It's Christmas Eve and right at this moment the rain is hammering it down (again) which is a reminder that many people will not be spending Christmas in their own home due to them being flooded.
The news has talked a lot about Cumbria being flooded but nothing about closer to home for example St Michaels and Church Town near Garstang.
My friend and her disabled husband are currently living in a caravan in their driveway because, their newly decorated, bungalow was under three foot of flood water and have lost everything. She managed to save a few bits but that was all. They now have to wait for their home to dry out (in this rain?) before any renovations can start. I just can't imagine what they and other are feeling at this moment.
I wish my friends strength to carry on and to find joy and peace in the knowledge they have a fantastic family some amazing friends. All the best J and A
I missed yesterday as it was sharing pictures of our local area. It was pouring down for most of the day so I didn't venture out and I think most people are fed up of seeing rain. However there are some beautifully decorated homes around here. If it's fine tonight I will take a walk with my camera.
Back to todays - Favourite Christmas story. The Nativity. For me that is what Christmas is all about. What else can I say
After the recent happenings in our household, I say my priorities have changed and, I would have to say there are three. M. We are very lucky to have M as it could have been a whole different story and L of course. I know they're not Christmassy but Christmas would not be the same without them.
Our Christmas tree is still in the attic and we felt we can't not have a tree of some sort.
Our Christmas tree this year
The decorations are what didn't make it into the attic with a couple of cheap additions. You can't see it very well but there is a small desk top tree hidden in the picture and the little wooden tree lights up. We are in the process of making a small beaded tree that will also go on the table. We are going to remove all the gifts off the table and make a proper display. I'll have to do another show and tell again when we've completed it.
The owl is a new addition for this year. L wanted for the top of the tree instead of a star or angel so it has become part of the display.
I don't like being caught out with an unexpected guest or L saying, at the last minute, she needs an extra present so I buy pretty toiletries/smellies in the sales after Christmas and other small items and stash them away. These can also be used for birthdays too although the packaging might have to be changed.
Some things I have currently stashed away are:
Flower Soaps - peel away the petals to float on top of the bath water or use it as soap. Handbag Holder - unfolds to hang on the table to hang your handbag keeping it safe rather than hanging it on the back of a chair where it can easily be lifted. Wine - We are often given wine at Christmas of the sort we don't like (we don't like many wines) so we keep it and recycle it for a raffle/tombola prize or gift it. Pack of small cans of body sprays - Great for teens. Scarf - I was bought a beautiful scarf, one year, but unfortunately it's to bulky for me and I didn't want to put it in a charity bag so I've kept it until I find a suitable recipient.
I would love to hear your ideas for last minute gifts
I'm back. We brought M home from hospital a week ago. He is much better after being home a week. Still on crutches and pain killers but starting to get around a bit more. Yesterday he came grocery shopping with me (his first trip out) and managed to hobble around most of the store but had to rest a while as I went through the check out. He was then done in for the rest of the day but felt good to have actually have left the house and got a bit of fresh air.
How do I prepare for Christmas?
Well under the circumstances it's a good job I do prepare for Christmas. My preparations start in January with saving an amount each month ready for the bulk of the shopping.
I like to go shopping in the January sales for cards and wrapping paper. We need about 60 to 80 cards and usually only about 2 rolls of wrapping paper (if their decent ro1ls) If I've seen any decorations that I really, really like I wait for the sales and if it's reduced to my liking I might get it/them.
Throughout the year I will look a mark downs/special offers on gifts/toys/clothing etc and decide if it will be suitable for someone. If it is I will stash it away ready for the big day. This year my best bargain was 3 big hard back books I bought, from a shop closing down, for my little nieces and nephew total price was £3 (full price £15) I also look out for suitable stocking fillers too.
I start my food shopping from September getting little bits like tins and yellow sticker meats/special offers (I buy these anyway but I look out for small joints of ham/chicken legs/sausages etc). In stead of buying any of the fancy buffet foods I usually make one or two but this year I've got yellow sticker snack foods and stored them in the freezer ready for our Boxing Day family gathering. next year I would like to do more baking for Christmas and freeze it. (We'll see)
I'm always on the look out for things I can make too. Either knitted, sewn or crocheted. I've not made much this year but seriously considering it for next year.
I would love to hear how you prepare for Christmas.
I find I can't continue with my 25 days of Christmas as I don't have a lot of time with visiting M in hospital and organising everything in between and then L going into hospital next week. It's all getting too much.
