Saturday, 27 September 2014

Will we have a hat trick?

Well Number 1 son was delivered to Uni on Tuesday, it was all very exciting and a little scary too.

We drove up in 3 hours (I'm thinking that's do-able in an emergency - or if I just need to give him a hug) and drove onto the campus and straight to the door of his halls. Outside the main block students were all about to help you unload and also had a DJ playing music outside the main building. As we stepped out of the car the loud rap music blared out "mothef***r, motherf***r" which was a little surprising and not ever so welcoming! It then segued nicely into "Walking on Sunshine" in an 80's disco kind of way - covering all tastes there.... all very bizarre!

His room is like a small cell with no room to swing a cat, luckily cats aren't allowed so that's not a problem! He has two huge notice boards on each side of the room which looked useful; until we saw the small sign saying you mustn't use sticky tape, pins or tac (blue or white) on these boards - maybe he'll have to go back to play group and use flour and water glue! Pretty handy notice boards then.......

 Poor quality photos taken on my poor quality phone, I forgot the camera!
And this photo and/or dress appears to make my body look like that of a middle aged 
round shaped lady! I'm also still trying to grow my hair into, well, something! 

We unpacked his stuff and realised how poorly equipped he actually was! As he's in catered halls we were told that all kitchen equipment is supplied (he's only catered Mon-Fri)  I don't know but 2 small saucepans and 1 frying pan just doesn 't seem enough for 4 people?? That was all the equipment there was, unles there's a huge stocked cupboard which we just couldn't find.
He'd also turfed out all the tins of baked beans which I'd boxed up for him before we left home as he thought I'd over done it - he then realised he'd only bought 1 tin with him - hopefully that'll keep him going til Christmas!

I made his bed, probably the only time it will ever actually be made, I stored the change of bed linen in the cupboard and warned him it had better be used!

We managed to slide his huge cricket bag under the desk to avoid it taking up the entire floor space and introduced ourselves to his neighbour. The lad in the next door room had a crate of Pot Noodles and a crate of beer - he was very well equipped!

Number 1 son got himself signed up for a few things and then we had a trip to Tesco for fresh supplies, he can only cook one pasta dish involving white wine and fresh cream, I imagine his shopping list will never include those 2 items again!

So we left him there late afternoon and he found out that night  that his cricket trial for the top flight uni cricketers (he's not top flight but it's worth a shot) was in the middle of Fresher's week - is that a deliberate move to test commitment?

We drove from Loughborough home via Norwich to catch the end of Little Miss's County cricket trial. As I said before a lot goes on in the County set up which doesn't seem quite right - money/name/school/business etc talks it seems. Anyway all the girls trialling had been told before the session started that they were all through to the next round! Hooray you might think, and we did indeed congratulate her and celebrate with a McFlurry. All I will add is that the first 2 trial sessions are free, if you go through to the next round the trials cost £50, and they all went through....make of that what you will; I'm saying no more!

So maybe all 3 of them will eventually pay ahem, I mean play for Norfolk?

Eating a McFlurry on the run for tea isn't exactly nutritious, not helped by the text from Number 1 son to say Uni food is fab, beef and mushroom stroganoff and key lime pie!

Anyway Number 2 son is also through to the next round of his trails at Under 17 level, there is a lot more I could say about this also (although he certainly deserves a place in the squad) but you never know who's reading the blog! I'm fairly sure if I spoke out too much it wouldn't help their cricket careers. A friends son, in a younger age group, is a superb bowler and his statistics for 2014 place him number 2 in the country (that's country not county) for his age; he's just been overlooked for the emerging players programme in Norfolk! Sums it all up really!!

Anyway we heard late last night that Number 1 son hasn't made it to the next round of trials at Uni (as expected) but now trials again at the next level down so there will be no let up in the amount of cricket played, maybe a little less driving about for us though! Well I say less driving, The Builder had to be talked out of driving back to Loughborough to watch Number 1's indoor practice session!!
I must say we've heard far more from him in the last few days than we did at home in the last few years; even a text at 10 to 5 this morning saying he was off to bed - obviously we didn't see it at that time!

