21 December 2010

The Gallery - Love



What a wonderful Gallery theme from Tara at Sticky Fingers to end the year on. Make sure you pop over and check out all the entries, and I'm sure tissues will be needed!



LOVE...



There are so many different types of love, so many combinations of relationship. 
But no matter what the relationship is, when it comes down to it, it's just about the 'giving' and 'receiving' of love. A feeling of 'loving' and/or 'being loved'.


We're 'given' love as children. And in response our love for our parent grows. My love for my Mother is deep, respectful and full of gratitude for having such a loving and giving person in my life. 

For my children it is unconditional and unending. I loved them the instant they were born. Instinctively I would fight, with my last breath to protect my children, even though all of them now tower over me! They have made me laugh and cry, probably in equal measure. They have made me angry and proud. From helpless tiny babies, I've had the pleasure of loving, helping and guiding them to being the four 'grown up' loving, generous, gloriously unique individuals they now are. The love I have for them both soothes my soul and terrifies me. 

Never ending love...

The love my Husband 'gave' me, all the wonderful memories we made and all the love and laughter we shared, is stored safely in my heart. It lives with me and warms me, day to day. His love gives me strength. A strength I now understand I have, for those times when I'm sad or feeling just a little, and sometimes a lot, lost. 

Obviously a photo NOT taken by me, as I'm in it. But this is LOVE...
Don't you think, Love, in all it's countless forms, is a many splendid thing?

16 December 2010

Thrifty Christmas - Chocolate dipped Peppermint Creams


I wrote a post about these sweets last Christmas but thought I would add it again for the 'Thrifty Christmas' idea over at Violetposy.  
They are so, so simple to make, even for little children. It's just like making sweets out of playdough. Maybe something to make with the little ones next week as gifts, to keep them entertained and help stop them driving you insane in the run up to Christmas!
The recipe used is here but have also added it below.

 

Ingredients


1 egg white
1 tsp lemon juice
400-420g icing sugar, plus extra
Few drops of peppermint flavouring or peppermint oil
Pink and green food colourings (optional) 

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Add the lemon juice and gradually add the icing sugar, mixing, until you have a smooth, firm dough.
Have a selection of cutters – letters or shapes. My TD used just circles.
Add the peppermint flavouring or oil to the dough and mix together. Divide into 2 and add a little pink colour to one and green to the other, if using. Knead until the colour is even.
Dust a work surface with a little icing sugar. Using a dusted rolling pin, roll the mixture out and use cutters to cut out shapes or letters. Leave to dry on a large, lined baking tray.


My student (read strapped for cash!) Teenage Daughter then chose to half dip hers in melted plain chocolate, using a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Then when set, popped them into cellophane bags with ribbon and tags.

They were wonderfully melt in the mouth, minty sweets, lovely. Enjoy...

Ho Bloody Ho...

Yes, I know it's that time of year. I understand I should be getting into the Festive mood. 

On a positive note, I do have a tree (tick). A shame it's still sitting in the garden. 

I have baubles and beads and glittery things (tick). Er, yep, still in their boxes. 

Christmas cards? (tick). Oh yeah, I should've posted those out already. Not happening.

Presents? Okay I do have a few of those (tick), not many mind, and certainly nowhere near enough for 4 adult children and a large family. Maybe they could share? Kidding? Maybe...


Shopping to buy missing presents? I should (tick) I know. 

Food shopping? Done (Big tick). Could I get away with wrapping Christmas Pud & mince pies do you think?


Having read lots of blogs full of Festive cheer, it appears everyone else has Christmas Spirit in bucket loads. You've all got your Festive Mojo. 

Would you all do me a favour? Pass some this way please? Because I seem to have mislaid mine this year. It gone AWOL or MIA or something.

Thanks...and oh, okay then...Merry Christmas!

14 December 2010

Technorati...

It's just a technorati claim 5KH4PXY38ZK6

8 December 2010

The Gallery - White Whites

The Gallery theme this week at Sticky Fingers is 'White'. Make sure you pop over and check out all the snow photos! There are some absolute stunners.
I decided, purposely, not to use snow photos, because everyone else will have done it so much better than me, oh and the small fact that I actually didn't step outside the house for the day & a half we had snow!

These two photos are sort of loosely connected, in the sense that they are both to do with the Catering.

The first one I took at a wedding I attended in August. I love the perspective through the glasses and the light & shadows reflected on the white table cloth.



The second one is of my Teenage Daughters Chef Whites. Yes, she gets to dress up like a real proper Chef! How cool is that??! Must admit though, the damn things are bloody murder to keep 'white'.