I'm just keeping up with the necessary. I will be back to blogging as soon as things have calmed down. However I will keep reading and commenting.
Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a great New Year.
Update - M is now home and getting lots of rest and L operation that was due Monday was cancelled last week due to no beds in the HDU. No new date has been given as yet. I will be back writing soon.
Favourite handmade Christmas gifts given or received.
My favourite hand made Christmas gift I've received was from my MIL many years ago when I was Dating M for the first time. It was a corset/basque shaped pocked/bag that was made on a coat hanger to keep tights or socks in. I still use it today. Sorry no pictures as it's well used. I could do with a new one really.
My favourite gift I've made wasn't a Christmas gift but a joint birthday gift in November a couple of years ago. It too three months to make and it was the comic hero blanket for M's nephew, his girlfriend and his son. It was do that they could snuggle up on cold winters night whilst watching TV or DVD's and then for Christmas I made up a box of goodies ready for a DVD night. In the box was popcorn, hot chocolate, sweets and I can't remember what else.
What was/is your favourite handmade Christmas gift to give or receive?
Thank you all for your kind words. M is now sitting up and this morning they are hoping to get him standing. They did try yesterday but he felt dizzy. I suppose that's because he's been laid down for three days. He's looking better and got the colour back in his face.
When do we open our presents - The three of us open our presents when the last one gets up and then we have breakfast. Boxing Day when we go the in-law we do presents again and then when I do my Boxing Day, for my family, on the day or day after we do presents again. We like to stretch out Christmas for a long as possible.
In a previous relationship they didn't open their presents until Boxing Day.
My favourite Christmas food has to be the roast dinner. I'm not to fussed about Christmas pudding or cake. I also like the Boxing Day buffet we do. I start to make it just after breakfast and that's it for the day.
We don't buy all the lovely fancy foods in the supermarket and we don't have anything fancy on the buffet either. We did it once and suffered for it for a few days after as it was all too rich and our stomachs didn't like it. From the star of December I've been buying little extra bits and putting them in the freezer. Some have ben yellow stickers for example: a small piece of ham -will cook in the slow cooker with water and the stock will go in the freezer to make pea and ham soup with left over ham, two cheese and tomato pizzas, chicken wings/drumsticks. I'm going to get my turkey from Aldi next week. and then we are done.
Other news - On Thursday M was fixing the aerial on our roof when the ladders slipped from under him and down he came. he was very lucky as he broke his fall as he came down and only ended up with 3 fractured vertebra on his lower spine. I phoned for an ambulance and a paramedic came out along with the air ambulance and then the regular ambulance arrived. They were all amazing.
M was taken to Preston hospital where he is still. A back brace has been made and he's waiting for it to be fitted and then he will be allowed to sit up and maybe stand.
Family have been really good taking me and L from Blackpool to Preston to see him. I do drive but not that far and if I did I'm not sure I would be safe under the circumstances.
He has been so, so lucky as there could have been two different outcomes. One I will not think about and the other he could have ended up like my friends husband who is paralysed from the waist down from falling of a bungalow roof (different circumstances though).
And after all that the aerial is still flapping around the roof. I have a number to ring this morning to make arrangements for it to be fixed,
Next up is L's turn for her back a week on Monday. I really don't think I can take any more.
Have good week end and don't forget to tell me about your favourite Christmas food
My ultimate favourite Christmas music has to be I wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (this has been going through my head for the past four days) but I love them all and like to play the CD often. Usually when I'm on my own.
My favourite Christmas hymn has to be Away In A Manger. I have a CD with all the Christmas hymns and play that too.
My favourite Christmas movies are all of them except the Gringe and Elf. I don't like Jim Carey and only he could play the Gringe and I don't like the story either. I can't stand to see adults acting like children and that's how I feel about Elf.
I noticed this year there have been Christmas films on the TV from around October. No I've not watched them. I was told "It's not Christmas" I've managed to sneak a couple in when no-one was in.
1 December arrived and I said "It's nearly Christmas can I watch the Christmas films now?"
"NOOOOOO" came the reply
"Why, it's nearly Christmas" I say
"To Cliché, too predictable, and just too rubbish"
L and M go to archery on Sunday and I can get two films in. I don't know what's on but knowing my luck it will be the two I don't like.
Why do I like Christmas films? Everything turns out great in the end but to get there each journey is deferent and I enjoy the journey.
Anyone else like Christmas films and do you have a favourite.
