Saturday, 20 December 2008

Ooh, only five days to go, and I still have to .......


..... believe it or not, send parcels through the post!

..... and Christmas cards!

..... and bake a cake!

..... and, well loads of stuff like that. We all have these lists at this time of year, don't we?

But, tonight I can't sleep for thinking about all the stuff still to do. And, the wnd is blowing a hooley outside, with the rain lashing and moving all the snow away. So cosy in here, and really loads of time to get the last things done, and clean all my house in readiness for my lovely family to come and stay and have Christmas with us.

What more Joy could I ask for? Especially, in the light of all the horrible stuff that is going on in the world, including the 'credit crunch' in 'broken britain.'

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE
wherever you are, and whatever worries you have to bear. I wish you Peace.
See you in the New Year.
Karen xx

Friday, 28 November 2008

Still here ...


Yes, I am still here, just very busy of late, it seems. I had part (a very small corner, it turns out) of a table at a craft sale last weekend and sold ........ 1 dishcloth! And, that was a sympathy buy at that! Ah well, there are only three of us instead of four at tomorrow's sale and, to be honest, I'm not too bothered. I've several bibs cut out and the first sewing done on them, but I don't think I shall be awake at 6 am to sew them in the morning as I was last week.

In other news I am really enjoying my new car, it is the most comfortable chair I currently sit in! I just want to drive and drive - in fact I think I did just that during the first week I had it - but I can't afford the fuel to do that every week. I am keeping well, though Mr T's back has been playing him up, but a few early nights should aide a recovery of that.

I have been busy with work of the housekeeping/cooking kind and, though it's tiring, it is enjoyable. Also, I have been to Scottish Country dancing these few weeks, and I think I am finally 'clicking' as to what my feet should be doing, as well as where they are supposed to be taking me! And, to cap it all I have been riding for two weeks now. Yes, a real live horse! Oh, I have missed riding so much, but when I sat in that saddle, it felt like home and I hadn't forgotten anything - well nothing important anyway, such as which way to face etc! And, Sam the lovely horse is bomb-proof, but will get a move on well enough that he doesn't cause me too much hard work. I just wave the whip about a bit and he pays attention (however, I would never hit him with it.) And, apparently when he gets a bit spooked the most he does is raise an eyebrow - just my sort of fella, eh?

I didn't tell Mr T before I went for the first lesson as I knew he would be 'anti' especially as when I'm ill it is him who has to look after me etc. And, he was a bit croxx when I told him where I'd been. But, there were no after effects as regards my back the following morning, or later on in the week. Well, nothing apart from the expected in the nether regions of course!

Hey ho, it seems that traveling about a bit albeit on my twinkly toes, in the auto car or in the saddle, appears to suit me. At blimmin' last, eh?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sometimes....


Sometimes, people say, life gets them down. Sometimes, for me, it's people that get me down. When you get people being people, I suppose, but on top of life as well. Well, it can get tiring. Two examples.

one : people make a judgement about someone, based on what someone else tells them about another person.

F'instance a rumour was circulating, apparently, about a couple who I thought of as friends, about some financial thing or other. The person mentioned it to me and I was gobsmacked that such a rumour was going about.

However, I now realise that this person thought it was me circulating this stuff. Which it wasn't. It never would be. Really, living in such a small place it would be awful to tell anyone anything you know - and believe me, it is like livning amongst an exteneded family here. I really would rather the person ask me straight rather than tittle-tattle about me.

two : people don't like it if you get something they don't believe you are entitled to, or their relative couldn't get it and they really needed it.

But, I shall be driving the new, automatic car I need; and park it where it is convenient for me. And, I shall still go to country dancing, and dance as much as I am able (on medical advice) and sit out the ones that I'm not. Fuck 'em, eh?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Well now, where was I?

My first roman blind, made and hung at the landing window


Oh yes, knitting. Well, I'm still at it, though you wouldn't think so from the moans eminating from Mr T. Apparently, he's feeling push out of his own home by the vast array of knitting yarns, fabric and other crafty paraphanalia such as needles and beads and books. Ah books. Yes, well the amazon bill is rather huge at the moment, but I cannot resist 'a bargain.' And, then there's the magazines who all offer such lovely free gifts on the font of them, with the promise of more expertize if you only owned them.



He is right of course, we are overloaded with my 'stuff.' But, the reason is that I have no-where to store it all, let alone Use It. My argument is that he has two workshops in which to keep his tools - some of which, ahem, have never been used no less! Oh yes, same as my fabric etc. But, we are working on getting another room sorted out, but it takes gentle discussion and creeping along perseverance to get the bosses to part with any funds with which to pay for it all. A case of slowly, slowly etc....



In the meantime, Mr T is beginning to believe that I am obsessed not only with yarn, fabric and books, but shopping as well.



Hmmm, perhaps I should switch to shoe buying?


Saturday, 1 November 2008

Mini Knitting Workshop - Answers


Erm, following on from my post about the knitting workshop, there were several remarks in the comments box, with people’s queries and disappointments about their knitting.

At the risk of acting like a ‘know-it-all’ I thought I’d take the time to give out some answers, if that’s okay? Read on if you wish to know or, if you already know the stuff, then you may leave the class – but only if you have a note from your parent or guardian, thank you.

Shirley: if you drop a stitch, try using a crochet hook to ‘hook’ the stitch back onto the needle. Don’t worry about which way it should go until you have it or they back on the needle. As you continue to knit the row, you’ll notice if the stitch is the wrong way round and can take it off and then slip it back on.

Blue Hands: the peaches and crème stuff will be perfect for your eco string bags! Hope you’ll post up some piccies when you’ve done some.

Apprentice: I’d love you to be in my class! Tension is the bane of every knitter’s life. You could try knitting a ‘swatch.’ On the knitting yarn ball-band there is a diagram of a crossed pair of knitting needles, which tells you which needles to use for that yarn. With those needles cast on 36 stitches and work 36 rows of knit one row, purl one row (stocking or stockingette stitch) (for some reason this won’t give you a square.) Now, in the centre of this ‘swatch’ measure out a 10 cm square and mark it with sewing pins. The stocking stitch is made up of what look like rows of ‘v’s’ and what you need to do is count the ‘v’s’ between the pins. On the ball band there should be a grid that tells you how many stitches there should be across and upwards – yours needs to match this for you to make the project to the correct size.
If there are too many stitches, then your knitting is tight and you’ll need to use a bigger size needle and vice versa, if there aren’t enough then you need a size smaller.
It does seem a bit of a faff and, if you’re new to knitting you’ll feel as though this will take you weeks to do, but it does help you to be able to wear what you knit! Go get that shrug pattern and give it a go. Go on.

Papoosue: you won’t belieeeeeeve what the gossip was …… ! I very nearly wet myself with laughing!

Mean Mom: see above for crochet hook action. Oh, do pick up those needles again, do!

Probably Jane: The scones were delicious, as usual! Thanks for the tip-off about the sock blockers – mine are on my way now, I hope! (I just wish we could get them here, though as the postage is dearer than the blockers, ouch!)

Wild Rose: the day was really lovely, and I’m looking forward to going on the Christmas flowers one on 6 November, too.

Well, if I’ve got any of this wrong, do please let me know, but this is how I do my knitting though, like most of us, I’m still learning after over thirty years, too!

