Wednesday, 31 December 2014

And what a year it has been....

We've had a heck of a ride through 2014 in many ways, and it has had its ups and downs.  

Much of the year has been centred around the EFG and her applications and visits to various universities, and the A level exams which were so important to get her where she wanted to go.  Finances, forms and results were all in the mix.  She got there, though, and is enjoying life in Aberdeen.  Good result.

From April and May onwards, we had to face the reality of the FH's declining health when the Papworth cardiology consultant wrote the word "terminal" in a letter, and we had to talk and think about that one.  His decline had been gradual but it seemed to accelerate then, and he spent time in hospital in June, and again in early July, which sadly marked his death, the day before he was going to come home. He knew he would be coming home to die, but hoped to do it here with us.  I wouldn't have denied him that, but in my heart of hearts, I know that his death at home would have been traumatic for us all.  Our friends and family supported us, and we made it through the funeral and the days in between which seemed so busy and yet so empty without him.

And since then, we have been in recovery mode.  We have had to find new ways of getting on with life and new routines.

The EFG has left home in a way, although it has been great to have her back for the holidays.  Most of the time it is just the YFG and me here, and we have a settled, quiet life most of the time. Few disagreements, co-operation and mutual support and encouragement make for a peaceful time.

My new job is a tiding-me-over kind of commitment, and although it is not an inspirational occupation, it brings in some cash each month, and the part-time aspect of it is enabling me to continue with the other things in my life which are important to me.

I have made it to the last section of the Faith and Worship course this month, and actually sent two unit assignments to the tutor, which feels like a major achievement.  I have just 4 units more to get done and I shall be submitting the whole section to the HQ for marking in March, I hope!

So what do I hope 2015 will bring?

A bit more time for this:

and perhaps a little more of this than I had time for lately:

I also want to go back here in the summer as we didn't get there this year:

but mostly, I wish for good health and happiness for all those I love!  Much the same as you and your family, I would think.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A challenge for myself

I have been reading Elaine's blog at Mortgage Free in Three for some time now, and she is always sensible and inspirational!  This weekend, she has been sharing some videos from Jack Black of Mindstore. I watched the first two and got inspired to have a thorough chuck out!  

I challenged myself and thought it would be a good aim to clear 1000 items out of the house in 2015.

I think I shall be re-negotiating that target with myself very shortly as I started only yesterday with my bedroom, and already 178 things have new destinations - the hallway looks like a left-luggage area with bags ready to be packed in to the car for taking to the charity shops, to the dump and to friends who I know will appreciate odd items, like the FH's Bond DVDs which are going to a wee friend who used to like to borrow them!

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Twelve more items added to the pile this morning, so I think I may have to go for the 1000 items by the end of January!

I talked to the YFG about this and we agreed that the overall target is that there are 1000 fewer items in the house by the end of the challenge, so for every non-consumable item that comes in, two have to go out.  Makes me think harder!

My bedroom is transformed already - and I love it!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Just a wee one

A wee moan, I am afraid!  People in real life do mean well, and I take a deep breath and smile every time, but I am getting a bit pained at all the folk who are telling me how hard Christmas is for me, and how they are thinking of me.  

I do appreciate the thoughts, I really do, but the woman who said to me on Sunday how hard it was for me, to whom I replied that no, the girls and I are doing well and we are having a good Christmas really wound me up when she said, "Aren't the girls upset about their dad, then?" 

No one has the right to make comments like that. No one.  

It seems that hardly anyone can understand this family and how we tick.  We had been prepared for the FH to die for years, and we had openly spoken to the girls about life "after Dad", it was part of conversation around here.  We all knew that his life would end years before ours.  We are realistic - always optimistic, yes, but realistic too - and we knew and we prepared ourselves and them.  Some people just don't grasp that at all. 

We have just had a lovely half hour sitting on my bed, laughing and joking and remembering their younger childhoods and some of the things we got up to!  We have memories to cherish and to share, and to chuckle together over when the mood takes us.  We are not miserable.  We loved him and we do miss him, but we are moving on, and not dwelling on the past.  

He had a great life over seven decades, saw a lot of the world and had some amazing experiences. He was born between the wars and lived long enough to see this great technological age. He benefited from some of the most exciting developments in modern medicine.  He was a generous and clever man, and had an impact on a great many lives. 

But the past is the past, and my girls and I still have a future.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Hastening on

The days are passing just a tad too quickly for my liking and I can see Friday rushing towards me at a rate of knots, when I have to start work again, albeit only for the one day before the weekend!  I am enjoying the freedom from the work routine.

