Saturday, June 30, 2007

A wonderful gift from a great friend

Well well well....... Rockin' Girl Blogger. Me. What????? I am grinning from ear to ear at the thought. Rockin' Girl Blogger. Diana???????? Do you hear that? Your mother is a Rockin' Girl Blogger! My lovely friend, Susan has given me this award. I am really thrilled to bits, but I do feel my wardrobe needs a re-vamp. The 16 year old girls I teach could help. Or maybe not.

Receiving awards like this gives me such a lovely warm feeling, both of being a part of a community and also of being a friend. So let's rock then, girls........
  1. BooMama - of course. She may still be rocking around her kitchen as I speak.
  2. Danielle - because she absolutely rocks. (And her daughter will be amused!)
  3. His singer - because she has a wonderful caring heart.
  4. Dawn - because she is becoming a dear friend, and shares so much with us.
  5. Pea - because she keeps me smiling and takes me on tours of Canada.

I am out of profound things to say. Just all know I think you are great and you add a new dimension to my life. Rockin' Girl Bloggers .......... I need a badge.

Wonderful honours from lovely ladies

Updated to add: At a hen's pace has also given me this award. How amazing is that! It still amazes me that there are people out there who really like to come and visit, and read the musings I post. Thank you all so much.

I have been blessed by 3 amazing women, who have passed on the Blogger Reflection Award to me. His Singer, Dawn and Linda are all remarkable women, who have become dear friends in our small corner of the blogging world. All would have been on my list of people to pass on the award to, without a doubt. All have taught me so much about not only their lives and experiences, but also their unshakeable faith, and how it has sustained them. I hope one day to meet my blogging friends, and I have to say that Dawn and Morning Glory could be the most likely to come this way, (having a brother fairly close to where I live certainly helps!) and that fills me with excitement, and delight. I imagine that we would feel as though we had known each other forever.

And now it is my turn. So many. How on earth do I choose?

I know she has been nominated by Dawn, but Morning Glory has to be my first choice. She was my first blogging friend, and has been a delight to get to know. She has the most wonderful insight to so many important things in life, and her sense of humour and experience make her a lady well worth listening to. Her Woman to Woman forum, set up with Lei, challenge us to think and express our views, irrespective of age, and her devotion to her husband and daughters, not to mention her grandchildren, is a real model for anyone to follow. She cares, and has a gentle spirit which shines through her words.

Jeanne At a Hen's Pace is a fairly recent blogging friend, and she and her husband are about to move, as her husband is going to be leading a new church in another town. She has a wicked sense of humour, coupled with a shining faith, and a large family to add to the mix, and she rises to new challenges in a manner which can only be an inspiration. If you want to see an example of faith in action, look no further.

And then we have the most amazing example of how to make a marriage grow and blossom over 40 years right here in our blogging world. Susie and her dear husband have just had their anniversary, and her happiness just bubbles over. You want to smile? Go and visit her. She is kind and caring, and a delight to know. We can all learn from the examples we have right here, and Susie has shared both the ups and downs of her life with us. She lives in the real world, and it works!

Mary, at Owlhaven is another lady who has a heart as big as the ocean, and listens when God speaks. She and her husband have just heard that they are now the parents of 10 children! They have just received court approval from Ethiopia to adopt 2 girls, which makes a family of 4 biological children, and 6 adopted sons and daughters. How blessed they all are, most especially their children, to be a part of this amazing family. Mary makes me believe that the impossible is always possible.

And there is another lady out there, who is very special. Her name is Laura and she is the mother of seven children. She has battled with children with health problems, and the court system to be allowed to adopt their 2 foster boys with a grace that astonishes me, given that she is still so young. Her faith is an inspiration.

So there you have the five special ladies I have chosen. Can I just add that I could have gone on for hours. Each and every one of you has given something special to me in your posts at different times. How true it is that we never know when words we say may make a difference to someone at some time, without knowing how or when or why.

The award originated here. That's probably the best place to learn more about it. Here's what it says you should do:
1. Replace my five bloggers with yours and write a least a paragraph about each one.
2. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
3. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they've been given the award.
4. Put the award icon on your site [see here]

Friday, June 29, 2007

A beautiful song

I have been sleeping in the rocking chair all evening , but I will tell you why later. It has been a long day. It is nearly midnight here, and I have just come to check my email, and a couple of blogs before going back to sleep. But in my bed this time.

I popped over to BooMama's and she is doing a Mandisa giveaway this weekend. Now I had never heard of Mandisa, I have to say, so I went to listen here, because BooMama said to go, and as you all know, we do what BooMama tells us to do. Don't we???? I decided to listen to the other songs she has on her website, and the second one just happens to be called God Speaking. It blew me away. The words are so simple. The message is so powerful. I am already word perfect, and it is midnight, and I had to tell you.