What madman deemed 'White' as the colour for teenagers to wear while practicising cooking hot, greasy food, eh?

3 December 2010

A Fluffy Red Bikini and a Santa hat in the Snow

Oh Matt Whistler! You've made another video...

No tea tray this time, and you have clothes, sort of, on. If you can count a red fluffy bikini, and rather dubious looking stockings worn with, erm trainers? as clothes.
It does make you look very festive though, if a little chilly in the snow!



Surfin' Bird Christmas No.1 2010 starring Matt Whistler from Convict Films on Vimeo.

Thank you...I do like a good laugh and my favourite part is the fact so many Brightonians don't seem to bat an eye to your rather odd behaviour, love it!

2 December 2010

A Tea Tray slide down Southover Street in Brighton!

I realise that with all the snow that everyone has been getting over the past week, it can start to get a wee bit booorrrring! And we all get a bit 'stir crazy' stuck indoors, especially if you have little ones.

But if there is one video you watch, make it this one. There are some mad, mad people out there and this guy, Matt Whistler, is up there with the best of them.

So if the snow is giving you cabin fever and you need a laugh, and I mean howling, tears down your face, side gripping laughter, then watch this.
Thank you Matt, you made my day...

...and how did I not know this was going on, I LIVE at the top of this street! God dammit, they threw a party and I wasn't invited...Boo..
 


Matt Whistler's Merry Christmas 2010 Southover Street Brighton from Convict Films on Vimeo.

Enjoy...???



1 December 2010

The Gallery - Celebration

The Gallery theme this week at Sticky Fingers is 'Celebration'.

And you'd be mistaken if you think I haven't had much to celebrate this year.
I got married on 22nd Sept, and I wrote a post about it then. If you want to read it, you can do, here.

But what I want to post today is a celebration of life.
Actually, one specific celebration of life. 
A celebration of one persons life. 

Ian, my husband. 

I wrote a difficult post about his death, on 22nd Oct, so I'm not writing about that today.

As soon as Tara announced this weeks theme, I knew exactly which photo/s I would use...I mean, it was already written on the order of service.

I cheated a little this week. I've used quite a few photos. Also as they were all enlarged and printed out, I've had to take photos of the 'photos'...

Below are some of the photos we used for our Celebration of his life.



 
And my very own personal favourite...Ian's Daniel Craig 'James Bond' impression, way before Daniel Craig was James Bond!


The day was a true 'Celebration' of everything we all knew and loved about Ian.

I also want to add here, our friend Kevin's Eulogy. I take no credit for this wonderful piece of writing, which is probably the best I've ever read or heard, and so very, very Ian...he would've approved, we finished with a laugh. Thanks Kev!
"Right, you bastard.........

Ian Jeffery- Father, Husband, Spy, Surfer, Skateboarder, Sailor, Monty Python fan and all round good egg is no more. He has ceased to be, is bereft of life, has shuffled off this mortal coil. He rests in peace, has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last and gone to meet the great god of surf in the sky. Which,if that's Pedro, will result in some sort of competition to decide who is the biggest wave monster.

And I guess we're all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, such capability for kindness, such 'joie de vivre', should have been spirited away at so young an age, way before he'd had enough fun.....

To which I say 'Bollocks'. And the reason I say this is that small insistent voice in my head that kept telling me, as I tried to rip this eulogy off of John Cleese, Toad you've always been an irreverent, slightly sick, bastard – if you go soppy on me now, I'll come back and haunt you.

So, Ian, you weren't my oldest or my best friend-but it seems fitting that having conducted your wedding only weeks ago that I should now say a few words here. You were someone who, if involved mates, alcohol, music, maybe a little smoke, and was outside, could be guaranteed to show up and contribute in some way to the fun that was to be had.

Firstly, lets put this 'spy' thing to rest. No matter how much you protested that you were 'just a civil servant'-we know it was much more than that. This was confirmed when you'd asked Rhino to for a reference. 'Yes, of course' he replied. After a wait of six months-whilst Rhino got a thorough vetting as to his suitability to be  a referee- Colonel Ponsoby-Scratchtwat of Military Intelligence turned up at Tim's and subjected him to a 3 hour interview. After which you ended up with no choice but to be known to our kids as 'Ian the Spy'. In fact take a look at the pictures in the pub afterwards and you'll see where Uber-spy Daniel Craig AKA James Bond got his inspiration from. So, like it or not, we don't believe you. I understand that Her Majesty the Queen still owes you a medal, but you still owe Tim a fiver so I guess that's quits.

