Saturday, 30 April 2016

Another Big Box Ticked For Teen One

Today was always going to be filled with treats and having dropped Grandma off at the ferry for a weekend on the Isle Of Wight, it was time to start the morning off with a Costa for Teen One and I...
...and a toasted tea cake for breakfast. In actual fact we ended up with a free one as the server brought over two, when we had only ordered ( and paid ) for one...we did explain we only wanted one, but he gave us the second for free!
After coffee it was time for one of the main events of the day...Teen One  had to take two exams for her Teacher Training Course.
Without these exams she cannot go on the course...and its a "three strikes and you are out...for two years" so there was a lot riding on today.
Having said that, it is to test literacy and numeracy skills....and as she is part way through her A levels for both subjects it wasn't really expected to be a problem...however you cant take anything for granted!
Teen Two and Hubby went to Ikea ( cheap parking!) to chill out and enjoy a cooked breakfast there, whilst I took Teen One to her exam venue and amused myself until she came out an hour later.
However, after an hour she wasn't out....and as we were due to meet up with Hubby and Teen Two for lunch, before going back to Learn Direct for her second exam, I was beginning to wonder what was going on.
It turns out she had finished the first exam early and was offered the opportunity to sit the next exam straight away....which is what she did.
It meant we had less rushing around to do, which was good seeing as I didn't manage to drop off to sleep till after 3am last night!
Oh...and in case you are interested...she passed both exams of course!
That's another big box ticked!

At the shopping centre there was a Comic Con going on...which of course Teen Two enjoyed....see if you recognise these characters....
There were plenty more characters, all of them fans rather than part of a paid group of people.
Next was lunch...Pizza Hut, with enough left over for our tea and supper!
Then...for the second time in one day we had coffee out!
We go months without indulging in this treat and then do it twice!
We had some time to kill ahead of the next big event of the day...
...going to see The Jungle Book, live action film.
The Teens have been looking forward to seeing this since last year....Teen Two especially.
It was very good, but I think the Disney version will always be my favourite.
Teen Two saw this Lego kit in a nearby toy shop and with plenty of birthday money still in his piggy bank it just had to be bought.
Finally it was time to head on home...its been a great family day out, with lots of treats, with some serious stuff in the middle of course.
I have felt like I am living in some kind of bubble today....experiencing all sorts of treats in a short space of time...whilst continually asking myself "did yesterday really happen?"
Daily Blessing
Saturday April 30, 2016
Today's Psalm:
   O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Just Choose Which Colour!

Today started out a pretty average day.
Hubby's car went in for it's MOT (always a bit of a worry) so he had mine for work, which meant I was confined to barracks for a while.
I made the most of the time, potting up some planters,
catching up with bits of housework ( where does the dust come from!)
I had a phone call from a lady I do market research for occasionally, and she had a rather interesting edible one....which I was even going to be paid to do!
She came around lunchtime and I was really looking forward to telling you what I am testing....but she told me its top secret!
The only thing I feel I can its ginger you know that's going to be a big hit in this household!
Maybe in time, if it makes it to the shelves... I can tell you "that was it!"
I was just starting to do some cleaning in the kitchen when I heard a knock at the door...
it as my neighbour's son.
He came in and showed me one or two things from his mum and dad's house...then said....I made a promise to mum and dad that involved you.......
...he handed me this booklet and said "just choose the colour!"
For a moment I couldn't work out what he meant...but slowly the penny dropped...I looked at him and that was it....I hid my face in the teatowel I was holding as I burst into floods of tears!
Whilst I am easily brought to tears...I am not one for showing my emotions in public....I generally have a very tight rein on them, but I am afraid my emotions ran away with me today!
Overwhelmed is an understatement and I am still in a state of disbelief that this should happen to me?
This sort of thing happens on the TV to other people!
He said his parents sat him down a couple of years ago and made him promise when anything  happened to them, he was to buy me a new car!
It is very humbling I must say, when I feel I have received as much pleasure from our relationship as they obviously have, and what I did I did out of love and genuine care for one regret is I will never be able to say thank you to them.
The son is rather a petrol head and went on to talk to me about all the specifications and options...which quite frankly were bamboozaling to say the least!
Every car we have ever owned has been second hand and the only thing we have chosen has been the price and maybe the make!
Just what does one say to something like this!
He wants to take me for a test ride next week....I can sense he has had a lot of pleasure looking through the showrooms and then the brochures to see what was best for my current car is sixteen years old and a basic range...this will all be a bit of a learning curve for me.
The best part for me is the car will have five doors, so my old ladies wont have to struggle to get into the back any more!
My faithful old Clio will probably now be kept for Teen One.
We had new tyres put on the front today as well!
As for Hubby's car....just needed new shock absorbers and came to just over £100, so its been rather a good day all round as far as cars are concerned in this house hold!
The Teens and Hubby are eagerly choosing their favourite colour...I have a feeling I may opt for the same blue as my Clio....nice and discrete....needless to say they are a little more outrageous in their choices!
Daily Blessing
Friday April 29, 2016
Today's Promise:
   Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Hooray For The Student Loan!

