Monday, 29 November 2010

Base Camp Everest

Well, both schools were officially CLOSED today due to 'severe weather conditions,' so the only thing on the curriculum today was sledging and the construction of Base Camp Everest.

The snow is now up to my knees, with more forecast.

Susie - If you're reading this in Australia - please stop your kids praying for snow for your trip to Blighty - the prayers have been answered and we don't want any more!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Night Sledging

We're so lucky when it snows because we have a perfect sledging hill behind our house.

We've got about 6+ inches now, so we took to the hill this weekend to brush up on our sledging skills. Yesterday's sledging didn't last long because we all got FREEZING COLD very quickly. The 6 year old cried all the way home with a frozen thumb, but was DETERMINED to go out again this afternoon.

Conditions were perfect. A fresh fall of powdery snow, and no icy wind. It was great. We stayed warm and we flew down the hill like little rockets...we loved it so much that we didn't realise that it had gone dark! Pitch black in fact!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Oh sNOw - not again!

I drove home from work last night in the most UNBELIEVABLE snow storm.

I have driven in snow plenty of times before, but never like this. The flakes were the size of saucers and they were hoying down so thick and so fast that my windscreen wipers couldn't cope. Everyone crawled along the A1 at a snail's pace because no-one could see a thing. It was really quite scary!

Usually there's very little snow around Newcastle and much more where I live - slightly to the west and up in the hills, but as I travelled west it fizzled out and turned to rain....

....until the early hours of this morning.

'WHOOHOOO!' yelled the 6 year old when she peered out the window this morning. 'SNOW!!!'

'Oh God.' the 9 year old said. He hates snow as he can't bear to be cold.

The 6 year old got ready in seconds and leapt out into the freezing white stuff to let the hens out. The door to the hen house was frozen solid and when she finally got it open, they refused to come out. They HATE the snow as much as the 9 year old. Last year when we had all the snow, hubby had to dig them a path to the greenhouse where they camped out for the whole of January and most of February.

'We're NOT coming out! Do you hear me?!'

The hens eventually trudged out, and, much to their relief, we chucked them in the greenhouse with their food and water. They're still there now.

The school buses arrived on time - much to the kids' disappointment - and I'm now gazing across fields of white, and skies of blue. Very, very beautiful....but I think I'm with the 9 year old - I'd rather have the summer back again!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Clean Sheets and Dirty Tactics

Our poor little 9 and 10 year olds got a damned good stuffing today at football.

15.....yes, 15-Nil. It might have been 30-0 if it wasn't for our brave keeper.

It was cold, damp and gloomy, and the pitch was as clarty as hell.

They battled away as best they could, against a team of big, tough, solid little bruisers.

Every time the other team scored, their euphoric coach kept clapping his hands and saying 'Howay lads, lets keep a clean sheet,' not 'hard lines, other team - good effort keeper.'

On the 15th time he said 'howay lads, lets keep a clean sheet,' I wanted to get the clean sheet and stuff it up his hairy nostrils.

For once, we had a couple of subs - and their nasty coach didn't think to say 'Go on, hoy an extra couple of your players on for the last 5 minutes...' He preferred instead to watch as our little lads (and our one lass) were well and truly hammered, dejected and worn out. What a sod.

But you know what - they never gave up. They kept on battling, and they never ONCE argued amongst themselves which is sometimes what you see in other more 'superior' teams when they have a wobble.

I could almost feel tears prickling in my eyes when the final whistle blew and I watched them all trudge off, up to their eyes in clart. But after a little chat by their lovely coaches, they peeled away laughing and scrapping like little puppies - squirting each other with the water bottles and already forgetting the 15-0 drubbing.

They all deserved a medal - and as for the opposition's coach, well he's still trying to get a big clean sheet out of his nose....well, in my dreams anyway!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Pen Pals

When I was about 12, the school set us up with 'pen pals.' You could choose the kind of person you wanted to write to, and which country they were from.
I couldn't be bothered to try and understand Spanish or French, and I also didn't like the idea of chatting to a girl about things I wasn't interested in - ie. fashion, make-up, horses etc. so I ticked the box that said 'boy,' 'sports' and 'America.'

