Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Fond Farewell

Well, we're back at Number 38 after having a lovely 3 weeks away in the caravan. There has been sunshine, rain, wind and storms but we've loved every minute of it. We've walked miles, picked blackberries, played baseball, tennis and there have been endless swingball tournaments. There has been shopping, a trip to the cinema and the discovery of a new park. We've had visitors - Aunty Edith and Ken one day and Matthew and Sienna another. While I had the baby the troops went to Blackpool Dungeons and then Matthew and Thomas went up the tower and did the skywalk. Thomas might be unsure of a lot of things but unlike me heights isn't one of them and according to Matthew was quite happy up there. 

I have cross stitched, knitted, crocheted, read and eaten far too much cake and ice-cream but nowhere near as many chips as Mark and Thomas! 

We have given serious though to pitching the caravan next season and if we can get the spot we want have decided to go for it. There's a couple of reasons for this, the main one being that I've not been in the van half as much as I'd have liked this year. If we pitch it, jumping in the car and driving down the motorway to it waiting for us all set up will be so much easier and I'm sure we'd spend a lot of weekends over there.  The other reason is from a health point of view, we get so much fresh air and exercise when we're over there we all feel tons better for it and want to keep building on that if we can. At the moment there is a waiting list but I have my fingers and toes crossed they will be able to accommodate us. 

So, that's our main 2017 holiday over already. There are just 3 weeks left until Thomas goes to high school and this week there is uniform to buy plus a whole load stationery they supposedly need so I need to crack on with that.

Then on Saturday me and Amy are off on the train to York to look at the university to see what she thinks. 

The following week the decorator is coming to do the kitchen. I wanted it painted before school and college started so that the first week Amy and Thomas are back I can go through all the cupboards and give it a good sorting out. So lots of bits and bobs to do over the coming weeks.  

And now for other news. I decided on holiday that I'm going to hang up my blogging hat. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, but winding it up and moving on feels right for me. 

Maybe it's because we're at a new point in our lives with Thomas getting older and starting high school and Amy at college thinking about university, but one of the reasons I started it was as a diary for them both after I'd had the heart attack - just in case.....My thinking was that at least they'd have some memories and photos of what we'd done. Now they're both older I feel that I've achieved what I set out to do and that it's 'mission accomplished'. 

So the decision has been made but before I go I want to say a big thank you to you all for stopping by to read and for leaving comments. I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of our conversations and I've never had anything but the loveliest words from you all. I really do feel like I've made a lot of friends over the past 4 years. You've made me laugh, been there to assure me that the drama that often goes with children is all quite normal, helped me through the tough time of  losing Tom with your supportive words, shared stories of relatives that have gone through the care system like Joan and inspired me to do lots more than I ever would have done if I'd never found you all. Of course, I know where you all are so I will still be popping over to have a chat with you on your blogs.

And for anybody who's interested I'll still be posting photos on instagram and have no plans to stop this any time soon, so you'll be able to see what we're up to.

Thank you all for making my blog a lovely place for me to visit. It's a part of my life that I'm so glad I've documented and I will always treasure it. 

With love to every one of you, from myself and the gang at Number 38 


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Photo 55

Tomorrow we are off to the van and I can't wait. I've not been in it half as much as I would have liked to this year. There will be trips home for various reasons during our 3 week break but the majority of the time we will be over on the Fylde coast.

Plans for the first week include walks along the front, tennis, pitch and putt etc. The second week I'm trying to make it more holiday-ish so maybe a couple of days out and possibly a show and the third week back to our routine of lazing around taking each day as it comes.

The internet isn't brilliant where we are so to reduce stress levels of "why won't this bloody thing load", I won't be blogging. But in the spirit of my 'photo a day' I will be posting on Instagram which comes up on the blog anyway.

And feel free to leave a comment on here if you fancy as I shouldn't have a problem using my phone to 'talk' to people or to keep up with what you're all doing.

Right, off to finish my packing now which to cover all eventualities includes a full winter and summer wardrobe because after all this is a British seaside holiday and brollies and sunglasses will probably both make an appearance at some point over the next 3 weeks! 