Today's blog starts with a bit of a rant!
It's not often I get bothered by things I read or hear in the media....but this morning the BBC really made me MAD!!
They announced that UK students are worse off by the end of their studying than their English speaking counterparts in countries such as the US.
As we have just come back from the US and heard first hand what our friends are going through I beg to differ!
They are looking at a uni that is going to cost $64000....I cant remember if that is per year or for the entire course...but its almost irrelevant to my argument.
This money has to be paid whilst the student is at Uni....many students have to work their way through to make the payments and the fortunate few have parents or grandparents who can pay for them.
When we told them how our system worked they were amazed!
Here is how it a in the UK
Tuition fees £9000pa
Maintenance loan...varies but average £5000 (not needed for those staying home)
After graduation and earning money, all earnings under £21,000 are free of loan repayments.
Earnings over £21,000 pay 9% (first £21,000 still free of loan repayment)
Eg: earn £25000 pa
Monthly income after tax and NI £1662
Loan repayment £30.
Who can say that is not affordable?
And the best bit...any amount owed after 30years is written off.
Any time you stop earning or your salary drops to under £21,000, the repayments stop.
The loan does not appear on credit references and Mortgage advisors say it will not affect your ability to get a mortgage.
It is not classed as a is a loan.
We heard today that Teen One's student loan has gone through ok...which is a relief...means I completed the forms correctly!
Our Teen's ability to receive a University education does not depend in any shape or form on our income ( or lack of!) and the repayments she will pay back when she starts to earn are more than affordable.
This will not be the experience of our US friends, who are already worrying about where the money is going to come from and how will any loan be repaid.
Once much as I love the US...I love the UK more!
 I have emailed the BBC and asked how they can evidence this story.
Rant over!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Sewing Box Mysteries!

Today was a stay at home day...a friend was coming round, firstly for her lunch, and secondly to catch up with some paperwork before going to a meeting later in the day.
So I needed to find a sitting down job, so we could enjoy each others company but still make the most of our time.
If you remember, last week I was given two vintage sewing boxes.
My own sewing box was also a hand me down, about thirty years ago, but I have never found it easy to keep tidy...
...rather like my messy pile of wool, my cotton reels always got in a tangle.
So I decided to use the new sewing box to keep the threads in....
....much tidier wouldn't you say...and less chance of them getting tangled up.
Our cat Milly has a thing about new pieces of furniture...she has to make them her no surprises to see where she took her afternoon nap!
Going through the contents of the new box was very interesting...there were some things I just didn't have a clue about...what, for example is "closing thread?"
This was obvious..."Mending Yarn" but  I suspect you couldn't buy it nowadays.
I kept coming across lumps of what looked like sticky toffee covered with bits of thread.
I threw the first few away...too scared to think what they might be!
But when I kept finding them...and always covered in thread, I thought they must be here for a specific reason.
They were waxy to the touch...well hardened wax anyway...I wondered if loose ends of thread in the box were "magically" attracted to it and it somehow kept the sewing box clean....but that didn't really seem very likely...there MUST be a reason I thought.
I kept looking at it and suddenly noticed all the lines in suddenly came to me...I expect it was used to smooth out ends of thread to make it easier to thread through needles!
A quick google suggested this was probably the reason...and also to help prevent tangles forming...boy do I need that!
The wax was rather unsightly though so I have thrown it away and will keep a new beeswax block I have (somewhere in the house!) incase I get the urge!
The box was full of bits and bobs...probably a life times accumulation of buttons etc, as was the wooden box...but I decided to bag it all up and put it in a charity bag, then refill the wooden box with some collections of my really is the tip of the iceberg if I am honest...but its a start to some organisation in this department!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Hum Drum Kind Of Day!