The cricket season should have finished, and I thought maybe a little DIY and gardening could be on the cards, sadly The Builder is currently up at the pitch tending to the grass and anything else which needs doing before Winter - bug**r the grass at home then!

We do have a night out planned though, a trip the the theatre to see To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my very favourite books. I've read it several times and seen it at the theatre once before, it was the best thing play I've ever seen - I hope this production is as good. 
And I hope The Builder doesn't nod off!

Have a great rest-of-the-weekend!

Jay

Friday, 19 September 2014

And breath......(and sniffle!)

So we've reached the end of the summer, and the end of the cricket season, at last. We have one more match at the weekend, and this is not a competitive match. The whole family will play (except me, obviously!) as it's a memorial match and the opposition are the family and friends of a young player who sadly lost his life in an accident some years ago. It's not a sad day, it's a day for memories and seeing old friends and enjoying a few beers, a barbecue and some fun together.

But of course it never really ends, the indoor net sessions have already started and the trials for County Cricket start this week. I thought the pressure would be off this year as Number 1 son will be away at Uni (gulp) when his age group trial and Number 2 son is now at the age where (in Norfolk) they don't have a County team - something to do with it being exam year I think. However Number 2 went off on Wednesday to launch an assault on the under 17's and, would you believe it, Little Miss went last night to trial for the girls Under 13's! She's not very good (or that interested if truth be told) but she doesn't like to be left out and there are very few girls playing cricket, so you never know!

I have failed miserably to keep on top of the garden, as I have every other year before this one! I harvested all the remaining carrots, the parsnips seem to be all leaves and not much else, the beetroot has been pickled and I've had quite a few tomatoes - despite the tiny grow bags and pots and lack of canes.






I'm extremely happy to be eating a few home grown potatoes...especially as I didn't plant any!
We are having a good harvest of fruit, mainly because little effort is required. The pear & almond tarts have gone down a treat, I'll stash a few in the freezer - I love a good tart/cake/pudding/pastry!





The weeding has completely lost me and there's a lot of work needs doing, The Builder should be available to help (and maybe fix that broken window which he "strimmed" earlier in the year and which remains shattered) I may try to tidy it up before winter but.....you know....I've lost momentum!

I've also lost momentum in blogging, both writing and reading - too much on my mind it seems. The start of High School for Little Miss has gone as smoothly as it could,
 and the move to university for Number 1 happens next Tuesday. 
I am, at the moment swaying between excitement for him and a wobbly lip
 at the thought of leaving him there! 
I may book a weekend away for The Builder and I, and it may or may not be in the direction of Loughborough! 
I've told Number 1 that I'm planning to visit him every weekend, just so he doesn't get lonely.....he gives me an odd look which says a tiny percentage of him thinks I just might!
 I have packed umpteen tins of baked beans and a frying pan, not sure if he needs much else?
 I've bought him a new duvet and lovely bed linen - he thought I'd gone mad! 
Wish me luck, I'll have a handbag full of tissues!

And Number 2 son, ah what can I say? He remains the same, arguing with me at every opportunity, as I said before, I really must "stop being such an idiot"...apparently!
 This year will be full of exams for him so I'll be investing in a hard hat!

We finished the "big job" which The Builder has been on all Summer and which has caused us a good deal of worry and stress, I had hoped to start spending the profit on my hidden "must do" list but unfortunately funds don't stretch to even half way down the list. We can invest in a new boiler and some garden fencing, essential but not really what I had in mind - I actually wanted a carpet, the outside of the house painted and some pretty new china - we're lucky Number 1 is leaving as we don't have enough plates to eat together any more!

We've also had an issue with a neighbour which has been rumbling for several years. It's really got to me now and, as is always the case, the person who shouts the loudest gets heard - I must remember to shout louder in future! As The Builder says it's very difficult to reason with an unreasonable person!

But in amongst all of the above there have been some lovely moments to brighten my days, emails from fellow bloggers always put a smile on my face and there are many of you out there who I'd love to have a night out on the tiles with. I received a card from Tammy, .....just because; and a gift from Kylie which put a smile on several faces!
 If you don't really understand cricket just enlarge the tea towel and read the print, it'll all become clear!!

