Wednesday, 30 November 2011
After our second stop - in the lay-by of a busy road somewhere in North Wales (I think) where I fed The Baby - we made our way through the darkness along the neverending winding country lanes. Occasionally The Husband would flick on the overhead light in the car to snatch a feeting glance of the map or handwritten instructions. Sat in the back of the car, sandwiched between The sleeping Seven Year Old with his head on my shoulder and The wide awake Baby, I continuously pressed a button on my phone in order to keep it lit up to illuminate The Baby whilst simultaneously singing random lines from nursery rhymes that I could remember - all this in a bid to keep The Baby from becoming hysterical.
We finally arrived at our destination in Cardiganshire, a delightful collection of farm cottages, where we had found The Friends who were to be married still awake and setting up for the following day. It was 11.30pm. After sleeping in the car, The Seven Year Old was, of course, wide awake…”this is my self-destruct button Mummy” he cried out gleefully as he ran around playing out the role of an imaginary character in his game. “I wish I had one” I muttered under my breath…
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
We stopped twice en-route, in a bid for us all to regain some sanity. During the first stop – only an hour and a half into our journey - it came to light that The Husband is a closet McDonalds cheese burger fan – in a surprisingly big way. Even The Seven Year Old was a little taken aback by The Husbands enthusiasm for ‘the cheeseburger’.
After we’d all been fed and watered and had the obligatory ‘just in case’ trip to the loo, we returned to the car. Once strapped into his car seat The Baby immediately filled his nappy. Again. “It’s my turn” said The Husband returning back inside to change The Baby – it wouldn’t surprise me if we discover at some time in the future that The Husband had sneaked in another cheese burger too. They were certainly gone for a considerable amount of time. The Seven Year Old and me remained in the car looking at his Lego Star Wars book for the one hundredth time this month. We always have to choose which “goody” and which “baddy” character we will be. I say we have to choose but The Seven Year Old is always very clear about who we will all be.
When The Husband eventually returned to the car with The Baby he said “I was beginning to feel like I’d be spending the rest of my life in that changing room”. It transpired that The Baby had been rather busy in there and numerous changes had been required. “I’ve texted the bride-to-be” added The Husband, “I said it’ll probably be quite late, when we arrive”.
Friday, 25 November 2011
There will now be a short break in blogging due to us being away for the weekend at a wedding of two of The Friends in South Wales - very excited! Have lovely weekends people! See you back here on Tuesday. Jx
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
The Seven Year Old is going on his first residential school trip today. He and his class mates will be staying for two nights on a local farm. He has been excited about the trip for weeks. In fact he’s so excited that he’s been choosing to overlook the fact that he has a bad cold and has instead, been pushing to go to school because he’s so determined that he will be going on the trip. When he came home from school yesterday he immediately wanted to pack his suitcase, “there’s no time to play tonight Mum, we have lots to do“. He woke up so early this morning, and was so completely full of beans, that you would have been excused for thinking it was Christmas Day. As we walked up to school this morning we joined the other school trippers - a procession of seven year olds, backpacks on their backs, pulling their suitcases behind them.
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Here’s a question – “don’t you find that Tuesday is a bit of a funny day?”
Monday, 21 November 2011
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Saturday, 19 November 2011
“Come to me oh cup of tea,
And let me tell you of my antipathy
To other drinks in the morning,
They don’t stop this Daddy from yawning.”
…is what I heard The Husband reciting to The Baby one day a few weeks ago. “Did you just make that up?” I ask, laughing. “No. We made it up a few days ago actually” came the response. Me and The Baby look at each and sigh simultaneously. Time for another cuppa I think….
Friday, 18 November 2011
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
I’m pretty sure I’m the worse with this. I tend to follow the example set by The Parents – the female half more specifically – who won’t even consider sympathy for illness or injury until it’s been established that you’ve done all you can to help yourself. This self help would mean the taking of, or use of, the appropriate medication. Of course this could only ever be one of four Female Parent approved medications:- paracetamol, TCP liquid, Covonia cough medicine and Germolene antiseptic ointment. Once, as a child, I was sent to primary school with a cold so severe that a teacher suggested to me that I may want to consider taking the rest of the week off. It was Monday.
So, here we are. Coughing and spluttering, shuffling around with our red noses in a sea of tissues. Roll on the weekend
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Monday, 14 November 2011
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Saturday, 12 November 2011
The longest standing of the friends – we’ve been friends from the age of eleven – is also, by happy coincidence a brilliant baker and today a visiting Queen. She has brought along a sublime ginger birthday cake which we all happily devour. Prosecco corks are popped and the conversation flows. The same visiting Queen has also brought along a framed photograph of a school trip we went on back in the day. We are pictured floating down the Ardeche river in the South of France having capsized our Canadian Canoe in spectacular fashion. Much reminiscing and storytelling follows, much to the horror of Adam Ant (the ‘
We hardly see The Seven Year Old knight and his friend The Princess who run around squealing excitedly, hiding in the turrets and convincing themselves we have a castle ghost – an idea enhanced by the male adults (?!) amongst us who create ghostly manoeuvres and sounds. Our resident Wizard wears himself out through his endless casting of spells on the delighted Knight and Princess. The Baby, who intermittently wears his very own baby crown, enjoys cuddles from his Aunt Repunzal - who takes care not to get him caught in her homemade hair - and Uncle Jester who is wearing a huge 3-point hat. I would love to know what The Baby is making of all of this.
