Wednesday 28 April 2010

O is for …

…oh no – how could I possibly not think of The Osmonds!!! Well Donny in particular, swoon.

I’m cheating now and posting a second Alphabe-Thursday post – it wasn’t until I was halfway through writing the last one that this came to me and I couldn’t bring myself to delete it and start again.

So. Donny. Where shall I start? Well, I have a feeling that one or two of you reading this will be sharing my memories right now. I can remember seeing the Osmonds on The Andy Williams Show on the black and white TV in the sixties, of course it wasn’t until my teenage years that I really fell for Donny (along with David Cassidy, of course)

I remember vividly the posters around my room in Donny’s purple phase – remember that hat?

donny donny donny

A couple of years ago the Osmond’s were in the UK and we got tickets to see them at Wembley. Oh my word. I could have been thirteen again. There I was, approaching 50 and screaming, yes screaming for Donny to sing Puppy Love. I had tears streaming down my face. I had waited almost 40 years for that moment – it was worth the wait.

I was there – not my video but it was the night I went ;)

Given the opportunity, I’d love to see them again  - Flamingo, Las Vegas anybody??

O is for …

…Ornaments. OK I admit, I’m struggling a little this week!

The ornaments in question are hedgehogs, cute little prickly things they may be but it was a relatively cheap option for the boys to buy as presents when they were younger. I just had a thought that a lot of you will never have seen or maybe heard of hedgehogs so I’ve found a link here to Wikipedia which tells you a little more about them.

You may wonder why I chose hedgehogs and not something more, well, cuddly. Simple answer – I don’t know! A friend was collecting pigs so that was out of the question and, at the time, we had a regular visitor to the garden called Harry the Hedgehog.

As the years have passed I have ‘decluttered’ most of the house but the sentimental side of me has resisted clearing out the hedgehogs. They still have pride of place in my cabinet, if I was any sort of class swot I would have taken them out and polished them to make an effort for today’s post in Mrs Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday class – I dare say that some of the other pupils have made more of an effort, take a look here to be sure!




Saturday 24 April 2010

This ‘n’ that

Oooh – it’s been  an age since I did a waffly, nothing in particular post! (Just spell checked waffly and it came up wifely!!) So here we go a bit of this and a bit of that and not a lot of anything in particular.

OK first up – secret blog post. A few weeks ago I happened across, and I can’t remember for the life of me where, somebody who had just received their gift from the secret blog post. I thought that seemed like a nice idea, exchange a gift with somebody from somewhere each month – no great expense involved – so took a hop over to Notes from Lapland to see what it was all about. The blogger is a Brit living in Lapland whose name is Heather – the Secret Post Club is just a small part of her blog. Anyway – I signed up to join in and eagerly awaited my instructions. On 1 April I received the details of who was the intended recipient of my secret post and duly set about thinking what I was going to send. I decided on a book that I had recently read (A Thousand Splendid Suns – if you haven’t already done so you must read it – even if it is not the sort of book you would normally find yourself reading), a souvenir kitchen towel from the latest holiday and a bar of chocolate. The recommended maximum is £10 ($15 – ish) but it can be absolutely anything.

Poor Heather seems to have created a monster, she has a lot of people taking part now and not everybody was posting when they should so she designed a spreadsheet to add the dates that you sent and received your gift. The idea is to send mid-month at the latest – but hey, we are all adults so why should she have to chase and worry people into posting, simple rules so let’s abide by them!

Anyway – I’m digressing again. I sent my parcel and started to feel guilty/worried when it didn’t show as being received – being the type of person I am(!) I emailed my recipient to say that I had sent it and apologise for it not arriving, cursing our wonderful UK postal system. She emailed immediately to say  that a neighbour had taken it and just delivered it to her – phew.

I eagerly checked the spreadsheet to see if mine had been sent and there was nothing against my name but for some reason I went to the bottom of the sheet and my name had been added again way down there – and my gift had been dispatched – with a little note apologising for the delay. Hey presto, next day I had a package – shall I show you what was in it? Shall I? Do you want to see it? Are you sure? (OK enough – I’ll stop now)




A lovely smell of lavender wafted from the envelope as I opened it – which came from the cute little heart, there was a cute little leather notebook and a broach – interestingly when I took the photo the ‘facefinder’ thing found the owl’s face!

The package came from Sara over at The Heart of Our Tribe – if you hop over you can see that she had far more important things on her mind than sending my parcel.


