Monday, 31 October 2016

A Mixed Day


 
 
This morning was the usual visit to my Monday Recycled Teenager, then shopping and home.
A friend had invited us for dinner tonight, and said to go along as soon as we could in the afternoon to enjoy some time together.
Its a lovely drive out into the country and I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to let Teen One have some practise.
Unfortunately after only 100 yards the front L plate few off!
She pulled into a layby whilst I went back ( an awful lot further than I imagined!) to retrieve it,
only for it to fly off a final time 100 yards further down the road...this time over a hedge and into a field.
So sadly I had to do the rest of the driving.
 
 
We had taken Rummikub with us, and were delighted to find one of my friends three daughters home.
She had just returned from a trip to Africa and Rummikub is her favourite game!
So she delayed going home to catch up with some sleep and give the Teens a game or two!
(Apologies to my friend for just catching her giving the Teens a cup of tea!)
 
 
What bliss it was to sit in front of a woodburner that I had not had to prepare and smell a roast dinner I had not made.
 
 
My friend has a small orchard out the front and sent the Teens out to collect some for me to bring home.
 
 
There were plenty of fallers....
 
 
 
...and soon they had collected a box full of precious  bounty for me to fill my freezer with.
 
 
We enjoyed a lovely dinner, followed by apple crumble and Eve's pudding...yum!
The cream was from a local dairy...in the cutest little bottle ever!
 
 
 
Teen Two had fun with the dog...
 
 
...who was more than happy to have so much attention bestowed upon him!
It was rather like being with another lab that we know, the evening was a constant torrent of "get down....leave that alone....stop that...on your bed....out of the dishwasher...."
as the dog did its best to scavenge anything that was vaguely edible!
 
 
When we arrived home I had an email waiting for me, sadly Hubby's cousin's husband, who we learnt the other week has brain cancer, has been told he only has around six months to live.
Last week they were given a treatment plan and the wife was relieved they felt it was something they could treat...it gave her some hope...but today the news is very different and needless to say she is devastated.
They are a very close unit and their two daughters will be equally as devastated.
We will make extra special efforts to "be there" which is about all we can do at a time like this.
She knows we pray for them and those prayers for strength and courage to face the days ahead will never be more so needed than now.
 
It was a sad end to a happy day.
 
"Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest"
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Honouring Family Traditions



 
This morning was of course church first thing, but not before enjoying the simple pleasures of that extra hour in bed!
 
Dinner was of course, the usual roast, followed by apple and plum crumble, kindly left in the fridge by Grandma...always lovely to discover treats like that when we come home from a trip away.
 
 
After dinner, it was the usual game of Scrabble with Grandma....
 
 
...followed by a game of Rummikub.
 
 
 
Crumpets are a favourite in this household, when thinking about what to have for tea today...I remembered that Grandma and Grandad in Devon always have crumpets the day after the clocks go back...so I thought we would  honour that family tradition!
 
 
Tonight was church again, and of course thinking about being back to routine tomorrow...although the Teens do have Monday off, so we have one more day of freedom from routine!
 
"He that hath the Son hath life"
 
 
 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Apples Of Gold

 
Last night was a peaceful night, and despite the motorway being right next to the hotel, it didn't spoil our nights sleep.
I was surprised to look at the clock and see it said 8.30am!
We started the morning slowly, with a cup of tea in bed ( and of course ginger biccies)
followed by a hot bath, before heading down for brekky around 10am.
You really can't beat the choice at the Hilton.
Something for everyone.
We always find their prices very reasonable for a family, all sharing the same room.
 
 
After breakfast, we packed up, loaded the car, officially checked out...but then went to use the pool.
This is a picture of the one we use at the East Midlands Hilton.
The Jacuzzi is probably where Teen One and I spend the most time, whilst the boys swim and play ball in the pool.
I also used the steam room to see if it helped my chest.
 
