Saturday, 30 October 2010

Geordie Jiggers

Sometimes, we have mad half hours in our house.

These 2 should have been in bed, but instead they decided to dance a Geordie jig, to a Scottish reel in the style of Irish dancers with a few Brazilian soccer skills thrown in...whilst eating a biscuit.

Eat your heart out Flatley!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Curly Wurly Girly

The 6 year old is well known for her haircuts. 

Last week, she won one in a raffle. No point in me having it - not sure I'm going to need a haircut for a little while! So I booked her an appointment for this morning.

I thought I'd better just give her a quick nit check before we went as she is a nit magnet. Fortunately there were no little beasties partying in her hair. I've invested in a 10 quid nit comb called the 'Nitty Gritty' which seems to grab hold of every little speck in her hair - so thankfully we seem to have eradicated the problem altogether!

The hairdressers was a very posh place, and they looked after her like a little film star whilst I sipped a complimentary filter coffee and the 9 year old lounged on the leather settee flicking through car magazines.

She opted for a general trim with some beautiful big curls. I thought I'd better take some photos afterwards because I knew they wouldn't last!

Sure enough, within a few hours she was up to her eyes in clart playing footy with her brother and a group of lads. When she trouped off the field, smelling of fresh air and with roses in her cheeks, there wasn't a curl in sight!...But she still looked gorgeous!

Posh Hairdressers Face with Curls
Normal Cheeky Face With Curls
This is why she's well known for haircuts!
When I was supposed to be looking after her and her best pal, they decided to have a go at cutting each others hair.
Which meant she had to have an emergency bob for a while!
...But then she always had the Dolly Parton wig.
She's fast asleep on this photo and I got the fright of my life when I came to kiss her goodnight...
...But not as big as the fright I got one night when she wasn't even in her bed!
10 minutes of panic before I opened the doors of her wardrobe...
She's a handful my little Curly Wurly Girly - but by God she makes us smile!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Goan on Holiday

Hubby and I have spent some wonderful times in India.

We travelled around Rajasthan for a few weeks marvelling at EVERYthing, and we bought my beautiful, simple engagement ring from a little shop in Delhi. We honeymooned in Tamil Nadu in Southern India for about 40 pence...and basically fell in love with the place. But we haven't been to India for quite some time - since the honeymoon, in fact.

 Above - a shabby, scabby room...with an unbelievable view - yes - that's the Taj Mahal in the distance!

 Above - Everywhere we went, we could join in a cricket match. This one took place on the roof-top of a sacred temple in Amber. The lad in the checky shirt was called Govind and we wrote to him for quite a while before finally losing touch. I wonder where he is and what he's doing now.

So anyway, when I was lying on the settee after my operation back in January - 8 foot of snow piled up outside, and 15 years after these photos were taken, one of the things that kept me going was the idea that 'when it was all over' I would return to India - hubby and me....but this time, we would take our 2 kids, and give them a sample of the tastes, the smells, the colours of this wonderful country.

And so today, with a few clicks of the mouse it was done. The 4 of us are off to India, the week before Christmas - we're playing it safe by going to Goa, but its India, and I know we'll all love it.

All I have to do now, is write the begging letters to the schools to get permission to take the kids out, renew 2 of our passports, organise visas, get our jabs, and be super-ultra organised for Christmas which will be happening just 2 days after we get back!

Better get on with it then!...

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Come and See My Puppies!

I am very, very allergic to animals. Even elephants. If I go near a horse or even wear the coat of someone who was riding a horse I get itchy eyes, sneeze like hell, and get what my dad still calls 'the breathin' - ie wheezing!

However, that doesn't mean I dislike animals - and when the offer came to go and see my neighbour's 'born that day' spaniel puppies, I was over in a shot - wearing swimming goggles to protect my eyes, and a hanky over my nose and mouth. (Not really - but I did make sure I didn't breathe when I went in!)

What a lovely scene. Proud mum with 5 brand new healthy pups all snuggling in. Ahhhh!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Miner Point

When I was about 8 years old, my dad took me and my brother to France.
We ordered a meal in a lovely little restaurant in Auxerre and before it arrived, dad helped me to find the loo. It was in a shed in the back yard. Without thinking, he made sure I was in, bolted the door - from the outside - then returned to enjoy his dinner.
I was trapped. I rattled the door a few times, shouted 'help' a few times, then just leaned against the spider-webbed wall and waited. I even remember singing 'Cushy Butterfield' - an old Geordie song, to pass the time.
I didn't panic, and I didn't cry.
I knew my dad would come and rescue me. And even after 15 minutes of staring at the grubby walls, and singing 'And they caal her Cushy Butterfield and aa wish she wor here!' for the 20th time, I never had any doubt in my mind that my dad would come and get me.
He did. And after much apologising, we hugged, laughed and got on with our dinner.

A poor comparison, I know, but being locked in a toilet in Auxerre for 15 minutes is the only time I have experienced being physically 'trapped.'
Watching the drama of the Chilean miners unfold, meanwhile, has been overwhelming. I, like the rest of the world, have been glued to the TV screen over the last couple of days in particular - watching through tears as each miner emerged from the capsule - into the arms of their familes after 69 days of being trapped - 700m under the surface of the earth.

For 17 days, they were trapped without any contact with the outside world. I simply cannot imagine how they coped during those 17 days. How did they keep going? How did they not collapse in despair?
'Hope, belief, faith.' These are all words that we throw in to our conversations every now and then, but I think these must have been the three words that all 33 men focused upon to keep them going.