I also unexpectedly received a couple of vouchers, one for coffee and cake for two (I love cake, did I mention that?) and the other for a spa day, a gift from our Kiwi cricketer who has now moved out of the garage and is on his way home - he's already asked if we'll have him back next year. 
Would it be rude to say "yes only if I can have another spa day voucher!?

So I will be back soon, we're trying to slow down and enjoy life a bit more, I went for a massage yesterday (it was free - I love a freebie almost as much as I love a good cake!)  
and have lined up a few theatre nights out in Norwich. 
The Builder has agreed to come with me to see To Kill A Mockingbird - one of my favourites and the weird lady from cricket is coming with me to see Lord Of The Flies, the Matthew Bourne version - so that'll be interesting and I'm sure very entertaining!

See you all soon
Jay
xx

Monday, 8 September 2014

Summer Celebration

I thought I'd do a few mini roundups of our Summer, although we didn't seem to do much this year. The boy's cricket, work and The Builder's slipped disc and arthritic hip problems managed to take up far more of the school holidays than expected. And now 2 are back at school and Number 1 son is preparing for university. Well actually he's out with friends and sleeping mainly, if he were any more laid back he'd be unconscious!

The run up to A Level results day was a little stressful, he'd finished the exams some time ago and didn't feel they'd gone very well, as time went on he convinced us he'd probably failed! 
His first choice of university was Loughborough, mainly for it's sporting reputation. I have to say on visiting the campus on open day the sports facilities were jaw droppingly impressive - and that's coming from a very non-sportswoman. They have an Olympic pool, football pitches, several gyms, athletic track and, most importantly it's the home of the ECB National Academy (England Cricket Board), as well as having a superb cricket pitch in the middle of the campus.

However we discounted this option early on in view of his anticipated results. His insurance choice was a bit of a random, spur of the moment decision and he regretted it. The day before results day he decided to reject the second choice of Uni - the call came "how do I do that Mum?" I Googled and found that you can withdraw from a choice up to 7 days before results day; this was roughly 7 hours before! The boy who has done virtually nothing for 6 weeks decided, the night before, he wants to change his choice! 

He was in a huge panic and almost in tears so we wrote down a very long plan of action for the following morning which involved phoning other universities (lists of names, courses and telephone numbers) to ask (beg, plead) if they'd consider him, names and numbers of colleges to ask if he could re-take the failed exams, right through to looking for a job! We both had a sleepless night and I was staring, bleary eyed, at the UCAS website from 6am - 
it was due to go live at 8am. 
The Builder had to leave for cricket in some far off county at 6.45am so wasn't around. 
At 7.30 the site changed and we both stared at the screen and a shaky hand pressed the "enter" button.We both stared with puzzled faces as it flashed up "you are accepted at your first choice of university,Loughborough" - what does that actually say and what does it actually mean?? we both peered at the screen for minutes and I may have been staring through teary eyes!

He phoned The Builder immediately in his usual laid back, dead pan voice to tell him the news - we just heard a roar at the other end! The Builder has said he would give anything to have had the opportunity to go to a place like Loughborough - if he didn't have to do any writing!

So we went to pick up his results sheet from college with a happy heart and I treated him to coffee and cake in John Lewis (oh I know it was a treat for me mainly!) He then went off to celebrate as all bar 1 of his mates had got into the places they wanted to, we saw very little of him that night although his Twitter account was a little "slurry"! The next day he resumed his laid back, can't get out of bed mode and managed to miss his slot for accommodation! He's got the complete opposite to what he wanted - although I'm happy that he's in a catered hall. He wanted self-catered as it would give him more beer money - how much could a weekly shop cost??
 More than £10?? (he's in for a shock I know)

He then also managed to miss the time slot for accommodation swaps, so he isn't moving. I hope he finds some get-up-and-go before he leaves home on the 23rd.

We are very proud of him and I'm going to miss him terribly!

The only photo from our celebration meal out!



Friday, 5 September 2014

Our Trip to London

It's been a busy summer and I've not been near a computer very often so not only am I very behind on writing this here blog I'm also missing so many of my friends posts too. Now it's just about school time I'm going to try to get into more of a routine, I want to carry on blogging, I'm really getting so much pleasure from all the new friends I've made this year but sometimes, you know, life just get's in the way. There have been lots of happenings, too numerous to mention all. Suffice to say we had a worrying 10 days in August awaiting A Level results, a GCSE result and the ballet grade 3 results - all went well, but that's another story!