See you soon. I'll bring you all a stick of rock back :)

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside!
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play, "Tiddely-om-pom-pom!"
So just let me be beside the seaside!
I'll be beside myself with glee
and there's lots of girls beside,
I should like to be beside, beside the seaside,
beside the sea!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Photo 54

We never did go strawberry picking. Typically we can sit here most weekends with nothing to do, yet when we do want to do something other things crop up.

Never mind, I haven't missed out, I've just been buying them from the supermarket instead. I bought a punnet from Lidl on Thursday and I've had a bit of a strawberry fest today. 
It started with breakfast - natural yoghurt, blueberries, figs, walnuts and strawberries. Delicious.
Then I made a small pot of jam to take to the van with us for those homemade cream teas that are very much part of any holiday regardless of where I am. 
And I kept half a dozen to one side and whipped up some cakes.
Not bad from one punnet at a cost of £1.39.

In between the baking and jam making, the rest of the day has been spent playing Monopoly. Thomas has just bought 3 hotels, Amy has a stash of money that keeps growing and I've got houses on Bond St, Regent St and Oxford St which should bring me £450 every time somebody lands on them. Can you believe nobody has landed on them yet. So frustrating!

Hope you've all had a lovely Saturday. 


Friday, 21 July 2017

Photo 53

Second day of the summer hols and Thomas is full of a cold. Sienna started with a sticky eye yesterday afternoon so I'm wondering if she's passed something on to him. Not that he really went near her but they were in the car together on the way to park. Mind you, it could be the fresh air and outside germs that he's not used to!

Anyway, it was Middleton today with Mum and he wanted to come with us. He sold some games and skylander figures a couple of weeks ago and got a voucher for them so he took that with him. He wanted to go off on his own while we did our shopping which I was fine with, so off he set with his voucher, £2 and my phone. When we met up he'd bought a poster, a Wii U Game, a sausage roll and a drink. The fact he's confident enough to do all that is brilliant. Before anybody has visions of him wandering around on his own in somewhere like The Trafford Centre, Middleton shopping centre is very small and a good place to start your first solo shopping expeditions.

Back home I very conscientiously entered all my expenditure on a spreadsheet I set up at the beginning of July. I've been meaning to do this for years - no exaggeration. I start off well but within a few days I get bored and stop or lose receipts and don't know where I'm up to, but this month I've stuck to it. 

Oh. My. Goodness. I've bought 'nothing' but have so far managed to spend £362 and the only proper bill in there is 2 weeks of shopping. What an interesting exercise and what an eye opener. If you asked me what I spend at Lidl I'd reply about £70 but not really think about the top up shop I do at the butchers, Iceland or the bits I buy from Bury. If you asked me if I've bought anything out of the ordinary, I'd say no, because already I've forgotten about the teacher's gifts, Thomas' prom outfit and bits for his bedroom when we decorated. If you asked me have I been out, I'd say, just for a meal with my friends, but that meal, plus coffees with Mark, Amy and Mum has seen me hand over £50 this month. 

It's very interesting when you think you don't spend any money how much you do actually spend and on what.

There have been a few 'no spends' as well, she says, feeling all virtuous. No flowers this week because we're at the van and the lisianthus I bought a couple of weeks ago have been cut down and are still pretty. Plus I keep cutting what seems to be a never ending supply of sweetpeas from the garden.

No chocolate because after happily munching my way through all my birthday treats I've decided to take a break from the sweet stuff for a while.

Nothing from The Works because as well as having a break from crafting, I also have several books in my reading pile that I need to work through. 

And no wool, because I've two balls in my stash and that's all I need at the moment to finish my poncho.

Actually, if we could all just forget about the £362, I'd say it's been quite a frugal month so far!

Do you keep a tally of what you spend, try to and fail, or not bother at all? 


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Photo 52

First day of the summer hols YIPEE! No lie-in because we were on baby-minding duties BOO! - to the lack of lie-in not Sienna. 

I made a point of not organising anything for the next few days, I was just going to let Thomas enjoy the first few days of the holidays at home. At 12.30 he came out of his room and said those fatal words "I'm bored". 