Yesterday was great, and we spent time mooching about the house, pottering over tidying, doing the laundry and generally tidying up, although a fair bit of the EFG's DVD set of "Modern Family" has also been watched in between times, I think.  We did get to bed earlier last night, which was an achievement, as the EFG has been drawing us onto her uni bedtime routine - much later than ours!

Church this morning, and then lunch at my sister's house.  Slightly tricky situation there as I am not sure that I completely trust that my brother-in-law understands my dietary restrictions - he certainly didn't when we went for a BBQ there in the summer.  I am tempted to take a pot of soup along and just eat that, rather than risk repercussions later.  It's that or take a serious interest in what he is doing in the kitchen, and ask a lot of questions, which I fear may offend.

Anyway, have to say that I am looking forward to cosying up to the fire when we get home again later on this afternoon, and perhaps breaking out the knitting - I haven't done any yet this holiday and I was hoping to get at least one of my projects finished this break!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

A more normal day today

We had a lovely day on Boxing Day with relatives coming to see us.  UJ was here from late morning and enjoyed a traditional-for-us Boxing Day lunch of cold meat, baked potatoes and chutneys with some veg, followed by the Christmas Pudding and brandy butter a wee while later.

About 3pm, we were joined by the FH's cousin and his wife and son from Peterborough.  They usually come on Boxing Day, and we had a lively time!  There was lots of chatting, work on the Christmas jigsaw, which is sadly lacking the FH's expertise this year - I had only just managed the outside border before the support cavalry arrived, but it is looking better now. I may get it done by Easter!

We had tea together, games were played and lots of relaxing by the fire was enjoyed by all of us!

Today, we are having a quieter day at home, and we all want to get some sorting out done: the EFG has decided that her room needs going over, there is ironing in the basket to be done, and the fridge needs to be sorted out and the leftovers made into meals for today.

We are going to my sister's for lunch tomorrow, and then we will have a few more days before the New Year's festivities - there are plans for cinema and shopping trips being suggested, and the girls have friends that they want to catch up with too.  A quiet day in the midst of all of this is very welcome - I'm off to get out the ironing board and find a film to watch whilst I iron!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas

Just popping in to wish you all a very happy Christmas, however you have chosen to spend the day.  I have been to church this morning and we are now having a very lazy day!  

The dinner is cooking and we will be eating in a little while, and then we have an evening in front of the fire and the tv planned with all  our favourites on tonight!  Dr Who, Call the Midwife and then Downton......what luxury!  

The EFG is knitting, I am looking through a couple of new books and learning how to operate my new Kindle Fire tablet, and the YFG is texting her friend who had her appendix out a day or so ago. 

 We're together and that is what matters.  

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Nearly there

Tree up and decorated

     Shopping done

          Presents wrapped

                 Important people here

                          Cheery phonecalls made to relatives we are not seeing

                                        Cards sent or delivered locally - less this year

                                                       Small bottle of sloe gin purchased!

Just the Christmas Morning service to polish off, clean out the chooks and get the food that needs to defrost out of the freezer. I shall also be bringing in a big pile of logs, and flinging the hoover around the sitting room.  Later on, it will be time to break out the Christmas jigsaw.......bring it on!

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Happy Christmas to you all - and thanks for such a great year of blogging friendships all round xx

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A bit of fun!

The weekly moneysaving email has come through from MSE this morning and there was a fun quiz link on it to see "How tight are you?"  

I am apparently 54% tight, because I do things like regifting, re-using tea bags, etc. There are actually quite a few things on the list that I wouldn't do, like not paying my fair share of things when out in a group.  There is a line between frugal/thrifty and just plain mean, after all!  

If you want to have a go, the link is here.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Coming up again

The ride through the year hit the lowest point yesterday with the shortest day of the year, and today feels like we are beginning to climb up, like a slow, long climb on a rollercoaster, back up and up to the top of the year in June when we have the longest day.  As the days slowly and almost imperceptibly lengthen, spirits lift and the mood is brightened.  Thank goodness!

I spent several years being quite miserable at this time of year, and into the early spring. Depression was diagnosed and compounded with my mother's death one cold February. With her death remembered in February, Mother's Day not completely celebrated in March, and then trying to get through her birthday in April, spring days were hard for me.