 
It was lovely to spend a couple of hours, just chilling and chatting and watching the boys have fun.
Teen One and I got dressed much quicker than the boys, and waited outside in the reception area.
What a treat we had instore!
There was a wedding party, all dressed in their traditional saris.
They were so beautiful
Teen One and I really enjoyed watching the ladies come in with their beautiful silks draped around them.
One of the older ladies smiled at as I and enquired if the bride had come....saying we couldn't wait to see what she was wearing.
The lady told me the bride and groom were already here, and in their rooms getting dressed, but we were welcome to go and have some food and a drink!
I explained we were not part of the wedding party, just hotel guests enjoying looking at the beautiful clothes!
She assured us we were more than welcome to go and have some food and drink and see what an Indian wedding was like, but we declined graciously saying our family would be out soon, but thanked her for her kindness!
Of course we would LOVE to have tried the food out and see what it looked like, but we would have stood out like a sore thumb in our plain European clothing and everyone else in their fineries!
 
 
 
With the boys finally out, it was 2pm and time to head home.
On the way back, I counted over 27 apple trees on the side of the road, all laden with fruit.
We noticed a lot the other week on the same road, but on the other side.....
I imagine they are all the result of people (like us!) tossing apple cores out of the window.
Hubby asked if there were more red or green apples....I think there were more red....but next time we will do a tick chart!
Makes the journey more interesting for sure!
I really wish they were in areas where we could pull in and bring some of the plenteous bounty home!
 
 
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
 
 
 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Brick Live!

 
 
This morning started very early, and soon after 7am we had the car packed and were at McDonalds treating ourselves to their drive thru breakfast.
Its something we do very rarely, but sweetens the bitter pill of an early start!
 
 
 
We had a straight forward journey up to Birmingham and the first place we visited once arriving at Brick Live was the graffiti wall.
 
 
There are so many things to do there, for an Lego fan you really need a couple of days to do it all...but for us poor mums and sisters one day is quite enough!
There were several group activities, one was to create a giant pumpkin, each person creating a large brick which was then given to one of the master brick makers to add to the design...
 
 
 
 
 
...on top you can see the "master" design, and by the time we left the giant one was complete.
 
 
There was an area where you could build your own house...
 
 
 
 
 
 
...which was then put on a map of the British Isles, showing where the day's visitors had come from...
 
 
...here is Teen Two's just being put into place.
 
 
 
One of the highlights of the day for Teen Two was being part of a "First Lego League"team.
The teams were given a challenge for their robot to complete, some basic instructions of programming the robot and that was it.
 
 
The organisation are keen to enrol as many schools etc as they can, so we have taken leaflets to pass on to Teen Two's college and internet group.
 
There was a stage area, with "brick offs" and the like going on, as well as talks on various Lego themes.
On was of LegoWorld, which is similar to Minecraft...but dare I say it, possibly better!
It is considered to be "safer" as well, as you only play with people from your friends list and not random players, as well as other child friendly benefits.
It is only £11.99 and has endless playing possibilities....so guess what is now on his Christmas list!
 
 
 
 
 
After walking round for sometime with the boys, with the odd place to sit down,
Teen One and I decided to go off and look at a quicker speed ( we don't feel the need to stand there for ages looking at all the intricate details!)
 
 
The 3D art work was really amazing...
 
 
... as was this amazing replica of a work of art.
 
 
 
This was probably my favourite.
 
 
I made the most of the sit down and crocheted up a few granny squares...
 
 
Teen One enjoyed a raspberry frappe, whilst we sat and watched the world go by.
We sat in a really interesting place...right next to the information and lost children booth.
It was really interesting seeing the various kiddies come up, some upset, some not really bothered at all...and equally, when the parents were found and reunited, some were obviously relieved and some...not so!
 
 
 
After eight hours we were well and truly worn out and made our weary way to the car park...forgetting we also had to pay the very extortionate fee!!
It really is frustrating how, despite paying a high price to get into such events, we then are forced to pay this much to park the car!
The tickets to get in to the NEC are £20 each ( so multiply that by four for our family) then they have the cheek to charge a £1.75 administration fee per ticket....but get this....we then had to pay for delivery....for an online purchase when we then print the ticket off ourselves!!!
Now it was only £1 granted...but by the time that is multiplied by the thousands of people there each day, they company are really raking it in.
PLUS....most of Brick Live is run by volunteers!
Despite my moans, its a really great day for Lego fans, with more bricks than you can dream of, stalls selling things made of Lego you could never imagine, and a good family friendly feel to the day and we are already looking forward to the next one....but am thankful we have a year to recuperate!
 

