nottingham and then come home. It looked like it would be the closest thing to a holiday that year . So that's what we did. We bought a book of maps of the city and discovered that the workshop was the other side of the city from the station so that meant a bus ride. We collected the dwarves - made of white metal so an army was pretty heavy - and made our way back to the city centre. We were hungry, so we went into Ronnie McD's - OK this was the 1980s ok and it was new and strange. We had a quarter pounder and a drink. I needed the Loo (bathroom for my overseas cousins) so I gave my handbag to Mr M and shoved the book of maps into the pocket of my waistcoat - it was a big pocket.
The toilets in McD's are checked every hour and cleaned very frequently. There were three cubicles and only the one in the middle was open so I went in, glanced into the toilet - as you do - it was shiny and clean and smelled of pine. I flicked up my waistcoat to pull down my jeans and that's when it happened.

The book of maps flew out of my pocket and - in slow motion - turning slowly it executed a perfect two and a half turns before plunging into the clean shiny toilet bowl.

I instinctively let go the trousis and grabbed the book, lifting it and shaking it vigorously to make it dry. This sent water spraying everywhere, including the cubicles either side of me. The sound of doors being unbolted and footsteps exiting followed by silence.
I stood in the cubicle dripping wet,with my trousis round my knees, the book flopping soggily in my hand and watched the droplets of water coursing down the walls.
Quickly I wiped the seat with some toilet tissue, did what I came in to do and went out of the cubicle.
Now I had a soggy book to deal with and we still needed it to find our way around. Oh Look they have hot air hand dryers!! I was busily drying the pages of the book when a lady came in through the door. She glanced at me and did a double take. I smiled. She went into the middle cubicle and quickly came out again. It was REALLY wet in there. She chose another cubicle and I continued to dry the pages as though it was the most natural thing in the world.
When I eventually got out to Mr M he was beginning to wonder what had happened. I didn't dare tell him in the shop so he had to wait until we were out in the street and I could show him the crinkly book and explain.
He said it was typical! I can't think what he meant.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The ForNow Book(s) - Story telling Sunday

Pick Your Precious - Story Telling Sunday-3  is about celebrating the little things you love: those souvenirs, bits and pieces, things from your past you can't bear to throw out. You know, the special little something you have tucked away in a drawer or up on a shelf? Or the thing you love most in a room? Or the object you would save if you knew you had to leave the country? Your favourite things.Invented by Sian over at FromHighintheSky why not pop over there after you have read my story?


Ready to begin?

The ForNow Book(s)

 I thought everyone had ForNow things. Boxes, bags, albums and in our case rooms. I thought everyone understood why they were called ForNow places. It appears not. This was brought home to me the other day when I had cause to send Favourite-Son-in-Law upstairs to fetch something for a friend who was visiting.
"It's in Andrea's Room not the ForNow room," I said and off went FSiL to rummage while my friend gave me one of those looks. "What?" I asked.
"What on earth is the ForNow room?" asked my poor deluded friend. "That's where everything goes when it doesn't have a home," I replied "Everyone says 'Oh stick it in there for now' and we have a room full of stuff that has been put 'In There ForNow' so it has to be the ForNow room."

So there you are. But I also have a couple of ForNow boxes and several ForNow Books where I put the pages I have scrapbooked until they can find a permanent home. I said to Mr M this morning "One day I am going to have to take all these pages out of these albums and sort them into their proper places." He nodded and then truned his face slightly to try and stop the grin spreading across it. Too late! I saw it and had to laugh too.
What I really want to tell you about is one of my pages in the ForNow book. It will eventually go into the album about me - the milestones album that I haven't started yet but I have several pages already. This one is the best Christmas present EVER.
This is the receipt for payment from my Dad to Cwmbran School of Motoring for ten driving lessons. The journalling reads:
"This has to be the best Christmas present EVER! The year is 1967 Michael is four months old and my father gave me 10 driving lessons for my Christmas present. It was not universally popular but my then husband would not openly go against my Dad."

I passed my test in freezing fog with ice on the roads and snow frozen into ruts. It was the thing that saved my sanity because I could bundle the children into the car and escape to White Castle or the Forest of Dean where they could run and shout without fear. Finding that receipt in my Dad's box of momentoes was a real blast from the past so it is now secured on its own page in the ForNow book, awaiting transfer..... oneday

Friday, 28 June 2013

Let's have a June cuppa

Come on in! sit down, oh isn't it nice to go out without a coat? The kettle is on and it will be ready in a jiffy. In the meantime let me move all this fabric off the table.
 I have been sorting out some stuff to make neat little carriers for small jars. My cousin gave me one that had three small jars of honey in it and it is so cute I want to make some so that I can give people my chutney and pickles for Christmas. The pickled onions were a huge success last year, although Mr M was very reluctant to let them go. I hope to have two small jars of different chutneys and a larger jar of onions in each gift pack, what do you think?

I have been busy taking pictures for Rinda's Scavenger hunt. take a look, it is a great idea for the summer and involves so much chatting when we are out and then I get to scrapbook the pictures!

Another cup?, oh you have to go. Oh well.... But you'll pop in next month for another cup! Excellent! I'll have the kettle on and see you then. Thank you for stopping by it has quite made my day.

This was brought to you courtesy of Abi at Paper Dreams why not go and read all the others too?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Simply a moment - June

Simply a moment is the brilliant idea of Simply Alexa who asks us to take one moment of our time every month and pay special attention to everything we see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Then all we have to do is write it down. Go and see what everyone else has written after you have read mine

It's Friday 12th June 2.30pm.