This morning consisted of catching up on some housework and then something I can't possibly mention right now....what a tease aye!
My neighbour's son then popped in with some food from his dad's freezer and also offered me the freezer...which I would love...if I can persuade hubby we have room in the garage!
Teen One and I called into friends for lunch, along with cake as usual...I really must ask if they would prefer something other than a Victoria Sandwich!
We had a lovely time with their little granddaughter, who has been poorly with bronchiolitis this past week...she was much happier today, so good to see little ones perk up isn't it.
I surveyed the garden....wondering if I had the courage to unearth the lawn mower...but looking at the heavy clouds decided it wasn't worth the effort right now!
I was pleased to see the bluebells coming up...
...and also the "orange blossom" bush coming out in all its glory.
We had a mixture of hail, sleet and snow fall out of the heavy clouds soon after so I was glad not to have attempted cutting the grass....but I cant put it off much longer!
We all enjoyed the English Heritage curd so much that I called back to the shop in the Castle to buy some more...
...I bought two more of the passion it was soooo delicious, and as I was able to sample the raspberry flavour, equally as lovely...I bought a pot of that as well...and because I had bought three jars I got a free canvas gift bag!
Before I knew it, it was time to get Teen Two from his Electronics revision, then crack on with the dinner.
It seems a rather boring sort of day to blog about really...for a more interesting read...with beautiful photography take some time to read Attic 24 Lucy's blogs always make for interesting reading, no matter how hum drum her day!
Daily Blessing
Tuesday April 26, 2016
Today's Proverb:
   A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Monday, 25 April 2016

More Sad News

Yesterday my Recycled Teenager next door was very weak.
He didn't want to get out of bed, and when I arrived with lunch, his son said to me "he looks like he is dying"
Those words ended up being true.
During the night whenever I woke up I peeped out of the window to see if the bedroom  light was on, thankfully it wasn't.
This morning I had a nagging feeling I should go in earlier than usual.
I took dinner in as usual, to be heated up at lunch time then crept upstairs.
From where I was I thought he was asleep...nothing unusual in recent weeks.
However, about ten minutes later the son came round in had died.
I went back with him as he wanted me to check....having seen him asleep many times, this is how he looked this morning...but we knew otherwise.
Poor Son was beside himself with grief as you can imagine.
I stayed most of the morning to see him through the formalities and apart from the 999caller who was insistent we should do CPR( we didn't ), everyone we had to deal with, police, paramedics, undertakers, couldn't have been kinder or more sympathetic.
It is the end of an era for us.
Our neighbours have been extended members of our family, and us to them we understand.
At 93 years old, a WWII veteran and survivor of the Normandy DDay Landings, his body was frail and his spirit weak, to go to sleep in your own bed, fed, clean and loved, and not wake up, must be the best way to go.
We could not wish him back for his suffering of late, but how we will miss him.
Goodbye dear Recycled Teenager.
Daily Blessing
Monday April 25, 2016
Today's Psalm:
   ...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A Surprise Find, Some Sad News and A Stodgy Cake!