Hello everyone. This is my countdown to Christmas. This will be a challenge in it's self to write every day though out December and give me something else to think about as well as L's forthcoming operation.
here we go:-
1 My favourite Christmas tradition?
Before L was born M and I, with a group of friends, would go to the pub Christmas Eve afternoon then come home and have a takeaway for tea. Then L was born and I felt it was wrong so I stayed at home M came home drunk bringing takeaway in with him.
About five years ago(ish) L and I were chatting about Christmas Eve and we decided to our own thing a set some new traditions for ourselves. We get a small buffet tea ready and then go to a Christingle service at a local church. We've tried different churches and L likes the Methodist service although we've not been to the Catholic church yet (not sure if they do one). We come home get into our brand new pyjamas and enjoy our tea whilst watching a film and wait for M to come home. He's is so funny when he's drunk. Sloppy and silly.
Another tradition we used to do was that everyone used to come to me for Christmas day. 3 brothers, their partners and children and my mum and dad but that's changed too. I don't know how we fit everyone in our small house. Christmas day is now a quiet affair where we have a leisurely breakfast and Christmas dinner when it's ready and maybe a bit of supper later. Dad will go to my youngest brothers for the day. That will be strange and sad without mum this year. And Boxing day we go to my in-laws. Then we might have a family party (gathering) later that day or the following day. We stretch Christmas out as long as we can.
I'm sure all this will change again as people get older.
I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions
A month ago (how time flys) it was the beginning of half term and M and I were celebrating 25 years together, although only married for nine. We decided that celebrating our whole time together was more important than just the time being married.
To celebrate we (just the three of us) went for afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel in Morecambe. I'm so glad that someone has sympathetically renovated this beautiful historic building. It has so much character it would have been a shame to see it demolished.
We'd been saving our £2 coins all year (We over saved but hey what a bonus)
I booked the table for 3:30 and we arrived a little before. I though we were going to be late as there was heavy traffic through Lancaster.
As we arrived L was taken by the two seahorses on the front of the hotel.
We went up to the hotel reception desk and was pointed in the right direction. We were then greeted by a lovely waitress who carried a box and after seating us at a window table presented the open box for us to select our tea. The view from our table was fantastic. The tide was out.
Our pot of tea came followed by a tiered plate laden with sandwiches and cakes. Wow it look so nice and beautifully presented.
M had smoked salmon sandwich and L and I had cheese there were also cucumber and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and fresh ham, no crusts and cut into fingers. 5 different cakes each. Fruit scone and a plain scone with jam and clotted cream (first time I'd had clotted cream) a fruit tart, a small chocolate éclair and a thin slice of Victoria sponge.
We relaxed and took our time and enjoyed the whole experience of being posh for afternoon. By 4:45 we had almost finished. L couldn't finish her cakes and we were all stuffed. I was looking out for a waiter to ask if we could take them home when he came along with a handful of little cake boxes and asked if we wanted one. I think this was a polite gesture to say please leave we need to set up for evening meal.
Would I do it again? absolutely but I would have to save my £2 coins again.
If you google Midland Hotel, Morecambe you will see more pictures of this amazing hotel. We didn't take many pictures inside as there were a lot of people milling about because there was a wedding going on.
I really do feel like Victor Meldrew at this moment in time. On Thursday evening we receiving a phone call from the hospital cancelling L's operation on Monday. It's now 14 December. Someone has a brain tumour and the operating theatre needs to be used. They only have two and I suppose L's operation isn't life threatening so could be rearranged. (fare do's)
Later I found this rhyme on facebook (I changed the 2nd line but couldn't think how to change the first) but it sums up just how she's feeling
On the 2nd day of Christmas
L's consultant gave to her:
4 hours of crying
3 mental breakdowns
2 thoughts of dropout
And a month of anxiety
L is feeling well and truly emotionally drained. She couldn't face going back into school yesterday so I let her sleep and then we went out for a change of environment and fresh air. (did a bit of Christmas shopping and had some lunch). She felt a bit better for it.However she will go back to school on Monday.
The other frustrating thing is, I can't go back to work as they've arranged cover for my absence through an agency. The school is strapped for cash and yet they would prefer to pay the extra for the agency staff than have me back for four weeks. I work 21/2 hour and the agency staff do a minimum of 4 hours a day. I won't even be paid whilst I'm off either. Makes no sense to me.
I suppose there is a slight sliver lining to not going back to work. I have 4 weeks to get Christmas organised and for a change all the wrapping will be done before Christmas Eve.