I couldn't work out how to download the lyrics, but here is what I think they are anyway. If these words stay in my head all night, then that is just fine. Go and listen, and you will see what I mean.

God Speaking .................. Mandisa

Have you ever heard a love song that set your spirit free?
Have you ever watched a sunrise and felt you could not breathe?
What if it's Him?
What if it's God speaking?

Have you ever cried a tear that you could not explain?
Have you ever met a stranger who already knew your name?
What if it's Him?
What if it's God speaking?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He's enough?
He'll do and He'll use whatever he wants to
To tell us "I love you."

Have you ever lost a loved one who you thought should still be here?
Do you know what it feels like to be tangled up in fear?
What if He's somehow involved?
What if He's speaking through it all?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He's enough?
He'll do and He'll use whatever he wants to
To tell us, "I love you."

His ways are higher
His ways are best

Though sometimes strange

What could be stranger
Than God in a manger?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He's enough?
Who knows how He'll get a hold of you?
Get your attention to prove He's enough?
He'll do and He'll use whatever He wants to
To tell us "I love you"
God is speaking.
"I love you."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I am here.......

Another week gone by nearly. And the rain has not stopped. Parts of England are having dreadful flooding. I am fine. I live on a hill. But the rain......... I am so sick of rain. The allotment is a swamp. I should have grown rice. Paddy fields. Now there is a thought.

I have survived another school inspection today. I have all my marking up to date. I have a stunning display up in the classroom. I have eaten too many biscuits. It is clearly the new Boss Lady's fault. We never had biscuits before, or rarely, and now she has arrived, is reed slim, and loves biscuits. We get biscuits (cookies to my American friends.... your biscuits are our rolls) in abundance now. I need to avoid the staffroom, or I will morph into a blob of epic proportions. Don't talk to me about will power. I ate mine.

What else........ did I mention the rain? And the fact that I had to switch on the heating again yesterday? It is the end of JUNE. It is summer. Wimbeldon is on. In the rain. It is 6 degrees right now, and more foul weather is forecast for the next 5 days.

So let's recap:
  1. We have a new Prime Minister.

  2. Rain
  3. Inspectors at work

  4. Rain

  5. Tennis
  6. Rain

  7. Biscuits

  8. And that would be rain again

  9. Wonderfully supportive messages

  10. More rain

  11. Many things to be thankful for
  12. Except for the rain

I have a wonderful meme to do, after His Singer nominated me for a Blogger Reflection Award. What a lovely surprise, and I am so honoured. I have gained so much from all my super blogging friends all over the place. So much. And I have so many people to choose from to nominate, that it will be hard to settle on just 5. I will post that soon, and I also need to do the Woman to Woman post for Morning Glory about quotes too. I will be late.

As you can see, I am here. I am reading your posts, but am trying to take a little while to reflect too. Work gets in the way a little too much at times. But your messages have been so amazing, and I am truly touched by the love and care you have shown me. I am one very lucky lady.

(I have no idea why there are big gaps in this post. Blogger is misbehaving.)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Time to remember

I am sitting here thinking. The house is quiet, and I had some amusing snippet to share, and then my brain started dwelling on the things filling my heart instead. I am writing this primarily for those of you who know me. In real life, and also my little band of dear blogging friends. And then I will let it go and resume normal random musings, but maybe not for a week or two. If you know me in real life, I don't want to talk about any of this. Not right now.

My days at the moment are all starting with "this time last year...". I keep pushing down the well of emotion and now and then it bubbles up like a geyser. Of Old Faithful-like proportions. I never intended this blog to be an emotional place. I never intended to write about anything other than day to day musings. But then life sort of happens when you are making other plans, doesn't it?

This time last year, today, Geoff was brought home from work because he couldn't breathe. 13 days later, I watched as his life slipped away in the early hours of the morning of the 7th July. As I write, the tears are trickling down my face, and it is not an attractive sight. I remember standing next to him, holding his hand, just watching the blood pressure machine readings dropping lower and lower, and the heart monitor getting slower and slower, and thinking that it was all a dream and that I would wake up soon. I remember looking up and whispering, it is okay. You have fought so hard. You can let go now. We will be okay. Just head towards the light and don't look back.

And then the machines stopped beeping and just made that one long sound. Exactly as they do in hospital TV shows. And it was over.