Moving swiftly on, our good friends Linda & John recently became grand parents for the fourth time – but this time they have a grandson, we always joke that their family just doesn’t do boys but it seems they do now. He was born shortly before our holiday and we didn’t get a chance to see him before we went away but fully intended to when we got home. Not wanting to intrude on those precious early days, we waited to make contact but wondered why we couldn’t contact Linda when we tried. And then she phoned us. Son 2 answered the phone and went from being his normal humorous self to a very serious young man. His face went grey, his eyes lost their sparkle – my heart sank. He handed me the phone. Their much loved grandson had been rushed back to hospital at five days old as the midwife noticed he didn’t look ‘quite right’. It turned out that he has a narrowing of his pulmonary artery and will probably have to have surgery to open it up. The good news is that they didn’t have to do the surgery straight away and there’s no rush to do it now – that was a relief.

On Sunday we met the young man for the first time – he is gorgeous and he has two very proud parents. And I was pleased to be able to put some of my hooky wooliness to good use. I decided I need something small to take on holiday to crochet in my spare time and this is the result!




A cot blanket – I bought the yarn before he was born but the colours turned out just right – it’s a marbled yarn so not too many ends to sew in!

Phew – I’ve just previewed this and seen how long it is so I’ll waffle no more … for now!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

N is for …

…Nobody home but me! Now please, don’t feel sorry for me, don’t feel you need to keep me company, don’t feel you need to offer me hospitality. For the first time in, oh I don’t know, probably a couple of years I will be home alone at the weekend!!

John and Son2 are off to Newcastle for the weekend for the penultimate match of the football season, I had the chance to go with them but I thought they needed a bit of father & son time and more importantly I would love some ME time!

So here’s the plan (sort of) 9.30 – manicure, 12 ish – lunch with Janet then back home maybe do a bit of gardening (weather permitting – don’t worry I’ll wear gloves to protect the manicure!!), perhaps catch some of the football on the radio and generally do my own thing!

Later I’ll catch up with the other Alphabe-Thursday contributions and maybe another blog or two. Then some evening TV – I’ll have total control of the remote control so it will be my choice. Then, of course, my eyes will start to close and I’ll drift off to, hopefully, a good night’s sleep – the whole bed all to myself! Bliss.

Then Sunday, I’ll laze around for a while, maybe take a quick trip into town – maybe, just maybe I’ll sort my shoes out (John – if you’re reading this, please note the double maybe) and then they’ll be home. And of course I will have missed them both. Have fun boys!

I’ve just realised that we’re over halfway through the alphabet, Thursday just won’t seem the same when we’ve finished!

Wednesday 14 April 2010

M is for …

…marriage! I was wondering what to write for M for Alphabe-Thursday when John, who if I haven’t already told you, is now an avid blog reader (and not just of mine – anybody who features in my blog following list will have had a visit this past week), said ‘Well it has to be marriage doesn’t it?’ This is because today is our wedding anniversary.

A few weeks back, when J was the letter of the week, I wrote here about John and how we had met and married. Now some may say that marriage is a great institution but then again, you can generally get out of an institution can’t you? (ouch – I know not funny).

Moving swiftly on, we married 26 years ago today on a very warm April afternoon and started married life together in a small two bedroom house in Bedfordshire (for anybody remotely interested it in a village called Pitstone which was renowned for the fact that it had a cement works!) We bought the house from plan and John did some of the work himself to save money, after two years, pregnant with son 1, we moved to Colchester (Britain’s oldest recorded town) where we stayed for 10 years (son 2 also joined us during this time). In Colchester we made friends for life with two of our closest neighbouring families – Linda & John and the friend that I call Julie. In 1998, because we both worked in Ipswich, we moved here – it’s very different moving to a place when your children are older. I found it harder to make friends in Ipswich mainly due to the fact that I was working full time and didn’t get to make friends through the children.

Oh – I’ve just realised I wandered off topic – I hope Mrs Matlock doesn’t mark me down – so, marriage. Would I recommend it? I think so. I wouldn’t judge anybody who didn’t think it was for them though – horses for courses and all that!

I did offer John the opportunity to write this post – he didn’t seem terribly inclined to so I went ahead and wrote it myself – check out what the rest of the class have written this week on Alphabe-Thursday!

Oh – as a little ‘treat’ for those of you that read last weeks L post, here is a picture of five young men clad in Lycra, one of them is my son!! He had a great time as you can see from the picture!