I plan to run the freezer right down and then stock it up again with some Christmasy things and other good stuff to see us through the tight period after Christmas.
We went to the Cenotaph this morning for the remembrance service. L and the Gala Princess laid a wreath of poppies. We took our big umbrellas. Good job we did as the heaven opened several times during the service. I felt sorry for the Vicar, bald head and no hat.
What do you think of my new blanket? It's taken ages to do because for around two years I've been crocheting a small three round granny squares, using up oddments of yarn, with the intention of making a blanket. I made the squares when I was between projects and on car journeys. It was a pick up and put down sort of project. I had no image of the end result, I just made it up as I went along. After a bit of thought I did three rounds of white round each colourful square. Next I stitched four squares together to make one larger square. And after a bit more thought and deliberation I crocheted another three rounds and now I felt the squares were the right size. I joined them together with a line of single crochet in a bright coloured yarn and each one was a different colour. This way of joining was new to me but I'm pleased with the way it turned out. Next I needed a boarder. I thought a wide granny boarder would kind of frame the centre and in keeping to the theme. I didn't want just white so I picked out my biggest odd balls and using the smallest of them first I alternated white and colour finishing off with a shell edge. I'm loving the way it's turned out. I don't think I'll make any more big blankets for quite a while. We just don't need them.
What's on my needles at the moment? some Christmas presents. I will show and tell when they are done.
Just to keep you up to date. L goes for her matching blood tests on Friday ready for the following Monday. The big op day. I feel sick and nervous for her. Goodness knows what she's feeling.
I've been doing some over-time at work due to sickness and this past week it's been half term so we have been having some fun.
But today I want to show you how we decorated L's bedroom. A few years ago I painted L's bedroom (with help from L) pink and lilac. She chose the colours and which wall to paint with which colour. The trophies in the picture are some that L has gained from her dancing in competitions, exams and shows. There is another shelf full of cup trophies. L hated this clown and was adamant that it had to go. She didn't like the hangers. It should have been made with either 2 or 4 but definitely not 3!!!
Now as a teenager she felt the colours were far to girly and didn't reflect her personality and after much discussion and research she came up with a new colour scheme and design.
White background with black, purple and silver. We both painted all the walls in white then L trawled the internet to find the right music notes and printed them off and stuck them onto thin card before cutting them out. Using blue tacky stuff she stuck the stencils to the wall and drew around them before painting them. The music notes were purple and the treble clefs silver. For the music score we worked out the size required and made stripes of masking tape and L painted the gaps black. The treble clef at the front is also black and there are some silver notes on the score. Randomly placed. I did suggest a possible piece of music but it got rejected. We didn't replace any furniture as it was all in good condition, L's bed you can see was designed by me and built by M and then I painted it when L was 4. (she still loves this bed) The roof of the bed is painted black and has tiny holes in it where M pushed through some tiny lights. When they were plugged in they glowed like starlights. We're on the look out for new lights as these ones no longer work. The sparkly net curtains are new that are tied back on her bed with matching ones at her window. And the two companions on the bed are Snuggles (pink) and Cuddles (blue).
The bunting that's hanging on the bed I made a couple of years ago and its triangles overlapped with hearts.
The photo to the right is the wall entering into the room. L enjoyed working on her room and is so proud of it. (I'm so very proud of her too she's done a brilliant job of it). I assisted her with setting up the black lines but she did all the rest.
These special people have there own special chairs made by M a few years ago and were painted pink. L painted them back and high-lighted them with silver. They look great. They're now waiting to be hung on the wall but exact location has yet to be decided.
Thank you for popping by it's lovely to read your comments.
Last Wednesday L went into school for a couple of hours and then we picked her up to take her to Manchester's Children's Hospital for her first pre-op appointment. We got there too early but parked up in the multi-storey car park anyway. The day was warm and sunny so we decided we would have our picnic in the park opposite the hospital (don't know the name of the park). It's nothing special, lot's of grass and trees, a raised flower bed with railings all around it and lots of benches and picnic tables but nice and calm all the same.
Afterwards we made our way to the hospital and booked in by computer and found our way to the waiting room and waited to be called. We were called to take L to x-ray. She had very detailed pictures taken which she hadn't had done before and they took ages to do. Then back to the reception. We just sat down when we were called in to see our new consultant, Mr Tandie. What a lovely man. He talked to L and both M and me and explained what was wrong with L's back in great detail and what he will do and how.
