A haven of mauve

It has taken months of planning, then forgetting then more planning but today we did it. We finally got there. I had planned to be slightly early but after going out delivering catalogues for an hour, which turned into 75 minutes, I had arrived home, beetroot coloured, my hair a tangled mess from being blown about in the light breeze, my legs quivering from the walking around roads that are anything but flat, lugging a very heavy trolley behind me. Today’s catalogue packs were thick and heavy, giving a very satisfying thud as they landed, having been pushed through the many letterboxes.

A quick freshen up and I was ready to leave, still glowing from my earlier exertions, I drove with the windows down, confident that I would have cooled down by the time I arrived. It didn’t take long to get there, we had chosen our venue so that none of us had too far to travel. Having found a shaded parking space I found my way to the coffee shop. I was neither first nor last to arrive.

I was immediately struck with delight at the pleasant surroundings, the black and purple tables and chairs were unusual but I liked them.

IMG_1581 Once we were all assembled, sandwiches and drinks purchased we found a table outside. The tables were painted mauve with purple parasols. My companions are both intelligent clever, fun, women whom I have come to enjoy chatting to online as well as face to face. We share a sense of humour which has been evident in some of our conversations on facebook. Anyone else reading some of our posts must think we are a bunch of nutters. On this September Saturday lunchtime it wasn’t too busy, other people came and went. We chatted, for what felt like just a short time but in fact turned out to be a couple of hours, as they say ‘time flies when you are having fun’.

I enjoyed my time in the warm sunshine with birds singing in the background, butterflies and the occasional wasp flying by, the distant trickle of water from the nearby water features. The good company I was lucky to be sharing this time with. I guess that I can now say that we were ‘Ladies that lunch’. That has never been a part of my life before, hopefully we will now manage to make this a more regular event.

Thank you both for being such great company today.

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A Christmas visitor

Christmas morning began quietly. Owl had not got to bed until 5am (wrapping my presents apparently). Pug was still asleep and both Statto and Skater were at my mother’s due to arrive about 11am. I had a couple hours of peace to enjoy a cup of tea and catch up on my Christmas messages before everyone else appeared. Owl joined me for a while before going back to bed. He was still asleep when the rest of the family arrived.

Skater made bacon sandwiches for everyone, Statto wrote out his cooking plan for the dinner. This allowed a 20 minute window for present opening. I am sure this actually took nearer to an hour. I had some lovely gifts from various family members plus a few from friends. I was forbidden to take any photos of Statto and Skater working together to cook our Christmas dinner. The one downside to having my grown up sons cooking our meal is the debris that is left behind when they have cooked. But hey that is a small price to pay. The kitchen didn’t just look like a bomb site but a very steamed up bomb site. I opened up the sliding doors that lead to the garden.

The six of us sat down to a delicious meal, all the traditional components, except that Statto had added his own twists to the vegetables. Crackers were pulled, hats donned, a variety of topics discussed. We were just about to start clearing the table when I looked towards the kitchen door. To my astonishment I saw that we had an uninvited visitor in our kitchen.

IMG_2220 my lads piled into the kitchen to try to help him find his way out. This led to a flight into the extra room (after 2.5 years we still haven’t quite decided what to do with this room).IMG_2221Then it was back into the kitchen.IMG_2222It was then agreed that rather than keep chasing him around we would leave him to find his own way out which he did do eventually after hopping around the top of the kitchen cupboards.

Excitement over, the big clear up could begin. Dishwasher loaded, we could then sit down to a game of Pointless, which was one of my gifts from Owl. The game was nearing its last round when Prodigal and Model arrived, having spent the earlier part of the day with Model’s family. Team Mum and Pug were triumphant in the game with mum being the only contestant to get two yes that’s right two pointless  answers during the game. I wasn’t really smug about that, honest, well not much.

The evening was spent chatting, what I really liked was the fluidity of the evening, With the various family members moving around the room to chat, some of us at the table and some in the seating area with the tv on. Every few moments at least one person would move to a different place to chat to someone else.  I love the way that my four sons have grown up to be such good friends. They all enjoy each other’s company. The three eldest all work at the same place too (Statto full time employed, whilst Prodigal and Pug are both part time self employed to fit around their other activities ie Pug’s Uni and Prodigal’s band).

I enjoyed chatting to Model, I am sure this is the longest chat we have ever had even though she and Prodigal have been together for nearly 11 years. I have always liked her but we just don’t get the opportunity to spend much time together. Hopefully this will improve, I am looking forward to visiting them in their London flat at some time in the not too distant future. By the time they departed to take my dear mother home it was rather chilly out side and a frost had already begun.

So that is another Christmas day ended and another year of blogging completed. I can’t believe it was two years ago that I began this blog. There have been a lot of ups and downs during these two years many record here but others not. I wonder what the next year will hold in store for me and my family and friends.

Did you all enjoy your Christmas day and did any of you have anything unexpected happen?

