Tuesday, 30 September 2008

surfacing... for a moment

As you may have spotted there have been lots of jokes and inspirational stuff but not much of me.

I have been up to my eyes in work, socialising and generally being very busy. All positive stuff and positive stress. But no time to write really...

University starts again tomorrow which will gently propel me back into a more bookish and reflective frame of mind. I do miss the blogging, both my own and reading other people's, and look forward to designing in more time to do it again soon. I miss you all!

It's the same with pals isn't it? Sometimes it's hard to catch up. The main thing is to let people know you are thinking about them, missing them and sending positive warm wishes across the airwaves.

What has been taking up my time? The business is very busy ( and thank God for that especially in current troubled times) and I have some big projects on. I am back over in the North East quite a bit with clients that I love working with. We are planning to move into offices soon ( we need the spare room and the kitchen table back again...) which is really exciting and are looking for an administrator to organise us.

I have been researching and investigating a new diet plan for November ( after my hols end October), running round after teenager and his various sporting adventures, seeing good friends ( my friend B is emigrating to Seattle soon and she came to see me at the weekend to say goodbye.... I will miss her but will enjoy visiting in May next year- exciting...) and trying to keep the house in order!.
It's all go!! On Monday I am off to Corbridge again for three nights... and taking mum along. She needs cheering up: Jonny Wilkinson has a dislocated knee and maybe out of rugby til Christmas. Damn shame- he's a great player and wonderful eye candy too. The Falcons will really miss him. Check out Jonny's fab new book ' Tackling Life' -it's great stuff.

The wolf

An old Cherokee chief teaching his grandson about life.

''A terrible fight is going on inside me. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person too.
It is a fight between two wolves.
The first wolf speaks to me of evil--anger, guilt.shame,envy,resentment,self-pity,dishonesty,self-doubt and ego.
The other wolf speaks to me of good--joy,peace,love,serenity,self-confidence,courage,kindness,humility,generosity,truth,compassion and faith.
Wide-eyed,the young boy thought about this, then asked his grandfather:"But which wolf will win?"
The old chief simply replied,"The one I feed."

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Wedding Fairy

A married couple in their early 60s was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in a quiet, romantic little restaurant. Suddenly, a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their table. She said, 'For being such an exemplary married couple and for being loving to each other for all this time, I will grant you each a wish.' The wife answered, 'Oh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband.' The fai ry waved her magic wand and - poof! - two tickets for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands. The husband thought for a moment: 'Well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again. I'm sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me.' The wife, and the fairy, were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish. So the fairy waved her magic wand and poof!...the husband became 92 yearsold. The moral of this story: Men who are ungrateful bastards should remember fairies are female......

Superb- enjoy. The next survivor series.

I have pinched this off another blog ( and have written to grovel for forgiveness and permission. Here is where I pinched it from and its a great read. Hello to Family Affairs, and thanks for a great entry. I thoroughly recommend my readers to pop in...


THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIES Six men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks. Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes. They will also attend cubs, brownies, sea cadets or similar.There is no fast food. Each man must:take care of his 3 children, keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, also, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' billswith not enough money. In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week. Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time--no emailing. Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to A & E He must also make gingerbread men or choc chip cakes for a social function. Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times. The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done. The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn themselves with jewellery, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed. During one of the six weeks,the men will have to endure severe abdominal pain, persistent lower back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings, but never once complain orslow down from other duties. They must attend weekly school meetings, concerts & plays, church, and find time at least once a week, to spend the afternoon in the park or a similar setting. They will need to read a book to the kids each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am. A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight,shoe size, clothes size, teachers name, best friends name and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, time of birth, and length of labour, each child's favourite colour, middle name, favourite snack, favourite song, favourite drink, favourite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up. The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouseat a moment's notice. If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right To be called Mother!

Noah today

Noah Today. Too funny - and sadly, too true!

Click here: NOAH TODAY...

Saturday, 27 September 2008


The Magic – Jim Rohn
You see the real difference is inside you. In fact, the difference IS you. Someone once said, “The magic is not in the products. The magic is not in the literature. The magic is not in the film. There isn’t a magic meeting, but the magic that makes things better is inside you, and personal growth makes this magic work for you.
The magic is in believing. The magic is in daring. The magic is in trying. The real magic is in persevering. The magic is in accepting. It’s in working. The magic is in thinking. There is magic in a handshake. There is magic in a smile. There is magic in excitement and determination. There is real magic in compassion and caring and sharing. There is unusual magic in strong feeling and you see, all that comes from inside, not outside. So, the difference is inside you. The real difference is you. You are the major key to your better future.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Love me tender....

