I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

I just read the above as part of a post on facebook.

For twenty years I existed, I didn’t live. I had been badly hurt and never wanted to feel hurt again. I married a man I didn’t love because I thought he couldn’t hurt me. I was wrong. My first husband never raised a hand to me but he hurt me all the same. Have you seen this Channel 4 advert ? I have only seen it once so far but it had a big impact on me. Like I say my husband never lifted a finger against me but he still bullied me. It took me a long time to realise what was happening.

Like the girl in the ad I had no privacy, I wasn’t allowed to have friends, I couldn’t wear nice clothes or make up. All my efforts to lose weight were sabotaged. I was told constantly that I was ‘fat, ugly, stupid with a brain like a sieve.’

After I turned forty I made a decision, I had been treated successfully for stage 3 cancer, I took this to be my wake up call, stop letting life pass me by. Start living. In order to start living I had to take back my life. It took a while to get the strength but eventually I did. My battle with Cancer had been difficult but I was embarking on a tougher battle. I began to divorce my husband in September 2005, The months that followed were the hardest in my life. I won’t go into detail but he finally moved out of the house 24 April 2007 by court order. The Decree Absolute was dated 27 April 2006.

The next few years were a struggle but at last I was in control of my own life. I knew that if I was going to live life properly then I had to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth. There would be hurt along the way but I believe that if you don’t live through the bad then you can’t appreciate the good times.

I am not greedy, I don’t expect to have everything I could want dished up on a plate, I am happy to work for what I want/need.

Reading this passage, to me says it all.



Old Peculier

I was just reading a couple of random posts on a blog I had not previously visited. T W Dittmer I read a couple of posts about his mother and his mother in law. (Both strong women). I come from a long line of strong women myself. I have written about my own mother before but not on this blog maybe I shall reblog it here someday soon. Thinking about my strong mother and both my strong grandmothers, I realised that I do not often talk about my father.

As a child I adored my father, probably due to the constant tickling battles we had.  I am sure that my memories of life with my father at that stage in my life are somewhat different to  my mother’s memories. I was the eldest of three children, my two brothers and I came in quick succession (all three of us born within 2.5 years). Our parents both fairly young themselves were 18 and 22 respectfully when I arrived. My father hadn’t yet settled on any career, moving from one job to another, in a way moving around with his work was made easier due to us living in a static caravan that could be moved from one county to another. (I am not sure how this was done at the time as I was far too young.)My parents had been given the caravan as a wedding present.

My father had grown up the son of a  family of means (the family money had been lost before I was born, I believe this was down to my  great Uncle who I never knew ). He was a descendant of J G Ingram  Rubber manufacturers. Who first made the toy balloon among other items that are still in use to this day. My  father was born in 1939, my grandfather  (a sound recordist) was away on military service for much of my father’s first years, leaving his wife and small son to build a life without him (just as many other men did during WWII). In 1948 aged just 9 this young boy was sent to Newells Preparatory School, Lower Beeding in Sussex as a boarder. This was followed by Ardingly College also in Sussex. By the time my father completed his education and returned to live with his parents his little sister was away at boarding school Rightly or wrongly I always felt that my father had grown up not knowing what family life was all about.

My dad was always very good with small children and old people. He loved playing with us when we were small (later with my three boys). He also liked to help old people, this became very evident later when he had his own business.

When I was a child I remember many outings to visit historic places, or walks in the woods. I never forgave my dad for his interest in home made wine. He had us kids picking the ingredients from the hedgerows. Nettle wine was bad enough but the time he made dandelion wine was just too much for a girl brought up in a small village, where everyone knew that if you picked dandelions you would wet yourself! How cruel could a dad be?

Other things I remember from those days were his interest in boats. He built his own boat in the back garden, when it was finished it was too big to be taken down the side of the house. I always wondered how he got it out of there (one day I got home from school and it was gone). I Only found out in recent years that he had hired a crane to lift it over the top of the house.

