Friday, 31 December 2010

Last thing..

..on December 31st and my last chance to add a December Daily entry for this year.  I don't have a picture taken today specifically but by the time I'm finished writing I'm sure I'll have something to add. (and sure enough, a timely offering from Jordan.. I love her pictures..)

The time between Christmas and New Year has been quite relaxing, even though for the first year in ages I have been in the office quite a bit, but it's great how much you can get sorted when the phone doesn't ring.  The guys have been busy painting and cleaning the workshops so we'll all have a fresh start for next year.  It's been a time of changes at work, but it's looking  very positive and for once we can look to the new year with renewed vigour and a little less reluctance to 'get going'

The kids are all doing their own things tonight and for Zac & JB that's having a few friends here and so far we've played Monopoly, Pictionary and now some card game with spoons.. but I can see it all getting a little merrier as the drinks go down!

I've tried not to have any expectations of the celebratory aspect of tonight and recall that the best New Years have been spent with the group of people you spend the year with, otherwise it's all a bit false and contrived, so tonight I'm just being laid back and enjoying having a few of the family together and just being happy and healthy. (sign of age maybe.. or just not having enough friends to go do something bigger with.. haha!)

Oh, and we got ourselves a new car.. ready to collect on Thursday when it's been preened and pampered (possibly for the last time in 2-3 years!), I really like it, nice colour.. stormy blue metallic.. mmm, someone said to suit my temperament...well...?

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Ahh, technology!

I don't think there are many households where the presents given and received don't include lots of the latest technology! We have had everything here, from remote control camera gizmos, phones, X-box Kinect, to remote UFO's and wireless microphones!

But today I discovered the pleasures of Skype!  Our fabulous pals in the States spoke with us and we got to meet their son for the first time, and best of all Will dressed up as Santa and spoke to Lilly.. she was so cute, saying thank you for her presents, and I'm sure as the years go by we'll be able to make an annual event of her dialogue with Santa!

Back to basics, and I guess papercraft and scrapbooking are very basic technology wise!  It was also lovely to look through the 50th Anniversary album I did for my in-laws, with Julia who is just getting to know the family.  Made me take out some other albums afterwards and have alittle browse: last Christmas with Uncle Bill and also our trip to Paris in 2009.  Photos and albums definitely keep the memories alive.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Santa's snaps!

...well Kate turned thirteen this year and for the first Christmas ever we didn't leave port and snacks for Santa.. she told me last night that kids know the score for lots of years before they let on to us! 

But here's some of the photos Santa took early this morning to prove how hard working he is, even without the port!  (Flowers courtesy of Uncle Bill, thank you xx)

We've had a great morning, our loveliest gift was a calendar featuring all our favourite pictures, one for each month and I'm thinking it would be a great way to do our Calendar Girls layouts justice!  And Colin gave me a fantastic metal wall sculpture of a shoal of fish.  With the new wine glasses and wine rack I can see plenty of things to include in our new kitchen which is on my list of New Year's Resolutions!

So, it's 3.30pm almost and the veg is peeled and cut, not sure when I'm going to start cooking, but you know, after the stressing and moaning I've done the last 2 weeks about not being ready, I don't think I give a monkeys when we eat!  Happy Christmas! Hic!

Merry Christmas.. all my friends and especially to those too far away...hope we get to see each other again in the coming

Friday, 24 December 2010

Flurry of activity..

. ..these last few days, office world sorted til next week, last minute shopping (and it wasn't just extras...I have failed quite miserably to get anything Colin will think worthy of even the littlest of excitement, so probably  just as well it's me who gets over excited wondering if 'he's been yet!?') and those special little boxes ticked.

Last night I went with Ross to Carol-oke and we had a real laugh, his friends made me real welcome and are such good fun. Though I think I'd have to go much more often than that to be really comfortable back in the pub scene!

I had Lilly today and me and Col's dad took her to our special gardens at St Levan and Paul and gave flowers for our mums. She is so innocent, took on the idea of the church yards being special gardens and didn't even question why or who. Such a sweet pea. 

My pal in the US has suggested he dress up as Santa and we Skype with Lilly when she's next here.. that could be a real blast!