I remember walking out of the critical care unit at 4 in the morning, and sitting on the steps in the empty car park, wondering how I could phone my children and tell them that their Dad had died. David was at home with one of my friends. Andrew and Ann were in London, and Diana was so very far away in New Zealand. I remember worrying that my mobile phone would have enough battery life left to be able to talk to them all. That I wouldn't be there to hold them when I told them. The hospital was an hour and a half away from home. I remember watching the sun rising as I spoke to each of my children, and to my sister. I remember every single aching second. It is as though it was freeze framed in my mind.

And so, in the space of those 13 days, our lives changed forever. I have written before about how immeasurably different I am today to that woman who sat on those steps that morning, wondering what and how to say the words that no-one wants to have to say. We had never talked about death, or its possiblity. I asked him once if he was afraid, and he said so simply....what is the point of worrying...there is nothing I can do about anything except concentrate on breathing. He was a quiet, simple man, who never complained.

Battling with tidal waves of regrets and sadness, fear, shock and a loneliness that staggered me beyond belief...... I was so unprepared for it all, even though I knew right from that day a year ago today, that he was going to die. I don't know how I knew. I just knew.

But this little family, which is the focus of my life, has made it through the first year. There have been tears, of course. Many, I suspect. But there has also been laughter too. Memories made and shared. There is still a lot to do before we can "move on" (oh, how I hate that phrase). There is an inquest to deal with. It all takes so long. I so want to be at the stage where we can just remember the man, not the medical details or events surrounding his death.

Sometimes I, like all of us, just wish for a brief period when everything works, goes smoothly and there is no more tough stuff to deal with. Sometimes, I lie in bed and everything that is "pending" swamps my mind and overwhelms me. Maybe that is why I stay up so late at night.

But this is not about me. This post is about memories, and about looking, not at how far we have to go, but at how far we have come. I can't change the past. I may wish I had done and said things differently, but I can't turn back the clock, can I. I can't undo any of it.

So for now, I will remember him tossing my babies in the air. BBQing for the family. Watching football. Sailing away...........

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The longest day

The longest day....... it is June 21st already! How is it possible that the year is half gone already? My mother always used to say that time flew by faster and faster as you got older. She still says it today. She is right.

Parents evening went well and , yet again, it was largely attended by the parents of "good" children, who work hard, and do well. The ones I really want or need to talk to never show up. Hah. I have a phone. I do believe I will give them a call.

I just dozed off sitting here trying to get my fingers to type the words swirling around in a jumble in my brain. I surrender. I am going to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz z z z

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

4 weeks of term left.

My obsession with the weather continues. Sun and rain today. Sun when I am indoors. Rain the minute I set foot outside. Typical. Events of the day?
  1. Reports done for another year group
  2. Classes taught (picture screeching teacher and defiant 12 year olds who know ALL the answers. To everything except their work. Of course. )
  3. Lessons planned - 2.
  4. Lesson plans ditched - 2.
  5. Meetings avoided - 2.
  6. Phone calls made - 8.
  7. Letters written - 1.
  8. Pages scanned - lost count.
  9. Meals cooked - 1.
  10. Cups of coffee drunk - stopped counting at 9.
  11. Friends visited - 1.
  12. Food shopping - 2.
  13. Taxi driver for son - 2.

Then there are the blogs read, emails written, and conversations had, and text messages sent and received, and you get a picture of my wildly exciting life. I should be in France right now, in the sun. Next to the pool. With a glass of wine in hand. Preparing to celebrate a 60th birthday with friends. I am not. I am here in the rain, with the prospect of today all over again tomorrow. With another parents' evening thrown in for good measure.

Good heavens. If I look at my posts in recent days, I depress myself. If you met me, you would know that I am not a depressing person at all. In fact, if you met me (and yes, I know a lot of you know me IRL) you would know I am cheerful and positive. I am. My only excuse is that the end of the school year is approaching, and I am SO ready for a holiday break. I am tired. I droop. A bit. Just a little. But I have a wonderful trip to look forward to (she says, hauling herself upright.)

I need more coffee.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Medico-legal mush and friends

My life is speeding up. Things are happening, and the timing could be better. In the middle of my class today I had a call to tell me that a tentative inquest date has been set in October. That means loads of calls and lawyers, and papers and insurance and dealing with "stuff". I know October is far away, but so much needs to be done before then. But at least I know it will be this year. And as one of my wise friends said, just hand it all over to the lawyer and let them do the work now.
The trouble is that I have invested so much of me in the fight till now. So many hours of research, reading, learning and asking questions. I have to take all my notes and papers to the lawyers to be copied and I am finding the thought of letting them out of my sight a little unsettling. I am weird. I know. I need to know that they will involve me in the development of the case. I need to know that I won't be sidelined or marginalised. I need to know that what I think and know counts too. Does this make any sense??

