Saturday, 30 August 2008

I have been given an Award

I usually pop into Blogworld each day, but Friday was unable to spare any time. So imagine my surprise when I looked in on Saturday to find that I have won an award from Almost Mrs Average at: which I am very pleased to accept. Thank you so much for including me on your list, Mrs A, I feel very honoured to be in such distinguished company.

The rules accompanying this award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog;

2. Add a link to the person who has awarded you;

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs;

4. Add links to those blogs on yours and

5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

When I began blogging I had no idea what to expect and it has been quite a revelation. Its a whole new world out there and I feel privileged to be part of it. It seems as though I have made a host of new friends - never did get round to pen friends in my youth so I am making up for it now, but on a much wider scale.

As I have only been blogging since July my blog list is still somewhat limited but, for many and varied reasons and in no particular order, my nominations are:-

Fern at

Flick at

Gill at

Denise at

Lindsay at

Pam at

Ann at

A x

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Bob's Civic Award

Sunday went well. We drove to our local Church which is situated on the sea front, as we had a parking place allocated to us! The afternoon was fine and sunny if a trifle breezy. I had decided against a hat but there were plenty to be seen. And lots of regalia, worn both by our local councillors and visiting dignitaries from the towns with which we are twinned. And the Town Crier was there, also resplendent.

The service took about an hour - we had several hymns, the first couple of which I felt the congregation weren't terribly familiar (myself and Bob included) but then we sang 'Jerusalem' and finished with the National Anthem (2 verses) and, as both are so well known, they were rendered with great gusto!

The presentations were made about half way through the service - five in all - to the various nominees who have worked so hard for the community over many years. They each received a pin badge and a framed certificate. One award was made posthumously. The intended recipient had been aware of his nomination but sadly died before he was able to receive it. His widow was there on his behalf and I thought how brave she was.

A surprise announcement was that our mayor and his mayoress had been married the previous day so they got a hearty round of applause.

After the service and a 'photo call' we all made our way to the civic hall for afternoon tea - sandwiches, vol au vents, etc followed by strawberries and cream, scones and cakes. Delicious.

Bob received plenty of congratulatory hand shakes and pats on the back, as did the other award winners. All very well deserved.

We made our way home at around 5.30 pm. It had been a memorable afternoon.


Timmy - 1960

I have posted this picture of our much loved dog as I was reminded of him by a photograph on 'Ferns Lakeland' blog.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Happy Birthday

It is my daughter's 39th birthday today. As soon as I got up my thoughts went back, as they always do on this day, to when she was born. I had not had a good night, simply because my 17 month old son was very poorly, finally settling in the early hours. I slept myself only to wake at around 5 am with the first niggle of pain. She was born at lunchtime - around 1.30 pm. I tease her that she must have heard the nurse ask me if I would like some pudding! - (I ask you!!) and decided then was the time to make her entrance.

She and I are very close but I will not be able to see her today. We spoke on the telephone last night and she was pleased to tell me that she has had quite a few parcels in the post already. She and her little 4 year old will be going to see friends and she is looking forward to her day. I will ring her this morning to greet her and again this evening when 4 year old is in bed and we will chat and she can tell me about her day.

Happy birthday my love.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

The Winning Team

Now I am not usually one to brag but several members of our family have been lucky winners lately, myself included.

My prize was won via Pam's blog: - Life with our Lad". For those not aware of it the competition prize was Pam's copy of "Wife in the North" which she had enjoyed so much she felt she would like to give it as a prize in a competition - "If you wrote a book, what would be the title" . So I entered and thanks to Pam's little 2 year old son, my name was drawn as the winner. Meanwhile, 'Wifey' had contacted Pam to say that she would send a new, signed copy to the winner and Pam could keep her own copy. My thanks to Pam and to 'Wifey'.

But the first of our family winners was Jacob (7 year old grandson in Australia) who won cinema tickets for the family in a painting competition at school. Second, Leah (8 year old grandaughter in New Zealand) who was awarded a Blue Badge at school for being such a good role model. Next was Emma (10 year old grandaughter just down the road) who entered a competition to write a bedtime story and, although not actually the overall winner, as one of 10 finalists was invited to London for the final. She had a lovely day and won, amongst other things, a bed! So we're very thrilled for her and proud of all of them, of course.

As if all of this was not enough Bob is to receive a civic award. This was made public locally a few weeks ago and the award will be presented at the Annual Civic Service this coming Sunday. The announcement read "the award is a recognition of Bob's efforts as the driving force behind the promotion of tourism within the district".

