Friday, 31 October 2008

Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge and the Glens

In the UK there is a 'Discover Ireland' advert on tv which shows tourists teetering nervously across a rope swing bridge which is strung up between two rocks. Yesterday we took advantage at the good weather ( at last) and visited. I thought the bridge was great ( the steep steps up and down and the walk there and back my legs were less impressed with). I am not afraid of heights and this was just as well as I had two little girls bouncing on the bridge and swinging it when I was on.

Here is a shot of the mountain goat on the bridge: needless to say he loved it!

As you can see from the above picture, it's not for everyone! I am not too sure Other Half enjoyed it ( a bit like the Belfast wheel- a combination of the height and the swinging in the wind). However, he did it! I think it is 80 ft high and the sea is crashing below on rocks.

The scenery is fabulous! After fish and chips at BallyCastle at Morton's ( fish jumps straight out of the sea I swear it) we drove down the coast and looked at the Antrim glens. Again- wonderful scenery and lovely little villages along the way. Once we got to Larne ( very industrial and not as pretty) we turned round and came back to a home-made chicken dinner. Made by other half using local produce ( organic chicken, local veg etc), it was lovely! I relaxed in the bath as a reward for all the driving, and let the cooking lovely smells waft around.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Giant's Causeway and a mountain goat

This is a picture my mum will feel slightly faint at when she sees it. I certainly did. This is teenager on the rocks, with a drop into the sea just behind him. He loved the Giant's Causeway. He was all over it like a mountain goat. I wanted to strap him in a pushchair like I used to, but at five foot eight I think I would have struggled. I just stayed cool, deciding that the more I fussed the more extreme he might become.

In fairness, he is pretty sensible and his dad was keeping a much closer eye ( and hand) than I was ( he is just outside the shot ready to grab as necessary).

I hope you are getting a sense of the searing cold! I think it would be lovely on a warmer day- lots of good walks around here and rock pools to poke around. I have never been the hardy 'outdoors in every weather' type (at forty four I know myself well enough to know it isn't going to happen now) so it will have to be warmer and less windy for me to venture further than I did.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Freezing in Ireland- the Giant's Causeway

Everyone is talking about it-yes- it's snowing in October. Outrageous- especially when you are on holiday. I expected the weather to be chilly, perhaps a little windy, even a bit wet on some days BUT SNOW?
I brought sturdy shoes, I brought fairly flat black ankles boots but I did not bring wellingtons and thick wooly socks which is what we needed. Especially on the Giant's Causeway.
We went down there today and it was freezing- lovely- but freezing. I vow to go back when it is a little more clement.
It goes without saying- teenager is completely thrilled!

The perfect password

Thanks to Lesley for this one

The 'Perfect Password'

A woman was helping her husband set up his computer, and at the appropriate point in the process, the computer advised him that he would now need to enter a password. Something he will use to log on. The husband was in a rather amorous mood and figured he would try for the shock effect to bring this to his wife's attention. So, when the computer asked him to enter his password, he made it plainly obvious to his wife what he was entering by stating each letter out loud as he typed:P...E...N...I...S His wife fell off her chair laughing when the computer replied: **** PASSWORD REJECTED. NOT LONG ENOUGH***

Things to do in a lifetime

Thanks to Our Red House for this one. I had some holiday fun over coffee filling it in.

If it’s bold , I have… ( and italics for my own notes)

1. Touched an iceberg

2. Slept under the stars ( in a tent- yes- but I hated it. Husband says I fell asleep in the early hours in the garden after a summer party- too much wine perhaps?)

3. Been a part of a hockey fight (no inclination-not happening- ever)

4. Changed a baby’s nappy.

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Swam with wild dolphins

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a tarantula ( not happening-urggh)

10. Said “I love you” and meant it

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise

15. Seen the Northern Lights

16. Gone to a huge sports game

17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables ( does cress count?)