Secondly, let's talk about your love of gadgets and trying to fix stuff, which may explain your otherwise inexplicable love of dodgy Italian cars, knowing that things would, inevitably, drop off of them. It always seems to me that whenever I saw you on Queens Park Road you'd be surrounded by bits of Alfa-Romeo.

Who can forget the famous skateboard/windsurf experiment? Not the first man to think of it perhaps, but certainly the first to build one, and subsequently being thrown off the sea front for nearly wiping out so many pensioners. Or how about having 'fixed' the catamaran and subsequently having to be rescued after trying to wipe out Palace Pier?

Thirdly lets talk about love: the love you had for your children, the love you had for your wife, the love you had for your friends and the love you had for life.

Rab Burns summed it up:
“An honest man here lies at rest,
A friend to all, a friend of truth,
A friend of age, a guide to youth.

Few hearts like his, with virtue warmed.
Few heads with knowledge so informed.

If there's another world he lives in bliss
If there's none, he made the best of this”

Cheers Mate....."

And as the quote on the front of Ian's Order of Service says...

'What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others...'
  - Pericles -

26 November 2010

Dear So and so...Cars, Colleges and....Well, you'll see!

Dear So and So...


Go over and see Kat to find out who else is having a moan today...

Dear #1 Car...

FFS! I don't appreciate the 'non-starting' thing this morning. Not at all, I'm not impressed. Panic phone call from TD to drop off 'correct' uniform for college, key in ignition and...Hello?!...nothing. 
I know it's been cold, I understand that. But a dead battery, come on, please! But I am a little sorry for all the foul #&%! names I called you, but trust me, only a little.

Yours, annoyed

-------------

Dear #2 Car...

Look, I get you might be a bit pissed off at being usurped by #1 Car and being stuck on eBay for a mere 99p, but a completely flat tyre? That's not even remotely funny.

Yours, saving my air.

--------------

Dear TD...

Find your bloody Timetable...
Then you won't take the wrong set of uniform in to college and end up calling me to drop off the right one. See #1 Car.
I know I offered to drop it off, but the alternative was you coming all the way back home. Which was all so unnecessarily complicated. 

Frustratingly, Mum

----------------

Dear College Tutor of TD...

Don't call me at home to ask where TD is, 25 mins after having her sent home for not having the correct uniform for the day ahead. Find her something else to do?

Ahh...Right, I see, you haven't seen TD this morning? Erm..er..okkaayyy....Bye!

Yours, red faced & trying to get off the phone fast.


Dear TD...

??.......#%*...!!!!

Yours, lied to and annoyed, Mum


--------------
Dear Me...

??....#%*...!!!

Yours, lied to and very annoyed with self.

24 November 2010

The Gallery - Black and White



I haven't joined in with the Gallery at Sticky Fingers for a very long time...But I do LOVE black & white photography, so just had to join in this week. This photo is from last year. I'm sure you 've guessed what it is? It's not the view usually seen of the structure. Which is what I think makes it all the more interesting. Click to make it huge...


 We're used to seeing the glizty, gawdy, bright lights, the fun and colours of  Brightons Palace Pier.
This is the 'underbelly' of this beautifully constructed landmark building. The foundation for all the fun and laughter that happens above.

23 November 2010

A West End night out..Midori Cocktails and a bit of Dirty Dancing!


Free cocktails followed by Dirty Dancing? Well, I could hardly refuse could I?? Don't be stupid, of course I went...

Graciously offered (to be truthful if was more like a Twitter ambush of 'Me,me,me,meeee!), unable to go herself, by the lovely 1 more means four  
...Thank you Amy.

So Wednesday found me travelling up to London to meet an old friend Jo. Old as in having known her for over 25 years..eeeek! Not that she's old, obviously, she can't be, Tut..please she's only a year younger than me.

We headed to Dirty Martini in Covent Garden, where we mingled with the after work crowd, and after introducing ourselves to the Midori crowd awaited our cocktails.

By the time a waitress came to take our orders, Jo and I had started chatting with a couple of girls sat next to us, one of which I'd been told to keep a look out for. 'Wild blonde hair' was the description given to me! 
  

We decided to get a mixture of cocktails from the menu and try each of them. 
Clickity click on the links for videos on the 'How To'.
Between us we ordered a Midori Margarita, a Midori Sour and to mix it up, just a bit, Dirty Martini's own creation, a Paradisio.