We are very pleased for him. He is very pleased, although as he said, he has never looked for it. Over the last 30 years he has committed himself wholeheartedly to this task and enjoys it thoroughly. It is well deserved - well done Bob

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Catching up

I had arranged to meet a friend for coffee on Monday. We have both lived in this area for nearly 40 years but have been friendly for only a relatively short time, first meeting when we attended the same evening class, learning together how to make sugar flowers. We are a similar age and have retirement, children, grandchildren and hobbies in common. Her health isn't too good but she is always cheerful and funny and great company.

We met at a local Cafe which is small and friendly and usually busy, that day being no exception. Run by a couple of 'girls' of similar age (40-ish), with the help of several part time staff, it offers freshly prepared food, cooked to order and there are lovely crisp salads and home made cakes. They do buy their bread, from a little bakery just around the corner, occasionally having to pop out to replenish supplies. They also do 'outside' catering and on Monday had obviously been preparing for such an event and were starting to load platters into a vehicle ready for the off. For a funeral party, we were told. I used the cafe occasionally when I was working and still meet ex-work colleagues there for lunch now and then.

It was very relaxing to sit and chat and catch up for an hour, and we are hoping to do it again before I begin my travels in September. I was very pleased to see her.

After we had gone our separate ways I popped into my former work place to pick up a coffee mug I had forgotten when I left last December and remembered again last week. I'm not being mean - its just that it is a customised mug with a photo of two of my grandchildren on it - therefore has sentimental value for me but would mean nothing to anyone else. Now I can use it at home.

I also took the opportunity to make arrangements with a friend for a curry evening next week, with our respective spouses.

Later in the day Bob and I called in to see his aunt and uncle who had promised us some plums and we came away from them laden with said plums and some tomatoes, leaving a promise from me that they shall have some home made chutney, when ready. I have no qualms about making chutney, really quite enjoy it and have found a recipe for 'hot hedgerow' chutney which sounds worth a go but will mean picking blackberries. I will also be making some piccalilli.

So my list of 'things to do' is growing, but I am also able to cross things out. I'm getting there. Slowly.


Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Last weekend

First of all Bob went back to Malvern, on Thursday. So far so good. He rang in the evening to let me know the telephone number of the hotel, just in case, although he does have a mobile phone. That is our routine. Because of his mix up the previous week the hotel were only able to put him up for one night but recommended a B & B for Friday. It had already been decided that he would have to drive home on Saturday because it was #2 son's 40th birthday party that evening and return to Malvern early on Sunday for the last day of the show.

Friday morning early, I went shopping and was back home by about 11. Message on the answer phone said "Sorry to bother you, this is the Malvern Hotel, not sure how to get hold of your husband, he checked out this morning but has left his clothes in the room" - all this accompanied by almost hysterical laughter - theirs, not mine. I rang back and apologised, then contacted Bob who by that time had got the message. (please see previous post 'A Senior Moment' for explanation of mirth). So we'll move on ...

The rest of the weekend went according to plan and without any more hitches. The party was very enjoyable with family and friends. When I say family, we were missing son #1 (in Australia) daughter #1 (in New Zealand) and daughter #2 who although lives in the UK just couldn't make the party, being unable to alter arrangements already made, and their respective families. But it was great to see some of sons' school friends, remembered as little boys/young men, now 40 year olds with wives and little boys (and girls) of their own. We didn't stay too late - Bob had to get up early next morning and in any case, as far as I'm concerned, as soon as the music starts getting louder it's time to go!

Bob left by 7 am on Sunday morning and I got on with making some strawberry jam! I have to say I'm very happy with the result. It set a little thicker than I would have liked and it definitely wouldn't win any prizes but I could get the knife into it, it does spread on bread and it tastes good. Please see photographic evidence below.

Bob arrived safely home at about 7 pm on Sunday evening and we chatted over our evening meal.


Saturday, 16 August 2008

"Perhaps he'll fall"

A couple of weeks ago when our daughter and her 4 year old had been with us for the weekend, I was preparing to leave with them to stay for a few days to help decorate my grandaughter's bedroom. On hearing that I would be going as well the conversation with her mummy went like this:

Imogen - "Is Grandad Bob coming as well"?

Mummy - "no, just Nanny"

Imogen - "what if he's lonely - perhaps he'll fall"

My daughter assured her that he would be fine and we set off - and he was fine.