Thank you all so much for the lovely comments – made I blush, it did!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Squeal!



Ooh, that's me, that is - squealing!

Look at this - what do you thik it might be?

I did wonder myself when I saw the garish pink ....... ?

And then.

And then, I found it was this!

I've joined the Get Knitted Sock Club and this is the August and October postings.
Yippeee! So, for the last couple of days I've barely watched our new, flat-screen, fixed-to-the wall, telly in the bedroom (what else do you do there. Oh, right.) Instead, have been trawling my sock books, leaflets, free patterns etc trying to decide just what to do with them.
Mr T has bagsied the green, so it'll have to be a deep-voiced, manly pattern for him, then.
Ooh, ooh, when shall I stop squealing, and find the time to start some socks?

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Yes! In October!



Yes, dear reader - SNOW and in OCTOBER! Though, I am told by those who were born here, that it isn't unusual.


I was meant to go up the road to work yesterday afternoon, but the snow was blowing in by blizzard and it looked so lovely. So did the fire. And, a girl has knitting to do.


So, I sat by the fire and knitted. Bliss.


As you'll see from the piccie, you can't see into the distance, as the snow blowing in by blizzard is in the way!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

White Knuckle Knitting

Last week, I was pleased to be teacher, to some lovely friends who wanted to learn to knit, and we were all so excited!

When I arrived, the fire was being lit and lunch prepared, as well as scones being popped into the oven. I set up the folders I had pre-prepared for my students, as well as a selection of yarns, needles and swatches of various stitches for them to look at. After the other two arrived, the table was cleared again, to make space for the delicious warm scones and warming pot of tea.

Then, enclosed in the lovely warmth of low ceiling light, the smell of the woodsmoke and cats curling around our legs, the lesson proper began. Their folders contained the lesson plan of twenty or so terms and processes we would be looking at and explaining throughout the day; a notebook and pencil; a couple of patterns - one for an easy scarf and the other for a dishcloth; a laminated sheet, showing how to cast on, knit, purl and cast off; and the most important piece of equipment, on which I based today's lesson - a gauge/tension measure.

Now, I had a surprise to expose to my petit enfant pupils! Upon receiving my copy of the new knitting magazines this month, I had espied an ad by First 4 Yarns and their scrumptious Peaches and Creme cotton yarn - to be used for dishcloths - Perfect! So, I'd bought several colourways (which almost arrived before I'd placed my order, thank you) and the girlies were able to choose their favourite colour. After some oohs, aahs, and ouches, cast on their 26 stitches.

With tongues sticking out we chose a (my) way of casting on - the cable method of poking the needle between the next two stitches, etc and so we were, until some were able to move onto purl stitches. We even got to drop some, too! Which was exactly what I wanted to happen, so they could learn what to do next. Brilliant.


They were the most clever of students, all three of them really put in a hundred percent effort and, I feel, got the very most out of their day. I really enjoyed employing my previous teaching experience into two things which give me great pleasure - being with friends, and Knitting!

And, we all went home with either a completed, colourful dishcloth, or a nearly one.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

A little bit busy



Well, it seems time does go by, and stuff does calm down. Thank you so much to all of you who left kind comments, either here or to my email. This support is so valuable to me.

I don't feel as if I've done too much over the last couple of weeks, though I have been to work, seen friends, had a Rural committee meeting at my home, with cake and everything, and sent my bezzie mate a nintendo ds cover that I knitted from eco 100% wool and then felted, thus;
The first piccie shows the inside and the second, the outside.
And, my bezzy mate, kind woman that she is, sent me a great big parcel full of things for me and my grand-daughter - some half chaps and jodpurs for nanny's best girl, and some knitting patterns, bolster covers, and a tray cloth made by an auntie of hers for me. This is in amongst her moving her mum to be nearer to her, and supporting the rest of her family. A star, that what she is. x

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Damn Back Dog

I want to write 'funny' or informative, deep even, with pictures. But, it's difficult as the back is not feeling good and the black dog again approaches. I can feel the depression setting in. This does have something to do with the time of year as well, but the back just doesn't help it.

I've been awake again, in the night, worrying. I'm not sure how long I can keep up with my current work of housekeeper. I finally came to the conclusion, last week, that I simply cannot do the job alone. This is the first time I had to do this without the help of Mr T or our daughter, and it was a wake-up call, really. Now, in my main job I'm really just paid a retainer to be there 'as and when' and this seems to work okay. But, my second job, the one I really like best - and get on exceptionally well with the owners - is the hard one. We were talking about my taking over all the bookings as well as the general running of things, which would be brill for me. It's just the cleaning of the changeovers that I struggle so much with. Though, one option could be that I get paid help to deal with this, if/when Mr T or our daughter are unable to be there. I'll think about that one.

The other big worry is that if my back is getting worse, or I'm falling into the realms of last winter's episode, then I just don't think I can take things as they were then. We are going to have to move into one of the spare bedrooms, that is next to the bathroom. Our house has a strange layout - downstairs there are two rooms with, on the outside, a large shed either side. Upstairs has three bedrooms and bathroom, set above the two rooms + sheds - our bedroom the largest and one we are most comfortable in is at the opposite end to the bathroom. Bloody, bloody long walk when in agony.

If we can't live in this, our tied house, then we'd have to move from here and our jobs. Now, we could manage financially, but I've always worked and always intended to until well past retirement. Ooh, you can see the whirly-gig of my mind in the night, can't you?

Added to this, because I am worried and trying to work it out and not be upset, I feel I'm kind of 'nippy' with people? And, people don't take it. They just say, 'bugger you, then!' and go away. And, I don't want that, so I have to try and be 'up' and 'funny' and just 'okay.'

Well, it's just gone midday. Saturday Kitchen is long finished. I'll go and get dressed.

Don't worry, this is just wallowing in self pity and working 'stuff' out. Thank goodness, this is all I have to worry about. My family are all well, Mr T has been painting windows for me this week - he must love me as he just hates painting!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Where does the time go?

I just don't know where all the time goes lately. Suddenly, today's Wednesday and it's the first of October, and probably nearly Xmas, if I know anything, grumble, mumble.

I do love Autumn. For the smokey smells, morning mists and mellowing colours. But, I get so tired at this time of year as well. I have also begun to take my painkillers for the 4 x per day, as prescribed which, while it helps me not to be awoken with the pain during the night, makes me a tad sleepy during the day. Hey, ho.

But, while the last couple of days have been non-productive on the craft front, it has on the dolly-lollypop front. Since mum goes to work I have the delicious pleasure of looking after baby in her absence.

'Couldn't you just watch a baby all day long?' asks my bezzy mate, in joyous wonderment. 'Most certainly, yep.' Is the answer.