19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Bet on a winning horse

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill ( no way-not when you are self employed)

24. Built a snow castle

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Taken an ice cold bath (why would you?)

28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Ridden a roller coaster

31. Hit a home run ( this would have to be a six or a rounder here)

32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking

33. Adopted an accent for fun

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment

36. Loved your job 90% of the time

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Watched wild whales

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach

41. Gone sky diving

42. Visited Ireland ( we are here now!)

43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant ( this happened to me on a train- someone in the House of Lords apparently bought me dinner)

44. Visited India

45. Bench-pressed your own weight

46. Milked a cow

47. Alphabetized your personal files ( what does this mean???)

48. Ever worn a superhero costume

49. Sung karaoke

50. Lounged around in bed all day

51. Gone scuba diving

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater (in Cape Cod!)

55. Done something you should regret, but don’t ( silly statement- it's all perception anyway)

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Been in a movie ( not a big one!)

60. Gone without food for 3 days

61. Made cookies from scratch

62. Won first prize in a costume contest

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Been in a combat zone

65. Spoken more than one language fluently ( I would love to learn another language fluently)

66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone

67. Bounced a cheque ( Barclays bank once bounced our vat cheque because it would have taken us one pence overdrawn. Peter was a baby. I have never forgiven them)

68. Read - and understood - your credit report

69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy

70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did ( my aunt is really good at finding out this stuff- someone on mum's side invented a lifeboat)

71. Called or written to your MP

72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over ( I moved to London to go to University but I don't think that counts does it?)

73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge/Sydney Harbour Bridge ( alas not but I will do both)

74. Helped an animal give birth

75. Been fired or laid off from a job

76. Won money

77. Broken a bone (in my foot- probably doesn't count?)

78. Ridden a motorcycle ( no no no- I absolutely loathe them)

79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph

80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon ( I would love to do this)

81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing ( only once- I was really ill with flu- Newcastle to London)

82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days (not happening- never)

83. Eaten sushi ( I love it- only really fresh stuff though and sashimi)

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read The Bible cover to cover ( not in one sitting though)

86. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about

87. Got someone fired for their actions ( I sacked someone for swearing at me- does this count?)

88. Gone back to school ( college? Yes! school re-union? Yes!)

89. Changed your name ( when I got married)

90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands

91. Eaten fried green tomatoes

92. Read The Iliad

93. Taught yourself an art from scratch

94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt

96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language

97. Been elected to public office (does being a school prefect count?)

98. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream

99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care

100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you

101. Had a booth at a street fair ( a fair in a train station- sort of outside)

102. Dyed your hair

103. Been a DJ

104. Rocked a baby to sleep

105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all fours

106. Raked your carpet ( what does this mean? Rake?? I have raked a lawn??)

107. Brought out the best in people

108. Brought out the worst in people

109. Worn a mood ring

110. Ridden a horse

111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap

112. Prepared a dish where four people asked for the recipe

113. deleted this one... ( I wonder what is was???)

114. Gone to a Broadway play ( does London West end count?)

115. Been inside the pyramids

116. Shot a basketball into a basket

117. Danced at a disco

118. Played in a band

119. Shot a bird

120. Gone to an arboretum

121. Tutored someone

122. Ridden a train

123. Brought an old fad back into style

124. Eaten caviar

125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need

126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant

127. Published a book ( via school yes- does this count??)

128. Pieced a quilt ( never going to happen- I hate sewing and I can't sew. I love hand-made quilts though- my aunt bought us a couple which I use all the time)