Today he went off to Malvern for the weekend to do the show he set off to do last week!

And no, I won't be lonely but my grandaughter's remark came back to me when, stepping from the utility room back into the kitchen, I tripped and measured my length across the floor. I wasn't hurt and had to smile again at the wisdom of the young.


Thursday, 14 August 2008

Jam making

I have never been successful at making jam. Chutneys and piccalilli I have mastered however, thanks to Delia Smith. But a week or so ago I discovered in a 'Good Food' magazine a recipe for strawberry jam which, the author declared, is 'pretty near perfect' . Well that is a challenge!

Now, I suppose, I had better come clean about my most disastrous jam making ordeal. In my defence it was my first attempt (or should that be offence) and I was only about 12 or 13 years old at the time.

It was for a school cookery lesson and we had been put into pairs to bring the fruit and other necessities for blackberry and apple jam. Well I volunteered the blackberries but only because I knew my parents had been picking them the day before and in any case the other girl (my partner) had said she would bring apples! So my second mistake was to miss the early bus home so that by the time I arrived in doors with the news that I was to take x lbs of blackberries the very next day, it was getting very close to dusk. And of course, unknown to me, my mother had already made use of the fruit picked previously.

To cut the story short we did manage to find enough blackberries between us, mum, dad and me and I went off to school the next day all prepared for my first lesson in jam making. I have already said it was a disaster and I'm still not sure whether it was completely due to my ineptitude or whether perhaps the teacher wasn't attentive enough. We'll never know. Suffice to say I went home with a 2lb jar of something we couldn't even get a knife into, let alone spread on bread - and my mother has never let me (or anyone else) forget it - and I'm talking 50 years ago now - so I'm assuming she never will forgive me!

Anyway back to my challenge. Bob is away this coming weekend and I am determined to have a go at making strawberry jam. This is how it should look - good enough to eat!

Once I have completed my task I will take a photo of my attempt and publish it in another post, though of course you will have to rely on my truthfulness regarding texture and flavour. And, if it all goes horribly wrong, no-one need ever know!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Getting Organised

Have just realised that we are now in the second week of August and I am going to have to make 'to do' lists to keep myself organised. We have a few events between now and the end of the month and once into September I shan't have a lot of spare time before I start jet-setting (so to speak).

We are at a party tonight and it is 2nd son's 40th birthday celebrations next week. The following weekend we have a civic event to attend on Bob's behalf, more of which nearer the time. In between there are the usual routines (including blogging!) plus I have to see to my eldery mum's needs several times a week.

In the second week in September I have promised to be in Stratford upon Avon to help 2nd daughter with taking and meeting her little girl to and from school and will be returning home on 13th September. And on 17th September mum and I fly to Australia to visit 1st son and his family. As well as this I have to pack my case (twice), help mum to pack her case and leave the freezer packed (for Bob).

I have undertaken to make and ice a 70th birthday cake for a friend's mum and that will have to be ready to deliver a couple of days before I fly off. The cake is already made and is lying in a darkened room until it is time to get ready for the party. I will be making sugar flowers for it, probably roses and lilies but haven't begun them yet. That is a job to start this afternoon.

So to keep my mind clear, it is time for lists.

Has anyone seen my pad and pen ............ ?

Thursday, 7 August 2008

A Senior Moment

Bob is semi retired - really can't see him being anything else either. However before he decided to slow down a bit he had been working for a local, family run, leisure park, had been with them for about 25 years and latterly spent most of the time promoting the park and their adjoining holiday caravan site. Some of his work took him to exhibitions and I got used to him having to go off for a few days at a time, usually Thursday to Sunday. When he decided on "retirement" he was asked if he would continue some of the promotion work, so about 6 times a year he goes off to various shows.

This weekend was scheduled for Malvern. We had to decline a party invitation because he was away (I don't really know the host so it was not one I would go to alone). He prepared in the usual way and set off at about mid-day Thursday. We joked about him remembering to take his weekend case as one time when he went I had got home from work to find his case on the landing, telephoned to ask his whereabouts and he was 2 hours drive away, so he had to make a quick trip to Tesco to buy the necessary!

My mum was round to lunch and we were sat chatting at about 2pm when the phone rang -

Bob - "Its me, guess what"

Me - "what"

Bob - "I've just arrived at the showground - the show is next week"

Me - "you s**** s**"

He had done the 2 hour drive and arrived at the ground to discover his mistake. He had copied down last year's dates into his diary and yes, the show is next week. He went on to the hotel he had booked to explain and they sympathised and booked him in for next Thursday and Friday but can't help on Saturday. Well that's OK thinks Bob, because that night is Peter's 40th birthday party (Peter is his son) so he will drive home for that and go back to Malvern early on Sunday!