There is nothing romantic about completing tender documents, the way that the public sector does its procurement these days. While the system is supposed to be more open, and fairer ( now everyone can have a go, type of thing) it is, in fact, closed and unfair because of the entry criteria to bid ( know prettily as pre-qualification) and then the draconian documents that have to be completed if you are 'lucky' enough to be given the green light to complete the document. Having slaved through a bureaucratic and complex process with no idea of budget parameters, and often working to a brief that has often clearly been drawn up on the back of fag packet, you are often told that 'your bid has been unsuccessful', with no other feedback available.

I have never met another living soul who thinks the process is a positive and fair one. Why the swathes of bureaucracy and burning hoops of fire, I wouldn't like to say. Jobs for the boys and girls perhaps?

Why do it? It is becoming the only way to get any substantive business in the public sector: billions of pounds of budget is now only available through a tender process. Some pieces of business are put out to tender with budgets of less than a thousand pounds! You can spend that in time taken to bid. Bizarre.

Anyway, the one we have done was big enough to warrant a gallon of midnight oil and a couple of fevered brows. Other half has 'uploaded' all ten billion constituent documents onto the 'portal' ( without his technical knowledge I wouldn't know where to begin) and now we can only wait with baited breath. Apparently seventy assessors are waiting to assess all the expected uploaded documents: their wages are paid by our taxes ladies and gents. Cancer drug debate and straining NHS budgets: look no further!

It has been to have a rant and rave- thanks for listening. Since I only got five hours sleep last night to get the deadline finished I am now going to watch Desperate Housewives, and then go to bed with a magazine and a cuppa. I might even fit in a leisurely swim before collecting teenager at six.

The joys of being self employed.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

What kind of a mother are you?

It has been an interesting week to consider motherhood. On Friday I met a delightful lady at a networking event. She had a successful career in merchant banking before moving up to Cumbria for her husband's job, and starting a family. She now has small children and clearly finds the whole experience very stressful even though she clearly loves both kids to bits. She feels a bit like a fish out of water, and struggles to find fulfilment in the sandpit, paint tray and toddler club. The result: the dreaded G word. Guilt.

We traded stories about our early years experiences, and I it reminded me of how far I have travelled since that time in my own life, where I found motherhood like a different planet. I hadn't ruled kids in or out and it wasn't until I met other half that I seriously considered a baby as an option. This was at the grand old age of twenty seven. Until then I was a career girl: successful, ambitious and confident in my work.

I went to an all girls school where qualifications and careers were the order of the day. We talked about marriage 'one day perhaps' but kitchen and potty issues were never mentioned. We were focussed on qualifications, university and the career ladder. Articulate, focussed and confident we blazed a trail across the professional landscape....

So... when the pregnancy test proved positive and the bump started to grow, I was jettisoned into a different world... and it felt really odd. I was excited and thrilled but daunted and puzzled. Where would I start? What sort of my mother would I be? Could I make a success of it? The most important customer of my life- would I make the grade?

Well I suppose the one to ask would be teenager and I have come to the conclusion that he is the only one that matters in all this really. I used to worry about what people would say about my baby. Was I looking after him properly, feeding him properly, keeping him clean, was I playing enough, reading enough, making him nutritious and healthy food etc?

All I can say to him, and to any interested onlooker: I did my very best. In the world of NLP we talk about 'people doing the best with the resources they have got'. And I did. I really tried. And it didn't come naturally to me. But I tried and I did the best with the resources I had.

I will never be described as an earth mother.I really admire people with those skills and I would defend their right to be stay at home mums with a vengeance. I think it is an important and valuable job. But is wasn't for me, and I have ( finally ) come to terms with it.

Circumstances would have made it hard for me not to continue my work and my development. A lot of mums are in this position I think. The truth is even if circumstances would allowed it, I wouldn't have honoured myself and my gifts if I hadn't had my work. I have never been a domesticated person, and my patience with small children is very limited. I was so fortunate to have loving and patient grandparents on hand to play and read stories when I worked, and I felt happy to do it when I had the opportunity, knowing that I was being true to my own strengths and goals.

I may not have chosen to stay at home, making home made food, playing and creating. I was able to do some of this, but too much of it would have been frustrating for the whole family including toddler. It would not have brought out the best in me, and therefore not in my son.