129. Lived in an historic place

130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage

131. Asked for a raise

132. Made a hole-in-one ( on the crazy golf- hey it doesn't specifiy)

133. Gone deep sea fishing

134. Gone roller skating

135. Run a marathon

136. Learned to surf

137. Invented something

138. Flown first class

139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite

140. Flown in a helicopter

141. Visited Africa

142. Sang a solo


144. Learned how to take a compliment

145. Written a love-story

146. Seen Michelangelo’s David

147. Had your portrait painted

148. Written a fan letter

149. Spent the night in something haunted

150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane

151. Ran away

152. Learned to juggle ( not successfully)

153. Been a boss

154. Sat on a jury

155. Lied about your weight

156. Gone on a diet

157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget

158. Written a poem

159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox

160. Got food poisoning

161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission

162. Hiked the Grand Canyon

163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks

164. Gone to the opera

165. Gotten a letter from someone famous

166. Worn knickers ( I don't think it means knickers as I understand them- most people wear them every day in England?)

167. Ridden in a limousine

168. Attended the Olympics

169. Can hula or waltz and polka.

170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books

171. Been stuck in an elevator

172. Had a revelatory dream

173. Thought you might crash in an airplane

174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert

175. Saved someone’s life

176. Eaten raw whale

177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint ( can't think of anything worse)

178. Laughed till your side hurt

179. Straddled the equator

180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing

181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival

182. Sent a message in a bottle

183. Spent the night in a hostel ( absolutely not)

184. Been a cashier

185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt ( have seen lots in Iceland)

186. Joined a union

187. Donated blood or plasma

188. Built a campfire

189. Kept a blog

190. Had hives ( bee? No. Allergic hives? Yes)

191. Worn custom made shoes or boots

192. Made a PowerPoint presentation

193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course ( what is this?)

194. Served at a soup kitchen

195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube

196. Know CPR

197. Ridden in or owned a convertible

198. Found a long lost friend

199. Helped solve a crime

200. Responded to a NJP newsletter ( what on earth is it?)

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Sharing- be careful what you teach your kids

Here is a picture of teenager having a kick around of the ball at Croft Cottages, in a short dry and non windy window of opportunity ( it didn't last long). It was a relief to get him off MY laptop. I only have myself to blame. Wanting to instill a glowing set of values ( fabulous mum award?) I told him about the value of sharing from an early age. Now it comes back to bite me.
He can contact his pals on MSN ( some sort of hideous realtime chat page I believe) and they chirp onto each other during the evening. Like a virtual hang out or party really. He needs my laptop for this as we only have my laptop with us. It is very light ( very light but we paid dearly for the privilege) and handy, and tends to come with us when we go away.
And, it has a webcam. I don't know how this thing works to be honest ( can anyone out there see my in my nightdress as I write this?) but the other day he was chatting to a schoolpal eye to eye. Most un-nerving. Pass the make up please, and hide the wine bottle.
And finally, I taught my little boy ( thirteen and five foot eight- how does that work?) not to snatch, so I can't snatch my lap-top back from him when I get fed up waiting for it. Just as well I get up a lot earlier than he does!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Bushmills and Coleraine

Went to Bushmills Distillery for our tour today and it was very good, especially the drink at the end. Other half and I had 12year old Bushmills single malt but since I had the car ( don't get me started) I had to give the lion's share to him in the end. Bah.
I had a portion of Irish Stew and wheaten bread for lunch-it was fabulous. Teenager also munched through a bowl.
Since the weather is dire we decided to look at Coleraine. We parked in the centre and wondered around the shops. We had a look in a little shop called Solstice. It sells angel stuff and crystals, and the like. It was an interesting little place. It was busy selling.... wait for it.... tongue bars ( don't ask- too revolting). I bought a bracelet made of Howlite. It is a crystal energy bracelet to 'help to control strong emotions and restore a sense of calm'. It is a lovely turquoise colour. Hope it works.
We looked for a restaurant called Yoko's in Coleraine but it escaped us. Quite a few people recommend it locally. We will find it another time I am sure.
Tomorrow my friend Ann is going to take us round Derry, as it seems to be known round here,or Londonderry on the map. It is a walled city. I met Ann at Lancaster Uni and I know she will be a fund of knowledge. She also has a great sense of humour ( and is amazingly well read- puts me to shame). I am really looking forward to it.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Croft Cottage- the hens!