Mum loved daffodils, and I always think of her when I see them

I don't suffer like that any longer - and I don't really know why, except that I decided not to one year.  Not that I had ever made a conscious decision to be miserable, but I do remember making a huge effort to be cheerful - it reminds me of that saying about "fake it until you make it" which is what I guess I was doing.  Mental illness is never easy, and I am not trivializing anyone else's experience of it, but I am incredibly thankful that I no longer feel that way.

The New Year for me is now a huge opportunity to look forward to a brand new year, and a new chance to start afresh.  It's clean, unsullied and full of promise. I love to write lists and plans at this time of year, and fill myself with fresh hopes.  It's looking up, looking forward and looking outward.

By the time the schools go back in January, we will have lived six months without the FH.  Six months.  It seems like so much longer in many ways, but I still remember it all like yesterday.  We are stronger.  We are asked every so often if we are "coping".  "Coping" to me implies just getting by. We are doing so much more than that - we are living, thriving and moving forward, just as he wanted us to do.  The EFG is doing really well at uni, the YFG is moving her life on towards GCSEs and Sixth Form, and I am working, and doing all the other things I do!

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And so our ride, which hit the bottom of the rollercoaster last July, is climbing up and up again.  I have no idea where we will be when we hit the top of the climb, but I know that the ride is exciting and we're enjoying life again.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Mother Mary

Our church service this morning was centred around Mary, the mother of Jesus, and it was reflective and thoughtful. The minister was asking us to consider how difficult it can be to say "Yes" to God. 
It's funny, but modern women in this day and age are often encouraged to say, "No" to all sorts of things, requests and invitations for example, which come our way, in order to preserve our time, and sometimes to preserve our sanity.  

We had some mini discussions in the service and I realised that the answer for me is to say, "Yes" to God more often, but perhaps to say, "No" to other people on more occasions.  This holds true, for me, in that saying "No" to people gives me more time and energy to say, "Yes" to God.

How wonderful but how frightening I think it would have been for Mary.  I am amazed at the strength of her faith, and the burden she took on in being the mother of the Christ. She is blessed among women after the event, if you see what I mean, but back in the day, given the local customs, she would have been putting her life on the line.

I don't believe that saying "Yes" to God is always easy, comfortable or without problems - I am sure that it isn't, indeed - but I know that if God wants us to do something, He does everything He can to support us in achieving whatever is His goal for us.  Sometimes we need a huge boot up the behind from God to get out there and say "Yes, Lord, I'll do that!"  I'm so glad that Mary had that courage.

Linking with Ang at Tracing Rainbows for the Pause in Advent theme.

I'm hosting the "Pause In Advent" here - continuing the tradition started by Floss
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Friday, 19 December 2014

That Friday feeling!

The Friday feeling is well and truly here!  The EFG has arrived, the YFG has broken up from school, and I have two days off work, and then only two more to go before Christmas......we're feeling relaxed!

The EFG and YFG have been experimenting with hair dye tonight and the EFG now has lighter ends to her hair - called the ombre effect, I am told - and there was a lot of giggling going on in the bathroom for some time.  I think that they are enjoying being back together again :)

Some I knitted earlier...

Tomorrow I am going to take some of the knitted hats to a charity shop for a group who are going to run a free dinner event on Christmas Day for the homeless and those generally in need - they want warm clothing, hats and gloves to give to those attending.  With the agreement of my fellow knitters, I am donating 20 of the hats from the knitting we have been doing to this wonderful cause.  I hope that they get some use out of them.  

I'll also be doing my Aldi shopping tomorrow, and I have been writing a list of all the items I would like to get for the next two weeks as I really do not want to have to shop till January now.  I've got a list of the items that the local food banks can use, and if we cannot quite hit the £75 target to benefit from the £15 voucher, I shall add some items to the trolley for them.  We all win that way around. I do expect to get close to £60 or so anyway as we have company coming on Boxing Day so I intend to buy a few extra wee treats, as I am not spending my holiday in the kitchen all the time! 

I hope you are all having a good weekend with those you love.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Good news

Despite delays and consequently missing a train, she's is HOME.  Better late that never, and all that, and I don't mind that I had to go and fetch her from another station - she's here and I have hugged her.
Off to bed now xx

Kind of sad this morning

I've been thinking a lot about those children in Peshawar, and their mothers in particular.  At this time, when I am so looking forward to having the EFG home tonight, I can't help thinking of all those mothers who will never have their children home again after that.  There aren't words for their pain, I am sure.  Just tears.  

I am going into school here this morning, and the children will be having their Christmas lunch today. Makes me think.  