I ended up with a pen pal called Jimmy Lassiter from Texas. He would send me pages and pages of elaborate stories in big loopy writing. His photo, (if it was actually him!) showed a big all-American sparkling-toothed, blond-haired, blue eyed, Robert Redford boy. We wrote to each other for a couple of years and I really liked him, but we never met - probably just as well really, as some of his stories were a little wild! We lost touch eventually and I sometimes wonder what he's doing now.

I've got some new pen pals now. Tony, Rose, Carole, David and others...met through the Cancer Research Forum. They are lovely. They help lift the spirits of so many people on the forum when they themselves are going through their own hell. They also need a lift sometimes.

I know I've got this song on everywhere, and you're probably sick of it, but am I bovvered?
Today, I'd really like to dedicate it to my pen pals. As very special pen pals, you have made such a huge difference to the lives of so many people - and that's just in the very short time I've known you all...

'It's not about the time that you have
It's how you cry and how you laugh
Who you love and how you mean it'

Keep going dear pen friends 

And Tony - lots of cute girls in this clip - note the spotty-dressed, shuffling cards lady that does nowt but look lovely!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Viva La Vida

For the last couple of weeks, even more than ever, I have realised what a fabulous life I lead, and what a wonderful life I live.

It's coming up to a year when I found the 'bloody lump.' It's weird, because just 6 weeks before I found it, I was on an amazing 40th birthday celebratory reunion trip to Beijing with 4 of my closest friends from university days.

I distinctly remember, on a number of occasions on that trip, thinking to myself - 'something is going to happen to one of us soon.' I didn't know what it was, I didn't know who it would happen to...but I knew it was going to be bad.

I have no idea why I thought that, but on the plane on the way home, I thought 'If something bad happens to me, at least I've spent a fabulous week in a memorable place with my dearest friends...'

A few weeks later, I found the lump and made an appointment with a GP. Two days before the appointment, I played hockey with all my hockey pals. I remember thinking, 'This will be my last game.'

I've just come home from the leisure centre where I've spent the last hour whacking a plastic puck around the main hall - with my hockey pals again. I had 10 months away...but it wasn't my last game.

And y'know what, on 10th December 2010, I am meeting all my uni friends again - not Beijing this time - but Birmingham - where we did our PE degrees. (Yes- you can do a degree in leaping around!) We intend to get hammered, eat curry and visit all our old haunts and the revolting houses we called home.

One of my uni pals is travelling all the way from Australia to meet up with us again. Its not far for me on the train from Newcastle to Birmingham, but oh - how far I've travelled this year....

On that weekend, it will be exactly one year since the GP said 'I need to refer need to prepare yourself...have you got support...etc...' With that in mind, I will raise my glass, thank my family, my friends and celebrate my wonderful life. Viva La Vida.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Old Friends

Thank you Jill, your mum, dad and fabulous 92 year old gran for having me and the 6 year old over for lunch yesterday. It was great to catch up - even though we probably needed another week of yakking to come anywhere close to really catching up!

It was great to see you all. For those that don't know - Jill is my oldest and dearest friend from school (31 years we've been friends!), and now lives abroad - so any time snatched with her is very special. Despite living 40 million miles away, she has been right beside me all the way through the cacky few months this year.

The photo has me (the one with the very short, VERY grey hair!), Jill, my 6 year old and one of Jill's sister's girls.

And here we are on my wedding day - Jill bridesmaid! - with our other school pals - Liz, Cherry, Katy - and the bloke in the middle? Well that's my lovely husband of 13 years!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Smart Lad

I have never seen my 9 year old son look so smart and handsome!
I had to take him to a cricket presentation evening last night, and the lads all had to wear their county ties. They don't make county ties for 9 year olds - so I had to make the 'man' tie fit him. He still looked lush, and I was the proudest mum ever.