Here is the first actual real photo from the Lakeland Jo camera- I am so excited about learning how to do it. That and links all in one day.............
Anyway, here are the hens at Croft Cottage, our lovely peaceful place of rest for the week. I recommend it- it's lovely! Edith the owner made us a home-made wheaten loaf for our arrival ( has lovely seeds on it and it's wonderful with honey). She also provided us with lots of milk, butter and teabags so we could make ourselves comfortable.
On Saturday night we popped out to our local inn Smuggler's Cove.
We had wonderful fish there- the fish is amazing over here as you may expect.

Today ( Sunday) we had a lazy start to the day- a long lie- in. It is very quiet here and that is a good thing as it's what we are used to. We had a drive along the whole of the Causeway Coast and drank in the scenery. We decided not to visit the big attractions around here today as it is Sunday and too busy. We did pop into Bushmills Distillery though and grabbed a few tipples. I bought a lovely jacket and will take a photo of it tomorrow.

Hadriana's Treasures and my first proper blog link...

Check out hadriana's treasures for some good fun on sport commentaries! I also learnt how to do the clever link stuff on my blog- I will practising loads from now on- watch this space...

Crescent Town House Hotel Belfast and a Belfast sink

Once I had whizzed down the Shankill Road in the Friday rush hour, we found our first stop. Other than the dodgy parking situation ( criminal part three- no parking eight til six in the area and wardens are rampant apparently) the hotel was very good. We had a very large room. Other half and I had our own room with a comfy bed in it, and there was a little lounge area where teenager had the sofa bed made up and a tv of his own ( heaven). The bathroom was very smart with a belfast sink in it (of course) and Molton Brown smellies- lots and lots of them....

The room overlooked a popular bar in Belfast called the Empire. It was very lively all night. Teenager spent a couple of hours after dinner watching the comings and goings (and the occasional fight). Having brought up in the country all his life he was fascinated. Eventually other half and I fell asleep exhausted... teenager continued to watch the fun outside.

We had a great meal in the hotel brasserie: Metro. I recommend it. Check the menu out on the website above. I had scallops and chilli and garlic squid for main course. Wonderful!

I had to set the alarm before eight so I could move the car before it was ticketed. We didn't like to leave it stranded unattended in some dark alley all night. I struggled out in lashing rain ( sympathy yet folks?) and shifted it to a free parking area. When I went to get it, to let other half and teenager load the bags the police stopped and stared in to make sure I wasn't going to stop permanently...just as well I was behind the wheel with the lights on. Perhaps they would have preferred us to walk to the car with all the bags and get soaked, across a busy road? In fact, I am sure they would.

In the morning we had an ulster fry and indulged in fresh soda bread. We had a look around Victoria Square shopping centre and I looked up my blog on a huge screen in the Apple shop. The weather was totally dire but we still went up on the Belfast wheel. It was blowy, and I am not sure how convinced other half was as the machinery creaked and groaned. 'You are now 200 feet up' said the narrator cheerfully as he told us about the various scenes. The views were great.

We decided to leave the tourist bus to another ( drier) time.

We set off for our cottage mid afternoon, and headed up to Bushmills and Lisnagonogue.

Treated like a criminal - part two

Our easyjet flight was over an hour late. These things happen but the frustration was that there was no communication about why. We were called to go out to the plane, and were then left for twenty minutes at the bottom of the stairs waiting for....something. A lot of people rushing around with radios, but no announcements to the gathered passengers, some of whom were left on a staircase balancing small children, babies ( and of course all of that 'permitted' handluggage).

On arrival at Belfast we went to Europcar to collect our prepaid prebooked car. And.... wait for it... they wouldn't let other half drive the car... why?
Criminal record? Barred for reckless and wild driving? No- he has points for speeding on his license. Apparently- it's policy that three points or over and it's a no go. Despite a call to DVLA who said 'eh?' he was told no. So guess what? I am the only one insured to drive on the holiday...


