Thursday, 31 December 2009

Inspiration for the start of a brand new year

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the shades of night to you,
Moon and stars always giving light to you,
Deep peace of Christ, the Son of Peace, to you.

Celtic Prayer

To all my blogging friends and visitors, I wish you peace in 2010 and beyond.


Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Inspirations to take us up to New Year

' For hope grew round me, like the twining vine'


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Inspiration as we head to the New Year

Dear God,
Be good to me:
the sea is so large,
and my boat so small.
Breton Fisherman's Poem

Sunday, 27 December 2009

New Year coming into focus

We went off to Peebles Hydro Hotel for Christmas a day early. We were supposed to leave on Christmas Eve but the snow was so bad and the forecast even worse, that we thought we would make a run for it. I am glad we did even though it was a bit of a rush at the end. The snow was even worse there than it was here, and on Christmas Eve it snowed up there quite a lot. What a relief to get into the hotel, unpack and sink our teeth into the best mince pies ever ( and I mean that- fabulous!).
We stayed til today, the 27th. We ate, drank and were exceedingly merry. We all had a great time ( my mum, teenager, other half and I were all there) and a good rest. It has been such a challenging year, and it was good to chill out and take stock. It all went really well. The rooms were lovely, we had lovely views, the food was delightful, the staff cheery, and the company very good. We made some nice new friends, a family with three boys who teenager got to know, and hung around with ( in the pool, table tennis, pool room etc). All in all, it was great.
And it made me start looking forward to 2010. I feel like making some plans. I feel my energy renewed and my resolve returning.
Looking forward to hearing about all your New Year resolutions, and I will share some of mine this week.
Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

Monday, 21 December 2009

A family weekend to celebrate the festive season

Lad and Dad
Teenager and his cousin

Me and my lovely niece

Teenager and two of his cousins. Proudly wearing his Newcastle United top.

Hope you enjoy these photos taken at our weekend trip to see other half's family in Ashington, Northumberland.

We had a great time- it went so quickly, but all the presents are distributed.
We are now back in the freezing snow laden Cumbria...........wrapping presents and doing last minute festive jobs.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


I think we are making some progress on the festive front. Tree is now up and a few more presents are bought, and some even wrapped. Cards are still not done but I am not intending to send too many. No point getting stressed about that....
I can't believe how quickly December has gone... it is evaporating!
I am feeling a little more festive. Still lots to do and progress to be made on many fronts but I think things are heading in the right direction, and I am looking forward to the Christmas break.
We are seeing family in the North East this weekend and going to see the mighty Newcastle United play Middlesborough at St James on Saturday. It will be freezing- snow forecast. Thermals will be needed!!

Hope your holiday preparations are going well and I wish all of you a very happy time.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Christmas? Really?

My three kings - aren't they brilliant?

Advent candles from our Church- St Mary's Church Windermere.

You just wouldn't think it was the festive season in this house. My Christmas plans have ground to a halt. Nothing done yet. Well- very little. A few mince pies in the cupboard.

Tomorrow, finally. we will get our tree and we will decorate it. A lovely family evening is planned. This time tomorrow night it I will be admiring my fairy lights.

It's the school carol service tomorrow afternoon. I go to lunch with my pals first at Pizza Express. It is always very atmospheric, and it means teenager starts his holidays.

Christmas shopping progress will be made on Saturday, my aunt and uncle are coming on Sunday for a festive dinner and presents exchange. It will be very jolly.
And best of all, we are going away to Scotland for Christmas itself. We arrive on Christmas eve and leave on December 27th. Mum, other half, teenager and I. A lovely big Scottish hotel in the Borders. Big log fires, comfy lounge, fabulous views, a pool, gym and snooker for teenager, and being waited on hand and foot. Heaven. I just can't wait. All I will have to think about is what to wear, what to eat at dinner, and what to wear.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Ho Ho Ho and the Snow Ball

Hi folks
Long time no blog ( again). Here is a picture of teenager just before he went to the Christmas Snow Ball at school tonight. An annual tradition and much loved. He is back now with his pal, and they had a great time. Doesn't he look great?
They have one week left at school- Christmas lunch, Carol Service, and lots of fun before the holidays start on Friday.
Meanwhile we are struggling with a plague of problems. My mum is living in self catering accomodation because her flat is flooded. It is very disconcerting for all of us. She is coping brilliantly as ever, but I know it's very stressful. Especially at this time of year. Carpets ripped up and no bathroom. Uncertainty with the insurance. Let's hope to make some progress this week.
I usually have my tree up by now but there is no chance until next weekend.
Work is busy and we are running a training course for four days this week. I have been cleaning the office and preparing a few decorations. We have water damage in both the office and our new training room which is very behind schedule because of this. We are trying to get carpets done and electrics finished, but we need the builders to sort out the leakages. Sigh.
Tomorrow I am going to have coffee and lunch with my girlfriends. I don't have the time to be honest but I am looking forward to the laugh I must admit, and it will be the start of Christmas.
Ho Ho Ho

