He Is In For A Treat!

oh no!.jpgI mentioned in the post yesterday that I had a very close shave when I was with Jack recently. Jack was spotted at a service station by none other that the younger brother of my brother-in-law! Which is frankly a bizarre, but hilarious coincidence.

Two bundles of unpredictable energy and fun both connected to me…at a motorway service station. On the actual scene, I was horrified. The thought of him seeing me and Jack together and breaking the news to my family before I have…or even worse…announcing it on social media – it’s just too awful to imagine! But once I was over the shock, I started to laugh – a lot!

dp2.jpgWhen I think of my brother-in-law’s younger brother, I think of Goofy. He is the human version of Goofy.

Anyway…I am thinking of all sorts of parties I have been at with him (my brother-in-law’s younger brother) and days out into the city or to some event we all wanted to go to. Him passing his driving test, buying a new car the very next day and crashing it…he crashed it in the driveway. Scraped the body work to smithereens! I could share so many stories with you!

dp3Anyway…I likened him to a combination of Mr Bean, Basil Fawlty and Frank Spencer. You have to meet him, and go for days out to the beach with him, and dance with him at parties to understand how.

Jack will love him to bits! And wait until my brother-in-law’s younger brother finds out Jack is dating me…oh my goodness. Ay karumba! Maybe I should block his phone number right now!!!

It is going to be so much fun! Jack with my family. He has met some of my family, but now the extended family. He is in for a treat!

My Nanna

I had four grandparents – that’s pretty much the average number for grandparents I believe. One of my grandparents died before I was ever born though. My Dad’s Dad. I have never met him. Naturally, I have always wondered what he was like. I would like to meet him one day.

nan.jpgI remember visiting my Dad’s Mum when we were little. There were things in that house I never saw anywhere else. My Nanna loved Bingo. In fact most of her presents to us, she won at Bingo sessions. My Uncle and Nanna both loved “the Pools”, betting on a horse, “Spot-the-Ball”. That’s what they seemed to talk about. We would tell them about our swimming and what we enjoyed at school. My parents often asked us to take some of our schoolwork to show Nanna. We told Nanna about our friends and the games we liked to play. Nanna and my uncle would play card games with us.

me and my sisters (2).jpgMy parents wanted us to dress smartly to visit Nanna. We always wore pretty dresses. My parents expected us to behave impeccably when we visited Nanna (and also Grandad and Granny – my mum’s parents). Mum trained us that when Nanna offered us a biscuit, we could take one. If she pushed us, then we were allowed take a second biscuit. But we were never to take a third! I have remembered that my whole life!!! Everywhere I go…I never take a third when offered. Just one, or two if I am pushed.

I remember Nanna sitting in her armchair in the back parlour smoking one cigarette after another while we were there. The air in the room was smoky blue grey. I found myself holding my breath and making excuses to go out into the garden to breathe some fresh air.

Nanna was small and thin. I remember her rattly cough and the way she wheezed when she breathed. I was still a little girl when she was hospitalized with lung cancer. I don’t think I realized at the time that she had lung cancer. It was later that my parents told me what had caused her decline in health.

I remember us all going to visit her. We took flowers and grapes and some crossword puzzles and books for her. She looked so tiny sitting there in bed.

I was fascinated by the hospital. Nanna produced a box of sweets. They were York Fruits, I have never wanted to try one since! I did not like them at all!

I remember Nanna’s funeral. I remember my uncles and aunts and cousins and all of my siblings being there. I remember it being quite eventful.

I think it’s kind of sad that the main things I remember about Nanna was her smoking, her yellow fingertips, her love of Bingo and having a flutter with some sort of gambling. It’s hard not to compare Nanna with Granny. Granny was very active. She baked, she had an allotment where she grew vegetables that she cooked with, she worked with local organizations. And then there was my Grandad. He was very active, especially mentally. A life-long student. It was only after he died that we discovered that he was a very popular vlogger (yes a vlogger!), with a huge following.

window cleanerMy Dadda…when he was a young man, he got involved in gambling and he ended up in a huge amount of debt. But my Dadda changed. He fought to change his habits. By the time I was born my Dadda had made many changes. There was never a cigarette in our family home. He never gambled, not in any form at all. He had to work hard to pay off his debt at the same time caring for so many children. But he was determined to look after us, and train us to love working hard and lead a healthy active life.