When we came home from London last night, I found this little stool sitting in my porch!
I knew straight away it was probably from the house my neighbour's son is clearing out.
Its a dear little thing and I rather like the vintage fabric and leg style.
Inside is yet more sewing bits and bobs, which I shall enjoy sifting through.
I wish I had known the owner...although I did meet her husband several times and of course know their dear friends, our neighbours  very well, so I feel like I almost know the lady who would have no doubt spent many hours working at this  pretty stool.
This morning was our Family Service, followed by bring and share lunch.
It's always a hectic time, but well worth it.
After the massive clear up I must confess to a quick shut eye on the sofa when we got home
When in America the other week, I promised my friend I would Skype her housebound mother regularly.
She lives in Prince Edward Island and we have spoken on Skype before...I was looking forward to starting a new online friendship and sharing some of our English way of living with her.
I tried to Skype a couple of weeks ago, but the laptop was playing up.
This week, I knew she was going in to hospital for a small procedure, so wasn't able to try to make contact...then my friend told me she had been kept in due to a heart problem
Today we had the sad news her heart finally failed and she was called home to be with her Lord and Saviour shorty before lunch time.
I am happy for her, now free from the suffering she has had in recent years, but feel so sad the exchanges I had looked forward brighten up her days...didn't get off the ground.
How sad also for my friend and her five siblings.
We had heard that our preacher tonight had a birthday over the weekend.
I made a sponge cake and took along a candle ( it wasn't the best cake I have made sadly!)
We had no idea how old he was, but guessed about 80...however it turns out he was born on the same day as the Queen so was in fact 90!
And still driving!
We shared the cake out and everyone was kind enough to not mention it was a little solid!
Typical isn't it but I guess the thought was there!
Daily Blessing
Sunday April 24, 2016
Today's Psalm:
   The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A Young People's Bible Study Day In London

We set off around 8am this morning for a day out in London.
Usually our days in London involve sightseeing, or a trip to the West End, but today it was for a young people's Bible study day.
I hadn't realised quite how close to the city centre we would be until we found ourselves almost next to The Shard.
This building caught our eye...with turbines at the top, no doubt to generate some amazing!
The Elephant and Castle name has always amused me, but have I have never been there so was even more amused to see an Elephant and Castle statue!
We were assured it would be possible to find a parking space near the little church  and to our surprise we did just that...with just a short walk through a tunnel, which was a rather novel experience for us.
The day was split into three study sessions of 50minutes, with two coffee breaks, lunch and a question and answer session at the end.
At the coffee break we were supplied with cheese and crackers of various sorts, dips and carrot batons etc, traybakes and a choice of drinks.
Lunch was fajitas with plenty of choice for fillings and more desserts than I can list.
However...lunch nearly didn't happen!
We experienced a very traumatic event.
Part way through the second session there was an almighty bang from the kitchen, which temporarily blew out the hatch area along with billows of smoke!
I gasped out loud and for a few seconds quietness fell on the church hall.
A few people then ran out to the kitchen and the speaker caught his breath then carried on with his teaching.
I wasn't sure if anyone was in the kitchen, but the smell of burnt hair started to worry me.
Within minutes paramedics arrived followed by the fire brigade!
We were sat right at the back, by an open door so were able to see the events unfolding.
We still had no idea if the person inside was alive...and I was seriously thinking the worst...especially as we heard no scream or crying after the explosion.
However....we eventually saw a young lady walk out, with her arms in the air and face covered.
She was taken to St Thomas's and the last we heard, although her face took the full force of the gas explosion, she had her sight and it was not expected to cause any lasting problems.
We hope and pray this is the case.
We aren't 100% sure what happened, but believe the open window blew the gas hob out and she went to light it, unaware the kitchen had filled with gas.
Very frightening indeed and no doubt some health and safety rules will be put in place.
We are thankful this did not turn out to be as catastrophic as it could have been.
I must say, it was a very hard half an hour, being someone who spends a lot of time at a church kitchen, that could so easily have been me.
My hat goes off to the speaker who kept his calm and of course prayed for the unfolding events, not knowing what was actually going on the doors to his side.
Lots of planning would have gone into making today such a success, in many one could have imagined how differently the day turned out for one on thankful we are that the Lord does know and preserves us.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the young woman and we will be eagerly awaiting updates.
Because we knew things were not expected to be as bad as we had imagined, we were able to enjoy the lovely drive was a beautiful evening and the Commons we drove through were lovely.
It is good to be home!
Daily Blessing
Saturday April 23, 2016
Today's Verse:
   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave!