Great as ever to turn the corner at the top of Porthcurno and remind ourselves of why this is just such a special part of the world..

Then we called on Mum's old friend in Mousehole and made her day, such a simple effort on our part, touched me that I should do it more often if it makes such a difference to her.   Again Lilly turned on the charm and found interest in every little knick knack Beryl owns!

Home then to make curries and have an evening catching up with Col's family news.

Just time to say Merry Christmas to everyone who knows and reads me.. all ten of you!  Catch up soon, we need to do that more often!  K xxx

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Different days..

..funny how the world is on a mission this week to have the best of Christmasses and more specifically this year, to weather the snow and icey conditions to spend time with family and friends.   It is hard then when someone in your family dies so close to this part of the year where the pressure is to feel 'up', so it is up to those who are close by, but not too close, to help and support them and make the days a little easier.

We said farewell to our friend's Dad today and with our kids helped organise the food and teas. It was a good event, time for us to do something together and for my kids to meet and learn more about some of the relatives they see less often, also to understand that some things we just have to do, for no return, but just because it's the right thing to do.

We took them for a quick meal afterwards, at the Dolphin in town, now we're home, the fire's lit and everyone is cuddled up ready for some Christmas TV special or other.

Interesting then to see that the quote of the day today is :
Unless we think of others and do something for them, we miss one of the greatest sources of happiness.
I guess it's not a direct happiness in this case, more a secure feeling, but knowing you did the right thing and that people you have relied on in the past, now know that they can rely on you .

Monday, 20 December 2010

Great day!

Yesterday started a little later than intended and I was feeling a bit fatalistic as I saw sleety stuff falling from the sky close to mid-day, but Zac & JB made decisions for me, he even drove, and we set off to the metropolis we know in these parts as 'Hayle' to hit to stores (for stores read M&S, Next & Boots!), but we went to shop and shop we did! 

We returned home with the ubiquitous socks and smellies in our carriers and soup and cakes in our bellies (not just soup & cakes, but M&S soup & cakes!)  We made a slight detour to collect Christmas Pudding Ice Cream and Caramel Fudge Ice Cream from Mr. B's and got home just in time to unload the car before my next adventure began!

Ross and I went over to St Levan for the Candlelit Carol Service, we called by and collected Gill and Rosie. The church wasn't quite as full as usual but the event still ticked all the boxes for me. Lyn Batten organises it and some of the words she chose were beautiful, her Nan & Grandad would have been so proud to hear her and to see things run so smoothly.  They have just opened 'toilets' after much fundraising and new gravel has been laid into the church, it makes a very satisfying crunch as you walk in along the pathway lit by large glass candle jars.

After the service we have the usual mulled wine, mince pies and catch up with friends old and new. I was introduced to the son of an old favourite of my Mum's, he has a new baby and lives in the thatched cottage opposite my old home.  It was hard to explain who I was in terms of people he knew today, but then he asked how I was related to Tommy Thomas...I explained this was my Dad, and Tristan said that he had been told stories of Dad getting dressed for school standing on a stool to avoid flood water in the cottage!  Well, it was a story I hadn't heard, so whether it's a bit of Penberth folklore or not I'll have to ask my brother, but it was amazing to know that my Dad, a man who died so young at just 47 over 40 years ago, is still talked about.

My cousin also gave me a book that has been compiled on the history of St Buryan School, and there are quite a few photos of my mum, but mostly, again I was so touched, by the sheer volume of information and praise for my grandfather Joe Tommy Warren who was school teacher there before the 1st WW and afterwards til 1938, til he died, suddenly from appendicitis, another man stolen well before he was 50.  For the nostalgia queen that I am, it was an evening to really savour, and gave me more than a little nudge to remind me of the War Diary I have sitting just above this computer awaiting the uploading it deserves to pc.

As we came home past Penzance Ross' mind travelled to food and the thought of cooking when I got in was not on my list of best bits for the day.  Needless to say I didn't take much encouragement to call in at the Dolphin for a quick snack and there we bumped into Ross' posse of pals, including Kerry just home from Palma, and Jiggy who I discovered also has the pre-Christmas ritual of holly cutting and strapping a couple of branches together with cable ties, throwing it in the corner.. and hey presto!.. legend!