 After finding somewhere for dinner, we then drove to our Hilton and the Teens were ready for nothing but crashing out on their beds!
I am now looking forward to a lovely sleep and lie in, followed by a delicious breakfast!
What a lovely way to end the half term!
 
"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it"
(verse courtesy of Hubby!)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Curtain Saga Finally Ends!


 
 
Sorry the opening picture is rather grim!
It's the casserole dish yesterday's bolognaise was cooked in.
Teen One, bless her, loaded the dishwasher for me yesterday, when I wasn't feeling too good, and it seems the power of advertising is pretty strong....she obviously believes the tablet ads, that show a dish like this going in and coming out...
 
 
 
...like this!
Sadly, the reality is, it needs a long soak and then elbow  grease...which I put in this morning, feeling a bit brighter than yesterday, but no voice!
 
 
Today was a stay at home day, mostly, I really wasn't in the mood for going out, and even cancelled lunch at a friends house as I wasn't in the mood for a drive out to the country.
I decided to end the curtain saga once and for all....only it opened up another miserable chapter!
All I needed to do was take down the pair I put up, pull in the cords to create the pleating and do the same to the new pair...thus giving a more fuller fall when they are closed at night.
And of course they would need ironing as well!
That all seemed very simple don't you think....
but no....
one of the curtains I put up the other day had no cord in!
I hadn't noticed at the time as I knew they were only just wide enough to cover the window.
What a nuisance!
I really couldn't be bothered to go the The Range yet again so....
 
 
...I raided my embroidery silks, found a near enough shade and sewed it through.
 
 
 
Feeling rather pleased with myself, and thinking I was on the last lap of this epic journey, I hung the curtain up, drew it across, only for the hook to fall on me!
I climbed up, then down again as I couldn't see without my specs...climbed back up (straining my dodgy knee as I did!) and discovered the casing the hooks are looped  through had come away!
Somehow I managed to tie the loose end the a stray piece of thread and hoped for the best!
 
 
That was curtain number one up...now to get number two up....and oh look...these cords weren't sewn at one end, so when I pulled the other end...they all came away!
 
 
So it was out with the needle again, to rethread and then secure the ends.
Surely, this was the end of the saga?
No not quite...
 
 
With one pair up on one side, I gave them a quick pull, on our "original fittings" track...
problem...only one curtain came when the pulley was pulled!
Arghhhh!
I went in search of a safety pin....hoping that would be strong enough to keep them together, but once up (precariously perched on the window ledge, once more!) I hit on the idea of crossing over the first and last hooks, so they overlap at the back...and phew...it worked!
All that was left to do was to open the new pack bought yesterday ( hope and pray they didn't have any faults), iron them, hook and then hang them....
 
 
 
...ta dahhh!
Curtains FINALLY up!
And the moral of the story?
Don't buy £22.99 curtains, even if you like the Orla Keily look alike design....cos when they are up, you can't see it anyway!
 

 
Whilst I had been up to curtain highjinx, Teen One made a cake for a friend...
 
 
..before spending the afternoon doing homework...
 
 
 

 
Teen Two visited Grandma for a game of Rummikub before coming home to get a sausage casserole prepared for our dinner tonight.
He also laid the woodburner ready for lighting tonight...
 
 
 
..which Crystal has really been enjoying...
 
 
 
...rolling around to show her pleasure!
 
Later this afternoon we nipped in to see a friend and her granddaughter.
She is a real sweetie and grabbed hold of Teen One's hand when she realised we were going home!
She came out to the car with us and would have come back home with us!
Tomorrow we are up early for a trip to the NEC for a Lego Exhibtion...it will be a long  late day and possibly a late blog.
 
 
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them"