You may remember some time back I asked for advice about hotels for a trip to London I was planning. Well I booked the train tickets when they were cheap, I really wanted to book something for the weekend right next to my birthday, to avoid previous disasters and miserable days! I had planned on booking a Travelodge or similar and the Bethnal Green one was recommended but I kept waiting for one more pay day and the prices seemed to be creeping up! Eventually I tried to book and discovered something you may think is obvious but what hadn't occurred to me - the prices are a lot more for a Saturday night than a Friday! But after some searching and Googling I took a gamble and booked a "secret hotel" on Lastminute.com. I discovered that if you Google around enough you can find out actually which hotel is listed; so I plunged in and booked.

Turns out we did quite well, a hotel called The Grange St Paul's, opposite St Paul's Cathedral. Little Miss was over the moon as it had a swimming pool and our room had robes and slippers! We got about £50 off the hotel's website offer which was discounted from their normal price.

Straight off our train we headed to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, we had pre-paid tickets bought with Tesco vouchers, in fact all our food and two of the trips were courtesy of Tesco. Ripley's was actually better than we'd expected (especially as we weren't paying full price!) The top right of the collage is a knitted Ferrari! I thought of the many knitty/crochet-y bloggers when I saw this.

Centre is the hotel, bottom left is the glass bridge overlooking the lounge and breakfast area (we couldn't afford to eat there) and finally is how I spent the first evening, my new book and fizzy wine - nothing better than that!

On the Saturday morning we were meeting an Aussie friend who has just started a 2 year contract teaching in London, this was her first weekend in the capital, we had met her 4 years ago when her then boyfriend was that years "man in our garage" (overseas cricketer in the self contained flat before anyone calls the police!)We caught up on everyone's news then spent a couple of hours browsing the 5 floors of Hamley's toy shop - top of Little Miss's to-do list.
Bottom right of the collage is Little Miss's nails painted by a Hamley's demonstrator, 
a strawberry and a Minion were her favourites.

Saturday afternoon we made our way over to The Cambridge Theatre to see Matilda, I don't know who was more excited (actually I do, it was me!)
We had front row seats, a bit of a crick in the neck but a wonderful view of everything. The show was amazing but what Little Miss didn't know until the intermission was that Mrs Wormwood (Matilda's Mum) was meeting us after the show to show us around backstage! 
This had been arranged by her ballet teacher who used to work in West End shows.
We also got to the stage door in time to see the cast do their ice-bucket challenge!
I can highly recommend Matilda, it was a superb show, the whole cast were wonderful. 
Mrs Wormwood also kept our programme and posted it on to us signed by the cast, 
I'm still excited by the whole experience, Little Miss is over it already!

Saturday evening we ate out (Thank God for Tesco vouchers) and then had a swim, once back in our room I was sound asleep and Little Miss had to turn off the TV and lights!
On Sunday we had another swim before we checked out, ate a huge breakfast at the restaurant next door and went for a tour of The Tower of London, I think I saw the Crown Jewels once on a school trip but I don't remember ever looking around the Tower. We had exchanged more Tesco vouchers to get in and spent as long as we could before the train home looking around, there was so much more to see than I realised, it helped that we had a lovely sunny day for it.
 The ceramic poppies were an amazing and very moving sight.
 They were still being planted by volunteers.
Our Beefeater was a very good tour guide, as I'm sure they all are. We learnt a lot, he was an ex-army officer and had, at one time, guarded Rudolf Hess when he was brought to England. 
And from the Tower we made our way home, after 2 ice creams for £5 - the most expensive thing we ate all weekend I think! We missed our connecting train from Norwich but a kind Sister-in-Law picked us up (the boys were at cricket and couldn't possibly be disturbed)

So all in all a very jam-packed weekend, lots of giggles and memories made. We will definitely be repeating the experience.

I'll be back soon, enjoy your weekend where ever you are.
x

Sunday, 24 August 2014

In search of Lynne ......

