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.

 

Hills and things

After taking 6 hours to complete a 4 hour journey we finally arrived at our destination late afternoon on Saturday. It had been a warm sunny day which made the many hold ups including a 4 mile stop start crawl on A34 bearable. 7 miles before we reached our destination I suddenly noticed that the engine light had come on, this brought on a mild panic, that and the constantly changing fuel gauge as we travelled up and down steep hill roads, would we make it before we ran out of fuel or the engine conked out?

Half a mile to go the SAT NAV told us to turn right then left, I almost missed the left turn it was so narrow. Well by that I mean that I saw it just as we passed it. Being a dual carriageway I had to continue until I could do a U turn, retrace our steps back to the narrow lane. Trundling along the lane I was thinking that I knew my in-laws lived down a lane but I hadn’t expected it to be such a narrow lane. The grass growing in the middle of the lane indicated that it wasn’t much used. It was with much relief that we reached the end of the lane which then merged with the lane we should have been on. A & B were there waiting for us as we turned around.

Next morning we woke to heavy rain, hurricane Bertha had hit the UK overnight, I believe that the weather was worse back at home than it was here in the Peak District. However the rain couldn’t take anything away from the view from our bedroom window.IMG_1783 I can see why A & B fell in love with living here.

Late morning we went for a drive (their car not ours) for a tour of a rain soaked Buxton, I was impressed with the architecture there, I will have to go back another time to investigate properly. This was followed by a drive around Bakewell, which was also very pretty even if it was crammed packed with pubs. Even in the rain there was an abundance of walkers. Before heading back for lunch we visited Chatsworth Park. We stopped to see a small Classic Car gathering near to the impressive stable block. The rain had just about stopped which was appreciated as we strolled towards the stable block. A & I made a dash for the public toilets only to be met by a queue so we made our way to the restaurant to use their facilities. These I found most disconcerting. It is not every day that I find myself surrounded by 3 images of myself reflected in the yellowish tinted glass of the cubicle (whilst sitting on the proverbial throne).

IMG_1809 The stable block at Chatsworth House.

After lunch owl and I set off on our own to find some fuel. I was worried that we wouldn’t make it the six miles to the nearest petrol station, the further I drove the closer we were getting and the prospect of a rainy walk was decreasing, I was beginning to relax. Having filled up I was much happier, we went in search of a local landmark, Monsal Head viaduct.

IMG_1813  IMG_1812 As you can see the view of the viaduct was not quite what we had expected so whilst Owl took himself off for a pint in the nearby bar I decided to follow the footpath to get a closer look at the viaduct. The path to the right looked very steep so I took the path to the left through the trees in the hope that it would come out nearer to the 1870’s construction over the river Wye. The tree covered steep hillside walk meant that all I could see were trees and more trees. Eventually I managed to work out from the glimpse of hill side across the valley that I had long ago passed the viaduct without seeing it so I made my weary way back up the hill for a well earned diet coke.

Next day we woke to see the sun shining on the fields, this was not to last all day but we didn’t get too wet on our visit to the Derwent reservoirs, where Barnes Wallis practiced his bouncing bombs.IMG_1823 IMG_1826 Howden Reservoir leads down into Derwent reservoir before finally ending up with Ladybower Reservoir.IMG_1836 Here we can see the different levels in each reservoir.

The afternoon saw a trip in the opposite direction for a trip down memory lane for Owl and his sister. We drove across the Derbyshire dales to Macclesfield where they had lived briefly in their early teens. We then went on to Knutsford where they sent their teen years. It is a small pretty town that has kept much of its history intact. We ended our visit with a drink in one of Owl’s old haunts.  IMG_1858

On our return to the house the sun was shining so I took the opportunity to take a wander up the garden to take some pictures.IMG_1871 IMG_1875  IMG_1872 Such a lovely place to live.IMG_1879

Then yesterday we made the journey back home, all was going well until the last few miles when the roads were gridlocked due to a burnt out lorry. Which I understand has still been causing problems today.

Pretending

Today I have been pretending.

It might have been a Bank Holiday here in UK but it has been a wet miserable Monday. So I have been pretending. No I wasn’t pretending to be a princess or an air hostess, I was pretending that I can be domestic when I want to.

Throughout my supposedly adult life I have done what I have to do to keep my family happy and healthy, but I have not really been naturally domestic. I cook, clean, and wash, as much as is needed. I have tried to give my family the home they deserved, without having to be too domesticated. Over the years I have knitted jumpers, sewn on buttons and repaired ripped trousers etc. I have even learnt how to cook without burning everything. My sons will never stop reminding me about the time Pug’s friend came to tea and I burnt a whole tray of smiley faces (potato shapes).  My current husband is even under the illusion that I am quite a good cook. I know they say practice makes perfect, well I guess I must have practised enough to be passable, another 20 years and I might be getting closer to perfect.