My favourite son-in-law, my ex daughter-in-law and my grandson are sitting around the table chatting and laughing because we are waiting. I am trying hard to beat some frosting into submission so that it will go in and on the carrot cake that my daughter has insisted I make for today. I am so nervous I could easily throw everyone out and lock all the doors, but I won't.
Ronnie and Merrilyn are coming today all the way from Australia. My throat is tight, I keep thinking I need a wee but I don't. I wonder how they will feel about coming into my house. I wonder what "the others" have said. Oh for goodness sake I just hate this WAITING! The sound of a key in the front door, my daughter's voice as she ushers someone in, the sound of their laughter as they walk down the hall and into the breakfast room.

They're here!Suddenly I am in a gentle hug from Ronnie and then a hug and a quick kiss from Merrilyn.
Andrea, Uncle Ronnie and Merrilyn
The tension is gone, the nerves stop quivering. I am filled with delight to see a face I haven't seen for more than 30 years. Everything is ok. My ex brother-in-law still likes me!
I spread the the now submissive frosting into the middle of the carrot cake and reflect briefly on just how much it meant to me that Ronnie should still like me, and then I grin delightedly and hand the cake and the knife to my daughter as she is in charge of today's celebrations.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Family History and why I had to be there.

 On Saturday I went to Gwent Family History Society Open Day. It was held, this time, at Rougemont School. The old venue was County Hall but that has been demolished now to make way for a housing estate - funny how they discovered concrete cancer at County Hall just about the time that building land prices began to go up. Oh, OH, I must digress a little and tell you this. When the developer began the process of examining the plans and maps of the site to see what hidden expenses might be there they discovered that under the County Hall was not only the basement where the archives used to be kept but a nuclear bunker! They were very surprised, apparently, and told the local paper that no one knew of its existence. I knew. I asked my cousin and he knew too. Now I wonder how I knew. I think my Dad must have told me, but how did he know?................. enough already! back to the Open Day.

I spent most of the week trying to think of a way to get out of going. I am Editor of the Journal for the Society and it is kind of expected. It is a crowd and I don't do crowds to well yet. There would be lots of people I know and like. It was a strange place, but that meant I would get to see inside the gates of Llantarnam Hall and that's long been an ambition - ever since I went to primary school the other side of the fence.

Mr M was going to see his Mum at the home so he wouldn't be with me and I might have to talk to people and.......and......and. I went.

I saw loads of people I haven't seen for ages and did not even have a hint of a panic attack, never gave it a thought once I was there and involved. Then I met Hazel who had brought her friend because she has just started her research. They asked me which of the Branches of the society would cover Llandogo because Kathryn had ancestors from there and from the surrounding area. I pointed to the Chepstow and Wye Valley branch and said that Jonathan, who was busy talking to someone, would be the person to ask as he lives in the area.
Then I asked what name she was researching. If you are not a family historian you won't have done this but once you start your research it is the first question you ask when meeting a new researcher - they might be after one of your names and that might mean they could be related and...... you get the picture.

"I'm looking for ROSSER" she replied "All over that area and in Clytha and Llanarth and Raglan."
"When we lived in Raglan,"I said, "the house we lived in was owned by a ROSSER family for most of the latter part of the 19th century."
"Really? where did you live?"
"Rhiwlas Mill"
"That's my family!" she said quietly - I lied about that. She didn't quite shriek in my ear but she did grab my arm and we did jig about a bit - ok we did the happy dance. She told me some of the names and I promised to send her some of the pictures that were taken over the years.
In the back of my head that little voice sounded just like my Dad and it said "See, I told you that you had to be here, now you see why" So thanks Dad I have been able to send pictures of the mill to someone whose family lived there before WW1 and it has given her a strong link to her family's past.

For the Win!


Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Baby Stuff - Story Telling Sunday - June

It's the first Sunday of the month and that means Story Telling Sunday over at FromHighinTheSky with Sian. This year the theme is "My Precious, where we tell the story of something we have kept as a reminder of a special time.
Why not take a look at her story and then use the links on her page to visit all the other storytellers - but don't do that until after you have read my story.

This time the "precious" is a group of baby clothes. A little hand knitted "matinee jacket" (this is a tiny cardigan for a new baby. No I don't know why they were called matinee jackets, this was the 1960s when old names were still used),  a lace covered dress and one tiny hand knitted bootee. My grandmother knitted the jacket and the matching bootees for my first baby. She knitted it in the fabulous new-fangled nylon wool that was now available in the shops. It was supposed to last longer than boring old wool and to stay white. Well it seems to have done both those things, however, it feels dreadful! so stiff and unyeilding and it has a greyish hue. There is no way I would put that anywhere near the delicate new skin of a baby. The complicated pattern shows me how accomplished my beloved Granny was with her knitting needles. I never saw her use a pattern and yet there is a "picot" edge around the neckline and around the top of the little bootee.
The lace covered dress is also made of nylon - oh come on! this was 1965 when my daughter was born. Everything was nylon or crimplene - synthetic was the new everything!
My daughter was baptised in that dress, the plan being that any new baby after her would also be baptised in the dress and I would keep it for grandchildren. This never happened because my daughter was an average size baby but her brothers were bigger, a lot bigger and even as new-borns would not have fitted into the dress. In fact my youngest son was not baptised until he was nearly a year old so it wouldn't have gone around his left leg as he was nine and a half pounds when he was born. By the time the grandchildren came along nylon was A Bad Thing and the dress was fortunately too small and to out of fashion. I keep it because, well because I can. It lay wrapped in old tissue paper in a biscuit tin for thirty years or more until I received my box. The lace has not kept its whiteness and it feels quite brittle, though it will probably outlast me. I wrap it in new, acid-free tissue paper and replace it in my treasure box with all the other stuff.

Something for my children to worry over.