I have been thinking about what sort of a mother I have been. I think the best gift I have given teenager is a lot of love and support ( and I bet most mums will put their hands up to that one), and opportunities. If he never walked out the house again he has experienced and seen more things than most people see in a lifetime. He has travelled widely, been to a lot of fabulous sports events, has learnt how to sail, ride, swim long distances. kayak, play in football and rugby teams, and even go to a baseball camp in Chicago! Next year he goes to Melbourne in Australia for ten weeks on a school exchange: something he has wanted to do for a long time now. He is looking forward to it with confidence and excitement.

Confidence, independence and a curious, loving spirit were my goals for my child.

For me: it doesn't get better than that.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Saturday and being an early bird

I am up early again- slept til four then the eyes shot open! I can go back to sleep later: Saturday is lie in day ( sometimes).
Tomorrow teenager has a rugby match somewhere in the hinterlands of Cumbria. My mum and I are taking him, so it will be up and at 'em by eight.
I do like to be up early in the morning- anyone else the same? My brain is in a good place, fresh and creative, and there are no interruptions. I am definitely a morning person and always have been. When my pals were getting ready to go clubbing, I was stirring the hot chocolate and heading for the duvet.

Like to catch up on recorded tv in the early hours too. Have just watched the first episode of ' Tess of the D'urbervilles, the new BBC production. Nicely shot but it is SO depressing...have decided not to continue watching it... I loved the book but don't think I can bear watching the serial.

Anyone else watching the Tudors? Jury is out on this one for me. It all seems very modern looking : the actors look very 21st century, like people dressed up to look like kings, queens and courtiers... and I suppose the idea is you get past that and become submerged in the atmosphere and it isn't working for me at least.

On the subject of Henry 8th I finally saw ' the other boleyn girl' the other night when staying in the hotel. I enjoyed it but it isn't a patch on the book ( sorry cliche time!). If you haven't ready it, I strongly recommend it. The author is Phillipa Gregory.

a joke to cheer us up in these challenging times!

SPANISH Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

'House' for instance, is feminine: 'la casa.'

'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'

A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?'

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselveswhether computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ('el computador'), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

pampered pet

( On the right - when I win the lottery or clinch that deal.... the Jaguar FX)

I will declare my shameful behaviour on my blog! I accept that I have become a pampered pet where cars are concerned.

My car is currently snuggled in the garage with the engineer trying to sort out a recurring gear box problem. While he is taxing his brain, I have a courtesy car for my business trip this week.

Those who know me know that I love cars. When I win the lottery ( note: positive mental attitude) I will sit down and a)be sensible about investing and b) philanthropic in intent ONCE I have been to the garage to buy a new state of the art sleek sexy fast Jaguar sports car ( top of the range, leather, wooden steering wheel, ). Sigh. Anyway...

I don't understand people who say ' a car is just a thing to get you from A to B.... not in my model of the world it isn't...........
I am in a courtesy car, and sulking. I have no sat nav ( and in strange places all week), no heated seats ( this should be a mandatory requirement by law in cars), no handsfree bluetooth carphone set ( and hence no chatting to pals while driving), no folding mirrors when driving on tight narrow country roads, no charger for phone and ipod..... need I go on? Anyway, I admit I may sound a bit like Paris Hilton and sorry if you want to slap me.
In my defence I do drive a lot (but nowhere near as much as I used to) and I have got used to the car being the second home and all that. At least they have given me a cd player, aircon and seriously good acceleration. Without this I would be ( even more) unbearable.

A girl has to have her pleasures.......

Monday, 15 September 2008

Hell does freeze over- I have returned to the gym! Other half and I decided we had to get a grip. He said ' I am coming round to the idea of exercise again', and I said ' what about right now?'. I don't think he was expecting that one...
When we realised we had no legitimate excuse for not going, it was out with the gym bags, passes, trainers et al, and off we went. I really enjoyed it: I was cross training and watching Noel's HQ at the same time....
We have these swanky machines with head phones and tv screens with Sky tv, and a key which we put in each machine which tells us what our programme is and what we should be doing next.... ( and when we haven't done enough ... or at the right weight and so forth...). It is hard to skive, but easier than when I went to a personal trainer up the road. He is very strict but boy does he get results. Teenager goes to him for rugby training and he is is excellent.
Thankfully Doc says I am not quite ready for the rigours of personal training yet so I go to the gym and do a programme fit for a ninety year old. Still, it's better than nowt eh? Other Half has no such excuse but he seemed to be working out really hard: no headphones and tv for him. He is in the zone. He hasn't put on any weight since he last week. Hmmph. Considering the amount of Ben and Jerry's and Oreos that he has consumed this summer I think there is no justice in this world.
I feel virtuous today having been last night and I am considering going again tonight for a leisurely swim. I am staying in a hotel for a couple of nights Tuesday and Wednesday and that has a pool and gym too, so no excuses....