Not something we can take a chance on. The consequences are too awful. Other half is furious and feels really bad. I asked where it was on the easyjet website or indeed the europcar website, and had a lot of muttering about terms and conditions, small print et al. IT SHOULD BE IN RED ON THE WEBSITE- IF YOU HAVE POINTS FOR SPEEDING YOU WILL BE REFUSED.

By the way- the points were put on the license recently when other half was taking teenager to rugby club early on Sunday morning. Done by a mobile van, doing 43 miles an hour in a forty limit. Fabulous!

I am surprised anyone is driving a hirecar anywhere. It is easier to get points than catching a cold. Other half and I do a huge amount of is almost impossible not to get caught somewhere somehow. Especially in the lakes. I have always had points... how fortunate that I am in an expired period. However hard I try, I usually get caught. There are so many changes as you drive along, thirty then forty then back to thirty then fifty,,,, AGGH!

Anyway, we found our car in the lot. It is a Vauxhall Vectra. Ghastly car. I won't go through the why's for fear of being branded a grumpy old woman...needless to say, it ain't a pleasure driving the thing.

Treated like a criminal - part one

In this day and age I find it difficult to remember that I am not a criminal. Even though I feel as if I am treated like one from the moment I open my eyes, to the moment I close them again at night. If I don't feel like a criminal I feel like I am living in a police state, so many things are designed these days to catch me out....

On Friday, the day of holiday departure, we manage to get through the endless security of internet banking to check all our balances before we set off. With usernames, passwords, security questions and handheld small devices with access codes on to wrestle with, it is a miracle I ever get to see my account. 'Never tell anyone else your security information, and NEVER write your information down' the screen sreams. Have the designers of these systems ever heard of HRT? Even under torture if would be hard for me to remember everything I have to! 'It is for your own security' lectures the bank, but I strongly suspect the only people they manage to thwart is the innocent customer: the criminal mind appears to have no bother getting through their systems. And the fact that different organisations want different permutations of the security information... think of a code with eight letter beginning and ending with a number, some in capitals and some lower case, reminiscent of a time and place in your life which is meaningful,but which no-one else knows about, and we don't recommend anything to do with your date of birth, phone number, house number, anniversary.......' Drone Drone.

We set off on the drive to the aiport and manage to avoid all the static speed cameras, mobile speed cameras in vans, police cars hidden in bushs, radar guns on bridges and arrive at Liverpool airport. YOU NEED THE SAME CREDIT CARD YOU BOOKED YOUR PARKING WITH howls the ticket machine at the barrier. Luckily....

We get into the airport with continuous threat of being removed and destroyed if we stand in the same place for too long. We arrive at Easyjet, and swoon with relief as our pre-paid hold bags are each under 20kg (otherwise you will charged for extra weight). 'You can take as much hand luggage on as you like' the notice sings, as long as:

a) it fits into this tiny cage here.... anything bigger and into the hold it goes... and of course you will be penalised.

b) you have no problem with lugging heavy cases and bags through security and around the airport.

Once checked in, we get through security. I have to put a small bottle of perfume and lipstick in a small plastic bag to show the security man at the first barrier. I don't have a plastic bag, I say. 'Then buy one at the machine for 50p' he says. Rip off? I think so. I show him my two items in the bag, and they are never asked for again. A good revenue earner for the aiport - definitely. When we get to security we see huge waste bins full of deodorant, baby lotion, medicine, water bottles... stuff that folk have been forced to chuck out as a result of security rules that no-one seems to understand in advance.

Don't worry- I had put my nail scissors in the hold bags, so a national incident didn't ensue. I took off my boots, and was body searched. All part of procedure.. by the time I got to the other end my nerves were jangling. The worst was still to come....