 


My personal favourite?? The Midori Sour, by a long shot. It's the one I could've happily drunk glass after glass of, if I didn't have to actually co-ordinate anything physical afterwards, you know, like standing upright and walking or talking. Because as with most cocktails, it actually didn't taste very alcoholic at all, more like a deliciously melon fruit juice...Yum.
  
But I was ultra good, and stopped at only two...honest!

I tried the Margarita, but as I'm not keen on tequila, it wasn't a hit for me, but Jo loved it. If you like tequila, I'm sure you'll love it too. The Paradisio, which was the cocktail bars own invention, was truly quite lethal! Just as well they've banned smoking inside, as had anyone lit up within close distance to the drink, there'd have been serious danger of a small explosion.






They'd thoughtfully laid on some nibbles, very handy for it's soaking up alcohol properties! 

  







At 7.15pm we all walked, and possibly in some cases staggered, round to the Aldwych Theatre, where we settled in to watch some Dirty Dancing . 
The dancing was spectacular..the singing and songs were brilliant and foot-tappingly familiar, and the stage set was a bit of technical wizzardry (with the slightly odd giggle inducing moment at the 'lowering of the log').  

But some of the acting made me wish I'd had a lot  few more of the lovely Midori cocktails to blur the edges slightly. I mean, who knew Jimmy Durante was alive and kicking and currently performing in the West End??

12 November 2010

A difficult post to write...It's loving, not all sad & scary.

This will probably be the hardest post I ever have to write. I want to write it, no, need to write it, then I can read the words to make it seem more real, as at the moment it still feels a little surreal.

My husband, my partner of 12 years, Ian, died on Friday 22nd October 2010. He didn't 'pass away' 'leave' or any of those words I personally find so infuriatingly vague, he died. Exactly one month, date to date, after our Wedding Day.

I knew it was coming. I was as prepared as you can be, I truly was. I know myself too, too well. I cope and function better if I know all the facts, every possibility, every tiny thing.  I'd asked every question I could think of, even the one you never in a million years really want to ask 'How will he die?'...But I asked and I was told.

------------

Ian's particular cancer type was extremely aggressive. A Malignant Melanoma, which never presented on the skin, but was discovered as a large tumour wrapped round his Illiac vessel (the main artery in the hip/abdomen area, to, in his case his right leg). At first we were told he could have surgery to remove it, but in the 3-4 weeks it took to see the  top surgeon at The Marsden, it had doubled in size and was then inoperable. 


He underwent palliative radiotherapy in March, with little hope of reducing the size, just stopping the growth. But as Melanomas are predictably unpredictable, it shrank. To a size that was then operable. A glimmer of hope, and Ian was always so positive.


The same surgeon performed the surgery, in late June. But reading his notes, I'm extremely nosy and as I said before, have a need for information, good and bad, the surgery was listed in bold, clear as day writing, 'Palliative Surgery'. At this point I 'knew' how this would end. My heart hoped it wouldn't, but my head knew it would. This was for me, the moment I went from hoping, positively for Ian, to learning to accept. 

Unfortunately in September, as a side effect, Ian developed a blood clot which meant a stay in hospital of 2 weeks, having daily injections. It was during this time I had a meeting with his Oncologist. 
We had a long, very emotional conversation about 'How long?' and 'How?'. She was as honest as she could possibly be with me, and explained 'Weeks rather than months' and told me to try and concentrate on 'All the positives, the moments you can look back on and make you smile, even if you don't believe me now, you will need them and cherish them, so make them'. She was so right...our Wedding Day being one of those.


------------


I got to acceptance much sooner than Ian. He struggled with it. I know he felt 'acceptance' was giving up, giving in. He needed to feel he was fighting it. He never said it that way, but I understood him so well. So we never talked about when, he was more comfortable not knowing. 
In the same position I would probably be the same, who knows?
On a different note, I have a slight problem with some expressions, such as, 'They fought to the end'. It somehow makes it sound as if when the person accepts what will happen they have 'failed' in some way?


He did wonder how?, on only one occasion with me.  He was terrified of dying, in his words, in excruiciating pain. He said it was his biggest fear.


"You will probably get tireder and weaker. You'll sleep more often, for longer, with less waking moments. Until you sleep all the time. Then the sleep will get deeper, until finally you'll stop breathing while asleep."

This was his Dr's answer to to me when I'd asked 'How?'. And it was what I told him.


I saw and felt his relief.

Then I made a promise. 'I promise, and you know me, I don't break my promises. I will do everything I can to make sure it is as pain free as possible'. 