But my friends want me to be in a place where the sole responsibility is no longer just mine. As in, there are others fighting for me. I can see this will be beneficial. But the control is the one thing I have kept. When it is just me doing the fighting, I know I have to stay focussed and keep working. And before you all start telling me to read what I am writing, and remember that I have to let go and trust, (as I keep saying anyway) I KNOW. It is just difficult. Do as I say, not as I do. I know. I know.

It just matters more to me. I am my only medical case. My only legal case. I do not have hundreds of other clients to sort at the same time. I only have mine. I have researched the law firm I have chosen. I have done my homework. So why do I feel as though I know better? I clearly do not. It is like looking at your child's first teacher and thinking.... hey, what do you know that I don't? I know my child better. You will know the feeling well, I am sure.

So here I am, and I should be working and I can't. Too much crowding my mind. I am in medical expert mode. And fledgling lawyer mode. The mother/teacher/daughter/sister/friend mode is off somewhere else. This is not good. I need to trust. Letting go is not easy.

On a lighter note, my friends, Jane and Derek, are here in England on holiday, and were close enough for me to go and meet them after school. I met them at Stowe, and took them to the canal museum at Stoke Bruerne. We crossed over the canal at the locks, and sat and had coffee as we watched the narrow boats moving up and down. It was not raining. This was a pleasant change!

We are lifetime friends. The kind who pick up where we left off, no matter how long it is since we were in the same place at the same time. Our boys grew up together. Jane flew over for my 50th birthday, you know. What a wonderful surprise. She came all the way from Cape Town, a day after she finished radiation treatment. With no hair. How amazing is that. But she is well and happy and bubbling over with the joys of life. Just the person I needed to see today, and how thankful I am that we could get to see each other, even though it was just for a couple of hours.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Summer rain and memories.

I am sick of rain. Specifically rain that falls on me and makes me very wet. So the hair develops a life of its own and I end up looking like the wild woman of Borneo. You may detect a slight obsession with the weather. You would be right. I have just seen the weather forecast for the week and I am "happy" to relate that we will be having rain, rain, rain and yes, surprise surprise, that would be RAIN for the rest of the week. My attempts to look slightly chic are doomed. Drowned rat is more like it. It is just as well that I am not obsessed with image.

I have been looking at everyone's blog templates in the past few days, and I really must do something about mine. I want to be unique and different. I need a makeover. Well, everything about me needs a makeover, really. I just think the bloggy one is more reasonable to aim for. I will have to try playing about a bit. Yes, I know daughter has already told me to save my template. I still have to work out how. I definitely need to be more techno-savvy. That can go on the "to do" list too.

It is summer, and the whole world seems to be on the move. My dear friend from Cape Town is here in England, Tessa is in Ireland, I will be off to NZ. Friends are off to France, Spain, South Africa, Bulgaria, Italy, Australia. Mum will be in Switzerland. My colleagues are off to Jamaica, Zimbabwe, South Africa. What a different world we live in. Mary is off to get her new daughters in Ethiopia, I hope. In this little blogging world, I wonder just how many miles (or kilometres) we will cover before the end of August. How many countries we will visit all together. How many new experiences we will have and how much we will learn about the places we see, and the people we meet. Just think... my grandfather never went in an aeroplane. He died in 1964. Ships??? Oh yes, he travelled widely, but slowly, in style. And we zoom all over the world at superfast speeds. Time is the important factor.

Maybe we need to choose to take a little more time to savour it all, and do a little less of the hurtling about. My grandparents had the right mix. They used to sail to the UK every two years on the old Union Castle mailboats. They had 2 weeks at sea to get here, then travelled around Europe for a couple of months, and then had another 2 weeks at sea going home, so arrived home rested and relaxed. It sounds perfect to me. I did the same trip with my parents and sister when I was 11. Two weeks at sea, about 3 months travelling round Europe, and 2 weeks at sea going home.

Having said that, being married to a career merchant navy officer meant that I did a great many sea trips over the years. So did my children. I remember times when we lay on the deck at the bow of the ship watching dolphins playing in the sea riding the bow wave. Or the flying fish. Or whales. Sitting with a book on deck, watching the horizon rise and fall as the ship sailed through the water. Not quite luxury liner style, but not far off. We made our own entertainment. I can think of a good few posts I could do about sea travel! Memories are good.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rain , rain, stay away........

The weekend is nearly over, and the rain has stayed away for today at least. I cannot describe the torrential rain that has fallen over the past week. Roads washed away, flooding. The carnival was washed out after the parade. I did go up for a while, clutching my umbrella....(I have a couple of brain cells still active!) and I did take some photos. Lots of people, but then down poured the rain, and I , along with the rest of the village, headed for cover. Fortunately, Pete and Glynis live close by, and so I arrived for coffee.