Friday, 24 October 2008


We are off to Northern Ireland today and start our adventures in Belfast, in the city. I have been there a couple of times over the years for work but have never really seen the city and got to know it. After one night we are off to a lovely cottage in County Antrim

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

West Bromwich and tempted to shop....

Speaking to you today from West Bromwich... or Great Barr to be exact. We are working here until tomorrow afternoon.
I am trying to decide whether to work tonight or whether to go out to the shopping malls near here: either Merry Hill or the Bull Ring...
Came down on the train so other half and I can go back home together in one car. I travelled standard class on a Virgin train: it was horrible.I got off the train feeling very sick and fed up. Too cramped, too much rattling around, no trolley with refreshments... I was not impressed. No chance of working on the lap top- too cramped, and I felt too queasy. Sigh.
No progress on the blog layout problem: have told other half he needs to brush up on his blog expertise pronto so that he help me with sorting it out...

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Help! Help!

Yesterday all my side bar bits and pieces vanished and have gone to the bottom of the page. But...when you click on links on my most recent post the whole thing comes back the way it was...i am so puzzled and not sure what I have done. I have contacted blogger, and put a post on the help group but they have signposted me to a lot of links I don't really understand.
Anyone out there work out what has happened? Also- how do I back up the blog?
As you can see- I am not making much technical progress with this stuff.

Monday, 20 October 2008

weekend at the races, and a rugby tour

It is very windy and wild here today. My garden chairs are tangled and strewn across the garden. We are also getting intermittent heavy showers- the type that catch you out when you are buzzing here and there.

It is very beautiful though- the autumn leaves are a riot of colour and blowing all over the place. It is a lovely time of year here, and I think it is the best time for visitors.

Teenager is back from his two day rugby tour to Edinburgh. Other than a huge bruise on his leg he seems largely unscathed. They lost one match and won one so that's a good mix I suppose. As I said to him- it's all good learning, experience, practise and all that good stuff that mum's say.

They seemed to have a good time: two rugby matches, watching a live match, a visit to Pizza Hut, an evening at lazer quest, one night in the Holiday Inn in Edinburgh, a visit to Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh ( some type of visitor/educational attraction apparently)... and back again. Phew!

Other half and I, and our friend M, went to the Kelso races. We stayed at Ednam House Hotel and had a wonderful room as a treat. Other half bought fab flowers and champers ( he is so in the good books at the moment). Dinner was great, racing was great fun. Other half did well, but our friend M and I did rather badly this time. We did't mind- it was a great day out and much fun was had by all.

Ednam is where other half and I had our honeymoon night, and we found our signatures in the ancient hotel register which is still on the counter. It was lovely and very romantic. We have been married fifteen years next May, and it only seems like yesterday.I can't believe it has taken us all this time to get back there. I won't leave it as long next time: it was very peaceful and comfortable.

Monday morning: teenager is fast asleep in bed ( on half term now), I am up doing rugby laundry ( of course) and blogging. Other half is working in West Brom. I think teenager and I will plan our packing for our holiday to Ireland ( starts Friday -hurray hurray) and I will pop down to university to agree my dissertation topic with my tutor ( more about that tomorrow!).

Friday, 17 October 2008

Getting and keeping the show on the road

It never fails to amaze me how much there is to do in the morning at home. Despite getting everything 'done' the night before ( washing/ tumble drying/dishwasher loaded/ clothes put away/school bags packed) it all starts again when the alarm clock goes off. Other than the usual household ablutions, and breakfasting rituals, there seems to be a lot going on.....

The washing and drying process starts again. The dishwasher needs to be unloaded. There are shopping lists to compile, logistics to be organised, beds to be made, school runs to complete. By the time it's eight fifteen I feel like I have put in a full shift! Anyone else the same?

I just haven't got what it takes to be a yummy mummy. I think teenager is a bit old anyway to 'need' one now, and it's just as well. I may dream of being hair straightened, perfumed, made up and relaxed in time for the school run but the reality is, it isn't going to happen.