On Sunday he was unable to swallow his array of many drugs. Not for the reason I'd previously thought, because he couldn't physically swallow, but because he didn't know how to, or what to do. It is impossible to get someone to swallow pills if they don't understand what you mean. I tried and I had to give up after 25mins. That's when they started a Syringe Driver. So he was still getting all his pain relief & sedation, but as a constant flow over a 24 hour period.

By Tuesday he was in his hospital bed, in the dining room half of our living/dining room.
The Tuesday morning was also when he stopped drinking fluids. I had hoped this would help with the pain he was getting on weeing by this point, as the tumour was growing and obviously affecting his bladder in some way. And as much as the continuous drugs he was on helped hugely with keeping him comfortable, his pain increased during those times. So Wednesday and Thursday was spent mainly, apart from spending time with him, with all of us, District Nurses, Hospice @ home nurses, making sure he got top up shots of diamorphine to reduce that pain. Thursday evening was also when his breathing changed, quite distinctly. Shorter and shallower. Although I had a wobbly moment, just before this, on realising that I wasn't keeping my promise to him. We weren't making him completely pain free, I felt I was failing him. But yes, by Thursday night he had no pain, eventually.

I say eventually, as there was one District Nurse, on Thursday evening, who had a problem with giving a 5ml shot of Diamorphine, for pain, (which he had been having up to that point) as in her own words 'Given the stage Ian is now at, I'm unhappy with giving morphine, as this could hasten this stage'...


My response? Because obviously this was more about accountability and her signature being on the drug chart, if he were to die shortly after.


"You're unhappy about giving pain relief drugs because you're concerned about hastening the end, but you're happy for him to stay in pain, but for longer???...That is what you're saying? Well, I'm unhappy with your decision". How fucking illogical is that?

Luckily we had the most amazing Hospice@home night sitter, Marion, an Auxillary Nurse. Marion had a long discussion with the District Nurse about maybe upping his sedative, who then conceded to give Ian 2.5ml of morphine and 10ml of sedative. So no surprise when 2 hrs later we had to phone them out again for more pain relief, whereby the Nurse that arrived that time had absolutely NO issue with giving a full dose of each. 

During the Friday morning I had a very quiet talk with Ian, telling him that everything was sorted out, there was nothing more to worry about, everything and everyone would be okay. I was telling him to go. I know he hated being like this, unable to function on even the most basic level.


His Parents and 2 brothers arrived at the house at 1.45pm, and bumped into Ian's son who was running 2 mins round the corner to his house to change out of his school uniform (poor thing had been wearing it for 2 days!). His parents and brothers sat and talked with Ian, although there was no response from Ian. But I had read everything I could get my hands on, and discussed it with both Macmillian and Hospice nurses, and they all agreed that hearing is the last sense to go, so to continue talking.

I now have personal, absolute proof of this fact. Ian died at 1.57pm, just 12 mins after his Mum, Dad and 2 brothers arrived and spoke with him, although his breathing had been laboured for hours.

I held his wrist and hand with both my hands, without thinking. And I felt his pulse stop, quite by accident. I didn't 'plan' it that way, it just happened. It was a truly incredible moment. His bed was surrounded. Me, his parents, his brothers, my Mum and Dad, 2 of my children, and one of his best friends.

He took two breaths, one tiny cough and just didn't breathe back in...


There was a split second, just after that last breath, of complete and utter silence and peace, almost like a vacumm.


...and I said?

"Well darling, you made that so easy"

----------------

There's a lot of talk about Quality of life, but Quality of death? It's still a very scary and taboo subject to discuss. What does Quality of Death actually mean? For me it meant love, support, comfort, no pain and no fear, for Ian or us as a family. If you have good, loving people on your side, supporting you, all pushing for the same thing, and you love and know the person, it's the very last thing you can do for them.

Getting it right. 

It's the one thing that is guaranteed in life, we will all die at some point. And the people around you, given the right circumstances, can make it good.

And as near as possible, we all got it right. I couldn't change the ultimate outcome, but I damn well made sure the journey there was the best it could be.


5 November 2010

Dear So and so....

I'm doing as I'm told and I'm jumping on the Dear So and So train today. Please read and join in..go on...you know you want to. Then go add your link here, 3 bedroom bungalow
---------------

Dear Pretend Adults (kids),

Stop walking out of the living room and leaving behind all your tea cups/glasses and plates with leftover toast on, or I may just have to collect them all together and put them 'in' your room for you,

Love, 
A getting slightly pissed off now Mum

--------------

Dear SAME pretend adults,

Stop, stop, stop putting almost empty jars back in the cupboard! I can see the peanut butter jar is nearly empty without even picking it up, you're the one using it, one more teeny, tiny fingertip amount would make it completely empty, for goodness sake use it up, please!