L has Scoliosis which is curvature of the spine. L's spine has grown in an "S" shape and the way Mr Tandie says he is going to straighten it is by placing two rods either side of L's spine and pinning each vertebra and the only ones he's not pinning are the bottom two and the ones in her neck. This will leave her with reduced back movement. (ie It won't curl so no more roly polies) The consultant gave us the date of 19th October to not look forward to. Sooooo much information to take in and digest.
L is, understandably, very scared and was in tears a lot on Wednesday and was worried about dancing as she lives for her dance class. Luckily her dance lessons are very varied covering many different styles so I reassured her that she will still be able to do some like Tap, Ballet, maybe Cheer Leading. Last nigh we had a chat with her dance teacher and she reassured L that there will be some dances she can still do but may have to sit out of others but not to worry. Also in November there are some dance exams coming up which the class have been practising for and so that L doesn't miss out her dance teacher is going to film L dancing the set pieces and present the video to the examiner for him/her to judge. Which is great.
Next week we have to return to the hospital for a full day of tests and investigations a full body MOT. Another tough day. We also have a list of questions that we've all come up with so must remember to take them with us.
L and I had a chat with her year head and form teacher about her education during this time and have been great so far in organising what needs to be done right up to Christmas and what plans will be needed afterwards too. So far the support is good.
I found some pictures of Google images but couldn't get them on here.
Thank you for visiting
Update (02/11/15) - We have received our letter of conformation and L goes in for her operation on 16th November.
L went back to school yesterday into year 11 and I return to school today (shortly in fact). I enjoy the holidays when I can spend lots of quality time with L. M has had a little bit of time off but has had to work twice as much because his driver (M is a taxi driver) who shares the work has had 4 weeks off.
Some of the things we've done:
L's operation was put back so we had a camping trip taking L's friend with us - We all had fun.
Lots of walks on the beach and collected some sea glass
Went to some local fun days
Ate lots of ice-creams
Spent the day at our local flower and craft show - sorry no pictures. I took my camera but didn't have time to take any pictures
Went to a travelling circus - We enjoyed this very much
Shopping for school uniform - No fun and oucho!
L and M rode their bikes through the Blackpool Illuminations - They had fun and want to do it again next year.
Walks along the River Wyre with a stop off at the pub for refreshments before walking back
Decorated L's Room - Nearly finished and will do a separate post about this
We planned a video day for a rainy day where we would watch Scooby Doo all day - Didn't happen - it didn't rain. We can do this another day with maybe a Tom and Jerry day too
During the holidays I rang Manchester's Children's Hospital about L's appointment for her operation, as it was postponed from July to September, and I wanted to check that it was still on. It wasn't, it had been put back to December and could even be later than that so I gently complained saying that it had been put back four times already. After an interesting discussion, on the phone, it was decided that we would change consultant (there are four in the team) and L's name was put on the list that was the shortest. Over the weekend gone we received a letter from the hospital inviting us to L's pre-op appointments (2). The first one is next week and the 2nd one the week after. Next week we will find out what date the operation on her back will be. L was in a bit of a state afterwards and has wanted to talk about it every night, before going to sleep, but is now feeling a bit calmer until next week. L feels that this news has cast a dark shadow over a fun summer. We'll have to have some chats about what we've done and how they made us feel and bring back the happy feelings.
After completing the last gala we went on a camping holiday for 5 days to Shropshire taking with us L friend S, who's not been camping before. We stayed at a private camp site just out side Much Wenlock. I'm not sure if it's a village or town. The lovely little shops suggest it's a village but they have markets so, to me, that suggest it's a town. Either way it was lovely. This building on the right had a date on it suggesting it was built in the 1600's and it's currently occupied as a home although I feel it might once have been a public house. To me it's beautiful and I'm amazed at it's survival.
This picture on the left is the view from the front of our tent towards the town. When we arrived on the Wednesday the site only had a few caravans on it. Gradually it filled up towards the weekend and emptied again on Sunday. We left on the Monday. This next picture just below is to the left of us. L and S having a game of giant snakes and ladders whilst waiting for tea. To the right and to the back the views were very similar. The site was on the side of a hill but terraces had been made so it was more comfortable to pitch a tent or caravan and most pitches could have an electric supply. The owners used an out door extension cable from a near by hook up. They didn't leave it hanging around after we left it was collected just before we left. They were on the ball. The site was very clean and the grass was kept very short so there were very little in cutting plus there were plenty of rabbits nibbling away.
