Thursday 30 December 2010

New Year approaches

Well as the New Year approaches I thought it would be a good idea to sweep away the old one.  Mick is back at work while I have the rest of the week off while using up the remainder of my holiday allowance.

So there I was yesterday cleaning and sorting out with a vengence.  Anything that was no longer useful was being cleared away and put out with the rubbish or bagged up to go to the charity shops.

I cannot believe it took the whole day to clear out my lounge!  I must admit that I went through every single cupboard and cleaned everything - but a whole day!

It is surprising what you gather over time but I was ruthless - if I hadn't used it or didn't particularly like it then out it went.

By the end of the day I have to admit that I felt shattered and was aching all over.  All I longed for was a nice soak in a hot bath but no, the boiler has now decided not to give us any hot water.  Not quite the same just having a strip wash with a kettle full of water!

This morning I am up and ready to continue with the onslaught but I think it will be a little less zealous as my back aches and feels stiff - oh the joy of getting older :-)

Monday 27 December 2010

More Celebrations

A great day was had at mum's.

 Stefan, contemplating life.

 Stefan & Katie

 In his 96th year Stanley still enjoys family around.

 Mum at 84 is already thinking about a family party for her 90th!

 Kelly, Katie, Paul, Mick & Stefan

 This is four generations of females - shame I was looking down at the time!

 Couldn't leave the men out!

Me & Stef

No doubt Mum & Stanley are dozing in front of the TV now that we've come home.  I bet the place seems quiet now!

It was a great day and always a little sad when you leave.  We only get to see Mum two or three times a year and although she says it was her choice to move to the seaside I know she misses us when we go home.

Lovely day.

Thursday 23 December 2010

RSS Feeds

Well I'm trying to get the hang of RSS feeds.  I've got my forum set up and running well but my webstore is proving to be a little difficult.

You know the saying about trying to run before you can walk?  Well I guess that's what I'm trying to do, but all I want to do is link my webstore to its Facebook Page.  Is that asking too much :-)

Sunday 19 December 2010

Well the snow didn't ruin our party

Well we made it - just!

We had a great day.  All the food I had prepared was put to use and the snow just added to the party atmosphere.

Great fun!

Saturday 18 December 2010

Is Christmas on or off?

Well it is the day before the family all come over.  I am in the kitchen cooking goodies and preparing what can be done the day before.

I have my Christmas music playing in the background while I test out the new music I've downloaded and all the time I'm looking out the window wondering whether the Christmas party get together will be on or off!

With the UK on severe snow alert and with a light dusting already having fallen I'm wondering whether tomorrow I will awake to find us under 20" of snow again, or not.

While the snow definitely gives a romantic Christmas look to the country the reality of snow means that people cannot travel or get out and about.

If the kids can't get over tomorrow then I won't see them until after Christmas.  Not quite the same!

Already the country is in bother with Christmas cards and gifts stuck in the post office sorting offices or on courier vans.

I know Christmas is not about presents but it is about families and whereas in days gone by families lived close by one another these days everyone is spread all over the country - and other countries - and a hell of a lot of people will be spending Christmas apart.

As I write this I can see the start of the snow falling; only very light at the moment; and I hope that above all those that are travelling in these hazardous conditions reach their destinations safely.

This year the weather has really been bad - in all countries - and it feels more like we are heading for a new Ice Age not global warming!

Oh well back on with the cooking - que sera - the weather I can't control. 

If I don't get back on before Christmas may I say a Happy Christmas to all who read my blog and Feliz Navidad to all my Spanish friends xx

Monday 13 December 2010

Some People!

Well my other half has been off work for a couple of days with the flu.  He was laid up in bed and he hasn't eaten hardly at all.

Did his company care?

Well they did phone to make sure he would be back at work today and just to welcome him back they gave him a job that meant he had to get up at 3 am this morning and he didn't get back home until 6 pm tonight!  Very caring indeed...

When I got home from work I was greeted by him saying how he wished we could just sell up and go off in our trailer.  Very tempting I must agree but I did explain that what happened if we got to a point where one or the other of us was unable to continue 'on the road'.  We would have spent all the money we got for our house and would have nowhere to live!

Must admit to be tempted at times though :-)

I think "on the road again" must be our favourite song...

Sunday 12 December 2010

Christmas is a time for celebration, family & remembering.

Now that the snow has cleared everyone is rushing about trying to get done all those things that should have been done before.

Christmas is creeping up on us rapidly – the amount of Christmas lunches goes to prove that!

Now in our family as we have so many children/grandchildren all trying to fit in everyone over the two days holiday that they get we have always had our get together the weekend before Christmas.  This year it falls on Sunday 19th December – next weekend!