Unless I can have a full staff ( including chef, cleaners, car valeter, hairdresser, maid, gardener) in the house, and the discipline to get up at 5am to see a personal trainer before the day starts, it will remain a fantasy!

you should be a doctor- thanks to 'that British woman' for this one

You Should Be a Doctor
You are practical, sharp, and very intuitive.
Optimistic and energetic, you are a problem solver who doesn't get discouraged easily.
You are also quite compassionate and caring. You make people feel hopeful.
You're highly adaptable and capable. You do well with almost any curve ball life throws at you.

You do best when you:

- Are always learning new subjects
- Use your knowledge to solve problems

You would also be a good therapist or detective.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Priceless- a real laugh out loud joke!

I loved this- thanks to my favourite aunt for sending it across. Had other half and I roaring! Woke half the hotel up this morning!

GORDON BROWN was visiting a primary school and he visited one of the classes. They were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asked Mr. BROWN if he would like to lead the discussion on the word 'tragedy'.
So the illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a 'tragedy'.A little boy stood up and offered: 'If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field & a tractor runs over him and kills him that would be a 'tragedy.'

No, said GORDON - that would be an accident.'
A little girl raised her hand: 'If a school bus carrying fifty children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy'

I'm afraid not, explained GORDON - that's what we would call a great loss.

The room went silent. No other children volunteered.

GORDON searched the room. 'Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?'

Finally, at the back of the room, little Johnny raised his hand...

In a quiet voice he said: 'If A plane carrying you and MR. DARLING was struck by a 'friendly fire' missile & blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy.'

'Fantastic!' exclaimed GORDON. 'That's right. And can you tell me why that would be tragedy?'

'Well,' says little Johnny 'it has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn't be a great loss and it probably wouldn't be a f*cking accident either!'

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Great blog to visit folks

Having a roam around blogs this evening I fell across this one, and the photos are great! Take a look if you like the lake district.
Other Half and I are in a hotel in Birmingham- time to look at blogs and see what is going on. Bliss!

Monday, 13 October 2008

cheer your monday up



Sunday, 12 October 2008

Rugby- a mother friendly sport?

Teenager is a member of Kirkby Lonsdale Rugby Club. He is a forward. For the non rugby folk out there this means he gets very physical in the game. He tackles, scrums, rucks and mauls. It is not a game I hoped he would fall in love with. As one mum said to me today ' what's wrong with ping pong?'.

I preferred it when he was heavily into swimming. I liked it when he was a goalie. I hoped when he had a flirtation with tennis. I kept my fingers crossed when he started playing hockey at school.

But no. One game of rugby and he was bitten. And since then- that's what it's been about. I have never known him so keen on a sport. He never moans about getting up early on a Sunday morning for training. He only sighs and grumbles when he gets a knock and a bruise. He keenly signs up to every match, and next weekend he is going on a rugby tour to Scotland.

Some parents say they won't let their boys ( or girls these days) play. Some have even told me that they think I am irresponsible for letting him get involved in such a 'violent' sport. And it really hurts me when they do. It hurts even more on days like today when you watch a boy taken away by an ambulance after a full on tackle. He was knocked out. He definitely has a broken arm. They think he has a broken rib, perhaps a dislocated shoulder. It was frightening to see. I wish him well: he is a great player and apparently a lovely lad.

So why do I let him do it? I think it is because I know in my heart that it is wrong to ban someone doing something that he or she really loves. I know that however much I want to, I can't protect him from life's hard knocks. I know that the coaches at Kirkby at conscientious, disciplined and meticulous about safety. I know that the game teaches the boys discipline, leadership, team skills and courage. Teenager can look after himself, his confidence has improved, his self discipline has increased and he is starting to understand how to use his strength and physicality in a focussed way. He is fitter than ever, and it is wonderful to see him out in all weathers doing something he loves rather than sitting round all day like a pudding playing on the computer or the playstation. Keeping him indoors to 'protect' him- I know that doesn't make sense.
Rugby does not 'run' in the family. Both grandpas loved cricket and football. Other half played football. My mum loves the game but never played. Yet teenager seems born to play,and is certainly built to play.
So I pray every time he plays, and hope I am doing the right thing. Like every mum and dad on the touch line.