I have so many things to write about,  the Summer is whizzing by and there are things to blog about but little time to put fingers to keyboard!

But today I thought I'd write a short post about our afternoon out to a craft fair where I'd hoped to meet up with fellow Norfolk blogger , Lynne. Lynne writes her blog at Textile Treasury, where she shows us her beautiful makes as well as other things,  Lynne sounds like a lovely person and someone I'd like to say Hello to . When she blogged about a craft fair,  not too distant from me,  on Saturday and Sunday,  I thought this would be my chance to have a day out and maybe introduce myself. I was also very much looking forward to seeing the items which Lynne would be exhibiting .

As usual in this house things rarely go according to plan, well my plan anyway! I thought that a craft fair, which included a farm shop and cafe, would be an ideal trip out on a weekend when the boys were all at cricket- if I stay home Little Miss gets bored and I get cross and the others are out playing games while I just do extra housework.

Saturday was already accounted for as we had a cricket tea to prepare (I supply the cakes and send them with hubby, I don't usually turn up to serve them!) It was the last match of the season and a sumptious feast was all ready for delivery. Little Miss and I were due a trip into Norwich to meet a friend and buy school shoes. But Sunday was a craft fair possibility.

As usual events conspired against us - the constant knocking noise on my car has now got so loud I can hear it over the turned-up radio so it needed attention! As it's MOT time I couldn't leave it any longer, but a friend agreed to check it over - he was only free on Sunday! That's ok, I can attempt the 40 minute drive in The Builder's truck, if I take it carefully down these little Norfolk roads; then I was informed that the cricket for Sunday was called off - apparently they're playing Monday now - oh joy! I thought it was unlikely that the boys would agree to a craft fair but the younger two made other plans and The Builder agreed, quite happily it seemed, to take me. It later transpired he had an ulterior motive but thus far I was oblivious.

After dropping the car off and picking up Number 1 son from where he'd ended up last night we rounded up Little Miss and set off, SatNav in hand. The Builder was very cheerful which was a surprise as it's safe to say, without meaning to cause offence, that arts and craft fairs are not really his "thing"!

Now the problem in these North Norfolk villages is the lack of mobile and internet connection, which at that point in time would have been useful. I had the village name, and the postcode but could only remember that the fair was at a venue with garden in the name. This didn't seem to be a problem as we entered the village and immediately saw signs for the Garden Fete, this was easy we thought and hastily pulled off the road and parked the truck. We realised that after all the shenanigans of the morning it was already nearly 2pm and the fair ended at 4pm! Anyhoo that's not a problem, we jumped out of the truck and followed other people through a field and into a magnificent tunnel under the road (apparently built around 1803)



It seemed a little odd as we came across the bric a brac stall, this wasn't really what I'd been expecting! And then the tombola, with a bottle of ketchup and some Pringles trying to draw us in! The raffle was even less exciting, Little Miss wanted to buy a few tickets at £1 each to try to win a packet of Loom Bands (worth 90p) but we swerved that. The "guess the name of the horse" was a bit random with a real live horse wandering about, as was the man dressed as one of the 118 chaps from the advert! Splat the rat was something I hadn't seen in a while too!

But where were the craft stalls, and more importantly where was Lynne? Time was running out and nothing crafty was to be seen....it eventually dawned on us that we were actually at a small village fete in the garden of a hall, not the actual event we'd been hoping to attend! I assumed that I'd got the wrong post code, the wrong village and quite possibly (given our usual travelling catastrophes) the wrong county!

We admitted defeat and retreated back into Holt for a coffee and scone in Byfords - our Christmas Eve venue. At that point we had internet connection and found out where we actually should have been. Sadly by then it was 3.35 and too late to try again.

The Builder seemed happy for us to make our way home via another little Norfolk village, at this point the ulterior motive became apparent. He wanted to catch a rival team's cricket match, not far out of Holt, and check their score. Apparently they are rivals for either the league top spot or both trying to avoid relegation - I pay so much attention I can't be sure! We sat at the village green for a while and watched as other members of our club arrived to watch, at that point Little Miss and I drove home in the truck leaving hubby standing on the boundary - I assume someone will give him a lift home!

