Friday, November 30, 2007

I know these photos aren't of much interest and no value at all photographically speaking but I wanted to record the process. So often when we do renovations we forget what it looked like before or during the work....

We are seeing some progress on the kitchen; the plastering has been done and the new granite work surfaces are in place. We still have no washing or laundry or cooking facilities and I am tiring of washing up in the bathroom seems disgusting somehow :(

I am pleased with my new run of cubboards and work surface. I'm itching to get all my stuff back in the kitchen and for it to feel like my home again!

The drive is now finished but I can't take photos as it's dark outside now. This was taken Wednesday just before the two loads of hardcore went down. The workmen used the bags of old tiles left by the kitchen men as additional filler!

Finally, for catblogging Friday here is Shea in mid-squirm on the sofa.

It's going to be a busy weekend. I am out the entire day on Saturday at a wedding with the husband of a friend who happens to be a very talented professional wedding photographer! He is very kindly allowing me to go along and "assist"him. Not that I'll be much assistance but it will be a wonderful opportunity to see a professional in action! If you would like to check out his work (or indeed if you are looking for a wedding photographer yourself!) here's the link
On Sunday we are off to a craft fair hoping to sell some photos. Hope everyone has a great Friday and weekend.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I've been a bit absent from blogworld lately and I'm really missing getting round everyone's blogs. Things are very chaotic here. when the kitchen guys came to take off the old tiles the plaster came off too. At the moment we have no sink, no water, no cooker and no washing machine, we are awaiting the granite worksurfaces before anything else can be done in the kitchen.

The JCB arrived Saturday morning - I didn't get photos of it in our front garden as i was at work and Phil refused to take any for me. So right now the house is sitting in a sea of mud as you can see in these photos. Hopefully it will be finished by the start of next week!

Tomorrow the block paving edging is supposed to be laid - fingers crossed! I still have a load of bulbs to plant in the front garden.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Christmas cactus is flowering - a bit early, it's true! This is just a snap to show its pretty colour.

I was supposed to be on a course today; when I got there it had been cancelled. So that was a 50 mile round trip for nothing. I wasn't too pleased as apparently the decision had been made to cancel it LAST FRIDAY!

RDA was good today although we were short of helpers for the middle ride and had to have two groups. One little boy has been gradually building up his confidence and we got him on a pony for the first time last week. This week he tried his first trot and his delighted giggles made us helpers all grin as they echoed round the indoor school.

Now it's cold and many of the ponies have been clipped they need their rugs on after the rides. Some of the rugs seem to have very complicated straps and some ponies are very "ticklish" so far an amateur like me it can be tricky. But I managed quite well and Daz was very patient as I fiddled about his nether regions.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Phil's home AT LAST!

And he took some wonderful photos...I'm so proud of him :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Beautiful birds...


A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day,
drinking iced tea and visiting with her Mother. As
they talked about life, about marriage, about the
esponsibilities of life and the obligations of
adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her
glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance
upon her daughter.
'Don't forget your Sisters,' she advised, swirling
the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. 'They'll
be more important as you get older. No matter how
much you love your husband, no matter how much you
love the children you may have, you are still going
to need Sisters. Remember to go places with them now
and then; do things with them.'

'Remember that 'Sisters' means ALL the women...
your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other
women relatives too. 'You'll need other women. Women
always do.'
What a funny piece of advice!' the young woman
thought. Haven't I just gotten married?
Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a
married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely
my husband and the family we may start will be all I
need to make my life worthwhile!'
But she listened to her Mother. She kept contact
with her Sisters and made more women friends each
year. As the years tumbled by, one after another,
she gradually came to understand that her Mom really
knew what she was talking about. As time and nature
work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman,
Sisters are the mainstays of her life.
After more than 50 years of living in this world,
here is what I've learned:

Time passes.

Life happens.

Distance separates.

Children grow up.

Jobs come and go.

Love waxes and wanes.

Men don't do what they're supposed to do.

Hearts break.

Parents die.

Colleagues forget favors..

Careers end.


Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how
many miles are
between you. A girl friend is never farther away
than needing her can reach.
When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you
have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life
will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on,
praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on
your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the
valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk
beside you...Or come in and carry you out.
Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters,
daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers,
Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended
family, all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and
neither would I. When we began this adventure called
womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or
sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we
would need each other.
Every day, we need each other still. Pass this on
to all the women who help make your life meaningful.
I just did.