By the time I was a teenager we were no longer so close. The family dynamic had changed. It was as though my mother, brothers and I were a family unit and our father was just someone who lived with us.  It was at this time that we kids gave him the nickname Old Peculiar which we had to change to Theakston* to save his and mother’s feelings.I don’t remember being an awful teen but maybe I was. I don’t remember having teenage tantrums or falling out with my parents. What I do remember is the distance between us and our father. By the time I was 16 I would do things to push my father to provoke a reaction. I was always terrified that one day I would go too far. For years I would ask his opinion on a variety of things from my latest hairstyle to my pregnancy (when I was 25 and unmarried.) He never did give me his opinion, he would tell me my options but never how he felt about anything.

He didn’t tell his work colleagues that he was going to become a grandfather, I was hurt by that, but he was  great once my son (prodigal) was born. Over the next few years we became closer again. He was the one person I could rely on when I had problems with my child/children. Not long after I had my third son my father moved away to run his own business (a newsagent/ grocery store) in Highcliffe with the help of one of my brothers.

Although my parents were living apart and essentially leading separate lives they remained married and stayed friends, if anything this distance brought them closer. They shared evenings out to the theatre, or meals together. I would take my boys to visit but always came away feeling that we had been in the way. It was only after my dad died from a massive heart attack 26th January 1995 aged 55 yrs 41days that his friends told me that he had adored me and my children. He apparently loved my visits, it is just a pity that he never let me know.

He had only been running his shop for 2.5 years when he died but it was a great tribute to him that the funeral directors were inundated with requests that his hearse should make a slow path down the main street before heading off to the crematorium in Bournemouth.  The Undertaker in his top hat and tails walked down the high street ahead of the hearse with my mother, brothers and I following in the limousine. (Our partners and other family following behind in an assortment of cars) the street lined with people who had come to know and like my dad paying their respects as we passed. My dad had made quite an impression on the people of Highcliffe during his short time there.

It was in March of that year that I fell pregnant with son number four. Oddly he was due to be born on 16 December (my dad’s birthday) I have always said that my brown eyed fourth son was sent by my brown eyed father as his gift from heaven.8702_470667653022317_1815134201_n

*Theakstons a Brewery in Yorkshire.

Boxing Day Anniversary

It’s Boxing Day here in the UK. I gather from my step children that this is not celebrated in USA.

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses[1] or employers. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and other Commonwealth nations.

In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland and Italy, the day is known as St. Stephen’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (IrishLá an Dreoilín). In many European countries, including notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.[2]

However my reason for this post has nothing to do with Boxing Day Holiday except that it was a year ago today that I first began this blog. In other words I am celebrating one whole year of this blog.

During this year I have made new blogging friends. Renewed other online friendships and shared my world with people in my every day life who have learnt more about me and my life than they would do normally.

I have married my Owl.

We had our honeymoon in California which I was then able to share with you through this blog.

I have celebrated my sons’ achievements.

I made a start at serious writing (on hold at the moment but watch this space)

We have shared the extremes in weather from the harsh cold long winter complete with unusual amounts of snow to the unexpected un British heat in the summer months.

We have also mourned the passing of our faithful cat.

Ending the year with various preparations for Christmas.

2013 has been a year of extremes, extreme happiness as well as extreme despair.

In a few days we will be celebrating the start of 2014 which I hope will bring with it a more relaxed year.

Maybe I will even manage to write something that I can do something with.

How would you describe 2013 for you and what are your hopes for 2014?

This Christmas

Every year I vow to be ore organised next year.

This year I have wrapped all but one of my presents (usually end up doing that for hours on Christmas Eve evening) and we still have two full days to go.

The food was delivered last night, later I will be in town picking up the few bits I forgot to order.

The cake has been sitting in all it’s white glory in the corner of the kitchen for a week.

Mince pies were made last night with more to follow tonight along with cocktail sausage rolls.

The tree is semi decorated

Pug is home from University

Statto will arrive on Christmas day with my mother.(Prodigal won’t be with us this year but we will see him on Boxing day).

Today I have to make sure that everything is ready for Wednesday as for me tomorrow will be a lost day.

Tomorrow (Christmas Eve) I shall be leaving the house by taxi at 6.15am to keep an important appointment with some very special people. People who instead of being at home with their own families are  making sure that people like me have the surgery that we need. I am only having a small procedure and should be home some time in the afternoon. However this does mean that I have no choice but to sit back and relax on Christmas day whilst Skater and Statto between them cook Christmas dinner with help from Pug and guidance from Grannie. (Owl will be on washing up duty).