Speaking of bezzy mates, I started a project for mine some time ago, which I presented to her during her visit. It is this elephant pouch, the pattern for which I got from a lovely inspirational book, The Crafters' Companion. Made with love and giggles for my lovely, inspirational mate.





ps. there is something more on its way to her, shhh!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Back, safe and sound from shoe-ing around



As you'll have seen from one of my previous posts, Mr T has been trolling his way around Europe on his motorbike, with his mates. This was namely France, Germany, Lichtenstein through Switzerland, Austria and Italy, and from Italy, he returned via Switzerland and France, with this company (there is sound!) He went with several of the mates with whom he used to work, and this trip was to celebrate the last one of them having retired. So, a bunch of hairy-arsed retired police officers were let loose on a boys' jolly, which has been years in the arranging. Well, as I understand it, all the 'meetings' that were held in various pubs here in middle Scotland and in middle England were 'planning meetings', apparently. Yeah, right.
Anyway, he has arrived back today, k-nackered but having had a ball, on the holiday of a lifetime. It has done him a power of good and we missed each other so much. This is despite talking on the phone each day, as well as sending texts night and morning. We have been married well over thirty years and, apart from a few days at a time when I was in China last year, we have spoken to each othere every day, from the day we became a couple, aahh.
And, he was well impressed with the shoe bag I made for him to take his 'evening shoe attire' with him (his trainers) which is pictured above. I printed a photo of his motorbike onto trasfer paper for fabric, ironed it on so some lining fabric and then stitched it onto a denim shoe bag and voila! And, it made a change from doing girly, pink stuff for my granddaughters!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Those who know me ...


... know I am a sensible woman. One whose feet are firmly on Terra firma, despite flights of fancy and, well eccentricity, sometimes. Yes? Quite.


So, when grand-daughter number three, 15 month old nanny's lolly-dollypop, had failed to git hersen onto her feet and walk, nanny wasn't really too worried, despite, lots of jokes and pushing, nay just encouraging, her to Walk.


But, I have now changed my mind. Since the other day when, lolly-dollypop took up a crayon in her right hand. She didn't like holding it upside down and in that hand, so she put it on the floor and, turning it round to the right way, picked it up in the fingers of her left hand and DREW with it!!!

Well, you don't need to be walking about to draw things, do you?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

and it's bezzy mates and blog-swaps for me!

Yep, I volunteered myself to get involved in a Christmas Blog-Swap. My first - o0h, how exciting! It is being run by the lovely Jo over at French Knots and I have been paired up with another Karen. As I've said before, all my life, there are usually several Karen's around me, which is brill as I, unusually, love my name! I am just waiting for Jo to send Karen's details to me, while I have a little think-y about what to make. Brill.


And, Brill is just the word for the time I have just been spending with my bezzy mate, Flick! Mr T is currently away overseas in Europe, trolling about the place on his motorbike, with his bezzy mates for a well-earned holiday. So, Flick and I took the opportunity for her to come up and visit and have a great 'girly' time.

And, what a time! We both, ahem, have a little plumpness to wish away, so we decided (rather Flick suggested and I agreed!) that it would be a good idea for us to use the Low Gi Diet and to take out the dog for daily walks. This firstly involved us getting dressed and supping some tea first thing, even before washing, but of course, getting dressed! Our daily morning walk grew longer and longer each day, in my local, beautiful countryside, as we became fitter and, yes, slightly thinner, wow! It has done us both a power of good. It hasn't helped my back though, and made it quite sore. I have gone back to taking my pills 4 x per day and that seems to be helping.



We also had a time which we called 'First choose your Wasp!' after another pal had a glut of plums, which she allowed us to go round and pick. We then spent the following afternoon making our 'Plumtious Plum Jam.' Which tastes absolutely delicious but, as we didn't bother to peel the plums (perleese, life is just too short) when cooked, the skins could be mistaken for dead wasps! But, my aren't we clever?




Also, of course, we had to partake of lunches out, didn't we? Well, one of the best we've ever had was at the Lands of Loyal Country House Hotel where we chose to have the Stuffed Sole thus,




We just kept saying 'Yum. Yum. Yum!' All through such a beautiful meal. Sadly, Flick has returned home, but thankfully, plans to come back again next Spring. Yay!

Oh, and Mr T will be home again with me on Sunday!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

I thought I would be 80 at least


I always knew that I would someday be disabled by my back. I just thought it would be when I was a least 80 for some reason. But no, it's here already. I've had the diagnosis from the specialist, well his underling at least. The problem appears to be that two discs are permanently out, and further pressure is caused by the build up of scar tissue from the two operations I've already had (I actually saw the MRI scan pictures on the screen.) This is what is causing my left foot (wasn't that a book and a film?) and the toes joined to that foot, to be numbed.

Ah.

Apparently, it will never get better unless they operate to remove the offending scar tissue, but that is dangerous unless an emergency. And, it will only return over time. What it will do, though, is get worse anyway over time. They've sent me a follow-up appointment for next May.

Ah.

I felt numb and tearful when the words were used, even though I expected it. But, when all is said and done, this is not life-threatening, is it? No. Life altering it is. So, we just have to get on with it, don't we?

So, the blue badge and DLA forms will duly be filled in and sent off. The DLA at least will be rejected, as par for the course, and then I'll duly appeal and see where we go from there. How this is going to affect my housekeeping work I'm not sure yet, as Mr T and our daughter already help me out. And, I've got new painkilling tabs that I'm changing to.

Anyone for shopping? I hope to be able to park quite close to the shops soon!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

The Gathering

You might wonder why my last few posts have seemed to have 'dotted about' a bit date-wise (or not!) Well, the reason is that I had so much to catch up on, that I didn't want to put all into one, long post, so I wrote some and post-scheduled them to appear. I just luv technology sometimes!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Mr T and I entered some of the categories in the home industries part of the local Gathering (Scottish Games.) Oh what fun! While Mr T was scrabbling round his veggie gardens for the produce of '3 potatoes,' '4 pea pods' and 'selection of 4 vegetables' for his entries, my kitchen looked as though a large explosion had taken place and left a right old mess in its wake! My entries were 'A border tart,' ' 3 wholemeal scones,' 'a gingerbread loaf,' 'jar of raspberry jam,' '3 peppermint slices,' 'a pair of knitted slippers' and 'a shopping bag for life.'

We both got in such a temper that it was lucky the weather and scenery were so beautiful in the morning of the show, it cheered us up and we laughed at all our worrying about 'Just a local show, for goodness sake!' We still revel in our luck that we live in such a stunningly gorgeous place, and can take the time to enter into the local community things.

Anyway, you will want to see some pictures and I shall try to oblige, especially as we did have some success!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

A Visit



What a wonderful visit we had last week, from our son, Mr T the Younger, and his step-daughter, our grand-daughter, Coo. She is such a smart cookie, and so much fun to be around. When we saw her last, in July, she wanted me to teach her to knit, so we found some needles and a ball of thick yarn and she sat, hunched and with tongue poking out and learned to knit. Within one hour she had learned to cast on and knit some stitches. Wow! I've never known anybody to learn knitting that quickly. By the end of our oh, so short visit, we had casted off the stitches after knitting twenty or so rows (with a bit of help from nanny) and voila! we had a coaster. She proudly placed it on her bedside table, ready for her night-time drink of water, and there it stays.



On this visit we decided to go a bit larger and wanted to knit a bag. However, the call of learning to drive the quad bike on her 10 year old own (with grandad in the vicinity) and walking our dog all around the grounds, as well as helping nanny with her cleaning work and grandad in the vegetable patch, And helping auntie C make scones in a baking session, scant time was left for the forgotten yarn still on the needles. Come the evening when they were due to climb into the car, which sported a cushion, with a new especially made cover, and she had no bag to go home with.



