Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Friends and Fountains Abbey

Apologies started this blog some days ago, but then had a problem with my laptop - probably doesn't flow too well! Try better next time!

OK I cannot believe I find myself heading north on the M1, on a Friday afternoon, in the pouring rain! Yes it's an absolute guarantee the journey is going to take an eternity to get anywhere. I started out with the sat nav saying I'd arrive at 6pm and I finally arrived at 7.20pm! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr! I HATE the M1!

OK moaning over and done with and now why I find myself heading north: it was to visit with some friends from Leeds. The date was booked months ago to meet up as four couples to share an early Christmas celebration. The home was lovely and warm with the wonderful aroma of dinner cooking, beautiful lit candles glimmering and then and nearly best of all a good glass of red wine. Just what I needed. I actually found myself shaking on the doorstep. I think it was the concentration needed to arrive safely. Now poor Mr P he was travelling down from Northumberland, on the motorbike, in all the rain. I arrived after him but apparently it took some time for him to warm up, as he arrived dripping! Now I was going to show you some lovely photographs of the meal - but I was sooooo hungry and sooooo enjoying meeting up with friends who we have not seen for some time that I forgot to get the camera out! Even though I only drank two glasses of wine I was rather on a high. I guess after a week of not seeing Mr P, being deprived of a telephone, the long journey seeing old friends sent me very loud and giggly. Also I had been listening to Radio 2 and they had people phoning in saying where they were heading too and it kinda got me really into the socialising spirit. Sorry I'm rabbitting on and maybe no one out there understands what I'm talking about! But this is me with my poor and limited vocabulary!

The next day Mr and Mrs J had organised a picnic and we headed out to Fountains Abbey. Now I thought we'd visited this place when we lived in Leeds but I think we must have only seen it from a distance. It was truly amazing. We started off with a walk around the grounds outside the estate. After all the previous days rain everywhere was rather gray but I was just excited to be out and about in wonderful Yorkshire countryside.

Ooooops gap in time - computer had a breakdown and had to go for major surgery to another Mr P. Thank you sooooooooooo much Mr P no 2. I am so grateful for all your help in fixing my laptop.

I enjoy living in Leicester but I do miss so much being out in the hills, rivers and valleys. I guess it makes me appreciate the countryside when I get the chance to go.

The deer was out but too far away for me to get a good view. I think after all the rain from the previous night there was this haze, but somehow it made everywhere look rather magical/mystical.

The abbey was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately I begin to notice that my camera is displaying a warning sign that the battery is very low. I was so cross with myself for leaving the spare battery back in Leeds.

We went for a cuppa and came out to see the sun had managed to break through all the mist to give this fine view - BUT only for about 30 minutes and then came back the haze.

You can just see the haze starting to swell.

Such a wonderful experience and all too soon the light fades and we need to head back home.

Mr P and I decided that we must visit here again and spend more time with the camera. Can really recommend anyone to visit here.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Conspiracy Theory

Yesterday was one of those days when I should have never got up and just stayed in bed. It started off with the alarm clock and the bed working against me. Just as I roll over to continue sleeping and get even snugger under the quilt - the alarm clock rings! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! I am sure the bed and clock are working together. They must be as it happens quite often! Surely it must be true. It's a conspiracy.

Ok so I get up and then I go downstairs to hear something ringing every 30 seconds. I hunt around for where the noise is coming from and eventually track it down inside a cupboard. The burglar alarm panel is bleeping and a warning sign being displayed. Oh no what do I do? I try to reset it but this sets the alarm off. Fortunately I remember the number to get rid of the hideous noise. I've turned the alarm off but the bleeping is still continuing. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH. I hunt for a phone number to call the company but there is not one on display, go outside to look at the box but still no number. You may be asking where was Mr P was he still asleep - no he's up in Northumberland. So I decide I need to give him a call in order to get the alarm company's number.  Pick up the mainline phone and it has finally decided to stop working and just give off a whole load of crackles and no dialling tone. The phone had been playing up on Sunday but come Monday it did not seem too bad. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.  Surely this is another conspiracy alarm and phone ganging up. Oh whilst all the drama has been unfurling the bleeping decides to stop and I breathe a sigh of relief.