Old school master
The old chemist
A carousel run by electricity not steam
There is much to see in Shropshire with it being the home of the Iron Industry and the start of the Industrial Revolution and we did all the museums connected to it. We got a family year pass from the internet and saved £8. The ticket cost us £60 but it saved us an absolute fortune in entrance fees. The first place we visited was Blist Hill. (saved £30 here) This was a Victorian town build on the side of some factory that has something to do with the Iron Industry (forgot what - we saw so much) which closed in the 1950's. There were lots of shops (selling stuff), homes, a school, factories using the old methods and selling their wears, a bank that would exchange new money for old, a fair ground and even a pub. It was all very good but I felt a little disappointed having been spoilt with Beamish which is far better.
Over the next few days we visited the clay pipe (smoking) museum. When the business closed it was just left and years later when it was discovered everything was left in place. Pencil calculations on the wall, old clay, broken pipes, stacks of made up boxes ready for packing, and packed boxes ready for shipment. A Tile factory. The Victorians like tiles because the could be easily cleaned so was used everywhere and had the most amazing art on them. Some were ugly but it was all down to individual taste. This one was my favourite. The christening of Briar Rose surrounded by the good fairies.
We saw the iron bridge - The world first bridge to be built of iron. I remember visiting this with school as part of my History CSE. What a legacy that it still stands strong for pedestrians only.
We also went to the coalport museum with the most beautiful china but sadly this also went out of business.
The tar tunnel was quite interesting because this tunnel was built to create a new canal going through the mountain (big hill) but never got completed because tar was dripping through the walls. This became a new business venture and the canal was never built. Tar can still be seen dripping through the walls today. Every so often the tunnel has to close due to a build up of carbon monoxide.
We had really nice weather to do all our trips which was great. L's friend enjoyed camping and would like to do it again but in the future when she has her own family. She thinks her mum likes her creature comforts too much to try camping.
We always take plenty of food with us so that we can make picnic lunches and most evening meals have been precooked and frozen (we have a fridge/cool box that can run on gas, electric or battery) so that makes evening meals easy. We did eat tea out once and we used some leisure vouchers so that meal didn't cost us anything.
It took me over a week to catch up with all the washing as I always wash the sleeping bags and any covers before packing away again in the attic ready for another year. We're all straightish now.
We've been having lots of fun recently. The galas have finished and and we've been on holiday (will tell you all about that in another post).
Today I've been tidying up a corner of the garden and I got fed up of seeing the potato plants growing from out of the sides of the compost bin, and they were starting to flower. Out they came with some potatoes. I didn't plant them they just grew from my potato peelings. I guess I peel them too thick. I'll probably get some more next year from the tiny ones I left behind and the peelings I compost next spring
Looks like these could be King Edwards and a Rooster. Just enough to go with tea tonight.
Since Thursday last week we've had to boil all our drinking water because somehow sheep's poo got into the system and contaminated it. We don't have a dishwasher so had to boil the water for that too. What a pain it's been. Drinking boiled water taste awful and on Friday we tried to get a bottle of water, It was impossible to find one anywhere as all the shops had sold out. We did find some bottles yesterday when we were out in Fleetwood. 29p for a ltr, at Home Bargains, so we got a couple. The water company is hoping that all will be well tomorrow. We shall see.
I need to catch up with you all and find what's been happening around the globe the past two weeks. Not much on telly tonight.
Well that's my ramblings for today. see all again soon.
We once had an arch in our small garden that held a beautiful Wisteria and a yellow Honeysuckle. Last year the Wisteria didn't do anything after doing some research I found out that it can go dormant so we thought we would leave it and see if it did anything this year. It didn't and on snapping a branch it confirmed it was definitely dead. However the Honeysuckle was doing well and we had a dilemma of what to do. The metal arch was well and truly rotten and only held up because the Wisteria was tightly wrapper around it.
I took some cuttings of the Honeysuckle but they didn't take so I took some more and I think they are doing ok at the moment. At this point the arch was now lying horizontal due to some high winds and was looking a mess. For a number of years M has wanted to build a new arch but because the wisteria was so tightly wrapped around the metal arch there was nothing he could do until now that is. The dead plant was rotten at the base so was easy to dispose of. The Honeysuckle turned out to have new growth near to the base so all the upper growth was disposed of in the recycle bin. M drew his design of what he wanted the arch to look like and made some changes and then went to get his wood bits and started to build.