Aha! Nanny just happened to have one in amongst the yarn and fabric stash, (which grows by the eBay and charity shop day, but that's a tale for another day,) in somebody's favourite colour. And, together with some knitted flowers, left over from a knitted tie event earlier in the year, a plan was hatched.



So, after persuading me to knit a bee, to sit on a leaf, and attaching said bee, leaves and flowers to the bag, one very smiley girl went on her way home.

We don't get to see them very often, mainly due to Mr TtY's work pattern, which seems to be all the time. So, it was really good to have them here for the precious few days they were able to come up. I made sure I didn't do much of my own work while they were here, so that we could spend some time together. We didn't go out much, but did spend time chatting, and just being around each other.

His partner wasn't able to come up at this time as she was looking after the pups their dogs had a few weeks ago. Benson and Stella (the proud American Bull Dog parents) had 17 pups, of which 14 survived! The poor mum needed assistance, and Miss L was feeding by hand five pups at each feed, day and night. So, I think Miss L had a break from looking after Co and Mr TtY, and Mr TtY and Coo had the break of a full night's sleep for the week!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Ladies wot lunch, if you please

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of having a lovely lunch with three lovely friends here. We four entered our ties in a SWRI (Scottish Women's Rural Institutes) competition a few months ago and, as I have found with these things, became friends during the process. Two of our group have businesses to run, so finding the time to meet up has been a long-winded affair, but we made it at last!

What a smashing afternoon we had, as well as a particularly delicious lunch. If you click onto the link you'll see the great hall, with sofa groupings and a large fire, well the group with the blue cushions, in the centre of that piccie is where we sat. We met just after 12.30 and had a drink while perusing a menu of local fare, then were taken through to the dining room, where we ate soup, melon, salmon, chicken, chocolate fudge cake and grape and ginger syllabub (between us!) while overlooking fantastic views, and then came back to the great hall for our coffee.

We spent the time gossiping, catching up on all our good, and less good, news, did some business,and generally enjoyed each others company. All of a sudden we realised it was nearly half past four and we didn't know where the time had gone!

All of us vowed to do this again, very soon, and I do hope we will. We're all going to be very busy over the next few months, and two of us are busy with the summer holiday trade, and another is off to travel backwards and forwards over the pond! But come the New Year, when we'll all need cheering up, I'm sure, we'll lunch together again. Maybe at the same place. I hope.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Knitting school!


I know, this is pretty addicted of me to be posting twice in one day, isn't it?

But, I have Breaking News! Of the, 'I'm telling you the instant I know' kind of News!

I have taught social workers how to social work, parents how to be good parents, others how to stop doing what they are doing to enhance their lives and, last year, English to Chinese people - and now - ta da! I am going to be teaching people to knit! Just how cool is that?!

Lisa, at Primrose Hill has asked me to take a workshop, showing people how to knit, on Thursday 16 October, at her studio. And yes, dear reader, there will be cake!

Do go and have a look at Lisa's site and blog, she makes the most beautful hand-crafted items (nope, she's not paying me to say this, truly!) and, if you are in the vicinity during that week, Lisa will be listing mine and other courses that are happening.

You'll need to contact Lisa by email to book a place as, if you mail me I can only pass it on. If all of us were to take bookings there would be even more confusion in the T house than usual!

Excuse me, I am a bit Excited.

Old friends

Just after my birthday (the day after) two very old, as in I've known them for over twenty years, friends made the journey up to see me.

We had such a brilliant time, as we never stopped talking the whole time, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We went out to eat, we stayed in and cooked something to eat. We experiemented with making mayonnaise, and made strawberry jam. Mr T was left out of it somewhat, but didn't mind.

They drank me dry (I can't take alcohol because of my painkillers, but that doesn't stop me enjoying others' drinking) and ate me out of house and home. We went visiting and shopping and all too soon, it was time for them to leave.

Just the same as when my bezzy mate comes to stay, and then leaves, there were tears.

The thing is, I suppose, is that these people know me, and have known me a long time - and know everything about me, and I just feel so completely comfortable with them. Don't get me wrong, I am loving my new friends, and am so grateful to them for their company and support. But, you just can't beat the people you can pull on and off, like a much loved pair of socks (!) can you?

Monday, 1 September 2008

Some catching up

I had my birthday in July, and what a smashing day I had. I felt spoilt and cosseted all day. And, what presents?! A beautiful bunch of flowers arrived from my bezzy mate, all dressed up in a lovely box - and the man who delivered them had his birthday on the same day, how spooky is that?! My friend, Sue, seems to know me oh so well, and bought me two of the most perfect books, one on making cards and another with 1,000 motifs to copy. Sue knows I like to make cards, but simply hate the current fashion for buying stuff especially to make cards with. Let me explain. What I actually mean is, there is a mega-buck business in selling papers and special thingies to place onto pieces of card, just using a bit of imagination, apparently. However, there are loads of different things you can do on a card, with stuff you already have, if possible, that is so much more personal. Fer'instance, a pal recently gave someone a card, made out of a little bit of yarn being weaved (the recipient recently won a prize for her weaving) which was a brill idea, and absolutely personal for that person. Back to the current list of my gorgeous pressies, and Sue also gave me a sheet with an Amazon order on it for a book I had been waiting for - this woman knows me so well!

I also got the pair of pinking shears from Mr T, that I so wanted, and they have been really useful for something, about which I will tell you in the future (NBG thought pinking shears would be pink - I remember thinking that at her age.) Another bouquet arrived from my step-mum; I had perfume and choccies from my daughter; my son actually remembered to send me a card; and Lisa sent me a lovely e-card!

And, yes dear reader, there was more.

One of my favourite-est presents was made by NBG, who didn't have any money to buy anything for nanny, so made me some shortbread!





How cool is that?

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Well, Blimey, it's been so long!

It has been a long time since my last post, and there have been a mixture of reasons.

One is work - at this time of year I do get incredibly busy as being a housekeeper for two private holiday homes keeps me on my toes. Especially this week, when both houses clashed! I was at my main job, providing a three-meals-a-day, laundry, cleaning, flowers, shining sliver and generally running myself ragged, and there was a quick 'changeover' at my other house, eek! Luckily, Mr P is handy with the hoover, and a wizz at aga cleaning. Only problem, apart from being on the go for what seemed like blimmin' hours, was that this was the week that the family leaving the house left it in a right state, as well as re-arranging all the crockery, glassware and furniture, they had re-arranged the cutlery drawers as well! I can't tell you the time it takes to put stuff back to where it should be, grr! Also, all the t-towels had been washed and pressed (?) but the cooker-top, oven and microwave were filthy.

Rant over. Sorry.

However, I also had the news that my uncle John was very ill, in fact dying. So, I rushed down to London, thankfully in time to see him and say my goodbyes. I was with him and my cousins when he died and I think he was ready to go. You may remember that his wife, my auntie Moreen, died in May this year? Well, it might seem spooky but at about 3.30 am during that long night we sat up with John, I could deffo feel Moreen in the room. I told my cousin, Ali, and she could feel her mum, too. The words 'full circle' came into my mind for some reason, and it just felt right that Moreen was there, and John was looking over Ali's shoulder - we think at Moreen. Though it was a sad 'passing,' as I said, I think he was ready to go and we all felt at peace that he was with the love of his life. They would have been married 50 years next February. I can't attend the funeral, due to work, which does feel as though I am letting my cousins down, but at least I was there at the end.