Now this is when I go stupid and I go to Argos - oh after having got dressed to buy another phone. By the time I arrive there Mr P has finally woken up to answer my call from my mobile. He then says - "well how do you know it's the phone that's not working rather than the BT line?" Oh how thick am I? I never thought about BT. So after some deliberation I bought a phone - knowing that later on I would be working near Argos and could always return the phone. Well the next AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH happened. I went to the booth to place my order and pay but the receipt never came out! I had to go hunting for an assistant and they seem to know you are coming as they all run away! Eventually I manage to net one when they weren't looking. You can guess what the next AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH is can't you? It wasn't the phone - it was the connection!

Mr P arranged for a BT engineer to come next Monday after we ran through some checks. I then went on my merry way to work to be greeted with a receptionist telling me they have not got a room for me and the spare rooms were full. It was at this stage when I wanted to burst into tears but managed to control myself and a room amazingly got sorted. Phew! After work took the new phone back to Argos who were kind and understanding:)

Arrive back home to hear the bleeping again. But this time I now have the number to call and a kind engineer managed to help me through the panel with some of their magic passwords and get it temporarily sorted till next Monday when they too will becoming to fix the alarm.

By this stage I actually felt afraid to touch or do anything. I went for a swim, afraid I might have an accident. I know that sounds ridiculous but that's how I really felt. No - I swam, felt much better. Cooked myself a mild curry, did some crafting, watched masterchef and a nice murder and toddled off to bed to wake up to a much much better undisastrous(new word!), non conspiracy day!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Newark Trip

Now a few weeks ago, one of the blogs I read, Bunny Mummy, made a trip to Newark. This inspired me to make a visit there too. Newark is somewhere as a child I used to pass through on the train. My grandma lived in Lincoln and by the time the train from Birmingham arrived at Newark I knew my journey did not have too long to go. More recently it is somewhere that the A46 bypasses on the way to the A1, as I head north for Northumberland. So I have found myself at various times in my life been very close and yet never actually seen Newark for myself. I believe my mum used to travel as a teenager to Newark to visit boyfriends!

So on a cold damp miserable Saturday I headed out. Now Newark seemed to be further than I thought. I guess usually when I pass it I'm thinking of being in the car for a 4 1/2 hour journey but the 40 minute trip just seemed longer - doesn't make much sense, but then I probably never do! Having left Leicester in milder temperature I was rather taken aback as I got out the car to a cold chill. I was wearing a coat but hadn't bothered with a cardigan. I decided to leave the walk around by the river till later on when hopefully the sun would come out and head to the shops instead, to get warm.

There were some lovely traditional buildings.

Then I could not believe my eyes - Wimpy Bar! 
I didn't think they still existed, just been reading they first started 1954!

Newark seemed to have lots of small alleys to choose to venture. Then I came across the market.

Having explored the shops I then decided I had warmed up enough to head down to the river and to see the castle.

I believe you can book to have a tour through some of the remaining castle.

This was one of the views I could see from the castle.

I decided to see the castle from the riverside - think you'll agree a lovely view.

As I look towards the town centre I decide that the hope of seeing some sun is a non starter. The church spire is gradually disappearing! I opt for going home to a nice warm house. I hope to come back another day and explore the river and castle further.

Sorry I love boats and loved the smell of the smoke - sad I know.

Kind of felt that the weather made the river very atmospheric. Back home for a lovely warming mug of tea and some wonderful buttered toast - soooo comforting. After a bit of crafting I then headed to one of my local shops. It looked so pretty that I just had to take a picture.

They have some wonderful original gifts.

Mr P was busy working at church and so I decided that in order to spend some time together I would prepare the ingredients for a raclette. It was a lovely way to end the day.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

YouTube Fame

It is time to blow a trumpet - ta dah! It is not my own trumpet but my youngest son.

 Do you remember me telling you at the end of his wedding we all had a surprise? After a year of practising my son was able to film himself playing Pachabel Canon in D major on the electric guitar. After the wedding had finished instead of having an organ playing Widor's Tocatta he had this film played on a big screen. At first I thought he was just pretending to play the music but as the film went on I began to realise to my utter amazement that it was truly my son playing and not pretending.

