Monday, 17 September 2007

a working woman

The blog continues to be delayed, although, apart from a few more links, the Croatia holiday post is almost done.
In the meantime we are getting ready for my parents arrival on Thursday this week. Lots to do as the house is dirty.... Today we are having new windows put in the bathroom and upstairs toilet, all in preparation for the new bathroom.
My big news is that I have found a part time job, at a local garden centre! I will be working with plants (mainly bedding and indoor) and hard landscaping products...that means gravel, fencing, paving and pots. It is 27 hours a week and we have still to tweak a few hours after school when the girls need to be looked after. It also means every second weekend I will be at work, but John says that they will all manage without me. I start on October first...

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Croatia, summer 2007

We chose Croatia as none of us had been there, except me, to Dubrovnik as a four year old, which hardly counts! We wanted sun and beaches, and got sun, rocky outlets, pebbly beaches and some huge thunderstorms....
Trogir is where we stayed, not far from Split on the Dalmatian Coast (and yes we saw two dalmatian dogs!) It is a delightful place on an island, the buildings are made of stone with cool narrow streets, beautiful churches and an impressive fort. Our villa was in fact three separate apartments on three different floors. The boys stayed in the top one, Hannah and Emily in the middle one and John and I on the ground floor. We used the middle flat for meals and family gatherings. We cooked some meals and one night did a great barbie with fresh whole fish and local lamb and sausage. On the whole the food was great. Lots of red meat and fish, very simple salads, tomato, cucumber, lettuce etc and potatoes. The wine was not bad either.
The Adriatic was cold, clear and the kids loved it. They played for hours and dived off the rocks into the depths. We took a ferry to Split one day, also on the World Heritage List. The girls and I enjoyed the ruins of the Diocletian's Palace while the boys shopped. One afternoon, John the girls and I drove into the hills, but were thwarted by long traffic jams both leaving and driving back into Trogir. Being a protected area, and an island with only one access bridge, every vehicle going or coming from the town must cross the bridge. The traffic is gridlocked for hours sometimes. The heat, the hilly terrain and the distance from the villa to town meant that walking was not an option. Within a week John had learnt every back alley, side road and short cut. Our land lady was very impressed. Plans are to build a new bridge, but until then, be prepared. It is a delightful place, but one should not be in a hurry to get anywhere!
Sorry about the photo layout, not yet a mastered art!

Summer up date

Well here is the update of the news over the summer. When the kids first came home I confess was dreading the six weeks. All I could see was days of loitering, bored and restless children with a frustrated mother so it was a bit grim. Fortunately it was nothing like that. The guide camp started the girls off and everyone saw a lot of their friends. Adam visited his grandparents in Manchester and Whitley Bay for almost two weeks. In late July, Fiona from Hong Kong was here for a few nights. Such a lot of fun. We were really sorry to see her go.

We then went to Croatia, to Trogir near Split, for a week. (That will get its own page.)

As soon as we got back, an old friend from Belgium was here for a couple of nights. I knew Francoise in Brussels about 20 years ago. She is a very active grandmother and doesn't sit still. She is a brilliant cook as well. The girls' father arrived a few days later. He stayed in a local B&B and unfortunately had pretty wet weather for the week he was here. It didn't stop him and the girls getting out to see the country side and they had a great time. Ushio's visit over-lapped with the arrival of John's parents who were also here for a week. They are easy going and incredibly kind. Hannah and Em love their adopted grandparents. We celebrated their 49th wedding anniversay here with champagne and a barbie. The night before they left, Adam went back to school. So there we were, at the end of the summer, which although not all that sunny, (this is the wettest summer since records started in the 1700s!) had been busy and lots of fun.

Last weekend we were back to just family and it was, if we are honest, rather nice! I got back to the garden at Standen last week too, having missed the entire summer.....

High School

Hannah started high school today, a big day for her and for the rest of us. She is a young lady now and was very excited about this new phase in her life. John and I walked with her to school. She looked quite nervous when we left her and it was tempting to go back to see how she was, but that would have been too much for her to bear in front of friends. I felt quite sad, but then a mother tends to as her children grow up.
Emily starts grade 6 tomorrow, so we have another event to celebrate.