My cousins will be making the long trek from London, up to Scotland to visit us shortly. They've said it will be before the end of August at any rate. I can't wait to show them around here, the area and where we live. Their mum and dad visited us just after we first moved here four years ago, and loved it so much.

Out of this has been my contact with my mum and my sister. This is a bit strange and strained to say the least. Mum has recently moved house, to be nearer my sister and this will suit them both well. They are very alike, and they, and I simply do not understand each other, we are such different people. Though, thinking about it, we do like similar things ie cooking, crafting, charity shops but we have very different ideas, politics (with a small p) being one of them. I cannot abide and won't take part in any form of discrimination - I just cannot take it, and find it physically painful to hear some of my mum and sister's views. Anyway, I could go on and write a long, long list of stuff. But, it's late (for me, today!) and I must away to my bed.

I will write again soon, and do pictures and everything! Take care, love, Karen x

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The reason I joined ....

... is now happening! Joined the life of real living, I mean. Instead of going out to paid, more than full-time (ie work in the work I used to be in, does not end at 5 pm. Or, even start as late as 9 am) I now have to organise myself.






And, in the meantime, I can play. The above items (apart from the baby body suity-thing) is a knitted blanket and a home sewn bag to put the other items into, and then post off to a friend's daughter. She gave birth to Hamish, weighing in at 8 1/2 lbs (don't know what that is in new money) a week last Friday, and this is his welcome gift.
Now, I know that in the midst of all the wonderful crafty talent that is in blog interweb land, this is fairly tame, but it is done with love.




As was the late-lunch-fare I prepared this morning for nanny's best girl and her family, who are due to visit this afternoon. How lovely to have the time to do it. Bliss. There is another reason for their visit as well, they are staying here to look after the dog and the chickens while we are off to Cambridgeshire for The Wedding!
Cheery-bye, I'll see you again next week. Unless, of course, the hotel does have the wi-fi facilities it promises. I was more pleased that there are tea-making facilities to be honest!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

And another Contest!

With a Yay!! and a Woo Hoo!! I am one happy bunny today! Jason Evans, over at Clarity of Night has another short story competition, which started today! (apologies to any who don't like added links within the text of the post, but this is v.v. important!)

I have only managed to enter one before (see over on my 'Other Blog' Pushing Pencil ----->) and didn't win but really enjoyed the push to get on down and write something! But, even better than entering and enjoying the feedback from Jason, is the reading of the other entries. There is such a wealth of Darned Good Stuff to read there!

Do have a go if you are into jottings, or just read stuff, it's great!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Cough, cough

I wonder if Beijing will be hosting some or any of the endurance races this year at all. It's just been on the telly, that there were over 300 microcosms of pollution in the air on one of the days that the man from the BBC measured it. I think you can put the air into a jam-jar and bring it home with you, it is so thick.

No wonder we came home with chest infections last year, cough.

It did mean, though, that I gave up the fags at the beginning of this year, though. Yay.

Can you tell there's not a lot to write about today? (snigger) There isn't, actually. Except I got my hair cut today, except it makes me look like the middle-aged, grumpy woman that I apparently am, grr. And, I know I've left it late, but I went looking for a wedding outfit and could find nothing at all that a) fitted and b) I liked. Except a lovely green silk blouse that is perfect.

The other thing(s) that is perfect today is my bust! I finally cracked and had my bosom chest measured for a busten-holster, and what a difference! The fitter and I had a giggle on the way to the till as I nearly fell over a shelving display while looking down at myself! tea, hea.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Gap Year

(picture courtesy of fotosearch)


Yay, here endeth my Gap Year, I hope. It feels like a lot longer to be honest but I'm so glad it is now over. When I say Gap Year, I don't really mean it, what I do mean is that the gap at the front of my teeth is now filled, yay! You cannot believe just how much I have hated, hated, hated the gap I had. And, it's been months in the development of a a filler for the gap. I promise I am not going to go into all the detail. Suffice it to say it is now over, phew.



And, it is timely in its completion as we have a Very Important Wedding to attend this weekend. We are orf darn saaaaf to Cambridgeshire for a lovely wedding that has also been a long time (at least a year) in the preparation, but at last we are nearly there! My bezzie friend's Daughter is about to become single no more and marrying the man of her dreams, for a fairy-tale life to continue, ahhh. We are really looking forwards to seeing her, meeting her chosen man and to meeting her baby daughter, all in one fell swoop! And, I shall be seeing my bezzie mate, with her uplifted and feathered person all rolled into one. Just what more can a person ask, eh?


A day out

Our craft group went out for a day trip recently, to the House of Dun, at Montrose, to see the linen weaver at his work. We had a splendid day with the morning taken up listening in fascination to the weaver, whose family have been weaving since the 17th century. He showed us two big looms, one of which can hold 11,000 threads and is used for weaving table-cloths. We spent a good two hours with him and also learned that he has several other looms close by, but the public are not allowed to visit there as they do couture work on these. Hmm, I wonder who uses an Angus weaver for their collections?



We had a fabulous lunch and then were due to look around the main house, with an organised tour. Three of us didn't want to do this as the sun was shining so brightly, and we each intended to return soon, so we walked around the gardens and then sat and chatted on a bench in the lovely, warm sun. It was a very pleasant day, spent with serious crafters, those whose living is made by their talent and those, of which I am one, who shilly-shally and dabble at the crafting and thoroughly enjoy doing so!



I also could not resist purchasing some 'apprentice-weaved' t-towels and a yard of linen fabric. I think I shall make a long-awaited, large and roomy shopping bag for me, and possibly a book cover, again for me. But, I shall have to see how much fabric I have left after my bag - and, I shall take a very good friend's advice and practice the bag on some cheaper fabric first!





Handsome fellows, aren't they?

* Editor's note: they don't sell yards anymore! I meant I bought a metre of the lovely fabric.

Friday, 4 July 2008

After the rain ...





The other evening nbg's mummy was at work and her step-dad had to go out to do an errand, so I went down to stay with the girls for an hour or so while he went and did what he had to do. Luckily, the absolute downpour of rain we'd had occurred before I went out. But, on my way home, at about 10 pm, this is some of the magic I saw along the way. Beautiful.




I had a telephone call today from my uncle John. He has lung cancer, but he's out of hospital and at home at the moment, until they can determine which type of cancer he has and therefore how and with what, to treat it, or not. He sounds quite strong, but still cannot talk about auntie Moreen without dissolving into tears. The next few weeks are extremely busy for me, but I have promised to go and visit him as soon as I can.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Back!





Yep, Nanny's best girl and her nanny are back from their travels and adventures! We had a lovely, lovely time together and we're both a bit sorry to be back, although one missed her mummy and the other was looking forwards to sharing her bed with only one other - as opposed to sharing it with nbg, who can snore for Scotland, and polo-bear as well as beany-bear, who all seemed to dig nanny in the back or the leg at least one time each throughout the night!