Today though I have been pretending to be a perfect housewife, I actually cleaned the oven. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have cleaned the oven before just not as well as this. I am actually quite impressed that the oven racks are now gleaming chrome instead of blackened  metal.

What have you done recently that has been an achievement you have impressed yourself with?

 

Plastered

This morning as I listened to the radio I heard a song I hadn’t heard for a long time. It got me thinking about one of my philosophies in life. The song was this one by Ralph Mctell  . The streets of London tells you to stop feeling sorry for yourself because you really don’t have much to complain about compared to the people living on the streets of London.

My life has never been easy, it has been a struggle right through my adult life for one reason or another. I might at times write about the things that have or are happening in my life but I usually manage to laugh it off rather than complain. The reason being that no matter how bad things might get, I know, there is always someone worse off. 

When I lived with my first husband who was an emotionally abusive alcoholic, life was difficult and at times unbearable I was grateful that he never hit me or my boys.

When I had stage three cancer, I was grateful that I was treatable, 13 years on I am still here to tell the tale.

When I was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, I did at least have a roof over our heads and our health even if there was very little money for heat or food. We still had each other.

During the difficult times in the first year of my second marriage, my husband’s ill health (both physical and mental)  were made easier by the support of family and friends.

I do know people who always see the negative in everything, I feel sad for these people who never seem to be able to allow themselves to be happy. People who live their lives as victims of life make me feel mad. Yes there was a time when I felt like one of those victims where nothing in life ever seemed to go right. Then I realised that there was only one person who could change my life, me.

Coincidently this morning the girlfriend of my son Pug, posted this quote on her facebook page. ‘We can’t change every little thing that happens to us in life, but we can change the way that we experience it’

Now, when things don’t go right I count my blessings instead of my problems. When I am feeling my lowest I think of the things that make me smile.  I remember my wonderful sons, I surround myself with flowers, music and laughter. I watch the birds as they go about their day.

From where I am sat writing this I can see sunshine through the windows, there are four vases of flowers in the room and when I look through the kitchen to the back door I see one of the pigeons, that frequent my bird feeder, strolling  around as though he owns the place.

A few days ago my husband had a fall when he was crossing the road, a kind man, who happened to be walking near by helped him up and got him home. He had blood on his hands, arms and more worryingly on the back of his head. I left work to take him to the hospital. He was assessed and taken to ‘major injuries’. We were left in the corridor with a growing number of others for about 1.5 hours (it could have been worse). Finally he was checked by a Dr, x-rayed, put on a drip and sent to the observation ward where his broken hand was plastered.  After much deliberation and conversation the Dr concluded that my husband needs treatment for his alcohol intake. This is something my husband is in full agreement with.

He may be in pain and having to learn to cope with being one handed whilst his hand is in plaster. The cut on his head was merely a graze which appeared worse than it was due to the amount of blood. However his fall has led to something being done about helping him to stop drinking. If he manages to complete the treatment on offer and stops drinking he should be able to get his strength back properly and maybe he will be fit enough to actually work. He will then be able to earn some money as well as save money by not buying drink.

Now here is a little something to lift your spirits The Corrs

Home alone again

For the second week I found myself home alone for most of Saturday. Owl is on a 3 day course that takes place on Saturdays. I had driven him into the city early in the morning before returning home. Skater was watching Soccer AM (which I hadn’t seen for years, there had been a time years ago, when it would have been on our tv every week.) He then went off with his skateboard to meet his friends for the afternoon.

After Soccer AM had finished I had surfed the channels and found a program I hadn’t heard of before (I don’t usually watch tv during the day), Fat, The fight of my life. I watched as a 25st (350lb) woman was put through her paces walking up a steep hill, completing a strenuous assault course, swimming and various other exercises. This got my mind thinking that I really should be going out for a walk while it was dry. So that is exactly what I did. We are lucky to have a country park very close to our home.

It was very muddy underfoot, not surprisingly after all the rain. In fact the footpath actually had a stream zigzagging along it. Even though the weather was mild it was still a little on the chilly side. I did have gloves in my pocket but didn’t wear them as I was busy taking lots of photos which isn’t easy with gloves on.

Here is a selection of my photos.

IMG_1450 I don’t remember the last time I saw a tree laden with catkins.

IMG_1455 first sign of new life

IMG_1457 and there it is…..the lake

IMG_1459 party time for the mallards

IMG_1473 a distant bridge

IMG_1481

IMG_1482 No running up this hill for me (not at the moment anyway)

IMG_1484 nearly at the top

IMG_1485 looking back from the top

 

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?