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Insurance Companies

My mum's bathroom is no longer. It is a shell. A serious leak developed on Saturday and finally it has been identified as a leaking pipe under the bath. The damage is very serious. The bathroom is now gutted. She has insurance of course, but predictably the insurance company is already starting to play hard ball. Such as ' ....well just because she has no running water, no toilet, no bathroom facilities.... doesn't mean the place is uninhabitable does it?'.
I ask you. Not to mention the fact that the hall is ripped up and soaking?
The builders have said all the fittings are damaged and can't be replaced. The insurance company are saying they want proof.
Looks like its going to be a long week folks. I'll keep you posted.
I have had much unpleasant experience with insurance companies. I have an extremely low opinion of them. Nothing that has happened today has improved it thus far.
I don't want anything special. Just fairness. Just what has been paid for. Courtesy and helpfulness would be great ( but unlikely).
I feel so sorry for anyone who has been badly flooded and who is dealing with them now.
If anyone out there in the UK has a recommendation of a good insurer please let me know.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

One week on...

Where does the time go? I have been tuning in to read a few blogs but haven't got round to posting myself.
Started the Christmas shopping today by buying some wrapping paper at M and S. Wow- I can tell you are impressed!
We sussed out a PSP Go at Game for the teen. He can't decide on this or money. Sigh. It's all gadgets these days, up market smellies and clothes.
I also bought some thermal socks. The sight of the snow on the Lakeland Hills and the frozen car this morning, made me realise its time to wrap up.
Cumbria is still staggering out of the flood crisis. The enormity and impact of what has happened here, and especially in Cockermouth, is just starting to become apparent. And it is totally shocking. Every day we hear a shocking story about a life which has been ripped apart. Please pray for the people of Cumbria who have been so badly affected.
We have another busy week ahead. Mum is holding the fort while other half and I go South to create new chances for work in the New Year. Its really tough out there but we are staying focussed.
Hope you are all well and happy out there!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Other half and I

Other half and I went to an awards ceremony on Friday night. It was at the lovely Netherwood Hotel in Grange Over Sands. We were celebrating successful businesswomen in the North West, and particularly the Lake District. The awards were run by LBN ( Lakeland Business Women's Network) and were really well organised. The theme was black and white. I really enjoyed my first real night out for quite a while.

The week the rain came down

This is Bowness on Windermere harbour. As you can see there has been extensive flooding.

I am sure a few of you who are looking at these pictures have got a boat from Bowness harbour. Bowness on Windermere is the English Lakes most visited place, and the boats are the most popular tourist attraction we have.

The swans are having a great time. They are very vain and currently have lots of visitors and people feeding them chips!

This ugly monstrosity of a building is currently shut because of the floods. The views are amazing from here but the architecture is appalling. Apparently it won an award in the seventies. Do I believe this???

This is the view from outside the tourist information centre. Now closed

Apparently the lake hasn't been this high for fifty years plus.

It is going to take a long time to clear up, and this is just the start of the winter.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to everyone who has been flooded in their home or business. It must be devastating.
A policeman died when he was swept to his death when a bridge collapsed in Cockermouth. Very sad. Everyone in Cumbria mourns for his family. Thursday was a very bleak day.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Getting silly now...

Remember my Noah post earlier in the week? Things have not improved ladies and gentlemen. Check out the link - news from our local paper the Westmorland Gazette. We dropped our lovely Aussie off at Manchester airport today. The weather conditions on the way there were atrocious. Once we got there I started to get texts to say 'come home- all the roads are closing'. We did manage to get back but it was a bit touch and go. The road conditions are atrocious. Fields completely flooded and looking like huge lakes, road covered in water, the lake creeping over the road, rivers bursting their banks. I feel so terribly sorry for those with flooded homes and businesses. Happily our house is on a little hill which keeps us out of trouble. The office though maybe in more trouble. We are on the first floor which is good, but as the building is right next to the river which has burst its banks, we think we might find trouble tomorrow.
So it has been an unsettling day. Lovely Aussie has gone home. Floods here and no sign of dry weather. My lovely friend Maria awaiting a very big operation tomorrow in Scotland. Please pray for her folks. I would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Ok-this is an unashamed 'Brit about to talk about the weather' post. I just need to have a rant and rave about how damned awful it is. It is lashing down with rain and we have a severe weather and flood warning for the North West of England. I really have had enough.
We have had wild winds, a couple of unbelievable hail storms, rain rain rain, dark skies, freezing cold.... and the occasional five minute burst of sunshine -enough to tempt poor walkers and shoppers outside just long enough before getting soaked to the skin by a sudden squall.
Our wonderful Aussie exchange student is going home on Thursday. We are all very sad about it. We are all begging to come back with him. Apparently it is very hot in Oz. Sigh.
Special request to Busy Bee Suz. Please send us some sunshine over asap. Thanks