Yours frustratingly,
Mum
Oh P.S. The same goes for juice cartons in the fridge, what is that about?? A teaspoon of juice, who leaves that?

------------------
Dear Hendrix, floppiest cat in the world,

I love you, but please, stop laying out, full stretch, like a draught excluder, in front of closed doors. We can't see you! We will end up standing on you and accidently killing you. Not to mention the tripping over you and dropping everything on the floor incident (see plate/glass/cup scenario above), thanks very much!

Yours purringly, 
Owner of food x

-----------------

Dear House Phone,

Stop ringing every single time I sit down to complete masses of paperwork, what the hell is that about? How do you know? Am I being spied on?? 
Or failing that, help the bloody answer phone to work! You know, come on guys, you're a team.

Yours pleadingly
X

------------------

Dear Boiler,

Now I know you're taking the piss! 5 days after the only person who understands your little foibles isn't here to fiddle and tinker with you, you decide to stop working!
Okay, it was only a hiccup, but I promise this, you will now play ball, or I will be replacing you, you hear?

Yours
warm but annoyed,
x



2 October 2010

A celebration of love...Our Wedding Day..

I know I've not been around a lot recently. That's just the way it is. I've had much more serious issues to deal with, and as much as I enjoy blogging, I have not had the time, energy or the heart to put into words the fierce depth of emotions and heartache I'm experiencing. So I'm not going to, not right now, the time's not right. It maybe at some point in the future, but just not yet.

So instead, I'm going to share with you my wonderful Wedding Day!
On Wednesday the 22nd September I married the man I love, the man who loves me.

It was something we had been talking about for a little while, but had never quite got around to arranging and then, unfortunately, circumstances changed quickly and dramatically, and it truely was a case of now or possibly never.
I had a very in depth phone conversation with a lovely lady, Linda, at the Brighton Registry Office, and an Emergency Marriage was discussed. 
Did you even know they could do that? I didn't, till then.
And in some cases they can do everything all in the one day, within hours? Bringing everything to you, the Notice of Marriage, which normally then takes 15 days before you can marry, followed by the Ceremony straight away. Who knew? Linda did!

She was wonderful, talking & walking me through the whole process.

I arranged a Medical Statement from my GP which I collected on the Tuesday afternoon and took down to the Registry Office, along with our birth certificates and passports.
All the details were arranged there and then, with a slight panicky hiccup, as the lovely letter the GP wrote wasn't quite correct, although very sweet, it didn't have the correct wording, which was essential to obtain the Emergency Marriage License.
No problem, Linda phoned my GP, with me still there, and talked her through re-writing it, word for word. I then had to run off and collect the re-written letter, while Linda waited for me (I told you she was wonderful!).

With all the paperwork complete, we arranged for a 6pm, at home, ceremony the following day.

We also, on the Tuesday evening managed to give each of our six children a role of their own during the ceremony. Our two eldest were to be our witnesses, our two youngest were to hold the rings and pass them over at the appropriate time, and our two middle children 'gave' me away.

It was at this point it hit me, I had a wedding to organise with only 24 hours notice!
Guess what? I discovered that's what Mums are for...
My Mum was outstandingly amazing, she switched into overdrive for me. Giving me 'actual' written lists of things to get, in the right order (trust me, my brain was NOT engaged most of the time) organising all the children into a rota of cleaning, hoovering, tidying, balloon blowing/hanging, even window cleaning and gardening, generally being useful and probably coming over as somewhat bossy (well, to be honest I know she did, as a couple of people took offence and actually made a few remarks...Huh? Do I care? Tough shit!) to everyone but those who love her and understood her motivation. Whatever the circumstances, it was her Daughter & Son-in-law to be's Wedding Day, and it would be a happy, joyful and as perfect a day as she could help make it.

My husband to be insisted on wedding rings, so we had to search our local jewellery stores for the right sizes, as they only stock one size of each ring, so that was a bit hit & miss. But we got there.

By the afternoon, at 4pm, I was still whizzing round Asda, finishing the shopping for Wedding food and...erm..oh yes, something to wear! Well, it was on the list...

My Mum, step-dad, and the children had all decided, that as Hubby-to-be would be wearing his dressing gown, they would all be joining in the fun and wearing their bedroom attire too. In fact #2 son, due to a lack of actual pajamas, ended up wearing his grandma's bright pink, covered in sheep, many sizes too small pair of PJs..very fetching.