Age, we all have one or two

I am not well, nothing serious just a common cold but it is miserable. I was up coughing/nose blowing every 10 minutes sometimes 20 minutes throughout the night. My nose is red from all the tissues that have been wrapped around it as the hours crept by. Finally I slept for an hour until about 10am. Waking up, I came to the realisation that today is November 13th. My youngest brother was born in  the early hours of November 13 1964.

We are not friends on facebook but I endeavoured to leave him a birthday wish. For which he thanked me saying that he is finding it hard to get his head around being 50. It has come as something of a shock to me that the youngest of our mother’s children is now 50. There are three of us, myself the eldest and my two brothers. It’s funny but I always think of myself as still being 17. similarly my youngest brother will always be 12 in my mind, yet our middle brother has always been the age he is at the time. He is not stuck in the past in my mind.

I remember once my mother was telling me that she had been asked about her children and it had been a hard realisation that all three of us were over 30. I wonder how she feels to now have 3 three children in our 50s.

My mother is now in her 70’s, but apart from her mobility problems following various knee ops adding to her MS problems, to me she is still in her 50s. She is still the same person she was when I was a young mother of 4 boys.

Much to his disgust Owl turned 60 earlier in the year, but although I know how old he is I have to remind myself that he is not a young man. His health and fitness at the moment are probably the best they have been since I first met him. I look at him and see this man with a good head of dark brown hair. You have to look really closely to see that he does have perhaps a dozen grey hairs on his head. This of course adds to the illusion of youth, that and that I can’t believe I am married to a man near to retirement age. Especially when the toddler behaviour surfaces from time to time (less frequent now than a year ago).

I guess having a semi retired husband is a constant reminder to me that I am getting older myself. I am not the young girl that my head thinks I am.

Happy 50th birthday little brother.

There’s a space

Looking out of our window there is a space where there should be a smart blue Holden Monaro. It is now 10.30am on Sunday, half an hour ago two men appeared on our drive. I knew as soon as I saw them, why they were here. They had come to take my baby away. After months of reluctantly trying to sell our V8 car with the Chevy short block engine, I had a call on Tuesday from a man in Norwich who has been looking for one of these cars since 2003. He was so keen to buy it that he had transferred the money into my bank on Wednesday. I find it very odd that someone would part with that amount of money on a car he hadn’t even seen. He still hasn’t seen it as he sent a friend to collect it. So now we have a space where my car has sat for the last 16 months. Yes I am sad that I shall never get to drive it again. Owl is sad that he shall never get to hear the roar of the engine when it starts up.

Owl is now going to apply to get his driving licence back after a year of not driving. Once he gets his licence we shall buy him a cheap run around car maybe something like a Nissan micra but more likely a peugeot or something similar. Insurance is not going to be cheap since his drink driving ban.

On a brighter note, last night the two of us went to see a firework display. One that is reputed to be the best in the area every year. It was a lovely evening, although as we set off from home the rain began. It had been dry all day, but we were not put off. When we arrived it was still spitting but it wasn’t enough to dampen the atmosphere. I don’t have a clue what the turn out was but it was busy without being over crowded which was good. Whilst we waited for the fireworks to begin we each had a hotdog from one of the stalls set up among the funfair rides. The fireworks were fantastic, all set to music. I took several videos as well as photos. IMG_2156  IMG_2155  IMG_2162

It was a great evening for us especially as we don’t often go anywhere together these days.

Day tripping

Yesterday I took Skater on a day trip to Hertfordshire. Not your usual destination for a day trip, I know. We had an important reason for going. This was to be the start of Skater’s new future. We were visiting The University of Hertfordshire which happens to be in the small town of Hatfield. This was my second visit there as I was also there three years ago with Pug.  We set off at 6.45am (on a Saturday! criminally early) in the rain. Luckily the National Car Park that is M25 was the clearest I have ever seen it. We made good time and were parked and registered by 9am.

We listened to 3 different talks during the morning, explored some of the campus including the all important Student Forum where the live music shows are held. We were filling in time until the subject talks began but my son was getting bored, we managed to have a look at the TV and Film studio which was what he really wanted to see. Skater satisfied by what he had seen was ready to hit the road back home. We came across congestion between junctions 13 and 11 on M25 but otherwise the journey was good.

Today was a different type of day trip even though my companion was Skater again. This time we were travelling by train, I sent a text to Statto to let him know which train we were on. We had no idea whether he would be meeting us at the station or did he expect us to find our own way to his flat? An hour and 42 minutes later we arrived and there he was waiting at the barrier. He led us across the concourse towards a well known book/stationery store where he had left Miss  Effervecence.

Setting off on foot we walked past The National Theatre National Theatre From there we walked along the river bank towards the OXO Tower. Oxo Tower We were almost there. Turning down a walk way we were soon greeting the concierge of the block of flats where Statto now lives. Once in the flat we were given the grand tour and a much needed cup of tea. We were given a delicious roast chicken dinner. It was amusing to see my son carving up the meat but I am sure practice will make a difference.