Today the sun shone periodically, and after church, I went to join my friends for Annette's birthday tea in her garden. Cakes..... slices..... merinques.....cream.....fruit salad.....Pimms..... coffee and tea. A slice of summer. Add that to my friends, you have a very happy mix indeed. The final of Britain's got talent is just starting at the moment, and I am really hoping that the ordinary man wins. The 6 acts in the final are all great.

I think I am close to making my decision re work. I have needed some time to think, and now I am at the stage where I want to make plans. You know, I have made some epic leaps into the void in the past year, and so far, I have never been let down. Those arms are always there to catch me, and I really believe they always will be. I am the first to acknowledge that I was in a position where I had little or no choice back then. I had to jump. My survival instincts were out in force, and I did a fair amount of clinging to the clifftop by my fingernails. A lot, really. Mega amounts, if I am going to be truthful. I am a control freak. Once they were prised off the rock, though, and control was wrested from my manic grip, I had no option other than trusting. I learned a lot. So here I am about to leap again, and this time I am taking run up to the edge. None of the wimpy thing this time.

One more person to go on the show. I can't stand the suspense. I think I may have o-d-ed on TV this weekend. I feel the need to do the ironing to avoid the suspense. And I loathe and detest ironing. I just happen to like things that crease. Like cotton and linen. I am rambling like a demented flea. I need a life. Lewis Hamilton won his second Grand Prix. British sport has something to cheer about. Andy Roddick won the Artois championship in the run up to Wimbeldon, so America also has something to cheer about. Paul is about to sing Nessum Dorma, I think.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Semi finals

Ok, I am trying to load something from YouTube. My son is about to go out, so I want to do it before he goes. I hope.

Last night was the semi-finals from Britain's got talent, and the ordinary man was back. He swept into the finals on Sunday and mesmerised us all yet again. Wow.

And please note that at the end, all the judges were on their feet!

It has been an exhausting day at work, but now it is the weekend. The rain continues to fall. Most notably, just as I was on gate duty at the end of school, far away from shelter and without an umbrella. You do not want to know what I look like. We came perilously close to a wet T-shirt competition. Not good.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I am joining the random band-wagon too

I have no inspiring pearls of wisdom to offer today. So I am going to join in with the randomness. I like random. It is like my brain....filled with bits and pieces of all sorts of things.

It is raining. It is, in fact, flood-like rain. My roses are facing the ground, and there is no doubt at all that I do NOT have to go and water the allotment. Thunderstorms will continue for the next day or so, and Saturday is the village carnival once again.

This has been a good week so far. My ticket is now booked, and I will be going to see my daughter in the summer with the rest of my family, for a few weeks. It will be the first time my children and I have been together since the funeral last year. I will also be able to visit my best friend as well, and, as she has lived in NZ for 21 years, and I have never been there, it is about time too. We are flying via LA and I am coming back via Hong Kong. So it will be a real adventure for me. I wish I had time to stop in the States and visit some of you, but that will come one day. Dreams, remember?

Are you like me? I really want to go and see where Diana and Linds (my best friend) shop, have coffee out, where they like to go for walks, meet friends, and explore their neighbourhoods etc. Of course I want to see some of the country, but I want to know where they live their every day lives, so I can visualise things when I am back home on the other side of the world. I can't wait!

There have been lots of birthdays, and more to come this weekend too. It is a happy time. I have been catching up with some of my wonderful friends too, and seeing their lovely gardens as well. I know I keep saying this, but I am constantly amazed by how blessed I am. You have no idea just how blessed.

It is results time once again, and I have so many young friends who are excelling. Tom is graduating with a 2:1, and I was SO excited to hear how well he has done. He is well on his way to being an architect, and I was even more delighted that he called me to tell me the news himself. He is my dear friend Ros's son. (The one in Scotland.) David's exams are nearly over. One more to go now and he can relax. Matthew has passed his common entrance and goes to his wonderful new school in September. He has done so well. So much to be proud of and thankful for.

Diana and Katherine are back in Wellington after their adventure, and no doubt I will be hearing all about their travels soon. K leaves for home on Monday, so they don't have much time left. They are like sisters, and have been the best of friends since they were born.

You know, I work with some wonderful people.... most of them much younger than me. Young enough to be my children. But we like each other, and we have so many laughs together. I will miss this if I leave. The teasing is hilarious. I was saying yesterday that I think I will run away and join a rock band when I am 83. Not so long to wait then, says my 32 year old boss, patting my knee. After we all stopping the choking with fits of laughter, I started planning revenge. She is doomed. Make no mistake. Boss lady or not.