Just as a little extra for the snow days, this is a picture I found in an old album, a scene you don't see a lot, with Penberth being so close to the sea. My brother Ken outside the aforementioned thatched cottage, in the days of Auntie Janie Hosking, she of the saffron buns and the twitching curtain..'Whoos-at?'

Saturday, 18 December 2010


Missed a couple of days, mainly not huge things to report, work busy and we're still a bit under the weather.. almost a pun there as the icey cold has returned, though we haven't got snow, just a very icey yard.

Pop's pond was iced over, save the bits around the pretend ducks!

The boys and JB helped me so much today, not least of all to get me in a more Christmas state of mind!  We cut the holly tree across in the field, accompanied by Joey the cat, though he's not much good with a ladder or a saw!

We put two nice branches in water and created another Christmas masterpiece.. this year only red and white lights but it seems to work!
When I see the photos the tree always looks like it's drowning in decorations!

Col and I braved the icey temperatures and did  a 'big shop' before picking Ross up from one of his pre-Christmas festive frolics. I bought these and Zac said the same thing.. they remind me of Uncle Bills visit last year..we loved just having easy prep food (and for easy prep read peel of lid!)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Talking of violets..

.. I reckon you can almost taste the smell of these little beauties.  Hoping to catch St Levan Church Carols on Sunday and I'll pick up a few bunches of these if I can see some... yeah, nostalgic and proud of it..
nostalgia: describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form
.. yeah, yeah, I know, the rainy days and tired backs picking them, weary hands bunching them..late nights and early mornings packing them..

.. nostalgia queen of all Penberth!


.. well that's where I feel I a place somewhere between all those chores I want to be able to do and the other place where I don't give a rat's ass! 

It's amazing how as I get older I can feel more and more understanding for my mum and how she must have felt about things.. all kinds of things.. but mainly when things are all a little bit much and you feel like there's too much to do, and even when someone offers to help you say no because if you can't find the energy then you sure don't want someone else doing it and making you feel even more inadequate.. or even have to feel grateful!

I know Mum used to say that at Easter time all her friends had done spring cleaning and were all ready for family to visit and take some time off, but in our house Easter meant a big rush to get violets picked, bunched, packaged and off to market right til the last minute and no time for prepping for the long weekend.. then before she knew it, all manner of holiday makers would turn up full of the joys of a trip away.. and expect to receive (and would get) a warm 'heavy cake' welcome from Mum!

At Christmas she used to produce this pile of presents she had acquired during infrequent trips to town and then try to match them to the numerous cousins who all required a present. I felt a bit the same when I stumbled on the 1/2 price games section of M&S on Sunday and just bought as varied a pile as I could, thinking that I'd sort out who would get what later on!

Poor Col, his non-awareness of time and dates comes into its own at this time of year. Once he was inviting colleagues to visit from the US and looking at our planner he said.. that week 24/ 25 December looks quite quiet..and he still doesn't have any sense of urgency about how much we (or is that I) need (or in my case want rather than need) to do before the same 24/ 25 December this year!.. or is that a man thing in general?

I love the build up to Christmas better than the day itself, the anticipation, seeing everyone and stuff, and once the day has passed it all seems a bit irrelevant, so you can imagine I was not a happy bunny when today it looked like he was heading for 4 days away driving next week!  Luckily it seems most customers feel as I do (and have last minute shopping to sort?) so hope it might only be a 2-day trip after all.

Anyways, had a lovely night last night with the Scrapbook Massive as my kids call it, lovely meal, great ladies and a wish to repeat more often! 
It looks like everyone in our house may be getting a little better and at least this little rant is healthier than a moan and cheaper than therapy!  Hitting Penzance to test the late-night shopping tomorrow and then maybe I'll feel a bit more organised. It's difficult being an out-of-control control freak you know!

Monday, 13 December 2010


.. think I've managed to get myself the STS / Jones lurgy which has been doing the rounds.

Cuddled up all evening watching old episodes of Dr Who with Kate under a duvet.. so this is what those duvet days are all about.. bring it on!