So this weekend I’ve been gathering together lists of everything I need to get for the buffet that I put on.  It has to be a buffet nowadays as with 9 grandchildren and 10 adults I no longer have a table (or a room) big enough to sit us down to a meal!

With Mick off sick with the flu we haven’t even had the opportunity to go to Iceland and get a load of frozen goodies so it is all buy it online with my weekly shopping or make it myself.

Add to that the clear up of the house and getting the boiler fixed (why do they always break down when you don’t want them to!) and this weekend has been rather chaotic.

As I ploughed my way through my old box from years gone by which houses the remnants of Christmas paper, cards & lists left over, I decided to have a clear out of all the old lists. 

Then I changed my mind.

There were the lists from 2000 onwards which showed all the presents bought and cards sent, food prepared and rough menus.  In those days we still all sat round the table on Boxing Day :-)

Then we moved on and I saw when I started to move onto the buffets and weekends before.

Then I came across another one, and as I sat here listening to an old CD of ‘oldies’ from the 50’s, 60’s I wondered why on this list I suddenly had a menu for Christmas Day dinner as well as pre-Christmas buffet.  Looking at the date scribbled on the back I realised it was Christmas after Dora (my dad’s wife) had died.  That Christmas my dad came to stay with us for Christmas dinner.

I looked at the lists again and I noticed how as the years have gone by that names have been scratched out.  Whether by leaving us from the passing of this world to the next or by a removal from our lives when jobs and circumstances have changed.

Yes Christmas is a time for family and remembering.  Remembering all those that came and went from our lives.  That for a short while made a mark on our lives and for being grateful for all we have had, all we have and all we will have in the future – and that is not meant on a material level.

Monday 6 December 2010

Leave the title for now - Complaints

I'm not quite sure how to title this one.

I sometimes think I come from a different planet!

Today the 'girls' from work went out for a pre Christmas lunch.  The menu was a standard Christmas menu with starter, main course and dessert and a glass of mullled wine.  Total cost £21 per head.

You had a choice of starter and dessert and the main course was a turkey dinner with trimmings.

The starter I opted for was the goats cheese on a flaky pastry with rocket - it was lovely.

The main course (of much contention) was turkey, brussels, carrot, parsnip & potato with a splash of gravy.

This is what caused the most complaints.  Where were the roast potatoes?  Where was the stuffing?  Where was the sausage?

They complained so much that someone in charge came to the table and offered free desserts and still they were not satisfied,  They ended up giving us two free bottles of wine as well.

The comments continued with regard to the dessert (oh well the chef didn't make them so there was no problem) etc etc.

I have to admit to cringing rather a lot and having a desire to tell the chef that I was not complaining about his food - after all you go for cordon bleu type food and that's what you get.  It just left me feeling embarrased about being with the group.

Am I wrong and should you complain?  All I know is that I felt that for £21 the three course meal was sufficient,  I am sure that those living in countries without food would have been only too pleased to have eaten what we did.

Should you complain?  I don't know.  All I know is that I felt uncomfortable.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Snow Pics

Just a few pics taken this morning.  It doesn't look as bad as it really is when you are trying to walk in it.  In fact it looks quite pretty :-)

Absolute Chaos!

Well my birthday has started with a bang this year!

For those of you who don't know England is under an enormous blanket of snow.  Last night I had to get the train (instead of coach) home from London.  The train only got me part of the way and then we got chucked off because it wasn't going any further.  I was then faced with an 8.5 mile walk from Dartford to Gravesend through, at times, up to 8" of snow.  Doesn't sound a lot but it sure is hard going on the legs and feet.

So there I was, just verging on my 57th birthday, walking home through snow for 8.5 miles!!!  Well I now realise why people curl up and die when lost or stranded in the snow.  There were times when I really didn't think I could walk any further and all I wanted to do was sit down and curl up under a tree.  However with sheer bloody mindedness and determination I made it.  I mean I wasn't going to give in!  I used to walk that far in my youth - but then I am talking about 40 years ago!

Helped along by the occasional passer by who was also walking and would actually say "good evening" when at other times would ignore you completely I plodded on.  At one time there was just me and a little finch that was flying in the same direction and would "beep beep" at me as it flew from post to post.

Well it certainly was an experience and by the end of it I could hardly move one foot in front of the other and upon reaching my house I had to climb up the stairs on all fours as my feet and legs just wouldn't take another step.

How do these marathon runners do it? 

Anyway today I'm sitting indoors with a central heating system that has decided to play up - but at the moment it is warm - and I have repaid the birds by sinking a foot deep in snow to clamber out to the tree in the garden and put some food out for them.

Crazy isn't it!