So...... it is a good time right now. And now is all that counts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TV fun and astonishment

I have no idea how to put a Youtube video on this blog. But PLEASE go and look at Paul Potts singing. The high quality sound/video one is the best. There are a lot to choose from. We have a programme on ITV at the moment, called Britain's Got Talent, and it is a talent contest to find a "normal" act to sing in the Royal Variety Show this year. It has been on every night, and there have been some wonderful (and excruciating) performances, but this is one from the first night, and it blew everyone away.

On to the stage walked this extremely nervous ordinary man who works in Carphone Warehouse, and this is what he did. I was in tears on the night. Go and watch. Then come back and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Have you ever got a letter from the bank saying......Dear Mrs ....... Please contact us about your account on this number. Yours sincerely .......??????? I opened this letter today when I walked in from work. The heartrate zoomed into impending doom mode. The blood pressure soared to the stratosphere, and I did indeed try to ring that number, got a ridiculous man in some foreign part, who was distinctly challenged by the English language, so leapt into the car and took off to town. I was not a serene presence as I stood at the information desk with my hair looking like Medusa, hyperventilating. I slapped the letter down and asked what it was about, thinking financial catastrophe, and the 12 year old (it seemed) behind the desk smiled brightly and said..... oh, we just wondered if there is anything else we can sell do for you? Any service we can offer?

Now I do believe I am a reasonable woman. Sometimes. I leaned over the desk and spoke very slowly..... You do realise, don't you, that you have just knocked 5 years off my life by sending me a letter which will make me terrified that something awful has happened? Oh, she said, we didn't mean to alarm you or anything. No????? Rest assured I was alarmed. I was very helpful. I edited the letter to read....... Please contact us about your account, as we really value your custom and would love to see if there is perhaps any way we could assist/serve you in the future. I underlined the serve bit for good measure. And left it for her.

The banking industry needs me to set them straight.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Blogging meme

Chilihead has a post up re why we are blogging, so you can go over and visit, and add to her Mr Linky thingy if you want to join in too.

  • How did you start blogging? Well, that one is easy. My daughter was going to work in NZ and she started blogging before she left to keep all her friends and family updated with her adventures. I watched her and said I wouldn't mind having a go too, and the next minute she had set it up for me. I confess that I knew nothing when I started, and she has done some long distance idiot-proof tutorials! Messenger is a wonderful invention. I didn't write much for the first 6 months or so, and then I started very tentatively. No-one except her read it, and then I started looking for women my sort of age to read about and talk to and stumbled on this wonderful community. I remember gathering my courage and making my first comment on Mary's (Owlhaven) comment marathon night. And that was the start of a great voyage of discovery!
  • Did you intend to have a following? No. I didn't intend anything. And even now, I am just fascinated to get to know new people and have them visit if they feel like it. I am not bothered by stats. It has just evolved steadily.

  • What did you hope to accomplish? Initially to keep in touch with friends and family, who are spread all over the world. Then a new world opened. No goals except to learn more about all my new friends all over the place. The love and support is an unexpected bonus.It is fun. Simple, really.

  • What do you wish you had known when I started? How easy it would be! And how wonderful it has been to be part of the community. Maybe that I had been more techno savvy.

  • Do you make money from your blog? No. I only found out that you actually could a short while ago.

  • Do your family know about your blog? Yes. They all do and they all read it. This can be good and not so good. I do know that what I write is tempered by the fact that they read it.

  • What 2 pieces of advice would you give a new blogger? Don't let it consume all your time. It is a part of your life, not the whole thing, and all of us can talk of the hours we have spent reading and posting! Don't be afraid to comment on other people's blogs. It is great to get to know each other. Ask for advice when you need it re how to do things or where to go. OOps that was 3. Just enjoy discovering a wonderful community of amazing people!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I went for a walk along the river this afternoon, through the fields in the valley close to where I live.

I saw this field of poppies on the way home from church this morning, so I just had to go back and take some photos. I managed to walk up the edge of the field so I was right there in the midst of them, and it was just beautiful. Even though the skies were grey.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lazy days......

Here is a photo of my hosta. It is growing in an old metal wheelbarrow, and it grows larger each year. And here is one of my favourite roses. We have a tradition of planting roses to mark special events, and my garden is full of them. They are all starting to bloom at the moment, so the scent is wonderful as you walk around.

I like weekends, when I have nothing planned. I can be lazy. This past week has been rather fraught with backache, sick days, inspections, parents' evenings and observations. But the weekend is here, and the sun is shining and I have been down to the allotment with David to water and weed. There was supposed to be rain, so I was hoping to evade the watering etc, but alas, none fell. Rain is very convenient when I have a great deal to water!