Take care of you and yours this Christmas, and be grateful. Spare a thought for them x

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Half way to the weekend

Well, almost halfway!  This week has dragged already as we are looking forward to the EFG  coming home TOMORROW - I love that!  She has been away for all those long weeks, and she will be HERE tomorrow evening - can't wait!  She's got her last exam this afternoon, and she'll be boarding one of these beauties around 2pm on Thursday.

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Work has had a bit of a lift in that I haven't had any miserable customers ranting at me this week, yet!  I have taken on board what you all said about people being tired and worn out and worried at this time of year, and I know that they are not being personal in their comments, that their anger or distress is aimed at the particular dealership I am calling about.  I know these things, and I am working hard at not taking offence.

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The holiday calendar opens for me on 6th January when I can request my holiday times for 2015, and I am definitely going to request the three days before the company closes down for Christmas next year so that I get two weeks off - more time with the girls and a little more time to wind down and prepare.........I'm thinking ahead!

And I have another Sainsbury's order coming tonight.  The car is in the garage today getting serviced, and I knew that the fresh fruit and veg and fridge supplies were getting low, so I booked another £1 slot and the stocks are coming tonight.  I was disappointed that the voucher for £6 off when I spent £40 which came with the receipt for the last delivery was not usable online, so I rang up to complain - after all, why send out a store-only coupon to someone who has had an online delivery made? It didn't make a lot of sense, and it had today's date on it too, so limited time for me to get to a store.  I rang customer services to moan about it, and the good chap there took care of the order and gave me £6 off the bill, which pleased me no end!  Just goes to show what you can achieve by giving a company your opinion.

I have also ordered another Calor gas bottle to be delivered today.  The company I ordered it from are holding their prices from last July [2013!] and so it is costing me just £52.30 delivered for a 47kg bottle, whereas the local garage where I used to get it is still charging £75 for the bottle and £5 to deliver!  Whoops - I think they are possibly losing some business.

So some dosh is being released from captivity today - but not in an uncontrolled manner.  Spending is thought out, measured and considered, as usual.  I can't have an empty fridge when I know that there will be three of us to feed for a month, and we definitely don't want to run out of gas when we are steaming our veg on Christmas day!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Just not right

The news coming in this morning that the Taliban have attacked a school in Peshawar and killed children and teachers there is just appalling.  There just aren't words to describe how appalling.  What is the world coming to? Earlier this week it was a lone gunman taking hostages in Australia, and now this.  So sad.

Monday, 15 December 2014

And so that was Monday...

It kind of passed me by. 

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I was at school all morning for a budgeting review, then came home, ate some lunch and worked. 

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The YFG came home, her friend came round to play with her on the Wii, and they had some snacks. I worked again and then I had to cook my tea.  

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We've started watching House on Netflix. Could take a while!

We have watched some tv together, chatted a little, argued just a little too, had a chat with the EFG, and I have to iron a shirt and go to bed........let's hope Tuesday is a little more inspiring!

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Good news - not one penny escaped from the purse today though!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Light in the darkness

Today's Gospel reading at the church was about John the Baptist who came "to testify to the Light" and it got me thinking about these dark days.

The colour palette of the Fens at this time of year is very muted - the fields are green, where the winter wheat is coming through like grass on the great acreages, the sky is often grey and over cast and the skies are so huge here that that takes up most of the scene!  Then there is brown - the hedgerows, the mud on the roads and splattered on the verges and all over our cars...we have a lot of brown at this time of year.

We have another week to go before we achieve the shortest day and then the days slowly begin to lengthen again - and how we look forward to the lighter nights and brighter days.  The mood at this time of year can also be quite dark, as people struggle with lack. Lack of light makes people sad; lack of money affects lots of us in all kinds of ways; lack of family and friends around us makes us feel lonely. Any lack of any kind can really have an impact on the way we feel and then on the way we treat others.

Is it any wonder that we light up our homes with sparkly lights at this time of year as we look for some brightness in this dull world?  The truth is that we need the Light that is Jesus Christ all year round.  

Linking today with Ang at Tracing Rainbows for the Pause in Advent series.

I'm hosting the "Pause In Advent" here - continuing the tradition started by Floss
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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Counting down...

Just five sleeps to go.......we're getting excited about the EFG coming home.