A friend emailed me this yesterday. And my post today is to say "THANK YOU" to all the amazing women who enrich my life - friends from Helsby and nearby, friends from further away, my work friends, new friends from RDA - my blog friends, my friends from the Corner and of course the women in my family.

And not forgetting my wonderful male friends - who for the purposes of this post are honourary girls today!

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's catblogging Friday and here is a photo proving how well house-trained our Basil is!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just thought I'd post a picture of the work-in-progess on the kitchen. The new floor is in (and I love it!) as are the new kitchen units. All has ground to a halt, however until the guys arrive to measure for the granite work surface. I hoped something would happen this week but so far no luck.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sometimes I sit alone in this little pool of light when the rest of the house has gone to bed, and catch up on blog reading and commenting. Sometimes I find something not intended for me at all but which really speaks to me. Tonight it was a comment on Lori's blog with a quotation from (of all people!) Minnie Driver which said:

"There is absolutely no point in sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. The great power you have is to let go ... focus on what you have, not that, which has been mean or unkindly removed."

I've had a week or so of feeling pretty sorry for myself and I'm going to try my hardest to make next week better. I'm missing Phil a lot already but the week will soon pass. And I'm really going to work on letting go of so many negative emotions that keep dragging me down.

Thanks isabella for the quote. You don't know it but you were just the kick up the a*$e I needed tonight!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For Rose, one year ago today.

On this day of remembering I will especially think of the Merchant Seamen who lost their lives during both wars.

The merchant seamen contributed enormously to the final victorious outcome of the Battle of the Atlantic, and without their amazing world-wide contribution to the war effort, final victories over the Axis powers would not have been possible. The price was incredibly high -- over 50,000 Allied and neutral merchant seamen lost their lives keeping the Atlantic life-line to Britain intact. In addition to those who died on the "high seas" of the North Atlantic -- and the South Atlantic which was the favoured haunt of Italian submarines -- many other merchant seamen faced death while serving in dangerous "coastal" waters such as the Gulf of St.Lawrence, the Caribbean Sea and the highly strategic and fiercely contested Mediterranean Sea. Throughout the far reaches of the Indian and Pacific Oceans merchant seamen fell victim to marauding German surface raiders and Japanese submarines. Still others paid the ultimate price while keeping the life-line to Russia intact on the vital Murmansk--Archangel convoy routes of the frigid Arctic Ocean. Even after crossing the oceans safely and reaching Britain's coastal waters, merchant seamen still faced the hazards of deadly mines and savage aircraft attacks -- there were no "safe waters" for merchant seamen. Today, we must remember how much we owe those brave civilians who risked so much in the cause of Freedom, and who for so many years have received so little recognition.

Merchant Seamen Tribute

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Some photos from our trip to Beverley in Yorkshire for the recent wedding.

The floral displays outside this hairdressers really caught my eye. I especially liked the pale blue pots. Quite expensive compared to my local hairdressers however!

I've gone and forgotten the name of this lovely church but it was just across the road from the hotel and the clock chimes kept many guests awake during the night (not me though!)

This is the front entrance of the hotel where we stayed and where the wedding breakfast and evening reception was held.

Only about 7 hours now before Phil comes home. He texted me in the night to say he couldn't sleep! I wish we had longer before he flies off to Scotland for a week on Sunday.

The kitchen rennovations are going well; the new floor is down and looks stunning. The new cabinets are also in sans doors and work services and already the kitchen looks much bigger and I'm itching to fill that new cupboard space.

Last the night the Wildcat invited us to spend Christmas Eve with her family. I was delighted. We had such a great time last Christmas Eve with them.

I read something online earlier which stirred up a lot of very mixed emotions. Sadness, regret, relief, guilt, hope for a fresh start and a brighter future. I hope the more positive feelings prevail.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I call this photo "Aliens attack!" as those bits in the back make me think of waving tentacles...

Not very much to say today. I had a lovely long walk with dear J which did my spirit good. What a kind and understanding person she is; I'm lucky to have her as a friend. And thanks for all the supportive words from my blogfriends too; you brighten my life every single day in so many ways.

RDA this afternoon .... I love being with the horses, the volunteers and the riders.And I love not being in charge, just doing as I'm told!

Phil is enjoying Spain but I'm missing him LOTS! Roll on Saturday night...

Monday, November 05, 2007

I called this photo "Slightly battered" which is how I'm feeling right now!