I've also realised that with my birthday imminent and with nothing seemingly arranged, The Builder obviously thought he could probably buy me something suitable at a craft fair, that being the reason for him agreeing to the outing! In view of previous years my work colleagues have much enjoyed making suggestions for this year -  a trip to Lords, maybe tickets for a test match? Or what about a new flask for the away matches.....he wouldn't dare; would he??

So I'm sorry we didn't meet today Lynne, I did try, hopefully there'll be another time!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Liebster Blog Award....part 3


And finally...my list of 11 questions for those taking the baton from me on the Liebster Award, which was passed to me by Christine at A Colourful Life
I have two nominees who have agreed/volunteered to take part
Libby at D-Scribes and Caroline at Mrs M's Meanderings
I feel bad nominating people so please don't feel obliged, I know it's time consuming but it is quite fun too. Would CJ at Above the River, Penny at The Hen House, and Tammy at My Journey like to join in?
And please volunteer if you'd like to take part and have the award on your blog, you should have less than 200 followers but I can't see the number on everyone's blog so hopefully I've nominated blogs which fall into this category.
I hope my questions are ok, please miss any out you'd prefer not to answer!

1) What would you do on your ideal day? 
2) What did you want to be "when you grew up"? And did you achieve it?
3 Tattoos and/or piercings; do you have any, do you love/hate them?
4) Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
5) What are you reading right now?
6) Serious theatre or musicals; or do you not visit the theatre?
7) Do you have a secret crush? (famous person or otherwise!)
8) Who knows about your blog, or is it secret?
9) Would your ideal holiday (if funds were unlimited) involve seeing more of your own country or worldwide travel?
10) If you could rescue one item from your house in the event of a disaster what would it be? (family and pets aside)
11) If you were invited to a fancy dress party would you get excited, have a head brimming with ideas and immediately throw yourself into creating a fabulous outfit or do you struggle and wish it wasn't fancy dress?

Well there are my 11 random questions off the top of my head this morning! I was going to think on this for a while but time is getting on and I've been such a slow coach completing this challenge.

The weeks of Summer are moving on very quickly and I feel we haven't really done much.
So here are a few photos of our Summer up to now, photos and few words!



The last day of Primary School, I do have some lovely photos from school and the after party but mostly they also involve other children so I thought  it was best not to post them here.


Apricot harvest

Home grown carrot man!


 Tomatoes doing well despite the slap dash gardener!


An unexpectedly pretty corner of the garden, borrowing the neighbours roses!
veggie patch no longer looking it's best

 Cooking apples nearly ready for a pie, but plums not so good; a bit spotty and some are rotting before ripe
We'll have plenty of pears again though

Bubbles and Poppet have enjoyed being outside this Summer,
not so much in the tail end of the hurricane though!

And our first ever "selfie" taken at my friends 50th birthday party; a stunning out in the woods,
 riverside party. The theme was Midsummer Night Dream
If you look closely you'll see that the bunting in knicker shaped!




I hope I looked a little like Titania (although I know I didn't, I'm not good at dressing up) . We didn't stay late into the evening as The Builder was doing a good impression of Bottom;
oh no that's not the word, I mean an ar*e!!

So that's a little round-up; long overdue - but you know how it is, busy, busy, busy.

We'll have a busy few days ahead as it's results day on Thursday for Number 1 son,
who is not at all confident that it'll go well.
And we have 3 cricket matches before we even reach the weekend, which will be a weekend full of cricket!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Liebster Blog Award....Part 2

Sorry for the long delay, I told you this would take me some time!

In the second part of the award I answer 11 questions set for me by Christina, so without further ado, here goes....

1) What or who inspired to start a blog?
My best friend wrote a blog some years ago and that got me into reading various favourite blogs. My friend has long since given up writing but, over time, I felt I wanted to "join the party". I've actually never told my friend I've joined in, as far as I'm aware no one knows, other than my immediate family, and they're not interested! So I guess my best friend inspired me, although she doesn't know it.

2) Do you have any pet hates?
Yes I do! It's bad English; bad punctuation, grammar and spelling. And incorrect use of words. That's not to say I do it properly myself! And I hate the use of "like" before everything (at risk of sounding like a 100 year old). My kids know that I will always pick them up on that, "were you only like annoyed or actually annoyed?"