I would have loved to have seen my Nanna healthy and well. My mum (who was a nurse) happened to be with my Nanna that last night. She held her hand and spoke softly to her those last few hours. I always remembered how lovely my mum was, when I later worked in palliative care with terminally ill patients. The memories of seeing what my Nanna went through have stayed with me for life.

Smoke rising from a cigarette in an ashtrayIt makes me so sad that people smoke cigarettes and use other forms of tobacco. How much suffering they have brought to individuals and their families. How much stress and anguish gambling has brought to individuals and families!

I am glad that my parents were very mindful of the example they were setting for us. Their hard-working, healthy, wholesome examples and their lovely personalities and qualities have made a huge impression on all of us. They taught us to love life, to dress well, to show kindness. They taught us to be affectionate with all our family and to love them. They helped us develop a sense of dignity and pride in being clean and tidy and telling people about the wonderful things we were learning. They taught us how to enjoy life with gusto!

futire.jpgI remember telling my Nanna that I had been reading the Bible. (I read it for the first time when I was five years of age – from start to finish.) I told her that our Creator is going to make this earth a paradise and that we will all live forever in peace with no wars, crimes or disease. I also told her there will be no cigarettes in the paradise.

I would love to think that when she wakes up, there will be lots of wonderful things to share with her, so much so that she will never think about Bingo or betting on sports ever again! Maybe instead we will play sports together. It would be amazing to see her running round a park, her lungs healthy and strong.

I would love to see all my grandparents again, full or life, full of energy – no wrinkles, no aches and pains. Until then they are safe in my Creator’s memory. And they live on in our minds and hearts.

____________________

This was my response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:

https://sarahelizabethmoore.org/2019/10/15/writing-prompt-37/

It’s Dinner Time!

I noticed Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith, has been trialling a new non-fiction prompt. I do think I naturally am inclined to write more non-fiction, so these prompts do appeal to me. I could not resist today’s because it was about food!

What were family dinners like when you were growing up?

Is there a special meal that has been handed down through the family?

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/nonfiction-prompt-may-21/

family dinners.jpg
Image by Дарья Яковлева from Pixabay

I do remember family meals. And as I look back I think we ate very simply really. We did not have a huge amount of variety in our diet, which is probably why I find variety so important now. I find it hard to have the same food all of the time. Also, we had a pretty decent main meal for our school lunch – so our evening family dinner was normally fairly simple.

Monday to Friday we would come home from school and we would normally have something simple. Sometimes a sandwich. But usually it would be something on toast.

Or we might have something else from a tin (with or without toast). I reckon we helped Heinz make a fortune!

When we finally had a microwave, we had a wonderful addition to our weekday family dinners – BAKED POTATOES. This was a welcome alternative to toast!

baked potatoes

If we wanted a pudding after our meal, there were either jam tarts or yogurts. Mum used go buy Penguin chocolate bars. Which were two thin layers of chocolate biscuit with a chocolate cream in the middle and coated in a thin layer of chocolate. They are a bit like the Australian Tam Tams. I have to admit, I was so fed up of the same chocolate bar. I craved something different.

When an Aldi supermarket opened up in the town center and everyone said there prices were great, Mum headed down there and she bought cheap versions of popular favourites. I remember Racer bars, which were like a cheap Marathon or Snickers bar, and Titan bars which were like a cheap Mars bar.

Now the weekend was very different. Every Saturday all of us would spend the day together. We might play tennis or some other sport. If the weather was bad, we might do a jigsaw or play a board-game. One of my older sisters would teach us some tap dancing. My oldest sister would practice first aid procedures on us (she was doing her nurse training). My brother would play on his computer. We often went out to play with other families – football, rounders and hide and seek. So on Saturday because there were so many of us (often we had friends over as well) Mum used to make a big buffet. She would make lots and lots and lots of sandwiches! There would be crisps (No Frills Crisps) and sometimes mini sausage rolls or mini pizzas.