The potatoes are growing beautifully, and it all looks ok, if a little droopy. The water should sort the droop though. And the anti-bunny barricade is holding. I am an impatient gardener. I want to eat the things I am growing. Now would be good.

I have nothing inspiring to relate. My mind is mush. Diana and Katherine are arriving in Auckland to stay with my best friend tomorrow. Linds (yes, we are both Linds) and I met in university residence back in the old days. When we were 17. And have remained the best of all best friends ever since, even though continents and oceans separate us. It is wonderful to know she is close by should Diana ever need someone. She is her godmother. We had our babies at the same time, delivered by the same doctor, so timed our checkup visits together so we could chat in the waiting room. I will have to write about her sometime too. She is amazing.

I will add some photos later when I get to the main computer. My son has claimed squatter's rights to it at the moment. Loosely translated, that means I need to rise in the early hours if I want to use it. But you will be dazzled by my potato plants. Oh yes you will.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sick days, sun and sadness

For the first time in my life, I took a sick day on Tuesday. And another one yesterday too. I felt awful phoning in to say I was incapacitated, but I had made a couple of futile attempts to get out of bed by then, and eventually gave up and admitted defeat. I come from the generation which has that stalwart work ethic and thinks it is invincible. News flash. I am not. The spirit is, but the body is showing signs of wear and tear, alas. Not to mention that I would be a liability in an emergency. I am not anticipating emergencies, understand, but just in case.

Mind you, my attempts to walk across the room have had my son and mother in fits of unsympathetic mirth. I am ok once I get up a head of steam, but initially look like some wizened old duck minus her zimmer. Not quite the look I would choose for myself.

I finally gave in and visited the doctor yesterday and got industrial strength pills to ease the pain, and I also bought a microwave heating wheat thingy. Wonderful invention. How have I managed so long without one? And today, I went back to work. Not painfree, I add, but I am able to walk. I did spend part of the lunchbreak prostrate on the staffroom floor, which made for interesting comments, and a lot of teasing too. But that helped a bit. And then, having chosen the perfect day to return to work, I had parents' evening till 8.30 for good measure. So my heating pad and I are bonding again. I am shattered. AND for good measure, I am being observed first lesson tomorrow. I am past caring, though. What happens, happens.

My daily reading was all about how I am absolutely fine as I am, and that worry was something I should dump at the foot of the cross. I am beginning to sense a pattern here. Be kind to myself. Don't worry. I am who I am supposed to be. Fine as I am. etc etc. Hmmmm. In the light of the decisons I am supposed to be making, maybe it is time for that leap of faith again. I thought I would just have to do it once. It seems not. I don't know why I thought it was just once. My imagination. Or wishful thinking.

David's Biology exam was forgettable, apparently. His 2 Chemistry exams were ok, I gather, and he still has 2 Physics ones tomorrow, and Maths next week and the week after, so any prayers for clear thought and accurate recollection would be appreciated.

The next few weeks will be challenging ones on a personal front. If I could fast forward I would. I am coming face to face with emotions and feelings which I have been very very good at keeping boxed up and hidden. I suppose it is inevitable, and I should not be surprised at all, but they seem to have a propensity for appearing at inconvenient times. Like when I am teaching. I stop suddenly, as I did on Monday, after a child was unspeakably rude to me, and instead of dealing with the attitude, I stood there and thought..." how unbelievably unimportant this all is...." and walked away.

I keep thinking...this time last year a, b, or c happened. Or this time last year, I said or he said or I should have or I could have. Or this time last year, why didn't I say, see, do, try, x, y or z. And before you all start telling me not to look back and wish I could have changed things, I know. I really do know. It doesn't stop the things in my head though. Maybe this is something I have to go through. Maybe it will happen each year. I don't know.

I don't know how my thoughts drifted in this direction today. Maybe it is because I am in pain. I hate not being 100% fit. But this is the state of this mind at the moment. All things return to the one thing just lurking in my subconscious. Trying to avoid it is not an option. Learning how to deal with it is. So beneath the humour and inane babbling, the silent part of me is in a sort of turmoil.

The work issues could not have come at a worse time. I can't focus on decisions, and it does all seem so unimportant. Maybe I do have to walk away and trust that I am enough as I am, and that there are better and bigger plans afoot for me. Just let go, is the message my dear friend Jean keeps reminding me of. I can't control everything and should not try. Just let go. Trouble is, it is not always easy. And until the inquest and the hospital stuff is sorted, it is not over, is it?

Enough of the heavy stuff. The sun has been shining, it is my friend Glynis' birthday, our daughters (Glynis's and mine) are off on a road trip adventure together in New Zealand as I speak, it is Friday tomorrow, and my bath is waiting to relax my back. And the rest of me.

