Monday, 28 April 2014


After dropping Thomas off at school Friday morning it was straight on to the vets to have Sparky 'fixed'. All went well and he was home again by 3.30pm. He was a bit quieter than usual and looked very sorry for himself wearing his collar. 
He was supposed to wear it for 3 days. It lasted for an hour. Sometimes we're not very good at following rules here at Number 38. Every time he put his head down it scraped on the floor and scared the living daylights out of  him - he can be a right nervy nellie at the best of times. Thankfully, he's not bothered with the stitches at all and at his check up today, everything was deemed to be fine.

On Saturday the weather was beautiful so we decided to do a bit of outside maintenance. Windowsill washing, sweeping, weeding etc. Mark volunteered to be the weeder just so he could play with his gadget I think. I have to say though it's a gadget that actually works very well. 
Saturday afternoon we went to collect Amy's glasses. She's really pleased with them and was more than happy to take them to school with her. When I asked her how she'd got on with them today she said "Fine. I wore them in History and Megan wore them in German". What's all that about? I know girls share things but ...
On Sunday we had a lazy morning mooching in our PJ's, a big Sunday lunch and then I spent the afternoon watching 'The Help'.

And this morning my friend came round for coffee with her grandson. He's 3 and is so cute. He's just at that stage where imagination play is so much fun with him. I did get a little broody while he was here but to be honest when he'd gone, I have to admit it was quite nice not being at a little person's beck and call anymore. 

As Mark said, sinking down onto the sofa and switching the TV on, "plenty of time for all that again when the grandchildren come along".


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Aftermath of School Holidays

I've spent the last 2 days tidying, sorting and cleaning up the aftermath of Amy & Thomas being on holiday for 2 weeks.

I've had a good clear out of DVD's and books, (again), and have this pile ready for the charity shop.
I'm definitely not a hoarder and rarely re-read a book or re-watch a film. If I do feel the urge I'd rather buy the film or book again than have a huge collection of them in the house gathering dust for years. I very rarely do this so it's not as expensive as it sounds! I did have the urge for Steel Magnolias a few months ago though having last watched it when I was probably in my 20's. I think it cost me £3.99 from e-bay. 

I've also had a go at de-cluttering the shelves. Believe me, they look a lot better than they did. Everything that gets used on a regular basis gets dumped on here along with things that we only need once in a blue moon, such as the plugs for the paddling pool. If I ever 'tidied away' any of this stuff I'd never find it again. It's a case of 'I might not know exactly where such and such is, but it'll be on one of the shelves somewhere'. 

To be truthful, these shelves make me a bit twitchy. I like things minimalistic and tidy so I try not to think about them too much. Thankfully, they are hidden around a corner and I only ever see them when I open the patio doors.

I've also given the bathroom a good clean and shall try and be the first one up there tonight to use it. However, a newly cleaned bathroom is a magnet for Amy to lock herself in there and soak in the bath all evening so I'm not holding out much hope.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Monday

It was the last day of the Easter Holidays today. Amy and Thomas are both back in school tomorrow.

They've spent their last day mooching around the house, getting their final fix of X-box and Nintendo games, and tucking into their Easter Eggs. I think we might have over mentioned their love of maltesers to the family!
Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny no longer exists for Thomas. This is because despite being told not to come back downstairs when I sent him to bed on Saturday, he ignored me and caught me red-handed hiding the mini chocolate eggs the Easter Bunny always brings.

I carried on hiding them though and he spent a fun 10 minutes finding them on Easter Sunday. It took me ages to balance this one on the flowers, but it was worth it. It was the last one he found and we went through all the stages of 'cold, warm, hot, hotter, burning' before he spotted it!
There was no church for us this year, in fact I've not been for a few weeks now. Jealousy, one-upmanship and rudeness are bad enough in people in general, but in church it all seems much worse. 


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Poetry Sunday

Loveliest of Trees the Cherry Now

Alfred Edward Houseman (1859-1936)

Happy Easter


Friday, 18 April 2014

Wine Tasting

I finally decided what to buy my brother for his 40th. Gift vouchers for a wine tasting evening at Manchester Wine School. I've bought double so that his wife can go along too as I always think you need a partner in crime for events like this. 
I really wanted to buy a vineyard tour and wine tasting day, but all the gift experiences I could find were for vineyards down south.

It was a last minute find, but a good one I think. Two hours of wine tasting with some pate, cheeses and bread to sample - in a bid to soak up all the alcohol I expect.

They can choose whatever 'class' they want to go to for themselves. They are held early evenings and range from an Introduction to the world of wine, Exploring France or Discovering Chile & Argentina to name but a few.

As they live near a tram stop and are always popping into Manchester, the drink driving issue won't be a problem either. 

It's the sort of thing he enjoys doing, so hopefully I'm onto a winner with this gift. 


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Food, food & more food

Well, it's been another beautiful sunny day here at Number 38 and it seems to have revolved around food quite a bit.

We took Mark's dad to Bury with us this morning. Those couple of hours out of the house seem to do him the world of good. He treated us all to a full english breakfast in our usual cafe which was lovely.

The market is always super busy and today more so; lots of children with grandparents, although not all the children are on their school holidays yet. 

I bought some lovely yellow roses 
And a new book to read to Thomas at bedtime. Mouse Noses on Toast.
Then this afternoon I took Mum and my niece for coffee and cake to a local hotel where we spent an hour putting the world to rights then another hour trying to decide what I should buy for my brother's 40th this weekend. I'm still not sure.