Saturday, 11 October 2008


I found this entry on 'That British Woman' s blog- thanks very much. Makes sense.
I will do it today! Hope it catches on over here in GB.

ICE - 'In Case of Emergency'We all carry our mobile phones with names & numbers stored in its memory but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends. If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn't know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency?Hence the 'ICE' (In Case of Emergency) Campaign. The concept of 'ICE' is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell(mobile)phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name 'ICE' ( In Case Of Emergency).The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile phones with patients, but they didn't know which number to call. He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose. In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital Staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as 'ICE.' For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc.A great idea that will make a difference!Let's spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our Mobile phones today!Please forward this. It won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest.ICE will speak for you when you are not able to.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


When the economy was booming in the UK, our business bobbed along with some small highs and many lows, and now that it is doom the length and breadth of the globe, we have never been busier!

You maybe wondering what it is that we do which means that businesses turn to us in times of crisis. but that hasn't been the secret I think. It is more to do with our determination to focus on what we want, focus on what we need to do to get there, and relentless determination. For me particularly it is about trusting others to help me: we are surrounded by talented keen and knowledgable colleagues who are keen to work in a synergistic way. They were always there but I just wouldn't acknowledge their presence. Control freak? Probably! Thinking I have do everything myself? Martyr? Possibly! Thinking I can do everything so much better myself? Arrogant? Definitely!

Why has it taken til I am forty four to work this out? Sigh. Still I got there in the end.

By the way- I am actually forty four on Sunday. No plans to celebrate yet but I am sure the muse will come when the weekend arrives.

Happy Birthday wishes and kisses very welcome.

Monday, 6 October 2008

First day of term

This is Alexandra Square at Lancaster University. Term has started and the area that you see on the right is usually thronging with students. In this square there is a library, a Waterstone's, banks, Greggs, newsagents, careers offices, a florist.....
The whole campus holds about 20,000 students apparently, and it is really like a small town.
I would love to be more a part of the community, but as I found last year, that is pretty challenging with a family and a business.
I really love my time on site and treasure it. I love chatting to my fellow students over a coffee or having the luxury of peace and quiet with my books in the library ( and anyone who knew me from the ages of eleven to twenty one would be astonished to hear this especially my mum!). The classes are great. It makes me realise how scant my knowledge is and how piteously ignorant I am of world faiths, and of my own faith. Where to start!
I have done two essays so far: one on euthanasia ( under ethics) and one on complementary medicine ( under the title of ' the turn to mind, body and spirit'). My next class is called ' Women and Sexuality in the Christian Tradition'. Should be good! Not sure if I will do an essay on this one or not- I am going to miss a few classes sadly. This is because of the department's refusal to set a timetable earlier than the first day of term - infuriating! We all sit with our diaries planning in when we can do- by then my work schedule is booked in. Sigh.
Today we are doing our compulsory class on 'Religious studies'. What it is, how to study it and how to do a dissertation' type of stuff. Only 25,000 words on the latter...should be a breeze!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

If you take a close look at this picture you will see that the lake has crept into areas it shouldn't be! This is a shot of Lake Windermere flooding again, and this is exactly how it has been today. It has poured relentlessly all day and a lot of the roads are closed locally. I am up at the crack of dawn to take teenager to rugby match at Kirkby Lonsdale. He is at a sleepover today and has been paintballing this afternoon. Such a social life! I need to collect him from his pals in the morning and whizz him across to face Carlisle under fourteens.
It will be muddy- my washing machine is wincing already!

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