Well now he has released the video clip onto YouTube.

So click here for "Canon Rock"

One very proud mother - must stop crying every time I see this! Please have a listen.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Oh boy what an amazing five days. All three grandchildren have been to stay - with their mummies and daddies. But before they came I had to prepare the home.

The tea trolley had to be put into the downstairs bathroom as little fingers think it great fun to try banging the mugs together!

We decided now that the twins are crawling and Rowan is walking we needed to invest in a stair gate so that had to be put up.

 Travel cot erected in the craft / study room for Rowan.

Managed to borrow two more cots from the neighbours. So Mr P was busy deciphering how these were made as they didn't come with instructions - but he did an excellent job.

Beds for the mummies and daddies had to be made.

Oh and I managed to buy three new toys for the munchkins to play with.

Rowan loves balls and I couldn't resist this toy for £2.

Below I bought two bags of balls for £4 and a slide for £5. Bargains from a baby charity shop.

They were all a success. Then the moment arrived when they came and suddenly the house was transformed into a nursery. Nappy bags, clothes, buggies, high chairs, bottles, feeding cups etc etc. It never ceases to amaze me how three small beings can take up soooo much space!

 The girls remind me of octopuses - they appear to have legs that go everywhere!

Saturday - weather wise it was miserable and wet. So we headed out to a local vintage fayre. We didn't get very far before they all stopped for coffee and cake! Trouble is we took up nearly all the chairs!

I spotted this dress - I actually wore this dress some years ago! Fashion really does come around again!.

Loved the fabric on this dress.

Now I thought I would have lots of pictures to show you of all the babies but I think it was just sooo busy that I did not have time to take any! The twins were ill and consequently demanded a lot of attention - also they did not sleep much during the night. Also their mummy was not very well too. And so the 5 days went by in  a blur. I know for sure now why God created women to have babies whilst they are young! When I went to work yesterday I really felt my age and had one client ask me what the matter was as she never seen me look so tired! I didn't think I looked that bad. Oh well. It was lovely having special moments with all three of them, seeing them interact with each other was great - roll on Christmas.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Oh Dear!

That is how I am feeling right now. The wedding is catching up with me now. Working full time and being out every night has caught up with me. The batteries are running very low! Thank goodness for caffeine! Thank you to whoever invented tea. I forget that I'm not a teenager and think I can still keep going all day. Tonight I know I must make beds and sort of  tidy because tomorrow all three grand babies are coming with their mummies and daddies! I've a feeling they'll be having rather simple meals this weekend - sorry guys!  Oh also in between work and going out I am still busy working on a project for a Christmas present - sorry no pictures and no clues.

Found time to make myself one of my favourite dishes - Sicilian chickpea stew with bulgar wheat. It was supposed to have yoghurt on the top but I didn't have any. Recipe is Jamie Olivers, from his book Save with Jamie. I love the flavours - olives, butternut squash, chickpeas, coriander etc etc.

This is not my work but a young girl who comes to the craft group. She started crocheting this scarf a year ago and then put it down - with the help of some wise ladies she managed to get started again and finish it in time for a Christmas presie. She did really well, I wouldn't have a clue where to begin with this pattern.

Woke up this morning to the first frost! What a change in temperature from last Saturday! I like the frost - reminds me that Christmas is on the way.

The plants in my porch have not caught up with the chilly temperatures and are still flowering. Well I'm slightly more awake and I need to get ready for work. Bye folks.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Wedding Bells

I am just recovering from a wonderful full weekend away in Leeds. Friday I took the day off to travel north to help with wedding preparations. In case you've missed a blog then you need to know that Saturday saw my 4th and last child got married. Now what I had not appreciated was how organised  my new daughter-in-law is.We arrived at the barn, where the reception was to be held, an hour after the other helpers, and it was virtually decorated from top to bottom. The bride to be had spent the last year or so creating decorations for the event.