We took lots of piccies, including one of nbg's feet in the sand,



..... as well as the jelly fish she squealed at while keeping her feet away from them.
We ate fish & chips, cake and ice-cream each day, went to bed late and slept on in the morning; found a yarn shop (yay!) and toured the charity shops, where we bought Enid Blyton books, and nbg treated herself to a, lovely-to-her, pair of short grey boots that she simply fell in love with.


One of nbg's greatest talents is that she is brill at map-reading, especially wonderfully for me was how she steered us through the centre of Newcastle. If I went wrong anywhere she would say 'Dearie me!' And, when I needed to move over to the outside lane, but couldn't yet as there were other cars speeding down next to me, she told me 'Just put your tickers on nan, and move over!' This will now enter the annals of Tea and Cake's family sayings.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

A dried herb and wonderweb day

This is a book cover I made; I started last night with the embroidery, my first ever. And, today I made up the cover, with a lining and everything. I did this at the same time as making a Cranks' Crecey Pie (Carrot and Onion) for our crafter's group competition lunch.

I didn't have time to go pick the thyme and parsley for the recipe so used dried - I knew the ladies would know, but what the heck I was running very, very late.

After turning the cover out the right way I, of course, needed to sew up the turning-gap and just didn't have time for that either, so Hurrah for wonderweb!

It was also our friends' daughter's first birthday today and her parcels needed wrapped and delivered, so the long-suffering Mr T managed this for me. Phew! and I was only about 25 minutes late for the noon lunch. I didn't win any prizethis year, but the standard was extremely high and I was pleased we all came up with such different ideas, after we'd all been given a piece of fabric and told to make of it what we would. There were bags, a glasses case, a book, needle-case and pincushion, cafeitierre cover, an art piece, the start of a lingerie case and a beautifully embroidered circular box. Some of the group have completed City & Guilds and Embroiderer's Guild courses, and I do envy them. I am thinking of joining an Embroiderer's Guild later this year, but I do wonder if I would have the time. We also had a very delicious and lively lunch and, though I wasn't very impressed with my wholemeal pastry, the pie turned out to be my best one ever!

Ah, well. I have to go to my bed now as it is tomorrow that nanny's best girl and I are off on our travels for an adventure! Back next week.

K xx

PS. Flick, I will complete your elephant case, as soon as I can find it! We had visitors last week and it got put away. somewhere. k xx

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

You know when ... ?

You know when you eat a whole quarter of toffee bonbons, your teeth feel squeaky and you wake up with a headache and feeling sick, just like a hangover? That was me this morning. Why don't I learn?

You know when you are spending time doing something you enjoy, like being at a local friend's business helping out with their accounts, which is usually peaceful and enjoyable, with lovely company? And, you know what somebody scratching their nails down a chalkboard sounds like? That was somebody who was there too, but has verbal diarrhoea, with a strident voice and just will not shut the fuck up? Well, that was the situation this morning. Best thing was, I did get all the work done that I wanted to do.

And, you know when you should've telephoned somebody, just to see how they are and how they're doing? But, you don't because life is busy and the days slip past, and you don't pick up that they are in fact seriously ill? Guilty, m'lud. My uncle John, Moreen's husband, is in the process of finding out he has cancer.

But, you know when a pal was in need and you responded and, though you may not have done much good, you were there? And, you know when they need you they can find you, because they know they are in your thoughts? Yes, thank goodness for something, eh?

Sunday, 22 June 2008

A day in the life of...

Lovely but strange day today. Our spare room has the best views from the window, it's over the kitchen, and it has a nice 'feel' in there. We occasionally like to spend the night in there, but the spare bed does not suit us at all. Though all our guests assure us that the wonderful king-sized bed, with its wool mattress atop a sprung slatted, leather-top and toe base, as well as the White Co. bedding is just sweet and comfy, we wake up with a back-ache; but maybe we're just used to our tempur foam mattress. We have considered making this our room, but cannot move into there as the room is just too small for full-time living. Ah, well.

I spent most of the morning putting pictures and movies of dolly-lolly pop's first birthday onto discs for her mummy, before collecting nanny's best girl for her riding lesson. NBG had a brill lesson as the new teacher is really creative for the girls and there were only four of them on horseback today. I also got vid of NBG so we could show her step-dad and mummy. Step-dad is wanting to come to the lesson as he's a keen rider, but has been just too busy lately, and mummy is banned, I'm afraid, as she is scared of horses and NBG can be put off by this!

I also put some piccies onto disc for a pal who had several things to celebrate this last week or so - her baby's first birthday, her own fortieth and, as if that were not enough, the opening of her holiday cottages. I took a few pictures at the party on Friday evening, where we had a fab time at the bar-b-q, in a marquee, with lots to eat and lots of people milling around.

Unfortunately, we had to leave early. My brother, who had given up the demon drink, has fallen off the wagon of late. Mr T and I have a signal we give to each other when it is time to vacate, which we did, thus saving face. He is off to holiday in Australia for a few weeks and has vowed to stop drinking for the duration. I do hope so, for his sake.

And, today, Mr T went on his own holiday! He and his motorcycle friends are meeting up somewhere in the Lake District - they from middle England and he from middle Scotland. They'll bike around for a couple of days together during the day, and catch up with each other over a beer in the evenings. Fingers crossed that the weather, ie the rain, holds off for them to have a good, jolly time.

Meanwhile, I have lit the log burner, cooked a lovely dinner, bought a magazine and some chocolate and aim to get an early night. In my own bed.
(Though, I do generally leave the landing light on all night when Mr T is away from home - just makes me feel better. And, my neighbour is very kind and rings me each day, to see that I'm okay.)

Friday, 20 June 2008

Well ... what am I Thankful For?


I think it's about time I wrote something nice. I have been feeling sad and fed up lately, since my auntie Moreen's death, and am taking myself and Nanny's Best Girl off down to Seaburn, in Sunderland for a few days next week. NBG will finish school at noon on Friday (Scotland schools finish the year in June and return in August.) When I informed NBG that I shall pick her up as soon as she finishes school, she wondered if she should take her suitcase to school with her! But, we will have a cuppa with mummy before setting off on the four hour journey, aided by sat nav, to my brother's flat to stay for a few days of rest, walking, reading and no t'internet access at all, as well as limited phone access. I just feel I need to blow away the cobwebs and refresh myself. Also, to spend some 1-2-1 time with NBG who has been overshadowed by her baby sister's arrival one year, one week and two days ago.

This got me to thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for, especially after reading some blogs where others have lost people, such as Julia who also recently lost someone very dear to her.

So, not only do I have to be thankful for the following, but I am very, very thankful for the following, in my usual, dis-organised and random fashion, here goes;

My husband - we celebrated 33 years of marriage yesterday. This is a marriage of love, companionship, arguing, need, want, being cherished, hating one another at times, being very irritated by each other, laughter, comfort, delicious sex, big hugs, support, care, games, discussion, agreement, disagreement, full on just love spending time together, holding hands, growing much older together than we ever expected to (having both come from divorcing families) grey hair, drooping bodies, my experimental cooking, etc, etc. We've made it this far, thank goodness.

My children - both are lovely, lovely people, who weren't particularly hard to bring up, she says crossing her fingers behind her back! They've both made choices that have had us pulling out our hair, biting our nails and depleating our bank balance, but they are adults and are well equipped for 'getting on with it.' They both have partners they love and who love them, and beautiful, adorable children of their own, and allow us to interfere not only in their lives, but the lives of their children!