Just having a less shivery moment but Col tells me its a false dawn!

Sunday, 12 December 2010


Roast dinner almost ready, grabbing a minute to blog! We're out tomorrow with the STS crew and Tuesday I'm out with the scrapbook massive, so thought I'd better get some veg in the crew tonight at least... soup and easy eats til Wednesday, and then it may be late night shopping again, so healthy eating on hold...

Managed to get some shopping done today, even got some good bargains, in Truro on whistle stop trip with Lisa & Lilly. I took this little gem of Lilly on my phone.. no, not professional face painting.. all her own work with a red felt pen..her tool of choice.

She looked happy with the mono brow and red nosed reindeer look as we left to come home!

Saturday, 11 December 2010


I'm getting there.. dresser and sitting room tree almost complete. I just love the process of unwrapping all the little bits and pieces for the dresser and remembering when I bought them, though I've been buying Christmas momentos since Ross was small, so have written dates on boxes for some things, otherwise I'd forget, there are so many.

These three little offerings all hold special memories. The glass tree I bought for Zac the first year he cut my holly tree, must have been at least 4 years ago now, and I wanted to buy him something to remember it by...currently he is not that impressed, but if I keep it safe he'll treasure it when it's in his house (and I won't let him have it til he does!)

The little nativity in the middle came from Avon (yes, the cosmetics people) when Ross & Lisa were little... (mmm, I was a sad nostalgia queen even then)  and the little spinning tops are Dreidels Michele and Will gave to us when they spent Christmas here 2 years ago. 

It's a shame we haven't got people travelling from abroad this Christmas, it's been so special the last two years... but with this horrible coldy thing everyone seems to have, and with being so busy still in the office, well, maybe it's for the best...

Feeling better.

I can tell when Kate's feeling better: the standing vertical instead of continued residence on the sofa is a big clue, but then she gets all humourous, maybe as she's pleased to feel well again. 

We were chatting after lunch and she was saying how one of her tropical fish has been harassing the others, so much so that they have damaged fins and one of them is destined for the great U-bend in the sky or maybe even a cat-starter. 

Col commented that she shouldn't worry, and she said how stressed it makes her when the fish fight and fall out.  'Welcome to motherhood' I thought.

Anyway, the tree is indoors and the freezer is defrosted.. Zac was a star as ever, treating it like some kind of mission, not happy til it was completely ice-free, convector heater and hairdryer helped and we were done in less than an hour!  He makes even the control freak in me feel like I would have quit way before it was job done!


Failed again..

.. to meet my self imposed December Daily.. but we had a great night last night, take-away pizza and Indian (as several of us refuse to compromise!), in fact probably more fun than if we'd eaten out.  (Interesting there.. why does Indian get a capital letter and not pizza??) Anyways, as ever I digress!

We played my favourite 'Table Talk,' a super little box of conversation starters you can buy at Past Times. We asked my son-in-law the question, what was the nicest thing anyone ever said to you and after not much consideration he looked at Lisa and said 'I do'... so cool, so sweet, what a guy, he knows how to woo us all, I was very impressed!

The fact that I'm blogging at 11am is quite significant.. I got up at 10.30 to start cleaning the kitchen and living room ahead of decorating for Christmas, as I hate adding tinsel to dust!  Needless to say I haven't started yet, and have had a coffee, a new edition of Psychologies magazine (not much different to any other monthly women's rag, just a little less dieting and fashion!) and some gossip with the kids....ok, so off I go.. sure there'll be a good picture for today.

Meanwhile here's Jordan's offering for yesterday..

Friday, 10 December 2010

Time to grow up?

.. funny thing happened today...having a laugh in the office (as usual), getting a bit rude (as usual) and turned to our young (26 or 27 year old) design guy..'where have you been all my life?'   And as I turned to go make the tea, I commented....'ah, yes, you haven't been alive for most of it!'

Time to act my age, but who wants to break the habit of a lifetime?

Must be getting near Christmas, opened our first complimentary tin of Quality Street today... and age still biting me on the bum.. chosing the caramel cup over the toffee fingers to preserve the fillings..

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Job done!