This morning was spent catching up with some housework, clearing corners ( how DO they get so full up?) and a quick trip to Lidl's.
My next task was to complete the Student Finance application for Teen One.
She filled in her part a day or two ago and said it was quick and easy...she was unsure why college had ran workshops on it!
I completed  my part yesterday...bit of a faff I must say.
Interest on savings is easy...check the annual letter
Salary was easy...none
Dividend on we have shares??? Oh yes, the free ones Abbey National gave us years ago.
The dividends for these are teeny tiny amounts, I had to go through the file and find all the notifications for 2014-2015....then double check with the bank account that I had kept/received all the notifications ( did I REALLY have to do it for such small amounts...who knows, but  best to err on the side of caution)
It was the grand sum of £5.68!
I pressed the send button on the online application and thought I would get all the paperwork out for hubby to complete his.
Well...if I thought mine was a faff...his was even worse!
Not helped by the fact Halifax don't send through notifications of dividends (more free shares) and can I find where the money goes??? Of course not!
I think it must go into an old small account hubby has, looking back in the book for 2009 he had dividends of 25p and the like going in, so I have decided as the book hasn't been used/updated since then its going to be more of the same and probably wont amount to a whole pound...I hope they will forgive us for not declaring ALL our income!
The next thing was, they needed to know the income for any other I had to go through and check all of Teen Two's finances ( makes him sound like a me...he isn't!)
One wonders why his savings etc should have an impact on Teen One's student loan, but there we go, it does.
Finally, having spent a bit of time working out Hubby's ISA interest ( 'cos Lloyds don't make it easy and send an annual statement that shows the interest) I realised tax free savings didn't need to be declared...and I included mine yesterday!
Oh well....that will make up for the Halifax dividends I didn't declare!
The send button has now been pressed so hopefully that's the end of it!
Now then, I hope I am not the only one who seems to have a certain amount of their wool stash in a big tangled heap!
For years...yes years...I kept this colourful pile of woolly spaghetti in a carrier, always intending to sort it out.
In fact some of it was sorted out...if you look close enough you will see little balls neatly wound up...but the problem was, before I could finish the untangling...when I put the bundle away for another day, the little balls would come out to play again and become a part of the original mess.
On one of my clear outs I decided I was never going to have the time to sort this out so the only thing for it was to throw it away.
It made it downstairs to the back door, ready to go in the dustbin....but then I thought maybe I could use it for Friday club one day!
So, it went down to the store cupboard at church and has twice been the source of more fun than you could ever imagine!
Our story tonight was David the shepherd boy using cut out sheep, the children were left with this humongous pile of "rubbish" and this is what they created.
They absolutely loved rummaging through, finding the odd bit of knitting or a crochet flower.....wool of every colour, some rainbow, some gold, some velvety....when they heard one say "Ooo I've found some fluffy wool" they all decided they wanted some, so the search was on, until the next person found some new "must have."
The sheep on the left is supposed to have the Union flag design...a little girl was obviously taken with all the flags she saw yesterday for the Queens Birthday and wanted to re create it!
The sheep on the right looks like it will be awfully hot when the sun comes out!
For me, all those different colours were memories of things I have made...going back before the Teens were born even!
It was fun looking at it and recalling some of the items.
Who would have thought such a bundle of rubbish could have produced such a happy evening?
I must say though, the more I think about it, the more I worry tangled heaps are a bit of family sewing box has the most horrendous tangled mess of cotton threads in it, making it impossible to get the one out I want ( I intend to use the new sewing box I showed yesterday to have the reels all laying neatly!) and Hubby has a big sports bag FULL of leads....all tangled up like a bowl of spaghetti!
Teen Two seems to have endless problems with his headphone leads and as for Teen One and all that long hair...well of trouble at all!
Daily Blessing
Friday April 22, 2016
Today's Psalm:
   Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.