My brothers and sisters - we don't always get on, but we love each other and, when the chips are really down, we defend and support each other to the hilt. My sister and I fell out, big-time, some years ago and didn't have good contact during this time. It was very upsetting all round but, we recently met at auntie Moreen's funeral and have spoken since. Slowly, slowly I think we are both hopeful that we will get back to where we are both comfortable again with each other. I am hopeful as I have missed her, and I believe she's missed me.

My best friend, Flick - who loves me, despite that I can be a horrible person sometimes. She knows all my secrets and is a very wise woman, who will give advice, so gently at times that I don't even know she's doing it! But, mostly we are honest with each other and I value her greatly.

My extended family - these are the only people who remember me growing up. One auntie ruffles my hair! Others just treat me as an equal, keep me informed and listen to me. They love my family, remember birthdays and anniversaries and all are surrogate mothers to me, as mine is less than able. My uncles all persuade me to give up smoking and tell me stories of when we were little. They all have the key to our family history for me and my family. Irreplaceable.

I live in the countryside in the country I wanted to be in. Every day I wake up thankful that I am here. It is blimmin' cold with heavy snow in the winter and the summer temperatures never get that high, especially as we are a great deal higher than sea level. I see deer and pheasant on a daily basis and rabbits are pests as well as making good eating.

I am becoming part of the local community, with voluntary and paid work that involve me with local people.

Though I'd love to be rich money-wise, I have enough to live on and the capacity to earn more as/when I need it. We don't have a mortgage to worry about, having bought a house to move to on our retirement in about 15 or so years' time, which we currently rent out.

My health will never be as well as it might be, but I am still able to get about and do most of what I want. I am back to cooking and doing most of the household tasks, which Mr T did, as well as all his own work while I was poorly. My sister recently remarked that I am usually either ill with my back, or recovering. Though these spells are moving closer as time goes on, I'm still able on the in-between times.

I now have the time to persue the hobbies I've always wanted to, such as knitting, sewing and taking up embroidery as well as writing.

I do have a lot to be thankful for and I am. Sometimes, obviously, I also have too much time to be irritated and shout a lot!

Thank you for listening.

Karen xx

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Waving, but still drowning somewhat







Yep, there's my hand in the air, waving to you. I did it - the Race for Life, on Sunday! I had a wobbly tummy before we went (Mr T says I had a wobbly tummy before last year's race, too) so I didn't take my painkillers, oops. And, I was okay until we had a 30 seconds' silence, to remember why we were there, but then I couldn't stop the tears from flowing! I had to go and find Mr T, have a cuddle, and then I could start proper. Anyway, it was still enjoyable and emotional all at the same time. And, reading the people's messages on their backs just says it all for the reason we're all there. Then, at the end, my family were all waiting for me and we had more tears and smiles.
Since then we've had my out-laws to stay. These are the 'footballers wives' people I have written about, some time last year. Women who don't earn their own living, but drip in gold, diamonds (oh yes a different set for each day of the week) blond highlights and genuine designer bags. I am not allowed to say anything because it is Mr T's sister. But, we all know that saying no is a red rag to a bull, don't we? So, here goes. Ah, I can't really be bovvered, except to say that when someone insults you, minutes before they are leaving, by telling you that you (me) are the most 'Opionated person I know.'
When I queried what she meant, and that we all have opinions, don't we? 'Well, yes but you give them, even when they are not asked for.' And that now I was being over-sensitive, implying that I shouldn't give it out if I can't take it. Oooh!
Well, that takes the fucking biscuit, dunks it in your tea and then chokes you, rather, doesn't it? Especially as I hadn't asked her for her fucking opinion of me in the first place!!!! So, I reckon that she has just done what she accuses me of, doncha think?
Well, let's hope they don't visit us in our peaceful, Scottish haven for another six years or so. Grrr!
Best of it is that, I was a bit miffed and slightly tearful myself so I went off to town to spend some time on my own and calm the seething me somewhat, so as not to upset anyone else. While in a fabric shop I asked the woman there for 'Some of that stuff you stick to the back of fabric to stiffen it, please? But, I can't remember what it's called.'
'Ah, yes this is what you want isn't it? It's called blah blah.' And, I still can't remember what she said it was! Bah, just getting forgetful in my old age!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Not a rant, or a moan, just a query

I am sitting here, quite quietly, while babysitting lolly dolly pop on the day after her first birthday. What a long, long day she had, lunching out with mummy and nanny, presents, cards, party and cake. She's exhausted and very sleepy today, especially as she awoke mummy and daddy a couple of times during the night, after a truly excitable day. Happy 1st Birthday to a beautful and perfect baby girl, who simply does not fancy getting up on her own two legs and walking yet. Ah well, she'll have long enough to do that, won't she?!

In the meantime, as I sit here quietly, I can almost hear myself breathing. Or, slightly wheezing in fact. While I was ill I was taking huge amounts of v strong painkillers that, quite frankly, made me queezy. To the point that, one evening, after smoking a couple of ciggies while phoning someone up, I vomited. I therefore decided that now might be a good time to give up the fags (cigarettes for any US readers) before they gave me up.

Over the years I have usually given up smoking at least once a year, usually just for a couple of months, and then back to it.

But, I gave up in January and haven't smoked since, which is the longest time for many years for giving up. And, I have to be honest, I don't miss the fags now, just sometimes the 'activity' of smoking - you know, going outside with rellies and/or others who smoke at a party or other such do. However, it does not seem to be missing me. I have what we call a 'soot-fall' every so often. This involves a taste in my mouth of, well, soot, as in chimney soot?! I also seem to have a smell of smoking in my nostrils, even at the moment when I am alone, with no-one else here who smokes - that is unless lolly dollypop is up there, hanging out of her bedroom window and puffing away. The other bit is the sore chest and throat, and wheeziness.

So, here's the query - how long will this go on for? And, why was I dreaming this morning, of smoking a fag? Weird I know.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Busy as a Bee

It's been a busy time since we returned from London on Friday, so I'm still knackered!

Saturday I took nanny's best girl to the Grand Opening of Lisa's studio here Primrose Hill Interiors and we had a wonderful, summery time whilst taking tea and cake, looking at the new fluffy ducklings who really are gorgeous, as well as meeting the geese and chickens; and meeting Rachel and Katy ... etc. Well done and the Greatest of Good Luck to Lisa and her endeavours. XX

After returning NBG to her mum and family, Mr T and I went on a walk with the Rural, in aid of McMillan fund and puffed ourselves out along a river walk. Mr T and just one other woman wanted a longer walk so they went off into the woods. Now, J is nearly 80 years old so I didn't get jealous of her being with him, just of her energy. When I told another elderly gentleman that my husband had gone off to the woods with another woman, he drolly remarked 'They do. They do.' Which I thought was hilarious. Anyway, J told me nothing had happened (!)