3) What magazines subscriptions do you have?
Sadly I have none, I used to get House Beautiful which started as a 6 month subscription gift from a friend; I managed to keep it going for 2 years which my husband thinks was a mistake on the publishers part! Although I enjoyed reading it/looking at the pictures I did find it overpriced and just made me dissatisfied with my own home.

4) Do you avoid walking under ladders or have any other superstitions?
No, I'm not superstitious at all. Although I think I believe in Karma.

5) Describe the art on your living room wall.
I like this question! The art on the wall is very varied, I would love to invest in very good art work when I see something I love but funds have never permitted me to do so.
We have this which is just a print called Maternity, I saw it years ago and bought it for our first home, where it seemed huge on the tiny wall.
 We have this watercolour, painted for us by my sister in law. She painted it from a series of photographs we took the year before in Wales, her partner framed it and they gave it to us as a wedding gift, inside is a wedding invitation, so they told us.
 I love this one.

We also have a signed photograph of Sir Ian Botham doing something memorable at Lords I believe!
 A gift I gave to The Builder one Christmas.



We also have a trio of tiny watercolours depicting scenes on The Norfolk Broads, I bought these from our local Post Office years ago and made them fit a frame I had, that's why they're a little wonky in the frame!

We also have a couple of other watercolours, one a local scene and the other a village cricket pitch which I gave to The Builder as a 1st wedding anniversary gift (paper) - and which I forgot to photograph.

6) The last concert you went to?
Embarrassingly that would be The Boomtown Rats at the local university common room, not that long ago. Actually I'm not embarrassed, they were great and I wasn't allowed to see them the first time around (late 1970's)

7) If you would invite one person to dinner who would it be?
This is the hardest question and took a lot of thought. If we're talking a famous person there are many, maybe Bono (because I love him) or Stephen Fry because he's so interesting and intelligent (I wouldn't be able to chat to him though, I'd feel so thick) but actually it would be my Grandad, just to ask him if I've done ok.

8) What are you wearing right now? 
Now I could go and change or I could lie; but if I'm honest it's leggings and a baggy jumper, I do have black pearl earrings in if that helps?

9) What type of holiday do you enjoy most?
Very definitely the beach and the sunshine. I like to see new places and maybe when life's stresses have diminished we'll sight see more but right now it's relaxing somewhere sunny. I love to swim and snorkel, the only thing we all do together really. I once snorkelled a long way out to sea whilst pregnant and towing a toddler behind me who was tied to my middle with a rope! I always feel happy in water.
Me on the left, snorkelling with the kids in Mexico;
 I know what you're thinking "that's an attractive look for a middle aged lady"!!

10) What is the naughtiest thing you have done as a child?
I was never that naughty, just moody and stroppy! I did once get sent to the headmistress for hiding in the cloakroom at playtime (this was infants school), I actually didn't go to see the head and hid again as the head was my Aunt! I didn't get told off for that and assumed they never found out - it was a tiny school of course they must have known!

11) Do you have or did you ever have a role model?
I don't think I have. My biggest influence was probably my Grandparents who I spent most of my time with but I don't think I wanted to be like them. I did admire Auntie Dorothy, with her big coiffured hair (with a slight blue tinge) who dressed immaculately and went to Italy to buy her shoes (in the days when no one went abroad).
My very working class family used to laugh about her, she had no children and had staff to help with housework (although they lived in a relatively small flat above their shop). Once, when we met her in the high street, she told my Grandma that she would have to lay down for the afternoon as she was exhausted, due to her having to "prepared a turnip" for supper! My Grandma walked away sniggering and muttering but from that day I wanted to be Auntie Dorothy!

So the final part of the award is where I set 11 questions for 11 fellow bloggers; however I don't want to land this on anyone who may not have the time. Let me know if you'd like to take part and I'll link you in the part 3. Libby at D-Scibes has already joined in with her first list which makes great reading, so hopefully she'll answer my questions next....when I think of some!

Hope you're all enjoying August so far, whether that's your Summer or your Winter!
Jay
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