As the daylight fades we are back out on the rooftop once more for further sparklers and sky lanterns. We later warm ourselves drinking hot soup and eating potato cakes before waving our guests goodbye. The remainder of the evening brings further reminiscing with The Friends who are staying over, one of whom I’ve known for fifteen years. He probably knows me as well as I know myself – which is really quite well these days. He speculates about what my early teenage self would have thought had I been told that in the future I would be celebrating my 40th birthday with the same childhood friend - and our children - that I had shared the canoe with on that watery school trip. With no hesitation I reply that I would have been more surprised all those years ago if you’d told me that me and my canoe companion wouldn’t still be close friends almost thirty years on. And with that, I am once again reminded of the importance of friendship and realise how very lucky I am.
As I lay in the darkness that night listening to The Husband, The Seven Year Old and The Baby, sleeping, I feel as happy and content as I could ever wish to be. Over the past forty years there have been many highs and lows, lots of time spent trying to work out who I am and where I want to be in life. And now, here I am, right where I want to be - surrounded by the people I love. Life is good. Bring on the next forty years!
Friday, 11 November 2011
Before we know it, it’s time to change into our costumes for the party. We all remain true to our heritage… I become Queen Ju for the day, The Husband is (of course) Henry VIII, The Seven Year Old is a knight protecting the castle with a sideline in crown making to ensure all of our guests will be suitably attired. The two Friends become visiting royalty in the form of King of Arabia (“the whole of”), and King of the Leprechauns – complete with green sequinned eyebrows PVA-glued to his own and a transformed pan worn as a hat and serving as a pot of hidden gold.
By the time we have a full house on the guest front we have added to the mix, a brilliant court jester, a beautiful Rapunzel, a demon wizard, a gorgeous Queen and Princess of Chesterfield, and finally, Prince Charming himself - Adam Ant. Genius. Let the party begin.
Thursday, 10 November 2011
We later discover that the bell rings on the hour from 7am until 10pm with a few half hourly chimes thrown in sporadically for good measure. The bell is housed at the top of one of the buildings four turrets. The turret that is the closest to our bedroom. Obviously. The bell's chime is quite loud making the impromptu 7am alarm call difficult to ignore. This, together with the fact that The Seven Year Old is so happy to be here that on waking up he immediately explodes into excited chatter, causes me to brace myself for early mornings for the duration of our stay. The Husband however, offers me a much needed lie in whilst he entertains the boys. After a night of little sleep due to sharing a room with three males of the species and the associated disturbances that can bring - sleep talk, light snoring and an inability to sleep in the allocated bed - I can’t refuse. I proceed to enjoy a series of half hourly naps interrupted only by the intermittent tolling of the bell until I awake to a cup of tea and a baby who needs feeding.
Our day ticks along nicely. Our friends arrive, we enjoy a walk in the surrounding countryside, hold a table tennis competition, do jigsaws, eat roast chicken and chips and decorate cardboard crowns which are then worn for the remainder of the weekend. We spend Bonfire night up on the roof amongst the turrets writing our names with sparklers and releasing sky lanterns. Who knew that so much fun could be had without the technology we usually flood our lives with. We barely even notice there is no television. We eventually fall into our beds, exhausted, but in a good way.
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
We locate the door key from the coded key box whilst congratulating ourselves on remembering – somewhat miraculously for us - to bring a torch. The Husband, with The Seven Year Old hot on his heels, tries to unlock several doors without success. Just in the nick of time, before The Baby screams for milk, we find the only remaining door whose lock hasn’t yet been tried with the key. And we’re in! Up the stone spiral staircase and we burst into the first floor of our weekend retreat. Oh my.
The Husband, The Seven Year Old The Baby and me then climb higher beyond the upper floor - which somewhat randomly houses little more than a table tennis table and single bedrooms in two of the four turrets.- and we’re out onto the roof. Wow. It turns out that turning 40 is feeling really rather good.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Photo from the
Landmark Trust website
“I can see it!” declares the Husband from the darkness. From the back of the car we crane our necks expecting to spy the castle-like building far into the distance. But no. Instead, silhouetted against the moonlit sky looms our magnificent home for the weekend, we are separated by only a field and two fences. We squeal in delight and marvel at its beauty. All we need to do now, is work out how to get to it.
Friday, 4 November 2011
As we’ll be away at ‘Ju’s birthday castle’ for the weekend – where there is heavy fog and light drizzle forecast - there will be no further blog posts until Tuesday. In the meantime, enjoy your bonfire weekends people, play safely!
Thursday, 3 November 2011
Today we will be taking delivery of our new sofa. This isn’t the huge, velvet, squishy and wildly expensive sofa we fell in love with - to clarify, when I say ‘we’ I mean, '‘me’ – no, the sofa that is due to arrive today is the simple, stylish, practical sofa that we can afford. More specifically, we are awaiting the arrival of the sofa that we can afford with more than a little help from The Parents who were becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the threadbare, sagging, tired sofa we currently own. As a result, The Parents have generously pitched in to the new sofa fund under the guise that this will be my 40th birthday gift. This would seem more realistic if they hadn’t arrived to visit us earlier in the week bearing additional gifts.
What with delivery and collection costs we could probably have stretched to the ‘dream’ sofa….providing we were prepared to carry it all the way home from the workshop of course.
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Call it denial if you will but I’m refusing to even think about the wrinkles and saggy bits, much easier I think to remove all mirrors from the house. Thanks to the genes from The Parents there are no grey hairs in sight as yet so that that’s helping with the issues of acceptance on the aging body.