And, then we met an old friend of mine, well ours really. Sue is a girl I grew up with and we met again a couple of years ago after re-gaining contact via Friends Re-united. What a great site this is - I've caught up with loads of people and it's hard to realise at times that a lot of us are now grandparents, in our fifties, rather than the fifteen year olds of our memories. Anyway, Sue and her partner were up in Scotland for a few days and were determined to meet up with us. It was fantastic to catch up with all the gossip and, at times, the years just fell away as we giggled when remembering certain people, especially boys we'd gone out with etc. One of these is still with me, actually, as Mr T and I went to the same senior school, and he lived only two roads away from Sue and I! Now, we have both moved away from England, Sue to Wales and me to Scotland.

As if all that wasn't enough, Mr T and I were due down at the village hall on Sunday morning to help with clearing up the grounds, eg grass-cutting, planting pots etc and, well, having a good old chat with the neighbours! Me, in my infinate wisdom, decided to continue with the practicing for the Race For Life despite my back still not being up to it, and cycled the two or so miles to the hall! 'Only two and a half miles? That's nothing!' you might scoff. As well you might, but it was knackering though luckily mostly downhill! There were jibes that indicated I should also cycle the homeward journey, but of course Mr T had taken his car, so we squashed my bike into the back and I bagged a ride home.

I was feeling rather sore for the extra moving about after sitting for so long on the London journeys, but as the evening progressed I began to feel slightly worse for wear. Today, I have ascertained that I am either suffering a summer cold or the bloomin' hayfever has selected me again this year for a visit. Gah!

Friday, 30 May 2008

Woman's Weekly

Well, we're back and we're kay-nakered. A long journey it is, from Scotland to London and return in just a few days. We've been to Moreen's funeral, which was a sad and tearful affair, but very loving. We shall all miss her so much.

Among all my family I wasn't looking forward to meeting my mum and my sister up close and personal. However, it was fine, we were polite. Mum went in the second car, with her remaining sister and brothers (Moreen was the eldest of seven) and my sister and I were part of the group left who needed to get there by own transport, and we shared the rear seat. Arriving at the crem. I could feel the atmosphere change and knew what was happening for my sister.

My sister is the mother whose son was killed by a hit-and-run driver last September - my nephew, Carl. I was going to write that this was the first funeral she'd been to since Carl's death, but that seems crass, and you know what I mean. The poor woman was in tears almost from the start. I persuaded her to sit between Mr T and I and held her throughout the service as she sobbed.

Afterwards, my sister went back to being with our mum, and everyone held each other in turn, then we all stood in a semi-circle outside in the rain and 'viewed the flowers.'

Auntie Moreen, as I do, took the Woman's Weekly magazine every week and we would compare views about the stories, which are excellent, etc. This week she didn't miss out on her mag. she could enjoy it, together with her flowers as I placed one there for her.

We all agreed, as I remarked later, she would've put one there for me, if it had been the other way around.

Apart from mum and my sister, I do get on very well with the rest of my family, and some of us are quite close, thank goodness. I feel this is an affirmation for me - that I am okay, and not the monster that my mum and my sister think I am. Despite the very sad occasion, I was able to feel an emotional distancing from them, as well as the physical distance we have by living so far away.

This is a very necessary survival system for me as, when doing the long 'history' of my back problems with the chiropractor I noted that most of the episodes with my back (which can be very protracted) are connected with emotional trauma around my relationships with either or both my mum and my sister. Spooky, I know. But, I have tracked this recent 'episode' to a date when I was allowed to speak to my sister (after being banned from doing so by her and my mum following Carl's death.)

I was beginning to feel a deal better by Xmas, when there was 'trauma' for me around my mum and bingo! back I was in agony with my back.

Now, I'm not saying that all my back problems stem from shitty relationships with my mum or my sister, that would be silly and, well, childish, but there is a certain psychosomatic concurrence with them.

I say I felt the distance from them, and that this is necessary - I am determined that I shall continue to keep that distance, for my sake and for my own family.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Time

We are off down South today, for Moreen's funeral tomorrow.

She has stated 'No flowers, but donations to Cancer Research, please' as her wish. However, we are all agreed that we will send flowers as well as making our donations to Cancer Research.

But, it is not just my own mum and sibs who are in disarray, it seems (oh, long, long and boring stuff) but, apparently one of the daughters-in-law and her mother have taken it upon themselves to 'do the catering' for the wake.

'Well, that's nice,' you might say. Except that they will, apparently, request an amount of around £150 for the purchase of the food!! How very dare they?! I remarked to my cousin that these people were 'fuckers' weren't they? She told me 'I was just thinking that when you said it!'

So, if anyone who knows me sees me touching my head at any point during this funeral and wake, you are now in on the secret signal between cousin and me, as to what we think of 'em.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Limbo Dancing

It has been a fairly quiet week. Moreen is settled in the hospice and so her last few days are being spent peacefully and her family are calm and, well, in limbo really until It happens.

The family are all ringing each other, keeping each updated. And, someone I forgot to mention in all of this is another of my cousins' new teeny, tiny baby daughter. She was born last Sunday, weighing in at a very lightweight 4 lbs 15 oz! Her mum had been 'started off' due to blood pressure problems and, though there was a concern that baby Hannah (yep, her name is longer than her at the moment!) might have a twisted intestine, it appears that she just had 'sticky poo.'

This will be the stuff of jokes at her wedding, her grandparents proudly boast.

We just had our beautiful granddaughters to stay overnight due to mum and dad's work patterns yesterday. They didn't play grandad up at all, while nanny was out at the 'Rural' and while one has been taken off to school, the other is chattering away upstairs in her cot, pretending she doesn't want her morning sleep.

Aah, she's now gone off, so nanny can go and get showered and dressed. And the day starts.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Oh Damn!

Yep, this is me, swearing on these pages once again. This time, though it is serious stuff. I've just been down to London to visit my auntie Moreen, who is now dying from cancer.

About three years ago we knew she had bowel cancer. She was treated by the removal of some of her bowel, and the addition of a colostomy. Like me, she is not backwards in coming forwards on the detail front, so waddaya wanna know about it?!

This seemed to do the trick for some time. Then, there were concerns, some tests and then some bouts of chemotherapy. All seemed to be going well. But, then, my uncle (aged 78) fell from the ladder while attempting to get into the loft hatch; he crashed against the wall, while grabbing for the bannister on the first floor; missed and landed on his back on the bottom stair as he broke his heel on the balustrade. Owch! He was also being treated for asthma, but was not getting any better.

Meanwhile, Moreen was ill and becoming bedridden. Nobody knew the extent of either of their conditions.

My cousin went around to mend the balustrade and found his dad to be in a terrible state. He promptly got him to the doctor and hospital, and John was hospitalised with a collapsed lung. Cousin tried to take care of his mum but she was getting worse and then she was also hospitalised.

Dad (John) remarked to their three children that he wondered if the cancer had come back.

They asked 'What cancer?'

You can guess. She hadn't told their children, aged 42, 46 and 48 years, even about the 'first' cancer.

Moreen also hadn't told John or any of us that, in fact, the cancer had never gone away. She was never in remission. Now it is at a critical point. All the family have been to visit and say their goodbyes, and she is in a hospice for her last few days.

Trouble is the guilt is already there for her family, who feel they should have known. I do believe the anger will come later.

PS: i hAVE nOW sIGNED uP fOR RACE FOR LIFE 15 JUNE 2008, dUNDEE. pLEASE sPonSor Me.