Saturday, 30 November 2013

A snugly night in.....

We had one of those lovely evenings last night that you dream of when you think of Winter. All in by 4pm, curtains closed, woolly slippers on, snugly layers wrapping us up....we lit the fire, actually Small Boy lit the fire. He may be only six, but he's learnt a lot and as the man of the house takes good care of us girlie's (well, when he's not beating us or yelling abuse our way!!). So we all sat there cosied up in the sitting room and we were busy....busy little bunnies working away on our own projects yet at the same time chatting away about lovely things. The Little Lady sat sewing at the machine, taking it in turns with Miss P, they were creating dolly quilts one minute then little drawer string bags the next, I had my own sewing project on hand, (quite busy now :-)) and Small Boy created a whole army of vehicles with his Lego. Nobody was fighting or bickering and the whole room was filled with a gentle loving hum.........I smiled to myself secretly, 'this is what's life is all about'. Sitting with those whom you love most in the world sharing stories in a cosy warm atmosphere.
I didn't have much of a will to leave such homegrown loveliness to make the dinner, nor to take the Little Lady to Brownies, nor to go out and we decided that we'd do none of those things. I did of course feed the little darlings.....a simple baked potato is perfect for those occasions when no effort is required and I can virtually guarantee that the Small's won't turn there noses up and echo in unison 'Yuck!!! We're not eating that'!! All round winner really and the smell of baking potatoes as it wafts into the room is arrrr, mmmmmmm....simply divine :-)

Small Boy felt a little peckish whilst waiting and proceeded to roast us all some chestnuts on the shovel. The fireside shovel works quite well as a mini hot plate. You just give the little darlings a little prick with the knife, pop them on the shovel and rest them on a glowing area of hot embers. They take about 6 or 7 minutes to cook (with a quick turn in the middle). Best to leave them to cool for a few minutes before attempting to peel them as they do retain their heat and 'ouchy oooh', burnt fingers is no laughing matter! As with most things these days Small Boy hatched out a plan and  had on-hand a cup of cold water to cool the chestnuts after cooking to enable peeling to take place almost immediately. (I'm really relying on this chap to support me in old age although fear that the vast majority of his plans involve hunting poor innocent animals - no bunny hunting mentioned last night though :-)).

All of my adult life I have been lucky enough to live in houses with open fires or wood burning stoves. So many happy times are spent by the hearth playing games, snuggling up and chatting and simply being there watching the flickering flames licking round the logs.
The fire is such an important part of us human folk, think of it as the soul of our being. I was reading a section of a book recently that I have been reading for several years. It's one of many that form a pile next to my bed. I like to tuck into the pages from the comfort of the underside of my duvet and absorb myself in its contents. One night recently I was reading a chapter of 'Women who run with the wolves'. I had read most of the chapter without realising it and without taking in any of the contents, when suddenly the words '40 year old woman' jumped from the text at me, at which point I began to pay attention. It was talking about me. Do you ever get that when something is on your mind and you happen upon something that suddenly snaps you into existence and brings you to attention? Well on this occasion the reference seemed to apply to me. It was a stark wake up call that told me that I, as a sweet, caring, giving, loving person was giving all to everyone else and they as a result are zapping me and stopping me from getting to the that revelation had me pondering for hours, in fact it's been a couple of weeks now. It's tough to change when you are the sort of person who always puts the needs of others first, but sometimes it is important to take note of your own needs and make quite certain that they are being met, after all, a good fire needs stoking sometimes and it's not always those that are closest to it that notice that it's dying down.

*Note to self noted ;-)

Small Boy testing the melting point of chocolate (out of date chocolate may I add, destined for mouse bait...although clearly not this time!)

Walking the wolf (the genetic make up of a dog is 99% the same as a wolf....check out the shadow!!)

Have a lovely weekend xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Memories last a life time......

On this day precisely two years ago my sole mate, best friend, husband and partner of 19 years, made the shock decision to depart earth side.

Life was good, we had it all, we counted our blessings frequently.......

Life is short, you never know what lies around the corner.

We all have paths to walk, decisions to make, roads to cross, every hour, every minute, every second of every day. How we make those decisions and live those moments is largely down to us. When life deals us lemons we can screw up our faces and allow our journey to turn sour or we can make the most of what we have been blessed with and make lemonade.

I have learnt many lessons since that terrible day two years ago, many lessons that have shaped my life and influenced me greatly in the way that I live it.

* Be grateful for the good that envelopes you even if it feels like times are hard. There are always others for whom life is more challenging.

* Always remember to tell those whom you love how much you love them, never take them for granted.

* Someone who loves you unconditionally is worth holding onto, they are few and far between.

* Being single isn't actually that bad :-) it certainly isn't worth giving up for empty time wasting relationships. When you've  experienced the best, second best simply won't do!

* The words and advice of love ones past remains in place to guide you on your journey.

* Having lost someone close doesn't mean you aren't allowed to have fun and laugh. Laughter is therapy......

* Be positive. Positive is a step forwards, negative means going backwards.....

Love, laugh, dance, live........

Memories last a life time :-) treasure them!


Sunday, 17 November 2013


What a busy couple of weeks we've case you didn't know this week my eldest daughter, Miss P became a teenager. It is simply beyond me how quick the time has gone since she was just a twinkle in her father and my eyes (a big twinkle at that).
I remember well the exact moment in which she was conceived (Oh yes!!! Don't worry won't share anything too graphic here!!) and the dreaded moment when I had to tell my father that I was pregnant....well it was all too obvious at that point that I was actually admitting to having had sex. I was 27 and had been with Tim for 7 years so it was probably quite obvious that such an act may have taken place but this was my first real confession. I also remember attending the antenatal clinic for the first time at 16 weeks and feeling like I had been a naughty girl!!
You'll be glad to hear that I am over such embarrassment now and three children on, consider myself 'old school' in the field of parenting. However, having a teenager some how makes me feel slightly old too. I look at my 'not so little' girl now and realise that she is becoming a young woman and with that her needs are changing. She is no longer so dependent on me in the same way. I'd like to think that we are friends and that she feels that she can talk and confide in me on any subject...let's see what happens.....