It's a lot bigger than the original but looks amazing. He's even included seat. It's not quite finished yet as we need to remove and dismantle the water feature, fill in the hole and lay four more flags which will be from another area of the garden. We have a climbing rose in a pot that will be replanted where the Wisteria came out from. And some of the wood needs sanding and varnishing
Our garden has been neglected over the past two years so this summer it's going to have a tidy up and a sort out and no more money spent on it. I'll do a before and after shots when it's done.
Gala update - We got 1st for visiting queen at Preesall and Knott End gala and the Princess go 2nd at St Anne's gala. We are both at Bispham tomorrow. The weather forecast is dry but very high winds.
L's operations was pencilled in for next week but when I phoned the hospital last month they said it has been put back to September - Not happy with the delays. Third time it's be put back. Might have to politely complain next time. There is a bonus we can now go camping this year and we are taking L's friend too. More about that when we come back.
Since I last wrote we have done three more galas with three more to do.
Here we are at Fleetwood and it rained all the way round the procession until we were on the last stretch and then the sun decided to shine and it shined for the rest of the day. I can't take credit for this photo but a photographer from Fleetwood called Robert Stead took it.(I just love it) He is also a judge at our annual flower and craft show.
Lots of people came out to watch the parade despite the rain and we all enjoyed it. We got third prize for visiting queen. Nine umbrellas drying in our bath and seven rain ponchos hanging on the line.
The next gala we attended was Lytham Club Day. We got up at 6am so that I could do L's hair which can take me up to an hour with plaiting and back combing and pinning and the rest. As we borrow a wagon from the council it has a tachograph attached to it and you can't go over 30mph so it took us almost an hour to get to Lytham for 8.30am. After arriving we needed to set up the chairs on the back of the wagon and do any quick repairs ready for 9am judging. During the week we made two exra panels for the wagon to hide the toolbox, I painted them white, L wrote and painted the names, in the colour of their dresses, of all her attendants and M stapled on some artificial ivy that was leftover from our previous gala season. Then I varnished the boards so that the paint doesn't run if we have any more rainy days and finished them off with some gold glitter spray.
We had lovely warm weather with a cool breeze which was ideal for a long walk. We went down the high street and back along Lytham's promenade and almost every street was lined with crowds of people. It was lovely to see so many people out to support such a great event. Later the sun came out in time for the crowning ceremony at Lytham Hall. We finally got home around 4pm after a fantastic day. We came fourth in the visiting queen section.
Yesterday we were at Hambleton for their crowning ceremony. There was no street procession as they struggled to get marshals to help with road closures. For the first time ever they crowned a king instead of a queen.
Hambleton is village and not enough children were interested in the part. The queen who was uncrowned is in the same year as L at school and they know each other quite well which was nice. All the queens and their retinues paraded around the arena and were judged followed by some great kids entertainment (best ever) and then the trophies were presented. We got first for visiting queen and our Princess and her retinue also got first. (yeah) The little girls (and boy) are so beautiful and get on so well. So proud of them all.
Next week we're at Preesall and Knot End for another very long walk with a pit stop halfway round at a very welcome pub. Good for refreshments and bathroom breaks.
It's just started raining here after a little bit of thunder. We had a smashing thunder storm earlier in the week and another on Friday night. It's saved me from watering my tomato plants.
I'm off to visit my dad now as he came home from his holiday yesterday.
I awoke at 5am on Saturday morning and I could hear birds singing. Well, that was a good sign, it's not raining. I got up half an hour later as I just could't get back to sleep I was way too excited and anxious for it was gala day. I wanted to make sure that everything was ready and we didn't forget anything and make a packed lunch for M and me and plenty of drinks and treats for the children. Done.
M got up early too because he wanted to make sure the float was still ok. It had spent the night on our front. I got L up at 7.30 so that she could have her breakfast before getting washed, make up on and dressed before her 9am appointment at the hairdressers. As it was her special day I thought it best to have a special hair do to fit her crown. And what a fabulous job they did, it was beautiful - she looked beautiful. Her hair was still up on Sunday - a pyjama day with fancy hair. By evening we had taken it down ready for school tomorrow. I took this picture at the end of the day after she was crowned. I know I started backwards.
This is the side view of the float and next Saturday we' at Fleetwood Carnival so I'll get some more pictures of the float as we'll have more time being visitor rather hosts. The theme is Rainbow Wishes and there are rainbows everywhere but in a different formats. Here's the front view. Unfortunately as this isn't the wagon we originally prepared for you can't see the bottom bit over the cab so for next week M has prepared some blocks that should lift the boards a bit higher.