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A Phoenix From the Ashes!

Well, I feel so much better! I have slept, lazed and generally chilled out (with mum looking after me in splendid fashion) and now I feel great. Other than coughing, sneezing and laughing which still hurts I am very much on the mend. Keyhole surgery is brilliant! I am so glad the surgeon was able to do it.
The ward I was on was impossibly disorganised. In fact, it would have been very funny if it hadn't been quite serious. Hospital does certainly bring out a certain sense of humour and camaraderie develops between patients which is second to none. Old or young, rich or poor, everyone sticks together and looks after each other.
It was when the sister in charge turned up to tell me my son would be turning up in ten minutes to collect me that I finally realised she had lost the plot. I started to point out that wouldn't be possible. She started to argue saying she has spoken to him on the phone for ten minutes. I then pointed out that he is fourteen and would be at school. " WHO HAVE I BEEN TALKING TO THEN?" She shrieked. I told her I had no idea....
Turns out her conversation had been with the son of the lady in the bed opposite, who had been told that she was staying in for the rest of the week. Oops.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The gall bladder has left the building

Folks- the damn thing has gone for good. It was touch and go but I managed to get the keyhole surgery. I am out of hospital, battered but unbowed, and back on the road to recovery. Thanks for all your support. Adventures coming up in the next few posts.. but for now... sleep and recuperation.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

One day to go

As you know I love posting pictures of my lovely teenager and this one makes me smile. I think it's a great shot. He wasn't expecting me to take it and they are usually the best shots aren't they?

Below is a shot of me with teenager and his Australian exchange partner at the Holker Hall Winter Fair ( see previous post). Notice both taller than me despite my heels. Sigh.

This is my last post before hospital tomorrow. One more night before the gall bladder is history. I am very excited and most of all relieved. The last few days have been very difficult to say the least and I will be happy to free myself and the family from all the uncertainty and anxiety.
Please send bloggy vibes of positivity for me tomorrow.I am really hoping for the keyhole operation and I am focussing all my energy onto that outcome. Will post later in the week and let you know how I got on.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A day in Hawkshead

I posted on Halloween that we had a day out at Hawkshead which is a lovely little village in the Lake District. Very popular place for tourists as the scenery is lovely, and the village is very quaint. There are loads of coffee shops, traditional pubs and gift shops. A good day was had by all. Picture of teenager, other half and our wonderful Australian exchange visitor.
If you look closely you will see teenager's sling- still suffering from his dislocation shoulder injury. No more rugby this season for him sadly.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Holker Hall Winter Fair

We went to the Holker Hall winter fair today. It is always a lovely day out. Real fires, lots of coffees cakes and hot chocolates. A food fair, lots of crafts, alpacas, a barbecue tent with lakeland local burgers and sausages. I always spend a fortune and today was no exception. My Christmas shopping has started folks.
We all went. Teen and his exchange partner, other half and mum. It was lovely. What a pity about the appalling freezing cold persistent rain. When will it ever end?
When we got back it was so cold in the house we now have a blazing real fire. It's lovely. Watching the rugby and drinking tea. A nice relaxing Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

I hate bonfire night

I have never been a big fan of fireworks. In fact, I have never liked them. It's the noise. I don't like all the cracks and bangs. They can be really pretty to look at but if I never saw one again it wouldn't bother me. I worry about how dangerous they are, and I feel sorry for all the terrified animals. All in all.... I wouldn't be sorry November 5th was cancelled-permenantly.
Teenager and pals have just come in from a bonfire at the local rugby club. They went with their mates and had a good time. At least it stopped raining and they had a dry night. Apparently it was packed out. Clearly lots of people don't feel like me.
We are going to a bonfire party on Saturday night. I like bonfires a lot. There will be fireworks too but I will go inside by the fire while they are on. I will stay in and be nervous with the dog!