                                                          Out for a birthday treat
The Oxford Mail contacted us a little over a week ago to see if Miss P would like to be part of their Armistice day feature. Miss P (Poppy) was born on the 11/11 and obviously her name is significant. Having said that, she wasn't named Poppy due to being born on that day, it was just a name that we both liked.
They printed a lovely picture of her in three of their sister papers including half of the front page of The Oxford Times! What a lovely surprise. Thank you all for your lovely comments :-)

This birthday has been eagerly awaited and planning has been silently (and not so silently) been going on in the background for months...probably since the last birthday!
When the day arrived, Miss P still trundled into my room first thing to wake me insisting that I watch her opening her presents. I am always so tired in the Winter months and a rude 7am awakening is almost painful....but you have to show enthusiasm on such occasions, so from the comfort of my cosy bed, one eye open although mentally still away in Fairyland, I watched the whole procedure.
My gift was a pair of glossy, bright pink DM's......hehe.....tiny little legs with giant pink boots!!...They're pretty cool really!
The sharing of gifts always makes me chuckle. I've always brought the children up to feel it's OK to make gifts yourself, and it is the process of giving and the thought that is involved that is important. This year The Little Lady gave Miss P one of her handbags that Miss P particularly likes, on loan for two years!! Children are so funny!
To me entering the teenage years marks the official start of adolescence (although obvious signs can in reality begin much earlier), the period of change and growth that marks the journey from childhood to adulthood. The developing young person frequently resorts from one state (that of childhood) to another (adulthood) during this time of transition. I am glad that this year out family birthday traditions of balloons on the birthday person's chair and the setting of the birthday ring on the table, were still accepted and appreciated. I too have them out when it is my birthday, so let's hope that such traditions will remain alive and practised.

Last night was my lovely teenager's birthday party. An obvious sign of change was the fact that I didn't have to painstakingly plan out an amazing birthday party as has previously been expected (the world of birthday parties is really quite an eye opener as many of you will know. For me I have a reputation to uphold as I have given quite a lot of time and attention to such matters over the past years and have come up with some great ideas. I still have The Little Lady and Small Boy to keep the tradition going). Miss P planned out the whole event by herself including making invitations, planning games, writing a food list etc....of course I still had to cook the stuff and wait on her and her guests .....and clean up grrrrrr....(look forwards to the day when she takes over that bit too :-) although imagine it may be many years off yet!!).
Such a gathering of girls was the perfect opportunity for one Small Boy to create havoc, however, on this very rare occasion he managed to keep his horns under control and pretty much left the ladies to their socialising!
I found myself redundant by 9pm last night, so pootled off to bed to the sound of laughter and banging from downstairs *(the banging being the girls apparently jumping around in their sleeping bags pretending to be giant caterpillars!!!)...

This was our first attempt at using roll-on icing....well the cake itself wasn't straight which didn't help! The butterflies were 3D stickers....

All is quiet as I speak, the house resumes a state of calm (sort of) and my family unit is once again just us....until next year!!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Making the most of it....

Ummmm I have to admit finally that you were all's difficult to admit that, but there you are, you heard it straight from me, the time has come......

Last night my beloved Emerald died.

Don't worry nothing too tragic in the scheme of things, Emerald is my car!
When you live on a country estate with pot-holed roads on all approaches and have three wild children and a dog that likes the position of co-pilot, okay and if you're Me and you are always leaving things until the very last minute which means that you always have to race to make places and appointments on time, then eventually you may well call it a day.
Emerald has been our trustworthy and reliable (oh so reliable) friend for the past seven years, she hasn't let me down once, until last night, and even then whilst struggling for that last breath of life she ensured that Miss P and I made it into Chipping Norton and back safely. Good job too I'd say as our raincoats weren't in the boot!

For the past two years I have neglected my poor car...failed her on servicing and cleaning, she's been more of a mobile skip then a chariot of the finest kind. Her manual locking system failed as a result of my leaving her to dog sit the pooch last Christmas, her screen wash pump had a heart attack when it was expected to clean vast amounts of mud from the screen, her bushes brushed off the anti-roll bar, due to all my off road rally driving and recently her belly pan was ripped from her midst as I reversed off a curb I'd mounted (twice)....poor poor Emerald.
So last night my faithful car could take the strain of family life no more, she bumped and jolted a little in her final hours and struggled with those final wheel turns to bring us back at a steady 20mph (5 uphill and a super fast 35 down)! I had no idea she had an inbuilt 'make it home mode' which I later discover is 'Limp it home mode'........I knew I could depend on her.

This morning I set about trying to resuscitate her, thought I'd give her a little TLC in the form of a cable wiggle and some tender words. She growled a little, I guess a sign that her aches are still present :-(
The words Mr Smith are on the tip of my tongue....

Luckily my lovely friends managed to pick us up today and take us out for a session of willow weaving and chit chat....not sure any of us anticipated that the creations we made would mean we had to travel back in two cars! Shall now have to think of a does one buy a car when you live two miles from the nearest road and have no car to drive to the nearest garage? ( roller skates, bikes, skateboards, hitch it...........) as all aways comes right in the end, I have nothing to worry about!