I can tell already that there are going to be some disagreements: the YFG is going to be pleased to have some company apart from me here, but she has already mentioned the EFG upsetting our "routine".  I thought that that would be a concern - not that the EFG would do anything to upset anyone on purpose, but just that the YFG and I have had to get used to just being here together, and we have settled in to a routine of things we do.  She's recognised that things will be different when the EFG is back, and we have to bear in mind that in the grand scheme of things, this is going to be a rather fleeting visit of only four weeks and I will be so chuffed to have her here that I don't mind changing our routines.  Routines get changed over the holidays anyway, and we will be doing different things from what we normally do.  I am interested to see how this shakes down, because we will have a much longer period back together in the summer, I hope, and I don't want them at daggers for three and a half months!  I want the EFG to feel welcomed home, after all.

Best go - the YFG is sorting out one of the Christmas trees and I need to organise a service for the morning - very late to it this week......

Friday, 12 December 2014

The end of the week

I have some sympathy with people who say, "Thank goodness it's Friday!" now that I am working for a company and get the weekend off, but actually, I usually have to wait until Sunday afternoon for that relief of knowing that I am f-r-e-e!  What with gymnastics and church services, the "weekend" sometimes doesn't start for me until 11.30am on Sunday....

So I am really looking forward to the 23rd December.  Work will be completed until the 2nd January, there will be no school to think about again until the 5th, and the gymnastics does not resume until the 6th. No services to take over the festive period this year, either. That's almost two weeks of 
f-r-e-e-d-o-m in one respect or another.  

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I have some new books to read, and we have plenty of firewood, the cupboards are well stocked, and I am hoping for some time to relax, watch cheesy films on the telly and put my feet up!  I'm looking forward to going out and about a little with the girls, as I am sure that perhaps a trip to the cinema might be on the cards, and there may be some visiting of relatives to be done too.  We'll be hosting the gathering on Boxing Day too which will be very relaxed and informal, sitting around by the fire, chatting and doing the Christmas jigsaw together, and munching a little too!  I will be attending some church services and enjoying worship without responsibility for making sure it all comes together.

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I'm sorting Christmas out one step at a time. The cards have started to arrive, so I need to write a few for some older people, but those friends with whom we can connect on the internet have been told that we won't be sending out many cards this year, because I just can't face sitting here and writing a whole heap of cards with only three names on them......The YFG will be putting one of the trees up this weekend, and she has promised to leave one for the EFG to organise when she gets home. The main items of food are in the stores, and the presents are just about all wrapped.  It's going to be quiet, not too big and bold, but it will be OK.  It will be another achievement to have had our first Christmas without the FH: there might be a few tears now and again, but we are getting there.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

An Aldi idea

Well, the Aldi update is that the voucher is indeed valid for the period between today and Christmas Eve, so we do have plenty of time to consider what we want to buy.

Some people on the Aldi Facebook page were wondering how they would gather £75 worth of goods into their trolleys because they haven't ever managed to spend that much in Aldi before.  One suggestion was to buy what we need ourselves, and then, if we are not too far from the total, we could buy some food to donate to a local food bank - and I thought that was a lovely idea and one that would benefit a lot of folk.

I'll certainly bear it in mind if we do go to Aldi in the run up to Christmas - I bought a paper just in case!

One week to go until the EFG is home - next Thursday night she will be here with me by the fire, and I am really looking forward to it.  The next Thursday will be Christmas, the one after that will be New Year, and then it will all be over!  We build up to this all with such expectations that it seems, especially for the little ones, that Christmas takes for ever to arrive, but actually, there are 24 hours in every day, whether it is Christmas or not, and so the time will pass at the same speed!  I'm not wishing the time away, and indeed, I shall be trying to spin it out as long as I can when the girls are both at home and I am not at w*rk.  That is not a nice word at the moment - I have had more than my fair share of disgruntled customers in the past two days and I am not terribly chuffed about it...

Keep safe in the wild and windy weather we are looking at tonight on the news - wind, snow, gales, rain, it is all coming our way tonight!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

If I am not here...and Aldi!

I must be somewhere!  Yes, real life gets the better of me occasionally and blogging slips down the list of priorities.  Today has been one of those days.

I have been doing Faith and Worship, doing laundry, working on the phone, chatting to UJ, cleaning out the chooks with his help, keeping the fire stoked all day, weeding a veg bed, cutting back raspberry canes, and chopping back lavender bushes, more work, prepping the tea, more work, eating the tea, receiving and unloading a Sainsbury's delivery, more Faith and Worship, watching an episode of "House" on Netflix with the YFG, and popping in here at last.