After our meal we went out for a walk. Back on the south bank we continued east. Among the sights we saw were The Tate Modern The Tate Modern and who could miss the sight of Shakespear’s Globe Theatre. The Globe Theatre   Southwark bridgeUsing the Southwark bridge we crossed to the north of the river. Soon we were into almost familiar territory for me. A lot has changed since I worked in The City in the early 1980s. If we had turned east we would have been going towards the area I had known all those years ago. Instead we turned west towards St Paul’s Cathedral. St Paul's   St Paul's steps Heading back towards the South Bank I stopped to take a few photos from the north bank. London Eye  CIT tower You can’t see it but the flat is in a block right behind the SEA Containers building, right next to the cranes you can see. We had almost reached the safety of the flat when it began to rain. By the time Skater and I left Statto and Miss Effervecence the heavens had opened and we had to dash to the station, splashing through the many puddles.

By the time we reached home a little after 9pm my legs were beginning to feel the effects of so much unaccustomed walking.

I really enjoyed my day out as did Skater, tomorrow I shall pay for the punishment I have put my little legs through, but as I have a day off from work I am not too worried.

 

Family history

‘I don’t want my Grannie to die, I would miss her too much.’

I was holding an ageing folder with the name ‘Mother’ emblazoned on the front in red felt tip capitals. Skater had asked me what I was carrying. I told him it was some of my Grannie’s writing. He gets a tad confused when I mention my older relatives. He asked was she Bill’s daughter. No she was Bill’s wife, my mother’s mother. My Grannie Pat, died aged 67 when I was just 21. This is what prompted my son to utter those words.

I am well aware that my mother is now 71, I assured Skater that his Grannie is going to live longer than his 21st year. Talking to my mother this morning I mentioned this conversation to her.

‘Tell Skater that I take better care of my health than my mother did,’ she told me.

Last night I was reading some of Pat’s work. There was a tale of a holiday taken with her husband and son on a narrow boat. She described the galley and how being of a round build she had to step out of the galley each time she needed to turn around, unlike the two males who were ‘beanpolish’.

This brought back memories of my favourite woman (after my mummy, that was). Throughout my life I have seen photos of my Grannie as a stunning young woman. A slender brunette, both as a bride and young mother.IMG_2045

However my memories are all of a short, cuddly, grey haired smiling woman whom I loved so much. I remember family walks with her and her much loved labrador cross (Candy), hours at her kitchen table making or drawing things. I remember the dresses she made for me. I remember the many friends she had in their small Essex village. The flowers that she arranged in the church when it was all quiet.

I  don’t have memories of her sitting writing, although I realise that this would have been something she did when we were not there. I don’t know when I first became aware that my Grannie was a prolific writer, both for the WI of which she was an active member, but also for magazines. I don’t think I ever read anything she had written. In my late teens I started writing too, nothing much, just for my own pleasure. When my Grannie died so did my desire to write. I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything, until about 2007 that is.

Today as I began to read some of my Grannie’s writing, I could picture myself in the places she described, whether it was a tale of a fox being hunted or the joy of her faithful dog when she knew they were going out walking. Those childhood walks on the common or along the tracks beside the farms close by, all came flooding back from that time more than 40 years ago when life was so much simpler for us children.

My Grannie loved life, it is just such a pity that her love of life didn’t include taking care of her own health. I remember that for some time she suffered from Angina which in those days was quite common amongst people who I realise were in the age group that I have now joined. She died in her sleep, after having a massive heart attack. I will never forget that morning when my grandfather phoned to speak to my mother at the crack of dawn on a Sunday.  Having answered the phone and called my mother, I sat on the stairs and just cried, I didn’t need to be told the news, I knew it in my heart that I had lost my adored Grannie.

I dressed and set out walking through the town inconsolable. Not only had I lost a beloved relative but I had also lost one of my greatest allies, my confidante.

Although my life has been without her in it, for far longer than she was in it, she has been one of my greatest influences and I shall never ever forget her.

Evelyn Patricia King always in my thoughts, I love you

Saturday surprise

This morning I was making my breakfast when I saw my friend Robin swoop down into the garden. He was feeding when I went outside to greet him. I thought I would sit in the garden to eat my breakfast, just to see if the Robin would come any closer. He flew  away but I stayed where I was, drinking my tea, munching on my marmite toast, reading my book. All the while my phone on the table set to camera in readiness for that photo opportunity.

I must have been out there for about half an hour but there was no further sign of our Robin. Eventually I gave in and took all my breakfast paraphernalia indoors. It was when I was at the sink that I noticed a movement in the corner of the room. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Hurriedly I grabbed at my  phone. Skater came running into the room to see what was going on. Being taller than me he was able to get closer than me to take this photo.Indoor Robin Yes this was our Robin, not in the garden where I expected to see him but in the corner of our kitchen. He panicked and tried to get out of the window which was closed. He must have come in through the open sliding door, but I hadn’t seen him even though I was sat just a few feet away from the door. I went outside to see if I could get a better photo from the outside, this must have spooked him as he then managed to fly towards the open door and escape.

 

I can but wonder what my next Robin experience will be.