He arrived back home at about 5 pm, grinning from ear to ear! And we have rung the host of Saturday night's party and accepted their invitation after all. Now, what shall I wear ........

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Hot Flushes

Yesterday evening I felt quite chilly and put on sweater only to remove it a few minutes later because I thought I was about to burst into flames. I am quite used to this now, it comes and goes. Bob is always bemused by it! Still.

At bedtime my feet were freezing but the rest of me was cooking. So bed socks on and very little else, with windows and door open to get as much air through as possible and a gentle reminder to B that the fan really does need to come out of the loft so that I can keep it trained on me through the night. (he says the noise will keep him awake - oh please - once he is asleep I could jump and down on the bed and not disturb him).

Bob - "don't understand how your temperature changes so quickly so often"

Me - "well I keep you guessing don't I, you never know what's next"

Bob - "it's a bit like living with a box of chocolates".

Well I've been compared to worse things.

Apologies to Forrest Gump!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

A grand day out

Bob suggested that we should have a day out somewhere, just us. It's not something we do very often. We go out - but it usually involves other people, going with or going to see others. The weather forecast was reasonable and we decided that we would make a fairly early start. So when I got up in the morning and saw that it was raining I was a bit disappointed. But I am a bit of a "rain before 7, clear by 11" sort of person so wasn't too downhearted. When we finally set off it was very overcast but not wet.

We had decided on a trip on the West Somerset Railway (again Bob's suggestion) so drove to Bishops Lydeard, on the 'A' and 'B' roads, and it was quite leisurely (I do hate being on the motorway race track these days) and sang along to a 50's and 60's CD (Johnnie Ray - Walking in the Rain, Anthony Newley - Why, Rosemary Clooney - This Old House etc) and had the pleasure of wonderful views across the Quantocks and back to the coast. It took about 50 minutes, then we parked the car and walked to the railway station to find out train times. There was about 30 minutes to wait for the 11.30 to Minehead, so we bought our rover tickets (concessionary of course, costing £11 each) had a browse around the station shop and picked up leaflets detailing future events, the Santa Steam Special and the Candlelight Evening at Dunster being the ones we were most interested in although the Carol Train is appealing and I could be tempted to take a trip on the Murder Mystery evening. The train time-table gives a brief description about each stop on the journey, detailing how far from the station and what can be found there of interest. We decided on Minehead simply because it was the end of the line but could just as easily got off at any of the stations along the way.

The train was delayed - apparently a problem on the line - and we finally left on the diesel train at about 11.50, arriving in Minehead at 1 pm. There are eight stops along the way, all of the stations are very well kept with lovely flowers in borders and pots and each station has a shop or museum. The staff too are friendly and helpful, greeting one another from the train or platform. A couple of times we had to wait at a station for another train to come in and hellos were shouted from the passing trains! And naturally there were waves from children and adults from the roadsides.

The countryside was beautiful, herds of cows gently grazing and plenty of sheep too. On either side of the track there were banks of wild flowers. I believe some of these may have been planted in various parts (in some cases by local children) and of course some will have self seeded, either way it was lovely.

When we got to Minehead the sun was out, in fact the weather had been improving all the while and it was a beautiful summer's day and from the sea front we could see across to our home town on one side and to Wales on the other. We strolled around and found somewhere for a snack lunch and then wandered up through the main part of the town. Although I have lived in this area for nearly 40 years I have only visited this town once before and then I think only along the sea front, so was quite interested to see it and was impressed by the lovely displays of flowers through the main street.

But the main purpose of our day out was the train ride, and we had decided to catch the 3 pm train back to Bishops Lydeard. This was a steam train - a great thrill! So there we were, rocking, rolling and riding with the train whistle blowing at every opportunity and occasionally smoke blowing in through the open window.

The first stop on the return journey was Dunster and here the train was boarded by a group of Morris Men, in full regalia, another delight for me - and they jangled their way through the train, though sadly there was no dancing. As we steamed our way through the countryside the cows were unperturbed but the sheep didn't seem so keen and hurried away from the edge of the field nearest to the track.

We got back to our starting point at 4.30 and made our way home - singing along once again. We were back indoors by 6pm and both agreed it had been a 'grand day out'.