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Kendal Torch Light Procession

Hope you like the montage photo of the Torchlight procession- not my own work- I found it on the internet. I do have some photos of my own but they are rather dark.

Teenager went off on his own with pals after a pizza with mum and dad ( we have uses) and other half and I watched the procession from our vantage point on the high street. Well done to everyone who took part- a community occasion for great causes: CancerCare, St Mary's Hospice, Derian House Children's Hospice and Bay Search and Rescue. Hope they raised a ton of money.

Pity about some of the drunken behaviour of the idiot minority ( there were a couple of arrests). I am afraid the event clashed with the usual Saturday night 'festivities' in Kendal but the police seemed to be keeping a close eye: shame they have to isn't it?

Saturday, 13 September 2008


It is all suddenly dawning on me.Teenager isn't just growing up height wise, he is growing up full stop.
Last night he was at his friend's birthday sleepover. Other half and I had relaxing meal out at http://www.jerichos.co.uk/ in Windermere ( food bloggers- take a look at the menu) and walked back back down the hill to Bowness. Picture above- it's a restaurant with rooms...

Teenager turns up at eleven am and starts talking about going to the Kendal Torchlight Procession. Something that happens every year and we have never been. Shameful.

Turns out he would like to meet his pals,but how can he get there and back? He is capable of getting the train in, but I am unconvinced that he is old enough yet to be there later in the evening ( in the dark...) pals or not, especially with big crowds there (and apparently no trains back because of track maintenance...). Don't mention buses ( public transport in this area is few and far between).

So Pa Kettle and I are taking him in where he can go off and 'hang' with his pals, and we will be ready to take him back when he is ready later on post torches et al. We will work hard to stay out of sight so as not to intrude or embarrass ( I suspect we are at that stage now).... but near enough in case resources of some sort are needed..... All I need to do is persuade OH to drive back so I can partake of the grape ...and let's hope we can get parked. Since we are going to be there, we will take a look at proceedings and see what it is all about.

Will let you know if it's worth it.

Meanwhile: Kevin Keegan was talking to Toon owner Mike Ashley ( cue pantomime hissing and booing) yesterday but the talks were fruitless. The fans are protesting outside St James' park today... I hope Ashley doesn't turn up at the ground for the sake of his health. We still have no manager it it appears the Board might be trying to tempt King Kev back. I wonder what his terms are... very curious.

Pillow Talk

Sigh! Up at all hours - woke up about half two am, hot and increasingly restless. Back in bed with other half after my single bed week in Corbridge so can't put the light on to read for ten minutes, or thrash around like a dervish...so I am up, watching the news about Hurricane Ike, and looking at my blog. Looking at the pictures from Galveston in Texas as the weather gets worse, and all those poor folk trying to get away on blocked roads. It looks awful and I can't imagine how stressful it must be for those affected. I am praying for everyone who is stuck over there in the thick of the storm.

Also watching people stranded by the crash of travel company Excel. What a nightmare, especially the lady who had paid thousands and thousands for her family to go to Disneyland in Orlando, to join her for her wedding. She is so devasted I found it hard to watch. She thinks she has lost everything. There are an estimated 90,000 people stranded all over the world. I wonder what happens to people who don't have the money to get flights back home...mmhh... scarey thought.

Weather here seems to have settled for a while and it is lovely to be able to walk about without rain coats. There are a lot of people here at Windermere for tomorrow's great north swim... apparently over 2000 people are swimming in lake Windermere- mainly for charity. I don't know much about it so need to read up about it tomorrow. Apparently there at a few GB Olympians swimming too.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Consett, McDonalds again, and Steve Bates

My new office: Consett McDonalds. Already finished my first coffee, and thinking about another. Enjoying the total peace of answering emails and looking at blogs: it was worth the very early start to have a good hour of air time. Once I have finished work I usually feel disinclined to get the computer out: too busy contemplating my evening glass of wine ( anyone out their counting my units- hope not?).

Thought I would treat you all to a shot of Consett. It is very high up and remote, but the town itself is growing every time I visit.