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday 11 April 2010

Back to normality…

We’ve had a busy time since the holiday – which seems like forever long ago now! (There are more photos here – I don’t think I posted the link before)

I went back to work on Tuesday, found the place had survived without me while I was away and I didn’t go back to piles of work which was a result. I left John with all of the ironing – don’t judge me, he volunteered!

On Thursday and Friday we had some of our windows replaced by a local company – they did a brilliant job, kept the site tidy, cleared up after themselves and left nothing that needed any further work internally. I thought I’d take this opportunity to change the net curtains as well which we did at the weekend, because my windows aren’t ‘normal’ sizes I have to shorten the nets which normally I do by hand. I had a hunch that Janet over at Just Jotting Along might have a sewing machine which would save me hours of hand sewing – I was right and what normally takes me about four hours took me about 20 minutes. She did warn me that I might have trouble with the tension but the only trouble I had was that the bobbin holder, for some reason, did not like my bobbin which looked identical to those supplied with the machine!

I now have a uniform looking house because the boys both had blinds at their windows which have now been replaced by nice new nets – I hope the neighbours appreciate the trouble we’ve gone to!

As John was taking me to the chiropractor the other day he commented that he’d been on Facebook. Well that’s nothing unusual. Then he said ‘I wondered why you’d written L is for… so I clicked on the link’ He was referring to a recent post, he’d never twigged before that these were links to blog posts. I sat with baited breath. ‘Well?’ ‘Oh I thought it was rather good – how do I read the rest of your blog?’ I was gobsmacked – praise indeed. I had to explain the concept of the Alphabe-Thursday meme and confess warn him about J is for…(here). He then proceeded to work his way through the blog – I think I have a new follower – woo hoo!! While I was looking at the blog on his computer, I discovered that there are parts of the design that I don’t see on the laptop – some of you see a prettier border than I do!!

Son 2 has been away for the weekend for his Lycra wearing Frisbee competition so we have been true empty nesters – it’s actually been quite pleasant, not having to worry if he’s up for work, what he wants for dinner, if he’s come home after a night out or to complain that he hasn’t got up early enough on a Sunday morning! Never mind – he should be home in a couple of hours, we’ve missed him really!

I’m sure there’s more I could Ramble on about but as we went out for lunch I'm feeling a little lethargic now – it’s that in between time, too late for a nap and too early for bed!

Wednesday 7 April 2010

L is for …

…Lycra! Bet you’re wondering where this is leading now aren’t you??

Picture the scene. We’re just home from our wonderful holiday. Son 2 is at home to greet us. All appears normal. Until he says ‘Stay in your bedroom with the door closed until I call you’. Mmmm – he’s always been a bit unpredictable but what on earth was he up to now?

So he called from downstairs. Off I went opened the front room door to be greeted by a vision in …PURPLE LYCRA – head to toe, including covering his face. He posed like one of those living statues and didn’t say a word. Now this is where I should show you a photo but I have to be honest I laughed so much I didn’t have the sense to grab the camera! Apparently this is a ‘Morph Suit’ they seem to be quite the thing by this website here. I tell you, you had to be there to appreciate it, I’m still smiling now!

Apparently he’s off for a weekend at a Frisbee competition  - I’m not sure if this is the kit he’ll be wearing! Ahh boys will be boys, however old they are!

This is the closest I can get – just imagine it in purple!!


I did ask him if he would pose for me tonight when he came in from work, his response ‘That’ll be a no’ at least I tried!

Pop across to Jenny's blog to see the rest of this weeks contributions.

Oh – for those of you who left comments last week, Katie has been truly touched by the interest she has generated (and probably a touch embarrassed!)

Sunday 4 April 2010

Viva le Caribbean!!

Well, it lived up to all of the expectations! Lots of R&R, warm sunshine, blue skies and good food!

We flew out to Barbados where we were picking up our ship, the MS Oceana, part of the P&O fleet. The flight was OK – a charter flight but unusually plenty of legroom. The only downside to the flight was the elderly lady in front of me who kept putting her nether regions in my face every time she stood up which did not delight my olfactory senses one little bit – she clearly had that little problem that older women get!

That aside we reached the ship about 7pm local time which was midnight to my poor tired body – all I wanted to do was eat and sleep but international law dictates that muster station drill must happen before we set sail! After a very light snack and the drill we retired for the night – consequently waking at stupid o’clock Saturday morning, I persuaded John to make a drink, all was well until he said ‘Oh there’s only brown sugar’ as he emptied the sachet into the cup containing the only Earl Grey teabag. It wasn’t sugar. It was coffee – the smell finally gave it away! Ho hum – just managed to salvage the tea bag to make another very weak drink and went back to sleep.

