Sunday, 29 March 2009

A gardening Sunday

Today was going to be a gardening day for me. We have bought loads of plug plants that need to be repotted into bigger pots until they're big enough to go into the ground, the window boxes and patio pots. The weather was so nice an hour ago and now it is looking decidedly overcast...again! We've had quite a bit of rain this week and have already repotted over 100 plug plants and still have as many again to do - we should have a lovely display in the summer! Peter is at work until lunchtime and I wanted to do as much as I could before he got home.

Our beautiful ceanothus has to come out, it's much too big and also it's right on the corner of the patio where the new conservatory is going to be built, subject to planning permission which hopefully will be granted any day now! I have been trying to get outside to start hacking away at the ceanothus for some days now but the weather hasn't let me. We were hoping to take some cuttings and start new ones but I think it's the wrong time of the year, we'll have a go though. Peter says I'm a nightmare once I have the secateurs in my hand! The difference between us is that he's afraid to chop anything back in case it dies, I keep telling him that it does the plants good.

Our week in France was very nice although we didn't do as much as we usually do. I now think that staying a week with our friends is probably too much. Arthur is an old war-time friend of my Dad's and we only met after my Dad died in 1996, he is English and married to Denise who is French. They love us going over there but of course the older they get the less they want to do. They're still very active, indeed they're hoping to come over to us later in the year, Arthur still drives and they're both in relatively good health. When we first visited them in the Alsace we used to go out every day doing the tourist things and then fitting in shopping the day before we came home, last time though we only went out on the Tuesday into Germany for the day to meet another friend, Dagmar, (Arthur and Denise came with us too) and on the Sunday to a lovely restaurant by a lake for lunch and after lunch we walked all round the lake which took us about an hour.

We now have a dilemma. Dagmar came to stay with us last August, and since then has been asking us to stay with her, well not exactly with her as she still has teenage twins at home and hasn't the room but her friend has an apartment next door that we could rent. Peter and I would really love to because then it would mean that we'd be able to see more of Germany, Dagmar lives in a little village in the mountains and there are some lovely places that she's told us about and we've looked up on the internet that we'd like to visit. The dilemma is that we get the feeling that Arthur and Denise would be rather put out if we stayed with her rather than them, they're always telling us that the door is always open and we can go whenever we like, we already visit them twice a year as it is. Peter thinks we should just go and not tell them but it seems rather underhanded to do that, he said they must realise that we have other friends that want us to visit them. At the end of April we'll be going to stay with Arthur's daughter Leslie who lives in the south of France, she and her husband came to us for a week in January. While we're with them though we'll be going into Spain for a week or so which we're really looking forward to. We went to Arthur and Denise's last week because if we hadn't they'd have been asking us why we were going to Leslie's and not theirs! Oh it's a nightmare just thinking about it! We do go on other holidays apart from visiting friends, we're going to Tenerife in September for instance, but it seems that going to France has now become a ritual and we don't look forward to it as much, which is a shame.

Oh well, that's my little moan for the day! I'm off to check the weather, I can see some blue sky but I bet it's really cold out there!

Have a good day!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Thinking of my Mum

Today my Mum would have been 85. She died 20 years ago last December and I can honestly say that not a day goes by when I don't think of her. She was never very demonstrative, I don't ever remember her cuddling me although I suppose she must have done when I was small, but I do know that she loved me, she showed it in a lot of other ways. I know she was happy with her life, she and my dad lived very comfortably, perhaps not at the beginning of their marriage but certainly the latter part, I know money isn't everything but it enabled them to do what they wanted to do, which included spoiling me and the grandchildren from time to time! I think it gave my Mum a lot of pleasure to buy things for us and take us to places we couldn't have afford... now I am in the position where I can do the same for my girls and I know just how my Mum must have felt when she did so!