As you can see there was a colourful theme of purple and turquoise. The bland barn was turned into wonderful colours with twinkling lights. The bride had everything planned to the last detail. After the barn we all went to the church where more decorating took place, followed by a family  band practice. I am very fortunate to have children who are musical. So my older daughter sang along with her very talented hubby on the guitar. They played during the signing of the register as well as during the service. A friend of my son played the drums, but usually this would have been my son but he can't be standing at the front of the church and sitting behind drums! My hubby played the piano - he had the daunting task of playing a piece of Einauddi for the bride to walk into the church. He practised everyday and he did fantastic on the day. I played my flute during the service and a little bit of singing. Other members of the family are musical too but they were tied up with babies! The evening, what was left of it, was back at the hotel having a meal together.

Golly I chose a chicken burger thinking it would be burger shaped chicken meat - but it was in fact 2 pieces of chicken breasts chargrilled with some bacon. Oh boy was it succulent and delicious! Note no wine - just a soft drink! A good nights sleep and then I got up pulled back the curtains to see ................... SUN! Wahay! Who would have thought it lovely warm weather on the 1st November. I had been busy thinking how I might keep warm. After a gorgeous breakfast we headed off early to the church to start playing the music. But oh boy did we I and many need handkerchiefs. It started as soon as I saw my baby all grown up into a man, wearing his suit with tails. Now I do not usually put family pictures up but I cannot resist showing you my handsome baby/man!

Oh golly seeing him brings tears on! Must get further into this blog with crying. Then came the amazing moment when my new daughter-in-law arrived at the church - ON TIME! Golly that's a first! But I think this was in true character with how she had everything organised. Then Mr P started playing Einauddi and oh what a WOW factor as she and her father walked slowly down the isle.

It was a lady vicar marrying them - who is also a friend of the bride and she was brilliant. She even wore red doc martins under her frock! How cool was that! I have not got a picture of the bride walking into church as I was holding the music for my hubby and there have been many pictures on facebook from others but not one of her walking down the aisle. I guess this kind of says how we were all feeling - just wanting to look, not have the camera out and just gasp as she made her arrival. The bridesmaids came in first to prepare the way for the bride. At the front of the church on the table was a box of tissues and my lovely son had to use a few as he tried not to blub his way through the vows, so also did the bride. I'm not sure why we were all so emotional. I know for me this was my last baby getting married, I was and am soo happy for them both, but I still couldn't stop blubbing.

Now the bride has an identical twin sister - so lots of fun and mistakes take place - especially when there isn't a clue with one wearing a wedding dress! At the rehearsal Mr P went up to the bride to be and started discussing what exactly did she want him to play as the music was 6 minutes long and after a while when he was greeted with a blank look did he realise he was talking to the wrong sister!
Then there was a final surprise. Unbeknown to many, including myself and the bride, my son had spent the year learning and recording himself playing an electric guitar to the piece of music Pachabel's Cannon. At first I thought the film was of him pretending to play the music but as it went on I realised with awe that this WAS my son playing the music. Oh boy what talent.  

After the service in the church were masses of cakes and pots and pots of tea. We were all made soooo welcome. Well there had to be lots of tea being in Yorkshire. Good and strong too!

Even the VW was in keeping with there relaxed and happy wedding! Next was off to Oakwell Hall Barn.

It was the bride's sister who made all the dresses. She even made fleece lined jackets for the pictures oh and also these umbrellas that do open!

After a lovely roast dinner the evening was filled with dancing to a ceildah band - such fun. But I almost forgot the wedding cake! 

We were given permission to munch on the sweeties during the evening!

Well I think I've bored you all with enough pictures of the wedding but I hope you don't mind if I squeeze a couple more pictures in of the munchkins.

Rowan is walking now and this was the first time that I had seen him properly walking - so there were more tears!

Next weekend all three munchkins are coming to stay - along with their mummies and daddies! So I guess more pictures of them another time!

I am such a lucky person to have such a wonderful family and I now also have an amazing new family. I would like to thank the brides' parents for one of the best weddings(because I did have three other special weddings) I have ever been to. It was relaxed full of colour, love, quirkiness and fun. THANK YOU.