L's retinue. I said there was rainbows everywhere. If you click on the picture to make it larger you will see the little boy's waistcoat is also rainbow.
The building in the background is Thornton Little Theatre (formerly known as The Lecture Hall) that was built in the 1920's. There are beautiful gardens and trees. The flower beds were only planted up last week so are not quite in flower.
Prince Charming is L's best friend from primary and high school.
The crowning. L was crowned by a local councillor. Unknown by the committee we have known the councillor for quite a few years from when she set up a skate night at the local sports centre to give the teens somewhere to go on a Friday night (it's still going but now run by the sports centre). The children can use skateboards, scooters and roller skates and on Saturdays BMX bikes (with ramps). The other lady crowning the princess is the new Mayoress.
L doing her speech and thanking lots of people who had been involve to make this day so very special.
After taking the wagon back to the council we went to the pub for tea
Tomorrow is the big day. Thornton Cleveleys Gala and L will be crowned Gala Queen 2015. It's going to be a fantastic day (please, please don't rain). We have spent weeks and weeks in preparation for this day with lots of help from the retinues parents.
I striped the old float sides of the old decorations saving some of the coloured strips to reuse and to save on expenses and we have used some but the rest we will pass onto the next years queen and retinue after the choosing.
Whilst doing the stripping we found that some of the wooden/MDF panels were very rotten so M bought new MDF and remade the sides. Next we glued on the polystyrene sheets using PVA. Weighting the middle and clamping the edges. In this picture we are having to make an extension to what we had already done. (More about that later)
I spent many an evening cutting up colourful plastic table cloths into strips
After transferring the design from paper onto the polystyrene, which was not an easy task when you can't draw, we then coloured in the design using wooden kebab sticks to poke in the plastic strips.
Many an evening M spent making small pink flowers (and larger flowers) again from plastic table cloths
Some finished sides
A sneaky peak
L finishing off her bit whilst we tided up at the end of a long day and another sneaky peak
We were now over halfway through the decorating the sides when were informed by the gala committee chairman that we would not be using the wagon we thought we would be using because the council, who very kindly lend us the wagons, are replacing some of the old ones and that we will be having a new one. That's nice, but we have seen the new ones and they've a huge wardrobe type fixed tool box on the back unlike to old ones which had a trunk style box. The reason for extending the polystyrene and altering the design on this piece. M had to get some measurements so that the side pieces could also be altered fortunately the completed sides were ok. The side are now completed and us parents will build the wagon up tonight ready for morning.
We have to say a huge thank you to Cleveleys community Centre and Church for allowing us to use the stage to store and decorate the sides and when the hall was not in use letting us spread out. Also the Wyre Council who lend us the wagons each week to attend other galas. A further 5 for this year.
Whilst all this was going on I was working and making L's dress and coat (needs pressing in a minute). Sorry no pictures of them in progress. And decorating shoes
Next week I will post some picture from the gala
Must get a wriggle on and get the ironing done.
Note to self - Must start and get some housework done next week.
Yesterday afternoon I took L to see the Chuckle Brothers in "The Chuckles of OZ" at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood. It was the Wizard of OZ panto which was done very well with a cast of six and two others and only three scene changes. Considering that this show has been touring since February the costumes and sets still looked fresh and new.
Anyway back to the show - It was fantastic and had us crying with laughter. It's advertised as being suitable from age 3 to 103. The humour was very cleverly done and in one sketch the children were laughing at the cucumber scene whilst the adults and their imaginations saw something different (so very funny). I don't like slapstick comedy, I find it frustrating but these two guys do it so differently and put heir own twist to it so making less predictable.
These were some accidental mishaps like when Paul (age 68) slapped Barry's face (part a hypnosis sketch and Barry wasn't co-operating, as he does) and later whilst Barry (age 71) was lying on the floor dying, Paul accidentally stood on his leg which was then ab-libbed into the script. I should also mention that the other cast members were very good too.
After the show Barry and Paul came out to sign programmes and any other merchandise. The que was long, and we were near the back, but they saw everyone/group individually and what genuinely nice guys they were, no grandeur or false airs about them. They invited me to take a photo and encouraged L to stand with them and even commented on how nice it was to see a real camera. I asked about Barry's leg and Paul replied "it wasn't bleeding so it was OK" and Barry said "it was feeling better,"
We look forward to seeing them again next year (if they come back) and this time we will take M with us. If you get the chance to see this show I would fully recommend it. The tour finishes at the end of August.