Sienna was asleep so we spent half an hour trying to make an origami swan, as you do, then resorted to good old fashioned paper aeroplanes. After she'd woken up and been fed, I made him get dressed, bundled them into the car and we went out to Heaton Park for a couple of hours for some fresh air. He's hard to get out of the house but enjoys himself when we do go out although I'm not sure he'll tell me he's bored again any time soon.

We had a lovely walk around, went to visit pets corner, made a plan to go back and hire a boat on the lake when we don't have Sienna, picked up a leaflet for treetoptrek which he's really keen to do and treated ourselves to ice-creams.

It was a really nice afternoon and I'm hoping there'll be lots more fresh air next week over at the Fylde coast.

Thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday, you are such a lovely bunch of bloggy friends.




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Photo 51

It was Thomas' leavers assembly this morning. We'd been warned by the Head to bring plenty of tissues and he was right, it was quite an emotional hour. 

They were all presented with a hoodie with the names of their class mates on and a USB stick with a copy of their play, Pirates of the Curry Bean, photos from their bowling trip and photos of them at their prom which is a lovely memento.

There were special achievement awards and certificates and attendance badges. Ironically, after receiving a D for attendance on his report Thomas managed to get a bronze award for not being absent for a full term. 

It started at 10.45pm and finished at 12 noon. And that was it. Primary school was over. It hasn't been the easiest ride for Thomas but the best thing we ever did was move him to a new school in Y3. He's come on a treat since then, not least because the staff have been brilliant with him. 

Unfortunately, there were no extended celebrations because we had to rush home and get changed for a funeral. My Uncle collapsed in his garden a few weeks ago and never regained consciousness. The consultant told my Aunty that the bleed on his brain meant he would probably never come round and he didn't. But it took 12 days of her sitting by his bed before he slipped away. The last 72 hours he was moved to the hospice my dad died in and me and Mum went to see him which was very emotional.  

My Uncle was my Dad's sister's husband. She's in her mid 80's and has outlived all her siblings who died young, 24, 46 and 47 and now her husband. Her son was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago so she is also dealing with that. I just hope and pray she doesn't outlive him as well. 

We all went to the funeral, Amy and Thomas included. They were given the choice and decided they'd like to go. I've been to plenty of cremations but this was a burial and I've only been to one of those before - my cousin. 

It was a lovely service in what I suppose could be called the family church. My grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles all got married there. We were christened there and it was where my dad and grandad had their funeral service. As is usual at these events it was a chance to meet up with relatives who sadly we only seem to bump into at funerals these days. It doesn't help that nobody seems to get married any more so we don't tend to meet up under anything other than sad circumstances.

We've just got in and I'm having an hour before I'm off out again to meet my friends for our end of term catch up. I'm looking forward to it actually. I could do with a good chat and a bit of lightheartedness and the only tears I want to be shedding tonight are tears of laughter. 

   Taken in his first term in                                        Taken on his last day of primary
      reception class 2010                                                             19.7.2017


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Photo 50

I'm feeling back to normal today thank goodness. One day of dragging myself around is more than enough for me.

Not that I've had to drag myself anywhere today as it's been one of those days where I never seem to have been out of the car. 

First was a trip to the doctors for an appointment Amy had. Next was a trip to Sainsburys which was a waste of time as I couldn't find what I was looking for, then it was down to Middleton to drop Amy at work, then back down to Middleton to pick her up. Mark got Thomas so at least that was one journey I didn't have to do. 

Thomas asked for an autograph book this morning at 8.40am! I can conjure up a lot of things at the last minute but an autograph book isn't one of them. Not that it mattered because he said a shirt would be fine. That I did manage to come up with. It was for him to take into school for teachers and friends to sign.

I remember Amy doing this and I've also signed a fair few myself in my school office days. 

I vaguely remember taking an autograph book into school on my last day of primary and getting it signed. In High School up here throwing flour and eggs at each other seemed to be the speciality, while down South they were much more refined and ties were tied to the school railings and set on fire!

Miss Bevan was his Y3 teacher and we'll always remember her. Mrs Greenwood is his TA and the message she wrote was lovely.

Anybody remember doing anything similar on their last day of school?