.. there's nothing quite like the feeling of pleasure when things go right for your kids...and today was one of those days.

JB and I had successful dental check ups and were doing a smidgeon of Christmas shopping when Ross called me to tease me with a '...sorry....' followed by a pause, and my brain shouting ...'yes???' and he continued '...sorry, I'm going to need a fresh wardrobe of clothes from January!' 

He's landed a Learning assistant post at a local Secondary school, a great next step for him, to get into a school after working so long and enthusiastically(most of the time) in an after-school provision. I was really made up for him, he was so well prepped, learnt all about the school, its policies etc and he really deserved this we ran and bought him a card and surprised him at his work with it. Needless to say he arrived late (so many people to text and call with his news!), and it was just lovely to know he's on the next step to working in a school situation.

Work continues to be really busy, seems that everyone wants to spend budget by the end of the year.. and who am I to deny them that pleasure. I only hope that the family bear with me whilst I am up to my eyes in accounting etc and not (so far) very well ahead with my Christmas shopping!  Kate is real poorly, no skyving this time, hot and cold, laid out on the sofa and no laptop in sight so she must be feeling grim! 

And poor Col is stuck in North Wales working on a unit, all kinds of technical grief today. So much so he is back there tomorrow and luckily I found accomodation 3 miles away for him. A long drive back tomorrow, but hopefully no snow to hold him up.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

White world.

I don't think I can remember a time when it was as icey and cold for such a prolonged time. Our yard hasn't been ice free in 10 days and even with the sludge reduced to ugly grey boulders there is a frosting of chilliness all across every surface... quite pretty at times.

Colin is away on customer calls as far up as North wales tomorrow, and he says the whole country is bathed in a strange whiteness, not snow, just iced moisture, like you're travelling through a winter postcard scene. (Well that's the most poetic I've ever heard him, or anyone for that fact, describe a days driving up the M5/M6 corridor!)

Since the household was reduced in numbers tonight, me, Pops and Jordan feasted on beans on toast and I knocked up a quick bread & butter pudding for when Ross got in.. needless to say it is half gone already!  Real comfort foods on chilly days uh?

I missed a December Daily entry yesterday, but have told myself I was way ahead with Sunday's extra entries.

We went to St Austell cinema to see 'Unstoppable' about a runaway train. It was pretty good (JB liked the lead, he was in Star Trek?), all ended well with the heroes succeeding.....ironic really that the true story was way more dramatic with a huge crash and further explosions days later from fractured gas pipes ruptured during the clean up. 
But I guess only those of us with NatGeo addicted husbands would know that and there really wasn't much of a happy ending especially is you lived in Scranton.!

.. and by the way the cinema was awesome!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Happy 16th JB!

Well the coughs and colds are getting better, the snow has all but gone (for now?) and JB finally reached her 16th birthday!

The boys were out so me, Col & the girls went up to St Austell to the cinema. It was fab..a great place and the girls fancy going back to shop next time.  We ate at Frankie & Bennie's and the Christmas crooners and oldies music was very festive!

Here's my pic for today, a snippet of the layout I did yesterday for Jordan. I'll get a scrapbook frame for it as soon as...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Bonus blog!

I couldn't let the night pass without sharing this little gem with you!  Linda had done some great example layouts for Christmas and this one lent itself perfectly to the 'One for the Ladies' December layout picture Ross and Mikey had so kindly and bravely posed for during the snow!

I am told I'm not allowed to show the rest of the layots, but suffice to say we all did a great job.. and as Kenny Everitt would say...'all in the best possible taste!!'

Long day, but fun!

Well we were a small crew at Just Scrapbooking but we did ourselves proud with our Calendar Girls (and boys in December) layouts!  Plenty of Christmassy layouts and pretty finishings to play with, a buffet lunch and a call in from Pat who was off poorly.

Then it was off to town for a quick scoot about, meeting Lisa for a coffee at Blue Snappa with Ross in attendance. (We think Lilly will be giving her catering order to him when she sees him at home next time, as she got used to ordering food and drinks from him real quick!)

Back home and the whirlwind which is our grand-daughter had us all on the run, eating, drinking, colouring, and more eating! One day they will find a way to trap all that excess energy which exists in 2 and a half year olds and run small countries with it!