Mum would try to make a cake for us all. Normally it was a date and walnut cake or a Madeira cake. If she did not have time to make a cake, she would buy a Victoria sandwich cake from the supermarket.

And there was Sunday! Which meant a roast dinner for the family! I think it was normally chicken that Mum would roast. Occasionally she made something different – like one day she made liver and onions. Or sausage and mash potatoes was another family favourite for Sundays. Even though I have not eaten meat since I was six years old, I can still remember the taste of the liver – and it is not a good thing! We would always have a yummy dessert too. If Mum had time, we might have her trifle or it would be a family size gateaux from the Iceland supermarket.

This was basically what we had week in week out for many years. And we did pretty well. We were champion swimmers and we were on all the sports teams at school. Looking back it does seem very boring, compared to the way we eat now. But there was love! You know the proverb 🙂

When Mum started work, which was when Milly started school, I was ten years old. I started trying to cook for me and my sisters after school. Mum was a nurse and she would sometimes only arrive home at work at nine o’clock at night. Dad would come home from work at five o’clock. We would normally have one of the neighbours oldest daughters look after us for an hour after school or we would have a recorder lesson somewhere else. We needed food before we went swimming. So I started to make vegetarian cottage pies, stir-fries, pasta and curries (with sauces from a jar) and as I became older I started to try recipes from cookery books

I think Mum was very glad to come home from work and have something waiting for her. We would be back from the swimming pool and climbing into bed by the time she was home.

That was family dinners! Now I make sure I have lots of variety and I have lots and lots of salad and veggies. I feel as if I ate too much stodge growing up – but we were able to burn all those carbs because we were so active. Now I am in my thirties, I could never get away with that kind of diet!

A Garden In North Wales

garden

There is a garden in North Wales

It runs uphill from the cottage

It is about fifty metres long

A large garden anyone would agree

There are trees and flower beds, and shrubs

There is a little pond and a pretty rockery

There is a large patio near the house

Bedecked with outdoor dining furniture

There are a couple of benches

About halfway up the garden

Where we have sat many times

Fragrant blooms perfuming the air

At the top of the garden are taller trees

A swing that needs to be repaired each year

Many laughs and cries of joy

Have been heard upon that swing

We planted a new tree last week

And there she will sleep soundly

I know she will always be safe

And treasured as one of the tribe

That garden up in North Wales

Hosts a family party every summer

I just knew that was the place

I wanted her to sleep soundly

You will always be a special part of my wonderful family.

I wanted you to sleep safely somewhere you will never be forgotten.

Snowdonia is home to a hundred members of my family

And many of my dearest friends

And home to a little apricot who has a big piece of my heart with her

 

The Auroral Wondering Belle Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

What do I hope for 2019? That spring and summer come quickly and last a very long time!

Every day is going to be a little lighter from this point on. I am so excited that life and colour and warmth will soon start to return. Looking forward to being back in shorts and sandals.

To brighten up the winter, there are nomination posts in my drafts folder that need to be completed. The first I wanted to work on was another dose of glorious sunshine.

I have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by wonderingbelles wonderingbelles, the creator of Wondering Belle’s Blog as you can see from her post below:

The Sunshine Blogger Award

…and I loved her questions. I made a start on this post before I went away during the holidays and it is time to finish it and polish it up before I publish it.

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them – Thank you Belle!
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it on one of their own posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Belle’s Questions For Her Nominees

What makes you the happiest about your blog?

Well…there came a point when I started to feel that this blog could be something special for my family to enjoy at a later date. I would like it to be a gift to my family at a later date. Even though, they do not yet know anything about it, thinking of my family as my target audience has been the governing influence on my posts for some time now. It makes me very happy to think of them reading in the future and deriving some comfort and enjoyment out of silly things I have written.