Have you ever done something and then right away wished you hadn't? I did this morning; I went to see my doctor. Well, not "my" doctor because of course you can't get to choose which doctor you see at a group practice these days...but "a doctor".

For many years I've suffered from varying degrees of pain in my joints and about four years ago I spoke to my doctor about it. Various blood tests followed and an appointment with a rheumatologist. At the appointment she told me my blood tests were normal, I was to wear comfortable shoes and "when the pain was bad, don't walk" (very helpful when you children and a job!). At my follow up with my doctor she said it might be "a virus". I left feeling it was all in my mind and vowing I'd never ask for help with my joints again.

Recently I've been getting worse. My knees and right hip are especially painful. Getting off the loo, supermarket shopping, climbing stairs, getting out of chairs, in and out of the car...walking on surfaces that aren't level - it's all getting way too painful. I feel my body is about 30 years older than the rest of me! I am starting to find my low-impact aerobics too painful and so is the gym.

People have said that I must see the doctor again and finally, this morning, after realising I was hurting too much to go to aerobics, I did.

She asked me if I was depressed or stressed. Worrying excessivly about anything. Right away I knew this was leading to the "it's in your mind" as there is no apparent physical cure. To my shame I started to cry - more out of anger and frustration than anything else. I told her I was worried and stressed because the pain was getting worse. That I'd gone on for 4 years on over the counter pain killers but they were no longer very effective.That I was worried it was going to affect my working and my general mobility. She then asked me what I thought we should do about the situation!!!

Everyone who has experienced chronic pain knows that it is something you accept and have to learn to live with. I've done this. I keep as active as I can but I know my limits - no high impact aerobics or jogging for instance. I take supplements.I eat well. I can't remember the last time I took a day's sick leave. I know I'm lucky that I don't have rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia or any of the truly nasty, scary and painful diseases or conditions that cause so much distress and agony.

But every single day I'm in pain and now I'm struggling to do normal tasks and activities and I need a bit of help and advice. I don't want to be offered a screening session for depression or asked what I think should be done. It's hard to have it implied there is no cause, as you are then left thinking "Am I imagining this pain?"

I should never have bloody GONE there! I feel a hundred times worse in my mind and as if there's no hope things will get any better. I feel so stupid.

I spoke to my wonderful K last night; things are no better for her (God, compared to hers my problems are nothing!) but the doctors are thinking of sending her home as they seem to have no real idea how to cure her. As usual she was bright and cheerful and interested in everything - I miss her so much. So now I'm sitting here feeling sorry for myself because of my aching joints...what an idiot. I shouldn't complain. It just helped a bit to write it all down. Instead of sitting here feeling sorry for myself I'll go and do the ironing!!

One thing DID make me smile this of my many SPAM emails had the subject line "Have you ever felt the kiss of a womb? With your new big r*d you'll certainly feel it!" There's no answer to that, is there?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Missing Phil...

Phil left for Spain today on his photographic commission. He won't be home until Saturday and then only overnight before he is off to Scotland for a week. I'm so proud of the great images he is creating and happy that he has this opportunity. I miss him very much though!

He bought me some flowers before he left and I took some photos of them this afternoon...

I found some wonderful words on
Mrs Nesbit's blog
that I thought I would reproduce here (but visit her anyway as her blog is brilliant!!)

From "Gift From The Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.

I've been thinking a lot about marriage especially after attending the wedding last week. Phil and I have been married nearly 20 years - we have had some very serious "downs" as well as many, many "ups" - but we're still together and every day I'm thankful for that.

Te amo Phil, buena noche...

Friday, November 02, 2007

My feet hurt...

I took this photo at the Zoo. It was near the end of our visit and I liked this lady's expression as she rubbed her poor feet! You can certainly clock up a few miles wandering around Chester zoo.

I've worked two long days - just got in from a "Friends" event about an hour ago. It looks like the weekend will be really hectic. Sometimes it feels like we are on a treadmill - always running, never getting anywhere, never having the time to stop and reflect and enjoy stuff. That's why I'm glad I "wasted" half an hour or so on Wednesday taking the Shield Bug pics. I hope I can grab a few minutes to take some autumn colour photos on Sunday too.

We got prints of the wedding photos today to send to the bride and groom; we are both really pleased with how they turned out! A nice enough mix of formal and informal shots - nothing spectacular but nothing disasterous either. I'm very relieved and happy!

I spent some time this evening with a very special friend. I hope he knows how much I value him.