Today's picture reminds me of many we have with the kids when they were 3 or 4, wearing grown up clothes ...only today it was the opposite.. Kate in Lilly's age 3 fleece.. so cooool!

Friday, 3 December 2010

That was the week that was...

.. Let it snow, Let it snow..and snow it did!  I have the RatPack crooning away on the stereo and we're a bottle of wine down (well there is 4 of us), so I reckon that heralds the first weekend of Advent!  It's been a week of cementing things for our future, the culmination of ten years work will at last be paying off, I'm feeling really excited and we're all systems go!
Scrapbooking tomorrow, Kate's at her new gym class and it's the eve of Jordan's 16th birthday so I guess it's going to be a busy weekend. We were all due to be eating out tonight but so many coughs and colds we've delayed it by a week.

Ross has an interview for a new job next week and he's really bouyed up about it... can't say too much, but he's up against 7 women and I'm really hoping the gender issue will work in his favour!  I know in these days of political correctness people should get jobs purely on merit, but in my experience schools these day really need good male role models and that's what's in the back of the interview panels mind... even if they'd never admit it! 

I have a lovely tree advent calendar and always comment that JB's birthday is an angel.. no. 5.

Failed.. get even the second daily picture posted before the witching hour... but it was a late night! But the effort is made at 8am Day 3.

We drove (well I use the term in the Royal sense.. Colin drove..) to Plymouth and back to see Frankie Boyle at the Pavilions.  He was very good.. as in: so bad he was good. And interestingly I think it was the ladies who were laughing loudest! 

There was little evidence of snow after Truro...there had been a sprinkling here whilst we were out so we're back to tentative footsteps again this morning.  It's quite an odd feeling venturing past the 'snow zone' I have been moving in since Monday, as if we in the far west are in an existence a bit like the Grinch.. existing as if on our own snowflake or in our own personal Christmas Card!

Lots to do back here in office world so we didn't stay over, got home at almost 1am, knowing that the last conversation I had with Zac was about putting the heating on in our bedroom about 10.30pm.  Ahhhh, but that involves taking a moment out of Gears of War or whatever and venturing out of your warm cosy room to realise that maybe, just maybe M&D would be relying on your memory so they wouldn't have to get in bed fully clothed..... still, it gave me the opportunity to take this pic for Day 2!!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow Messin' folks!

Well we woke to a white world (well in our yard anyway) on Monday and with more snowfall through the morning it was definitely here to stay!  The coldest November in 100 years, well apart from 1996 they say (what's that ...ah, so what you really mean is the coldest in 15 years then!)

And stay it has, at our place and all points away from the coast. Yards are slippy and pipes are frozen, but on the plus side it gives us an excuse when we have to accounted for delays with production and gives the girls some duvet days to get over the coughs and colds!  One question.. how can your school text you to say a concert is cancelled yet not be able to let you know the times school is open?

Tomorrow, all being well Col & I are in Plymouth seeing Frankie Boyle, my birthday pressie from Lisa & co.. hoping we won't get stranded. I had hoped to stay over and start the Christmas shopping but paperwork mountains have been created this week and office world calls!  I lost all my email inbox the other day and was quite revitalised to start afresh and be on top of it so to speak.. and this week with a new month and lots of new things happening I feel a bit the same, more in control and with a bit of a mission.

Still it's not JB's birthday yet and that's my traditional day for starting the festive shopping binge!  (Feeling a tad sad for her though as it is the big 16th and she has already had her camera and some other stuff she has wanted so 'the day' may rely on the rest of the crowd to do her present pile justice) 

We have a meal out on Friday and then who knows we may hit Truro on Sunday after all (though the Met Office promises heavy rain and an end to snow and ice I think??)... you know, after ten days at the Equator and then home to snow and sun you realise exactly why the Brits are so so obsessed with weather!

Last night I completed my Calendar Girl layout for our Just Scrapbooking challenge and tonight Ross and his mate Mikey kindly let JB take some photos in case we need to fill in a month of two of the calendar!! Here's a little preliminary...don't they look chilly!!

Merry Christmas Girls!