Once the rescue mission was underway, 'hope, belief, faith' became key words for those responsible for the operation, the families...and even the rest of the world - united, for once - and inspired by the power of the human spirit.

Why am I writing about this today? Well, apart from the fact that I have been incredibly moved by the scenes on telly - I also wanted to highlight the fact that those 3 words - hope, belief, faith - simply MUST be a part of our every day lives.

A few months ago, I felt like one of those miners - stepping out of the capsule. Battered and bruised, but safe.

I have a few friends at the moment, however, who may feel that they are 700m below the surface of the earth. Some are having treatment for cancer, some are about to be treated for cancer, and some are waiting to see if their cancer has returned. They could give up, collapse in despair, but they don't - however difficult it may seem. I've never met most of these people, but I think about them every day, and I wanted them to know that.

I know it is easier said than done, but we must never stop hoping, never stop believing, and we must always try to keep faith in our rescuers - whoever they may be....

Monday, 11 October 2010

A Hole Lot of Bother

Nottingham City Council removed all the conkers off a conker tree the other day for health and safety reasons. A 4 year old girl was struck on the head with a stick that had been hoyed up into the tree to try and dislodge a big fat juicy conker, so the council reacted calmly and sensibly by erecting a raised platform to send a couple of lads into the branches to pull all the prickly little beggars down. There. Sorted. No more stick hoying. No more 4 year old girls bashed on the head.

I wonder what the council lads and lasses in Nottingham would have made of my 6 year old's school this week.

The school raised a load of dosh last year so that they could build a little canopy in the school yard, extending from one of the classrooms. Picnic tables were added, so that in the summer, the kids had a shaded outdoor classroom, and in the winter they could use it to shelter from the rain at playtime. (We don't have indoor playtime in the north - we just chuck the kids out whatever the weather!)

And so, on Monday, a little girl from reception class and her pal decided to play around the brand new picnic tables. They decided to play a game called 'put your arm through the umbrella hole and see how far you can get it before it gets stuck.' What a great game! But it didn't last that long. The little girl impressively managed to wedge her arm up to the elbow...then couldn't get it out.

Soap was used, but to no avail - the arm was well and truly stuck. "It went all fat, mum," described the 6 year old, "and purple."

And so, much to the delight of 150 children, the fire brigade were called. The head teacher told all the kids to move right back, and showed them the point that they were not to pass. I think she thought that they would just get on playing again, but no - all 150 children stood in a long line, watching from afar.

The fire engine arrived, and, just to add to the drama, an ambulance. As the burly firemen filed through the school gates, all 150 children gasped. One of them was carrying a saw.

'We thought he was going to saw her arm off!' the 6 year old beamed delightedly.

A couple of minutes later, thankfully it was the picnic table that got hacked to pieces - not the little girls arm, and she was soon released - much to the relief of everyone - including her mother who, according to the 6 year old had to be 'called out of a very important place' to be there with her very bemused daughter.

The new health and safety menace targeting small children
And so, dear friends. Forget conkers. There is a new health and safety menace in our parks, schools and gardens.....Picnic tables......Ban them! Chop them all up for firewood....they are lethal!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Walking on the Moon

I have decided to do the Moon Walk in London next May with a bunch of pals.
26 miles around the capital, starting off at midnight and walking in bras. Hmm. Not my usual sort of challenge, but hey, you know, it might just be quite good. It might even be really good! And it'll raise a bit of money for the cause.

So today, after a 'pain au chocolate,' a coffee and a small putting the world right session with my dad, I went on my first official training session with 2 pals - one of whom is also doing the walk (a fellow cricketer!)
We enjoyed a 5 mile loop in the hills around where I live. Warm sunshine, fresh air, a flask of home made poop soup and great company. Now that's the kind of fitness training I enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Same Old, Same Old

Well, that's me back to the grind, back on the treadmill - whatever you want to call it, I'm back to work.

My computer wouldn't connect to the network for the first hour, no-one really wanted to help, the IT department didn't bother to phone me back...blah, blah, blah...

A strange day.

Its interesting what people say to you when you've been off for a while. Some have kept in touch, some haven't.

People asked, 'What was the chemo like?' 
I showed them the ugly track marks up my arm where the chemo has completely nacked a vein.
They 'ooh-ed.' . If I'd told them what the chemo was like, they'd have switched off after a couple of minutes. A bit like when you're asked, 'how was your holiday?'

They've commented - 'You look great.'
I thanked them. None of them have ever said that to me in 15 years. I dread to think how they must have expected me to look, or maybe I just looked bloody awful before!

They shared their thoughts - 'I bet it's made you take stock of things.'
I smiled. This is one of the things that people say a lot. It irritates me slightly. I was actually very happy with my stock before, and it implies that I used to be an ungrateful, grumpy old sod. I know they don't mean it to sound like that. I opened my mouth to give them my answer, then stopped myself and just said, 'yeh.'
This seemed to keep them happy.

I think I just wanted people to say, 'Fancy a cup of tea?' or 'Can we talk about how to improve the website?' or 'Can you come up with a new marketing plan for next year please?' or even, 'do you need a hand to get your computer sorted?'

But then, if they hadn't asked me those questions and said the things that they said today, I would probably have accused them of being heartless and insensitive. They can't win.

So lets just get back to the grind...