I'd put a lamb shank in the slow cooker before I left and threw in some vegetables and lentils to make a casserole for tea. There was plenty of meat on here for me and Mark. Amy & Thomas won't eat it, Thomas because he doesn't like the taste, Amy because she's 14 and 'it's a lamb'. I thickened it up and we had it with crusty french bread. It was delicious.
This evening Mark went shooting at the gun club so I let Thomas watch his cartoons on the big TV in the lounge while I went for a soak and a read in the bath. Amy was on Skype talking to her friend she met at camp last year. Everybody doing what they wanted to do. Everybody happy. Bliss.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Eye Tests

It was eye tests today for Amy, Thomas and myself. Last year Thomas had his first test and we discovered he was red and green colour blind which he is actually very proud of!

I remember having hearing and eye tests at school but they don't seem to do this anymore. They do however, take a weight and height measurement in Reception and Year 6. Now, for me as a mere parent, it's easier to see whether my children look too small, too thin or too fat, but I've no idea whether their eyesight and hearing are 100%. Sometimes, the thinking of the 'powers that be' seems completely nonsensical to me.  

The upshot of our appointments is that Thomas has 20/20 vision. I'm still the same, my right eye is fine, but everything out of my left eye is blurred to the point of being unrecognisable. And Amy, bless her, needs her first pair of glasses, which she is quite happy about.

The children's tests were free. Amy's glasses were free as she chose a pair from a certain range, although she could have had any she wanted. My test cost me £25.

If I'd had to pay £25 for all of us plus the cost of glasses I would've done. There are some things at Number 38 where money just doesn't come into the equation. Having our eyes tested and being able to see properly is one of them. 


Sunday, 13 April 2014


I bought this book of poetry while we were in Rhyl.
And whilst I will probably only memorise a couple, (of very short ones), I've picked it up every day and lost myself in love, war, seasons, old age, hopes, dreams, joy and sadness.

Reading through, I know the first couple of lines to some and others I've never heard of before.

I think from now on I will have a poetry Sunday on my blog and this is the first one I've chosen. I've never read it before but don't you think everybody should be distracted from work by birds and butterflies and rainbows?


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Sunshine, Sand Dunes & Seagulls

The weather was kind to us again and although a bit windy, most of the time we had sunshine and blue skies. 

Instead of walking on the beach we decided we'd take a walk through the sand dunes just behind the caravan park.

Me and my boy
 On the boardwalk
 Daddy's Girl
 Blue skies
 Synchronised Waving
According to the information board, the sand dunes are home to many varied and rare species of plants, wildlife and insects, including the marsh orchid flower, little tern bird and the natterjack toad.

We didn't spot any of these but there were plenty of seagulls flying around, who also seemed to like perching on our caravan roof and squawking at an unearthly hour every morning.
I didn't set my alarm once on holiday but was awake by 7am every morning!


Friday, 11 April 2014

Chester Military Museum

We decided we'd go to Chester on the way to Wales as we couldn't get into the caravan until 4pm.

Our destination was the Military Museum. Firstly, because Amy has been learning about WW1 and WW2 at school and secondly, because Thomas loves guns and swords.

It's a tiny museum but packed full of interesting memorabilia and well worth a visit. The historical part including WW1 and WWII makes you think, but when you see photographs of young men who died only 2 or 3 years ago in Afghanistan it makes it all the more poignant.

They both found the trench interesting. 
And Thomas enjoyed shooting the imaginary enemy with the machine gun.
Private Benjamin springs to mind with this photo
And none of us could resist having a go at this
The most expensive things in the museum were 2 fountain pens used when the Japanese signed the surrender. Apparently there are 7 in the world - 5 in America, the remaining 2 in Chester of all places.

I bought myself this little booklet although I won't be trying the recipes for oatmeal sausage, cabbage & rice, tripe or potato shortbread.

We spent a good hour in the museum although without the children I could have spent a lot longer in there reading all the information; and at £8 for the family I'd definitely recommend it.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Easter Hols

Amy & Thomas have broken up from school for Easter, which means 19 days of lie-ins and no making sandwiches. Yipee! Here's Thomas writing his holiday activity list.
Thomas took his scuba diving egg into school and won first prize in his class. The entries were judged by the art teacher and going off some of the eggs, which were fantastic, I'm thinking simplicity won the day!

The hamster escaped from her cage sometime Thursday night. We spent all day Friday looking for her. We moved settees and bookshelves, looked in corners and every nook and cranny we could think of, but no luck.  At 10.30pm we gave up, went to bed and there she was. Just sat on our bedroom floor as bold as brass. I knew they could climb, but I didn't think she'd go all the way upstairs.

Amy  had her first manicure today. Our hairdresser does a loyalty card. For every treatment you get one stamp. Ten stamps = 1 free manicure. The colour she chose matches my kitchen. The first thing she said to us when she came home was "Christina says I can't do anything for a few hours in case they smudge".
Mum came for tea and we all placed  bets on the Grand National. Much to Thomas' delight his horse won. He now has another £25 for the puppy fund. Can you see the tattoos he's drawn on his arms!
Washing and ironing is on the agenda today for our trip to Wales. Matthew is dog sitting although I'm more concerned about the hamster this time!

And here's my 'selfie'. My new hair-do has been somewhat funked up by Amy. Looking good don't you think!


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Decorated Egg

The weekly newsletter came home from school last week, one of the items on it being, 'decorate an egg' competition. 

I've become lazy with this sort of thing and rather than thinking up something creative myself, I went straight to the internet for ideas.

After a quick consultation with Thomas we decided we would use these bits and bobs, which we already had in the house .....
to create this....
Thomas went scuba diving at the leisure centre last summer so not only did it seem easy enough it also seemed appropriate.

Just hope it survives the 7 road humps we have to go over between here and school!