Saturday was St Lucia – a lovely island, blue skies, sandy beaches and lovely people! We opted for the island tour day trip which, on reflection was a little ambitious because we were soooo very tired still.


The view from the cabin as we were docking

I fell for the age old trick of the island vendors – they wait for the coaches to pull up and pounce on you with jewellery and the like, telling you that they make these to keep their families – and brought a necklace and earrings which are very pretty, trouble was they were available on countless stalls in every port we called at – I’m a sucker!


The very place that I was sucked in – a view of the ship from one of the view points

I am useless at remembering the details of places that we visit and I failed this year at writing a daily journal. I know that we visited a very smelly place that was a crater inside the volcano and that the smell was sulphur – the water ran black down the sides of the volcano and bubbled away furiously at very high temperature. The pictures below don’t really do it justice.



It was steaming – honestly!

Back at the ship it was time for the first formal evening of the cruise (there were four in total) and our first opportunity to meet our fellow diners – we had a table for eight and there were four sitting down when we arrived, strangely the other two never materialised. Jack & Elsie were a lovely couple in their seventies with many a cruise between them and Jeremy and Cathy, a little younger than us, (well me, anyway!!) on their third cruise. Thankfully we all hit it off and got on well together – otherwise it could have been a nightmare!

Sunday saw us on St Marten which is half French, half Dutch which makes it very unusual  - we opted for a half day trip this time which freed up time for an afternoon snooze!!

035The border – even the language changes! 


One of the many market stalls in the French capital – they all looked identical!

Monday saw us on Tortolla yet another lovely island, again we took the half day tour option. This tour was a real experience on very hilly mountainous roads – eyes closed, fingers crossed type journey! The transport was open sided buses which were quite difficult to get on and off – but we survived!



Met this bloke there – there’s something very familiar about him!


Him again!


The beach at Pusser’s Landing

Our last Caribbean stop was Antigua which was British until relatively recently. We took the whole day option this time and saw a lot of the island, which included a lobster lunch at the historic ‘Nelson’s Dockyard’ , followed by a relaxing hour at the beach – shame it was too hot for us to sit out!

086 Miles away!


Just one of the many…

Away from the islands we then had five whole days at sea! Yes five! The first couple of days were OK weather wise, we managed to sit out on the deck and the sea was quite calm, after that it was a touch rougher and the rain came in – we were pleased to see land when we got to Madeira – even though it had been raining when we got there! Madeira is known as the garden island but sadly we were a couple of weeks too early to see it at it’s best. You may remember that, in mid-February, Madeira was hit by terrible rains and landslides which wiped away huge tranches of land leaving scars of red clay in it’s wake. In an amazing show of unity, the islanders all pitched in and started to do their part to repair the damage in time for the tourist season – they’ve done an amazing job so far.

144 View from the highest point in Madeira


One flower in bloom anyway…

After Madeira it was another three sea days – if we thought it was rough before…a force 7 was recorded on one day and that was before we hit the Bay of Biscay! We weren’t too badly affected, although, believing that prevention is better than cure, I took tablets just to be safe. Trouble was the tablets knocked me out and I ended up spending half the day asleep!

Anyway, Friday came around too soon and we docked in Southampton on a grey morning – holiday over and back to normality.


It’s nice to be home although I’m still not fully up to speed with stuff – even my Twittering has been slow! Never mind – back to work on Tuesday and I’m sure that will bring me down to earth with a huge bump!

Thursday 1 April 2010

K is for…

….after much nagging – Katie!!!!

There you go Katie you are immortalised in the blogosphere for all the world to see. Now what shall I tell people about you? Put your hands over your eyes so you don’t get embarrassed reading this.

Oh yes – of course the day Son1 came home from school and said ‘I’ve got a new friend – her name’s Katie’ It was his first day at high school so a few years ago now. We eventually met Katie a couple of years later and she soon became an honorary family member. As time went by Katie went off to university where she, allegedly, worked extremely hard to get her geography degree and she has ended up working with me!!

(You can take your hands away now Katie)

To sum up this little post I have to say ‘Happy Birthday for Tomorrow Katie!!’ I’ve missed you while I’ve been away – I hope you’ve been good!!

Don’t forget to look at all the other H posts over at Jenny's!!

(Last auto post – home tomorrow!!)