Had a very exciting moment last night. Pulling up outside our cottage in Corbridge I spotted Steve Bates ( Newcastle Falcons Director of Rugby) walking past with his dog. I spied his English Rugby rose on his raincoat. I said hello and hope he spotted my Falcons car sticker. Apparently he lives locally. He looked a little glum ( perhaps because he thought I was going to mow him down on the pavement) : the Falcons have an uphill struggle to get up the table this season, but I have every confidence in him, and then.
Had a lovely meal in the Black Bull in Corbridge:I recommend it. Staff were very friendly. Lamb shank, mash and fresh veg washed down with merlot. Great stuff!

Good to see an England win last night, boys watched it in the local pub in Bowness. Mum and I couldn't access it so kept getting texts about the score from teenager. Let's hope they can keep it going.... we need them to qualify.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Consett McDonalds, Wi-Fi, Blue Skies and off to work

Hi folks
Just a quick post on the way to sunny ( yes-it is today) Crook in County Durham. You can see Crook on the previous post on the map. It is very high up! Not too far from Corbridge where I am staying, in the wilds of County Durham.

My dad was born in this area, in Stanley, and I like visiting Durham because I feel as if a piece of me belongs here. He was brought up in Tanfield Lea. Sadly I am not in touch with any of his family ( if there are any here) so I have no-one to visit. I intend to do much more research into the family tree when I have some time ( famous last words?).

I couldn't get access when I first arrived : they had forgotten to switch the router on. Maybe there isn't a great demand for it in this branch yet! Anyway, I had collected enough coffee points on my little card to get a free cappucino: how cool is that? Simple pleasures- and yes-I probably need to get out more!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

McDonalds in Newcastle for free WI- FI

Hi folks
Have just jetted into a McDonald's in Newcastle to check my emails and blog. Can't say it would be a venue of choice but it does free Wi- Fi now and the coffee is pretty good ( surprisingly!). It costs £5 per hour for internet access in Starbucks. I love Starbucks but £5 an hour?? I am sure they will change their policy soon when they realise loads of places are offering the service free ( such as Costas). Have the irritation of receiving emails but not being able to send them - something horribly technical to do with the server apparently.

Need to go to PC World to get it sussed out- groan. I hate going there.

Week is going well even though there has been a few schedule changes. It goes with the territory with this job though it can be frustrating. Corbridge cottage is lovely- much better than the other one I talked about on a previous listing. Very central, very comfortable and cosy. More about it when I have time. We have eaten out a couple of times so far- in the local chinese ( Artisam) and at a local pub, The Golden Lion.
Weather is horrible. Ok yesterday ( we even saw some sunshine!!) but raining and dark again today. I feel so sorry for Morpeth up the road- they have experienced some seriously bad flooding.
Off to Corbridge to meet up with mum - a restful afternoon ahead
( Ps- rumours flying around about Newcastle United). An Indian Billionaire ( sixth richest man in the world!!??) might be buying- I hope he does!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

It maybe a while

I am off to Corbridge again today, folks. I will be there until Friday working in County Durham. Mum and I have taken a little cottage in the middle of the village centre. She can potter round the village ( there is plenty to do) while I whizz off to work during the day. In the evening we can drink wine and chat about the day. It means I don't have a lot of commuting to do back and forth from here ( especially in this weather) and I have company in the evenings ( someone to rant and rave at about the day- mum is a great audience and a good listener).

I am not sure how much internet access I will have. I will be darting into wi-fi access coffee lounges when I can to check work stuff, but won't have a lot of time to blog. I might be even be called a 'blog-slacker', which is a great new term I got from my friend TM who I know from university!
I think you might find me in the above pub most evenings or in the lovely Valley indian restaurant ( see earlier listing for link) - see you there!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Up at six, Alton Towers and the wind howls.....

On the right: a map of Alton Towers Theme Park

.... and the rain still comes down ( in case you were wondering). I know from comments on the blog ( thanks folks- I love to see them) and from emails that I am getting, that others in Europe and in some parts of the US can't believe how awful the weather is here - especially in regards to us needing the heating on! I feel the same. Even some of my stalwart ' we wear fleeces in our house- I would never dream of putting the heating on til mid December' type of friends and acquaintances are admitting to a blast of the warm stuff first thing in the mornings to help inspire the kids out of beds for school.

However, it only takes a look at what other parts of the world are having to face in terms of nature, and it makes me realise how lucky we really are. I am irritated and sometimes glum because of the weather, but never frightened by the prospects of it affecting my safety or security. Anyone who is out there in that position- my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Son and heir is off to Alton Towers for the day. For those readers who live in the UK you will be now groaning and sighing. For those who are outside the UK here is the link.