When I first started this site, I was not sure whether anyone at all would look at my posts,  I was frankly amazed by the response. The lovely comments and interaction with other bloggers has been an unexpected bonus. However, I think I would have run out of steam some time ago if it wasn’t for the change in my motive to continue writing and creating posts.

I have had problems ever since I received head injuries over three years ago and even this year I have been rushed through accident and emergency a few times due to some of my more worrying symptoms. There came a point when I was struck by the thought that it would be really nice for my family to be able to have this site if anything happens to me. My family know I have been writing stories in my free time, but they don’t know about this site yet. I am not sure when and how I am going to introduce it to them, but I want it to be there for them so that at any time in the future they can look at posts and I don’t know, I guess draw some enjoyment from them.

What is your all time top goal?

I used to have a goal. It was to become a full-time international volunteer. I reached that goal eight years ago. It took over thirteen years of disciplining myself and sticking to a demanding schedule and living on a pittance. It was like climbing Mount Everest. But I made it…I was one of a very small number of single women who have ever been invited to take up a post like the one I was.

However three years ago, I was the victim of a crime that caused me serious physical injuries and emotional trauma. I had to take almost a year out to recover. For the past two and a half years I have been back in London and working, trying to rebuild my stamina and strength. I would love to return to my life, my home, my career as an international volunteer. It feels like a long way off though.

Sometimes my ultimate goal of returning to my career and life, seems so far off. Even though sometimes I feel dispirited and despondent about whether I will ever make it back where I belong…I still believe that having that as a goal is a huge protection to me. It prevents me from setting my sights on worthless, meaningless, shallow goals in this money orientated, me-first, world.

I aspire to giving everything I have to build a world that is as beautiful as it should be!

What is one thing on your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list for myself really. Staying alive is the main focus now, and making each day count.

I would love to live to see the human family living in harmony with this beautiful planet and other creatures. I would love to see tears of sorrow wiped away from people’s eyes and heavy hearts, and instead tears of joy and merry hearted, happy, healthy people who are truly at peace in every possible sense of the word!

Where would you suggest someone go visit?

Ooooh – it depends how long for and whether you are a townie or a country bumpkin.

If it is for a weekend and you want to see everything a city offers and see gorgeous historical buildings and eat in charming cafes, then I tell my mates here in London to pop over to Bruges in Belgium. Lovely for a weekend getaway.

If it is just for the day…I recommend Eskdale in the Lake District – head to Wastwater and climb Skafell Pike or Great Gable.

I love Eskdale…many camping trips and a lot of fell-walking with friends and family for many years.

I don’t know why I thought it would be good for a day trip…spend a whole weekend there.

What do you think would make a difference to this world?

I have read a lot about why there is so much trouble in the world, from many sources. I agree with those who point to the need for a huge change of rulership. I don’t think humans are capable of governing themselves. We are not designed to be independent. It is like small children telling their parents they don’t need them or their rules.

Every conceivable form of government has been tried. Monarchies, dictatorships, autocracy, democracy, communism, capitalism, liberalism, republicanism…it’s all been tried. Our history books may well serve as a lesson learnt for the entire universe in millenniums to come, a judicial statute in a way.

Current governments provide a degree of stability – a framework of law and justice and other provisions which benefit us, but we need help. Too many short-term decisions have been made that have put wealth and power first and have sacrificed quality of life for many humans and have damaged our planet and it’s environment. There is a lot of damage that needs to be repaired.

Although there may have been some genuine, well-motivated politicians with integrity (yes – some of them) they are limited…either because the legal framework limits the duration of their term in office, or because they are ousted by a political rival, or fall victim to sickness or old age. Plus some of those who they work closely with may not be trustworthy. There are many reasons why human rulership fails to satisfy mankind’s basic needs. It’s time to end the chapters on humans dominating each other.

This planet has an abundance of everything we need. It is being mismanaged.