Monday, 2 November 2009

The blog slacker

My very good friend the travelling typhoon (see my blog list) once coined the phrase the 'blog-slacker'. I wouldn't think that many folk who know me would call me lazy ( I might be surprised....) but I think they may call me a blog slacker recently. I haven't been posting much, and I have done even less visiting.
And I know it's good to have little breaks- but I have missed you all. Promise.
So what has been going on? I blogged a couple of posts ago about teenager's dislocated shoulder. Turns out ( when he got his check up) that he has to stay in his sling for three weeks, then have physio for six to eight weeks, then three months 'off' sport. And then perhaps ( says the doctor) he will have to give up rugby altogether.
Very disappointing for him, but he is bearing up well and we have lots of ideas about how he can keep his fitness levels up in the meantime. I love this saying:
"It's not what happens to you, it's how you react to it that matters". Epictetus
Meanwhile, the exchange visit continues to go like a dream. Our visitor is a real delight and fits in so well with us. I will be quite desolate to see him go- I bet he can't wait now to see his family and friends, and the sun!! We have tried to do a bit of sight-seeing, some bowling and eating out, some visiting of friends. It has been lively, and busy.
Work has picked up dramatically. Just in time for me to go off work for a while so I can recover from my operation. I think they call it sod's law ( is it only in the UK that we have that saying?)It comes ever nearer,and I am so glad that it is nearly here. Hurray.
I have been getting up to speed on how to use Face book, Linked In, and Twitter. It is a steep learning curve but great for the business. Very consuming but gets easier with practise.
So with catching up with my friends, working, shopping and cooking, sight seeing, hospital appointments and Church activities: all in all a busy time, but very enjoyable.
I still haven't posted some recent photos-but I will get round to it.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everybody. Hope you all have a spooky time. We are going out for dinner ( no fat and no wine for me- that's terrifying enough in my opinion but not long to go now I suppose............).
We have had a good day Lake District sight seeing with our lovely Australian exchange student. Fabulous autumn colours and spooky Halloween mist. Hope to show you some pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

It's confirmed

The call came today. My operation to get rid of the evil gallbladder is in the diary. It is confirmed as November 11th. Two weeks time. I go in -have the operation- spend one night in hospital- and come home.

I never thought I would be excited about an operation- but I just can't wait. I pray it all works out ok.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Blood sports

My poor boy has been in the wars again. After scaring me recently with a potential broken rib incident, he decided to dislocate his shoulder on Sunday. X rays, laughing gas and a sling later and we are back on course to normality.
Is he particularly accident prone? I hear you all cry. Is he clumsy? Is he just unlucky?
He plays rugby. Enough said.
It is a true blood sport.
I think you have to be a little mad to play it frankly.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Daddy - how was I born?

A little boy goes to his father and asks "Daddy, how was I born?"

The father answers, Well, son, I guess one day you will need to find out anyway! Your Mum and I first got together in a chat room on Yahoo.

Then I set up a date via email with your Mum and we met at a cyber-cafe.

We sneaked into a secluded room, where your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive.

As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button, nine months later a little 'Pop-Up' appeared that said................


Sunday, 25 October 2009

We went to the Trafford Centre yesterday in Manchester and a good time was had by all. Here is a lovely pic of teen and his exchange partner outside Selfridges. They went to the cinema, went shopping and had KFC. Teenager heaven?
Other half and I went to Yo Sushi, bought some birthday presents and pottered around. It was very busy, very hot and very wet outside. Reminds me not to venture back on a Saturday now til after Christmas.
Teenager is proudly wearing his Newcastle United top. After all, they are top of the Championship table

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Wednesday update

First of all and before I forget. Why not hop across to Pond Parleys today to have a look. Co written by Expat Mum ( see blog list) and Mike Harling it's a great read, exploring the special relationship and differences between the UK and the US. Enjoy. The current host culture post is great fun.

All is going pretty well here. I couldn't say I would give it a ten out of ten, but it's a whole lot better than last week's 'tough week'. Teenager and exchange partner are still having a great time. On half term holiday, and enjoying the chill out. Sleep in late in the morning, late breakfast, late lunch etc, hang out with mates when they get back from school ( teenager gets two weeks off at this time of year for some obscure reason- other local schools are still working this week). They have had a few outings too. Yesterday to Kendal, the other day to the cinema, and tomorrow ( cue large sigh from me) a trip to Blackpool. At least we will get to see the famous Blackpool illuminations.

The weather is hugely disappointing this week. Damp and cold. It has been pretty well behaved recently so I hope it is just a pre- Blackpool blip.