I've enjoyed being outside in the fresh air - I have also enjoyed not going anywhere at all today.  A whole day at home with nowhere else to go has been a joy!  I have had plenty to do, but the sheer relief of not having to go to meetings, pick the YFG up from anywhere, or be somewhere for something has just been great! More days like this please!!

I'd like to say that it was a no-spend day, but we had the delivery from Sainsbugs.  That was interesting - we ended up with frozen spinach instead of kale, and a bag of posh frozen roast potatoes with goose fat which we didn't order, and they haven't charged us for either.....they will come in handy at some point, I am sure.  Since they substituted some more expensive tinsel than I had ordered, I won't worry about the potatoes too much.  The chap was here early, which was great, but he had come from a shop over 30 miles away, which was unexpected, as they used to deliver from a more local store.  They gave me a £6 off when I spend £40 voucher for next week, though, which I can use in store.

I have seen on Facebook tonight that the Aldi voucher will be in the papers this week. Thursday 11th December.... But it is for £15 off a £75 shop, which seems a challenge for me!  It is not long since the last voucher, It is great for some people, and those who can really stock up, to take advantage, and there are rumours that the voucher will be valid until 23rd December.....we'll have to see tomorrow - let us know if you get one?  I shall see how long it really is valid for, and I might get one if the rumours are true.

Take care of yourselves in this cold and windy weather we are having - the EFG says it is getting very chilly in Aberdeen!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Another busy day over and some achievements to celebrate - sending another unit assignment of Faith and Worship to the local tutor this afternoon, the last governors' meeting of the term, and heading towards the end of the term at gymnastics - and looking forward to the EFG coming home next week!  NEXT WEEK!  I can't believe it......

The housework is suffering terribly, and things seem to be worn straight out of the ironing basket occasionally, but things are getting done in other areas, which is a blessing.  I have a meeting with the tutor on Thursday and I hope to get a little more done before I see her - there's nothing like a bit of pressure to focus the mind.

The YFG and I went to Lidl's last night after an appointment and bought ourselves some of their delicious, and gluten-free, meatballs which we have had for supper tonight - and they are very filling! The appointment last night was for the YFG's chiropody - the lovely podiatrist spent about 45 minutes with us, sorting out the toe nails and cutting them extremely short.  I wouldn't want to do her job for love nor money, so I am grateful that there are people like her who choose to make it their career.  £37 lighter, we emerged and the YFG says that her feet do feel better - thank goodness! Let's hope we can manage her toes now that we have had a lesson.....I was taking notes, mentally.

Nose back to the grindstone - the next unit assignment I need to do is about the Passion of Christ - rather unseasonal for this time of year, but needs must!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Night off

You'll have gathered I'm not blogging tonight - got to practise what I preach and get down to some work!  Been a busy day, so I am taking the folders up to bed to read and make notes on the next assignment......back tomorrow xx

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Just a reminder

We had a lovely afternoon in the chapel yesterday: we had been going to have a concert with a terribly good organist, but he was unable to play our rather basic electronic organ, being used to the likes of Westminster Abbey's pipe organ.  So a change of plan was on the cards....

A "God-breeze" [as someone calls them, but my apologies - I can't remember whose phrase that is!] came to me last week and I slowly pulled things together.  A letter sent out to families through the school, and posters put up around the village.  A Facebook announcement, and some chatting with older people.  

And it all came together.  "An Afternoon of Christmas Family Fun" at the chapel yesterday afternoon. We had lots of people there, of all ages, with children and without.  We sang carols, listened to the Christmas Story in four installments from a children's bible, and had breakout sessions where the folk went and decorated biscuits, coloured pictures and cards, tried to answer some quiz questions, played with a Lego set or a woollen set of Nativity figures, had a go at "sticking the star on the stable" in lieu of the "tail on the donkey" and generally had fun.  Older folk enjoyed interacting with the children, and participated in the activities as well.

We had tea afterwards, and some folk seemed reluctant to leave, they were enjoying being with us so much!  More people turned up than I had really expected, and some of the children even dressed up as their favourite Nativity character, as I had suggested that they might in the letter and the poster.  We didn't have the full complement, but we did have Mary and a King - you've got to start somewhere!

It brought some new families in to the chapel, and a lot of people did some simple things to bring Christ back into their Christmas, which was my aim.  

I'm linking to Ang's blog for A Pause in Advent with this post.

I'm hosting the "Pause In Advent" here - continuing the tradition started by Floss
(Image from