One of the many very special moments of the day was that an old friend of ours, a registrar, was able to conduct the ceremony for us, leaving Linda to deal with the paperwork, signing the register and so forth. That made it so beautifully intimate and relaxed, plus the fact it was held in our own living room, with family (suitably attired in PJs!) and lovely friends that were able to make it at such short notice.
I was concerned beforehand that it could possibly turn into a sad and wistful type of event, not a happy and joyful celebration as any wedding should be, but that wasn't the case, not at all. 
It was a true celebration of our deep love for each other, and a wonderful, beautiful day to remember, by everyone.
So I can now offically stop saying OH on this blog, and very proudly, with love, say 'My Husband'...
 


 The wonderful Linda, who stayed for a quick 'toast' ...xx
 The In-laws, bride and groom.


The most amazing friends, ever. (including our friend, the man who 'married' us, on the left, minus his tie, as it's party time!)...oh, plus our cat Hendrix, who obviously thought standing on top of the shed was a very good photo op...

xXx

25 August 2010

The Gallery - A photo I'm proud of. 'Touchy feely Wood'

This photo is for The gallery at Sticky Fingers. Make sure you go over and check out all the other brilliant entries, there are some stunning photos!


The prompt this week is 'A photo I am proud of'                        
 

 


It's of a piece of wood from our fish tank! It was left out in the garden to dry out after being scrubbed and cleaned of all that lovely fish gunk. But before it went back in to the tank I took a few shots of it.

I think it's a thing of  beauty, a stunning piece of wood, with all its gnarly whorls and knots, and stripey, grainy texture. The fact that it's soft and smooth, I assume because it's been in the water for so long, adds to it's interest. It makes me want to touch and stroke it!

Please use the click to enlarge as the detail is amazing...

I'm really, really pleased I managed to capture all that in the photo.

22 August 2010

One year on...and I nearly bloody missed it!

Yes, I've been blogging for a whole year! How the hell did that happen? Where did it go? 

When I started this blog, I just thought it would be interesting to try and record some of the things that happen in my and my Teenagers lives. I had hoped a few people might read it, maybe even enjoy it. But I just jumped in anyway, with not a lot of thought, only  'Oh I'll give this a go, it looks like fun'

What have I learnt? 

That there are some amazing, friendly, lovely, helpful, encouraging people in the blogging community, and although I've NEVER met any of them personally (well aside from Emily of Maternal Tales, who everyone should now blame for me starting this blog in the first place!) through this Blog and Twitter I've come to think of them as friends.

Also that I have either been very lucky or just very, very naive (stupid? blind?) as I've discovered, just recently, that for some bloggers, in particular this lovely blogger Jay, it's not all 'lovely' and 'sweet smelling' and obviously on some occasions appears to have been needlessly hurtful and cruel. Why? I thought and hoped I'd seen the last of this type of behaviour at the school gates, go figure! And I apologise in advance for my Potty Mouth in the comments if you click on Jay's link..You have been warned!

That it opened up a whole new world of reading to me. Who knew you were all out there? doing your thang! If you knew me personally you would know I'm an avid reader, a bit of a speed reader too, so blogs for me are the perfect way to get a complete fix of various styles of reading, quickly and easily and I love it! Jumping from funny, to crazy, to sad, all in a few clicks. My idea of heaven.

That even though I don't blog very often at the moment, I am still enjoying it. 

It's more than just putting words out there that others read,  writing it often helps me make some sense of the often rambling, thoughts in my head.

So really, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads my blog. Thank you for all your comments, advice, support and giggles. 

And also a HUGE thank you for the pleasure of reading all YOUR wonderful, funny, sometimes sad, informative, thought provoking, short and long blog posts, but always 'great' reading in so many different ways.

xXx

18 August 2010

Are your Teens waiting?...Results day.

If you have teens of a certain age then you'll already know that tomorrow, Thursday 19th Aug is the day they all get their AS and A Level results. So at the moment there will be thousands of 17 and 18 year olds now wondering if they did enough.

I've already seen status updates on FB and Twitter, of friends of friends, teens, all worrying about picking up their little bits of paper with those magic letters on. I've resisted the urge to comment about how the time for worrying is long gone. It's done & dusted.

TD gets her AS Photography result tomorrow. 
Then she gets her 2 GCSE resit results next Thursday.

I really hope she gets the result she wants. But do you know what?
At the moment I honestly don't mind what result she gets. I hope she's done well, if not, does the world end? No. But of course, being a dramatic teenager, it probably does!!