I would love to see a world government supervising and educating all humans to care for this earth properly. A rulership that does not allow monopolies and extreme economic situations. To me, every millionaire probably means more are being deprived of the basics. Millionaires, billionaires are not a success. They are a sign that this economic system is a failure. We need rulers who care nothing for money and wealth, but are genuinely motivated by wanting the very best for this planet and all it’s creatures. A world that values every man and woman and child no matter where they are born.

What is a hobby you wish you had more time to enjoy?

Swimming!

My sisters and I were competitive swimmers for years.  I love swimming.  Being in a pool feels wonderful to me…peace, calm, happy place…and then as I swim up and down for an hour or two I feel adrenaline and power rushing through my limbs.

I am finding it hard with my current schedule to go regularly though, at least once a week. I do wish I had more time for swimming.

What is your favourite song right now?

My favourite song change on a daily basis! But right now…I have been singing this all day:

What would you like others to know about you?

Erm…

I am very grateful. I know I don’t own many things and I have very little money. But I feel immensely wealthy. My life is very rich.

…I have a very very wonderful family who gave me a brilliant start in life. I have been trying to make decisions and develop habits that would make them proud and show appreciation for all they taught me.

Have you ever written a book? What is the name of that book if so?

I have not written a book myself. However I have proof-read and assisted in editing an auto-biography for a celebrity.

I have written thousands of letters, e-mails and pages in journals that could fill books.

I filled six journals full of detail about what was going on in the lives of me and my friends for a very close friend of ours who was intensely ill for six months. We thought we were going to lose her. When she came round and her health recovered, I gave her the journals I had kept with her in mind. They were full of photos and pictures and detailed accounts of what had been happening. It was a big help to me at the time to keep my mind positive. But when she received them and read them, she was blown away by what I had done. She told me years later how much she treasured them.

I have been writing a special book for my niece since she was born. She is far too young fr me to think about giving it to her yet. She would probably tear it to shreds! It is very much a token of love and special thought for her. It will be a special day when I can give it to her. I shall go and take a picture so you can see what I have been up to!

 

The book is mainly full of pictures and a little writing. There are lots of pictures of animals, fish, birds and of Wales. There are family photos. There are lots of pictures off my niece too. It is something I can work on when I am really missing my family and I look forward to the day when she is old enough to have a book that has been inspired by her without trying to crumple the pages or eat it!

What is one thing that would make you happy right now?

Goldfinch! I miss him 😦

I want him here with me! I wished I could have taken him to Wales to meet my wonderful family.

However, months ago I realized that it is better for Goldfinch to be without the burden of worrying about me being rushed to hospital on a regular basis. I have said my goodbye and can accept that I had a very wonderful year with him. Now my future happiness is hearing from him that everything is going well for him, that he is happy.

List 5 things you love:

Only five? There are so many things I love…in no particular order here are five of five million things that I love:

  • PEOPLE – especially my family and friends and Goldfinch!
  • THIS PLANET – meadows, mountains, rivers, beaches, lakes, waterfalls, forests
  • MUSIC
  • FOOD
  • ANIMALS – frogs, whales, horses, giraffes, bunny rabbits, butterflies, little lambs

I would like very much for my family to be able to look back and be absolutely sure that I have lacked nothing at all! They taught me pretty much everything I needed for life. Their demonstrating their love by being joyful, hard-working, fun-loving, kind, generous, faithful, reliable, consistent, balanced and wonderful examples is an immensely valuable inheritance.

Eleven Questions For My Nominees:

  1. DO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS KNOW ABOUT YOUR BLOG?
  2. ARE THERE ANY LESSONS YOUR PARENTS TAUGHT YOU THAT YOU ARE VERY GRATEFUL?
  3. ARE YOU A SWIMMER? WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SWIM?
  4. DID YOU HAVE TO HELP OUT WITH CHORES WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP? IF SO, WHAT WERE YOU ASSIGNED TO DO?
  5. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A PENPAL?
  6. WHAT DO YOU DO TO CHEER YOURSELF UP ON RAINY DAYS WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL HAPPY?
  7. HAVE YOU EVER RESEARCHED YOUR FAMILY TREE? WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR FAMILY’S ROOTS?
  8. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT TWELVE MONTHS?
  9. DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS?
  10. WHAT NEW SKILLS OR TALENTS WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN OR DEVELOP?
  11. DO YOU FIND IT EASIER TO BE HOPEFUL OR DOUBTFUL ABOUT A BETTER FUTURE FOR THIS EARTH AND ALL IT’S CREATURES?