I shouldn't be on the computer, I have so much to do before tomorrow evening, at 3am on Friday we will be leaving for France so everything has to be done before then. Peter will be going to bed really early tomorrow night as he will be driving for five hours once we're at Calais and off the ferry, I usually manage to have some sleep as we go along although I like to stay awake to make conversation - perhaps he'd rather I slept though, I'll have to ask him!! Today I have to get some Euros, the exchange rate is terrible but we need to top up what we have left from last September, I also have to go to the bank, the post office and get another few bits and pieces that we'll be taking with us.

The friend that we stay with is an old friend of my father's, he is English but married to a Franch lady, they're a lovely couple and we always look forward to our time with them. When we're in France Peter does all the driving and we ask Denise where she would like to go while we're there. Arthur does drive but prefers not to drive for too long and as Peter likes driving anyway he's happy to take them wherever they want to go.

A few years ago a colleague at the Museum where I worked showed me a cookbook that she'd bought for her cousin's birthday, it was French cooking but was in English. One of the photos had a lovely jug in it, I really loved the jug and my colleague managed to find it on the internet, it was being sold in a shop in Dijon! She printed the website of the shop for me and when I showed it to Peter he said we could go there when we next went to France which was only a few weeks later. It was a three-hour drive, we stopped for coffee on the way, but we were so pleased we went, Dijon is a lovely old town and we were only sorry we didn't have longer there. It was market day too but by the time we got there the market was closing which was a shame. Of course it's also where the mustard is from and every shop sold all kinds of mustard in all kinds of containers, it was wonderful! We found the shop in a small cobbled street and I ended up buying the jug in two sizes, bowls, a tray and a metal sign all in the same design as the jug I saw in the cookbook!

Well I'm off to start getting things done!


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

A Mumly Mum!

Hello again!

I am waiting for Rhiannon to come here with little Rico after she drops Isabella and Sofia off at school. We'll have coffee here then go off shopping together, sounds lovely, just the sort of thing I liked to do with my mum when I was younger.

When my eldest daughter Claire was about 8 or 9 my parents moved to Hastings which meant I couldn't just pop round to see my mum. Dad's business was at London Bridge though so once a week he would drop mum off at my house and we would spend a lovely day together, either at home or go shopping for the day while the girls were at school...I loved those times and so did my girls! Sometimes we'd spend a few hours doing the gardening, which mum loved, and she'd also help me change the bed linen, she used to say it was easier with two people, she was right and I now get Peter to help me! Mum always arrived with something, whether it was chocolate, cakes she'd made, colouring books or a small reading book, sometimes it would be sets of doll's clothes that she had knitted for their dolls. I have such happy memories of those precious days together. Now I find I'm doing the same with my girls! Rhiannon said once when she was younger that I was a Mumly Mum... I know exactly what she means and I take it as a compliment!

After my dad closed his business at London Bridge he and my mum bought a hotel at Folkestone which meant that the weekly visits had to stop. The hotel had 19 bedrooms so there was usually a couple of rooms for us if we wanted to visit. We always went there for a week or two when the girls were on school holidays and because they were off school for six weeks mum used to have the girls there one at a time and they could take a friend with them. I would put them on a coach at the top of our road, phone mum to let them know they were on it and she and dad would meet them at Folkestone. Of course I told the driver that they were being met. The girls used to think it was such an adventure and I suppose it was for them! This was when the girls were aged from about 11 or 12 so they were old enough to travel that way on their own. They would be armed with drinks, crisps and fruit 'for the journey' and also their magazines or comics so they didn't get bored, I think the journey was only just over an hour anyway. The girls and their friends still talk about those holidays!

Well Rhiannon will be here shortly so I'd better get the kettle on!
Have a good day!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Back home

Well it's Monday again and I'm back from Ashurst Wood! My journey to Claire's house didn't go according to plan and I had to be rescued by her husband David!

The first bus from here was fine, the second bus took me to Biggin Hill (they have air shows from there) but I went past the stop I should have got off and it turned off the main road and went down a REALLY steep hill. I asked a local person how often the buses were that went back up the hill and she said every half an hour and I'd just missed it! So I took the long walk back up the hill, all the time telling myself it was good exercise! I realise how unfit I am as I had to keep stopping to get my breath back! I finally made it to the top, found the right bus stop and saw that I had to wait another half an hour, the buses are only two an hour've guessed it, I'd just missed it again! In between all the walking and waiting I was speaking to Claire on the phone and she kept offering to come and get me but I was determined to make it on my own!