Digestively things seem to be pretty calm I am delighted to report. I seem to have got the diet cracked and have found things that seem to suit the gall bladder well. It's very boring but better than pain. No confirmation on the operation seems to be creeping ever further towards Christmas. Speaking of the latter has hit bigtime over here now. Cards, wrapping, three for two gift sets and baubles galore ( and it's still only October-sigh).

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

what on earth?

Apparently, this is a bridge of teenagers. A competition to see how long they could stay up. Just after this the bridge collapsed.
My teenager is in the middle! Taken on the recent Duke of Edinburgh trip.
Our lovely Australian visitor ( on the right) must think we are all quite mad

Saturday, 17 October 2009

a tough week

Folks- it's been a tough week. I am sure you have all had them. Sometimes we have a month of them. Sometimes even a year of them. Had that experience?

But it's been interesting and I have learnt a lot. It hasn't been wasted. That's one thing I have learnt over the last forty odd years: life can be damned difficult, and painful, but there's always something to learn if you are prepared to look for it.

To encapsulate. First of all, after my lovely day on Monday on which I felt great, I started to feel poorly and tired. Learning? I just went with it and rested when I could. I am waiting surgery, and I just need to be patient and manage on a day to day basis as best I can.

Secondly, I found out my operation has been put back a week, so it's now mid November rather than at the beginning. And it's not confirmed yet. Learning? Patience. There are folk in a lot worse of situation who need the slot. I will manage. It will pass.

Thirdly, I have had really tough news on a few friends of mine and their health. You know who you are. I am praying for you and sending positive energy. Learning? I am reminded how important my friends are to me and how much I love them. And that life is really painful sometimes and how we need to support each other through hard times. I have also learnt just how important my faith is to me, and how much strength I get from it.

And finally, we got disappointing news about a piece of work that we hoped to get and didn't. We will find out why on Tuesday. It has been a tough week in the business generally: waiting for answers, waiting for decisions, lots of hope and interest but not the action we had hoped for yet. We are opening our own training room soon, and it is a big step and a marvellous opportunity, but with any big step its a challenge. Exciting and scarey at the same time.

Learning? Where do I start? How much my attitude has changed in the last few years. I think bigger, I think more creatively, I am more bullish, I have real confidence in what I can do, what other half can do, what our wonderful team can do, what the business can do. And I have learnt from the past that playing it small often brings you what you are trying to avoid. Trying to stay safe can be dangerous. Keeping it small can keep it vulnerable. And also that it's ok to fail, as long as you are trying and learning and doing your very best.

I am re-visiting my old favourite book of business and personal effectiveness: 'The seven habits of highly effective people'. For me, it's still the best and it is incredibly inspirational. If you don't know it, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Pea's birthday party

What a great post- if you need cheering up visit Pea. If you like sweeties and cakes all the better.
All the best people have their birthdays in October -discuss.

Happy Birthday to me!

I was 45yrs old yesterday and to celebrate ( remembering I can't drink or eat delicious goodies) I decided that I would like to go out for a walk in the autumn sunshine. We went to one of my favourite places in the world: Lake Ullswater. Check out the pictures below- what a delight and a privilege to live so near such wonderful scenery.

We walked about 4 miles altogether which I was pretty proud of considering my rather shakey state of health. It felt really good being nearly five stone lighter. Just call me a mountain goat. I climbed up a stile to take this picture of my other half: no wonder he is smiling so much seeing me up there!
If I could live anywhere it would be Ullswater because of the scenery, but it's pretty remote for a family with an extroverted teenage boy who loves to see friends and play sport.

Perhaps it would be a little remote for me too if I am honest, but you have to admit, its beautiful isn't it?

When I was having my cancer treatment and feeling very low, I used to shut my eyes and imagine myself looking out on this view and breathing in the fresh air.

It was a wonderful feeling to actually be there after all that imagining. The weather was perfect for walking. Sunny and warm at times, but with a chilly wind to keep me cool ( check out the pink fleece- bought this year in San Fran Cisco- it is freezing there!).

Next time I would like to do the whole of the Ullswater shore walk- about seven/ eight miles with some rugged terrain. Will have to work towards that as a goal.
Had a lovely birthday and had a very happy time. Lots of flowers, cards and wonderful gifts. I feel very blessed and happy. Thanks to all of you who made a fuss of me.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Apollo 11- a true story











Brilliant poem

Travelling typhoon sent me this poem - it's fabulous. It reminds me of my English Grad days.
Just about somes it up for me.
Thanks for the inspiration.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
-Emily Dickinson

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Left to right: our wonderful exchange visitor J, teenager and his best mate D. What a brilliant picture- it makes me really happy. They all get on so well and we are having a lovely time.