Am I looking forward to Christmas day?

Yes with some reservations (I hate not having any control over what is happening).


Christmas Crisis

The Christmas cards have been bought, they have been languishing on the side for a few weeks now.

Time is running out, the official last posting day to guarantee delivery before Christmas was two days ago.

I keep saying give me a list of who you want to send the cards to.

But the problem is that the labels cannot be found.

A new template will need to be made.

New labels have been bought, 21 to a page instead of 14.

People have moved, addresses need to be updated.

Can’t we just hand write the addresses?

The labels need to be found

He still can’t find the labels.

Maybe you will all get your cards in time for Christmas 2014

It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas

It has taken a while but it is beginning to feel like Christmas is on it’s way.

I made my Christmas cake back in October and finally this weekend got around to icing it.  It had taken me weeks to track down any marzipan in the shops but finally I found some.  Having spread apricot jam all over my cake before covering it with the ready rolled almond paste I set about making the icing.

I am not very organised when it comes to things like this, I knew I had two packs of icing sugar but didn’t realise until I started my preparations that I didn’t quite have enough icing sugar. By this time I had separated the egg whites, it was Sunday evening and I had been having a rare PJ day as I had been feeling off colour earlier. I didn’t fancy going out to buy more icing sugar at this stage. I could have waited until Monday and bought more sugar, but I didn’t want to wait. Mostly because it is getting close to the big day now and time was/is running out. With egg whites in small glass bowl and icicng sugar in large china mixing bowl I set to the business of whisking the egg whites. By this time I had realised my mistake. The egg whites should have been in the large bowl and the icing sugar should have been in my medium bowl (which has vanished).

Never mind I would find a way to do this. Have you ever tried to whisk egg whites vigorously without  letting them slop over the sides of a bowl that is far too small? …No well I don’t recommend it.

Once I had achieved soft peaks I started to slowly stir in the icing sugar, one spoon at a time. Still taking care not to let the mixture spill over the side. Eventually I reached the moment where I had to change tactic.  Carefully pushing the soft white powder to one side of the large china bowl (you know the type, smooth and white on the inside and patterned in a caramel glaze on the outside). The next step was to gently tip the egg mixture into the side of the bowl that was now nearly empty before then spooning the soft white sweet powder into the small bowl that had previously held the eggs. Now I was able to continue spooning the sugar into the egg mixture  until it was all mixed in to a shiny white runny gloop.

Hmmm well there was no going back now but the icing mixture was far too runny, perhaps I could just add a little caster sugar to thicken it up. I have in my cupboard, demerara sugar, soft golden sugar, dark brown soft sugar, or granulated sugar but no caster sugar. So granulated it was. My icing is now complete and crunchy.

Whilst I was battling with my icing Owl was having a battle of his own. He has now put up our 6′ pre lit Christmas tree. Having done this  we are now waiting for the decorations to magically appear among the artificial branches. Skater had got the tree and a large box of decorations down from the loft days earlier but it seemed that not all the decs were there. I wouldn’t allow Owl to go up to the loft himself so we had to wait for Skater to be available. Last night Skater obliged us and we now have all our decs in boxes and bags on the living room floor.

Our table is littered with gold and silver parcels after my mammoth wrapping session on Saturday evening. Once the tree has been dressed in it’s silver and red strings of tinsel along with baubles and other decorations also in the red and silver theme, I shall be able to place my parcels under the tree.

There have been many conversations with family members about who wants what for Christmas. Pug has booked his train ticket and will be arriving home on Friday evening. I won’t see him until later because Owl and I will be out having Christmas dinner with friends. Prodigal is promising to visit on boxing day with his better half in tow.

I am beginning to get the feeling that Christmas is coming, I just need to get Christmas eve out of the way first. I have booked my early morning taxi to get me to hospital for 7am. Hopefully I am near the top of the theatre list so will be home not too late (one benefit of being diabetic). I am looking forward to a Christmas day where I shall be looked after by my family and my sons won’t have too many disagreements over who is head chef for the day. Both Statto and Skater are looking forward to cooking for us.

Now I really should get some cards written before it is too late.

How are your preparations going?