I finally got to Westerham which is near to where Winston Churchill's house is and after trying to find the right bus stop for my final bus ride I realised that I'd just missed that one as well! I phoned the Travel-line and was told that there was only three of those buses a day to East Grinstead and the next one wasn't until 5.30, that was when I phoned Claire to let her know and she got David to come and pick me up. Well my intentions were good but I'll think twice before attempting it again. If I hadn't had to walk up that steep hill I'd have got the final bus of course so it was my own fault because I'd missed the stop.

I was really sorry that I wasn't in time to go with Claire to meet the twins from school although I was at their house for about five minutes when they arrived home, they were so surprised to see me in the lounge when they walked in! We caught up with all their news and they showed me various certificates that they'd got from school and Grace from her dance class. I took some Easter card making kits for them and they made some while I was there, the ones for their mum and dad had to be kept hidden of course! Apart from the journey there, it was a lovely weekend, Peter came yesterday and we had dinner with Claire before driving home.

This week I have to get ready for our trip to France, we leave at 3.30am this Friday, it takes us about an hour to drive to Dover and we get the ferry at 5am. As the new kitchen flooring will be laid the day after we get home, we have to move everything out of the kitchen into the dining room by Thursday. Today I'm going to take as much as I can upstairs to one of the spare bedrooms, you don't realise how much you have until something like this happens!

Hope you all have a good day!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

I'm back!

Well I hope I'm back this time! I did an entry yesterday, a long one too, then lost it before I could post it! I was so annoyed that I just gave up! I couldn't believe how long it's been since I last did one but now that I've sorted out my password (again) I'll hopefully be able to read and write regularly.

Today I'm off to stay with my eldest daughter Claire, she lives in a lovely village in West Sussex, it's so pretty there. I'm looking after her twins George and Grace tomorrow night while she and David go to a charity evening. They do know I'm looking after them but they don't know I'm going there today so it will be a surprise for them when I meet them at the school, I can't wait to see their faces! As I haven't driven for years and don't have a car I usually rely on Peter to take me, he was going to be working today and we would have gone when he got home from work but last weekend I logged on to a travel site and now have a route where I can go all the way by bus! Well four buses actually and it will take about two and a half hours as opposed to just over an hour by car, but most of the journey will be through countryside and the best part of it is that it's FREE using my Freedom Pass, or pensioner's bus pass to those abroad! So that will be my big adventure and when I get home on Sunday I'll let you know how I got on! Peter found that he didn't have to work today after all and was quite happy to take me there but I'd rather see how I get on with the buses. If I get stuck then I can phone Claire and she'll pick me up but I'm so looking forward to it, I'd much rather travel by bus than train.

We have been without anything on the kitchen floor for some weeks now because our fridge freezer leaked and lifted the floor tiles. It's one of those big American things that has water and ice dispensers and Peter had fitted a new filter at the back before Christmas and when he checked it there was a small pinprick hole that had done the damage. Of course we claimed on the insurance but had to have all the tiles taken up and they left us with a humidifier and a blower to dry out the concrete base, it looked so awful and the noise the machines made were horrendous, we turned them off at night because they were so noisy. The company that is laying the new floor phoned yesterday and said they could do it the week after next but we're off to the Alsace in France again next Friday so it's being done the day after we return. They have to have the kitchen completely clear and we have so much stuff in there (it's a big kitchen) we'll have to move it all into the dining room before we go away as there won't be time when we return. Peter's already moved the dresser (or hutch!) out and we decided that it was a good time to paint the walls while the room was clear, which he did last week.

Well I suppose I'd better get myself ready to go, I'm making Peter a fish pie to have later on, his request, and although I packed my bag yesterday I still have things to do before I go. I'm really quite excited about it all!
Have a good day!