My Eleven Nominees:

Family Warmth

Here in England…and in Wales for most of this week, it has been unseasonably mild. Yay!!! We have been outdoors…in the mild air. That is very helpful when there are so many of us.

Now, more than ever, I am looking forward to spring and summer ahead! Although, I wonder will January and February bring shivery bitter cold weather?

I have no idea why I took two coats up north with me. I took a navy raincoat and a huge navy thick winter coat. I didn’t really need either, for it did not rain, neither was it cold! Oh well – I am not complaining. I think I preferred the mild weather whilst I have been standing around waiting for trains and traipsing through the woods with family.

Family days, family get-togethers, family fun – oh what a merry week I have had indeed! So many stories to tell. The Welsh part of the family are superb fun. Lots of children running round. Lots of dads and uncles who run around and make far more noise than the children. Lots of home cooking and home baking, games, very loud laughter and reminiscing, and talking about various travels. They have all travelled extensively as volunteers, so it is fascinating to hear stories and tales from their work.

The family who are scattered across Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire are also a lot of fun. But in a different way. It always feels like a cross between a Butlin’s entertainment evening and a fund-raising telephone night. That’s mainly due to my brother-in-law’s uncle. He is always the entertainments manager. Lots of shop-bought food and shop bought gateaux and trifle, lots of dancing and singing (usually in the form of kareoke), lots of games and pouring over old photograph albums reminiscing about how every one used to look and parties from the past.

A slightly different feel to the atmosphere, but still lots of family fun and games and laughter. In this mild weather…for some strange but adorable reason it was Calypso and Caribbean music that we ended up dancing to. All of us in a great conga procession weaving around the flower beds at midnight.

Oh families are fun! No presents, no decorations (we don’t waste money on fluff and glitter or what retailers tell us to buy) – just time with my wonderful family – I am so thankful for them! I did not think I would be dancing to “Hot Hot Hot” in December!

 

 

 

https://swimmersweek.wordpress.com/2018/12/30/thankful/

Whatever You Do, Don’t Say Peppa

I made a mistake on Monday evening. A big mistake! I asked my brother-in-law if he would pass me the salt and pepper. Somebody’s ears picked up on the word “pepper”. My sister and her husband groaned!

Bedtime that night was quite a battle. For I had inadvertently reminded my twenty month old niece of her favourite cartoon – Peppa Pig! She did not want a bath. She did not want a clean nappy. She did not want her pyjamas. She did not want to go to sleep.

Again and again and again and again and again she said: “Peppa”. It was a very late night! We tried so hard to distract her.  Poor baby! It was almost midnight by the time she finally closed her eyes and drifted to sleep.

It was not my goal to upset the bedtime routine and make my niece distraught! It meant that we had to watch a lot of Peppa Pig on Tuesday before we went to meet the family. We watched more on Wednesday before heading out. We even watched more of Peppa Pig on Thursday before we drove up to Cheshire.

I need to remember not to say Peppa or pepper again in front of my niece. Well, at least until she has a new favourite!

For now – all that matters is Peppa!

I had such a wonderful time in Wales though. The internet signal is abysmal in that part of Snowdonia! I took some photos and will share some more of my wonderful family with you and our antics over the past few days. The adventure is not over quite yet. Much more love, laughter and living ahead!

So sorry if I have missed some posts. I tried to catch up each evening. The internet in Cheshire is so much better. Less mountains on the Cheshire Plains. I kept trying to type comments and they would disappear. I am blaming the internet connection in North Wales!

Heading out for more fun, food and frolics this evening. Love and warmest greetings to all!

 

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/12/28/goal/

FOWC with Fandango — Adventure