TD is in the enviable position of already having a secured place in September, at a different college, on a completely different course, which is not reliant on her grades this year. So I suppose it would be fair to say that's why I can say that I don't mind, too much, what her results are.  But that wouldn't be the complete truth. As I've been writing this, I've thought long and hard about if the situation were different, would I feel differently?

We all want our children to achieve their best, we want them to succeed in whatever they choose and reach their full potential. And if they fail to gain the 'right' result in an exam it may well be devastating for some of them. Of course we don't want to see them disappointed and upset, as a mum when our children hurt we feel their pain, but things can be learned from all of our experiences. 

So, the answer is yes, in all honesty, I would feel differently. I would be upset for her, and I would hug her, commiserate with her and console her as best I could, as I have done the whole of her 17 years.
I also know, that after letting her lick her wounds, that I'd be able to help her understand that we can always take things from and learn from everything we do, including any of our failures...


If you're a parent awaiting tomorrows results along with your teens, I do wish them every success....and I would baton down the hatches, I've no doubt it will be a couple of bumpy days! 
Just saying....

13 August 2010

Gay Pride in Brighton...And a happy Cat

If you're gay you already know about this. If you happen to live in Brighton this is not news. But if you're neither of these then I'll let you know that Brighton hosted Gay Pride last weekend. It's held every year in the summer and stretches back as far as 1992 when it was just a small afternoon event. Since then, it's evolved into the biggest free Pride festival in the UK. 
And boy has it got big. According to reports in my local paper The Argus, an estimated 160,000 attended the Parade through the streets and joined in the party at Preston Park. 
That's a hell of a lot of very happy people. And I say happy because that's exactly what they were, and are every year. Yes they drink, dance, hug people and sing in the streets. But there's never very much trouble, certainly not in relation to the numbers of people involved. It always has such a wonderful celebratory feeling about it. I love it. People really do walk around with silly, smiley faces. 

All my children, as teenagers, have joined in the fun of Pride over the years, walking through the streets of Brighton with friends (you don't really have a choice but to walk if you live here, as they close off all the roads!) and heading to the Park for all the festivities.

And just like last year, I arranged with my TD to pick her up on the seafront at 11.30pm. 

This was not as simple as it sounds.


I managed to not kill, maim or run over roughly 25 extremely happy people who, due to the sheer mass of bodies on the pavements outside all the clubs, decided that the roads would be a much more viable alternative to a dancefloor. But this just made me smile even more, rather than roll out the road rage. I was laughing out loud as I managed to manoeuvre my car  round various 7ft tall gorgeous Ladies and people in all manner of amazing costumes, and rather fit looking men with very little clothing *ahem* on, dancing in the middle of the 'main' roads. 
TD had left the house at 10am wearing various leopard print clothing, with a cute little 'Cat' face drawn on. By the time I picked her up she resembled a slightly bedraggled, but very happy 'Cat'.




Sometimes I just love living in a place where everyone comes to party! 


Wouldn't you?

28 July 2010

The Gallery - Nature - My cute little furry visitor



The prompt this week on The Gallery at Sticky Fingers is Nature...and I understand the lovely people at Green & Blacks are giving away a hamper of their scrummy goodies to me the winner, so there are judges and everything...
I have thousands of photos which would fit the prompt, but I wanted to take a 'new' photo instead of trawling through all my folders.
I wandered round the garden hoping for inspiration, as it's full of overgrown, should really be cut back raspberry plants at the moment, but it's still giving us loads of berries so that will just have to wait.
As I was taking the photo above, my TD called out to me 'Mum, look at this on the dresser door'

And just look at this, it's so cute, don't you think?


I know it's not as pretty as a butterfly, but it's still very sweet. 
 
And who knew moths wore little furry hats, I mean seriously, in this weather? Don't they get a little warm?

I'm pretty certain he was looking at me at this point...can you see his eyes? (I'm sure they do have eyes, don't they?)

Personally I think he sat on that glass to show me me just how dirty the glass is, as I was taking photos I was thinking 'Aaargh! NOoo! there are fingerprints everywhere, and I'm taking photos of them! Don't people know how to use handles!'


And what a very clever little moth to colour co-ordinate with the wood on the dresser, he matched perfectly! 


By this time I was certain it (he/she?) was posing for me,  as I gently swung open the dresser door to get a shot of the other side, it stayed perfectly still, and I swear it's *waving* at me.

But it's now gone, and is probably doing the usual headbutting of a light bulb elsewhere.
 
Isn't nature a wonderful thing?