See................... life has really good parts too! And thanks for all your messages. They make me smile.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I am a crone

I had a bath last night. This is a normal thing for me. I LOVE reading in the bath, and I cannot get into bed without having a bath. No matter what the time may be. I need to have a bath. Anyway..... the bath is incidental to my story. I got out of the bath last night, and bent over to dry my legs. And trapped a nerve or did something to my back. I stood there, bent double trying to move without screeching the house down. It took forever. I crawled into bed, and thought, ok then, it will be fine in the morning.


The alarm went off at the normal time, and I tried to get out of bed. Shall I move that leg? Nooooooo, maybe not. Toe? I don't think so. Other leg? Oh no. Hyperventilating. It is like losing the power-steering on the car. It took me 45 mins to get out of bed, and another 15 to get into my clothes. Then came the stairs. Not a great idea. I levered myself into the car and went to work. I am tough like that. (Insane, really.) And I have done my crone impersonation all day. Agony. I had a full day of teaching, and predictably, all my classes were less than enchanted to be back at school, and perfectly awful.

And then I was told that we were doing something wrong in the course work, even though we are following the board guidelines, and using their exemplar coursework to teach. So all in all, a hideous day. My daily reading this morning said to be kind to myself. I should have got back into bed and stayed there.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Half-term is over

The holidays are at an end, and I am not ready to go back to school tomorrow. Too much "hard" stuff to deal with in the coming days, not least what I will be doing next term. I have some tough decisions to make and am no nearer to making them. I have appointments with lawyers arranged, and it will soon be the anniversary of Geoff's death, and David starts his exams tomorrow, and Mum needs me around more, and ......... oh well. This is life at the moment. No-one said it was going to be a doddle, did they.

After a week of diabolical weather, we have had 3 stunning days of sun, and we have made the most of them. There are no guarantees in England when it comes to weather! Friday was gardening and allotment planting day. The rabbits are having a banquet down at the allotments, and I had to go and get fencing for the new veg we planted. Jean and David and I rigged up what we hope will be rabbit-proof barricades, and so far they have not been able to get in. There was a good deal of laughter as we tried to get fencing to stay straight. (Add that to the new skills pile.)
Yesterday was lovely. Time to relax and enjoy my family and friends.

This photo was taken yesterday while I watched the babes swim in their new play pool in the sun. There was much shrieking of delight, and water splashing and ice-lollies and suncream and sitting chatting to my friends as we watched the fun. Many smiles. Water + kids = happiness. The simple things in life. I took many, many photos!

In the evening, we went to my friend, Tessa for supper. She has the most beautiful garden, and we just love going there. Here are some cows in the field next to her house. Diana will remember them well. They once chased her across the fields.

So you get to see a little of the English countryside. And cows. It was wonderful sitting out in the garden, and listening to the birds. And cows. And I swear I heard a donkey, but there was no sign of one. So maybe it was a cow. (It did make a very strange sound.... very un-cow-like.

Today has been lovely. After a wonderful church service this morning, I went to the monthly shared lunch, at Nicky's place. We all take plates of food to share, and there are usually about 8-12 families who get together. More sitting in the garden, more photos, and more laughter. We all used to go to the same church, and have moved on to many new ones, and this is a way of staying in touch, and we so enjoy it.

And then tonight, after a snooze this afternoon, we all went to Peter and Glynis for a BBQ. So I have done NO cooking this weekend, and have been spoilt rotten. Being able to be outside is always great. And being with special friends is even better. We interrupted Matt's afternoon sleep when we arrived, and I did say I would post a photo of him here, but I will keep him in suspense a little longer.

So, it is back to normal tomorrow. I have a great deal to be thankful for, I know. And I am, believe me. There are just some mountains out there which look very steep and treacherous at the moment. And the trouble with mountains is that they come in ranges. With lots of peaks. Oh well. One at a time. And summer is here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The sun does shine sometimes!

The sun is shining. This is the flowerbed in the front of the house. Yes, I know it needs attention and hacking back and weeding, but I took this photo with MY NEW CAMERA! And I managed to get it off and here, so be suitably impressed.

My camera and I are bonding. I am so thrilled that I can actually make it work. I have been in the garden all morning, and I will not bore you with endless hosta photos etc, but I also managed to do my hanging baskets and pots round the patio, and now just have the 3 in the front near the door to do. I am taking Mum to Podington for lunch and we will gather what ever else I need there.

After a week of torrential rain, it is warm and sunny, and it is amazing how the mood changes. The allotment will be next. This afternoon I think. I will take the camera. Of course.