It's a theme park! The school ( bless them) take pupils from year seven, eight and nine there every year at this time. Those teachers need a medal. I have been once and thought it was mightly disappointing. A few reasons: first I don't go on rides these days because they make me as sick as a dog! Secondly, I have been to the wonderfully presented and imaginative Disneyland in Orlando in the hot sun ( and it can't be beaten) and thirdly because every theme park I have been to in UK is a grim, grimy unimaginative affair which borders in varying degrees on tacky. This could be seen as a challenge for some to prove me wrong but before you start I have been to Blackpool Pleasure Beach ( forty five minutes from us and a regular fave of teenager), Thorpe Park ( hideous), M and D's in Glasgow ( hideous), Camelot ( hideous), Lightwater valley ( ok-ish for smaller kids, but I went over five years ago so not sure now) and Flamingo Land ( which surprisingly was the best of all in my humble opinion).
It really irritates me that for some of them ( for example Thorpe Park) you have to pay to get in even if you have no intention on riding on anything. I think that is ludicrous and profiteering. All it needs is an arm band system ( such as Blackpool) and they can differentiate from the rider and non rider. I think there should be a spectator fee ( even half price would be better). I appreciate they don't have such a system as Disney, but rider or not, there is lots to do,see and enjoy ( parades, shows, gardens, little trains, displays etc) for the non- rider.
Anyway, Alton Towers is enormously popular so lots of folk obviously disagree and I can see the appeal for teenagers ... ( I know, I sound ancient). I am very glad not to be there, and happy to go into Kendal now for new glasses ( of the reading variety) and black ankle boots for the autumn. Simple pleasures...

Friday, 5 September 2008

Gone but not forgotten, and the rain comes down

I think the weather today reflects the mood of all of the Toon Army supporters: grey and gloomy. Keegan has resigned and we are looking for another manager. Anyone else prepared to drink out of the poisoned chalice?
I won't say another word about it. Fed up!
I would like to say that despite it all the weather has improved but that would be a large porky pie ( lie). Other half and I did roam around the block last night and it was ( briefly) warm and still and ( most importantly) dry. It was a real delight. We were clearing our respective heads from a day of relentless proposal writing and bids, and after an hour we felt much better. There were lots of lovely sail boats on the lake ( looked like kids under instruction) and a few tourists buzzing about admiring the fabulous views.
Today, however, it looks pretty much as per above. Very wet, very dark... and the central heating is on. We have braved it out the whole summer and have finally cracked. It is too miserable to put up with being chilled a moment longer. I feel sorry for people who won't be able to afford to put the heating on at all this winter because of the soaring fuel prices, especially the elderly, sick and those with small children. It must be such a worry for them.
We have decided to have a real fire in the winter most nights and try to keep the heating down in the rest of the house. I love autumn winter nights when the candles are lit, and the fire is burning and we are all sitting cosy together.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

He's still there- the drama continues...

First of all, apologies to those of you who are reading from far away- bear with me. Soon I will be back to all things Lake District.
Excuse the continued references to football ( soccer). There is a big drama about our team manager and whether he is staying or going.
As Bill Shankly said:
'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'
My own view ( and I suppose that is what blogs are all about eh?) is that Mike Ashley ( NUFC owner) looked out the window of his office at St James' park, and realised that the fans were about to dismantle it brick by brick, and decided to think again about his decision to sack...
He won't sack ( too expensive) and Kevin won't resign... so the state of play is lawyers making more money and stalemate.
And the fans do what they do best.... sigh and wait.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

King Kev- sacked!

Can I believe these forty three year old ears.... a life-long fan with the patience of a saint ( we are all patient as members of the Toon Army- it's party of the entry criteria )?

They have sacked Kevin Keegan.

I don't know the in's and out's and apparently it's not official- but if it is true all I can say- DOES ANYONE EVER GIVE THE FANS A THOUGHT IN THESE PLACES?

Monday, 1 September 2008

name tags, school shoes, and do the trousers still fit?

Yes- it's that time of year again, when you realise that your kids have grown at least two inches over the summer.

We are now organising sports bags ( one for rugby, one for watersports, one for football, one for tennis, one for hockey), school bags ( maths set, pencils, water bottle, calculator et al), school shoes and new trousers....

I am off to my wonderful friend A's house. She does my name tags. Mrs Practical I am not. Not even a name tag. She does it for me. It is less painful for everyone. As she says, I have other gifts....

Anyone out there who has more than one child, I really admire you. I find sorting out one quite enough. Sigh